Mick Crowley: 1968-2022

Mick Crowley ©2001 Julie Monello

Last Saturday I found out that we had lost a guitarist who I’ve seen more times than any other by my reckoning. Mick Crowley was lead guitarist for The Hate Bombs, who were definitely the act I’ve seen the most. I can’t begin to count, but for at least five years from 1993-1997, once or twice weekly shows were commonplace. They were not the first local act I started investigating, but they were perhaps the most crucial.

Locals Only

As I entered the 90s, I was an occasional concert goer but more of a heavy clubber. I started going to “Old Wave” nights at dance clubs and that got up to three nights a week where I knew which clubs would be spinning tunes that I wanted to shake a leg to. If I went to concerts, they were touring bands from the UK or maybe other states. Maybe 20 a year? There was one [forgotten] US band I heard on WPRK-FM the local hip college station that were playing a club downtown so they sounded interesting to me and I went to Club Spacefish. So named after the promoter who booked the club Barbarella for shows.

I got there and found that a local act, Rocket 88 were opening for the now forgotten headliners. Wha…??! A rockabilly band in Orlando, Florida? Stop the presses! This band was great. I quickly started following them around town and it wasn’t long until that were booked into The Junkyard in Casselberry and lo and behold they had a new Orlando band opening for them. That was where I first saw The Hate Bombs.

hate bombs jim leatherman junkyard 93
This may have been from the first Hate Bombs show I saw at The Junkyard, when they opened for Rocket 88 ©1993 Jim Leatherman

Now I liked rockabilly, but had no idea that Garage Rock was beginning to blossom in Orlando! This was even better! It was the early 90s. Post-Punk was long dead. And Grunge and Techno was festering in the mainstream and the “hip” circles of Central Florida. Within a few months these two bands sparked a chain reaction and I was all over the Garage Punk scene igniting in Orlando. It saved live music for me in the 90s and gave me a scene I could enjoy. I was meeting new friends at all of these shows and the number of great local bands was peaking in the mid-90s. And I didn’t just meet new friends. I met my wife as a result of her and her friend seeing me at all the same shows and the friend coming over to introduce themselves to me. It was in the summer of 1994, at a Hate Bombs gig at The Edge: a large Orlando club that had live shows inside or on their outside stage where The ‘Bombs were that night.

The Garage Rock Years

Whenever there was a Hate Bombs gig we were there! The same went for bands like Psycho From Texas, the Nicoteens, Potential Frenzy, and once our friend Dan saw The Exotic Aarontones and told us all about them, everything just exploded. But at the center of it all was The Hate Bombs. They were the central hub to Orlando’s Wheel-O-Garage Rock mayhem. They were friends with and led us to all sorts of great bands that saw us out two to four nights a week. We bought all of their singles they released themselves but eventually other labels picked them up and started releasing their later singles.

first photo session L-R: Ken Chiodini, Dave Ewing, Mick Crowley, Scott Suguichi ©1993 Jim Leatherman

And then they started touring regionally, and we got to see and hear incredible bands like The Woggles the first time we drove up to Athens, Georgia to see the Beefstock Festival at the Atomic Dance Hall. The Hate Bombs were still a baby band on the bill, but I drove up there with chasinvictoria and our friend Beverly and we surprised The ‘Bombs in the club. That was the second time I had seen Dexter Romweber that night, having seen Flat Duo Jets once before with The Cramps in 1990.

beefstock festival athens
The first time we visited Athens, GA to see The Hate Bombs at Beefstock 1994

By 1995, my loved one and I were a pair and we saw dozens of Hate Bombs shows. We once drove up to Atlanta to see them play a festival there, once again surprising the guys who we were friendly and social with as they might show up at parties friends threw. Their first album finally happened in 1997. “Here Comes Treble” was on 360 Twist records and suffered, like their singles, from somewhat anemic production that failed to capture the bite of their scorching live sets. A common problem with Rock at the local level in those days as recording studios were all over the place in terms of their general quality.

Happiness Wins

All of the ‘Bombs were friendly, and Mick was the easy-going one who was maybe a notch or two less intense than the others. Garage Punk was hard and tough, but I will admit that it can be really misogynist in the way that putting down women was almost the first and foremost Garage Rock lyrical trope. That was the real value of Mick within The Hate Bombs as he was the ray of sunshine the band needed to keep things more balanced out. Mick was more into The Kinks and maybe The Flaming Groovies and came from a more joyous place with his music.

classic early ‘Bombs promo with Bombshelter® ©1996 Jim Leatherman

Over time, he was writing more and more of the material that was connecting with me. An upbeat rocker like “Everytime” went a long way to make any female putdowns palatable. Like the poet said, “anger is an energy” but don’t direct it at women. You’re missing the big target. My wife and I wed in 1996, but we couldn’t get The Hate Bombs to play our wedding event, which we rented out the excellent club Johnny’s Rockin’ Bistro out for! Many was the night when we had been there both separately and as a couple to see shows at least twice a week. The Hate Bombs were on the road playing the legendary CBGB with The Fleshtones the night of that party, so the various members of the recently split Exotic Aarontones were engaged to provide the music for our local friends who might not have made it to the wedding in Ohio.

