CRÈME SODA were a Milwaukee-based band of proto-hippie punks who flitted around the edges of just about every sub-genre inherent within “rock and roll”, even those that hadn’t really been codified yet. Their 1974 single “(I’m Chewin’ Gum)” is a stone-cold masterpiece – a frantic, trashed-out slice of echo-slathered, goofball rockabilly that’s at least two-three years ahead of its time. I’m beside myself with the opportunity to present it to you today.
Here’s what I wrote about the band in 2005 not long after I’d heard this 45 for the first time, in the course of reviewing the band’s lone LP, “Tricky Zingers”:
“….I sure had never heard of this private-press proto-whatever LP until Ugly Things' "Primitive Shit Music" feature a few months back, and even then it was only trumpeting the 45 "(I'm) Chewin' Gum / Roses All Around". I searched around a little & found that single and a whole lot more -- which was this LP, the band's only contribution to the canon in their brief lifespan. First, let me second and third the dimwit majesty of the song "(I'm) Chewin' Gum" -- a manic, echophonic, hopped-up rockabilly number all methed up & ready for a greaser knife fight. 1975?!? Are you kidding me? It's immediately top of the charts for 2005 discoveries, and what's more, it's nearly 100% at odds with the rest of the record. The vocals tell me it's the same band, but jeez, I don't know.
CREME SODA's album has got some very pleasant psychedelia and laconic folk rock throughout, with good choruses and a laid back guitar hero ringing away in the background. Without knowing when the record was from, I'd have pegged it as a late 60s thing rather than pre-dating punk by a year. "Tonight", "Keep It Heavy" and "Give It Up (Man)" are the best tracks from that Creme Soda; the one that created "The Beat Song", a backward-looping, "Tomorrow Never Knows"-style droner are another beast entirely. So it's not hard to pass along kudos to such a virtuoso band of 1975 heshers & recommend this for those into the private-press US basement hippie psych navel-gazer sound. Moreover, you get "(I'm) Chewin' Gum", one for the goddamn ages!”
On the B-side of the 45 is “Roses All Around”, which might well have been recorded by an entirely different group. Such was the Jekyl/Hyde nature of CRÈME SODA. You can find a cool in-the-moment 1974 interview with the band here as well.
Play Creme Soda - "(I'm) Chewin' Gum"
Download CRÈME SODA – “(I’m) Chewin’ Gum” (A-side)
Download CRÈME SODA – “Roses All Around” (B-side)