RIYL: Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, Meat Puppets, Husker Du & Die Kreuzen
The Crusties formed in Milwaukee around 1984, after the first wave of punk bands had made a beachhead at the shores of Lake Michigan. We fell into the category of punk/hardcore, but were a band that certainly pushed the limits of that label. Musically, we weren’t afraid to break away from the “three note” punk songs of the era. Melodic hardcore with an aggressive edge might be a better description. Throw some speedy jazz in for good measure and you have The Crusties. It all started with the self-released cassette titled “Yuk Park” in 1984. We played wherever they would have us. By the summer of 1985, the band was on the bill with pretty much all the punk headliners that came to Milwaukee such as Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, Meat Puppets, Husker Du, along with some odd pairings such as Motorhead and The BoDeans.
The Crusties would never shy away from a good time, and that’s what the fans expected when we played a show. We were never preachy, but we did send a message, albeit through reworked Dr. Seuss stories and word play that can be found on songs like Little Fish Big Pond or Wasteful Goodbye. This Planet’s For Rent is a song that reminds everyone that we’ll be the first to go when it all blows sky high. The call to action in some of our songs, is that time is ticking away and “bone licking party people” will take days, months, and years, to figure it out.
If you came of age in the mid 1980’s, and you were paying attention, you knew that the party was over, and the threat of nuclear annihilation seemed so close that you could feel it. What did The Crusties do about it? We produced “Crustunes,” a self-released work of music that was found only on cassette. It covered topics that were relevant to the time and where the band was from. We were youth from the “Dairy Land,” but surely not farmers.
The band toured the southern United States during the winter of 1986, and came back to Milwaukee continuing on the path that was forged before we departed. Sadly, by 1987 it was all over. The band would reunite often, thanks to Beer City Records, and to see Crustunes on vinyl makes sense to the fans who supported them! To this day, we felt that we got our point across. This planet is truly for rent. Have a good time while you are on it.