About The Crumbs
In the beginning I had known Emil since the days of downtown skateboarding and from the crazy hardcore shows at the Cameo Theatre during the late 80s. When those venues shut down, so did many of the bands that played there: Circle Jerks, Gangreen, Bad Brains, Government Issue, Straight Edge and the whole crossover thing. That entire scene was gone when we entered the 90s. For us, however, it was the beginning of a new era. There were no more twenty dollar punk shows. In a way it was a blessing, because if we wanted to do anything, it was up to us. When we did our first demo back in 92, the rocknroll scene in South Florida was beginning to take on a real cool vibe. I had started to play guitar when I met Johnny. That same year, I met Chuck Loose, with his raggedy old drum set. I handed Emil a one-string bass that I had, and shortly after, Johnny joined us for what was to be the Crumbs. We rehearsed anywhere we could find an electrical outlet. Even at a strip mall at midnight, before the dumbfounded security guard chased us out. Once Chuck set up Garageland, the Crumbs started practicing there and later became like, the house band there, playing every weekend to a packed house of kids who didn??t have anywhere else to drink and hellraise. Those were our first shows, and along with other locals (Against all Authority, Beltones), we had now the coolest and raunchiest of rocknroll scenes; away from the sleazy promoters and trendy venues. Then it was time to leave home. Setting up national tours was a head splitting adventure. We must have played every little shithole in the U.S. Some hard luck on the road set us back but we met some worthy people along the way. And in no time we had our first record Alien Girl released in 1993 with Recess of L.A. And Shortly after a few more with Far Out, Lookout, Recess again, TKO, and Insubordination. It is more than sixteen years later now (2008) and the release of ??Dade County Trash?? with Insubordination in 2008 made me realize how fast time goes by. Not to forget memorable tours with FYP, the Queers, Swingin?? Utters, Donnas, and our roadies Dan Destructo and Armando. The line up hasn??t been this strong in years. With the crafty Tono on bass now, Grim with the relentless beat, and Johnny??s buzz-saw guitar, we??ve been able to keep active and remain doing what we like to do most: drinking...no! Seriously, getting on stage and letting loose. - Raf Classic-
Left to right: Johnny B Guitar, Marcio ??Grim?? Drums, Tono Bass, and Raf Classic Vocals/Guitar/Leather
In 1992, in the city of Miami, Florida, Raf Classic formed The Crumbs along with Johnny B, Emil 4 ??, and Chuck Loose. Raf and Johnny had been friends from their earlier band Cavity. Chuck was setting himself on fire on stage fronting the legendary Chickenhead. Emil was running his label 4 ?? Records from his place in Ft Lauderdale. We knew each other from our love of primal punk bands the Pagans, the Freeze, Angry Samoans, Germs, and of course, the Ramones.
Strictly a weekend let??s-get together-drink some Schlitz-and see what comes out in the garage musically, the Crumbs came up with 8 songs that were recorded in 1992 called ??1957??. The demo??s name channeling rock n roll??s stripped down, fun, short-song explosive year. Despite their low fi, low budget tape, The Crumbs started a local following and began getting show offers across Florida, and shortly after, the whole country.
They embarked across the U.S. on their $500 van and fatefully made it California. There, Recess Records signed them for a 7??ep ??Alien Girl??, a 1993 release of 4 songs that still play on their live sets nowadays. This was pop punk, a sound that would catch on the nation and the world soon.
Back in Florida, the Crumbs started another 8 song recording for local label Far Out Records. In 1994 ??Get All Tangled Up?? was well received and shows started to pile up. The record came out as a 10?? EP and CD. People took notice ??it was a huge step from their 7??. Chock full of dueling guitars, a solid backbone, and even catchier compositions made ??Tangled Up?? a local favorite.
The word got out and California label Lookout Records brought the Crumbs to Gilman Street, the infamous venue in Berkeley, Ca that showcased the country??s best punk rock bands, for an all night extravaganza. After the show, the Crumbs signed a two record deal with Lookout.
