Vagrant Records Recording Artist
NEW!!! For a Great Interview with Jaime Robert Johnson go here
or for additional information please contact Vagrant Records (206) 525-0628
"Shit Happens" (self released, 1987)
Angelspit: "Youth-Apocalypse Fashion-Crime" (1994)
Angelspit 7"- Speculation b/w New Age Parade/Dogs of Class Warfare(1995)
Crunchbird (solo acoustic)- "Reject" (1995)
Endorphin- Demos (1998)
Electric Orchid- "Incarnate" E.P. (2001)
Photo by Erik Stuhaug
The Artist formerly known as Crunchbird (now Jaime Robert Johnson) first came to the NW from the Detroit/Ann Arbor Michigan music scene in the mid 80's.
Comming from a colorfully long artistic tradition of "Street Punk", Jaime (a self taught musician) took the handle "Crunchbird" (which has stuck with him for
many years) and over many years built up a Reputation for the combination of "Avante Garde Noise Art" and "Rock" music.
Of the many influences to his musical history probably the band, Sonic Youth had the greatest impact. He was also influenced by the music of Neil Young, Led Zepplin, Alice Cooper and later Seattle band, Skin Yard (just to name a few).
After growing up in Detroit, Michigan in the early 1970's, Jaime finally formed his first Punk band in 1979. "The Crash Steet Kids", were formed while he was attending college in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Of this Jaime says,
"We sucked , but had fun". After many other interim band's he helped form another Punk band called "Euthenasia" but later left for musical reasons. Later he joined (the Original)
Dharma Bums. During this time he also Roadied for the Infamous "Cult Band" Destroy All Monsters (featuring: the Ashton Brothers from the Stooges and Mike Davis from the MC5).
Also at one point around this time, Dee-Dee Ramone and White Rose studio owner Richard Work would perform one of Jaime's orignal songs, "Video Trash" (also done in the 90's by Ann Arbor's ledgendary Mortals and the Fury).
In the Summer of 1982 he saw the band Sonic Youth at Joe's Star Lounge in Ann Arbor, which influenced him incredibly. He says, "I was left practicly Speachless. For days afterwards I would bash my guitar amp with my instrument which (finally) broke!"
He continues, "I tried a violin bow, glass jars, tin cans, a key chain dangling from the strings and a slimjim, among other things." He holds to the fact that he couldn't bring himself to meet the band, "Because I was so intimidated by them."
but adding," It did radically rearrange my view of the Guitar. They played what I was hearing in my head. Since Childhood I have had words & music going on in my head. Throughout that time I told no-one for fear they would think
I was insane and put me away."
After joining several more Punk bands in the midwest in the early mid 80's, Jaime finally relocated to Seattle and auditioned for an early version of the band Crisis Party called, "On the Rocks" which also included Tommy Bonehead (later of the band Love Battery).
When this didn't work out he then started the band Urbanilla. They recorded 6 songs (including the song, "What Do I Get?", written by Destroy All Monsters) with producer
(and Skin Yard Guitarist) Jack Endino in his basement 4-track studio. During these sessions Urbanilla also breaks up.
Photo by Randy
Durning this time in 1985, as Jaime says, "Began a long period of joining bands and quitting (Including the following bands; Ash, Naked Lunch, and Public Domain) and doing
one-off Recording Projects with members of Ash, the Dehumanizers, and D.A. Larew, as well as one-shot gigs with Roberto Valenza, Jesse Bernstein and a Group called ADRD
(Another Drug Related Death) at Alternative to Loud Boats." He also did a lot of his poetry at this time at the many "open mic" nights around town, as well as occasionally opening for the Seattle band Room 9.
"Shit Happens" (Crunchbird, Part 1)
By 1987 Jaime started working with Jack Endino at Reciprocal Recording Studios on Leary Way in Ballard/Freemont on the begining of what would later become the release,
"Shit Happens". During this time he recorded the songs "Rice & Beans' and "Voodoo Doll". In early 1988 he formed the basis for the band Crunchbird (then called Ghostflesh)
with Drummer Art Jiron and Bassist Lynn Paulson. After convincing the owner of the Off Ramp Cafe (then a Lesbian dance club) to put on a benefit for the Northwest AIDS
foundation called, "Chaos against AIDS" featuring bands like Soundgarden, Skin Yard, the (ledgendary) Refuzors and Bootleg Howdah (later Bone Cellar). Meanwhile, the band
went back into the studio to finish what would then become, Crunchbird, "Shit Happens". Just before the release, the Rhythm Section pulled out and Jaime decided to call the
band Crunchbird. The new line up featured Seattle musicians such as Lonnie King (IMIJ), and KCMU DJ Captain Skillit Weasle (later to join the band DUMT and Getitgurl).
This line up of Crunchbird is also the line up to play the ledgendary, "4 Bands for 4 Bucks!"
show with Nirvana, TAD, and the Gits at the HUB Ballroom on Jan 6, 1990.
Also around this time the band Crunchbird was recieving Airplay on Seattle Alternative radio station KCMU 90.3 FM for the song, "Survivalist" off of the "Shit Happen's" release.
Sadly the band faltered again soon after this.
