Minutemen - Project Mersh; SST Records 034 -1985
Minutemen - Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat;
SST Records 016 - 1983
D. Boon - D. Boon & Friends; Box-O-Plenty Records 001 - 2003
Mike Watt - Stomp; Die Kreuzen Compilation Record - 2001
Tragicomedy - Homage to Nada; New Alliance Records 01 - 1983
Invisible Chains - Invisible Chains; New Alliance Records 021 -1986
Another Umbrella - Fractalidescope; Fractal Vision Videos - 1989
Kangaroo Court - Path to Reason; Cosmic Joke Records 001 - 1987
The Rub - Day of from Karma; Happy Squid Records 019 -1999
Dick Edgemont - Explode on the Scene - Euphoria's Destination Records 001 - 2004
(played in, recorded with, played/jammed with)
Cosmic Joke (D. Boon)
Patrick Moraz (Keyboardist of the Moody Blues and YES)
Charlie Haden (Jazz Bassist)
Stove Top (Black Flag members)
Vida (George Hurley)
Fo Fum (Mike Watt)
Super Session (Raymond Pettibon)
The Runkis (KXLU 88.9)
Dick Edgemont and the Explosion
(all music and lyrics written by Crane)
The Wishing Tree
A Cowboy's Christmas
Gulliver's Travels (adaptation)
"King of the Hill" Minutemen
STUDIED TRUMPET WITH
Maestro Joseph Valenti of the Peninsula Symphony who studied with Rafael Mendez
Southern California's Youth Orchestra, Junior High, High School
"Forest Grump" (Columbia Pictures)
"Weathermen 69" (SST Films)
Various Independent Films
Minutemen's Mike Watt interviews Tragicomedy (#135 - 8/23/09) @
Book - "Civilization's Quotations - Life's Ideal"
Richard Alan Krieger: A Biography
by Harvey Kubernik author, journalist and music historian
Writer/author/instrumentalist/composer Richard Alan Krieger was born in Washington D.C. in 1957 and as a youth lived in Virginia. His father worked for the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington D.C. which transferred him in 1963 to their Los Angeles office. Initially the family resided in Buena Park for a year before setting in Palos Verdes.
Krieger a.k.a. Crane (a nickname from his landscaping days) is a composer/improvisational/musician who first learned to play music on the trumpet in his elementary school band. He also ended up being involved in musical theater playing 1st trumpet (Mame, Annie Get Your Gun) in various school productions, along with being in the marching band.
He studied with Maestro Joseph Valenti founding conductor of the Peninsula Symphony who was also a respected studio musician. Valenti’s teacher was the world renown classical trumpeter Rafael Mendez, who in his youth used to play regularly for Mexican Rebel General Pancho Villa.
Richard Krieger is a graduate of Rolling Hills High School (now Peninsula High) and later attended Harbor College and California State College Dominguez Hills where he studied music and art.
Krieger spoke of his early musical influences saying, “My dad and mom used to toss these wild 60’s hipster cocktail parties. A martini thing with people doing the twist mixing jazz and rock ‘n’ roll. They had many happening costume and theme parties too. That whole cool hipster vibe influenced me big time, even before I got into the pop music thing. That’s when my dad turned me on to jazz. I saw Buddy Rich at Marineland where the dolphins were jumping out in front, and Stan Kenton at El Camino College with trumpeters in the audience playing at different angles. I also saw Duke Ellington and Count Basie at Disneyland. My dad even took me to the Playboy Club in Century City to hear the World’s Greatest Jazz Band when I was underage. Among others, I saw Lionel Hampton and Shelly Manne jam as well. At the same time, my mom was also a big classical music lover who sang in the church choir. So the innovative music of Chopin, Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky also expanded my musical appreciation. When this all was happening in the late 1960’s, we got this cool organ that I first started to improv and compose on wearing headphones.”
In his sophomore year in high school he started feeling an inner need to start creatively expressing himself in the original art of free form music. He taught himself to play bass by ear in the improvisational art rock band Wasted Space he started with some friends.
Speaking of his love for improvisational music Krieger commented, “When I started to jam on various instruments, it shifted my whole idea of what schooling was and drastically changed my life. I lost interest in the whole technical musical theory thing. In high school I saw this lineage of great trumpeters ahead of me, and I noticed they were just going into that world of strict musical structure. I made a distinction of not becoming just another hot gunslinger musician - I wanted to be a composer. The idea of improvisational music was so inspiring to me. It set my whole train of thought in another mindset, to do music and do it from my raw emotions as well as the feelings that came from my heart.”
Elaborating on the impact improv music had on him, Krieger said, “It was such an amazing and magical time of my life when I first started to jam with Wasted Space. We used to jam everyday after school for two years with these wild loud musical explorations. And it’s still amazing to me, that the neighbors never called the cops on us. It truly was a haven for the study of experimental music.”
