Upper [Glossarie] Crust

Here you will find all manner of Upper Crustiana, listed alphabetically for your convenience.

This is always updated as I learn more. If you think something's missing or inaccurate, please e-mail me at crust@juvalamu.com.

This legendary Boston three-piece counted drummer Jim (Jackie Kickassis) Janota among its members. The Trouser Press guide describes them as "demonstrat[ing] a singular ability to analyze and describe relationships and emotions with searing but subtle simplicity." They released a number of singles and several albums, including Rock Starve (Restless,1987), Night Of The Corn People (Helter-Skelter), and The Bags (a double LP from 1990 on the Stanton Park label). They also released an album as Swamp Oaf, entitled Swamp Oaf. Visit this excellent page for much more about The Bags.

The direct precursors to the Upper Crust, this band sported the original Upper Crust lineup and described themselves as "surf-rock with a nod toward Satanism." They pretended to be a 1960s surf band, singing Beach Boys type songs about the crappy New England beaches, but it quickly descended into a celebration of heavy metal and satanism. They once re-wrote all there songs and did a Halloween show as the Gravediggers. Clearly, the Upper Crust was the inevitable next step. The Upper Crust song "Rock and Roll Butler" has its origins in a Clamdiggers tune called "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau." See also Mono Puff.

New York City-based action combo. Visit the Fleshtones Hall Of Fame to discover which members of the band count the Upper Crust as one of their favorite bands. They covered the Titanics song "High On Drugs" on their 1995 release, Laboratory Of Sound. The same track was also recorded by Fleshtones spinoff band the Full Time Men (three of the Fleshtones plus others), who also recently performed the Titanics' "You Just Ain't Good Enough" at a gig in New York.
One of Nat (Lord Bendover) Freedberg's previous bands. The bass player was Jay Parham, who also played in the Titanics and Satanics. The Flies have two releases on Homestead: Get Wise, from 1984, includes "All Hung Up," which was released as a single (and was later re-made by the Titanics); and Get Burned, a six-song EP released in 1985. They split up sometime around 1987.

Another legendary Boston band that has included Jackie Kickassis. The Lyres have been performing in various incarnations since 1979, and Jim/Jackie has been part of two of these lineups: once in the late '80s and again about five years later. He can be heard on two albums, A Promise Is a Promise (Ace of Hearts, 1988) and Those Lyres (Norton, 1994). Check the Trouser Press guide for more.

Both Ted (Lord Rockingham) Widmer and Marc (the Marquis de Roque) Mazzarelli played in Mente, which was started by John Murphy (who happened to be Kim Deal's husband). He first imagined the band while in high school; some 10 years later, John and Kim met Ted and Marc in a bowling league in Cambridge and Mente became a reality. (Kim wasn't in the band; drummer Gringo Starr completed the group.) They were simultaneously Pixies' favorite band and considered the worst band in Boston! Among their songs was a tribute to Bobby Orr -- "the greatest hockey player in the world, bar none!" According to Ted, who was known as Edward Van Mente, "We wrote hundreds of songs, developed a wardrobe based heavily on unitards and old-lady gardening outfits, and got a pretty big fan base" before losing interest around 1991 or so. Ted and Marc continued playing together in two side projects, The Clamdiggers and The Paesanos.

Mono Puff
Solo project from John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants. The single from their debut album was "The Devil Went Down To Newport (Totally Rocking),"which was an old Clamdiggers song written by Nat (Lord Bendover) Freedberg and Ted (Lord Rockingham) Widmer.

Dave (the Duc d'Istortion) Fredette was a member of this band that was around Boston in the mid-80s. They released an album on Taang! in 1985 called Green Eggs & Ham. The Oysters have a garage-y kind of sound, not unlike their contemporaries the Flies. Check the Duc's page for Oysters cover art.

Starting as a side project during the Mente years, The Paesanos were an Italian-American punk rock group based in Providence, Ted (Lord Rockingham) Widmer's hometown. It included Ted (Vinny Testosteroni), Marc (the Marquis de Roque) Mazzarelli, Big Tony B on vocals and Little Tony B on drums. They only played about five shows; songs included "You Toucha My Car I Breaka You Face," "Rocco," "Mama," "Love is Like Wine," "Paesanos Theme" and "Hey Joey."

While it would make more sense to describe the Titanics before the Satanics, S comes before T in the alphabet. Like the Titanics, the Satanics included Nat (Lord Bendover) Freedberg and Dave (the Duc d'Istortion) Fredette; Titanics drummer Fred Nazzaro and former Flies bassist Jay Parham round out the lineup. On their 1992 CD (Limited Potential Records) as well as the 1993 single "(Come Come Come to the) Devil Rockin' Man," Freedberg is billed as "Devlin Carnate." (I'll admit, this caused me to say "Hey, I thought Nat Freedberg was-- oh, I get it.") In addition, the songs all have something to do with our pal Beelzebub - "Devil Music," "I Carry the Curse,""Helena Handbasket" (say it out loud), etc. A couple of songs are recycled from the Titanics CD, which itself had some satanic song titles. More intriguingly, echoes of future Upper Crust tunes can also be heard: combine "Pure Evil" and "Hell: It Ain't Heat-- It's the Humidity" and you've got about 75% of "Let Them Eat Rock;" the chorus of "See You In Hell" is similar to "Tell Mother I'm Home;" and it's a short trip from "Let's Make The World A Worse Place To Live" to "Opera Glass." In another foreshadowing of the Crust, the CD's booklet has an Olde Tyme look, including using the old character that looks like an 'f' instead of 's' whenever poffible. Co-produced by Tim O'Heir, who also co-produced the Upper Crust CD.
Seks Bomba
This band bills itself as "Boston's hottest Surf-Spy-Lounge Rock band" They're worth mentioning here because -- despite vehement denials on their web site -- their singer/guitarist is none other than the Crust's own Chris(Count Bassie) Cote.

Both Nat (Lord Bendover) Freedberg and Dave (the Duc d'Istortion) Fredette played in this band, which released an album on the White Star label in 1990. (The astute reader will of course recall that White Star was the name of the shipping line that owned the ill-fated ship.) This was later released as a CD on Taang! Records in 1991 with four extra tracks. All the songs were written by Nat with the exception of the Captain Beefheart song "Out Of The Frying Pan" (which has also been covered by Swedish garage-punkers The Nomads, who covered the Lyres song "She Pays The Rent"). Future Upper Crust producer Paul Q. Kolderie engineered one track and produced another on the CD, which was recorded in late 1989. Dave's brother Stephen also played bass in the band for a little while. One can see the germination of the Satanics in song titles like "Stayin' On The Right Side Of Satan" and "Family That Prays Together." The Titanics recently reunited at a benefit show for Stephen Fredette.
(On a totally unrelated note, one of the passengers killed when the Titanic sunk was named Evan Davies -- no relation to your Web serf.)

Please direct all enquiries -- or submit an entry or correction to the Glossarie -- to your Web serf, crust@juvalamu.com.

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