In Minnesota, there’s snow on the ground for half of the year. No matter how tough one’s constitution is, that’s one harsh reality. When you’re a musician in Minnesota there’s really only two ways to stay warm on the inside. Whiskey by the shot (or by the bottle) and writing honest rock n’ roll. With that criteria in mind Minneapolis’ Crash/Burn/Repeat have definitely managed to stay warm in spite of the elements.
Whilst most Minneapolis bands do their best to clamber onto the shoulders of local giants The Replacements, Husker Du, and Soul Asylum, Crash/Burn/Repeat have managed to sound both appreciatively reminiscent yet uniquely original, all in the same power chord and raised shot. Blending elements of rock, punk, and a damn good knack for melody, Crash/Burn/Repeat have forged their own blend of emotive rock n‘ roll. It’s tough to create a cocktail from scratch that goes down easy yet Crash has folks grinning in their “drinks.” Start with one measure of early inspiration in the from of the afore mentioned Minneapolis Three, add in a measure of a formative dose of the early No Idea Records catalog, toss in an ounce of the edge and aggression of Against Me! and Hot Water Music. But don’t forget a splash of the melodic and harmonic sense of Jimmy Eat World. Oh, and make sure that Tom Petty and Jawbreaker made it in there, for flavor and seasoning.
Stemming from Twin Cities heavyweights Cadillac Blindside, Fuel the Fire, and The April Epidemic is where Crash/Burn/Repeat finds its talent in the form of lead vocalist/guitarist ZaQ Zrust, lead guitarist/vocalist A.D. Thurston, bassist/vocalist Jeff Kluegel, and drummer/vocalist Blain Finders. Singer/guitarist ZaQ Zrust earned his stripes in Cadillac Blindside touring behind releases for the now ungodly huge Fueled by Ramen records. In fact, ask him about one outing a few years ago that had a brand new, unknown group called Fall Out Boy as Cadillac’s opener. Wasting no time and picking up where Cadillac left off, ZaQ formed a short-lived albeit powerful group called Fuel the Fire with members of Attention, Amp176 and The Embassy. An E.P. and an unreleased full-length saw the end of Fuel the Fire. A mere year and a half latter saw the formation of Crash/Burn/Repeat. ZaQ, as lead singer and chief lyricist, brings an honest and appreciative voice to rock n’ roll, as he’s not trying to change the world, only his…or at the very least explain it for those around him. ZaQ won’t tell you who to vote for, nor will he tell you that the world is fucked up and that only a revolution will save it. What he will tell you is that his life, like many others, is scary and uncertain. He sings and pleads for himself as much as he does for the listener.
The rest of the band follows suit. Drummer Blain Finders (of North Dakota’s Embassy) brings a straight forward, simplistic approach to drums in Crash. That is, he beats the ever-lovin’ shit of his drums at every gig, as if he’s trying to restart the heart of rock n’ roll in every song. Bassist Jeff Kluegel (the best musician in the band, according to Zrust and Thurston) holds it down as if the band were waging a war of King of the Mountain and he’s the champ that can’t be moved. Lead guitarist A.D. Thurston riffs like he’s jamming with Against Me!, yet solos like Slash is holding a shot for him at the bar. Unheard of stuff for a punk band. Or are they?