Crom: Too Busy With Hardcore Performance Art to Get Famous
Metal group Crom are defined by their intense live performances and their peculiar metal mash-ups. Oh, and their breathtaking lack of ambition.
Sure, they count members of famous groups like Mastodon, High on Fire and Slipknot among their fans, and their drummer has been lauded as one of the best of his generation. The co-founder of hip metal label Southern Lord, Greg Anderson, was their bassist briefly. And they even once opened for Beck. Yet the band have gone precisely nowhere in 20 years.
Success isn't just beside the point, it's diametrically opposed to who they are.
See also: The 20 Greatest Metal Albums in History
Named for a (fictional) god worshipped by Conan the Barbarian, Crom routinely out-crazy their audience. Members have walked offstage midset more than once. Their rhythm guitarist (known simply as "Scottbag") has performed naked. At a downtown warehouse show in 2001, an audience member threw a bottle at them, to which their frontman -- who goes by the name Will Crom -- responded by throwing it back. By night's end the band chased the entire crowd of 250 people into the street with beer bottles. "There was literally no one left in the place. We were kicking over trash cans. There were bottles everywhere," he laughs a bit. "That was the ultimate Crom show."
There's something of a too-insane-to-be-true quality to almost everything about Crom. The group itself began as an inside joke 20 years ago between Will and guitarist Phil Vera. In a Loyola Marymount University liturgy class, Will sketched surreal pictures of toilets with horns and bat wings, vaginas with teeth and fat women with four breasts, all bearing the logo "Crom." The nun teaching the class was not amused, and often tossed the pair out of class.
Eventually the pair decided to write some songs, but that was about the extent of their ambition. "If our friend Kevin hadn't asked us to play his birthday, it never would have went anywhere," says Will Crom, who is 41 and lives in Hermosa Beach. "We never sought after anything." However, after this first gig, fans followed up with requests for them to play backyard parties and warehouse gigs.