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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Showing posts with label Crankshaft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crankshaft. Show all posts

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lubricated, Live and Loud - Crankshaft - New release review

I had the opportunity to review Lubricated, Live and Loud by Crankshaft and it's a crap kickin' great time. Opening with Crankshaft, the concert is off with a huge bang. This is stripped down blues with today's edge at it's best. It's raw, it's edgy and it's real. This is not tapping and hammer ons and pull offs. This is loud and distorted and gut wrenching. Junkyard Rhythm is uptempo and spontaneous. There's no custom shop Stratocaster or Dumble amps here! This is right out of the box. An updated version of Robert Johnson's Terraplane Blues is included giving Crankshaft one of many opportunities to get his slide in order. Nail Driver finds Crankshaft using the minimum of instrumentation with his vocals, keeping the groove with nice guitar riffs. One of my favorite tracks on the release is Nasty, a very loose boogie track. The guitar sounds like it is detuned to a lower octave and the sound is almost rubbery... this is really great... the kind of track that is sure to create a frenzy in an audience. 327 is a more straight forward blues track... I mean this is as simple as contemporary electric blues gets... perfect! Solid Gone is another boogie track that keeps the listener engaged. Crankshaft has a great blend of lyrics, rhythm, flash and raw. Neighbor Boys is another great track and  generally has the sound of an early Bob Dylan track but with kazoo substituted for harmonica. Jestures track Cadillac Man shows strong compositional skills as well and this time featuring Jay Walters on harmonica. Boogie is a great party track and keeps you wanting more and more. Run Chicken Run is really a rock and roll take on a surf song from the country.... top that! This is a really super live recording and one that I can highly recommend! Can't wait to see what Crankshaft has brewing for us next.

 If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”


Friday, April 6, 2012

Crankshaft Update!


I hope you've been well! I'm just writing you a brief note to let you all know about what's been going on with Crankshaft lately.

Last weekend my song "327" was played on NPR's Car Talk as a bumper track! This is the second song from the album Junkyard Rhythm that they've played in the last three months!

In less then two weeks I'll be traveling down to the heart of the Mississippi Delta to a town called Clarksdale to preform as a one man band at their Juke Joint Festival! This is the town where the highways 61 and 59 meet to make the legendary "crossroads" where Robert Johnson apparently sold his soul to the devil in exchange for lightning fast guitar skills. To my knowledge I will be the only Minnesota musician booked down there, this is definitely an honor for me, and super exciting!

Locally, out of 16 bands, I've advanced to the final round of Famous Dave's Battle of the Blues Bands, which just happens to be the same weekend as the Juke Joint Festival! This has created some crazy logistics for me and my family. This is what we came up with: My dad agreed to drive down to Clarksdale, MS with me for the festival during Friday and Saturday. Then on Sunday morning he's going to drop me off at the Memphis airport, where I'm going to fly back to Minneapolis, and he's going to drive. When I arrive my Mom is going to pick me up at the airport and literally bring me straight to Dave's to compete at the final Battle! Yes, it will be a marathon, hopefully it will be a worthwhile one, I'm pretty confident that my band and I can win!

More good news! I've sold all 1000 copies of the first run of my latest studio album Junkyard Rhythm! (released - May, 2011) I've also set a plan in motion to record another full length album that will be titled When The Sun Goes Down. We'll be recording the guitar, upright bass, and drum tracks live during the first week of June in a early 1900's wood barn about 40 minutes north-west of Minneapolis, MN. This will be the first album that I'll be hiring a national publicist for! I'm aiming for a November or December release. Junkyard Rhythm was repressed so that I'll have something semi-fresh available for new fans until the next album has been released.

Thanks for your time and support folks, I hope you find this semi-interesting or somewhat entertaining! Until next time, turn it up and boogie down! Crankshaft OUT!

