Formed in Ohio by Peter Aaron (vocals, guitar) and William Weber in 1988, the band more or less plodded indistinguishably until relocating to New York City in the early '90s.
In 1992, the Cranks were joined by former Honeymoon Killers' bassist Jerry Teel. Drummer Dan Willis signed on at the same time. At that juncture, the band was given a sense of purpose and a definite aesthetic. Where early recordings certainly reflect an interest in garage rock and noisy indie bands like the Jesus and Mary Chain, it wasn't until Teel joined that the Chrome Cranks' sound solidified itself. From that point, the band picked up where the Honeymoon Killers left off, churning out a stripped down, deconstructive bastardization of garage rock tradition, retooling everything from the Stooges to Kim Salmon. The new lineup inaugurated their recording career with the debut EP Eight-Track Mind on PCP in 1992, thus establishing their Cramps meets Pussy Galore aesthetic -- sleaze-rock, essentially. A heap of other singles followed in the successive years.
In 1994, PCP released the quartet's self-titled debut album, quite possibly their best. Dead Cool followed in 1995, with Bob Bert, previously of Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore, and many other bands of note, on drums. The album lacked the visceral rawness of its predecessor. The Chrome Cranks' final studio album, Love in Exile, appeared in 1996. Although the band folded that year, sporadic singles followed, as well as the album of outtakes and demos, Oily Cranks, and the potent live document, Live in Exile, both in 1997. ~ Patrick Kennedy