From the remains of the first incarnation of Crunchbird arose the band Karma. Formed with Victor Hart (later in Electric Orchid) on Drums and Ed Bowley Jr.
(later of the band Paddlewack) on Guitar. Karma was a full-on, rockin' combo. Unfortunately, they never released anything in their 2 years together. During the time
of revision for Karma in the early mid 90's, the band Angelspit was concieved.
Angelpit was Jaime on Guitar and Vocals, Scott Graham on Bass and Jason Phillips on Drums. They recorded the theme to the popular local public access
television program "Deface the Nation" and then later recorded with Jack Endino and Erik 4-A at the newely opened Vagrant Records Studio in April of 1994.
These recordings would later become the, "Youth Appocalypse Fashion Crime" release and the "Speculation" b/w "Dogs of Class Warfare/New Age Parade" 7 inch 45 r.p.m.
on Vagrant Records later in 1994. They would play local Seattle shows with bands such as Sick n' Wrong, Beluga, Cackhanded and the Blue Faces.
photo by Erik Stuhaug
Also during this time Jaime recorded some of his rarely done acoustic music. Recorded on 4-track and "Live" to DAT at Vagrant Records Studios, some of these songs
were released as, "Reject" in 1994/5. Accompanying him on these sessions were musicians, Geo Lane on Bass and Erik Dannevig on Drums and Percussion.
The 'Bird is Back! (Crunchbird, Part 2)
After over 5 years the band Crunchbird was to come out of Retirement once more. Combined with Bassist Greg "Sledge" Peterson and Drummer Simon Grant. The original
demos for this incarnation were recorded by Simon Grant in his practice space, followed by several sessions done by Erik 4-A at Vagrant Records Studios. At this point
there was a temporary change in the line-up. Drummer Simon Grant was replaced by Bruce "Mallot" Liable for several shows (Including an appearance on the local music
show "29 Live"). Some recordings were made, but found to be not releasable due to the quality of the musicianship. Finally the decision was made to replace Bruce with
Jack Endino for recording purposes.
Crunchbird labored for about a year between 1995 and 1996, tracking off and on for the potential release slated as, "Tales of the Ultra-Renaissance" (later changed to
"Grungaholica"). These tracks featured the likes of Jack Endino and Simon Grant on Drums; the "Late" John "Baker" Saunders (of Mad Season & the Walkabouts), Greg Peterson, Geo Lane, and Ian Raskin
on Electric and Acoustic Bass (respectively). Ultimately most of these tracks would be scrapped with the exception of 4 or 5 songs. Some would later be recorded by the next
incarnation of the band Crunchbird.
Crunchbird 97 (Part 3)
photo by Phil Ellis
Crunchbird '97 was formed in response to having a "Live" performing unit to back the "Studio" recordings. After taking an "extended trip" back to Detroit in the Winter of 1996-7,
the conclusion was reached that some of the tracks laid down during the previous year would not be able to be performed "Live" with the presicion given in the Studio setting.
It was determined to get a solid and established Rhythm Section. Drummer Simon Grant asked his fellow bandmate, Bassist, Tannar Brewer from the Jackhammer Trio to consider this oppertunity.
One acoustic track ("History") from the 1995-96 Vagrant Sessions was extracted and mixed for inclusion on the CM Records "29 Live" compilation. Jamie had been booked as an Acoustic act for the
Release Party of the "29 Live " Compilation at the OK Hotel in Pioneer Square in Seattle upon his return from Detroit. Once the Rhythmn Section of Simon & Tannar had been Established, it was
decided that they should go on for this performance as an Electric act for this set. It was mesmerising to the Audience to see the tranformation in this band.
These performances were later recreated in the Studio by Erik 4-A in the Fall of 1997. Five songs were recorded for later release, but when conflicts arose between schedules and musical directions,
the sessions remain unfinished. Rough mixes were done and a Limited Edition CDR was released by the band.
At this point the name Crunchbird was put back into Retirement.
Electric Orchid was the off shoot of the implosion of the side project, Endorfin. With Jaime wanting to explore his "Hard Rock" roots once more. The orignal line up consisted of, Max Budbill on Drums (later to be replaced by Vic Hart) and Andy Rosenthal on Bass (later to be replaced by Kerry Groceries).
Demos were recorded in 1999 at Private Radio Studios by Jack Endino, and later mixed by Erik 4-A at Vagrant Studios. These were then deemed as Unreleasable, due to a line up change. It was then determened to go back into the Archives and extract usable recordings from the various sessions. The new line up of Electric Orchid (with Victor Hart and Kerry Groceries) toured parts of the U.S. in late 2000.
Photo by Mike Rathell
The Electric Orchid "Incarnate" E.P. is the culmination of material from the previous Crunchbird '95, '96, and '97 Vagrant sessions. It is the best representitve of material from the past, moving into the material of the future. Jaime has now taken the name Jaime Robert Johnson
(which just so happens to be a combination of his true names, but also a reminder to us of one of the guitar greats as well), which reflects his Commitment to being not only an Artist, but also to looking forward to the Future and Creating entirely new ideas in Music.
Hopefully those with Inteligence and Foresight will dicover these tracks and decide to take them and make them their own.
Click here to contact Jaime Robert.