Denver, CO, punk trio formed by three Americans with European ties. Craig Campbell (vocals/bass) and Erik Roper (guitar/vocals) met while attending high school at a U.S. airbase in Germany; Roper was an Airforce brat and Campbell's parents were teachers at the school. Eric Butterfield (drums/vocals) was an expatriate, living in Ireland and playing in the rock band Mexican Pets before returning to the States. The group formed in late 1992, releasing a demo tape shortly thereafter, and received much attention during the post-Nirvana major-label grab. They eventually hooked up with an indie label, Caustic Fish, for their debut release Saccharine (1994). Though it was not without its melodic moments, the grungy hardcore sound of the album was much different than what would later emerge. Cold Crank became one of the most popular underground live acts in Denver, and began touring the U.S. in 1994. Their energetic and often self-destructive live performances helped earn the band a following in cities such as San Diego, Omaha, and Albuquerque. Jello Biafra, one of the band's most famous admirers, was keen on signing the outfit to his Alternative Tentacles label, but lost interest after witnessing a disastrous show in San Francisco. Two EPs, Flinch and Lifer, arrived in 1995, and were not dissimilar to the full-length Saccharine. A real change occurred in 1996 with the release of the Kung Pao Kitty EP (on their own Drastic Plastic label), which betrayed a more accessible, punk-pop style. Arguably, the band would have gone on to greater success had they not broken up the same year. Zone of Accumulation is a career-spanning collection of outtakes. As of 2001, all former members are keeping busy with current projects: Erik Roper is playing with the Seattle band Alta May (with Garret Shavlik, formerly of the Fluid), Eric Butterfield is drumming for the Subtractions in San Francisco, and Craig Campbell resides in Ypsilanti, MI, and is working with members of the Von Bondies and Empty Set on his new venture, Cold Craig. Though an eventual falling out with Von Bondies leader Jason Stollsteimer permanently derailed that idea, Campbell continued to work on demos and later assembled a new ensemble, Rock N Roll Monkey & The Robots, to complete the recordings. Their Detroit Trauma release marked his re-surfacing in 2005.
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