The four gents that make up the scuzz-rock dynamos Chrome Cranks are no strangers to the music world, having racked up a dizzyingly diverse collective work history.
Drummer Bob Bert logged time as a member of indie icons Sonic Youth and Pussy Galore. Singer/guitarist Peter Aaron created the punk fanzine Suburban Muckraker and supported the Cincinnati scene by booking shows for a series of underground venues before starting the band in 1998.
But it’s guitarist William Weber who can claim the most colorful resume. At the same time as he was churning out tortured blues riffs with the Cranks, he was logging time as a member of the Murder Junkies, the final backing band for G.G. Allin, the punk legend known primarily for his scatological onstage antics.
“I had been in New York for three months, biding my time,” Weber remembers, “when I saw this ad in the Village Voice: ‘G.G. Allin’s band needs a guitar player.’ I just thought it would be fun to go down and audition to see who else would be there.”
Weber ended up snagging the gig, doing three short tours with G.G. up and down the East Coast and recording the 1993 album Brutality and Bloodshed for All.
“I was in that band for two and a half years,” says Weber. “But of all that time, G.G. was incarcerated probably two years out of that. I didn’t get to see him too much!”
Although Weber stuck with the Junkies even after Allin died in 1993, he split his time between that band and the Cranks, recording three full-lengths of raw, blues-inflected rock. In 1998, though, both bands imploded.
“Pete and I were getting into more improv stuff,” Weber says matter-of-factly of the Cranks split. “The other two didn’t agree with that. Plus we were doing a lot of traveling and just got tired of looking at each other.”
A decade later, urged on by a Spanish label that had just released a collection of Cranks singles and rarities, the four men reconvened to play some shows.
“From the first song of the first rehearsal, it was on,” Weber says. “Like nothing had changed. It was amazing how good it all felt.”
The feelings have obviously lingered, as the band played a few more reunion shows in 2010 and then gathered together at a studio in upstate New York to put together the recently released album Ain’t No Lies In Blood.
Recorded over three days and released by Bert’s Thick Syrup Records, the album shows no signs of rust from within the band. The four men tear into the seven originals and two covers with a fierce strength, even turning the Byrds’ “Lover of the Bayou” into a 10-minute tortured workout of spiny guitar and subtle dynamics.
While there is a great deal of momentum behind the reincarnation of the Chrome Cranks, the band has had to put promotional plans on hold following the recent passing of Bob Bert’s wife. Weber assures fans that they won’t stay quiet for long.
“It’s not going to happen until summer or maybe fall, but we’ll definitely be getting together again,” he says.