A year later in 1996, they were sent to Sonic Iguana and recorded their full length ??The Crumbs??. I Tunes called it: ??an instant classic. A truly fantastic band who are not nearly as popular as they should be, Florida??s the Crumbs have catchy numbers with feisty guitar licks, while singer Raf Classic has one of the best voices in Punk Rock??there??s a sort of bluesy, depressing vibe to some of the songs such as ??Come Home??, which shows these young punkers have also got some soul??.
The Crumbs followed the release with a U.S. tour playing along with The Queers and The Swingin?? Utters. Despite the spectacular reception they got everywhere, life on the road proved tough for these up and comers. Cursed with an unreliable van, cheap equipment, and next to nothing funds, barely to survive on noodles, the Crumbs eventually broke down in a few towns in the South, namely, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
It was in the South where the Crumbs delved into old pawn shops and grease joint, and began their journey into roots rock n roll. Difficulties amounting, drummer Chuck Loose had enough by then and returned to South Florida, ending his stint with the Crumbs. Raf Classic, Emil, and Johnny meanwhile had nowhere to go and started composition on the follow up album ??Low and Behold??.
The cover features one of the many broken down vans the Crumbs had! Recorded in Memphis, TN at Easley Studios, in 1998, ??Low and Behold?? debuted with the help of new drummer Marcio ??Grim?? Gemelli. His tremendous talent, and the Crumbs?? growing influences came together and fused the greasy masterpiece. Marcio ??Grim?? Gemelli had known Raf Classic after high school working on numerous shitty jobs: fast food joints, mail shipping part times, and a dry cleaners that got them both kicked out for smoking a joint in the back room. But most importantly, they had collaborated on a punk rock project called the Basicks, recording a phenomenal 7??ep on a local label. Their fantastic musical chemistry became apparent in the project, and then after. ??Low and Behold?? was a step further.
All Music Guide said: ??The southern fried punk rock of the Crumbs is a scrumptious, irresistible thing, doused with rockabilly leads that will sear your tongue, boogie-woogie chords that will have your ass shaking like an impaled water moccasin, and Wild Turkey inspired swagger that will knock you off your bar stool through the window, and into an alligator??s waiting jaws. On raging numbers like ??There Goes Another??, ??Chase It Down??, and ??The Steaming Tongue?? the Crumbs prove they??ve nailed down a blues-and-bayou sound on ??Low and Behold?? that??s meaner than an Alabama jail warden??. The Crumbs?? sound had clearly evolved from the pop punk days of ??Alien Girl??.
After a few East Coast tours into metropolitan big cities, work on ??Out of Range?? had begun. Maturing and also coming back to catchier sound along the way, this record would solidify the Crumbs?? sound into the future. Recorded at the famous Austin, TX recording studio Sweat Box, in 2000, Recess Records?? ??Out of Range?? would become what the Crumbs and their followers were clamoring for: a true mix of punk pop, blues, rockabilly, soul, that was more punk rock than ever. By this time, however, the music scenes in the States had picked their sides. Pop punkers, garagers, hardcores, grungers, and others would divide a once cool rocknroll-everything-must-go scene. Not picking any side, the Crumbs played on. The original idea of getting together for fun and good times remained a top priority for the band. The record went on to have rave reviews. FYP said: ??the best Crumbs full length ever! Shows their rootsy side ala ??Low and Behold?? and their origin??s side ala ??Get Tangled Up??. This is for the grip of you that think that the 10?? is their best shit??.
After a few more setbacks, the Crumbs were grounded in Miami, their hometown. Sadly after, their long time friend and bassist, Emil 4 ?? retired. The Crumbs wasted no time marching along as they incorporated the phenomenal Tono on bass. Tono had always been a neighborhood friend and a fellow rocker with his own band ??Los Preachers??. Tono??s craftiness and attitude was a much needed energy infusion into the Crumbs after the departure of Emil. With Tono in the solid line up, the Crumbs began work on the much acclaimed ??Last Exit?? album, an ode to the City of Miami, which lies on Interstate I-95??s last exit of the United States going south.
