San Francisco’s first and only rock ‘n’ roll band, CRIME loomed over the entire Mabuhay Gardens scene with their blistering 1976 single Hot Wire My Heart. The group’s loose, damaged rock ‘n’ roll was as immediate as it was controversial. aThey were punk by any definition, yet shunned the label with a guttersnipe sneer. Their meticulously cultivated aesthetic of S&M graphics and police uniforms produced some of the era’s most indelible imagery. One of their finest moves was playing in the San Quentin prison yard.
Formed by guitarists/vocalists Johnny Strike and Frankie Fix, CRIME enlisted bassist Ron the Ripper and drummers Ricky “Tractor” Williams (later of The Sleepers), Brittley Black, and Hank Rank. Joey D’Kaye later joined on keyboards and bass duties.
For the first time, this LP release collects the sick energy of CRIME’s three singles along with nine previously unreleased studio recordings from 1976 to 1980. The visceral churn and unwieldy leads on tracks like “Frustration” and “Piss On Your Dog” make Murder By Guitar the definitive statement from this prescient American underground band.
(Superior Viaduct Records)