Thursday, June 16, 2011

Interview With William Weber Of Chrome Cranks, Formerly Of G.G. Allin & The Muder Junkies/Candy Snatchers

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, William. You've played in so many bands, most notably G.G. Allin & The Murder Junkies, Chrome Cranks, The Candy Snatchers and The Brass Knuckle Boys. And you're currently doing shows with Uncle Dave Lewis. How are the current shows going?

William Weber: Uncle Dave and I have been playing together in various incarnations since '86. I consider him one of the most brilliant songwriters I've ever met. And, he's a walking encyclopedia of, well… all media. So, it's always great to accompany him on any stage 'cause I always learn something new.

CM: You recently reunited with your old band Chrome Cranks. The band has a very Midwestern garage rock sound that's a departure from the brash material you recorded with the Murder Junkies and Candy Snatchers. Can you give us a little history on the band?

WW: Huh, where to start… and not be long winded about it! Peter Aaron (Vcl/Gt.) and I started the group in Cincinnati back in '89. There was some difficulties finding players that had a like minded vision of what we were trying to do. I moved to NYC in the summer of '91 and Peter followed in early '92. Once in New York, we hooked up with Jerry Teel (of Honeymoon Killers fame) and went through various drummers before settling on Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore). We were a busy group… we recorded a bunch, had the typical video in MTV's rotation… toured all throughout the states and Europe. We finally called it quits in the summer of '98 because we were so tired of looking at one another. But, of all ensembles I've been in, the Cranks were my favorite and most successful. Got to see a lot of the world because of them.

CM: Are there any plans on recording any new songs with Chrome Cranks for a possible release in the near future?

WW: Yeah! In May of '10 we reunited for some shows in NYC and also recorded a full length LP at Marcata Recording with Kevin McMahon engineering. It's the best stuff we ever did next to our first release. It's now been over a year since it was recorded and we still don't have a label lined up to release it. But we're in no hurry… we can wait. 

CM: Any plans for a Chrome Cranks tour in the coming months?

WW: Well, each member currently lives in a different state. So getting together takes some planning. Although, we have done it in the past… but nothing on a scale of an actual tour. It all depends if , when and who releases our latest recording. I've always put my life aside for the road, so I could find a way… but I can't speak for the others. Like I said… it depends on the circumstances of our latest release.

CM: You grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. But have lived and played in bands on both sides of the Atlantic. Where do you currently call home?

WW: I've been back in Cincinnati since Jan. 2000. Didn't mean to… it sorta just happened. I was making my way across country from New York to either Portland or Seattle… and stopped by my hometown for a visit. While there, I found and bought my dream house. Next thing you know… years later... it's 2011 and I'm constantly being reminded… I'm supposed to be a renter… not an owner!

CM: You spent a few years recording and touring with the late G.G. Allin. What was it like being part of the mayhem and madness that was The Murder Junkies?

WW: Most of the "mayhem and madness" was recorded to video… and thank god. Because most of it I can't remember. But here it is eighteen years later and I have to say… that the time we were a "band" went by way to fast. Understand, GG was in jail for most of the 2 1/2 years that I was in the Murder Junkies. There were only 3 tours and a recording. And when GG wasn't in jail, he wasn't in NYC… in fact he hated New York. But, in the little time we all were actually together as a group… was great. I don't know if people realize that Merle and Dino are a great rhythm section. We were a very tight group. Looking back, personally… I'm glad I was in the "Hated" movie… and I didn't get an interview!  And I'm really proud of the "Brutality" record we did. I think it's great how that album pits G.G. fans against each other… some like it and some think it's the worse thing he did. But, I can say in all honesty… G.G. thought it was the best thing he ever did. And that comes straight from the man, folks…

CM: Was there ever a time during your time in the band where you thought "what the hell did I get myself into?"

WW: There's been a time in every band I've been in that I've asked that question to myself. With G.G. it was more off stage than on. I mean onstage… I knew why I was there, but offstage? I felt like an unpaid baby sitter. Same with the Candy Snatchers. Leave it to them… they would spend what little money made from the gig and waste it on blow, broads and booze. At times I felt like a dad… giving each kid their allowance for the evening. And the thing that sucks is if I wasn't there, they would have magically found their way to the next gig. I just took it on myself to be the one to handle the finances and the worries.

