Keeping It Sane
CoC talks to Crack Up
by: Adrian Bromley
Most bands nowadays feel the need to go with the flow, follow trends, and/or make music that'll sell records. Bands gear themselves towards making music that is far from original. Their intent? To put money in their pockets, in the process ripping off the music buyer by giving them merely re-hashed or uninspired material. Those bands are very common in this industry, but there are many out there that do this "music thing" for the sheer love of it. Germany's Crack Up is a prime example of this. This band couldn't care less about making the big bucks; rather, they are into making music that'll keep them fascinated with creating music.

Now, onto their third record, _Heads Will Roll_, (their second for Nuclear Blast and follow-up to 1997's ultra-cool _From the Ground_), Crack Up continue on with their death n' roll groove, but with a dash of detonating death metal tendencies. It's rough, it's ugly, but oh-so appealing to the ear. Your ears will bleed blood red as _Heads Will Roll_ keeps kicking you with its attitude in the shape of a thick-laced boot of metal.

"This was a lot of fun to make," says bassist/singer/songwriter Tim about the truly fun, grooving vibe of _HWR_. "This record just seems to radiate our feelings and ideas that we brought into it. This is truly us. The songs fit more to our characters now and that allows us to really let things go with the music."

And as for having a fresh sound as a relatively young, unknown band? Must be hard, right? "It is very difficult, especially in Germany and Europe. It's hard for other types of metal to exist anymore when all there is right now is heavy metal [i.e., retro] and black metal. It's a lot harder for a band like us to get anywhere 'cause of the music we play. We could easily do well, but that would mean we would have to jump on a trend, and we don't need to do that. Enough bands have done that already. We have chosen the way to do things and it is the -only- way we will do things. We try to showcase in our music and our attitudes that what we do is the best thing for us. No need to bend any certain way; Crack Up is Crack Up."

"It's a lot of work and fun for us to make music. We try to really do things our way rather than take ideas from other bands and reproduce them within what we do. Why would we bring some other genre band's style into our music? It just doesn't seem right. A majority of the material you hear here came from us just jamming in our studio."

And the cover songs that seem to come with every Crack Up release? The band had a killer cover of L.A. punk band Fang's classic "Money Will Roll Right In". The new LP features a cover of Viking's "Next Big Thing" and Turbonegro's "Bad Mongo". Why those songs? "'Cause they rule!!", says Tim enthusiastically. "Those two songs were chosen because: a) we like them; and b) we find covering songs helps in the development of our music. It moves [us] to make music as good as the songs we cover. It's funny 'cause "Bad Mongo" sounds like a Crack Up song, like something we would write. It fits right in. Crack Up enjoys doing cover songs, and who knows? Maybe there'll be an EP [of ours] with just cover songs on it. We'd like to do an Iggy Pop song. I hope we can do that."

One thing that seems to run deep within the music of Crack Up is the band's lack of technicality. That's not a bad thing, either. The band has just decided to keep things on a simpler level for us metal fans to digest. Call it sloppy, call it rough death rock, but one thing is for sure: these guys like to keep things moving. No fluffy guitar solos here, kiddies. "I appreciate a lot of what these technical bands are doing nowadays, I just am not into it. I used to be really into bands like Cynic, and some Death, of course, but as the years go on and I am getting more into this business, and making music, I find that you can express a lot more within your music when it is simpler. It's also much more enjoyable for me to create and play this music. I couldn't imagine myself playing music on a very technical level. When Nirvana came out, they kind of changed things and showed bands that a little went a long way. They had songs with one riff and it worked. Many bands are out there playing simpler music and we're one of them. We enjoy our music to be played this way."

As for his take on today's music scene, he comments: "I dunno. I am not too into what kind of music is surfacing nowadays. I hate all of the heavy metal crap that is coming out right now and being very popular. I like to listen to death metal, old death metal like Obituary, Malevolent Creation and Vader. I don't think there are many good death metal albums out right now, so I'm finding myself looking elsewhere, too. I like old Soundgarden and am really into newer hardcore bands like Hatebreed."

The topic turns to the label, Nuclear Blast, and touring. About label support, Tim answers, "We are very satisfied with their work and it's amazing how successful they are becoming over there in Europe, seeing that they are a metal label. But being on a label like Nuclear Blast is hard, 'cause as they grow, their expectations of their bands do too. They look to keep bands that sell on their label, like Dimmu Borgir, HammerFall and Manowar, and that is hard to deal with at times. But on the other hand, we are grateful that they have given us the chance to be able to put out our records. They don't pressure us to be a certain way or anything. It's all us, and we appreciate it. We have full control. Every band wants the best from a label, but there are things that come along with this business and you have to wallow [through] them and move on."

1998 was a busy year for the band. With recording a priority for the band, they still found time to tour with a lot of respectable partners: Unleashed, Hypocrisy and Benediction. "It was a great experience for us," says Tim. "It was great to have a good tour with Unleashed when the last record came out. It opened us up to a lot of new fans. Other tours came and it was great. While _HWR_ is coming out soon over there [slated for January 1999], we have already done some tour dates with Dismember and Children of Bodom since the record came out in October. We also did some touring with Death here, too. We've been lucky. We are dying to come over to North America and play. If there is any chance, we will do so. We are ready to go."

In closing, I ask Tim if it has all been worth it up to this point. He answers: "Yeah. I look back at the development of the band over the last few years, and I am proud of what we went through as a band to mold us into what we are currently. We're a bit bigger now than when we started off, but [we] still have some ideas to bring to the band in the future."

(article submitted 16/1/1999)

10/16/1997 A Bromley Crack Up: Crackheads Aplenty
9/14/1997 A Bromley 7 Crack Up - From the Ground
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