Mick Crudge (The Fits) RIP : an appreciation of Blackpool punk singer who found a healing pathI’m totally floored by the death of Mick Crudge the former singer of Blackpool punk band The Fits. He fell on a walk a few days ago and never recovered and the world it robbed of another one of its finer spirits and beautiful connected souls and my love and condolonces got to his family and to his partner Orsi.

Mick was a beautiful spirit whose tidal wave of life force seemed unstoppable with whatever he threw himself at – whether it was punk rock or his later spiritual and healing wanderings. It was always a joy to bump into him from my teenage years in grimy Blackpool late seventies punk rock dives or in later years in the green fields of festivals or in London where he lived when not wandering around the world.

In the decades I knew Mick – since meeting him in that fevered late seventies punk rock scene in Blackpool – he was always so full of life and energy that he felt indestructible. His optimism and belief in everybody was ingectious and joyous and defied the gloomy seaside skies. In the punk era his band, The Fits, were trying to find their way through the maze of options with a mixture of second wave brutal energy and Mick’s own interest in the exotica of Adam Ant and the more theatrical side of punk. It was this theatrical which resioanted with him being a part of his background in training as an actor and this larger tha life flamboyance and life force was explosive – because, well, that was Mick through and through. This tribal warrior spirit was seived through that claustrophobic frustration of growing up in small-town England and the random violence dealt out to those that dared and somehow fired his spirit even further.

Mick was a brilliant frontman and commanded the stage and the rehearsal rooms that The Fits shared with my band the Membranes as we fumbled our way into rock n roll bands. He could ooze a genuine anger in his music but was also always be upbeat and friendly and his postive spirit always always won. He was one of the ace faces on the local punk scene and his optimism and energy was like a tidal wave of enthusiasm that mixed with his esoteric punk imagery and joy in the culture. I have clear memories of him bringing Adam And The Ants Kings Of The Wild Frontier single to our Vinyl Drip club just before it came out and people were muttering about the Ants going pop and this wild and exotic explosion of sound poured out the speakers matched by this wild and exotic apiration on the dance floor dancing to it on his own with his kilt and feathers flailing in the small space as this monstrous and thrilling new sound filled the room. I remember his tint flat in Blackpool South Shore with all the locks on the door and the shrine to punk interior and his boundless energy as he walked down the streets dressed like a king of an even wilder frontier. he was one of those punks who looked scarey to older people but his gentle nature would win any of them over and his charm was magnetic to them.

It took some time for The Fits to truly find their feet and match the ambitions of their singer but when they did it was stunning. Their Tears Of A Nation single remains one of the great second wave punk singles – a huge wall of sound with a slower pace that builds the tension and explodes with that claustrophobia and frustration that were always the key ingredients to classic punk. It oozes and explodes. It thrills and entices – it’s a stunning work that not enough people know or have heard despite its cult status. The band toured a lot but Mick was possibly too exotic for the newer punk kids and fed up with cult status he split the band formed a new band Pure Pressure and moved to London and after that I would hear from him as he drifted across the USA playing bar gigs, sleeping in his guitar as a travelling troubadour with his heart and soul on his sleeve seeking armed with an acoustic guitar seeking something far deeper.

He immersed himself in spiritual, native American culture, eastern ideas and learned how to do Reiki and he was always on a quest for the true alternative. I would see him every now and then in London and he was the same Mick – always cheerful but always seeking and always full of the wild energy and deep intelligence and that permanent grin on his face as he embraced the esoteric ideas that in many ways were the true punk path – that quest for the other – the true alternative. I would also see him at festivals doing his Reiki and helped him reform the Fits for a clutch of shows to run alongside his acoustic solo stuff.

Like everyone who knew Mick I feel cheated we have lost one of the great souls and I’m typing through ‘tears of frustration’. God bless you Mick whichever god it was – you were a deeply spiritual man and a beautiful person and part of my life as a pal who would explode in and out of view immersed in the brilliant ideas just like that skinny teen dancing to Adam And The Ants dressed like the proud punk rock warrior king all those years ago.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.

41 COMMENTS

  1. This is devastating news. I can hardly believe it. I rekindled my friendship with Mick a few years back. In fact we became quite close for a while, before he moved away and went travelling again. He was a very kind and thoughful help to me when I was suffering with depression following my divorce. I was so grateful to him. Still am. He spent time with me and was so positive, so encouraging. I’m in shock. Orsi must be devastated. So very sad to read this.

