Selections from The Punk Vault [Kraut]

Kraut – Unemployed 7″ (1982 Cabbage Records)

In 1981 The Clash played a string of sold out shows in New York City. They were sold out to the point of being way over-sold and to remedy the problem, the band decided to double up the number of shows they would play. This required them to find a small batch of opening acts, which caught the attention of the just-formed New York City punk band, Kraut. The lineup consisted of:

Don Cowan – Bass
Dave Gunner – Vocals
Doug Holland – Guitar
Johnny Feedback – Drums

They literally had just formed and recorded a 3 song demo to give to the powers that be in order to secure one of the opening slots, which they were granted on the strength of said tape. They played the show and then immediately got to work on forging ahead. They re-recorded the songs again for real this time and released it on their first single, Kill For Cash. They pressed up 1000 of them and sold through them all.

The following year they went in and recorded some new songs for this release, and for the New York Thrash compilation tape on Roir Records. This time out, they pressed 5000 copies of the record and were playing lots of shows around the city. They had secured an opening slot for The Professionals, who were Steve Jones and Paul Cook’s band after The Sex Pistols broke up and Steve Jones took a liking to them. He ended up playing on a few songs that they recorded for their first album, An Adjustment to Society which came out in the same year as this single. He even played a show or two with them.

The album was released on their own label (Cabbage Records) again and was manufactured and distributed by Faulty Products. It sold pretty well but at one point Faulty went under and thus the record would be out of print for quite a few years before getting reissued by New Red Archives. A couple tracks from the singles ended up being re-recorded and were on this album. When this album was reissued on CD, they never bothered to put either 7″ on there, and these songs remain unavailable.

With Faulty products gone and them on their own, they did a tour of the US and played a bunch of local shows and started recording new material. This material showed them changing a little in sound, growing a bit, but still was quite good. They eventually hooked up with Enigma for a P&D deal and released their second and final album, Whetting the Scythe. Upon its release, they played some shows on the West Coast, after which Doug Holland left Kraut to join The Cro-Mags. They replaced him with a former member of Battalion of Saints and recorded a few songs which wouldn’t get released until the CD of the first album came out (the liner notes to this is where I got a lot of this information).

In 1986, Chris Smith died in a freak accident one week before the band were slated to record their third album. The other two original members decided to call it quits after this happened and started a new band, The Gutter Boys.

A few years ago, the surviving members of Kraut played a reunion show for the 20 year anniversary at CBGB’s of the New York Thrash compilation along with A.O.D. and a ton of other bands who were on the comp. There was also a live CD of an old show that New Red Archives put out.

Here’s hoping that they’ll get around to reissuing the 7″ recordings in some format.

As always if you have any additional information, or were a member of Kraut, please get in touch.

Click here to hear “Unemployed” from the record (right click and “save target as…”)






7 comments

  • Kraut … yes! One of my all-time faves along with the mighty Toxic Reasons from past Vault fame. Every guy in this band was a top-notch player. I was stoked when my buddy Chris Smith joined up, but ….
    He was the Hendrix of punk rock and never got the chance to fully make his mark.
    Anyways, all hail to Kraut.

  • I would have to rank Kraut as one of the top five underrated punk bands of their era. They also have a new live CD that was recorded at that NY THRASH reunion that I picked up at Reckless a few months ago.

    MXV, let me know if you need a copy of it and the live LP, which I believe I found in Austin, TX of all places.

  • I recall that Kraut’s “All Twisted” video was one of the first to appear on MTV by a hardcore band. Of course they caught shit for it, but what a great album!

  • Kraut was a fantastic band. I think Doug Holland ended up also playing with the UK Subs for a short time.
    I believe that Kraut was also initially signed to Faulty Products and when Faulty went under they got totally screwed on record distribution.

  • I worked that Clash show at Bonds…
    I was the chief Follow Spot op and also worked as a Sound Tech…

    these guys literally came to the show just to see the band and while they were waiting on line while we figured out what do do about the Fire Marshal threatening to close us down and we finally made the announcement that were were going to add dates to accomodate everyone they asked if we had opening acts for the new shows and when we said no they came back with a tape in what seemed like no more than an hour later! LOL

    I think it was their very first show in fact!

  • Anyone know where I can find the All twisted video. In the year 2000 MTV2 played every video they had in their vault, hell there was even a video from the Pope, but yet no Kraut. I have been wanting to see this video for over twenty years now. Any help would be great.

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