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Bobb Trimble on His Lost Album: The Crippled Dog Band

On Monday, July 18, I met up with Bobb Trimble and his manager, Kris Thompson, at Zuzu in Cambridge’s Central Square. When I walked in, Bobb was seated at the corner of the bar in classic Bobb-attire: an American flag t-shirt, jeans, and a jean jacket. He had a cup of coffee in front of him and was coloring in fliers for an upcoming show at Zuzu.

Bobb was excited for the interview. Although he was a little apprehensive at first when I told him I would be recording the interview, once the first question had been asked, Bobb opened up and answered everything honestly and thoughtfully.

Here he talks about the real reasons he scrapped his album, The Crippled Dog Band, after its first pressing in 1984 and why now is the right time for it to be released.

The Crippled Dog Band is out today on Yoga Records. The official CD release show is this Thursday, July 28, at Great Scott with DJ Thundersun, Roland and Jane, and MMOSS. The show begins at 8pm, is $8 and is an 18+ event. 

Click here to read the interview with Bobb Trimble.

--Chrissy Prisco



Bobb Trimble on His Lost Album: The Crippled Dog Band
by Chrissy Prisco

Deli New England: You originally recorded The Crippled Dog Band in 1984, how old were you at the time?
Bobb Trimble: It came out on my 25th birthday, so I was about 24 when I recorded it. There was some live stuff on there and we recorded at E.M. Loew's Theater in Worcester on Feb. 19, 1983. The other stuff was recorded at MCM Studios in downtown Worcester.

Deli NE: Was there ever an official release of The Crippled Dog Band in 1984?
Bobb: I scrapped it after we pressed it. The band had just broken up, but yeah, I scrapped it. I gave out a few copies here and there.

Deli NE: Did you scrap it because the band (The Kidds) had broken up?
Bobb: Yeah. You get really angry when you’ve been in a band for a few years and then it just breaks up and there’s… nothing. Then, there was another problem with some of the mixes and I thought, "Well, maybe it shouldn’t be released, until we’ve fixed up the parts."

Deli NE: What were your major musical influences behind this album?
Bobb: At that point I was listening to a lot of Cheap Trick, a lot of everything, a lot of Pink Floyd, but I don’t know if that one was really evident. B-52’s, Elvis Costello – you can hear a little of Elvis in there. I can notice it a bit myself, especially in Live Wire. I probably meant it at the time, but it was kind of surprising when I heard it in there later and I was like, “Oh yeah, that’s definitely Elvis Costello-oriented.”

Deli NE: Which songs did you not like as far as the mixes were concerned?
Bobb: You Should See My Girl was one of the ones I thought we should fix up. And I thought maybe Armour of the Shroud could be fixed up too.

Deli NE: The first band you played with was called The Kidds, and their average age was 12, and then there was The Crippled Dog Band with kids who were older?
Bobb: Yeah. They were about 12 or 13, I think. They were neighborhood kids that used to come to the bike shop I worked at. They used to come get their parts and get their bikes fixed up, with their parents or whatever. I knew they were in a band called Omega, so I knew them for years. So, when we were done recording Take Me Home Vienna, on the album Harvest of Dreams, I said, "Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a group of kids come in and sing the chorus on it?" and I thought: maybe I’ll ask the kids at the bike shop, the band Omega, and if they come in we’ll record Omega doing a song of theirs and then them doing my song too.

Deli NE: So why did the band break up?
Bobb: We were all together at a photo shoot and it was a great photo shoot with a friend of ours that we all knew. We were having a great time, I mean we really got along-- it wasn’t anything to do with that. It was all this other stuff: parental pressure and all the things that went along with that. Y’know, like what’s this guy doing with kids, etc., etc. So we all said at the same exact time, it was the strangest thing I’ve ever experienced really, all six of us said: “Let’s break up.” We all said it at the exact same time, and I couldn’t believe my ears – I had said it too. It was really, really eerie.

Kris Thompson (Bobb’s manager): I just want to point out that when Bobb says he scrapped this album, he means that he threw almost the entire pressing in a Dumpster.
Deli NE: I was going to ask about that. Bobb, did you literally throw the whole pressing into a Dumpster?
Bobb: Well, I was especially concerned with the live thing, but I’ll tell you, I had just broken up with my boyfriend and already had destroyed my own record collection at home and that was the other factor that entered into it. I had already broken all my albums at my house. It was like: “the boyfriend loved this stuff.’ That’s kind of like the real thing to it, besides the fact that I thought the live stuff was kind of off and needed to be worked on, but besides that…

Deli NE: So you were literally breaking all ties to your past relationships, personal and musically?
Bobb: Yeah. Breaking the albums was just one of those things, a continuation of things. A lot of things were going wrong. The whole nine-yards, the whole world came crashing down on me at the same time.

