Saint Marie Records

Crash City Saints


Do you REALLY want to know? Here's the Dickens version... To put the fact that presently Crash City Saints are still alive and kicking after all this time, and what a miracle that is in and of itself, into context, you have to know the whole story. I’ve been playing music since I was 16. For years, I mostly filled in on guitar/keyboards for already-established local musical acts. I could never find anyone who was into the same kind of music as me, which was endlessly frustrating. Finally, in the summer of 2002, I bought a Boss digital 8-track recorder and set out writing/recording songs in my bedroom. Around this same time, my brother Nathan and (friend) Mike Mann had begun jamming in a basement as a two-piece, with Mike on drums and Nathan on guitar/vocals. It was Mike who came up with the name “Crash City Saints”. I joined them, and we started incorporating some of the music I had written into our practices. A short while later, a new drummer was added to the band and Mike switched to bass. Eventually, that line-up changed to include Chris Kolodzieczyk (Melt/Rural Electrification Act) on guitar, and his friend Matt who replaced Mike on bass. We played some shows around town and were generally well received – a mention by the local press; plans for a split 7” with another local band; show offers started coming in. No great shakes maybe in the grand scheme of things, but after ten years of trying to put together a band, it seemed I was finally in one that had the potential to do something at least slightly more interesting than play the occasional bar gig. Then disaster struck in the form of an embarrassing rock and roll cliché: it turned out that our drummer had been messing around with our guitarist’s girlfriend. Oh, brother! This caused a minor scandal in our ranks, and Crash City Saints disbanded shortly thereafter. Six months of hard work immediately went down the toilet.

In 2003, Nathan and I moved down to Florida where we lived with my brother Ryan in Sarasota for about a year. It was while living there I was contacted by Dave from Sonic Syrup, who released Nightdrive, a four-song EP, the first official Crash City Saints CD. Nathan and I tried to get something going with John Rotolante, a drummer we met online. For a while, it seemed like it might work. We even went so far as to record some tracks at a pricey recording studio. Random trivia: due to a weird set of circumstances, Rain Phoenix, sister of movie stars Joaquin Phoenix and the late River Phoenix, contributed backing vocals on two of the songs. Unfortunately, none of the songs worked. At the time, I wasn’t studio-savvy enough to know how to get the sounds I wanted, and the producer/engineer was hell-bent on making us sound like some bullshit mainstream radio band. If nothing else, it ended up being an expensive, but ultimately valuable, learning experience.

In 2004, I moved back to Michigan and enrolled in some college courses. In between, I began doing some shows in Kalamazoo, Chicago and Detroit with Sara Maidment (vocals) and pre-recorded drum machine/bass parts. It was during this time we met Matt Massuch, who came to one of our shows because Scott Cortez’s new band STAR was playing with us at The Corner Bar. Matt was literally the only kid in Kalamazoo who knew who Scott was or had even heard of Lovesliescrushing! We hit it off with Matt, and he later joined the band, first on bass and then eventually moving on to guitar. Matt, Sara, and I played a couple of drum machine-backed shows with my brother Nathan filling in on bass. After the first Kalamashoegazer festival in 2007, Nathan left to pursue his then-fledgling punk band, The Hex Bombs, full time. Matt got his friend Adam to start playing drums for Crash City Saints. We began looking for a full-time bassist, and a mutual friend introduced me to Chris Wahamaki, who I liked immediately upon meeting the first time. This line-up of Crash City Saints was really good and actually managed to stay together for a couple of years until 2008 when Adam and Matt both graduated from Western Michigan University. The job market in Michigan is terrible, and after a few months of job-hunting, Matt ended up having to move back in with his parents in Detroit, which made having a regular practice schedule nearly impossible. Matt has since been writing songs and releasing them under the name Crawling Through Her Ghosts. He still fills in from time to time on guitar for live shows.

I’m not sure what happened to Adam; one day he just stopped answering his phone. I heard rumors of pot brownies and video game addiction. Perhaps I’ll eventually run into him, and he can then explain things to me personally. From 2009-2011, Crash City Saints was, for all intents and purposes, me, Chris, and a drum machine. In that time we managed to release Crash City Saints' sole cd release to date, Glow In The Dark Music, on the Japanese label Quince Records. After Chris moved to Japan last year, the line-up briefly changed to Dave Bolema (drums), and my brother Nathan's wife Shannan (bass). Today Crash City Saints are a 4-piece: Josh (guitar, vocals), Dave (on guitar), Elliot (bass), and Joel (drums). We are currently holed up writing and recording the follow-up to Glow in the Dark Music.