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Artist of the Month
Cropduster - Hackensack, NJ
Drunk Uncle - CD Review/Interview
by Pat Ferris

From Hackensack New Jersey, Cropduster is forging a sound that is unique yet familiar; indie rock that crosses into punk, pop and even bold country markets. No matter how you describe the music, Cropduster is a recipe for fun. 

Their second release 'Drunk Uncle' has had rave reviews in publications from coast to coast and has helped the band support a tour on the East coast. Vocalist Marc Maurizi's signature voice and the band's quirky and witty songs helped Cropduster win the award for 'Best Rock Act' in the Musician's Atlas Independent Music Awards for 2001.

There's more to Cropduster than just their music. Their catchy hooks, witty lyrics, stage attire of jackets and ties, and even their ability to capture the essence of FUN on a recording, makes Cropduster the poster child for a 21st century fab four.

I reviewed Cropduster in October and liked their music so much that I requested they send me a full promo package. They were hard to get nailed down for an hour because they are on tour right now, but through email I was able to get a pretty good interview with them.

<HotBands> Hi Scott ! I really liked your music and wanted to hear how it all started. Your 'biography' is one of the best I've seen and pretty much tells it all, but is there anything you'd like to add?

<Cropduster> We'd like to continue writing the bio with more good fortune.

<HotBands> Your songs have quirky and catchy hooks and lyrics that stick in your head. Would you say that your music is written with the music first or the lyrics.

<Cropduster> Each song comes about from different sources... sometimes it might be a lyric, a melody, a cool chord structure, or a rhythm.

<HotBands> Is there a dominant songwriter in the band or do you collaborate?

<Cropduster> Marc is the dominant song writer in the band. He'll come up with the chords and lyrics and we'll work it into a full band arrangement together.

<HotBands> You're touring a lot right now, and you've had really great response with radio stations and college stations. Are you touring full-time musician's or do you (or at least some of you) juggle a day job?

<Cropduster> We'd love to say we were "full-time" musicians, but we all still have day jobs. We actually use the money from our jobs to fund the touring and most everything else. Fortunately, the band does bring in some money, so we aren't totally reliant on the day job to pay for everything. But at this point, we certainly don't make enough to keep the ball rolling.

<HotBands> You've had great response from the press, local airplay, best musician of the least you're touring! 

<Cropduster> This tour has pretty much been the most trying experience ever. First off our van, (Indestructo) destructed somewhere near Wichita, KS. The whole engine blew up and needs to be replaced, but our rental van sure is nice. Too bad we will probably have to rob a bank to pay for Indestructo. If that weren't bad enough, our bass player was arrested in Kentucky two days later. Once we got him out of jail, using all of our tour money, we had to race to Birmingham, AL to make our next gig. As we pulled into the parking lot at the club, we had two cop cars in tow after almost crashing into them as we blew a red light. Even though they had their guns drawn in a haze of confusion, in the end they let us off with a stern warning. So, then we get to the club and find out the band we were supposed to open for has broken up. Well, that's the kind of tour it's been. I would say it's going to improve, but when it's all said and done, we have to drive back to Wichita to return the rental van and pick up Indestructo. Augh.

<HotBands> How long until your next CD is out? Are you going to release another studio cut or is there plans of maybe a short CD of some of your live shows?

<Cropduster> We have been talking about putting together a new EP, but we have no definite plans yet. There is certainly enough written for a new album.

<HotBands> You seem to be a really fun band. I love the pic of you with one guy on anti-gravity pills (who was that). What would you say your M.O. is for your band...what are you about in your own words?

<Cropduster> That's Tom floating in the picture. The Cropduster M.O.? Loud, drunk rock-n-roll.

<HotBands> To get off topic here for a minute, you're only about 10 miles from where the World Trade Centers were. How did that affect you (did you see it live) and the live music scene in NYC? Has the live music venues been hurt by this, or are people getting back to some sort of what used to be normal?

<Cropduster> We were on tour in NC when it happened. It really shook us up. We spent a lot of the day trying to reach our friends and family who were in Manhattan, but it was difficult since most of the phone service was down. It was a real un-nerving experience. The rest of our dates on the tour were cancelled so we headed home as fast as we could. We listened to live radio updates the entire way home. The music scene had definitely suffered for the weeks following the attacks, just like everything else in the city. People seem to be getting back to some kind of normal routine now which is really encouraging.

<HotBands> What are the plans for Cropduster in 2002? Are you planning any US tours, going in the studio, or what?

<Cropduster> We're going to tour around the South and mid-west on short one or two week tours. We love to play, so we'll do these tours while we can. Currently we are looking for a label to release a record.

<HotBands> To wrap it up, You've had a pretty fast rise to the top in your area. What would you attribute that to? Give the readers an idea of what your recipe for success in the music world is.

<Cropduster> The only thing we could attribute it to is hard work, alcohol and more hard work.

<HotBands> Thanks for the interview, and I hope the remainder of your tour goes well!  I look forward to hearing more from you in 2002!

To find out more about Cropduster, CLICK HERE

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