If you like what I’m doing, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Update with Crankshaft Larson


I hope you all have a great New Year! I thought it would be fun to do a 2011 Crankshaft year end review, here goes:
January 2011:
Finished recording the album "Junkyard Rhythm" after four months of collaboration with 14 local musicians.
February 2011:
Finished the album cover art for the new release.
March 2011:
Threw a CD listening party where Crankshaft fans chose three singles for the radio promotion campaign.
Directed and co-shot the music video "Neighbor Boys," one of the singles chosen from the new CD.
April 2011:
Pressed 2000 copies of "Junkyard Rhythm," as well as 250 promo copies.
Mailed over 100 copies of the new album to college and independent radio stations nationwide.
May 2011:
Released "Junkyard Rhythm" at Lee's Liquor Lounge, and despite tornado warnings, I-94 being closed downtown, and competition from Art-A-Whirl that weekend, over 150 people attended!
June 2011:
Junkyard received play on over 25 FM radio stations nationwide.
Started booking a 30-day national tour.
Recorded every Sunday show during this month for a new CD, "Lubricated, Live, and Loud."
July 2011:
Crankshaft fans raised nearly $4,000 towards a national tour bus at CRANKFEST!
August 2011:
Ran a request bomb 89.3 The Current campaign.
September 2011:
The single "Neighbor Boys" was featured on The Local Show on 89.3 The Current! Yes, it worked... don't try this at home.
Left MN on a 26-show national tour!
October 2011:
Opened for Bob Log III in Chicago, IL.
Met Cy Taggart and John L. Venable, who was a road manager for Atlantic signed bands for 20+ years in Richmond, VA.
Played with Nick Savage in Gainesville, Florida (Bo Diddley's Sax Player from '88 to '08)
Met Red Morgan, who is a staple in the New Orleans Jazz community.
November 2011:
Released the limited edition "Lubricated, Live, and Loud" CD (500 pressed).
Wrote, recorded, mastered, and released the single "Louisiana Bayou Santa."
December 2011:
"Louisiana Bayou Santa" was played on 90.3 KFAI, 88.1 KVSC, 89.3 The Current, and it received over 700 plays on SoundCloud!
"Motorcycle Woman" was used as a bumper track on NPR's Car Talk, this was our first ever nationally syndicated play!
Ran a canned food drive that earned $222 for the Anoka Food Shelf plus a boatload of food.
Played my last Sunday show at the River City Saloon (and last show of 2011), thanks for the awesome year and a half we had together there!

What's in store for 2012? I have a new house gig at the Eagles Nest Lounge in Robbinsdale (4106 Lakeland Ave N--on the corner of 41st and W Broadway), I will be playing there every Thursday at 8:30pm starting January 5th. A lot of folks are wondering if I'll be playing any shows in the Anoka area and I can assure you that I will! Tanner's in Andover has picked me up on a 6-week rotation starting in March! I will continue to play some out-of-state events in the coming months as well. In April I will be going to Clarksdale, MS, to play and hopefully make some good national connections at the Juke Joint Festival. Locally I'm booked for Rumble Fest in Amherst, WI this summer as well as the Bayfront Blues Fest in Duluth. There are a few monumental things that I'm working on as far as booking goes too (I'm talking overseas!), but nothing is solid yet. I do plan on recording another album this year, I'm not sure if the release will be in 2012 or 2013 though, that depends on how many copies of Junkyard Rhythm are left come the end of summer. I can say, if 2012 is even half as productive as 2011, you can look forward to a bunch of awesome music and art from Crankshaft in the year ahead! Thanks again for all your support this year, I hope you have a great 2012!
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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bman's Exclusive Interview: Alex "Crankshaft" Larson


Bman: Hi Crankshaft. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. I stumbled on your music on Youtube a few months ago and I really dug your style. I have a particular love for guys who are willing put it all out there by themselves.

So when did you learn to play guitar?

Crankshaft: I learned how to play guitar in 1996 when I was 12. How I got my first guitar is a hilarious story. My uncle had a Squire Strat and Marshal amp that he didn't use. I wanted it really bad. He also was planning on building a shop to work on heavy equipment at on some property he purchased the year before. Right about the same time my step dad replaced the old combination wood/oil furnace (which you can burn used motor oil in from a shop) in our basement with a new natural gas one. He tried to sell it in the paper for a couple weeks and gave up. He told me if my dad or any of his friends would like to have it they were welcome to take it for free. So I jumped at the opportunity, I offered it to my uncle if he would give me his Squire! I think that pretty much sums it up. I was destined to become self employed!

Bman: I think you are on the right track. I really enjoy your deal. Your photos and videos that I have seen show you playing an old Silveretone. I love primitive gear as well. Is that what you have been recording with?


Crankshaft: Yep, I love the sound of that thing! I've recorded three CDs with that guitar now.

Bman: I have an old Bobcat with the gold foil pickups but want to get one with the Lipstick pickups. They have such a cool tone! What kind of amps are you using for gigs and recording?