Aversion called it: ??The band??s blend of pure rocknroll with punk could have the depth needed to break out of the pack??the Crumbs can open up the throttle and let the punk fly. ??Dead Guy Boogie??, ??One Last Score??, and ??Tonight We Bleed?? all offer the rowdy passion of trashy punk??. Released in 2004, with 14 new songs, ??Last Exit?? became again another Florida favorite. Referencing life in South Florida in the lyrics, locals were able to identify themselves in the Crumbs?? latest release. It was also well received in the States and South America, where hundreds of emails poured in. A string of shows and articles in Miami New Times followed.
New Times famed writer Abel Folgar wrote:
????Last Exit?? follows the Crumbs?? pattern well. ??Hobos?? and ??One Last Score?? are sizzling tracks any die hard punker could slam to. ??Till Next Day?? shows the sensibility and narrative of old-time-guitar crooners. Bonanno??s (Johnny B) guitar playing is almost sham like; can this quiet man really plug in and tear it up like some cold-blooded motherfucker???
In 2007, Recess Records went on to release ??Hold That Shit Right??, an 18 song record of out-takes and unreleased scorchers. Included are ??Monica??s on Her Own??, ??Whether I Win or Lose??, ??Pill City, USA??, and a blazing cover of South Florida??s legends The Eat with ??Communist Radio??. The CD contains photos and anecdotes from all roadies and band members.
And now it is the year 2008. The Crumbs are Raf Classic, Johnny B, Tono, and Grim still. They have completed a difference maker:
The new 12 song album ??Dade County Trash?? will be what all Crumbs fans are expecting: An ultra catchy record with a great sound. Some tracks have already leaked out before the release and the anticipation has built up so much, advance copies have been bought on the Crumbs?? front page in myspace.com/thecrumbs.
Forget about what you have heard or what the Crumbs have done in the past, ??Dade County Trash?? is a miles away no-holds-barred gem of a record. The production is concise, solid, and recorded at Chris Critic??s Critical Studios in Miami, FL. Known for a big sound, Critical Studios has captured a clear but raw Crumbs sound without compromising the band??s in your face attitude.
Coming in May 2008, all 12 songs are hits, and rocknroll will be saved again!
South Florida's trashy treasures throw a racket the way punks should
By Abel Folgar
Published: March 4, 2004
Singer-guitarist Raf Classic of the Crumbs, South Florida's most fiercely followed three-chord, four-member punk band, shrugs while slugging down an ice-cold beverage. Along with other members of the well-traveled group, he reflects on the indignities of having a popular and well-respected but terminally poor and unlucky gig.
Low and behold, it's the Crumbs: Johnny B (left), Tono Vargas, Marcio Gemelli, and Raf Classic
"Well, with Low and Behold the punk kids thought it was too rock and the rock kids thought it was too punk; completely misunderstood," Classic says of the quartet's underappreciated and oddly received 1998 release on Recess Records. After a dramatic pause, during which Classic's observation sinks in, the rest of the band goes into a debate over exactly what happened with that record.
It's a cool February evening. The Crumbs are kicking around theories about that record and reflecting upon their career over the hullabaloo provided by the Tobacco Road patio patronage and some band banging away on the first-floor stage. John Bonanno, the quiet guitarist of gargantuan skill, tries to explain how the album was an amalgamation of the Crumbs' love for roots music, quasi-bluegrass rock, and three-chord power pop. Marcio "Grim" Gemelli, the drummer, offers that it was lame marketing strategies that left the record cold in the water. Tono Vargas, the bassist, looks on, absorbing all the talk, stating that he is in fact the new guy and is concerned with the here and now.
All the while nobody is mentioning either the subsequent release on Recess, 2001's Out of Range, or the standstill period between then and today. The band's touring woes are legendary in the underground scene: van breakdowns all over the Bible Belt and a 100-plus-degree stranding in the Mojave Desert. If anything, the latter provided a cool-looking cover photograph for Low and Behold that was appropriate and on the money.