  2. Sad News, Met Mick 3 times, The Fits Rebellion 2012 & Black Bull Blaydon/Gateshead twice, had a good few cracks with him, an absolutely lovely lad & genuine guy, RIP Mick ✞ ♡ xXx

    • I’m So Sorry to hear about the Sad news of Mick’s death. He was the True voice of Punk & I had Most of the Fits records as a youth & a young man. My Sympathy & Full Condolences to his entire Family & friends, rest in Peace Mick .

  3. Gutted to read this John.
    What a sad loss – I vividly remember him sporting his Adam + The Ants leather jacket around town Fond memories of The Fits gigs at The Salvation Army and The Vinyl Drip Club – Tears of a Nation and Action were both great singles …. Sad we won’t bump into him again at Rebellion – RIP Mick –

  4. the fits 1st played the gateshead black bull years ago-it was bleaching down with snow when they arrived.theyd played durham fri night and we said they can stay here after gig as they were playing here sat night,then stay over again.we clicked immediately and became friends-the whole band were lovely people.absolutley gutted micks gone.we used to nip down the ncle quayside for a few drinks before their gig here just to chill and catch up.rip mate-fly high

  5. So sad to hear this John. I remember seeing the fits play in Blackpool late 70’s and years later when I met mick again he always had time for a chat. He was such a kind man and will be missed. Condolences to all his family and friends. X

  6. Well said John, interviewed Mick for a fanzine in the early 80s & bumped into him several times over the years & we always had a chat. I’m a massive Fits fan & used to tell him how great they really were (not sure he believed me mind!!). As you say, always warm, friendly & generous with a really calm demeanor. I’m gutted. RIP Mick.

  7. That’s really terrible news. The world has lost a truly lovely, genuine man. I met him a few times at Rebellion over the years. A truly inspirational person. RIP.

  8. i first met mick when i was 14 he was an inspiration and a big brother to me , he was the coolest guy in town
    truly saddened by the news, miss you mick
    really nice words john

  9. i first met mick when i was 14 he was an inspiration and a big brother to me . he was the coolest guy in town
    truly saddened by the news , miss you mick
    really nice words john

  10. I met Mick in a festival field a few years ago. He provided me with a hypnotherapy session in exchange for some t shirts that I was selling.
    It was really quite revelatory, unlike anything I ve experienced before, and he somehow coaxed inchoate, distant memories from me. I was impressed by his gentleness and intuition. It was a fleeting meeting but made a big impression on me. I hope the journey takes him somewhere new and interesting.

    Andy

    Ps. Loved seeing The Membranes at Hawkfest!

    • That’s how I met him too. My wife heard he’d died a couple of days ago. I’m absolutely gutted. Like you, it left a huge impact on me; and when I’m stressed I still pinch my thumb and finger together and think of my calmest place – and I’m not the slightest bit alternative from a health point of view. But Mick’s love of it, and enthusiasm, left a huge impression on me. At the time my wife, at that point a relatively new girlfriend, and I were maybe going through a patch – and I remember coming out of the tent feeling bruised in a good way, lifted even. And she was there waiting. I caught myself thinking that the day of our wedding last week.
      Mick left such an impression I can still see his face, hear his voice, hear him talk about my father (who died last year). I must find the CD of his he gave me as we talked bands. I wish I’d been his friend like John was.
      I think I will go to that spot Mick & I identified next time it’s a sunny day, and say goodbye to him there.

  11. I was lucky enough to work with Mick on the festival circuit and although we used to have a lot of banter over our political differences it never affected our friendship. This is devastating news, my one consolation is knowing that if anyone believed in am afterlife it was Mick. RIP fella, you are missed.

