ST 3 7 was formed in January 1987 as a merger of sorts between Austin cult bands Tulum and the Elegant Doormats. Bassist S.L. Telles has been active in the Texas music underground since singing with Houston teen punkers Vast Majority in ’79-’80, releasing a single on Wild Dog records that has since been reissued several times, including outtakes. Telles formed the Elegant Doormats in spring 1982 with original ST 37 drummer John Foxworth (who later joined Tulum). The group endured for five years, playing with bands like the Butthole Surfers and the Reivers, and recording with legendary God of Hellfire Arthur Brown.
Guitarist Joel Crutcher and vocalist Carlton Crutcher founded Tulum in 1985, and recorded for Rabid Cat records before that label disintegrated. Jello Biafra wrote, “The bizarre side of Austin is still alive – first the Buttholes, then Scratch Acid, and now Tulum.”
After recruiting Jon Torn (son of Rip; from the band Thanatopsis Throne) on keyboards, ST 37 began playing out in April of 1987 at the Cave Club with the Def MFs (still called Def MCs at that point). The stage was set right away when Telles informed the crowd that if they didn’t like it they could leave.
The band released the cassette EP “billygoat nothinghead” late in the year, and thus began a string of cassette only releases.
ST 37 made their vinyl debut in 1990 on the Noiseville Records sampler, “From Twisted Minds Come…,” and the 7″ single, “Look at yr Chair,” followed soon afterward. Lance Farley replaced Foxworth on the drum throne at this point and Shane Shelton took over from Torn on the keyboard duties.
Live shows continued unabated, with ST 37 organizing the Noisefests at Waterloo Park featuring bands like Ed Hall, Seemen, Crust, Liquid Mice, Pocket FishRmen, Coz the Shroom, Squat Thrust, etc.
Following the cassette LPs “feature silica vicarious” and “from space w/love” ST 37 finally entered the digital age with Over and Out records of Austin releasing the “Invisible College” CD.
The release of a second single, “Taboo/Hoodoo,” saw the addition of Craig Johnson from Puffy Brutha Man on rhythm guitar. This expanded six piece lineup traveled to Phoenix for the Arizona Music Conference, but disintegrated soon after that, with Farley leaving first to be replaced by Cisco Ryder G. and Shelton and Johnson bailing shortly thereafter. Carlton Crutcher expanded his musical role in the band to include sequencer (Roland SH 101) and Telles began utilizing occasional keyboards and drones to fill the gap.
ST 37’s first tour followed, with the newly trim 4-piece lineup playing two weeks of shows on the west coast in January 1993. A third single, “The Gypsy’s Curse” was released on Prospective in 1994, spawning a two week Midwestern jaunt that summer. The band met with Paul Stark of Twin Tone records in Minneapolis, papers were signed, an advance was paid, but alas.. it was not to be. Perhaps ST 37’s next project, the sprawling double LP, “Glare,” was a bit much for Twin Tone. John Kass of Prospective was soon able to find a home for it with Helter Skelter records of Rome.
After “Glare,” ST 37 toured the Midwest again, this time with Prospective lablemates the Green Machine. Further recording projects followed, including appearances on Bowie and Hawkwind tribute records. Finally, after completing the sessions the resulted in the “derobe” split LP with Vocokesh on RRR, Cisco quit the band, but was kind enough to find his own replacement, Dave Cameron of Roky Erickson and Evilhook Wildlife E.T., Glass Eye, Brave Combo, 3-Day Stubble, etc., etc. fame.
1997 saw the addition of Mark Stone on rhythm guitar, allowing Joel to further explore the stratosphere on lead. Another Midwest jaunt was undertaken which saw the band playing their largest and most successful show yet at Weedstock outside of Madison WI. A compilation CD of the event was released featuring a smokin’ live version of the band’s Neu! cover medley, “Hallohero.”
Contacts formed from roadwork enabled the band to fulfill a long-term ambition to play with Hawkwind . This happened on Labor Day weekend at the Strange Daze festival in Sherman, NY. Other space rock luminaries such as Nik Turner’s Space Ritual, F/i Farflung, Alien Planetscapes, etc. were also on the bill. A CD compilation of this show has been released on Pangea records.
January 1998: After the release of “Spaceage” on yet another Italian label (Black Widow of Genoa), ST 37 saw their most significant local recognition yet with a major feature in the Austin Chronicle and a string of prime Saturday night shows with the likes of 7% Solution, Ursa Major and 60’s psych legends Silver Apples. An original score for the 1926 Fritz Lang classic “Metropolis” was written that summer and has been played three times since then at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema to ecstatic, ticket-scalping crowds and adoring press. Large portions of the score will emerge on “The Insect Hospital”, a forthcoming double LP/single CD from Black Widow Records.