Nonetheless the more pressing matter, amid the beer-swilling and the French fry-sharing, is the new album, Last Exit, and the compilation of singles and B-sides, Hold That Shit Right. Long-time fans are no doubt concerned with the periods of inactivity and confused and bemused by the sudden commotion. "Small tours in support of the album would be ideal and as many shows locally as possible," says Gemelli. The small tours make sense considering manageability and time constraints. The band members are all committed to jobs and some to marriages and children. They are not snot-nosed teenagers trying to get drunk and laid. These are thirty-aught-year-olds with a decade in the game.
Here are the years since Low and Behold in short: Drummer Chuck Loose (presently with the Heatseekers) and bassist Emil Busse split with the band. Gemelli was brought in from Classic's now-defunct side band the Basicks, and the bass spot became a revolving door. In one incarnation, Getback frontman Jos?? "Pepe" Flores provided rhythm during the creative stages of Last Exit and the subsequent tour and live support. After he switched back to fulfill his commitment with his full-time band, the Crumbs brought aboard an acquaintance by the name of Toro. A few live shows ensued, but Toro, a traveling man, got an itch for the road and set off.
Vargas, a friend and rehearsal space sharer (formerly of the Preachers), stepped in. A strong player with a keen feel for the Crumbs' version of rock and roll, he blended harmoniously with Gemelli's four-on-the-floor skin-pound. His precision-oriented bass lines solidify the background for Bonanno's guitar. Classic observes this midway struggle casually: "We have everything set and then we gotta show the songs to a new guy, he learns them and then we gotta do it all over again." Vargas, an easygoing fellow, smiles while chewing his burger. They might playfully chide him for being the "new guy" all they want, but he has stepped up to the plate big time -- helping create merch and hooking them up with a new Website. He's proud of his two cents: "It'll have streaming videos, MP3s, photos, news, everything a good, user-friendly site should have." The site (www.thecrumbs.net) will launch this month.
Back in the present at Tobacco Road, some semblance of subdue has befallen the quad, the patrons have died down, and the newbies downstairs have paused between sets. The lull allows consideration of the current two albums. Last Exit is an exquisite fourteen-track slab clocking a few seconds under the 40-minute mark. It retains the rawness and fuzziness of Out of Range and at moments, the self-reflective nature and crispness of Low and Behold. But the comparisons end there. "People were a little puzzled by Low and Behold, word of mouth on it wasn't as favorable as with the first Lookout! [Records] album ... almost like people thought they'd have the wrong record slipped inside when they bought it," says Bonanno.
Last Exit follows the Crumbs' pattern well. "Hobos" and "One Last Score" are sizzling tracks any diehard punker could slam to. "Till Next Day" shows the sensibility and narrative of old-time guitar-slinging crooners. "Trouble on My Trail" and "Dangerous Distractions" employ the first-person whiskey-soured western persona to a sweet badass tone. Bonanno's guitar playing is almost shamlike; can this quiet man really plug in and tear it up like some cold-blooded motherfucker? On "Nasty Child" (gasp!) did they done gone and distorted everything, including the drums? And it sounds good! Here's another one in need of magic suspension of disbelief: They recorded it at Miami Dade College's Studio M.
Having satisfied the two-record deal with Lookout!, the Crumbs found Virginia's TKO Records a willing associate in releasing and supporting the album. Ex-Miamians the Beltones have already enjoyed two records and a European tour with the label. But true to the punk ethos that has in one shape or another guided the band through its decade of debauchery, the vinyl version will be available through Recess Records. And it is Recess Records that has put out the compilation disc, Hold That Shit Right. Included on it for you come-lately types is the Far Out Get All Tangled Up ten-inch, the unreleased Pill City demo (featuring a raucous version of the Eat's "Communist Radio"), and the "I Fell in Love with an Alien Girl" single.
The Crumbs survive on collective intelligence. They do not offer promises. They do manage to outline their needs as artists and musicians, even if the inherent mischievousness of their nature draws out stories from life on the road harassing ex-labelmates the Donnas and mock-hazing rituals they are planning for Vargas. Their needs are the same damn needs they have always had: to write and play the best songs they can. And when the funds roll in, of course, to record them.
