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!
(Photo by Fritz Meyer)