Crime : San Francisco’s Still Doomed

San Francisco's self-proclaimed 'first and only rock'n'roll band'...

The best rock’n’roll is built on glorious, futile gestures. When West Coast punk avatars Crime decided to wear police uniforms onstage – while playing songs called things such as ‘Piss On Your Dog’ and’Murder By Guitar’ – they sparked a campaign of systematic harassment from the real cops. However, despite the fact that their gigs were constantly being shut down, Crime, whose maxim was’Hate Us Or Love Us, We Don’t Give A Fuck’, reacted by deciding to wear police uniforms [I]all of the time[/I].

OK, they only ever put out three super-scarce singles (the most famous of which, ‘Hot Wire My Heart’, was covered by [a]Sonic Youth[/a]), but these contrary pretend-police still squeezed a lifetime into four years. In 1978, for example, they played a gig inside San Quentin Maximum Security Prison, dressed – again, perhaps ill-advisedly – as cops.

But whatever their levels of common sense, the two rehearsal sessions captured here contain some of the ugliest, rawest, most thrillingly messy speedfreak rock’n’roll noise ever. You’ve got to love them.

Pat Long