  12. Lovely epitaph. Knew Mick way back when we were at school and hung about in the same group going to gigs at the Norbreck etc, but hadn’t seen him since those heady days. Sounds like he had the kind of full and interesting life he would have wanted… What a tragic end. His partner and family and friends must truly be devastated x

  13. Tragic news. My very first gig was The Fits playing their hometown just at the time of ‘Tears’ being released. Was lucky enough to speak to Mick at Rebellion a few years ago to tell him how much of an impression it made on my 13 year old self. A brief exchange, but long enough to work out that he was one of the good guys. Nice words John, R.I.P. Mick x

  14. What can l say good words from Rob wonderful l am lost for words we will meet again all my love to his family l am so sad

  15. What a great guy
    I worked with mick at the network great manager and friend he had my back when I was unwell giving healing and advice
    Rest in peace where ever you are because I am sure you are looking down and laughing at all us sad ##

  16. Broken by the news, he was the most alive person I ever knew. I have known him from my first punk days in grubby clubs like the Sali Army, down town. He was a spark, brighter than any star. He loved life and people. He was writing a book about his life and sent me some of the chapters to read, It was compelling stuff, his life was real and colourful and textured. I loved him as a great friend. I would see him now and again when he came home and we would grab a coffee and a chat. He was so happy, he was enjoying his life. If he could he would say he’s ok and not to worry, he would say it’s lovely and I am calm and it’s ok. He always wanted to put people at ease and relieve them of their pain. He was lovely and kind and funny and charming and a joy to be with. May your spirit fly my friend, you beautiful and truly wonderful human being. My thoughts go out to his family and girlfriend Orsi.

  17. I was born in Blackpool in 1962. I didn’t really know Mick… But I knew of him of course. I think I was slightly in awe of him back in Blackpool (before he moved to London and initially the Intrepid Fox boozer, right?). Saw him play an acoustic set at Rebellion a few years ago and was very impressed – he came over as such a lovely bloke. Very sad.

  18. I’m absolutely heartbroken :( Mick did hypnotherapy on me when I was a teenager after I took an intentional overdose. He had such a healing soul. RIP Mick you will be greatly missed by so many xxxxx

  19. Beautifully written John. I knew Mick since I was a teen punk, frequenting places like the Sali Army and other clubs of that time. I am shocked, broken and in disbelief. He was the most alive person I ever met. He brought warmth to a room and a positive energy that was infectious. He loved life and people and truly lived every minute, he just couldn’t get enough of life. He comforted me when my sister Jody died, he said she would still be there, she’s happy, she’s ok. He talked of his brother and that he knew he was safe and in a good place. I think of his words and his positivity and of the truly delightful human being he was. The world has lost a beautiful soul, I will miss him and his terrible jokes, that always made me laugh. It’s hard to say goodbye.

  20. Wow! if anybody ever used to mention Mick Crudge to me the next words out of my mouth were “fantastic guy”, he let me stay at his flat in Stepney back in 84 until i’d sorted my own place out, I first came across Mick at Preston Warehouse when they played in December 1980, he had such charisma and as usual John you nailed it with your words, Sad news indeed

  21. A genuinely great guy as I remember him from those crazy days of the late 70s. His appearance was, indeed, a shock for the older generations – my dad stood in total amazement when Mick popped round.
    God bless, and Rest in Peace

  22. I remember him so well, we ( picture frame seduction ) bumped in to them ( The Fits) many times in 83,84,85. Mick was so friendly, we ended up doing a few gigs together, Fulham Greyhound, the Sunderland bunker and Bierkeller Leeds. I remember too him being really chuffed he got in as an extra to a punk film, but for the life of me I can’t remember ( Sid Vicious ?) We used to spend hours chatting or crashing in Charlie Harper’s place ( and a girl punk band called Debar) Mick loved their flamboyance. What a sad loss, what memories you have just jogged Jon. See guys, don’t need to be the new Sex Pistols, just be remembered for who you were, and forever who you touched. RIP, Mick, tears of a nation indeed.

  23. Sad sad news indeed, rubbed shoulders with him the rest of the Blackpool punk scene/muso’s regularly back in the day and he guested on our second single, very happy memories. He was certainly a big and as said flamboyant figure around town, a character to be never forgotten and I’m sure he will be sorely missed by those who still shared their lives with him. RIP my old friend, stay strong those who are still left❤️

  24. RIP Mick Great Frontman great days in the Sali Army a long long time ago Its Flown also a Tyldesley School Kid like his Brother Steve not many of us left God Bless you Pal

  25. Only just heard about this, sad news. Met him years back at a gig when The Fits played with the Test Tubes. My pal back in the 80’s was mad on them and copied his look but it wasn’t for me. However, the band were and I still play their songs today. Burial, Tears of a Nation, Peace and Quiet, Bravado, corking songs. RIP.

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