Back in Range
The Crumbs spread their disease
By Tom Bowker
Published: April 26, 2001
We do this because we love it," the Crumbs guitarist Johnny B declares over a pint of Guinness in singer-guitarist Raf Classic's Spartan South Miami apartment. "There sure isn't any money in it." In this statement are enough grains of truth to brew a keg of stout. After eight years of fighting the good punk-rock fight and two albums on Lookout! Records -- the California indie label that inflicted Green Day upon the world -- the Crumbs are right back where they started: a misunderstood, balls-out, four-on-the-floor punk band with a huge local following and a tiny bank account.
The Crumbs would like to remind you that they're still here
11:00 p.m. Friday, April 27, with JJ Nobody and the Regulars, White & Lazy, and the Numbskullz. Admission is $6; call 305-757-1807.
The Crumbs creative team of Raf and Johnny B bonded during their yearlong tenure in Miami with noise/sludge band Cavity. When Classic tired of playing doom rock and left the group in March 1993 to start the Crumbs, he retained Cavity guitarist Johnny B and convinced prominent scenesters Emil Four and a Half and Chuck Loose to join them on bass and drums respectively -- despite the fact that neither Emil nor Chuck knew how to play. "We started out very simple," Johnny B states. "The songs were three chords -- just like they are now. You don't need to be a musician to play that stuff." Nor do you need to be a musician to enjoy it.
After recording an EP, I Fell in Love with an Alien Girl, on Recess Records, the Crumbs crammed into Emil's Toyota and departed for Los Angeles, beginning their now-legendary transportation troubles. "Our van made it to the first exit in Fort Lauderdale before breaking down," Classic recalls. "It looked like the clown car in the circus."
Eventually the Crumbs hooked up with SoFla punk label Far Out Records. Along with label mates Against All Authority, the Belltones, and Hudson, the Crumbs began a phenomenon never before seen in South Florida: massive local indie-label brand loyalty. Much like Sub Pop's love affair with Seattle or Merge's honeymoon with Chapel Hill, Far Out defined the new sound of the subtropics: head-bopping, danceable hardcore that gutter punks, college kids, Chelsea girls, and tough guys could all appreciate. Far Out showcases were regularly held in the Mudhouse, the dirt-filled patio in the Fort Lauderdale building that housed Far Out's storefront. As the shows grew in size, so did their outlaw element: During one performance someone reportedly pulled out a gun in the pit. By October 1995 the Far Out showcases were packing the 1000-capacity Edge (now the Chili Pepper) in Fort Lauderdale.
Soon the Crumbs became the first band in South Florida history to land on a large independent label. Lookout! president Chris Grenapple was impressed enough by the band's live set to offer the Crumbs a contract. The band temporarily relocated to Lafayette, Indiana, to record their Lookout! debut. Lafayette bored the boys out of their minds and forced them to concentrate on the recording process.
When the Crumbs returned home after recording their album and subsequently touring, drummer Loose left the band, and Classic brought aboard Marcio "Grim" Gemelli as a replacement. Immediately after Gemelli joined the Crumbs, they embarked on what was supposed to be a two-month, 50-date tour. The ensuing van disasters included memorable breakdowns outside Jackson, Mississippi; in the Mojave Desert's 117-degree heat; and finally in Albuquerque. After two weeks the Crumbs sold their cursed vehicle for $300, borrowed all the money they could, and headed home in a U-Haul. "Grim was so excited to go on tour," Classic chuckles. "After the third time we broke down, he asked: ??Is this really how it is?' We told him: ??Welcome to the Crumbs!'"
After a much-deserved break back home in Florida, the Crumbs began retooling their sound. "Even when we were in Cavity, we listened to roots music," Johnny B states. "When we started the Crumbs, it wasn't supposed to be serious, so we just played power chords. We weren't worried about playing the music we listened to. But when Grim joined the band, we had the ability to play more stuff -- so we did. We wanted to get away from the Ramones sound because there were so many bands doing the same thing. We wanted to make it sound like us."
