Die Kreuzen (prouounced Dee-Kroytzen) was a rock band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin which was formed in 1981. The name is broken German for "the crosses", or "sign of the cross" and was picked up by the band from a German Bible. They began as a hardcore punk group and rapidly became a source of inspiration for a wide range of alternative rock musicians, including Soundgarden, Sonic Youth, Voivod, Drive Like Jehu, and Alice In Chains.
The band had originally been called The Stellas. The band consisted of Dan Kubinski on vocals, Brian Egeness on guitar, Keith Brammer on bass guitar, and Erik Tunison on drums.
After contributing tracks to the Charred Remains and The Master Tape compilations, the band's debut release was the Cows and Beer EP. The band's 21-song eponymous debut album was released in 1984, and included new versions of the tracks from Cows and Beer. The 1986 follow-up, October File, saw the band move away from hardcore into slower, more conceptual work. Third album Century Days (1988) saw the band incorporate piano and a horn section.
Brammer left to join Wreck in 1989. Other members worked on side projects including Kubinski and Egeness's Cheap Trick tribute band Chick Treat. In 1992, Egeness left the band and in April that year, the rest of the band decided to call it a day, although they soon afterwards formed a new band, Chainfall, along with guitarist Charles Jordan (of S.O.D.A and Nerve Twins). Dangerbird Records cofounder Jeff Castelaz, then a music journalist, DJ and concert promoter, inadvertently inspired Chainfall's logo design. The band saw their name hand-scrawled on a piece of masking tape placed on the cassette he used to tape an interview with them at Bill Stace's Walls Have Ears basement ADAT recording studio. Kubinski and Tunison later played in Fuckface, while Brammer played with the Carnival Strippers. Kubinski went on to form a new band, Custom Grand. Kubinski now plays in Decapitado.
The majority of their records were produced by future Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins producer, Butch Vig. All of their records, with the exception of their first 7" on Version Sound, were released by the Chicago record label, Touch & Go Records.
In 2005, a tribute to Die Kreuzen was released, Lean Into It - A Tribute to Die Kreuzen, featuring covers of Die Kreuzen songs by Napalm Death, Mike Watt, Voivod, Season to Risk, and Vic Bondi among others. The album features liner notes by Thurston Moore, who states "Man, there was a point there when Die Kreuzen were the best band in the USA".
The band were initially a hardcore punk band but took in elements of heavy metal, gothic rock, shoegaze and alternative rock. They have been described as "anticipating the grunge rock sound of the '90s" and were credited with bringing intelligence and lyrical diversity to the heavy metal genre. In 1986, Robert Palmer of the New York Times described Die Kreuzen as "one of the new bands recasting the legacy of 70's Gothic-metal (Black Sabbath, etc.) for this modern age".
All Die Kreuzen lyrics
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