In the Newspapers and Articles
Born in San Francisco, Dave Crimmen grew up in Broadmoor Village, a subdivision built by the Stonestown Development Corporation just after World War II in an unincorporated part of Colma.
Crimmen lived in Broadmoor for 30 years. Now a very well – known singer, guitarist and composer in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, Dave’s book “Broadmoor Village” $21.95, Arcadia Publishing (Images of America Series), celebrating the history of his hometown, has just hit bookshelves. This Saturday Aug. 28, 2 to 4 p.m., Florey’s Books welcomes the public to Dave’s book release and signing party.
Crimmen’s book defines Broadmoor’s location for the many San Mateo County and San Francisco natives who have no idea where it starts and stops.
“Imagine a square. On the north or top end of a square is Westlake Shopping Center.” the good natured Crimmen begins. “On the south side of that square, directly opposite, is Westmoor High School. On the east side of that square is Daly City’s City Hall and on the west side is an elementary school known as the Majorie H. Tobias Elementary School (formerly Vista Mar). Right in the middle of all that is Broadmoor.”
Back in the 1950’s when Bay Area developers and cities looked to annex unincorporated areas, Broadmoor came under the annex “microscope” but chose to stand alone and unincorporated.
“Eventually Daly City grew up around it.” the author said, “and many people mistakenly think of it as a neighborhood of Daly City. But in actuality, the approximately 4,100 people living in its 2 1/2 to 3 square mile vicinity live in their own community.”
Crimmen notes that when studying areas of Northern San Mateo County, there is a lot of confusion about certain areas of Daly City, verses unincorporated or incorporated areas of Colma, verses Broadmoor.
“The Broadmoor Shopping Center on 87th and Junipero Serra, where the IHOP is, was never in Broadmoor.” Crimmen clarified “That was built by the Stonestown Brothers on land that was annexed by Daly City in 1931. The Broadmoor Towing Service is listed in Daly City but is actually in Colma. The Westlake Car-Wash is not in Westlake or Daly City. It’s in Broadmoor and the Broadmoor Police Department is in Daly City.”
If one really wants to know if they are in Broadmoor or not, Crimmen said about a block or two west of Daly City’s City Hall, where the street signs turn from blue to green with white letters, and the curbs go from square to round – you’re in Broadmoor.
The youngest of five, Dave is the son of Chief Petty Officer Otis A. Crapse and his wife Susan. His mom, whom he refers to as the “fighting Irish” was a singer in a Speakeasy back in the ’30s. She loved to do torch songs. He credits her with being a big influence on his career as a songwriter. (Dave has composed music for movies and television and he is a frequent tune on college radio.) She used to say to her son “When Bing Crosby sings ‘White Christmas’ Irving Berlin gets paid”.
His Navy dad played guitar and sang for fun. However it was because of Dave’s dad, that Dave wrote his first song at age 9.
“I’m Cherokee on my father’s side and as soon as I learned about the ‘Trail of tears’ – I wrote a song.”
Dave remembers his first guitar. It was a 4-string Mickey Mouse guitar he got when he was 3 and he gave it a whole lot of use. He was in second grade when he started taking formal lessons. His dad, a big time fan of country music, then called “hillbilly music” used to tune into local television channel KTVU to watch “Black Jack Wayne” Saturday morning before the Giants came on. There were all these famous country singers on that show and Dave’s dad told his son, “Never mind those guys, watch the guy who can really pick out the notes.”
Dave’s first rock ‘n’ roll inspiration was Elvis Presley period.” Apparently when I was in my crib, my sisters would play records and when an Elvis record came on I would stand up and shake the crib.”
“My genre is rock ‘n’ roll.” Crimmen said (davecrimmen.com) “And the concept behind my music is unplug your brain, jump up and dance. I like the sound of guitars, the voices and there is something about the purity and freedom of the music from the 1950’s – though they came pretty close when the Beatles arrived – of absolute joy.”
For the past seven years Dave and his wife Sharon Caren, a massage and reposturing therapist (sharonthehealth.com) have lived in Pacifica and Dave has made it his business to bring Pacificans as much music as he can. Recently he played at the Pacifica Historical Society’s 100th birthday party soiree for the Little Brown Church. He also shook out the bop at a recent Spindrift benefit with the cast of “Bye Bye Birdie.”
He played the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce “Hearts on Fire” event held at Pacifica’s Park Mall in June. You can hear him among 11 artists (soloist and bands) on the recently released “The Best of Pacifica Volume 1” (local artists offer works to benefit PCT 26 and Pacifica Performances). He’s played at Nick’s, the Coastside Farmer’s Market, Old Princeton Landing and the list goes on. His first vocal coach (Skyline College, 1974) was the late Mildred Owen.
Dave’s latest record “Full Circle” is due in September.
In writing his book on Broadmoor, Dave said there are so many people to thank but he would be remiss if he did not publicly thank, Edie Epps of the Visitation Valley Historical Project, Chief Greg Love Broadmoor Police Department and Ray Mogel at the San Mateo County Department of Public Works.
“It’s really another story how I came to write this story,” Crimmen laughed “But I have to say that I really wrote it for the people who live in Broadmoor and don’t even know they live in Broadmoor.”
Saturday, Aug.28, 2 to 4 p.m., Dave Crimmen will be at Florey’s Book Co., 2120 Palmetto Ave. (floreysbooks.blogspot.com) to sign copies of “Images of America: Broadmoor Village” Also available through Arcadia Publishing (arcadiapublishing.com).
-Jean Bartlett, August 25, 2010
Another gorgeous day for Concerts in the Park, not too hot, not too cold and what a band!
The Dave Crimmen Band rocked the fans with their Rockabilly covers and original songs; written by Dave Crimmen, founder of the band, lead guitar and vocals. Johnny Alexander bass and vocals, and Greg Windust on drums and vocals rounded out the band. These long time friends and excellent musicians brought the audience back to the 1950’s of Carl Perkins and early Elvis Presley. Of course, most of the audience knew all the lyrics to the songs and the younger dancing kids learned new songs that they will now remember forever. From their first song “Jingle Bell Rock” (Bobby Helms – 1957) that instantly engaged the audience, to the band’s encore “Wipe Out” (The Surfaris – 1963), the band held all spellbound. In between songs like “Peggy Sue”, “Don’t Be Cruel” and “La Bamba” Santa Clarans danced the afternoon away. After the band’s performance new fans were lined up to buy their two CDs.
