Entertainment For The Trashhound
Bellingham's Estrus Records has been providing quality trash to the discerning connoissuer for sometime now. Currently boasting a healthy roster of contemporary aktion, including the blues-tinged song-smithery of The Souldad Brothers, the howling punk/blues anguish of The Immortal Lee County Killers, the garage punk nuggets kool of The Mooney Suzuki & the destructo twang angst of Bantam Rooster, Estrus also has it's fair share of more established US indie stalwarts; Gas Huffer & Man Or Astroman?.
All these & more can be accessed by the immediate purchase of "The Estrus Double Dynomite Sampler - Volume 3"
Leicester Banks dropped in on Estrus main man, Dave Crider, to find out what makes Estrus tick;
trakMARX - How long has Estrus Records been pumping out this frequency?
I started the label up in 1985 to release my band, The Roofdogs cassette. First vinyl release was the Mono Men "Burning Bush" single and things pretty much just steam rolled from there.
trakMARX - What pushed you into aktion?
The initial motivation was to get my own band's shit out, as I said. We did have offers from other labels but I figured, fuck it we can do this ourselves. How tuff could it be? I realized though that not all bands had the same drive/skills and if they didn't have help their music would not get out - so enter Estrus. I'm thinking this is probably the case with most indie labels...
trakMARX - What is the philosophy behind Estrus?
I'm not sure that there is a conscious overriding "Estrus" philosophy per say. I release music that I like and work with people I like. Thus my personal taste has pretty much shaped things. I do think that because I have done my time in bands I see both sides of this whole label/band thing. Honest, no-bullshit music with soul.
trakMARX - What criteria do you require to sign an act to Estrus?
Pretty much that I like the band...both on a personal and musical plane.
trakMARX - Any other labels who've provided a blueprint for the way you like to work?
Not really, but I don't really feel like I've had to reinvent the wheel. I do admire the way that Ruth at Mordam Records, Corey at Touch & Go and Dischord do their thing and treat the folks they work with. Just plain honest folk who shoot straight and really give a shit.
trakMARX - Any heroes/heroines lining the walls of the Estrus office?
I have shit all over the office. Lotsa eye candy. Music slop is mostly Estrus related, but I do have a signed photo of Greg Sage (Wipers) and a poster from the very last SLOW show up in Vancouver (back in '86 I believe)...two of my all-time fave bands. The Wipers and SLOW.
trakMARX - If you could time travel back thru r& r history - where & when would be yr. top 5 stop offs?
Hmm. Not sure that I can really come up with a top five moments list but I would have loved to have caught Link Wray and The Wraymen kicking ass in a DC club, one of the shows on the '69 Stones tour with Ike & Tina opening up, The Who in '70/'71, The Stooges live Funhouse Era, The MC5 in Detroit and to have been able to catch Coltrane live. Shit. I never had a chance to see The Scientists. The more I think the more there is but there really is no reason to dwell in the past when there is so much cool shit to catch right now!
trakMARX - America is kicking UK butt hands down in the r& r stakes right now - any idea why?
Hate to subscribe to the boundary thang but there has always been some pretty great R&R here in the States....just have had to really seek it out at times.
trakMARX - How important is yr. independence as a label?
I wouldn't have it any other way...
trakMARX - How do you see the US underground developing in 2002?
It's a pretty fucked up time right now at the indie level. Lots of big changes going on and in the long run I'm guessing this will be a good thing but right now there are A LOT of stores, labels and distros that have not been able to stay afloat....but I'm optimistic. Change is coming....
trakMARX - The US has a fine history of strong regional scenes - is this still important in today's musical climate?
I don't think that will ever change as that is how the best shit starts. Friends making music for themselves and their friends and eventually someone from that scene goes out and kicks ass and brings some of that attention back home. The seeds of future greatness are being sown in someone's backyard/garage as I type this, I'm sure.
trakMARX - What do you make of the wonderful sounds pouring out of Detroit & New York presently?
I would counter that great sounds have been coming out of both of these cities for quite a while/years now but it's just taken this long for folks to catch up. Bantam Rooster. Soledad Brothers. Mooney Suzuki. The Insomniacs - all have been kicking ass for quite a while now.
trakMARX - Any candidates to emulate the Stripes & The Strokes UK success from where yr. sitting?
that's just impossible to call...
trakMARX - Is the European market of interest to Estrus?
Of course! But as a whole Europa has not been all that interested in Estrus for the past few years. This has been building up again thou - esp. there in the UK and Spain. Japan and Brazil also seem to be hip to the shit we are shovelin'...
trakMARX - What's Estrus battle plan for 2002?
To quote Tim Kerr's battle scarred Gretsch Guitar: "....This Machine Kills Soulless Bullshit". 'Nuff said.
Leicester Banks - March - 2002