Crankshaft: For both gigging and recording I use a Musicmaster Bass amp form the 70's, It has a 12" speaker and I think it's about 12 watts tube so it breaks up at a reasonable volume for gigging. Sound guys love it because it gives them all the control!

Bman: Johnny Winter is also a Musicmaster guy. Check my posting of his amp blowing up on stage.
Bman's Blues Report: Hideaway - Johnny Winter

Who are your primary musical influences? I can hear a lot of things going on but really cool as a solo player like Dr. Isaiah Ross. Gives you a lot of flexibility...but I'll bet taxing as well?

Crankshaft: Oddly enough I wasn't inspired by a one man band to start mine. I just thought it would be a cool thing to do street performing. After awhile of doing that it kinda snowballed on me, now I do music full time! Locally I do both the one man band and do shows with a backing band. Doing three one hour one man band sets I think is actually easier then leading a band! When I'm standing up leading a trio I get really active, I dance, stomp my foot, jump on top of stuff and wiggle the whole time. So when the night is through I'm wiped out. When I'm doing the one man band I get to sit the whole night so that is a bit easier! As far as my influences, for guitar I would say guys like Freddy King, Link Wray, Dale Hawkins, Hubert Sumlin, early Johnny Winter, Steve Cropper, and Elmore James. For song writing I would say hands down my biggest influence is Chuck Berry, a close second Robert Johnson, both of those guys write lyrics in a way that appeals to me.

Bman: Well, that's a great bunch of guys to start with!I also notice that a lot of the photos of you are strewn with debris and rotting "Man cave" metal. I really like that. I suits your sound. I particularly like the dichotomy of you in the brand new tight suit on the souped up bicycle.


Crankshaft: Ya, that's pretty much just my personality! I grew up around heavy equipment so I think it's cool to blend the sharped dressed blues front man look with the low brow junkyard aesthetic. It's ridiculous, but some how cool at the same time! I actually built that bike at my uncles shop when I was 18, it's got a 98cc masonry saw on the back above the rear wheel, and it's fast as hell! We clocked it at 35mph next to my buddy's Ford Ranger when I was in High School! I think people that meet me for the first time don't now what to think about my aesthetic, when I pull up to a gig in my '64 beater station wagon and get out wearing a tailored suit sometimes they laugh and sometimes they are confused! Really, in the end being a performer is just about entertaining people and.... I think I might be doing that?!

Bman: Well, it got my attention. I think it's greaT! So tell me about your new cd, "Lubricated, Loud and Live". I need to get a copy!


Crankshaft: I recorded it at my house gig at the River City Saloon in Anoka, MN. I love the crowd and the attitude of the place, it's a no nonsense biker bar on a busy bar strip in my home town. They have the "If you ain't here to have fun get the F*** out" approach to running a bar and I like that. Every Sunday in the month of June I recorded about an 1 1/2 of what I thought would be the most energetic part of the show onto four track tape. It turned out great, I'm really happy that it captured the energy of the place, the crowd noise is in there too, which I think is cool. On quieter songs you can even hear the bartenders chucking bottles into the trash!

Bman: Actually that's the kind of bars that I prefer. I see that it''s a limited pressing of 500! Are you kidding me? Those will be gone in 3 weeks! Are you going to have a second pressing?

Crankshaft: I don't think so, I like the idea of treating the fans of mine that support me on a regular basis to something that is special, I know that in June someone will ask me if I have anymore copies and they'll be bummed when I tell them they are all gone. I think that my more dedicated fans deserve something unique, because they've earned it. If it wasn't for them I would be out of a job that I love to have!

Bman: I have a copy of your current tour schedule. I'll post that. What else do you have cooking?