CM: I've heard that G.G. was a different person behind closed doors than he was on stage. Is that true?

WW: Yeah, there were different sides to him. One thing I can say about him is he had a great sense of humor. He kept himself well guarded, but at the same time… was the life of the after hour. Just make sure you weren't the butt of his jokes… because he could be relentless.
CM: When G.G. died in '93, did it come as a shock to you? Or where you and the the others expecting it to happen sooner than later?

WW: It did come as a surprise… just the day before we played the Gas Station show… which, as fate would have it… was the best. I don't think any of us were expecting it. Maybe in his earlier days… before I joined the band, when he was doing dope and drinking…you know, maybe. But he was definitely on what he liked to call his "mission". We just recorded a record that was to yet to be released, we did a successful U.S. tour… we had a lot going on and a lot to look forward to. And, I truly believe he would have been more of a sensation if he hadn't died right then. It's just… he did a little to much that night and…well, overdosed.

CM: After G.G.'s death, The Murder Junkies released the "Feed My Sleaze" EP. But you had left the band after the recording for that album. Why did you leave?

WW: One of the reasons I left was the Chrome Cranks were doing a lot more touring. After G.G. died the Murder Junkies did a series of 2 weeks tours, all with various singers. Although it was fun, it wasn't profitable enough for me to continue. In reality, none of the bands I've toured with have been what I would say lucrative, it's more of a labor of love. But at that time I was strapped for cash, and with NYC rent being what is was THEN… I had to opt out for touring with the Cranks. In '03 for the 10 year anniversary of G.G.'s death, I did hook back up with them and did a couple of tours… again with various singers. Then in '05 my health became an issue and I had to hand my guitar duties over to my friend Scotty Wood. Then of course… they go to Europe for a successful tour. I played in that band for 14 years doing shitty clubs and the second I can't do it… they go overseas! And then to Australia! Ahhhh!!!

CM: Do you still keep in touch with Merle and Dino?

WW: Since '05 they've come through Cincinnati a couple of times on tour, and I've jumped up on stage for a few numbers… but that's about it. Now they have a regular singer and guitar player that can tour. They just released a new record, and since Merle has a stable enough line up nowadays… he doesn't need my bellyaching about the conditions of the life on the road etc, etc. I did let Merle know that I would like to see some of the globe the next time they travel out of the states… but I haven't heard back from him. And, I'm hoping for a call in 2013 for the 20th year anniversary.

CM: In the late 90's you joined The Candy Snatchers. How did you come about joining that wild bunch?

WW: Well, the summer of '98 the Cranks called it quits. I took on a job at a national music instrument chain… trying to make good. I had also given up drinking. About 4 months later I ran into Sergio… the Snatchers drummer at the time. I kinda jokingly suggested I should tour as 2nd guitar with them next time they go out. He loved the idea and said he'd ask the rest of the band. About a week and a half later I quit the music store gig and wound up in Virginia Beach heading out on the road.  Then another week and a half later… I'm back to drinking.

CM: I know you played on half the of the live Candy Snatchers album "Color Me Blood Red". Is that the only release you played on?

WW: Yeah… and that pissed me off a little. Jerry Teel and I had Funhouse Studio going on in NYC. I told the Snatchers they could record there for free… but it never happened. I am glad the Chicago show came out. It was recorded at the start of my last tour I did with them… so everyone wasn't so burnt.

CM: Do you still keep in touch with any of your former Candy Snatchers members like Larry or Willy?

WW: I saw Larry outside one of the Cranks shows in Brooklyn last year. He had laryngitis and was supposed to play a show the next night. I'm sure he did and I'm sure he belted it out. He is one of the best frontman out there. Willy? I haven't heard anything from/about him in a long time. Last year there was a book that came out called "The Road" that was compiled by Tony Patino. It has a bunch of stories from musicians about the bizarre/humorous times traveling in a band. Willie and myself are included in it, and of course we tell the same story about what happened at a gig in Chicago… but from two totally different view points. That in itself is funny.

CM: I had the chance to see The Candy Snatchers quite a few times over the years. And those were some wild guy's! Where they just as wild offstage as on?

