Welcome Back: The Crunch

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While the very notion of a punk supergroup might seem almost counter-revolutionary to some, you can’t argue with the pedigree of The Crunch. Comprising vocalist Sulo Karlsson (Diamond Dogs), guitarist Mick Geggus (Cockney Rejects), bassist Dave Tregunna (Sham 69/Lords Of The New Church) and drummer Terry Chimes (The Clash/Generation X/Hanoi Rocks), the band boast a razor-keen pop sensibility. On the eve of the release of their second album, Brand New Brand, we caught up with Dave Tregunna to ponder upon the band’s musical combination of brutality and sweetness.

When did you first meet Mick Geggus?

In 1979, at Polydor Studios, just off Oxford Street, when [Sham 69 vocalist] Jimmy Pursey was producing the first Cockney Rejects single. I’ve pretty fuzzy memories of those times – there was a lot of drinking going on – but I do remember it being a bit wild. I always thought the Rejects were just like the East End Sham lot. The studio was chaotic madness, but they had a raw, unschooled energy.

How did The Crunch happen?

I got a call out of the blue from Sulo, who was in London with a writer called Petter Karlsson. They’d done a book about seventies football icons and were doing a similar one with musicians [Keep Yourself Alive]. So I met them in Camden, had a few beers and we jammed on Borstal Breakout in my living room. At the book’s launch in Stockholm, me, Mick and Terry [who also featured in the book] got up and jammed. Afterwards I said to Sulo, half-jokingly: “We ought to form a band.” And he said: “Well actually, I’ve got some songs demoed.”

**You’ve got quite a bit of form on the punk supergroup front – the Sham Pistols, for example. **

Just as Jimmy Pursey was saying he couldn’t go on with Sham 69, we hooked up with Paul Cook and Steve Jones. They came up to Glasgow for one of the last Sham gigs and played with us on the encore. It sounded great, so we were going to form a band. But unfortunately – or fortunately – our managers didn’t see eye to eye and couldn’t negotiate a deal.

**When you first joined Sham, did you ever see yourself as a career musician? **

Not really. It was great fun but I didn’t have any aspirations. I was the oldest one in Sham – twenty-three when I joined – so I grew up on Cream, Hendrix and Zeppelin. So I saw myself as completely inferior to John Paul Jones, Andy Fraser and the Ox [John Entwistle]. But, thank God, punk gave me a chance to get playing.

Where do you place Brand New Brand in your recorded canon?

Well, I love good songs with good hooks and a bit of power to them, and that’s what we’ve got – in abundance. Brand New Brand is even better than the last album, which I thought was pretty damn good, but this one takes it up a notch. Hopefully we’ll notch up for the next one as well.

**It’s both brutal and sweet. **

Yes, it has a tenderness. All my heroes had that side as well. Stiv had it, Johnny [Thunders] had it. Everyone’s got a tender side. We just happen to combine ours with a powerful, aggressive side.

The Crunch’s Brand New Brand is out now via Virtus Sweden.

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