Houston Punks Crime Wave Reunite for Not Horrible Fest in Cleveland

Crime Wave (l-r): Matthew Juarez, Josh "Wolf" Vaughn, Mike Grayum
Crime Wave (l-r): Matthew Juarez, Josh "Wolf" Vaughn, Mike Grayum
photo by Harold Burkenstock of Fugitive Family

Proving once again that many Houston bands have life after death, hardcore punks Crime Wave are rising from the grave for a one-off performance at the Not Horrible Festival in Cleveland, Ohio, Saturday, May 28. Crime Wave’s resurrection precedes a much-anticipated reunion of Houston grind-core princes Insect Warfare later this summer in the Czech Republic.

Crime Wave disbanded in 2013 after five years of gigging and the release of half a dozen recordings. Bassist Matthew Juarez says the whole reunion thing “is kinda incestuous.”

“Except for occasional recording projects like the eight-song cassette we released in 2015, Crime Wave per se hasn’t done much since 2013,” he explains. “We've been working with a new singer from New Orleans as Fugitive Family, a project we’ve been having a lot of fun with when we can get over to New Orleans to practice and play.”

Along with Crime Wave members Josh Wolf and Mike Grayum, Juarez has been working with vocalist Harold Burkenstock in the new ensemble they’ve tagged as "black punk," or punk that nods to black metal. Guitarist Tom Triplett, who recorded with Crime Wave on its last two projects, also plays in Fugitive Family, who have recorded three 7-inch discs and played a few gigs, including one Houston show last August.

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Fugitive Family covering "Daddy Is My Pusher" by the Tits in New Orleans.

“How incestuous all these bands are is sort of the inside joke that led to us naming the new band Fugitive Family,” Juarez laughs. “Sometimes it’s even confusing to us who is in what band. Crime Wave, Secret Prostitutes, Reason of Insanity, Fugitive Family — they’re all so interrelated.”

Fugitive came to the attention of the folks behind the Not Horrible Fest, a four-day punk and metal festival that sprawls over several venues Memorial Day weekend.

“They booked Josh Wolf’s band Secret Prostitutes for the festival last year, and that led to conversations that led to them inviting Fugitive Family to play," says Juarez. "We thought since we would all be there at the same time, we ought to see if they were interested in a Crime Wave reunion, and they were down with it, so they set up the Crime Wave gig. We play the afternoon portion Saturday, then we come back as Fugitive Family that night.”

Juarez notes that while the band has a 40-minute time slot on the Saturday afternoon portion of the show at a cool venue listed as the Tall Boys Bike Club @ Rustbelt Welding (now that’s metal!), “we’ll probably just crash through in about 25 minutes and that’s it. Real punk style, you know?”

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