Soon afterward, Mick met his own soulmate in Shannon and the two were a couple to the end. According to words I’ve seen from Hate Bombs original bassist Scott Suguichi it was Mick meeting Shannon that led him to think that dragging his carcass all over the eastern seaboard in an old camper held together with duct tape with three other guys might not be a viable use of his time any more. Mick left The Hate Bombs lineup and was replaced by Fred and the band became less mandatory for us. I can’t recall seeing too many other Hate Bombs shows aprés Mick’s departure. At least he stayed long enough to record the fantastic second album, “Hunt You Down” with the combo before bowing out! Bill Mason finally captured their power on disc. Above is a late period Mick song that missed the album but came out a few years back on flexidisc that captures his approach handily.

The End Of An Era For Us

Hate Bombs mick wails lisa jones
Mick wails back with The Hate Bombs near the end ©2019 Lisa Jones

Then in 2001, we departed Orlando for more pleasant climes, and that was it for the Orlando Garage Rock lifestyle. Right near the end of our time there, I did see Mick’s new band that didn’t have to go on long tours. The Evidents put out a single CD-R and it’s more sophisticated with lots of Ray Davies influence showing through in the songs. After we left Orlando, The Hate Bombs went through their own changes.

mick and ken maria santoro
Ken Chiodini and Mick Crowley ©2019 Maria Santoro

In 2001 Scott Suguichi also left Orlando for Baltimore and The Hate Bombs were put on ice. A documentary film crew actually made a DVD called “The Last Days of The Hate Bombs” and my loved one found it online and surprised me with it. It came in a CD case instead of the DVD case for some reason. But you know Rock music. Bands almost never really end it all forever. The ‘Bombs were thawed out every couple of years for an anniversary gig or two when Scott could make it down the coastline. It seemed that Mick re-joined the band at one point since long tours would no longer happen.

the really final Hate Bombs show ©2019 Maria Santoro

I see that the band eventually got a fill in with Aaron Zackton as shown below for Scott on bass, and this lineup of The Hate Bombs lasted until 2019, when a really final Hate Bombs show [this time with Scott attending] happened. Then they changed their names to the less problematic Tremolords. The origin of the original name had come from drummer Ken’s ex-wife Carol who described another woman shooting “hate bombs” out of her eyes at her at some party. But by 2019, hate had lost a lot of its allure. The last three years saw The Tremolords play the occasional shows, including one last June which was a fund-raiser for Mick’s for tonsil cancer treatment. The “Gimme Mick” event got a great poster by Scott Suguichi pastiching a Monkee’s comic cover. The Tremolords minus Mick played with three other local bands at Will’s Pub, which is still going strong apparently.

The Tremolords © Jim Leatherman

I’d not seen Mick in 21 years but we always enjoyed his easy-going company and knack for sweet tunes that erupted with all of the pleasures of Rock and Pop. He added the mysterious element X that made The Hate Bombs such a thing for so many years and dozens and dozens of sweaty gigs! Our thoughts go out to his widow Shannon during this time of loss and to his brothers in Rock: Ken, Scott, Dave, and Aaron.


About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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11 Responses to Mick Crowley: 1968-2022

  1. savvyscribe1 says:

    Great tribute to Mick! He was an uber-talented multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He will be sorely missed. May Mick rest in peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • postpunkmonk says:

      savvyscribe1 – Welcome to the comments! Until this week, I had no idea you knew Mick even before he formed The Hate Bombs! Having him gone at 54 is just way too early. It’s a real shame. I don’t think I ever saw Mick anything other than positive. Which probably helped him in the end, I suppose. Also, special thanks to savvyscribe1 for info and corrections that have since gone into the post ex post facto!


  2. Dave Mitchell says:

    On-the-mark memoriam. As a footnote, Mick an I ended up coworkers for the last three years … it was like Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne a cubicle apart – SECRET IDENTITIES! No one besides me knew he was a Guitar King! No one at work will get my pop references no more (choke) …

    Liked by 1 person

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Dave Mitchell – Welcome to the comments, brother! What a treasure to have Mick as a co-worker! That couldn’t have been hard at all, but I’m sorry to hear that you are now missing more than one of the local music greats. And having a recipient who gets your riffing at work is gold. Can’t say I’ve had the privilege. Readers should know that Dave Mitchell is a top cartoonist who’s drawn the occasional Hate Bombs cover illo. The xmas cassette in the gallery at the bottom is one of his. And the split CD single with The Hate Bombs and The Invisible Men [post-Mick era] was another one. Looks like I’ll have to add the latter to the Discogs database. Great to see you stopping in at the blog. Stay frosty!


  3. the RAHB! says:

    Oh lordy lordy. Have we finally reached this point in our lives? Ugh!

    Though this sad news naturally puts me in mind of “the other Mick” in the local band scene back at the time: Mick Fazz, and his innumerable kwality power bands (The Basements, November Charlie, etc, etc). 10+ years ago I searched for him on teh interwebs and found some links, but repeating that effort today led to nada. Oh well.


  4. Thanks for the great tribute: as someone who was often by your side at those gigs, you’ve reminded me of what a fabulous heyday these bands, those clubs, and fellow supporters made out of living in “Disney town” or “Bore-lando” as it was often known in the 90s.

    Mick and I would periodically run into each other at record stores or shows, at his work, or at other gigs … and spend our time enjoying music and trading obscure pop-culture references for laffs. His endlessly sunny disposition made anyone feel welcome, and as you say he was a clever and under appreciated songwriter.

    Thanks to many of our other friends, there is an exhibit of the local music scene of that period running in town now, of course featuring the music of that time and the incredible photos of our friend, the tireless chronicler Jim Leatherman. At least one of them is a huge blowup of Mick doing his thing, which makes me very happy.

    What a loss.


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