Deli NE: You threw the entire pressing in the garbage, how many did you keep?
Bobb: I didn’t keep any. I had like two or three that I gave to someone and, the thing is, he had a crippled dog... a three-legged dog. I was thinkin’ I’d save one for him. A kid with a three-legged dog, I’ll give one to him, y’know?

Deli NE: Was that dog the inspiration behind the “Crippled Dog Band” name?
Bobb: Yeah, that’s the actual three-legged dog on the cover. That’s the dog the band was named after, Boopsie.

Deli NE: Did you ever give up on the music considering you went on hiatus in the 1990’s?
Bobb: Well, then I was working with the Crippled Dog Band. We went on another six or seven years, after this album, until 1990. We kept playing, and after 1990 I moved. Then life happened and I lived my life. I just wanted to live my life without musical turmoil in it. You know, I was in that band for ten years, that's a long damn time. That's longer than the Beatles were together. I didn’t pursue music until Kris wanted to do a project with Flyin’ Lion, we started Flyin' Lion in the late 90’s. [Editor's note: Flyin' Lion played publicly only once -- at one of the original Deep Heavens (Deep Heaven 4, 3/7/98, Greek American Club upstairs, Cambridge)]

Kris: My old band, Abunai! went from 1996-2002 and at some point, Bobb was out on the road with a trucking company…
Bobb: Yeah, Mayflower Trucking…
Kris: He went out to California, and back, and at one point he called and I said “How are things going?” and he said “I’m homesick” and I said “Why don’t you…”
Bobb: I may have actually said that, huh?
Kris: You did.
Bobb: I think I did. I was I was away in California, I was there for awhile.
Kris: Well, he came back and he would come to Abunai! rehearsals and eventually he was jamming.
Bobb: Yeah, I was playing with them after awhile.

Deli NE: How did you two meet?
Kris: We met in 1980, I was going to Clark University in Worcester and there was a campus radio station, WCUW, and I would visit the djs there sometimes. At one point, Bobb and his uncle came through while I was visiting and were promoting his first record, Iron Curtain. That’s where I met Bobb. I was pretty impressed by him because in 1980 someone who had made their own record… I mean, studio time was super expensive. Manufacturing was super expensive…
Bobb: It was. That’s why on the cover there [Bobb points to the image on the back of the album, the image of himself—in bunny ears-- surrounded by the band] , it’s in black and white. When you’re done with the recording, the mastering, the pressing, the this-and-that, the next thing, you got nothing for the cover because there’s no budget left.

Deli: How were you able to fund it at the time?
Bobb: I worked at the bike shop. I lived at home, saved money, spent it on recording.

Deli: So why now? Why does the Crippled Dog Band get to see the light of day?
Bobb: Now because we re-released the first two albums, Iron Curtain Innocence and Harvest of Dreams. The first two were kind of—actually, it’s cliché—they were about “picking up momentum,” but the first two did kind of do that. They picked up momentum enough to interest people into what the third album was. It sounds cliché and it is cliché, but it’s the truth.

Deli NE: To come back now must be refreshing, right?
Bobb: It is refreshing. It's like being in the desert for years then getting a drink of lemonade. It was a definite wasteland of no music going on in my life and then suddenly....a lemonade stand.

Deli NE: Are you happy to be back?
Bobb: I'm thrilled!



Bobb Trimble

(Photo by Fritz Meyer)



Bobb Trimble
The Crippled Dog Band

Bobb Trimble




Hot Molasses -- Frankly

Somerville’s Hot Molasses are an indie rock dance band.  They have frequent male/female duet vocals that can alternately remind you of the B-52’s and The Vaselines.  They also describe themselves accurately as jangly and bouncy. 

Their most recent EP, Frankly, starts out hot with a raucous dance track that features an unlikely combination of crunchy guitar and poppy, campy synth, and vocals that are heavy on the B-52’s influence (in the best sort of way). The EP then eases off for another four songs of straight indie rock that are less obviously dance-oriented, but no less solid. They run through a variety of styles within the general indie rock segment rather than sticking with a particular format, making the short EP a teasing ride that makes you wonder what else the band might have up their stylistic sleeves. Their sound is mature without being boring, and highly versatile. The eventual full length (if there's one in their plans) should be interesting at the very least. 

--Alexander Pinto

Red Bellows -- EPONE

For those who wish Radiohead would write more songs with melodies and verses and choruses, Red Bellows' EPONE is a record for you. Although it won’t be apparent to you until track two, Phonetic.

That’s because EPONE begins instead with the bluesy rocker, L.S. Blues which rides a swelling guitar tide before shifting into a driving, marching rock song with nods to classic Led Zeppelin.