Margaret, a new attendee, said she had not previously known about these concerts but heard about them from a neighbor. She had so much fun that she plans on coming back again. Most of the audience had been there before and have held BBQs, birthday parties, brought their kids and others brought their dogs. Mare and Ali Becker spent their 38th wedding anniversary happily dancing.
The last of the Concerts in the Park will be on Sunday, August 22, from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m., with the ever popular Sparkletones closing out the Concerts in the Park Series.
For more information on Concerts in the Park contact The Santa Clara Cultural Advisory Commission at 408-615-2210
Additional Santa Clara events can be found on the City’s television station Channel 15 or visit The City of Santa Clara website at santaclaraca.gov.
The Dave Crimmen Band can be reached at davecrimmen.com or (650) 589-5852.
-Christy Kinney, August 18-24, 2010
There is a very cool CD called “The Best of Pacifica Volume 1 – Pacifica Artists playing for the Arts of Pacifica”. The CD benefits Pacifica Community Television Channel 26 and Pacifica Performances.
The compact “vinyl” features songs performed by and in my cases written by the following hometown musicians – Mike Tyler, Shelter Cove Blues Society, Marcos Jaramillo, Gary Horsman, Uke Lorenz and Blue Moon Medicine, Ian Butler, Dave Crimmen, The Linda Martians, Belligerance, Inverness and Billy the Shape, a one stop shop for hot.
Song styles and moods travel many diverse roads of extemely satisfying listens. There is a dreamy fusion of classic and psychedelic rock (Tyler). Mellow jazz, funk, world-beat harmonica driven blues (Shelter Cove Blues Society). Segovia-driven eloquent classical guitar (Marcos Jaramillo). Thoughtful, modern folk, sea-like chanty (Gary Horsman). American-storytelling folk with a bit of celtic and yee-haw (Uke Lorenz and Blue Moon Medicine). Smart beachy jukebox pop and black light rock carrying important messages for a better world (Ian Butler).
Also there is stuff to make your 1957 hot rod shake out its tires and dance (Crimmen). Very hip martini/James Bond music (The Linda Martians)
Alternative rock, rap, heavy metal kickers (Beligerance)
Heat-filled, hook-driven post-grunge (Incerneas). Life-lived, new wave, post punk, synth pop, groovy finger-snap (Billy the Shape).
The project is the brain-storm of musicians Uke Lorenz Blue Moon Medicine) and Steven Roark (Billy the Shape). Lorenz, the owner of Blue Moon Music has seen an amazing amount of local talent come into his store, which includes Steven Roark.
“Steve, this Pacifica bon vivant and Safeway bagger, has been coming to my store for a few years and we struck up a friendship.” Uke said.
“He is a very talented songwriter and lyricist, in fact the songs are just pouring out of him. He had given ma a few songs to record and I wrote music to some of his lyrics. Last fall I mentioned to him, wouldn’t it be nice to make a compilation CD of all the diverse talent Pacifica has to offer?”
Between the two men talking it over with various musicians’ contacts, the idea gelled into a double project.
“We were swamped with musicians who wanted to participate and from the start we wanted to create something that would introduce the variety of Pacifica musical talent to Pacificans and at the same time support the organizations that are supporting the musicians.”
Musicians quickly dropped CDs off with Steve and Uke and suggested which songs should be used for the record. The mastering process took a bit longer than expected, and Uke, while still maintaining his two local businesses, moved to Surrey, British Columbia.
“My commute takes a little longer!”
A little shy of a year later, the CD is now packages and ready to be played.
Locals know many of these musicians from gigs at such places as Cheers, Nick’s, Portofino’s, Pacifica Performances, The Bruce Latimer Show (PCT 26), Shelidance, Orchard Gardens and the Earth Day Party at Linda Mar Beach. And despite living in British Columbia, Uke makes his way to the Chit Chat Cafe once or twice a month to do a show called “Uke and Friends.”
The CD sells for $15.00 ($10.00 if that’s all your budget can do.) All money made goes directly to Pacifica’s Performances and PCT 26. “The Best of Pacifica Volume 1” can be purchased at Pacifica Performances, PCT 26, Blue Moon Music, or email Uke Lorenz with your phone number at firstname.lastname@example.org and he can process your order.
“I learned a couple of things on this project.” Uke said. “One, the 21 songs we crammed onto this first CD were the maximum we could get on a single CD. Two, there are so many other musicians around Pacifica and the Coastside that did not make it onto Volume 1 that we have to have a Volume 2- Nomi Harper, Nancy Hall, Lee Parvin, Frank Risinger, Leighanna Murphy, The Biscuit Wheels, David Cannaday and his band View from Space- I could go on and on!”
“I have been blessed to have the support of my family and friends in my various endeavors.” Uke continued.
“And music has given me so much. So I just want to say to all you parents out there – please, send your children to music lessons. In my estimate it is the greatest gift you can give a child.”
-Jean Bartlett, August 18, 2010
Dave Crimmen, Known for Rockabilly, Pens History of Broadmoor
Flip through the pages and a small unincorporated hamlet comes into focus.
Norman Rockwell-ish in style – with baseball teams, toddlers, old cars, buildings and cheerleaders – this is Broadmoor, as represented in “Images of America: Broadmoor Village” (Arcadia Publishing, 127 pages, $21.99). With a population of 4,200, it is a subdivision of unincorporated Colma and historically, is a place where you knew your neighbors.
That’s the recollection of author and Pacifica resident Dave Crimmen, known around the coastside for heading the Dave Crimmen Band, which has played its brand of rockabilly and 1950s and 60s rock at local happenings including Rock the Block and the Pumpkin Festival, and at clubs like the Miramar Beach Inn, Old Princeton Landing and San Benito House.
“Everyone knew everyone,” back when he was growing up there, said Crimmen, “If you got stopped by the police, the worst thing that could happen was not that you’d go to jail, but someone would call your parents.”