In order to capture their new roots appeal, the Crumbs traveled to Memphis. At the end of each recording day, the Crumbs drank at Sun Studios and summoned the ghosts of Elvis and Howlin' Wolf. The finished product, Low and Behold, is a collection of ten rip-roaring tunes fit for both juke joint and mosh pit. Classic's vocals are snarled to reassure any punk purist that the Crumbs haven't gone soft. But just to tweak the Maximum Rock & Roll crowd, they breathe new life into the blues standard "I Got My Mojo Working" by giving it a neck-snapping tempo that any hardcore freak would appreciate.
Wary of another dis-as-tour, the Crumbs supported Low and Behold with a series of shorter journeys. For the next two years, they made frequent excursions around the United States, winding up at industry events such as the New York City CMJ music marathon in 1999 and Austin's SXSW music orgy last year. The Lone Star capital's combination of great music and cheap beer impressed the Crumbs, who decided to return there to record their next record. Unfortunately Lookout! was busy pushing all-girl punkers the Donnas and couldn't offer the Crumbs an acceptable release date. "We didn't want to wait around with our thumbs up our asses," Classic declares. "So we gave Recess a call, and they were down for it."
Back on their original label, the Crumbs this past August headed to Austin to record Out of Range, an evil, grease-stained, garage-punk record that fits right in with the town's legendary 13th Floor Elevators. The guitars rumble under layers of fuzz that would smother any Mudhoney fan. Classic's vocals still sneer, but this time the violence in his voice is muted by a time-worn, whiskeyed wetness that sounds more concerned with catching last call than inciting a barroom brawl. Even more significant is the Crumbs reclamation of Miami's punk heritage. Both Sixties garage hellions the Tasmanians and Eighties underground icons Charlie Pickett and the Eggs are represented with covers of their respective barnburners "Doing Me Wrong" and "If This Is Love (Then I Want My Money Back)." Classic explains, "Emil has tapes of every obscure Florida punk-rock band that's ever recorded. We loved those songs and wanted to spread their disease far and wide."
With Out of Range's release imminent, the Crumbs are already busy with new projects. The first chore is to break in new bassist Pep Flores, who came aboard when Emil had to find a real job to pay off some debts. The second is Pill City USA, a collection of new tunes and unreleased tracks to be issued on Recess this summer. And the Crumbs have already written half the material for an all-new record and are on schedule to record it by the end of the year. "We want to record another 20 songs and put half of them on an album and half of them on singles," says the hard-working Johnny B. "We need to remind the world that we're still here."
Asked to predict the Crumbs' future, Classic says, "I don't see an end to it. And even if everything goes to hell, we can always play Churchill's."
Miami Punkers the Crumbs Play ?? Where Else? ?? Churchill's
They're happy to remain "Dade County" trash.
By Tom Bowker
Published on September 18, 2008
The Crumbs' singer/guitarist Raf "Classic" Luna may be the leader of the most hard-luck punk rock band in Miami's history, but he knows how to live the high life. Watching the Dolphins/Jets game from his North Bayshore Drive penthouse overlooking Biscayne Bay, Luna pops open 12 ounces of courage. Leaning back on his couch, he cracks the handsome rouged smile that has kept him in girlfriends and out of trouble since he hit puberty 25 years ago.
?? Courtesy of the Crumbs
A Crumby gig at Churchill's.
The Crumbs: With Modern Day 84. Saturday, September 20. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE 2nd Ave., Miami. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is free. Ages 18+ with ID. 305-757-1807, www.churchillspub.com
The Crumbs, Churchill's Pub, Little Haiti, Miami local music
"I'm sticking to my guns," he says raspily in his inimitable Fonzie-meets-Cheech Marin cool-guy brogue. He's referencing his band's opening four-on-the-floor salvo, "Stick to Your Guns," off the Crumbs' new album, Dade County Trash, on Baltimore punk label Insubordination Records. "I like the music, the new ideas I have, and there's always new stuff to talk about."
And what Luna is talking about in 2008 are the reasons he is still banging away at the three-chord Monte. It's been some 12 years since the Crumbs graduated from local sensation to then-hot, new Lookout! Records act (the label famously introduced the world to Operation Ivy and Green Day). But they would soon blow it, when the cheapo van they bought broke down so many times that even an engine replacement couldn't keep the band from missing all but four gigs on a nationwide tour. In the end, they had to scrap the van altogether and Greyhound it back to Miami with their tails between their legs.
