Crumb Sullivans
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Crumb Sullivans


Band Folk Punk


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I am giddy with excitement knowing that I am finally going to catch in person, the wonderfully illusive duo, The Crumb Sullivans—a true gemstone. Their very first tune needs no musical accompaniment as, almost magically, the instant connection they make with the crowd incites standoffish Boston to clap, whoop and stomp to the beat. Bobby Diggs has a voice that really needs no amplification— wonderfully edgy, slightly mournful, always intense. This mostly hard-of-hearing punk-stylish crowd is paying attention, erupting into dance, getting inspired. An integral part of the diamond that is The Crumb Sullivans is the rough; like the inspired, spontaneous music of yore played on porches or around the campfire where sometimes the only percussion available is a hand clap or a foot stomp—a beautiful unpretentious way to make music to feed the soul and entertain. They are deciding structure on the fly and discuss mid-song the direction they want to go. If one is feeling it, he will simply let the other know he wants to jam a little solo. "One more time for the people!" becomes a rallying cry.

I love how carnally and spiritually raw this band is. The in-between song banter is tremendously entertaining, the admission by Bobby, "...the married of the two, you may have noticed all of my songs are about running away, and Slippery Lips (a harmonica reference, my drunken companion had asked) Manning, the single boy's songs are all about killing hookers." One performing booted, the other barefoot, the song 'The Fighter' is a semi-autobiographical yarn about Bobby's big chance in the Golden Gloves 50 pounds ago when he fucked up, "Like I've fucked up everything else in my life." Something about The Crumb Sullivan's thought-provoking (and audible) lyrics makes me suddenly truly value music that is a little different, a little deeper, a little less self-important. I get their T-shirt, their EP, and I would take them home, lock them in a box, and force them to invent me a personal soundtrack, if I didn't feel an uncomfortable twinge of selfishness at the plan. I am officially totally spoiled. The Crumb Sullivans: Hear them. See them. Do it now. -Stace

- The Noise

LIFE & LEISURE MUSIC SCENE - From T stops to the Comber - By JAY N. MILLER - They play acoustic folk music with punk rock tempos, and occasionally mix in hip-hop lyrics. They like impromptu outdoor gigs at places like bus stations, the New England Aquarium, various doughnut shops, or maybe even your friendly local T stop. They are named after a previous drummer, but they currently have no drummer, and don't plan on getting one. Go ahead, try and classify the Crumb Sullivans, the Braintree/Quincy duo that performs tonight at The Beachcomber in Quincy. They appear on a three-band bill of local talent, along with the Celtic rock of The Larkin Brigade and the country-rock of Girls, Guns and Glory.

Crumb Sullivans had their roots back in the days when Bobby Diggs, who grew up in Dorchester and now lives in Braintree, began playing guitar in a bluesy punk-rock band called The Life. Terrance Manning, the Quincy musician now known as Slippery Lips, joined that band as harmonica player and vocalist. But alas, The Life ran out in 2002, and drummer Mark ''Crumb'' Sullivan relocated.

Diggs and Manning began acoustic jams together, tried a few new drummers with no luck, and gradually adapted to the acoustic sound. Manning began studying mandolin, and the duo's core sound was established. ''It began as just me and Slip putzing around,'' said Diggs from his Braintree home. ''We never dreamed we'd ever be able to bring it to clubs.'' The duo did, however, enjoy springing those surprise shows on an unsuspecting public, and one of them finally paid off. A listener outside one such busking show offered to make a bare-bones recording of the pair, and they eagerly accepted.

That fan, a music business veteran named Saul Fortey, soon took over publicity duties for the Crumb Sullivans, who dubbed him The Baby Shaker, for his role in a long-forgotten rock band with that unnerving moniker. Fortey proceeded to record the pair outdoors, at the Quincy Quarries, with crickets and assorted other wildlife chirping in the background. That four-song EP, ''The Quincy Quarry Recordings, Volume 1,'' served as a useful introduction to club bookers. ''To our complete surprise, booking agents began lining us up to play with punk rock bands,'' Diggs said. ''With what we were playing, we had thought we couldn't fit in rock clubs, but maybe in coffeehouses or something like that, but, lo and behold, we were back where we started - in punk clubs.''

