Mick Crudge (The Fits) RIP : an appreciation of Blackpool punk singer who found a healing path
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Mick Crudge (The Fits) RIP : an appreciation of Blackpool punk singer who found a healing pathI’m totally floored by the death of Mick Crudge the former singer of Blackpool punk band The Fits. He fell on a walk a few days ago and never recovered and the world it robbed of another one of its finer spirits and beautiful connected souls and my love and condolonces got to his family and to his partner Orsi.

Mick was a beautiful spirit whose tidal wave of life force seemed unstoppable with whatever he threw himself at – whether it was punk rock or his later spiritual and healing wanderings. It was always a joy to bump into him from my teenage years in grimy Blackpool late seventies punk rock dives or in later years in the green fields of festivals or in London where he lived when not wandering around the world.

In the decades I knew Mick – since meeting him in that fevered late seventies punk rock scene in Blackpool – he was always so full of life and energy that he felt indestructible. His optimism and belief in everybody was ingectious and joyous and defied the gloomy seaside skies. In the punk era his band, The Fits, were trying to find their way through the maze of options with a mixture of second wave brutal energy and Mick’s own interest in the exotica of Adam Ant and the more theatrical side of punk. It was this theatrical which resioanted with him being a part of his background in training as an actor and this larger tha life flamboyance and life force was explosive – because, well, that was Mick through and through. This tribal warrior spirit was seived through that claustrophobic frustration of growing up in small-town England and the random violence dealt out to those that dared and somehow fired his spirit even further.

Mick was a brilliant frontman and commanded the stage and the rehearsal rooms that The Fits shared with my band the Membranes as we fumbled our way into rock n roll bands. He could ooze a genuine anger in his music but was also always be upbeat and friendly and his postive spirit always always won. He was one of the ace faces on the local punk scene and his optimism and energy was like a tidal wave of enthusiasm that mixed with his esoteric punk imagery and joy in the culture. I have clear memories of him bringing Adam And The Ants Kings Of The Wild Frontier single to our Vinyl Drip club just before it came out and people were muttering about the Ants going pop and this wild and exotic explosion of sound poured out the speakers matched by this wild and exotic apiration on the dance floor dancing to it on his own with his kilt and feathers flailing in the small space as this monstrous and thrilling new sound filled the room. I remember his tint flat in Blackpool South Shore with all the locks on the door and the shrine to punk interior and his boundless energy as he walked down the streets dressed like a king of an even wilder frontier. he was one of those punks who looked scarey to older people but his gentle nature would win any of them over and his charm was magnetic to them.

It took some time for The Fits to truly find their feet and match the ambitions of their singer but when they did it was stunning. Their Tears Of A Nation single remains one of the great second wave punk singles – a huge wall of sound with a slower pace that builds the tension and explodes with that claustrophobia and frustration that were always the key ingredients to classic punk. It oozes and explodes. It thrills and entices – it’s a stunning work that not enough people know or have heard despite its cult status. The band toured a lot but Mick was possibly too exotic for the newer punk kids and fed up with cult status he split the band formed a new band Pure Pressure and moved to London and after that I would hear from him as he drifted across the USA playing bar gigs, sleeping in his guitar as a travelling troubadour with his heart and soul on his sleeve seeking armed with an acoustic guitar seeking something far deeper.

He immersed himself in spiritual, native American culture, eastern ideas and learned how to do Reiki and he was always on a quest for the true alternative. I would see him every now and then in London and he was the same Mick – always cheerful but always seeking and always full of the wild energy and deep intelligence and that permanent grin on his face as he embraced the esoteric ideas that in many ways were the true punk path – that quest for the other – the true alternative. I would also see him at festivals doing his Reiki and helped him reform the Fits for a clutch of shows to run alongside his acoustic solo stuff.

Like everyone who knew Mick I feel cheated we have lost one of the great souls and I’m typing through ‘tears of frustration’. God bless you Mick whichever god it was – you were a deeply spiritual man and a beautiful person and part of my life as a pal who would explode in and out of view immersed in the brilliant ideas just like that skinny teen dancing to Adam And The Ants dressed like the proud punk rock warrior king all those years ago.

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