Guitarist Crimmen was inspired to try his hand at writing and immortalizing his hometown by fan Edie Epps with the Visitation Valley History project.
When she came to the band’s gigs, she brought along the “Images of America” book on El Grenada; then the one on Daly City; then the one on Colma. Each time, she told Crimmen he ought to do one on Broadmoor.
So he took her at her word. “I thought it was important because Broadmoor is unincorporated and sort of in the shadow of Daly City,” he said. “So I thought I should roll my sleeves up and write a book.”
Drawing from the San Francisco main library, the history societies of Pacifica, Colma and San Mateo County, the Daly City history guild and his own former Cub Scouts den mother, he pieced together the historical photographs with informative captions that characterize the Arcadia “Images of America” books.
Crimmen will present his book at a signing from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday Aug.28, at Florey’s Books at 2120 Palmeto in Pacifica.
The book is available at Barnes & Noble, Costco, on Amazon and at Crimmen’s band’s gigs.
For the musician, with the book, “life has really come full circle.” He began his musical career as an adult, he said, writing songs for Carl Perkins, driven by his love of rockabilly.
His next album, “Full Circle”, a compilation of three earlier albums is due out in September. After that, he will begin work on an album of new material, due for release next year.
-Stacy Trevenon, August 11, 2010
“Spindrift at the Hop – A benefit for PSP with the cast of ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ Saturday”
On Saturday, Aug. 14, from 8 to 11 p.m. musician Dave Crimmen with his vocal ease and guitar treats and his roots in Sun Records Era of rock ‘n’ roll, will bring out his band to shake out a whole lotta sock hoppin’ for a benefit at the Spindrift, featuring the cast of “Bye Bye Birdie.”
“Bye Bye Birdie” written by Michael Stewart and with music by Charles Strouse is climbing on board the Pacifica Spindrift Stage weekends running Sept. 3 through Oct. 3. (The Spindrift presentation is directed by George Mauro, with music direction by Bob Sunshine and choreography by Natalia Luna.)
The 1960 Tony-Award winning musical, inspired by Elvis Presley tells the story of a rock ‘n’ roll singer, Conrad Birdie, who is about to be inducted into the army.
Before that induction takes place, Birdie’s agent secretary Rosie concocts a final national publicity plan where Conrad will bid farewell to a “typical” American teenage girl with an all-American kiss. Even though everyone swoons when Conrad shows up in there town, the singer just wants to be a regular guy.
Crimmen, whose original tunes swing like a stock car race at the famed Charlotte Speedway, is perfect to rev up the engine for the upcoming “Birdie” production. A West Coast legend of rockabilly, Dave has composed music for movies and television and he is a frequent tune on college radio. Bill Griffith of B.A.M. Magazine wrote, “Dave’s music conjures up visions of pony-tailed girls doing the bop, in fact, this stuff would work in a ‘Back to the Beach’ movie soundtrack. Makes me feel like I want to hop in my Chevy convertable to meet Artur Fonzarelli at Arnold’s!”
So ladies, if you’re thinking it is time to blow off the dust on those tapered pants, peppermint tops and/or wide skirts with petticoats- and gents, if it’s been a while since you plastered your hair in a ducktail, then you better get yourself to the Spindrift where the dance floor is out, Dave Crimmen and his band are on stage and the cast of “Bye Bye Birdie” is celebrating their wop-bop-a-lou in three hours of singing and dancing on stage at the Spindrift, 1050 Crespi Drive, Pacifica.
Tickets for this Spindrift fund-raiser are just $10.00 bucks a pop. Reservations at 359-8002. Visit www.pacificaspindrift.org
-Jean Bartlett, August 4-10, 2010
Dave Crimmen is a towering, six foot-four inch guitar-slinger who’s sassy, smoky crooning conjures the ghost of Elvis during his Sun Records era in ’50’s Memphis. On “The Son of Sun”, Crimmen sounds like what Chris Isaak wishes he sounded like-harder, more authentic, grittier.
Even the old timers recognize Crimmen’s talent. On his 2007 CD, “Big Daddy D”, he was backed by the Jordanaires for a couple of tracks. That’s the group that backed Patsy Cline, Ricky Nelson and Elvis Presley. Bill Haley’s Original Comets recorded one of Crimmen’s songs.
The man is a swaggering, rockin’ good time. See for yourself this Friday and Saturday July 9 and 10, at the Old Cayucos Tavern.
-Glen Starkey, July 8-15, 2010
Casting shades of Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, Dave Crimmen’s recent gig at Summerset Orchards brought back memories of olden times, when rock and roll was born out of the blues, country and jazz bumped up by hard-rock southern rhythm.
Brought to the Orchard’s Lodge by Pat and Jack Clemen’s Summerset Concerts, guitarist/vocalist Crimmen cohorts John Alexander on bass with drummer Greg Windust turned in a sparkling performance that pleased the sold out crowd.
Long a performer of rockabilly music, Crimmen calls himself “The luckiest guy in the world” for the opportunity to play the music he obviously loves. Songs like “Don’t Be Cruel”, “All Shook Up”, “Claudette” and his own compositions, “1957 Chevrolet Bel Air”, or “Revved Up” get his audiences tapping their feet or out on the dance floor boogying for all they’re worth.
“I had a fine time” said Summersetter Chuck Cannon. “Probably the best fun I’ve had since (wife) Penny and I moved here.”
George Kapplan wholeheartedly agreed. “It was a great concert.” he said, “and people really enjoy his music.”
According to event organizer Pat Clemins, “We just knew Dave (Crimmen) would be a great addition to our $10.00 per person concert series, and he certainly proved it.”
Singer, songwriter, guitarist, recording star Crimmen returned the enthusiasm. “We love playing for you guys,” he said “Thanks for having us.” Crimmen’s group is well known to many Summerseters from his gigs at Nines restaurant, where he played several Friday and Saturday evenings last summer.
