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Daily Texan: Punk rock primates

11/01/1995 - ST37 Featuring: Busride, Cattle Gard Playing at: Hole in the Wall, 2538 Guadalupe St. Date: Thursday, 10 p.m. JOE SEBASTIAN Daily Texan Staff In Austin, the "Live Music Capitol of the World," it's criminal that local musicians should be overlooked in the way they are. But it's probably fitting revenge for the audacity of our dear City Council in choosing that title for Austin which has instead become so stratified musically. Musicians can either fit into the roots-rock blues scene or the punk scene, or they just aren't allowed to fit in at all. This means, in effect, no press, no record labels, no local fans. ST37, having labored in this obscurity for years, is fully aware of the effects of this non-interest. Their experiments with psychedelia have removed them from the popular music scene for years. "Everyone's into garage punk now," said ST37 member Scott Telles. "You know, I was in a garage punk band in '79 and '80. What's the point in being in a garage punk band now?" "What's frustrating for us, is that you've got the big punk crowd, the whole Emo's crowd, and they'll hear psychedelic music or anything weird and think, 'That's what we're against,'" said Carlton Crutcher. "But we came up through the other end. We got into punk rock first, then psychedelia." ST37 formed in January of 1987, with a definite beginning in the punk rock of the time. The band was playing early on with bands like Ed Hall, Pocket Fish'RMen, Seemen and Crust. "But things change. We were really into Scratch Acid and the Butthole Surfers and the Offenders. We were basically a punk rock band. But as you play punk rock for years and years you want to do something different. You know, psychedelia, anything." ST37 has gradually added in psychedelic and experimental aspects to their music, now reaching a pinnacle of sorts with the release of the album Glare. A rare gatefold double LP, Glare soars through two platters of whooshing guitar and sampled noise, barely anchored by the rock format. The record was put out by the Italian label Helter Skelter, and the story behind that is long and twisted and is not aided in any way by local interests. "We hooked up with this label from Minneapolis called Prospective, which was distributed by Twin Tone," said Carlton Crutcher. "Restless, the parent company of Twin Tone, hated all the stuff John Kass [Prospective record's head] was putting out," said Telles. "Prospective was supposed to be the weird subsidiary of Twin Tone. That's how it was explained to us. But Restless really wanted the next Soul Asylum." "Scott runs a cassette label called Blue Circle where he puts out our stuff on cassette," said Joel Crutcher, the group's guitarist. "Some people in Italy got hold of it and were really digging it. They wrote us real nice letters and ordered batches of tapes -- real fucked up shit no one else would want. Between that and John Kass and the people he knew, it came together. We've never met." "Just the way they packaged it shows their interest," said Telles. "Gatefold sleeves are ridiculously expensive. It costs more to print a four-color jacket like that than to press an entire record." ST37 does have some records available locally, including a CD and an upcoming single on Over and Out records, which is run by John Coleman out of his record store, 33 Degrees. But the band has still been passed over due to their currently unpopular choice of musical styles. "Originally we thought we might be on Trance [Syndicate]," said Carlton Crutcher. "We played the first Trance showcase, at SXSW in like '90." "We were the only band to play the showcase that didn't get signed to Trance," finished Joel Crutcher, who seems almost proud of the fact. Telles' wife June has an explanation for the band's current unpopularity. "Other people change what they're doing to get the babes. But you guys keep getting older and fatter and playing longer, and when people say [that] you're playing too long you just shrug and say 'Oh well.'"

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