Monday, August 15, 2005

Robert Crumb

Mr Natural Posted by Picasa

Some time ago I saw the documentary Crumb and for a moment my world was turned upside down. Here was a guy who had a strange family, collected obscure yet wonderful 78rpm records, dressed like a guy from the 50's and put out some pretty weird and wonderful comics. And some of the content in his comics was way out there deep in the dark side.

I keep coming across him from time to time. Peter has a link to his "Short History of America" which is the kind of Crumb I like.

Years ago when I was struggling with a HUGE mortgage and driving around in a lovely old Holden Commodore with an AM only radio.... no tape deck, I found my self having to listen to the Australian Broadcasting Corporations various programmes(it was either that or horse racing and shock-jock talk back radio). Unexpectedly, on either on a Friday or a Saturday afternoon on my welcome way home from work, a syndicated show from the US NPR network started, where Robert spun his collection of 78 rpm discs. From memory it was really great jazz, folk, bluegrass and some old French tunes, captured with crackles and warmth as the thick needle dragged across decades old acetate ...... amazing. I'm not sure what was better, the music or Robert's growly, lazy laid back voice. Again this was the gentler, more user friendly Crumb I like.

As a Minister in The Church of Subgenius, I must bow down to the patron Saint Robert Crumb (The Great) on April the 22nd. A full list of patron saints is here. there's one old guy Nenslo who actually did some work with him in the 60's. The comic book culture was never one I really got into..... which only makes me only a half assed sub-genius I spose.

Anyway, I did something today which I haven't done for awhile and walked into comic store in olde Sydney town. I looked at a few comics and eventually came to the Crumb section. Here he was in his post trip stage with these surreal images of his imagination, thick-set women and yes Mr Natural. For a time I was taken back to those trips home, tired and sometimes sore........listening to those old tunes.

Roberts website is here. Pop in and take a look, you may be shocked or amused or like me a bit of both. The world needs a few more guys like him.


  • Although Crumb was not my favorite in the sixties, when S. Clay Wilson's audacity seemed to make Crumb look conservative, he has aged well. His style, largely unchanged, has become the archetype. That documentary was great and I enjoy his musical tastes.

    In 1971, I was living with a few others on Commonwealth Ave. in Alston Massachusetts (across from the Old Vienna Hofbrau). There was a rock & roll band living in the apartment downstairs from us, who had a "step" van for carrying their gear around. It was always parked in front. It had a large recreation of one of Crumb's "Keep On Truckin'" dudes painted on its side, along with the bands name "Aerosmith". They went on to do alright. I'm still truckin' myself!

    By Blogger Peter (the other), at 9:01 am  

  • i kinda grew up with this stuff. we would hang around tulane university's record store and the off campus store, the mushroom. between them they had all the latest crumb comics, (the freak bros were/are my fave). now this was awhile back, the times fit what he was doing so well, and the art was just as stoned as we were. thanks, now i need to go look at 'em as i pack 'em up! i am gonna catch hell for loafin' about.

    By Blogger sleepybomb, at 2:25 pm  

  • I was (and am still) a devotee of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. Crumb I remember but know little about. Love the church BTW.

    By Anonymous JtH, at 5:36 pm  

  • Peter..... I keep saying there's a book in your many anecdotes. Fantastic. And yep, I remember Robert more for his music than his comics.

    Sleepy, enjoy! I get a big kick when you say "I haven't thought about __________ for awhile, I better go have a look/listen"

    And Johnny, CoSG..... US$30 sees eternal salvation or triple your money back. Trouble is you need to be dead to find out if you have salvation or not..... and it's a little difficult to claim from "the other side" :-)

    There are a heap of Church of Subgenius tales including trying to get on Rick Ross' cultwatch list as a bona-fide cult. All to no avail.

    By Blogger Johnno, at 7:34 pm  

  • Nice blog I have one myself great idea home business

    By Blogger Trog, at 9:15 pm  

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