Crimmen’s original music has been featured in movies and he has produced three CDs plus a number of singles that have done well on radio. In his mid-50’s Crimmen has been playing Bay Area haunts for decades. Married and living in Pacifica, his favorite expression is “I’ll plant you now and dig you later.” For more on Crimmen, visit www.davecrimmen.com
-Ray Carter, February 26, 2010
Interviews and Magazines
San Francisco Bay Area rockabilly Dave Crimmen has had positive reviews the last few years in publications like BAM (Bay Area), Goldmine, Rockin’ Fifties and for his pre-Greaseball show in San Francisco at the Café Du Norde in 1998. This year Dave found time musically to tear up the Jackson, Tennessee Rockabilly Hall of Fame groundbreaking Thursday night show in late March. Two weeks later in Nevada, Crimmen was at Tom Ingram’s Viva Las Vegas weekender at the Gold Coast Hotel. This time Dave performed three standing room only shows at the Rockabilly Hall of Fames stage in the West Lounge of the hotel’s main lobby. No stranger to rockabilly fans in America and Europe, Crimmen has been on a roll the last couple of years. A perfect example is when on October 22, the C.B.S. Sunday night movie entitled Songs In Ordinary Time contained three original Dave Crimmen songs in the soundtrack of the movie! Not your garden-variety type rockabilly, Mr. Crimmen is not afraid to have opinions that may challenge or even violate the party line or conventional thoughts, wisdom etc. on the current state of rockabilly music. No cookie cutter talk from this cat, he’s honest about what he thinks and who and what has shaped his current original sound. Due to his success in Hollywood with movie and TV soundtracks, Dave freely admits that some old school rockabilly purists. Here’s the kicker; Crimmen thinks it’s funny because he knows he can only be honest and true to himself, when it involves his musical expression. Bottom line? He could care less. He’s got to be Dave, so here it is music lovers, warts and all! Here’s the Dave Crimmen interview! Enjoy!
BSN: Dave, could you tell us a little about your musical past?
DC: I’ve played music professionally for years and I’ve always been a band guy. I’ve always enjoyed playing with other musicians. I played the clubs and bars in the 1980’s. I guess I played every type of music you can think of, but I personally always had my favorites. It was the pioneers of rock, blues and that type of music. Tell you the truth, I don’t remember if we called it rockabilly, but that was one of the types of music I personally found the most interesting. I should mention that my taste in music can be eclectic and there are all kinds and types of good music. I’m not a one-dimensional guy, but I do have my favorites.
BSN: Who were your early favorites?
DC: At the age of two I heard Elvis Presley. I was the baby of the family and I had a sister 20 years older who brought home Elvis records in the 1950’s and after hearing that great voice, it was off to the races for me (laughs)!
BSN: So how did your music head off in the direction of rockabilly?
DC: The perfect explanation would be when I met Carl Perkins here in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989. Carl was playing a club in Marin County and he was appearing at my favorite record store in the whole world, Village Music in Mill Valley, and Perkins was signing autographs for his fans. I’ve always been a songwriter and after telling Carl Perkins this fact, he said, “Boy, do you write songs in my style of music?” I said, “Yes sir, I do.” He laughed at my response and I explained that I was born and raised in California, but my daddy was from Augusta, Georgia and you could say I was raised in the south. My daddy, Otis Alvin was a big influence on my guitar playing and musical direction. Carl Perkins seemed to understand all this and we got along very well. I sent him some of my original tunes, but in the interlude, I was getting involved in a band called Xtender that recorded two albums in the early 1990’s.
BSN: Was your family a big influence on your music?
DC: Yes, I mentioned my older sister brought home music that amazed me as a kid, but also my dad Otis Alvin was a big influence on my guitar playing. He was 30 years in the Navy and could play a mean guitar. My mother Susan Rose was a good Irish Catholic girl from the Roxbury district of Boston. She had been a singer in many of the speakeasy’s in the 1930’s and had show business in her blood.
BSN: Besides your dad Otis, who else has influenced your guitar playing?
DC: Scotty Moore, who backed Elvis from 1954-58 and James Burton, who played with Dale Hawkins on Suzie-Q in 1957 and Burton played with Ricky Nelson from 1958-62 and Elvis Presley in the 1970’s and today, Burton backs Jerry Lee Lewis. Also, I don’t want to forget the great country picker from the TV show Town Hall Party, Joe Maphis, (the guy who taught Larry Collins of the Collins Kids to play guitar).
BSN: What about singers?
DC: Little Richard and believe it or not, John Lennon!
DC: John Lennon always raises a few eyebrows, but he had a strong background in the early days of rock and roll and was a rocker by nature. In 1969, Lennon released and album of old rock songs that were almost all rockabilly.
BSN: You’re a strong songwriter, so what songwriters do you respect and have they influenced you?
DC: The Brill Building guys out of New York like Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Also, the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger and the guy that looks like a mummy, what’s his name (Keith Richards)? They are great songwriters who can write anything so they have not influenced me, but have inspired me as a songwriter.
BSN: What rockabilly performers do you like?
DC: I like the under rated performers and if they have been influenced by black performers (like John Lennon was by Specialty records performer Larry Williams) that’s cool also. Country, blues, boogie, swing &endash; it all helped to produce rock and roll.
BSN: Can you name a few current artists you like?
DC: I like Rockin’ Lloyd Tripp and his band. He’s a San Francisco Bay Area guy, who is really good. Tripp’s new CD is great rockabilly and they are also a good live band. Like myself, Lloyd is a good songwriter and as you know in the music, it all starts with the song. I like the band Slow Gin Joes and guitarist-singer Pee-Wee Thomas. All great acts.
BSN: Speaking of songwriting, who has influenced you?
DC: Both my parents were really big influences in my life.
BSN: We know that you had one of your songs used on the TV Show Melrose Place a couple of years ago, so how was a rockabilly singer able to get tunes used on TV and in movies?
DC: Marc Ferrari at Master Source Publishing has placed some of my songs in movies (the Sissy Spacek TV movie on Oct. 22 of this year had three of Dave’s songs &endash; “Take Me Baby”, “It Was Love” and “A Girl Like You”) and we together as a team have done well on the TV and movie circuit.
BSN: The College Radio people seem to play your music on many college radio stations. What’s the secret to your success in this field?
