The Crucified’s Drummer Never Thought a Reunion Was on the Table
“I don’t want to say this was out of the blue, but it took me by surprise,” drummer Jim Chaffin of the Crucified told Noisecreep. The Fresno, Calif. trash band has always been one of those underground bands no one expected to ever take the stage or for all four to be seen together acting as friends again. Their 1993 break up was abrupt and with no apologies, even with a final show, which occurred two years later in order to make the end official.
“We had never talked about doing anything. As a matter of fact, after the last thing we did in ’95, Mark [Salomon] was pretty adamant that it was done, over, and that it was dead and buried,” Chaffin said. Salomon, the vocalist, was known to avoid any conversation on the topic of the Crucified to the point that stories circulated over the years about fans cut off by sneers and lengthy explanations as to why he didn’t want to talk about the band or sign autographs on old CDs.
“That’s where he was at at that time, which I understand where he was coming from,” Chaffin responded while he recalled how fans would ask him, “Why does Mark hate the Crucified?”
After years of trying to secure the right to re-release the band’s later output — a thrash crossover style — they were finally in an close grasp of putting together a box set collecting the band’s entire catalog, including even their young, motley punk years. “Of course the issue of money started coming up,” Chaffin said. “It was going to take a lot of money to put things together and all that. Nobody had that kind of money.”
At one meeting, bassist Jeff Bellew brought up the question of playing to get the money to get the rights. “It was kind of quiet in the room. I was looking around,” Chaffin recalled the moment and the nervousness he felt expecting a resounding “no” to bellow over the question. “I never even thought that was an option. I didn’t bring it up because I thought no one would want to play. Mark surprisingly was the first one. ‘Yeah that’d be cool. I’d be open to that.’”
Chaffin almost feels regretful that the spark that re-started the band in 2009 was not one of passion but more of money, but since the official announcement, that box set has been released, a re-mastered version of their loftily-priced, out of print ‘Pillars of Humanity’ album has been added to shelves and the band is showing no sign, at the moment, of burying the band again, simply because it’s how it always should have been. “I know this doesn’t sound virtuous and all about playing shows, but once we did a couple of shows …” Chaffin paused, adding excitement to his voice. “We all have had a blast and it was totally different from the last couple of years we were together.”
Keeping things fun has been the key for everyone in the band because that time before the break up, things were very different than they are now. Many of these times were put to print in the book ‘Simplicity’ that Salomon had released a few years back, where he explained what drove him in the band. In the book, he described the relationship of the band as such: “… we liked each other, at least enough to not hate each other … but that was about it.”
“He was totally right,” Jeff admitted. “We got along to play but no one wanted to be around each other. Those poor guys lived together, so there was always tension in the air.” In Salomon’s book, he mentions that tension: a wall, an argument and someone’s head. “Now it’s totally different,” explains Chaffin. “We’re adults, we’re older, more mature. We know how to handle ourselves and how to accept and deal with other people’s personalities.”
Chaffin feels he has lightened up greatly. “They used to call me the ‘mom’ of the band, but I was the kind of mom that no one wanted to go to the house of.” He credits his belief in God — the structure the band was always known for from the beginning — as the aid to his temperament change, saying, “That’s helped me relax and just have a good time and enjoy everybody and where they are at and not worry about where I think somebody should be. To be honest, with those three, it’s not that hard. Not as hard as I used to make it.”
With everything going so smoothly, the band has begun trying to write new material, something they never really set out to do with this reunion. “We’re just trying to see how we feel about it and if it will flow like it used to, and of course if people are interested too,” says Chaffin. “We do want to make a shot at it.”