WW: I've always said… they were like traveling with 4 G.G.'s… including the smell. I'm kind of a laid back guy… to see me up on the stage with them jumping all around, puking, smashing guitars...and there I am doing a Billy Zoom stance over on the dark side of the stage, not moving at all, just hoping someone would see the juxtaposition of it all. Same thing playing with G.G.

CM: A few years back you opened your own studio, Krakdhaus. Can you tell us a little about the studio and some of the bands who have recorded there?

WW: I had kept all my recording equipment at Funhouse Studio in NYC up to 2002. The house I bought in Cincinnati was listed as having a crawlspace… a crawlspace that had a 9ft ceiling! That was the main reason I got the place… to build a studio. Every musician wants a full-fledged recording studio in their basement! I had a friend of mine do all the carpentry off of my designs. No 90° angles, double soundproof drywall… everything I could think of to keep the noise down. My friend took a little longer to complete it than I hoped, but in '03 it was finally finished and I relocated all my equipment. Unfortunately … I was finished also. I lost interest in recording other peoples bands and used the facilities very little. For years I was recording all my little "projects" on a MacBook Pro while sitting in front of the TV. There have been a handful of bands I've recorded there, but nothing like I did in NYC. Only lately I've started using it again. I'd love to tell you how I came up with the name but… well, it might get me in trouble!

CM: Is it more enjoyable for you now to record other bands? Or do you miss recording with a band?

 WW: It's always better when I'm recording with a band, and I'm not the engineer…I'm just a musician. I did so much of recording other bands in NYC… I just got burnt. And when recording with someone else engineering… I can concentrate with a different set of ears. I can focus much more on the performance of myself and those I'm recording with. Another plus is that I learn new things watching how other engineers work. I still love the whole recording process and the studio experience… it's just at this point in time I don't want to get behind the board. But I feel that in time, that will change.

CM: What's next for William Weber? Are there any new recordings that you will be featured on in the near future?

WW: Hmmm…Lets see. Of course I'd love to travel again as a 1st or 2nd guitarist in someone else's band. As much as I bitch and put down traveling on the road, don't believe me… it's still in my blood. I'd also like to do more online collaborations. There is a band out of Winnipeg named Trousermouth that had me lay down some tracks for a couple of their songs. One also featured Traci Gunns! Never thought I'd be on the same track as him! They flew me up for the record release party and I had a blast playing and hanging with 'em. Hmmm, what else… I have my own little label called Cacophony Cincinnati that I use to release solo stuff. In '07 I had a little bit of a manic upswing and had 3 projects come out. One I go under the moniker "dumBass"… the only instruments used are bass guitars, 12, 8, 6 and 4 string to be precise. Another I called myself "Glitch"… that one I made noises on the various guitars synthesizers I've collected. That one is quite the tolerance tester! And the third is called "Bertha Kuhl" which is a little 3 piece ensemble that does jazz/blues stuff. These might still be available on iTunes, I haven't checked lately. I got several other things in the can, but just haven't released them yet. I gotta try a little harder getting my foot in the door doing soundtrack/soundbed stuff. Everyone I play my stuff to says it has that noir/David Lynch feel. But getting those songs to the right person is very difficult. Nowadays I think soundtracks are the only way a musician can really earn money. Unless you are super big… you can forget making money through selling records or touring. Still, that doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying to go that route either!

CM: Is there a website that you would like to plug? Where fans can get info on what you're up to and get info on your studio?

WW: Sure. There is always, it's a really bad looking website but it does have the links for the various bands I've butchered. If anyone wants to help fix it up the site, please… get in contact with me! It also has links to upcoming gigs, bio, discography, the studio and all the hip social networks I troll. Also links for the online collaboration sites. If one wishes, they can hear my latest music going to and a compilation I made of bands I've been in can be heard at

CM: I want to thank you again for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, William. I've been a fan for many years. And I hope to possibly see you in Chicago in the future. Thanks man.
WW: Thank you for the interest! Next time I'm in Chicago we'll meet up at my favorite bar… that would be... down at Delilah's!

CM: You're on!

1 comment:

  1. That was cool. My name is Matt I play guitar and live in San Diego. I'm listening to GG with Weber as I type this. Hes one of my favorite guitarists.


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