DC: A good product and a little luck and good people plugging your tunes for you (laughs). I met a very talented lady named Stephanie LeBeau, who has a company called New Visions Trust that promotes new music to college radio stations. Her company has been a big help in breaking my three Dave Crimmen CD’s on college radio on the national level. I’ve had number one songs and CD’s on many college stations across America the last two years. New Visions Trust has been a big help. In fact, on album The Son Of Sun had to be re-released because of renewed interest in the music because of the new college radio play that happened after my third album Where He Left Off was released, all the work of New Visions Trust. Confusing, but still success on the college radio circuit playlist.
BSN: Dave, we understand you showed up in Jackson, Tennessee this spring at the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
DC: Yes, the virtual Rockabilly Hall Of Fame was having a meet and greet before they broke ground to build the hall of fame. I took my band to Tennessee (think expensive) and we were the first ones to jump on state Thursday night at the jam session. Needless to say, we had a ball. One of the things I tried to do was to get Bill Haley’s Original Comets to come up on the stage and jam with us. I tried everything like begging (laughs) and even asked Marshall Lytle to come on up alone &endash; everything I could think of. It was a no go, but when the Comets did a recent show this last August in Reno, Nevada at the “Hot August Nights” weekender, my girlfriend Sharon and I were blown away. What a great band! If anyone has a chance to see “the real” Comets, go for it. Still one of the greatest rockabilly bands in the world today
BSN: An editor from one of the national magazines who was at Jackson, said you have never met a microphone you didn’t like. Any comment?
DC: Sounds like me (laughs)! The most amazing thing to happen to me personally in Jackson was the morning after the jam session at breakfast, Brenda Lee came up to me and said how much she and her husband, Ronnie, enjoyed our show the night before. I thanked her and tried to look like I was not going to faint. Brenda Lee walked away and only then did I sneak a peak over my shoulder to see if she was talking to some guy standing behind em! The good news is there was no one there, so she was talking to me. Needless to say, I was in seventh heaven…no, make that rockabilly heaven. The Dave Crimmen band has been invited back next year in June to the Jackson, Tennessee Rockabilly Weekender again, and we are excited. We always do good shows when we are in Tennessee.
BSN: We understand that just two weeks later you and the band were at the big Viva Las Vegas weekender in Nevada.
DC: Yes, we did three shows in the West Lounge at the Gold Coast Hotel and the crowds were great. All the shows were well attended.
BSN: What’s in the pipeline for fans of your music?
DC: We have a new CD coming out next year called “Big Daddy ‘D'” and before that releases, I’ll have a new vinyl 45 out that’s my first ever cover tune. As always, it’ll come with a picture jacket for the record collector inside of all of us.
BSN: There must be a story there? I mean the song on 45 not the picture jacket.
DC: Yes, there is. My daddy, Otis Alvin’s favorite song of all time was a Red Foley hit in the ’50’s (8# January 1950) and our version of the song came out very good. I’m looking forward to releasing it on vinyl in the spring. It’s been 31 years (1969) since my dad passed away, but this one is for him.
BSN: We know your three CD’s are doing very good on college radio and we wish you continued success in rockabilly and we will watch for the “Big Daddy ‘D'” CD next year. Thanks for the interview and your time, Dave.
DC: Thank you and with that thought, I’ll plant you now and dig you later!
The smoke had cleared and the interview was over. In the distance, a coyote howled. I thought to myself, “Hey, who let the coyotes out?” A story for another time, perhaps. My impression was that musician Dave Crimmen was not some questionable personality lost in a banal musical dream. This is one focused cat who brings no sense of entitlement to the rockabilly party. Bottom line is you have to love this guy, warts and all. Crimmen does not claim to be a picture perfect, card carrying, rockabilly purist. He wears many musical influences on his sleeves and the real proof is in his powerful original songs, especially his ballads. The proof is out there waiting for you to discover it. So give Hepcat mail order a call and tell them the guy with the greasy nose and bad breath from Seattle sent you. “Keep rockin”.
If image, desire and ambition alone guaranteed success for a rock and roll band, Xtender would be headed for stardom. Harry Mello is the image. He has a cleanly shaven head that begs to be rubbed. He wears a piano keyboard bolo tie and black sunglasses dotted with white music bars and notes. He is a composer, vocalist and keyboard player. Dave Crimmen and Mello are the creative force behind the group. Crimmen is a vocalist, lead guitarist and composer. He speaks in a booming voice and wears his hair in a kind of Elvis pompadour as physical evidence that the “King” has influenced his music.
They are guiding the five-piece rock and roll band through a maze of nightclub performances in the area. El Perico has hosted the band a number of times and will feature it again Saturday. Xtender plays rock and roll from the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties. In a four-hour performance, Crimmen said half of the music they play is original, most of them composed by Mello and Crimmen. Rounding out the band are Carlson (guitar and vocals), D’Amato (drums, percussion and vocals) and Ramos (bass, keyboards, guitar and vocals). “We’re all in our 30s and the naivete and youthful emotion is not taking its toll on this band,” he said. “We’re all keeping the band as a priority,” added Crimmen. Both believe they are progressing toward their goal, Top 40 stardom. That is the way Mello said he judges a band’s potential. “Initial momentum can derail,” Mello said. “So far we have been able to deal with the problems that have come up. I look at the progress a band makes. If it takes too long to move up the ladder, inertia can set in.”
In the year the group has been together, they have recorded one demo tape and a second one is in preparation. Major recording companies have been approached and one of the songs from the first tape is getting “airtime” on radio stations in South Carolina. By choice, they have no agent or manager. Since they have not signed with a record company, they have complete creative and booking freedom. “Nobody can tell us what to do or perform,” said Crimmen. “We write, produce, record and perform.” Freedom has its advantages, but Mello said the reality of the industry is that bands need the financial backing of major recording companies. “We like the independence but have no real visibility,” he said. “We need the distribution to get where we’re going.”