As the years passed, so did the jams as Wasted Space transformed itself into the group Tragicomedy and became apart of the “L.A. Rock Revival" scene in the early 1980's. The group formed a close friendship and mutual musical admiration with the influential Minutemen, with whom they did many gigs, along with recording the album "Homage to Nada" under the Minutemen's label New Alliance Records (SST Records). Crane at that time also began playing trumpet and singing background vocals with the Minutemen for their gigs and recordings.
Other groups/artists with whom Krieger also collaborated with were Another Umbrella (Richard Derrick), Invisible Chains (Carla Bozulich), Cosmic Joke (D. Boon), Fo Fum (Mike Watt), Vida (George Hurley), Patrick Moraz (Yes/Moody Blues), SuperSession (Raymond PRichard Alan "Crane" Kriegerettibon), and Dick Edgemont.
Krieger was greatly inspired by many of the early punk groups who played at the Starwood in Hollywood (X, The Germs, The Go-Gos, The Gears, etc.). He also listened to cool radio stations like KROQ-FM and KXLU-FM that were connected with the punk rock scene in the early 1980s. Yet, the whole “Prog rock” movement was also very much a big influence in his life. “I was really into Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant and King Crimson too. Add to that the intense vocal harmonic groups such as the Beach Boys, the Bulgarian Women’s State Choir and the Tibetan Monks.”
Crane also knew and witnessed the Minutemen band members from a vantage point few people have ever experienced. “They were so different in their approach to music. The way they magically blended all those sounds and styles together was totally phenomenal and innovative creating something totally new. That’s why there were always musicians at their shows, many whom were well known, to study and be influenced by their cutting-edge creativeness. As they matured on stage, they did live improv jams too with various musicians. Their music is timeless. And they were all about that, the music. They didn’t care what your fashion trip was. This in contrast to what was happening in Hollywood at the time. They embody the true ‘American spirit of freedom of expression’ that also is ‘Don’t Trend On Me.’ Beyond that, there was also something that made them so very unique. And that was the down home friendship that they created and brought together as a community in San Pedro at that time.”
Krieger went on to explain the impact being apart of the San Pedro (“Pedro”) music community had on his life, as he ended up spending much of his time there as well as living there a few years. “Part of that spirit of friendship and fun of playing music came together in the jam sessions I had with D. Boon and Richard Derrick at their pad. They’d call me up and invite me over to jam with them in their living room. It was very much a chamber music like setting. We played guitar and bass through these tiny amps the size of one’s hand accompanied by a Casio keyboard. We’d be jamming while at the same time be watching T.V. or talking to various people who came by to hang out. It was as cool and casual as it gets for playing music for the pure fun of it. We’d often break out in laughter at some of the wild and wacky stuff that musically happened. Much of that particular sound was inspired by whoever was toying with the Casio in its push button chord mode. We also did a couple local parties with large amps and drums under the name, ‘Cosmic Joke.’ On guitar of course was D., Richard on drums and I played bass. Those party jams were some of the coolest progressive jams.”
A tribute album to D. Boon called “D. Boon & Friends” was recently released on Richard Derrick’s Box-O-Plenty Record label. Krieger shared his insight on how the record came about. “Yeah, Richard was really into recording everything and recorded all the jams we did together. So a few years ago he was going through his vast tape archive to sort out which ones needed to be transferred over to a digital format as to save them for posterity, and he found those tapes. He then reflected on what should be done with those tapes and decided it would be a cool idea to share this music with the world in loving memory of Dennes. So he called up the Boon family to ask their approval, and they too thought it was a good idea and gave their blessing. D. Boon was such a renaissance man. He was very conscientious of the challenges facing society. His political activism was very important to him and came through in his lyrics. He was also a great painter. A couple of those paintings were used as covers for the last two Minutemen albums. Anyone who ever came in personal contact with him would always be inspired by his total joy of living. The laughter and compassionate understanding that he shared with others brought much happiness. And his musical legacy has had, and will continue to have, a profound influence for the good of humanity.”
Reflecting on his career as a recording artist, Krieger commented, “I really love the recording studio in any form or budget it may take. It’s such a special place as to creating one’s expression of music. Sure, doing live music in front of an audience is very special too without question. But after D. Boon sadly passed away, all my other friends who were musicians gradually all went their own separate ways. And since I was so use to jamming mostly with close friends where that vibe of friendship also came through the music, that it was hard for me to just put an ad in the paper to find other musicians to jam with. So over time, I ended up as a solo recording artist focusing on producing music from my home studio. Then again, having a live drummer is so much more preferable than that of a drum machine any day. But when you don’t have access to one, you don’t let that get in the way of your creative process. I’ve worked with a variety of recording machines in my career, so one is going to noticeably hear that differentiation of sound quality now and then when listening to my song collection. Ultimately though, I feel that the groove and feeling of one’s song should be felt beyond whatever technical sound limitations there are. Give me a primitive recording of a good song verses a bad song with great production any day. In the same way that if a song can’t hold it’s own by being played on the most basic of instruments, it’s not much of a song to begin with. It all comes down to creating music that will inspires the artist deep within his or her soul. And sometimes that art is also felt as inspirational in others as well. One of coolest things about the whole home recording revolution that came about, as well as the internet where you can post your songs now, is that it has leveled the playing field. So if you feel you have some talent you wish to share with others that you think might just rock their world, you now at least have the chance to do so.”