But as soon as the vocals on kick on Phonetic the Thom Yorke-ish vocals tell the story of this young band. Guitars and keys interplay with one another through the next five tracks that make up the EP. As the record progresses the introduction of glitchy electronic embellishments serve to advance the Radiohead-esque mood of the record.

Album closer, Bookends, gets both and electric and acoustic treatments and, as much as the rest of the record shows lots of indie-rock promise, the acoustic version of Bookends is where Red Bellows’ talents shine. The beautiful harmonies and Beatles-like guitar picking highlight what may become a fantastic long-haul band.

The only worry is, with a sound as immediately recognizable as being so strongly influenced by Radiohead, can they rise above and develop their own identity? I think that they can and I hold out hope that they will prove me right.

--George Dow

Bobb Trimble -- The Crippled Dog Band

Where do I start with a review of Bobb Trimble’s The Crippled Dog Band? Like a thousand reviewers before me, I have to start with Bobb’s vocals. It feels like the easy way out but there really is no other place to begin.

Bobb sounds like the bastard child of the Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra and Rush’s Geddy Lee. Yes, really. Apparently there is such a thing. Oddly, the music itself is something of a hybrid of those two bands, if you can imagine it. On the one hand The Cripple Dog Band is frantic psych-garage played at what sounds like double speed—at times sounding like a 33 1/3 record played at 45 rpm—something like the D.K.’s Winnebago Warrior on speed.

On the other hand, there are tender ballads that switch effortlessly from acoustic to electric and would sound right at home tacked on next to anything on Rush’s 2112. All of this is interspersed with 80s video game soundtracks, bombs and air-raid siren sound-effects and studio chatter.

If everything I’ve described so far sounds weird, that’s because it is. Everything about The Cripple Dog Band is weird—but not in a “get me outta here” way. Instead this is an endearing and engaging listen. It begs to be heard again and again. To be dissected and discovered over a longer period of time than a typical reviewer is willing/able to give to a record.

The Crippled Dog Band hits its stride in the center with three killer garage-rock songs that would feel right at home on a Nuggets compilation—the anti-war psychedelic dirge, Fight Or Fall/Screw It, the aptly titled middle-eastern favor of Camel Song and the driving, ZZ Top-ish rhythm of Undercovers Man all roll together like a finely crafted triptych. As if flaunting his Massachusetts roots, Bobb opens Poker Game Of Life by yelling, “Hey, does anyone wanna play a game of pok-AH?” in the most beautiful of Boston accents.

The Crippled Dog Band is a record out of time. It was recorded in 1984, but sat on a shelf until its release this week on Yoga Records. There is nothing about this record that shouts 1984. The only hint to its vintage is the dated video game samples. Otherwise the record sounds straight out of the late Sixties or early Seventies.

Trust me when I say that this record requires multiple listens and pays dividends for the patience.

Bobb Trimble's The Crippled Dog Band will have its official CD release show this Thursday, July 28, at Great Scott.

--George Dow

Caveman on the cover of The Deli! Read issue #27 online in pdf format!

Click on the cover (or HERE) to get to the pdf file - enjoy!

The Lowbred Watts -- Get Home EP

The Lowbred Watts is self-described bluesman, folkster and one-man band Ryan Stapler.  His debut EP, Get Home, is a testament to the DIY aesthetic—recorded in his basement using homemade and patched together gear. It’s a wonder that the music sounds this good.

Get Home combines grimy delta blues and Dylan-esque folk across five songs and never falter for a moment. Whether you’re a blues fan or not (which I’ve never really been) this EP is one to hear. Each track is a heartfelt exploration of one man’s musical passion. It’s impossible not to get sucked into the universe that is Stapler’s basement.

For the complete listening experience picture Stapler, alone. In a cold, damp basement. In the near-pitch-dark. Surrounded by a mad scientist’s inventory of homemade instruments. Singing and playing mostly for himself while recording on an antique cassette player.

--George Dow

Kristen Ford Band Tuesday Night July Residency at Precinct Bar

The Kristen Ford Band has been working hard lately. They just finished tracking for her third record, which is slated for a fall release and will be supported by a 9-week national tour, her kickoff party is Thursday, September 8 at Middle East Upstairs.

This month will celebrate Tuesday! Lots of indie rock, dancing, country, blues and Michael Jackson covers.

Each Tuesday will feature 4 acts:
Tues. 7/19 features Kristen’s new garage rock project, Tilt-A-Whirl, Flightless Buttress' tour-kickoff and Corinna Melanie’s cabaret-pop.

Tues. 7/26 features DJ Phillips touring from Nashville, Goli’s marimba cello duo and Mercedes straight-up soul.

Shadow by kristenford

Precinct Bar
70 Union Square, Somerville
Tickets $7, 21+, 8 pm - 12 am

--Chrissy Prisco



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