Clash, Sham 69, Cockney Rejects, & Diamond Dogs members return as The Crunch…
The Crunch’s story begins on the pages of ‘Keep Yourself Alive’; an anthology of interviews with 70s rock and punk stars about their lives today, compiled by Peter Karlsson and Soren ‘Sulo’ Karlsson. When Sulo perhaps better known as the honey ’n’ gravel voice of blues-rockers Diamond Dogs – began planning a Stockholm launch event to mark the book’s publication last autumn he called upon a few of its subjects to help provide the music, and so spontaneously assembled the collective now known as The Crunch.
Joining Sulo are original Clash sticksman Terry Chimes, bassist Dave Tregunna – who made his own essential contribution to punk rock in Sham 69 and Lords of the New Church, and on guitar Mick Geggus – whose crucial role in creating the Oi sound as part of the Cockney Rejects was recently documented in acclaimed biopic ‘East End Babylon’. Past credits don’t come much more impressive than those The Crunch boast between them, but the previous achievements of this iconic group are the least of a many good reasons to pay attention to the music they’re making together today.
Having recognised a unique musical chemistry on that night in Stockholm, these four seasoned pros wasted no time in seeking to capture it. By January they’d reunited at London’s Berry Street studios, and in the time since then what looked to be a very exciting prospect on paper has rapidly become more than the sum of its parts on record. What’s as apparent as the wealth of experience – and just as appealing – is an infectious energy and air of earnest enthusiasm amongst the group, which lends the feel of a fresh, new act.
Fuelling The Crunch from the start has been the simple shared love of rock ‘n’ roll and enjoyment of playing, and this spirit shines from the songs that are now flowing out of Berry Street. Two stays at the studio have yielded ten tracks to date, and the strength of this first material has encouraged the quartet to clear their diaries and rush back to record more in late April. With little discussion, and no pause to be considered either a ‘side-project’ or ‘supergroup’, The Crunch has quickly and quite organically developed into a fully committed four-piece band.
Both that gang-mentality and the sense of fun surrounding the sessions are strongly apparent on the first two tracks to surface. Debut single ‘Down by the Border’ is released on 7” vinyl via Legal Records on June 3rd and offers a enticing introduction to The Crunch. Although a volatile punk rock edge is unmistakable in Chimes and Tregunna’s taught, rattling rhythms, the sound is not that of a straight-forward ’77 supergroup, but rather immense, infectious power-pop. Geggus’ versatile skills on guitar are used to great effect on the huge hooks, while Sulo’s distinctive voice heads up some rich harmonies as well as delivering a dose of grit. ‘Down By The Border’ may be the obvious theme song on the 7”, with its cry of “let’s take it to The Crunch!”, but there’s an equally strong statement of the band’s intentions to get back to the pure passion for playing rock ’n’ roll in b-side ‘Gangster Radio’ where, after declaring he’s “singing from the heart”, Sulo proclaims “I know where I’m going, where I started from”.
One thing The Crunch are keen to make clear is that this is only the start, and grander plans are now fast unfolding. A debut album is due in October, which the band will support with a full UK tour when they intend to air both the new material and some classic cuts from their considerable collective back catalogue.