July 1999: After the release of the vinyl-only limited edition LP “The Secret Society”, ST 37 played five dates in the Bay Area with some great bands like 3-Day Stubble, Liquorball, Beyond-O-Matic and the amazing Rubber O Cement.
1999 also saw the release of “I love to talk…if there’s anything to talk about…” on Emperor Jones. Finally the ST 37 virus can spread to all corners of the globe through the massive veins of the Touch and Go/ADA/Southern Studios distribution/global conspiracy network. Along with Alastair Galbraith and Adam Wiltzie of Stars of the Lid, ST 37 accompanied Pip Proud on his Emperor Jones CD, “Oncer”, released 2/00. No less than six different compilations appeared featuring ST 37 contributions.
Summer 2000: ST 37 journeyed to the East Coast to make their NYC debut at Tonic. Shows were played with Bardo Pond in Philadelphia and at Strange Daze 2000 with Daevid Allen’s University of Errors and many more. A live broadcast was recorded at WFMU studios. A good time is had by all.
KFJC released the extended 3-guitar version of “Nicht Jetzt” on their excellent 2xCD compilation “Live from the Devil’s Triangle Vol. 2.” The band finishes work on “The Insect Hospital” CD and double LP in the spring of 2001, and begins a series of limited edition CDR releases with the improvisational “Frantic Search for Zero”. After a stellar Roky Erickson benefit show the band entered Sweatbox Studios to record their ninth LP. Midway through the recordings Carlton Crutcher left the band. Although a founding member, Carlton’s musical role in the band was changing and he needed to devote more time to his project with his wife Sharon, Book of Shadows.
The months leading up to 4/27/02 saw the band working on a new silent film score for Fritz Lang’s “Destiny”, which premiered on that date at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Recording was completed on the new LP, which is christened “Down On Us.” A brief flirtation with hiring a new keyboardist/synthesist ensued, but alas, it was not to be. The band soldiered on as a quartet, spewing forth compilation appearances like rain on WFMU’s “Don’t Shoot the Toy Piano Player,” the Lisa Suckdog tribute “Beasts of the Night Gather Together,” Ptolemaic Terrascope’s “POT 32,” and Ant Lunch Misick’s “What?!? Are You On Drugs?!?”. A new double CDR improvisation compilation, “Nunavut”, was issued. ST played the Roky Erickson Welcome Home bash in September ’02 and the event was videotaped by the Austin Music Network, with clips from “Rollercoaster” and “Birds’d Crash” garnering much airplay. Collaborative efforts like Spirit’s Burning’s “Reflections In A Radio Shower” and Pip Proud’s “A Yellow Flower” are also released. The band got to meet and hang out with Pip on his first visit to the States, and dedicated a heartfelt version of his “Sweet Thought” to him from the stage at Terrastock 5 in Boston in October 2002. Another major feature article in the Austin Chronicle materialized to coincide with the release of “Down On Us”, and much Tito’s Handmade Vodka is drunk at the release party.
2003: SXSW in March, a killer show with Rusted Shut, Swarm of Angels, and Oxbow followed by a 13-date East Coast and Midwest tour with Emperor Jones labelmates Primordial Undermind in July and August. More compilation appearances, and the long awaited “The Insect Hospital” finally appeared on Dec. 15th. ST 37 returned to Sweatbox and the lovin’ arms of Bryan Nelson to record their half of a split LP with Crevice from San Antonio, as well as remixing and remastering the 1989 cassette release “from space w/love” and the 1997 LP “The Secret Society” for CD. Well, it keeps us off the streets.
2004: After a post-tour well-deserved break, great shows with among others legendary Swedes Trad Gras och Stenar, Houston wackos Linus Pauling Quartet, and 13th Floor Elevator channelers the Tommy Hall Schedule. A version of Syd Barrett’s “Vegetable Man” appeared on the aptly-titled “Vegetable Man Project Volume 2” comp. The improvisational “They Time” appeared on the “Hall of Mirrors” comp along with tracks from bands like Kinski, Bardo Pond, Acid Mothers Temple, Subarachnoid Space, etc. A live tour CDR from last summer’s trek is released. Further recording is accomplished, with a version of “Chromosome Damage” recorded for a forthcoming Chrome tribute on Aktivator Records and the ultra-heavy “Future Memories” completed for the new Spirits Burning project. The “Destiny” 2xCDR is released. In December, a long awaited milestone is celebrated: the 300th show, with pals Experimental Aircraft and 7% Solution alumni A Five and Dime Ship. The story continues up to the present day. For updates, please join our Yahoogroups mailing list here.