Crawdad – Loaded

May 22, 1990
Crawdad
Loaded cassette
[SDK-1702] color copied inserts (six different color variations), dot matrix labels

Released just one week after the Jawbox cassette, and five months after the band had broken up, Crawdad’s Loaded cassette demonstrated the personality and versatility Slamdek enjoyed by being a small label of friends. Rather than continuing to record and rerecord a live tape for their friends, Joey and I decided to issue a limited edition cassette. Crawdad had broken up when guitarist Breck Pipes moved to Jacksonville, Florida in December 1989 (the rest of the group was Joey Mudd singing, David Ernst on bass, and Kevin Coultas on drums). The band was only together a little less than seven months, and never had the opportunity to visit a recording studio. As a result, a live recording I made at the St. Francis Battle of the Bands, December 2, 1989, was unfortunately the best document of Crawdad’s work.

The recording had its pros and cons. It was a DAT, so it had a good degree of clarity. But my stereophonic microphone wasn’t functioning properly, and a single vocal microphone, placed to the side of the room, had to be used. The show was with Endpoint, Kinghorse, and Oblong Box, and a legendary stunt Kinghorse pulled prevented running a direct line from the mixing board to the DAT recorder. Before this story is told, however, it should be noted that when verified for this book, Kinghorse singer Sean Garrison reported never having known that it happened. But he also said that it wouldn’t surprise him if the story was true.

All the bands arrived at the school during the afternoon. Although it was allegedly a Battle of the Bands, it was fairly obvious to everyone involved that it was a normal show, and Kinghorse was headlining. Kinghorse set up all their equipment on stage, as they would be playing last, and proceeded to do their sound check. Everything went off without a hitch and, after a lengthy sound check, sounded great. As soon as everything was set, though, there was suddenly a mysterious problem with the mixing board. It was almost showtime, and there wasn’t much time to spare in fixing the problem or locating another mixing board. Thank heavens that Sean Garrison’s smaller mixing board was not too far away. He quickly went out and got it while Crawdad set up on stage in front of Kinghorse’s gear. With the new board, Crawdad did a quick sound check as the kids were coming in the door. The show began, Crawdad played, then Oblong Box, then Endpoint, then Kinghorse. But for some reason, the sound system sounded so much louder and clearer when Kinghorse played. When, lo and behold, a trip to the mixing board revealed that the first mixing board (the “broken” one on which Kinghorse had set all their levels) had miraculously been cured.


December 2, 1989, Crawdad at St. Francis High School:
David Ernst, Kevin Coultas, Breck Pipes.

In any event, the recording of the show ended up being monophonic. Loaded is comprised of five songs taken from their eight song performance. While the quality of the recording leaves a little to be desired, it was never intended to be released on its own. It was, however, intended to be the audio track to a video cassette. Crawdad’s performance was videotaped from three different angles, which were to be later edited into a single program. Partially as a result of the low audio quality, and partially due to some musical flubs, the raw video was never edited. At the beginning of the unedited tapes, Joey announces, “Please stay clear of the video cameras and don’t mind them. They’re for your enjoyment later.” The tapes create more of a picture of it being just Breck’s farewell show, rather than the band’s. After the sixth song, Joey says, “As some of you may know, we’re Crawdad. And, Breck Pipes,” a swell of cheers comes up from the crowd chanting “Breck! Breck! Breck!,” “Give him credit. Keep going if you want. But, my longtime friend and bandmate for four years is now moving to Florida,” the crowd boos. “So, live it up.” In the middle of “Soul,” the song breaks down to a guitar wahwah part, and the crowd goes nuts.

Crawdad was a straight ahead, formula rock band with heavy, memorable songs. The guitar, bass, drums, and vocals were each, individually the most important and characteristic part of the group. If they had stayed together another year or two, when other honest, gritty, no frills groups like Nirvana took off, they would have likely become very rich.

The Crawdad cassette was limited to 80 copies, the latter 40 of which were numbered “… of 80.”

LINER NOTES:

Kevin Coultas, drums
David Ernst, bass
Joey Mudd, vocals
Breck Pipes, guitar

Plays on both sides:
Soul
Mine
Gone
Keep Walking
Worship