Crimmen called on relatives with friends in the radio industry to get some airplay for one of their songs on the East Coast. He called it the “good old by network” and said it is one of the ways to gain the attention of a recording company. While recording companies may be cautious to sign contracts with unproven bands, a band that has already gained popularity is not much of a risk. Competition for recording contracts is fierce, but Mello said he doesn’t consider Xtender to be in competition with other bands. “You can’t compete or play to what other bands are doing,” said Mello. “If you create art, the audience will respond to that. Create what’s in your heart and do the best you can do.” “You have to let art dictate to business, not business dictate to art,” said Crimmen. Business considerations are sometimes part of the creative process. When composing a song, its marketability can have an influence. “You can consciously craft things to give yourself an edge,” said Mello. “When you create a song you may have several beats that can go with it and choose a dance beat because it will give the song an edge.” Their first recording is being sold by the band at performances. They are also negotiating with Tower Records to make it available there.
-Tamara Rogers, December 26, 1990
Rockabilly lives! Carl Perkins, one of the originators of rockabilly, proved it in a surprise appearance at the Fillmore with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in February. Although in his 60’s, Perkins hasn’t lost a note in either his voice or his guitar playing. He had no problems holding his own with the Heartbreakers – an exceptional rock & roll band. This true-blue American genre of music was founded four decades ago when Sam Phillips at Sun Records helped Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Perkins fuse country music (then called “hillbilly music”) with rhythm & blues and black gospel. Rockabilly experienced a resurgence in the early ’80s, via bands like the Stray Cats – ironically in England. Peninsula artist Dave Crimmen continues to carry the rockabilly torch. Imagine the vocal technique of Elvis, the guitar licks of Carl Perkins backed by the strong rhythm section of the Beatles. If the old Sun Records have a deficiency, it is the weak rhythm section, unable to keep up with the emotion and power of the voice. Crimmen has resolved this by enlisting the aid of Sal D’Amato’s steady drums and solid bass playing, alternated between Bill Shaffer and Robin Sylvester. The finished product is a thoroughly enjoyable collection of music found on “The Son of Sun.”
While there are noticeable contemporary influences like ZZ Top on “She Turns Me On,” 90 percent of this music is pure rockabilly. Songs like “It’s Got That Beat,” “The Devil’s Music,” and “Dancin’ Shoes” are guitar-driven, melodic, upbeat rockabilly with all the energy, fun and dance-ability common to the music. “Baby Shake It Up” and “If You Said Yes” feature Dave playing lead guitar in the great Carl Perkins style. Both tunes open with signature lead riffs which define and drive the songs. Surprisingly, one of the few times he slows down, “Looking Back” sounds like a nod to Creedence Clearwater Revival, another Bay Area product.
Since his February record release party at Route 66 in Burlingame, Crimmen has generated a lot of buzz. “Recently an L.A. publisher called about placing my music in TV and movie soundtracks. A European agent expressed interest in putting us on a European tour,” said Crimmen. The Belmost resident got hooked on Elvis early. Enthusiastically, Crimmen decided to share his new-found love of music with his kindergarten class. Crimmen brought the record, “Baby Let’s Play House” to kindergarten for show and tell. “I was so disappointed when my teacher wouldn’t play it,” Crimmen recalls, laughing.
The colorful Crimmen has a penchant for naming his guitars after his sisters. his collection includes ‘Arline’, his black 1978 Gibson Les Paul, ‘Phyllis’ his 1982 Fender Strat, and ‘Ginney’, a Gibson J200. His latest acquisition sports the turquoise fins of a ’57 Bel Air Chevy. Dave Crimmen is offering good-time music to be enjoyed and danced. His new collection of music, “Where He Left Off” is soon to be released. A new single, “Let It Rock” is already available by writing Dave at P.O. Box 2213, Daly City, CA 94017.
-T. A. F. Fisher, March 8-9, 1997
My 3-year-old daughter now yells “I want rock ‘n roll” whenever we go out in the car. That’s because I listened to Dave Crimmen’s new song, “If You Said Yes,” while doing some errands with her. It’s a snappy tune with Crimmen sounding a lot like Elvis Presley and my daughter loves it. (She hasn’t heard a lot of Elvis, so it was a new sound to her.) Dave Crimmen will be a special guest on Channel 8’s The Bruce Latimer Show tonight. He’ll be performing “If You Said Yes,” along with some other “rockabilly” style songs. “Rockabilly is so old, it’s new again,” says Crimmen, a Belmont resident who has performed extensively in the Bay Area with the group X-Tender (which has evolved into his own back-up band). “I think people are tired of being depressed by music. We’ve come around to the time when people just want to dance and have a good time.”
A Broadmoor native, Crimmen drives a delivery truck during the day and works on his music the rest of his life. “The guys in the band refer to me as the encyclopedia of rock and roll,” he says. Crimmen’s a guy who can rattle off classic rock statistics the way a baseball fan can spout historic pennant races. “I’ve seen Elvis twice,” says Crimmen. “Both times at the Cow Palace. In 1972 and ’76. He put on an excellent show both times. He looked great in 1976.” A true-blue Elvis fan, Crimmen thinks the “King” deteriorated quickly and the bloated, overweight image of the singer only really existed just before his death in 1977. “I think Priscilla and Lisa Marie should be applauded,” says Crimmen. “They’ve helped re-instate the Elvis of the 1950’s.” That’s an image issue, of course, and it’s something Crimmen is keenly aware of in the music business. His own image consists of a wiry guitarist with turquoise jewelry. He’s got a ring on every finger. “Image is something I’ve been beaten over the head with,” he says. “I got the idea of the turquoise jewelry from a Fats Domino video. It does get a reaction.”
Part Cherokee Indian, Crimmen says he is also making no bones about playing up the Elvis “thing.” His music is a direct descendant of the Presley music tradition and although he is not an Elvis impersonator, it’s hard not to describe his sound as “Presley-esque.” “I’m a real roots rock and roller,” he says. “So it’s a gift from God that this rockabilly revival is happening now.” Crimmen points to Chris Isaac’s great success in the music business as one example of the public’s new enthusiasm for “rockabilly.” And of course, he hopes to one day become equally successful. A Westmoor High School graduate who went on to Skyline College, Crimmen feels on the verge of breaking into a new level of musical success. He’s paid his dues with X-Tender and other bar bands and is ready for people to recognize Dave Crimmen as a music force. “I consider myself a full-time musician,” he said. “My day job allows me to buy guitars and pay for records. I am a rock and roll star, the world just doesn’t know it yet.”
