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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Chrome: Chrome Box 1996

Chrome was an American rock band founded in San Francisco in 1975 by musician Damon Edge and


associated with the 1970s post-punk movement. The group's raw sound blended elements of punk, psychedelia, and early industrial music, incorporating science-fiction themes, tape experimentation, distorted acid rock guitar, and electronic noise. They have been cited as forerunners of the 1980s industrial music boom.
                                                                                           


Chrome were one of the great bands from the San Francisco music scene of the late Seventies. Formed in 1975 by the enigmatic Damon Edge, they released their first LP ‘The Visitation’ before being joined

by guitarist / vocalist Helios Creed. It was this collaboration that really focused the bands’ direction and their next two albums, ‘Alien Soundtracks’ and ‘Half Machine Lip Moves’ defined their musical approach and remain highly regarded to this day. Interest in the band grew steadily, resulting in their fourth LP ‘Red Exposure’ being released in the UK by Beggars Banquet. Unfortunately, at this point the band very rarely played live and it was quite possibly this lack of performance that held the band back from reaching a wider audience. Regardless, they released several more albums, including ‘Blood On The Moon’ and ‘Third From The Sun’, before Damon moved to France with his wife, effectively ending the classic Chrome line-up. He continued to release albums under the Chrome title, but opinions on the quality of this material are mixed. Helios Creed, meanwhile, continued to record and for the first time tour, under his own name.
                                                                      

They found little commercial success as part of San Francisco's 1970s music scene, but developed a cult following in the United Kingdom and Germany following the release of the LPs Alien Soundtracks

(1977) and Half Machine Lip Moves (1979). Edge died in 1995; subsequently, guitarist Helios Creed has revived the Chrome name for recordings and performances. When it comes to influential underground rock bands, San Francisco is (was) lousy with them. Throw a rock randomly into a crowd on Market St. and you could end up hitting a member of the Flamin' Groovies, Crime, or maybe even one of the Residents (though in the case of the Residents, you couldn't confirm it).
                                                             

Out of all the Bay Area bands to have been declared seminal, Chrome is probably the most influential

while having the least to show for it. Their Stooges-meets-synths-and-experimental-noise sound is credited with being the beginning of industrial rock music -- the stuff that that made careers for Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, among countless others. Yet when I call longtime Chrome guitarist Helios Creed days before he left for a week-long west coast tour, he tells me he doesn't know where he's going to live afterward because he's being evicted from his Santa Cruz home.
                                                           

Born and raised in Long Beach, Calif., Creed began playing guitar at age 12 after his father, in the Navy at the time, brought him a Guyatone electric guitar from Japan for his birthday. He started mimicking his guitar heroes like Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck, but in his later teens Creed would expand his horizons with psychedelic drugs and heavier groups of the '70s like Hawkwind (he would later quip that he invented his guitar sound by trying to recreate what he heard "listening to Black Sabbath on LSD on headphones when I was a teenager").
                                                          

Creed moved to San Francisco in the mid '70s, and soon met Chrome's original bassist, Gary Spain, who introduced Creed to the group's first album The Visitation. Creed not only enjoyed the music, but he knew he had to be in the band. By then Chrome was falling apart: guitarist John Lambdin, suffering from amphetamine psychosis, was hospitalized. But Chrome's mastermind Damon Edge (born Thomas Wisse) had already switched his attention to turning the band into a recording project, using his trust fund money to rent a house and buy equipment.
                                                 

"When I met (Damon), he had long, straight, kinda greasy hair and he was wearing an 'Aloha' shirt with

a sports coat," Creed says. "He was a little chubby [laughs]." According to Creed, though Chrome was a psychedelic band, they never "jammed." "That was a hippie thing," Creed says. "And we never played the blues [laughs]."
The two began working on Ultra Soundtrack, intended to accompany a live psychedelic strip show. But when its mind-bending sound-collage style was deemed too weird for the dancers, the duo expanded the recording with straight-ahead rock tracks and processed tape loops, releasing it as Alien Soundtracks.
                                                        

Alien Soundtracks was released on Edge's Siren Records the same year the Sex Pistols' Never Mind The Bollocks blew up the music world, and Chrome became an underground sensation in both the U.K.

and the U.S. practically overnight.
"The covers of our albums filled the windows of record stores," Creed recalls. "I was surprised; I didn't think people were going to like it that much."
Edge and Creed doubled down on the space riffs and abrasive drumming for the next album, 1978's Half Machine Lip Moves, their most popular album to date. It has all the trademark touches of a classic industrial rock record: samples of people talking; scrap metal used as percussion; and crunchy, super-distorted guitar. The magazine Wire would include it in its list of "100 Records That Set the World on Fire (While No One Was Listening)."
                                                 

Creed and Edge recorded three more albums -- Red Exposure, Blood On The Moon and 3rd From The Sun -- each one just as groundbreaking as the last. Yet the band would never fully overcome its cult status, and sapped Edge's trust fund dry, according to Creed. Though they were famous in certain circles, Chrome would never achieve mainstream success, partially because Edge refused to perform in public until 1981.
"He had hangups about playing live under different circumstances," Creed says.
Edge moved to Europe in 1983, continuing to record and play under the moniker Chrome. He would die of heart failure in 1995.
                                                               

Creed would play for years under his name, and released underground-successful records on labels like Sub Pop and Amphetamine Reptile. At the same time, Chrome's profile rose again during the '90s

thanks to industrial rock's entrance in the pop charts, the re-release of their albums, and bands such as the Jesus Lizard and Prong covering their songs.
For a few years around the turn of the century, Creed reclaimed the Chrome name and played with two other former members, John and Hilary Stench, releasing a few recordings with the lineup. In more recent years, Creed has recruited a new band and finally taken advantage of the years of acclaim by performing around the globe, including festivals such as Spain's Primavera Sound.
                                                  

In the same time frame, Chrome also released two new albums: Half Machine from the Sun, a collection of lost tracks recorded between 1979 to 1980; and Feel It Like A Scientist, with all-new material. To the surprise of many, both albums sound like they were recorded by the Chrome of old, full of the psychedelic sci-fi punk the band's dedicated followers worship.
"It amazes people how Feel It Like A Scientist just fit in with everything else," Creed says. "Maybe I had something to do with it."

