Odus Krumly – The Raunchy-Acoustic-Porch-Cowpunk-Party Years

At last, thanks to something called a “statute of limitations”, the true story of Odus Krumly, everyone’s favorite raunchy-acoustic-porch-cowpunk-party band of all time, can finally be told

Officially, it all began in a house on the flight path in Austin circa 1991-2…

Unofficially, it began near the turn of the century with the brief and tortured career of Odysseus “Odus” Colostemen Krumly Esq., musician, Crowleyan mystic, mustard gurgler, saint, poet, checker grand master, and child-buddha. It has often been reported at least 2-3 times on an Instagram thread, that the band’s name was inspired by the band’s coincidentally homonymical landlord, “Odus Crumley”, owner of Odus Realty and the house on Koening where most of the band usually lived and played, this, however, is not the case.

And yes, there is even one more beginning, long after the story of Krumly, and long before the move to the house of Crumley…. This other beginning was when an intrepid young man named Kevin “K-Bob” Waynes; blue-eyed bandleader, sideburn rancher, multi-instrumentalist and skilled producer of novelty answering machine jingles; came across a book of songs he found, one day, in the attic of his grandparent’s home. Or, as he describes it, in his own, exact words:

“One day, I found a book of songs in the attic of my grandparent’s home”.

He went on to reveal the contents of the book… a series of disturbingly vulgar tunes, all written in densely coded musical language. By luck, Kevin was able to decipher the book using a combination of native wit, extensive musical training, and the Fostex 4-track user’s manual. Kevin has never shared this story with anyone to this day, I’m not even sure how I know it. I’m probably having a peyote flashback or something.

Decoded, what the book revealed was much more than just a series of horny, cornball, and comedically violent ditties, it also named and told the story of their creator, the afore-mentioned Odysseus “Odus” Krumly (again, not to be confused with their landlord’s sound-alike name, ‘Odus Crumley’, although the mistake is easy to make and completely understandable… possibly even likely…)

According to the book, the canonical Odus Krumly (with a “K”) first started writing his tunes during a darkly puritanical time in the East Texas, Southern Baptist, bible-belt community where he was born… Writers of his nature were loathed by mainstream culture, usually beaten, killed, or worse, and always relegated to a life on the fringes of society… playing at saloons, brothels, and even some incredibly unseemly places like the Methodist church. Odus had plied his trade in the darkest of these corners, mastering his craft and refining his skills, all while secretly recording the greatest of these works in his book. The same book that K-Bob now held.

And so it came to pass that Waynes learned, played, and recorded the first song of many from its yellowing, brittle, urine-stained pages; the important, philosophically complex and powerfully emotional “Me and Billy Jim Bob (Got a Nail Gun)” – a song of hope for troubled times with the rousing, fierce call to arms, “We’re gonna kick your ass! We’re GOOOONNNNAAA KICK… YOUR ASS!” It was an instant classic, a masterpiece, a hit that took the world by storm, instantly propelling him into the spotlight, and changing his life, and the lives of all those around him forever.

With his new-found fame and glory, Kevin was left with few options other than to form a band, learn and record more of these magic spells from the secret grimoire, and to unleash their power onto the world.

His first recruit was a drummer, the mysterious Crowe Brandon, a master of the arcane polyrhythms of yore, weaver of mysteries, and inventor of the ‘pizza bone’ diet… Crowe heard Kevin’s tune and immediately set fire to his be-stickered and duct-taped punk rock drumset, and even while the crimson flames yet rose above them both in that furious pyre, Crowe screamed in possessed voice the words that still haunt us all to this day: “Fuck that punk rock bullshit! Let’s form a goddam country band!” Keeping only his singed and battered snare drum, the two then set off on a quest to expand their army of true believers…

It is fortuitous to note that Odus Krumly (not the landlo… oh dammit, you’ve got it by now) had not been completely relegated to the fabled and oft-discussed ‘dustbin’ of history… in fact, a single recording of one of his tunes had escaped, somehow unscathed, from the ravages of time… Passed down through countless hands from silver acetate to wax cylinder, from wax cylinder to vinyl record, and finally to a single cassette recording. By some weird chance of fate, this lone artifact somehow managed to find its way to the longly named Eric Bruce Elanor Northgate Goober aka “E. B. E. N.”, or, “Eben” Goober, a distant cousin of the original Odus, a bean eater, and the former singer for Waynes’ and Crowe’s first band, a Fishbone-World Party tribute act that had traded publicly under the legal name: ‘ENEMA’.

This cassette, assumed to be the last remaining vestige from the life of Krumly, was a portal for the intrepid Goober, and from the first time he heard those generation-warped steel guitar notes ringing out from the scratchy tape, from the first line of silly yet thought provoking lyric, Eben knew he had found a new calling.

