The Chrome Cranks started life in Cincinnati, Ohio, the hometown of singer-guitarist Peter Aaron and guitarist William G. Weber, in 1988. For the first two years the group was pretty much a band in name only, kicking around basement and loft rehearsal spaces with ever-changing lineups. The outfit’s first gig was as an opener for Pussy Galore (ironic, since PG drummer Bob Bert later joined the Cranks); at this point the bass-less quartet featured a different vocalist and Aaron on guitar only. Soon after, the group’s direction began to shift from more melodic material to the darker, blues-based sound the Chrome Cranks would become known for. Aaron took over as vocalist, the band added a bassist for a handful of local gigs, and recorded “Fool on Ice” for the Atavistic Records 1991 compilation Out of Their Mouths and Into Your Head. Next came the recording of a four-song demo in the beer cellar of a disused brewery. Weber moved to New York in 1991 and ended up joining GG Allin & the Murder Junkies, with whom he continued to play until (and occasionally after) Allin’s 1993 death. During one of Weber’s return visits to Cincinnati, the reassembled Cranks recorded “Eight Track Mind” and “Collision Blues,” which would later be released as the band’s first single. After Aaron joined Weber in New York in early 1992, the pair recruited ex-Honeymoon Killers leader Jerry Teel as bassist, auditioned drummers, and soon signed with the Matador Records-distributed label PCP Entertainment. The four-song demo the group had recorded in Cincinnati was highlighted on the cover of respected industry publication the College Music Journal (CMJ) and PCP released the “Eight Track Mind” debut single. With Swiss expatriate drummer Phillip Rust, the group began to play out locally, and recorded its second PCP single, “Darkroom” b/w “Burn Baby Burn.” Rust was soon replaced by Charles Hanson, and more singles followed on the Sympathy for the Record Industry and Insipid labels. The band next released Vice Squad Dick, a split CD-EP (also available as a two-track seven-inch picture disc) shared with infamous underground provocateur Foetus. The Chrome Cranks’ self-titled debut album was released in November 1994, drawing rabid praise from CMJ, Alternative Press, and other key publications. At this time Weber and Teel converted the group’s rehearsal space into their Funhouse Studio, where they recorded outside artists and from where the Cranks produced most of their subsequent releases. After replacing Hanson with ex-Sonic Youth/Pussy Galore drummer Bob Bert in summer 1994, the band toured the U.S. and Europe and in 1995 released its sophomore album, Dead Cool (Crypt Records), which is comprised of tracks featuring both Bert and Hanson. The group promoted the disc with continued tours of the U.S. and Canada and was especially well received in Europe. Later that year saw the appearance of split double seven-inch with Australian legends Kim Salmon and the Surrealists on the Echostatic/Space Baby imprint (the Chrome Cranks would tour the U.S. East Coast and Midwest with the Surrealists in1996). While in the U.K. in December 1995 the group recorded a five-song Peel Session at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios. In 1996 the Cranks released Lost Time Blues (PCP Entertainment), a five-song CD-EP (also released as a two-track vinyl single), and once again toured overseas. Love In Exile, the band’s third album, was released on PCP Entertainment (on Konkurrent in Europe) later that year, and a video for the track “Hot Blonde Cocktail” received heavy airplay on MTV. The band completed a grueling six-week tour of Europe to promote the album. 1997 saw the release of Oily Cranks (Atavistic Records), a compilation of early demos, and a tour of Eastern Canada and the U.S. Midwest and East Coast with the Geraldine Fibbers (who featured avant diva Carla Bozulich and future Wilco guitarist Nels Cline). In 1998 Live in Exile, a visceral live set taped mostly at the legendary Vera club in Groningen, Holland, during the Love in Exile tour, was released on CD and double LP by Australia’s Au-Go-Go Records and in Europe on CD by Konkurrent. But, as with many bands, the combination of constantly being on the road coupled with other pressures had taken their toll on the group, and after one more tour of Europe the Chrome Cranks fell apart in April of that year. After the breakup Teel and Bert formed the now-defunct Knoxville Girls with underground icon Kid Congo Powers and Weber returned to Cincinnati, where he plays in long-running power-poppers the Tigerlilies and records with his solo instrumental projects, dumBASS and Glitch. Teel now fronts Jerry Teel & the Big City Stompers and Bert plays in Five Dollar Priest, which also boasts ex-members of Swans and Speedball Baby. Aaron dropped out of performing and became a music journalist and magazine editor, occasionally dabbling in casual improvised music projects. In January 2007 Atavistic Records released Diabolical Boogie, an enhanced two-CD set comprised of rare, live, and unreleased material and three video promo clips. Through the magic of the Internet, the following year, Aaron, Weber, Bert, and Teel reconnected and are planning a Chrome Cranks reunion for 2009.