CHROME: Damon Edge interview
Rock Magazine, September 1980: HERE

Chrome ‎– Chrome Box
Label: Cleopatra ‎– CLP 9770-2
Format: 3 × CD, Compilation Box Set
Country: US
Released: 1996
Genre: Electronic, Rock
Style: Industrial, Experimental, Punk

MEMBERS


Damon Edge - vocals, synths, etc.
Helios Creed - vocals, guitar, etc.

Additional players:

Aleph Kali - drums
John Stench - drums
Hillary Stench - bass
Gary Spain - guitar
Cyborg - synth loops

STUDIO ALBUMS

Alien Soundtracks (1977, Siren Records)
Half Machine Lip Moves (1979, Siren Records)
Red Exposure (1980, Beggars Banquet Records)
Blood on the Moon (1981, Don't Fall Off the Mountain/Beggars Banquet Records)
3rd from the Sun (1982, Siren Records)

EPs

Read Only Memory (1979, Siren Records)
Inworlds (1981, Don't Fall Off the Mountain/Beggars Banquet Records)

SINGLES

New Age (1980, Beggars Banquet Records)
Firebomb (1982, Siren Records)
Anorexic Sacrifice (1982, Subterranean Records)

CD 1.

Alien Soundtracks (1978)
 

01. Chromosome Damage     3:49
02. Monitors     2:19
03. Pygmies In Zee Park     5:59
04. Slip It To The Android     3:47
05. Pharaoh Chromium     3:25
06. Magnetic Dwarf Reptile     3:38

Half Machine Lip Moves (1979)
 

07. TV As Eyes     2:16
08. Zombie Warfare     5:48
09. March Of The Chrome Police (A Cold Clamey Bombing)     3:37
10. You've Been Duplicated     2:38
11. Mondo Anthem     3:31
12. Half Machine Lip Moves     5:17
13. Abstract Nympho     3:35
14. Turned Around     1:58
15. Zero Time     3:03
16. Creature Eternal     1:53

Subterranean Modern (1979)
 

17. Anti-Fade     3:55
18. I Left My Heart In San Francisco     0:27
19. Meet You In The Subway     5:14

Read Only Memory (1979)
 

20. Excerpt From Read Only Memory     8:18

New Age 7" (1980)
 

21. Informations     3:09

 

01. New Age     3:10
02. Eyes On Mars     3:31
03. Jonestown     2:21
04. Animal     2:49
05. Static Gravity     3:20
06. Eyes In The Center     4:08
07. Electric Chair     4:07
08. Isolation     4:330

Inworlds (1981)
 
 
09. In A Dream     5:07
10. Danger Zone     5:20

Blood On The Moon (1981)
 

11. Need     2:59
12. Perfumed Metal     4:40
13. Insect Human     5:03
14. Brain On Scan     3:58

Live In Concert Bologne, Italy (1981)
 

15. Instrumental     5:56
16. Out Of Reach     4:09
17. Blood On The Moon     4:59
18. Inner Vacume     4:01
19. Planet Strike     2:28

MP3 @ 320 Size: 181 MB
Flac  Size: 497 MB

CD 3.    

No Humans Allowed (1982)
 

01. Manifestation (Of The Idea)     3:31

Firebomb 7" (1982)
 

02. Firebomb     2:37
03. Shadows Of A Thousand Years     3:38

3rd From The Sun (1982)
 

04. Future Ghosts     5:18
05. Amageddon     8:34
06. Heart Beat     5:12
07. Off The Line     4:31
08. 3rd From The Sun     4:42

Anorexic Sacrifice 7" (1982)
 

09. Anorexic Sacrifice     5:14
10. Beacons To The Eye     4:40

Chronicles I (1982)
 

11. Open Up (Locust Door)     6:09

Chronicles II (1982)
 


12. Gehenna To Canaan     7:18

Raining Milk (1983)
 
 

13. Wings Born In The Night     6:45
14. Tribes (Ultra)     3:05
15. Gehenna Lion     5:20

MP3 @ 320 Size: 181 MB
Flac  Size: 507 MB

Chrome: Red Exposure on Urban Aspirines: HERE

8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. @ Commendatore and Jack Bond: Thank you for your comments.

      Delete
  2. wow. Thank you!

    Some times you just need some Chrome.

    Elwood

    ReplyDelete
  3. Many trierd to sound like them, no one got even close.
    Half machine remains a cornerstone.
    I still keep some of the vinyls.
    Thanks for the box, amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Excellent compilation (which I bought) with a couple of caveats.
    1) HMLM is almost complete apart from the last track "Critical Mass". For me the album builds to a crescendo and this track is absolutely essential for that. It should not have been left off. I remember Helios Creed saying as much when it was released.
    2) For me the "Live In Bologne" tracks are far weaker than the equivalent versions on BOTM so the compilation would be stronger if the studio versions were included instead.
    Also if anyone is wondering why no tracks from "The Visitation" were included it is because only Damon Edge was on that one. Helios Creed joined on "Alien Soundtracks". So that is fair enough.
    Finally I just want to say I still have the vinyl of AS and HMLM on Siren Records and they will follow me to my grave.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the music and the great history!

    ReplyDelete