Crud piles it on 

Sometimes all it takes is the angst grind of a loud, grit-grounded guitar, flagrant fuck-you flesh and a clear vision to create F.O.D. — code language for what Crud plans to unleash on an unsuspecting crowd this weekend. Spelled out, it’s simple — Full On Debauchery.

Known locally for an unmatched rock energy splashing from the stage at every show — smoke machines pumping, bass lines rippling, in-your-face guitar making way for crashing drums — the band is gearing up to head out to Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest music conference. But first, much debauchery is to be had at this weekend’s Hamtramck Blowout. The group headlines Friday at the Holbrook Cafe.

As many in the area know, Crud is made up of Vinnie Dombrowski and Joey Mazzola of Sponge, Jimmy Paluzzi and Robby Graham of Hoarse and Danielle Arsenault of Stun Gun, three bands that have garnered attention outside the Detroit area as well as within. A few weeks back, a fan came to a Crud gig and showed Dombrowski (vocals) and Mazzola (guitar) his Sponge tattoo. Although the band members would obviously rather be recognized for their current work, Dombrowski admits their history helps as much as it hinders. “Some people want to come to shows because they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, we liked them in that band or we liked her in that band.’”

The SXSW invite isn’t the first instance of national interest in Crud, however. The musicians have played out of state numerous times. One New Jersey gig sticks out in their minds.

“Jersey was fun because it spanned over a couple days,” Arsenault divulges.

The band was staying in New York and had to be driven by a guy who spoke “interesting English” to and from the show. “It was this constant battle of wrong turns and backseat drivers in a 15-passenger van wondering where in the hell we’re going,” Mazzola explains. The driver had such a hard time finding the venue, he just ended up hanging out with the band all day. Their favorite part of the weekend was staying at a posh hotel, where Paluzzi and Graham helped themselves to room service: “$25 bags of almonds, macadamia nuts, trail mix.” The hotel was faxing Dombrowski bills long after their stay. “Did a pillow ever come up?” Arsenault asks coyly.

Although the band likes traveling, Detroit is its home and influence, whether the band members know it or not.

“I don’t think we know any different,” Graham admits. But it’s hard to be influenced when your home is what you cut your teeth on, Paluzzi adds. “It’s etched in.”

Dombrowski points out that the rhythm has a definite Detroit feel. “Going over to Europe a few years back, people were always asking us questions about the techno scene. In terms of momentum and rhythm, I think, the techno thing has definitely influenced this band. But it really comes down to loud-ass guitars. It’s kind of a blend of the two, I think.”

And loud-ass guitars never go out of style. Neither does F.O.D.

“When you’re sitting in your living room listening to a CD, you say, this sounds sonically great,” Paluzzi explains. “But when you go to a live show, it’s visual and it’s sonically amazing. You feel it because of the vibration. Why not make it that? Why not walk out (of the show) with a major headache or some sort of twirling going around in your head. Fuck, yeah. When you take a shower the next morning, you smell like the club the night before — from the smoke machines, from all the bullshit. You’ve got the cigarette burn on your arm from the idiot who bumped into you. He was having a blast. I hope there’s a scar there.”

Melissa Giannini is the Metro Times music writer. E-mail her at

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