Tuesday, November 8th - 6pm - No Cover!
Hell's Kitchen
80 9th St S
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(612) 332-4700
Crankshaft w/Keith
Friday, November 11th - 8pm - No Cover!
River City Saloon
201 Jackson St.
Anoka, MN 55303
(763) 432-0840
Crankshaft w/Elmer
Saturday, November 12th - 3pm
Scott ONeil Benefit
The Friendly Buffalo Bar and Grill
16722 198th Ave NW
Big Lake, MN 55309
(763) 263-7766
Crankshaft (solo)
Saturday, November 12th - 9pm - No Cover!
Pub Monique
112 Main St N
Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 342-1551
Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders
Sunday, November 13th - 6pm - No Cover!
River City Saloon
201 Jackson St.
Anoka, MN 55303
(763) 432-0840
Crankshaft Sundays 1 Year Anniversery!
Plus Live at the R.C.S. CD Release Party!
Thursday, November 17th - 8pm - No Cover!
Tanner's
13655 Martin Street NW
Andover, MN 55304-4654
(763) 767-1500
Crankshaft w/Keith
Friday, November 18th - 8pm - No Cover!
Route 65
18407 Highway 65 NE
Cedar, MN 55011-9558
(763) 413-3550
Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders
Sunday, November 20th - 6pm - No Cover!
River City Saloon
201 Jackson St.
Anoka, MN 55303
(763) 432-0840
Crankshaft and friends
Friday, November 25th - 8pm - No Cover!
River City Saloon
201 Jackson St.
Anoka, MN 55303
(763) 432-0840
Crankshaft w/Keith
Sunday, November 27th - 6pm - No Cover!
River City Saloon
201 Jackson St.
Anoka, MN 55303
(763) 432-0840
Crankshaft and friends
Saturday, December 3rd - 9pm - No Cover!
Tanner's
13655 Martin Street NW
Andover, MN 55304-4654
(763) 767-1500
Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders
Friday, December 9th - 8pm - No Cover!
River City Saloon
201 Jackson St.
Anoka, MN 55303
(763) 432-0840
Crankshaft w/Elmer
Saturday, December 10th - 8pm - No Cover!
Route 65
18407 Highway 65 NE
Cedar, MN 55011-9558
(763) 413-3550
Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders
Thursday, December 15th
Private Party
Crankshaft (solo)
Friday, December 16th - 8pm
Patricks Caberet
3010 Minnehaha Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
(612) 724-6273
Crankshaft (solo)
Saturday, December 17th - 9pm - No Cover!
Pub Monique
112 Main St N
Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 342-1551
Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders
Friday, December 23rd - 8pm - No Cover!
River City Saloon
201 Jackson St.
Anoka, MN 55303
(763) 432-0840
Crankshaft w/TBA


Crankshaft: I'm planning on going out to the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, MS to do some busking and make some connections in April. I'm really looking forward to that! I was able to stop there on my way from NOLA to St. Louis and I loved it there.

Bman:
Is there anything else that you'd like to share with your fans?

Crankshaft: I'm working on recording a song called "Louisiana Bayou Santa" that I wrote on my way back home from New Orleans. The song should be finished for release on Black Friday, and will be FREE to download! To off set cost of recording and paying the rhythm section that will be featured in the recording I'm releasing a short run 12.5x19 screen printed poster inspired by the lyrics of the song, drawn by Minneapolis illustrator DWITT - www.dwitt.com. The posters will be $25 after shipping, or available at any of my shows. There will only be 25 released. This is a break even project for me, I decided to release it for free as a thanks to my fans for their support!

Bman: Thanks a lot for your time. Where can one get a copy of "Lubricated, Loud and Live"?


Crankshaft: It will only be available in physical format, you can buy it via PayPal at my website or I will have them at all of my shows until they are gone! Thanks for the interview! Alex.
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Alex Larson - Crankshaft


Forging his own brand of high-energy, low-brow Upper Mississippi blues, the one-man band powerhouse Crankshaft has been gigging around Minneapolis for nearly three years. Expanding his fanbase with every frenzied performance, Crankshaft earns his living as a musician and is taking his show on the road following the release of his new album, Junkyard Rhythm.
Born into this world from gas station cassette tape collecting semi-truck drivers, Alex “Crankshaft” Larson was introduced to blues, rock 'n' roll, and R&B as a pup. In 1996 he traded a combination oil/wood stove to his uncle for his first electric guitar and amp. In April 2008, while self-employed as a contractor, he started practicing as a one-man band and was playing shows two months later. Larson self-produced and released three albums during the next two years. In 2010, he decided to hang his hammer up for good and focus on his music. Larson's newest release, Junkyard Rhythm, features a backing band, "The Gear Grinders," which gives the album a more full sound than his previous recordings. He performs mainly as a one-man band, hiring on backing musicians whenever he can.
Give him a listen, and if you like what you hear, tell someone (or everyone) you know. Then come to a show! Crankshaft plays every Sunday from 6-10pm at The River City Saloon - 201 Jackson St. Anoka, MN.
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