LOVER! // Memphis, TN
Booking Agent – Bonnie Khandpur
Believe it or not, but being involved with the seedy Memphis punk underground in the mid 1990s can have its advantages. For Rich Crook, falling in with teenage terrors, The Reatards came right at the perfect time in his budding musical life. Stepping into a band with a very much still-teenage Jay Reatard between the release of their debut LP and their first European tour at the end of 1998.
In early 1999, Rich joined Jay and Alicja Trout, of The Clears, in the next phase of their sonic obliteration, the notorious Lost Sounds. After armloads of LPs and endless 7″ singles and a reputation for one of the most intense live performances of the early part of the new century, Lost Sounds wound down after a few years of constant touring, as most of the better bands tend to do. Each of the three core members decided it was best to try music on their own.
Rich Crook made a few drumming appearances on Viva L’American Death Ray records with Nick Diablo, which were excellent VU-strung, grimy pop compositions. Crook really surprised us all with his eye-opening contributions to The Knaughty Knights, which he formed as a one-off side project with original Ex-Oblivian, Jack Yarber, while still drumming in the Lost Sounds. Crook’s songs were shockingly great, high-energy minimalist pop from the get go. Although production on the first two Knaughty Knights releases were insanely lo-fi compared to the later two, it was the third 7″ EP on Goner released in late 2005 with Crook’s epic “Death Has Come Over Me” and “Wenches of Turpentine St.” that were the shining examples of the second coming of Rich Crook. The last Knaughty Knights 7″ was released on Jay Reatard’s Shattered Records in the Summer of 2006 and alongside Jack Oblivian’s “Boogie Disease” track.
The rest of the next year saw Crook taking a break from his active bands and working on an oil rig in southern Mississippi, near the Gulf of Mexico, where his reflections of that experience that make up the earliest Lover! songs happened to materialize. Finally Crook had his own musical vehicle all to himself, and with help from the Reigning Sound’s Greg Roberson (filling in ironically on drums), he put together and recorded the first Lover! full-length album, producing, songwriting and playing an incredible string of powerpop hits that won’t soon be forgotten. Co-released on Empty and PTrash Records in Spring of 2007.
As 2008 came around, Lover! channelled their power and emitted a powerful stream of unique 7″ singles, with each emerging one taking new stabs at different pop textures and all executed incredibly well and without any sign of a creative rut anytime soon. Labels such as HoZac, Iekk! Sounds, Douchemaster, Tic Tac Totally and Rob’s House all released one-of-a-kind pop explosions from the Lover! soundscape, each adding to the rich tapestry of the band that Rich Crook has so carefully built from scratch. An extensive European tour and several festival appearances later.
LOVER! currently consists of Rich Crook and the Unwed Teenage Mothers as a backing band ( with/ Colin Sneed -ex-drummer for Bass Drum Of Death). Lover! has been busty touring the US and Europe along with creating new songs and sounds.
- Todd Killings