Appearing with Crimmen tonight on the Latimer show will be Harry Mello, Sal D’Amato, Bill Shaffer and Leif Carlson. If you want to find out more about Dave Crimmen, and an upcoming album release party for the new single, call the Crimmen hotline at 650 589-5852.
-Chris Hunter, January 3, 1996
It’s not too often these days that a press kit from a musician includes a 45 RPM vinyl disc. But after listening to a few songs from ’90’s rockabilly artist Dave Crimmen, it’s clear why he added this anachronistic touch to his presentation. His tunes recall the days of hi-fi record players and jitterbugs.
Belmont resident Crimmen, who will host a CD release party for his new single, “Let It Rock,” at 9 p.m. Friday at Burlingame’s Route 66, has been rockabillying the Bar Area bar and club scene for years. He’s often touted as today’s Elvis, Little Richard or Johnny Cash. The similarities to The King are perhaps most apparent, extending not only to Crimmen’s music but his appearance. He sports the Elvis-like dark hair, the sideburns, the turned-up collar. He’s a daunting 6 feet 4 inches tall (not including the cowboy boots and big hair) and wears fistfuls of silver-and-turquoise rings.
Crimmen’s sound is fresh and clear, a blend of guitarist Leif Carlson’s lively picking, Harry Mello’s nicely crafted piano backup, the solid rhythm work of bassist Robin Sylvester and drummer Patrick Walker, and Crimmen’s vocals. The group’s musical philosophy is obvious. “The get-up-and-party and dance thing has been gone so long, it’s time to get up and do it again,” says Crimmen.
There’s evidence that the band will get up and do it again more often. “Lately, I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven,” Crimmen says, referring to the emergence of the “rockabilly movement” in San Francisco’s South of Market club scene. To date, he has produced two CDs, “Just Call It Rock ‘n Roll” and “The Son of Sun” and will soon release a third, “Where He Left Off,” which will mark the 20-year anniversary of Presley’s death.
And yes, Crimmen and the boys will play Presley tunes in their live performances, usually only pieces dated before ’59. The way Crimmen sees it, “It’s not an imitation so much as an emulation (of Presley).” But don’t ask him to do the dance. He has to draw the line somewhere. The Route 66 is located at 1261 California Drive. For information on the band’s upcoming shows, call its hotline at (650) 589-5852.
– Jennifer Flannery, February 13, 1997
Rock ‘n’ roll is a lot of fun on the surface, but for groups trying to make a living at it, alligator wrestling is probably easier. The prospects for success are even slimmer these days, when rock is close to extinction in the face of lip-synced rappers dancing to computer-programmed beats. Still, if you look a little beyond MTV and the hot hits in Rolling Stone, you’ll find plenty of bands turning the guitar volume up and using real-live drums.
Xtender is one such band committed to the roots of rock ‘n’ roll and trying to climb the ladder of success with it. The Peninsula-based group released its self-titled first album a few months ago featuring some rockabilly-inspired numbers and other 1950’s and 1960’s-oriented rock (with a nod to the 1990’s occasional synthesizer). The band, like many others, plays a lot of established songs when it does the club scene. There are gigs at places like the Farm House in Redwood City and Route 66 in Burlingame. But the five-member group is crying out for its own voice.
Leaders/songwriters Dave Crimmen and Harry Mello stress the power of Xtender’s original songs and the successful impact thus far with live audiences. “There’s really a magic between the five of us,” Crimmen said. “The (debut) album was written and recorded in five months.” Crimmen, on vocals and guitar, is accompanied by Mello on keyboards, Tony “T-Bone” Ramos (bass), Sal D’Amato (drums) and Leif Carlson (guitar, vocals). Xtender has also been fast at getting itself known. With hustlers like Crimmen and Mello, the group has made itself known to rock greats like Fats Domino, Carl Perkins and “The Killer,” Jerry Lee Lewis. Crimmen said Perkins agreed to record three of Xtenders songs when he approached Mr. Blue Suede Shoes last year. The outcome of those songs is still pending but Perkins’ phone will probably keep ringing until he does record them.
The group’s original music isn’t particularly adventurous or innovative &endash; the theme here is standard party rock with titles like, “If You Said Yes (I Wouldn’t Say No),” “The Man With The X-Ray Eyes,” “When Your Lover Says Goodbye” and “Little Miss Management.” But the group’s goal is going back to rock’s roots. Crimmen, an avid Elvis and Beatles fan, said he plays “the types of rock I grew up with, that I enjoy playing best. You don’t hear enough bands today that have these kinds of roots.” Mello, the keyboard player with the shaved head and the shades, said he adds the thought-provoking element to the band, with songs like “Little Miss Management,” an ode to a former manager.
Mello and Crimmen remain enthusiastic about the fate of straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll. “It’s presence has always been there,” Crimmen said. “It’s never gone away – it’s gotten more subtle.” You can catch Xtender next at El Perico in Half Moon Bay this Sunday and Friday, March 22, before the group hits the road for Colorado.
-Bruce Batron, March 14, 1991
Rock and roll is never as easy as it looks. Just ask the guys who make up the band called Xtender. “This incarnation has been together since December of last year,” said Harry Mello, keyboard player and vocalist for the band. “But we’ve all been playing in this area for 15 years.” With his shaved and shining head sitting behind opaque sunglasses, Mello is a vision of rock and roll caricature. He likes it that way, proudly listing the various pop looks he has cultivated over the years, from the gold chains of the 70’s to the long hair of the 60’s. Now, he’s hoping that Xtender will make his look a familiar sight to rock fans. “I was in The Visitors in the 80’s,” Mello said. That band brought out an LP loaded with his original material and came close to snagging a record deal.
Tony Ramos, bass player, guitarist and vocalist for the band, has also paid his dues on the circuit. With the group Dr. T-Bone, the Pacifica resident played up and down the Peninsula, developing a solid reputation and appearing at such local spots as the late Mark Savage’s Vallemar Station. Xtender recently recorded an album-length collection of original songs on the Vergone label. Mello and Ramos hope the production will help them move from the bar-band level to the higher reaches of rock stardom. “We have five entities in the band representing five decades of rock and roll,” said Mello. “We cover a wide spectrum of rock and roll styles with strong roots in 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.”