The EP is primitive but unusual. From the epic ''Corduroy Jones'' to the hip-hop dialogue of ''Jimmy Told James'' to the Celtic rock anthem ''The Fighter,'' about a fellow who's a sparring partner to the boxing elite, the Crumb Sullivans' CD stamps them as something else. ''-Frankly, we didn't know how to market this sound that we have,'' Diggs admitted. ''But people have seemed to like it, and it keeps building, and it's been a lot of fun.''

Diggs, 29, works a union job in the construction industry, while his partner Manning is, in Diggs' words, ''a member of computer cubicle-land.'' The pair just returned from a couple of months in Florida, where they soaked up the sun at Manning's uncle's guest house, and found time to play a couple of local bars.

Of course, the millstone of many suburban bands is the need to do covers to convince wary club owners to give you a gig. The Crumb Sullivans still do a few chosen ones, but the bulk of their shows now is their own original material. ''We definitely do less covers now,'' said Diggs. '' We'll do the old traditional ''She'll be Coming ''Round the Mountain,'' and then our own version of ''Paid in Full,'' from the rappers Eric B and Rakim. The lyrics are just great in that song. Then, we'll do the obligatory Bob Dylan song, in this case ''Death Is Not the End,'' which we both really like.''

After tonight, the Crumb Sullivans have that May 26 show at The Bulfinch Yacht Club (actually an unpretentious little rock venue near North Station), and a return gig at the Block Island Music Festival June 14. ''Last year we had a 5 p.m. slot, this year they moved us to 9 p.m.,'' noted Diggs.

While that outdoor EP has done wonders for the band as a demo to get bookings, they know they need a bona fide studio record to take the next step. ''We love it as a one-take demo, and it's done a lot for us, but we know that can only get us so far. And, we've written so much more music since then we can make a much better record now.''
- The Patriot Ledger

Upon first listen, one might find themselves a tad bit confused with the musical offerings of Bobby Diggs and Slippery Lips Manning, also known as The Crumb Sullivans. By the end of this 4 song e.p., you will feel as though you were sitting around a camp fire, drinking a Black and Tan and singing along to some good ol' Irish acoustic folk music.
The Crumb Sullivans have released their 4 song e.p. titled The Quincy Quarry Recordings Volume 1. Literally recorded outdoors in the Quincy Quarries on a Sony 8mm Handycam, the duo performed live to noone other than the surrounding crickets and turtles....and if you listen closely, you will indeed hear the crickets.
Corduroy Jones, Jimmy Told James, The Fighter and Lay Me By The River may suffer from lack of production, but more than make up for it in heart, creativity and above all, off the cuff vocals. In a day and age where new bands have the resources to sit in their home studio and tune their music, song by song, to a fine polish, I would give The Crumb Sullivans e.p. my 2 thumbs up for bravery and boldness to record their songs in one take using unorthodox recording equipment and unleashing it to the public without compromise.
Although it may not be Live at Pompei by Pink Floyd, this e.p. is a one of a kind and I find myself listening to it more and more. I truely believe it has laid the groundwork for a stella full length album in the near future. - Ocean View Press

It takes some genuine testicular fortitude to put out a recording like this. In an era where the first listen can make or break a band’s career, the Crumb Sullivans take their unique blend of folk storytelling and backporch blues and take to the streets, literally, for the first in a series of recordings, recorded on location. Like those old Alan Lomax location recordings, the attempt is to capture the band in their natural surroundings, outside on a street corner, with cars passing by and crickets contributing their voices to the weeping harmonica!! I hope this will be the first of many such recordings. It doesn’t get any more honest than this! - The Noise