With the year 2007 on the horizon, Krieger has emerged with distinct collections of his pop, rock and instrumental music compositional skills. There is an overt bio-regional flavor in the music and sounds he creates, owing partially to the beach community and summer art festivals there. “I’m very much into the creative fusion of sounds. A lot of it has to do with the influence of mother nature, for I grew up with the woods right behind me and the ocean being a half a mile away. This very much can be heard in particular in my sound healing works. as well as in my ‘Awakening Sound’ project dedicated to awaken one peacefully from sleep with the gradual increase of volume to an alchemy of sounds.”
Krieger has very much a humanitarian approach to life as to seeing the big picture and everything having an ultimate meaning for happening. “One of the greatest influences in my life has been my loving parents who raised me with the morals to respect others. They inspired me to compose my collection of famous quotes, that I turned into my book called, ‘Civilization’s Quotations - Life’s Ideal.’ This book uses famous quotes in a unique ‘stream of consciousness’ order called ‘poetic quotation’ that creates the path of the ‘Ideal Life’ we all aspire to. I’ve study spirituality, metaphysics and politics extensively as to why the world is the way it is and why we still have these major problems that haven’t been solved. So my lyrics tend to weave through those themes as well as the quest of finding one’s soulmate.”
And yet, Krieger has never left the structure of traditional pop and rock songs. His compositions, underscore the influences of his youth, hearing Bowie, Eno, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Cars, Steely Dan, the Talking Heads, etc. “Well, my love for rock and pop songs is undeniable as to an influence in some of my songs because that’s the time period I grew up in. I was also greatly influenced by the ‘peace and love’ of the 60’s ideal, even through I was too young to fully experience it at the time. But when that happened, I sensed where we were supposed to go collectively as a society. Then politics diverted the movement from the hippies to the yuppies, but I see it coming back. Hopefully this time with a healthy combination of ‘getting off the grid,’ and ‘you’ve got to get in to get out.’”
A few years ago Krieger was part of a humanitarian group who traveled to the far east to help sponsor a progressive “east meets west” holistic health center. His experiences there included hearing sitar concerts, Sai Baba sing bajans, and the Tibetan Monks doing sacred ceremonies in a monastery in Katmandu, Nepal where he stayed.
Earlier this decade Krieger worked as a music director at Cal State Northridge University with a weekly based radio lounge show called, “The Cocktail Hour” on KCSN-FM hosted by DJ Splat Winger, formerly of KXLU-FM fame for his live music show “Brain Cookies.” A show Krieger played on many times with various groups. Winger was always drawn to Krieger’s playing and his music vocabulary and asked him to program his shift. “Doing the show gave me an opportunity to go back in time to my childhood of jazz music. Every week I would do something different. After using the coolest music from my record collection, I ended up going on weekly journeys to thrift stores for ‘new old’ material. The project rekindled my appreciation and love for jazz. A returning musical cycle that began with my early jazz with trumpet, went through the rock ‘n’ roll thing, and then the Minutemen who brought me back to playing the trumpet, completing the cycle with this program of the hip cool jazz groove thing again.”
Krieger in 2006 got re-involved in musical theater with his music being sung by Veronique Chevalier with her lyrics as the opening and closing numbers in her ‘Veronique’s Red Velvet Variety Show,’ which is a modern twist on vaudeville at the Empire Amusement Hall in Hollywood. She currently is working on a new album in which she is collaborating with Krieger on some material. Previous credits in musical theater (including children’s puppet theater) include his original productions of The Wishing Tree, A Cowboy's Christmas, Halloween Follies, and Love's Adventure.
In conclusion, Krieger spoke of what he’s currently doing musically as well as his future goals, “Well, I’m promoting my music in a bigger way now by networking with others like connecting through various websites such as MySpace. And since I consider myself more of a songwriter than a live performer these days, I’m looking to work with others in the entertainment industry who are interested in using my music for their projects. Lately as a songwriter, I’ve really gotten into creating futuristic sonic soundscapes that also have a rhythmic groove to them. It has some elements of rave music in it, but it’s totally different. I also look forward to collaborating more with other artists. Someday I also hope to establish a healing orchestra consisting of didgeridoos, crystal bowls and vibraphones along with many other traditional healing instruments, but to arrange it all in a very modern hip contemporary way in terms of creating a popular music based on those healing sounds.”
Richard Alan “Crane” Krieger is truly a renaissance man on the move, coming from his past accomplishments....to those yet to come.....