Leif Carlson and Dave Crimmen both play guitar and sing for Xtender. They have a broad range of experience performing in the Bay area. Crimmen is a prolific songwriter whose work is being considered by the likes of Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. Sal D’Amato rounds out the band with his drums, bringing an equal amount of musical experience to Xtender. All of the members are locally based along the Peninsula. “We’re a PG band,” said Ramos, “and most of our songs are love songs with a few political ones, but we really put on a show. We jump around a lot.” “We’re all just regular people,” said Ramos. “Three of us are technicians and Harry works at Candlestick Park.”
-Chris Hunter, August 29, 1990
Rockabilly rebel rules the Peninsula
With a voice like Elvis Presley’s and musical accompaniment resembling Little Richard’s keyboards and Buddy Holly’s guitar, Dave Crimmen and his band are taking the Peninsula music scene by storm. Crimmen’s forte and first love is rockabilly music, with influences from Fats Domino, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Elvis Presley.
In January, his latest single, “If You Said Yes,” will be released. This upbeat, easy-to-dance-to song is one of many new tunes on Crimmen’s forthcoming album, “The Son of Sun.” “My biggest influences come from ’50s rock ‘n’ roll.” Crimmen said in a recent interview. “All I’ve ever wanted to do is be a singer in a rock ‘n’ roll band. It’s just what I love to do.”
According to a family yarn, Crimmen became hooked on rock ‘n’ roll at the age of 6 months when one of his three older sisters brought home an Elvis Presley album and played it for him. “So I guess it’s always been in my roots,” he said. The seriousness of Crimmen’s love for ’50s music grew as he got older. Crimmen, who was in kindergarten at the time, remembers bringing his first Elvis Presley album, “A Date with Elvis,” to class and asking his teacher to play “Baby, Let’s Play House.” “She wouldn’t play the song and she broke my heart,” Crimmen said. “I went home in tears.”
While Crimmen is far beyond his kindergarten days, he draws from his past and present life experiences to write his songs. A song titled “Devil’s Music” is based on Crimmen’s kindergarten teacher refusing to play the Presley song and how that experience relates to sentiments that rock ‘n’ roll music negatively influences youth. Crimmen added he currently is working on a song entitled, “Your Records Are Staying.” “This song goes back to when my older sisters got married, and I told them they could go but their records were staying,” Crimmen said. “I try to bring out in my music aspects of real life,” he added. “But the main purpose of my music is to help people have a good time and to dance.”
The making of an image
“The Son of Sun” is Crimmen’s fourth album; two under the band name of Xtender and one previous album, “Just Call It Rock ‘n’ Roll” under the name Dave Crimmen. “The record labels weren’t responding to us as Xtender,” Crimmen said, “but they liked me and my singing, so we changed the name to Dave Crimmen. Then I turned around and hired Xtender as my backup band.” As Crimmen prepared to take center stage as the band’s main attraction, he had to work on developing his image. “Music isn’t just music,” he said. “You have to have a look. It’s one more way to help people get a handle on who you are.” Crimmen’s look is now well developed as he had grown long sideburns and wears black leather and plenty of silver and turquoise jewelry.
The idea for the turquoise and sliver rings emerged from a Fats Domino appearance on an old Steve Allen television show; and the T-shirt with a jacket’s collar turned up has its roots in the 1950’s period so often represented by the rough and tough James Dean role in “Rebel Without a Cause.” “Some say having an image makes the music secondary,” Crimmen said. “But to me, an image is part of the job. Musicians needed it even before MTV and the business of making videos.”
As Crimmen’s music gets more exposure, time spent in clubs and bars throughout the Peninsula is increasing. In the past, Crimmen has played at McGovern’s in San Mateo and plans to have the “If You Said Yes” release party at Leon’s Route 66 in Burlingame on Friday, Jan. 26. The band also hopes to get airtime on college radio stations and KFOG, a radio station based in San Francisco.
No matter where Crimmen plays, however, he and his band members are not strangers to the Peninsula. Crimmen and guitarist Leif Carlson are graduates of Westmoor High School in Daly City. Bassist Bill Shafer attended El Camino High School in South San Francisco. Sal D’Amato, who plays the drums, lives in Foster City and pianist Harry Mello lives in San Francisco. All attended Skyline College together.
As Crimmen prepares for his new album’s release, the band’s long term plans revolve around signing with a major record label. “We just can’t stop playing,” Crimmen said. “It would be like cutting off my right arm. Playing music is just something I have to do.” For more on Dave Crimmen and his band, call the band’s information line at 589-5852.
-Kimberlee Noll, December 20, 1995
San Mateo as the place to go on a Friday night? Who would have ever thought that possible? We’ve already discussed the B Street boogie, but now the action is spreading across town. There’s enough going on these days to keep party patrons from having to travel to far off entertainment Mecca’s. You know, like Hayward or Fremont.
Sammy O’Leary’s Irish Pub is the newest addition to the local club scene, and brother, I mean new. Music is the specialty of the house on Friday and Saturday nights. Last Friday night featured local rockabilly ace Dave Crimmen, whose one-time band, then known as Xtender, played Sammy O’Leary’s on opening night.
Crimmen drives a truck by day, then straps on a guitar and sings rock and roll at night. Sound familiar? Well, he’s from Belmont, not Tupelo, but there’s one thing that separates Crimmen from other club bands: His originals are stronger than his covers. Opening with “I saw Her Standing There,” the band moved on to such rock staples as “Wild Night” and “Green River.” They also touched up “Sweet Little Sixteen” with a ribald rewrite, is closer to the true Chuck. It was on his own tunes, though, that Crimmen really scored. Plugging his new CD, “Just Call It Rock and Roll,” he clearly enjoyed “Here With You” and the Del Shannon-flavored “Been Here Before.” The small but serviceable dance floor got a workout.
-Bruce Campbell, October 21, 1994