Baby Shaker Records

When you get an email from a guy named The Baby Shaker, you tend to pay attention. I mean, that's not the name of a person you should take lightly. So when The Baby Shaker wrote to me and asked me to have a listen to this band he really liked, I said "sure, send the cd right over". Which he did. Now I've got it, and I've listened to it a couple of dozen times, and I'm still not sure what it is. The Crumb Sullivans consists of two guys, Bobby Diggs (Guitar and Vocals) and Slippery Lips Manning (Harmonica, Mandolin, and Vocals). The four songs on the cd were recorded at the Quincy quarry, which is not the name of a new recording studio. It's a quarry. The Baby Shaker recorded them performing live to an audience of crickets and turtles. The songs combine the whimsical innocence of Jonathan Richman with the quirky character studies of Tom Waits and the story telling of Phil Ochs and the other early 60s folkies. You get "Corduroy Jones", who's in the nursing home, waiting to pass that corduroy stone, singing a song by the Pendletones and banging out chords on a xylophone. Then you get a bizzare acoustic country/hip-hop conversation between two guys named Jimmy and James. The best song of the bunch is "The Fighter", about a guy who's made a career out of being a sparring partner for contenders trying to get in shape to fight the champ, and who finally gets his own shot at the crown. They close things out with "Lay Me By The River", a country blues number about a life lived to it's fullest, in the most negative sense possible. This song reminded me of Jack Black's Tenacious D, with the over the top vocals and the conversational call and response choruses. I'm not entirely sure if they meant it to be as funny as Tenacious D, but that's how I hear it.

From what I can glean from reading the press release and their MySpace page, The Crumb Sullivans prefer to perform outdoors, and don't always bother to tell anyone when and where they're going to do a show. They might just set up on a street corner in Dorchester and start belting out a couple of numbers, while wearing their oversized overalls with the white fringe and the painted roses.

As I said, I'm not really sure what these guys are all about, exactly, but the songs are original and catchy, and the performances are passionate and quirky. You've really got to hear it to appreciate it. -

"You guys are so much fun...and I love the rawness of your music. You really let it all hang out...something more artists should do. The word authentic and music tend to not be used in the same sentence, but you guys make that happen." - Artist Amanda Duncan

"The Crumb Sullivans transported everyone to a time and place where entertainment involved KICK ASS jump suits and sweet harmonica licks" - Cassavettes


Call It What You Want [7 song EP, combination of live and studio demos, 2003, self released]

The Quincy Quarry Recordings Volume 1 [4 song EP/DVD recorded outdoors in one take on a Sony 8mm Handycam, 2005, released by The Baby Shaker]


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Crumb Sullivans
Raw, Unpolished, Rock n Roll.

I first discovered The Crumb Sullivans as I was leaving a night of local boxing at the Union Hall in Boston. They were playing music outside the exit door .Two young men, a guitar, and a mandolin. The energy and the emotion they were pouring into the set caught my attention, the fact that the fueled up fight crowd paid little attention, blew my mind. My 10 year old was tugging on my arm to leave, but I couldn’t.

I watched for 3 or 4 songs then politely asked if they had a CD I could buy. “Nope”, the guitarist answered. “Any upcoming shows?” I asked. “Your at one.” he quickly replied. He then asked me if I would like to sign up for their email list. I did. In the months following, I received many emails telling me where I could find them. Outside the Dunkin Donuts in Mattapan, a couple all ages basement shows, the New England Aquarium T stop, and so on. I went when I could.

We developed a friendship of sorts. They still didn’t have a CD to offer, so I approached the boys about maybe recording something with them. We did. I always thought they sounded like something Alan Lomax would be interested in if he was still around and wandering the streets of Boston, looking for the next addition to his Library Of Congress recordings. It just sounded right the way it was. So that’s how we recorded it.

The Quincy Quarry Recordings Volume 1, is a 4 song EP, recorded in one take, outdoors, on a Sony 8mm Handycam. Listen close and you can hear the crickets. I hope you find in the boys the same thing I did and will help me spread the word about The Crumb Sullivans. I thank you, and The Crumb Sullivans thank you.

The Baby Shaker