That song was “Honey You Think We’re in Love (But We’re Still in Texas)” a tear-jerking divorce song that speaks frankly about the perils of involving the bottle in matters of the heart. The song came to Eben at the exact moment when he needed to find a new path, having, coincidentally, just experienced a divorce that had involved a somewhat perilous bottle…

As fate would have it, a new path would appear very soon in the form of a phone call from his old band-mate, Kevin “K-bob” Waynes, where-in the discovery of their shared connection to the forgotten icon Krumly was revealed… And after that, it was only a matter of weeks until Eben moved to Austin to join K-bob and Crowe at the house on Koening.

That house was key. Some believe that the original Odus may have lived or visited the house during his travels, and the legends are all true except for the ones that aren’t. There is, however, one who knows the truth, and he ain’t talking. I’m speaking of course of Chips Pasterson, the thousand year old hermit who has lived in the basement of the legendary house since before the dawn of time, emerging every generation or two for a few brief moments to impart the wisdom of the ancients, share a hand-rolled cigarette, and to teach his practice, called “the way of the peaceful tube amp,” to a new generation of acolytes.

As Kevin and the disciples of Odus began to congregate for the song ceremonies on the porch in those early days, it was Chips who brewed the first of the two sacraments (the hot, caffeinated one, not the ice-cold ‘Yellow, Bubbly, Water of Tang’…) for the gathered faithful, before pulling up his own chair and joining the reverie with a P-bass plugged into a mysterious rodeo amplifier.

In those heady days, song after song was transcribed from the tattered tome… harmonies were added, lyrics learned… Crowe keeping time on the half burnt snare with two paintbrushes he had rescued from a paintbrush retirement community, and singing his middle harmony in a clear, loud voice… Waynes strumming the guitar, singing the third part, and giving direction… Goober singing lead and attempting to divine the cryptic meanings of the phrases provided by the transcribed words of their prophet… Pasterson thumping out a low rumble and singing a fourth part in his clear, plaintive second tenor warble… only occasionally pausing to share a bit of his ageless wisdom.

It was a special time… some of the songs learned in that era are, alas, lost to time, songs like “(I Sure Love) Driving Drunk”, and “You’ve Got Holes”, but many have survived and are recorded in this collection. “My Name is Mud (and I Love You)” , “Dammit (I’m Just Too Hammered For You)”, and “If You Always Hurt the Ones You Love (Why the Hell Ain’t I Hurtin’ You?)” are among those carefully transcribed tunes.

Eventually, it became clear that the band would need to expand beyond the porch to share the gospel of Odus as they understood it, as it was clearly too important not to share. But even as they realized this, they also realized that there was a piece of the puzzle missing, indeed there was a Dirk Fillerup shaped hole in the heart of the band.

Dirk Fillerup had been a wizard for generations before the beginning of time, and was also the last surviving bass player for ENEMA, the aforementioned previous band… More than a mere time-keeper, DF was a fellow melodicist, an advanced guitarist, and was also quite skilled in the necessary, enigmatic art of ‘entertainment’ or, in the vernacular, ‘making an ass of himself onstage’, certainly a critical element should this congregation choose to expand from the porch and into larger venues…

It took some sleuthing but eventually Dirk was found, bailed out of his incarceration in a high-paying dead end job, stripped and scrubbed down, then brought into the fold, making a bed on the porch and borrowing instruments until he could steal his own like a grownup. His voice became the badly needed bass note in the multi-part assemblage, filling in the gap, and making the harmony whole.

These pastors of cowpunk’s original prophet now ventured forth, singing the sacred, filthy words of Odus, fighting under his banner, and conquering nations in his name. Famous gigs included opening spots for any band playing inside the club on whose sidewalk they chose to play on, any party with a fair amount of free beer and collection of pots and pans that could stand in for a drumkit, and any punk-club that did not vet the acts before hiring them. Sadly, the well-publicised but ill-fated “You’re-a-Peein’” tour of 6th street bathrooms was never realized when K-Bob got into that Interscope band and Eben moved off to Cali.

Postscript: There are a couple of songs on here written by Odus Krumly, but actually recorded at different times by K-Bob (“Is it Hard Enough?”) and Eben (“I’ve Got a Dipstick”, “Hello, Penis (It’s Me Again)”) alone, and two recorded with other converts (Brian Something and Josh Whosit) in a briefly-lived band called The Cornfritters (“The Greens” and “Cornfritters”). They are all included in this collection because this is a tribute not to the eponymous cowpunk porch band, but to Odysseus “Odus” Krumly, the muse…

And finally, in the immortal words of Crowe; “Fuck that punk rock bullshit! Now, y’all go form a goddam country band!!”

Post-Postscript:

Almost all songs written, performed and recorded at various times and locations in the Austin, Texas area the early 90s by Odus Krumly:

Kevin “K-Bob” Waynes, Crowe Brandon, Eben Goober, Chips “R-Down” Pasterson, Dirk Fillerup

(aka Kevin Allen, Brandon Crowe, Bruce Enloe, Chip Patterson, Derek Phillips; with guests on 10 & 12: Josh Lindsay and Brian…something…)