Every Record I Own - Day 274: Crimpshrine Duct Tape Soup
For the uninitiated: Crimpshrine was a Bay Area punk band started in 1982 by two thirteen-year-olds: Aaron Cometbus (of Cometbus zine fame) and Jesse Michaels (future singer of Operation Ivy). They eventually added Jeff Ott (future singer/guitarist of Fifteen), kicked out Michaels, and went through a bunch of line-up changes that included Lint from Operation Ivy and eventually a couple of dudes from Screeching Weasel. If there was a family tree of the Lookout! Records roster and East Bay punk bands, they’d be somewhere near the trunk.
Despite being such a crucial component to the Lookout! Records scene, their 1989 studio full-length was rejected by the label and divided into various different releases. The label eventually saw the error of their ways and cobbled the material back together as the Duct Tape Soup LP in 1992. By this time, Cometbus had joined Pinhead Gunpowder with Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) and Sarah Kirsch (Fuel, Torches To Rome, John Henry West, Navio Forge). While their early 7″s remain as the truest testament to their sound and vision, Duct Tape Soup is a fun, scrappy, and illuminating document of the band’s mishmash of early pop-punk melodies, hyper-charged funk-leaning rhythms of Bay Area weirdos like Plaid Retina and Victim’s Family, and crust punk politics.
I picked up this LP in 1995 during my freshman year of college. I hadn’t been to the Bay Area yet, but Crimpshrine helped shape my view of what San Francisco and Berkeley would be like. They were like hold-outs from the Summer of Love—kids that came into the city looking for freedom and opportunity but wound up sleeping on the streets, dumpster diving, and generally living in the shadows. They sang about their homelessness, drug addiction, and abusive families and it all felt very personal and honest and emotionally heavy for a band with these poppy melodies and slap bass lines.
Bigger bands would grow out of the scene Crimpshrine helped establish, but none of them matched their earnestness, integrity, or urgency.