"Never buy a van for less than $600," Luna chuckles. "When you're younger, you're not as prepared. You make small mistakes like that. And over the years, you learn to take care of little details. How can you not make a show because your van broke down in the middle of nowhere? You miss one show, and then you drive 2,000 miles to catch up." Luna stops and takes a swig of Budweiser. "It's all about enjoying the moment. We're lucky we're still playing. We're about to go to Tampa and play with [Florida punk diehards] the Pink Lincolns. We're not going up there as 20-year-old kids; we're going up there as guys who are past their prime. We just respect each other and have a good time."
What Luna doesn't respect, however, is the South Beach velvet-rope culture. It nauseates him. "There are two sides of Miami," he opines, "the one you see on TV: high fashion, nice cars, beautiful people, and trendy clubs. And there's always someone at the front door to decide who will have fun and who will not have fun." Luna pauses, and his eyes light up as he continues. "What we do is create our own world ?? in the spirit of independence, which is what the underground is all about. We don't need to be a part of that velvet-rope bullshit ?? we're inclusive. But if those people looked in from the outside, they would probably say, 'These people are just Dade County trash.'"
The Crumbs' Dade County Trash meetings usually take place nowadays at Churchill's, and in the pub's honor, they have immortalized Miami's sole rock club with "Down at Churchill's," the album's third track. "Most of us spent our youth in that joint. The first time I went there was in 1990 to see Die Kreuzen, and I hopped the fence because I was underage ?? and now it's funny, because I am overage! We met friends, girlfriends, bands ?? it's a place where anyone can get in. And if you don't have enough money, you can jump the fence," he says. "Sometimes I go there in the daytime to hang out ?? and it's cool because there's no one there to bother you."
Although Luna is staying the course and continuing to hold court at Churchill's, half the lineup that recorded Dade County Trash flew the coop as soon as the recording was completed. Bassist Tono, who had held down the four-string position for half a decade, and Luna's fellow guitarist, "Johnny B" Bonanno, are gone. Bonanno actually started the band with Luna in 1992, when both of them decided that drinking cheap beer with one hand and playing Ramones riffs with the other was more fun than the serious doom rock they were playing in their group Cavity. (The latter, meanwhile, is now legendary, one of the few Miami bands to make it out of Florida and onto independent record labels in the Nineties.) Their respective replacements, Jos?? "El Rey" Flores and Against All Authority guitarist Joe Koontz, are decorated Miami scene veterans who have marinated in the same musical Schlitz keg as the Crumbs. But the question pops up: What makes the Crumbs, the Crumbs?
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Miami Punkers the Crumbs Play ?? Where Else? ?? Churchill's
Continued from page 1
Published on September 18, 2008
"The people who were in the Crumbs came in every Wednesday for practice and gave it their all. For some people it was better to move on. I'm very thankful for everyone who has been in the Crumbs." Many folks on the local music scene have observed over the years that Johnny B's hellified lead playing and roots music influence are what gave the Crumbs a unique identity. But while Luna is grateful for Johnny B's tenure, he sees his longtime partnership with Marcio "Grim" Gemelli as the thread that keeps the band itself.
"Johnny and I came up with the guitar riffs," he acknowledges. "But Marcio has a unique style of drumming. I've never played with anyone who is as intense as him. He keeps it exciting and there's always a reason to jam. We might play for another 10 years ?? maybe that's when we'll hit our peak. Everyone that we started this with is gone. Maybe that's part of the motivation too."
What is definitely part of Luna's drive is his desire to make sure the stain the Crumbs have left on Miami's musical mattress remains visible. "The Crumbs have been a part of Miami punk rock for 16 years, and from the beginning we wanted to create a sense of identity here. A lot of the kids who are just getting into punk rock, they listen to a lot of Orange County crap, generic New York City bands, etc. So look right here. We're trying to preserve a certain kind of music: loud, crude, and creative. " Luna pauses to finish off his beer. "You know ?? Dade County trash."