The Great Crusades
Like the bands they admire, such as Camper Van Beethoven, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Kaiser Chiefs, the Great Crusades seem to be in it for the long haul—still writing outstanding tunes and playing mind-blowing live shows. Vocalist/guitarist Brian Krumm gathered the current band members in Chicago 20 years ago, including collaborators Brian Hunt, Brian Leach and Christian Moder. He had already released the band’s first album, The First Spilled Drink of the Evening. Soon after, Rolling Stone’s David Fricke wrote, “The Great Crusades look at life through a shot-glass lens, mixing anger, muscle and minor-key remorse like a roughneck Tindersticks with the bonus of a singer who’s got the tubercular pipes of Tom Waits and Axl Rose’s love child.” (Mud Records reissued First Spilled Drink in Summer 2017.)
Damaged Goods was released by Glitterhouse Records and Checkered Past Records as the follow-up. Never Go Home saw the band reach a higher profile when a tour was presented by Musikexpress magazine. Soon after, the band gained even more exposure as part of their appearance on the legendary program Rockpalast. (The band also played Rockpalast in 2015—one of only a few bands to play the show twice.)
Welcome to the Hiawatha Inn, Four Thirty, Keep Them Entertained, Fiction to Shame and Thieves of Chicago followed. Two of the band’s songs appeared in the season 4 finale of the HBO vampire series True Blood. In 2017, the Crusades completed Until the Night Turned to Day with Grammy winner Brian Leach at the production helm in JoyRide Studio in Chicago.
Today, the band continues to expand its fan base and further build its reputation as one of the wildest and most-loved bands in the business. Along the way, they have shared the stage with Gary Moore, Scorpions, 16 Horsepower, Bottle Rockets and Leningrad Cowboys—on many memorable tours of Europe, the U.S. and everywhere in between.
The Great Crusades, from the Beginning
The first Great Crusades album, The First Spilled Drink of the Evening, was released by Mud Records in 1997, and its sound and lyrics quickly created a cult following for the band. Rolling Stone’s David Fricke wrote, “The Great Crusades look at life through a shot-glass lens . . . mixing anger, muscle, and minor-key remorse like a roughneck Tindersticks with the bonus of a singer (Krumm) who’s got the tubercular pipes of Tom Waits and Axl Rose’s love child.” The album was reissued in Europe in 1998 by the German indie Trocadero Records, and the first of many European tours followed.
Damaged Goods was released by the venerated German label, Glitterhouse Records, in 2000, and by Checkered Past Records in the U.S. The critical accolades kept coming with praise from European and American press alike. Never Go Home (2002) saw the band reach a higher public profile when a tour of Germany, Austria, and Croatia was presented by Musikexpress magazine. In 2003, the band gained even more exposure as part of their appearance on the celebrated German television program, Rockpalast.
Welcome to the Hiawatha Inn (2004), Four Thirty (2006), Keep Them Entertained (2007), and Fiction to Shame (2010) followed, each featuring a fresh approach to the band’s sound. (The career retrospective DVD Key to the City was released in 2008.) The band continued to expand its fan base and further build its reputation as one of the most engaging, wildest live bands in the business. Along the way, the band shared the stage with a very diverse list of artists, including Gary Moore, Scorpions, 16 Horsepower, Broken Social Scene, Bottle Rockets, Steve Wynn, and Leningrad Cowboys.
AC/DC, The Band, Richard Thompson, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Neil Young, Gallon Drunk, The Jayhawks, Replacements, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Leon Redbone, Webb Wilder, Morphine, The Smiths, Eric Burdon, The Pretenders, 16 Horsepower, Camper Van Beethoven, Thin Lizzy, The Ramones, Wall of Voodoo/Stan Ridgway, Uncle Tupelo, Nick Drake, R.E.M., The Pogues, Stray Cats/Brian Setzer, Leonard Cohen, Neil Diamond, PJ Harvey, Dwight Yoakam, Echo and the Bunnymen