CrumbSnatchers Aim for Release and Reckless Abandon

In Music Stories by Carey Hodgesleave a COMMENT

If you’re wondering whether CrumbSnatchers’ onstage freak-outs are part of some larger message, you’re thinking about it too hard. The Knoxville-based pop/punk band, whose members are known to maniacally thrash through their performances, sometimes inciting pockets of moshing within the crowd and jumping into the crowd themselves, want audience members to skip the self-reflection and just let loose.

“It’s fun to see people’s faces once they start to get into it and they’re like, ‘Oh, this is what this is. This is a party and it’s going to be a good time,’” says vocalist/guitarist Sam “Guetts” Guetterman. “We love creating a space where people feel like they can dance in a silly way or whatever, where there’s no reason to hold back, because we’re acting silly, so they have no reason to worry about how they look.”

CrumbSnatchers—Guetterman, drummer Rylan Bledsoe, bassist Sam Burchfield, and guitarist Philip Mosteller—played their first gig at a packed-out birthday party in Fort Sanders in 2012. They followed with a string of sweaty house shows before booking venues like Pilot Light and Scruffy City Hall. Full of brain-scrambling jumps between punk assaults and catchy indie-rock choruses, the band’s sound is equal parts chaotic and contrived. The chaotic part of the equation, along with the band’s name, came naturally for Guetterman, who was shipped off to a Christian-based military reform school at 16.

“The staff would refer to us as crumbsnatchers when we were doing drills and stuff,” he says. “So one day I asked one of the workers what he meant by it, and he was like, ‘wild and rambunctious children who can’t behave right!’ When we first started writing, CrumbSnatchers just seemed like the perfect fit.”

While the band’s more abrasive, punk-inclined tracks swell to an ear-splitting explosion of grating guitars, pummeling drums and fractured, growling vocals—sometimes even flirting with metal elements—the lyrics behind the mayhem are generally positive, even a little goofy.

“We’re shooting for a feeling, and that feeling is sort of like those feelings that you’re not allowed to express, like at work. Or if you’re in preschool, you have to wait for recess,” Guetterman explains. “We’re shooting for this feeling of aggressive release and reckless abandonment, but we’re focusing on it in a positive and not a negative way. That sometimes comes out in different sounds.”

Those different sounds are the result of a anything-goes policy when it comes to crafting new tracks. While Guetterman tends to spearhead the direction of the band’s material, all members contribute to the creative process.

“Sometimes we’ll just be practicing and are like, let’s write a new song, and it comes out really quickly like that as a band,” Guetterman says. “Then sometimes it’s something that I’ve been brewing for a while and I show it to them. And then sometimes it’s just a sweet riff that Sam has and we just build from that. It’s also started from a drumbeat before, where Rylan’s like, ‘Hey, I’ve got this cool thing, let’s work on it.’ And then we do.”

The band has built a loyal following in the Knoxville area over the past three years. “Most folks know what to expect from us, which is cool,” Guetterman says. “But we love playing for a new crowd who is like, what’s going on here?” That desire to unleash their amped-up antics on an unsuspecting audience inspired the CrumbSnatchers to pack up their gear and drive more than 1,000 miles to Austin, Texas, to perform a single show at this year’s SXSW festival.

“We found out about the show only a week or so before the actual festival, so we didn’t have a lot of time to book anything else,” Guetterman says. “We tried to go to as many shows as we could and just have a good time and meet people and talk to people and stuff like that.”

Since returning home, the band has abandoned a crowdfunding effort to raise the $6,000 needed to finish recording their full-length debut with the Kelly brothers at Knoxville’s Famous London Recording Studio. They hope to pay for the release of the album themselves, dropping the finished product sometime over the summer.

“I’m working two jobs now and we’re all going to buckle down and pay for it,” Guetterman says. “It’ll feel good to pay for it ourselves. We’re going to take our time on it, which is something that we didn’t really do with our first EP. I think it’s going to be something that were really proud of for a long time.”

That drive to produce a thought-out, polished product extends beyond CrumbSnatchers’ upcoming album. The band, not surprisingly, has big plans to mix things up in the future.

“We’ve been writing a bunch of new stuff for the next project that we’re going to make,” Guetterman says. “I’m not sure whether it’s going in an indie direction or whether it’s going in a pop direction or whether it’s going in a punk direction. But we’re moving somewhere from where we’ve been.”


CrumbSnatchers and Opposite Box open for Peelander-Z at the Concourse (940 Blackstock Ave.) on Wednesday, May 6, at 9 p.m. 

Carey started as a lowly Metro Pulse intern in 2009, helping enter calendar listings while learning about the cruel world of independent journalism. Since then, she’s contributed arts/music writing to publications including Paste, Washington City Paper, and more. When she’s not exploring the local arts community, you can find her playing with her cats or attempting to garden.

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