We got a chance to chat with Chicago thrash punk nasties OOZING WOUND’s Kevin Cribbin. The poor cell reception of rural Pennsilvania backroads made for some fragmented discussion, but we still managed to wring some insights and humor from these righteous goons (with some post-chat reconstruction).
Boston Hassle: How’s tour going? Where are ya now?
Kevin Cribbin: Tons of fun. Were passing through rural PA right now. Unlike most tours, were not starting or ending in Chicago; its a mid tour stop, which made things interesting. Weve been tooling around the midwest. I’d say were lucky we made it this far.
BH: Why do you say lucky?
KC: We had a midday show with old buds yesterday, so there was a lot of drinking. Luckily we made it back on the road in time.
BH: So whats Chicago like for music these days? How did the city play a part in your development as a band?
KC: We like it here. Weve all been here for a while, orbitig the city since after college. Chicago has great geographic location, so centrally located. Its easy to tour all over States, and lots of touring acts come through constantly. There’s a longstanding entrenched punk scene here. The city is a nice size – a large metropolis, but without the national spotlight of big media industry cities like NYC or LA. So there’s not the same general aspiration or pressure to ‘make it big.’
There are plenty of basements, lofts industrial spaces amd weird spots to throw DIY shows. Of course, it seems every two years or so, a bunch of them get shut down. But something eventually pops up in its place.
BH: So it goes.
KC: Yeah. There was one instance a couple years back that was pretty weird. All of a sudden there was this strange crackdown on DIY venues. It wasnt just basements getting raided. If you were avant guard locale, with even the occasional unofficial events – not just loud music but poetry readings, really anything outside the norm, you would get inspected by these feds. They would come through, incognito, to infiltrate amd expose these spaces. The city basically allowed and encouragedfeds to come through and shut places down. Apparently they were looking for anarchists or political dissidents or something like that. It bred a certain paranoia among us, and several long running venues had to shutter their doors. But ultimately it was only momentry – I’d say things are fine now.
Of course, its getting very expensive to live here. Lots of artists and friends are migrating further and further into the outskirts of the city. But it’s like that all over I suppose. I gotta say, the foods pretty damn good here. The city is very proud of its cuisine. Especially hot dogs. Just dont be xaught putting ketchup on top – people will judge you.
BH: How about mustard?
KC: Mustard’s allowed.
BH: What has your experience been with Thrill Jockey – seems like it was almost luck or coincidence that ya got on this label. How’s the experience been working with them.
CK: Basically getting signed with Thrill Jockey ramped up, accellerated the process. The label is run by an older generation, but they’re still taped in to local scene. Lately they’ve looked to diversify sound, move beyond a certain ‘sound.’ Signing OW is a part of that. Some people were surprised, made a big deal about it But its not weird, theyve been changing it up for a while. Now they’re just getting darker with Black Pus, Liturgy and so on.
BH: What Chicago bands are your digging on right now?
KC: Oh tons, too many to name them all. Running, Toupee, Dental Hygenics, Den and Milk Belly are all great. Its a varied mix of artists and namds, all pretty weird and oddball. Its cool because all these weirdos with different sounds and approach end up playing together, so a show is rarely defined simply by a certain sound or aesthetic.
BH: How was the experience of making this new album?
KC: Compared to the last LP, we had a little more time to record this one. We came into the studio with the first half mostly written, and then we just worked out the second half as we went along, branching out more. We got more wild, less self-conscious, more oddball, more free jazz.
But I’d say we prefer playing live. We have a long roster of songs at this point, so we cycle through them gradually. That way, we get more comfortable with the new songs, more worn in – like a favorite pair of underwear
BH: Any special recomendations for visiting the city?
KC: I recommend you rent a bike to see the city. Its set up on grid system so its easy to get around. It’s all pretty accessible. For green spaces check out Logan Square, Humbolt Park. For music venues look up The Empty Bottle, Wally World, Situations (im biased because I live there), Club Recrum.
BH: Is there a good way to find out about this stuff?
KC: There’s a lack of legit all age venues that are good likeminded. People don’t wanna advertize about unsanctioned spaces via internet, because they’re afraid to shine a spotlight. If youre not 21 Its hard to find out about this stuff.
We need a centralized all ages space where people can come out and showthrowers can freely advertize. Otherwise you run the risk that the community can get insular without fresh blood.
For accessible ways to find out about these sort of shows, theres really no dedicated central source. The Chicago Reader has fallen off recently but they often allude to DIY shows, but always in an elliptical way, like ‘Theres something going on in this area… check it out.’ But that’s all.
BH: What motivates you?
KC: Just to play rock music to anyone that wants to hear it. Life is pretty F’d up. Music is becoming medicinal.
BH: Any advice to musicians just starting out?
KC: You’re gonna suck for a while, so if you like doing it, just keep playing. people often have good ideas about creating music, but its hard to find a band – a group of people committed to doing it together. I recommend you try to play with as many poeple as possible and eventually you’ll find get something together.
BH: Any message to people coming to see ya in Boston?
CK: Get ready to have your fucking face melted. Actually, bring 3 faces – no 6 – bring extra faces. cuz all bands are gonna melt ya faces off.
Oozing Wound plays Boston TONIGHT (11/1) @ Deep Thoughts Records with Ancient Filth and Gangz.