Eldemur Krimm

MaineList Article: Eldemur Krimm

Eldemur Krimm

Eldemur Krimm is a three-piece all-original band from Portland, Maine, known for their ultra-groovy jam-like riffs, tight harmonies, and vintage sound scheme. When I hear these guys, I often think of classic bands like; “Creedance Clearwater Revival” for their powerful raspy somewhat hippy vocal approach. Yet, the music is much more driving with obvious influences from bands like “Phish” and “Black Sabbath”with intelligent lyrics which may possibly have been inspired by the likes of “Frank Zappa”.

Stefen Samuels (drums)But there’s another element that could define the band too that you might find in a “Rob Zombie” song, which gives the band it’s edge, and separates them from the classic rock genre. There’s something a little dirty about them, or rebellious that seems to keep the audience entertained either through their unique music compositions or their quirky intellectual spurts which seem to shadow over the audience throughout their shows.

I had the chance to sit and chat with the band while they were setting up to perform at “Amigo’s” in Portland, Maine. I started my interview with “Stefen Samuels”, the band’s drummer, who was the first to arrive with his equipment.

Stefen might be remembered by some for his earlier involvements with previous local bands like; “Watermen” and “Trivium” (not to be confused with the Florida-based national act of the same name). Some of Stefen’s influences include “Led Zeppelin”, “Van Halen”, “Black Sabbath”, “Iron Maiden” and even some jazz from artists like “Miles Davis”.

Fred DodgeKrimm consists of three musicians, two of which provide the powerful vocals, most often in synchronized harmony. Towering over everyone else in the room at a staggering six foot eight inches, “Fred Dodge” acts as the band’s front-man, bringing the original ideas to the table with his own lyrics and guitar riffs.

“Watching Fred standing on stage next to Jason is sort of like seeing Gandalf standing next to a hobbit.” Stefen amusingly goaded. Fred is rather tall, which is one of the most obvious visualizations for the band’s stage presence.

Other than Eldemur Krimm, Fred has been a part of several other bands. “Swamp Witch Revival” from Portland, and a band from Massachusetts called “Stone Lily”.

Fred’s psychedelic nature adds a flavor to his own personality, often creating inventive stories on the fly. Sometimes, while listening to his stories, I have to take a step back and wonder if it’s fact or fiction. I can tell just by talking with him that he’s got the mind for writing science fiction novels. In fact, his story of where the band name originated mentioned a character from one of his own attempted novels named “Eldemur Krimm”. Fred was apparently inspired to write, but never completed the work. Many years later, that fictitious name re-emerged and is now the name of his band.

Jason MarshallSharing the stage alongside Fred, “Jason Marshall” fills in those musical ideas with his own thick bass lines that seem to carry the groove throughout the songs. Several sections of Krimm’s music involve a precise marriage of harmonies between the guitar and bass, which shows the intimate musical relationship that Fred and Jason must endure in order to piece it all together.

Jason has been with the band since early on, and has become an important role for the band’s powerful rhythm section providing wide moving bass lines for the three-piece to fill in all of the gaps that an additional member would ordinarily fill in. Jason and Stefen had worked together in the past. You might remember seeing Jason perform with the Portland funk band; “Petting Zoo” long before Eldemur Krimm.

“I was a huge Phish fan for a long time.” Admitted Jason, who says that he has since grown out of the jam band thing. This might have been an important role for the bassist in the position with Krimm, since many of the band’s songs have that same kind of skill-based passion that you might find in bands of that nature. With musical influences like; “Phish”, “Victor Wooten”, and “Primus”, it’s no mystery where his diversity stemmed from.

Past MembersThe band has attempted, on a couple of occasions, to convert this power trio into a four-piece band. I first saw Eldemur Krimm when they were still relatively new on the scene during a time when “Neil Collins”, former bass player for Twisted Roots, played as their second guitarist.

“Neil stayed with us for about a year and ended up leaving the band so he could sail down to the Carribean with his family.” Explained Stefen.

Neil happened to be at the bar tonight, while the band was performing, standing up front and center, soaking in the melodic coarse that was being fed to the crowd. Through the tumult of the band’s live performance, I was able to exchange a few words with Neil, and quickly discovered he is working with a new band named “Cyclops”, who I believe is also out of Portland.

But Neil wasn’t the only guitarist that ever joined Krimm. “Matthew Robins, of “King Memphis”, sat in with us for a few sessions. Matthew is a really great guitarist but it wasn't quite right for us. We tried a couple of different things, but over time we finally decided that we function best as a three-piece.”

I would tend to agree, I’ve seen Krimm perform countless sessions over the coarse of the past four or five years with both line-ups. It’s amazing to see a band capable of delivering such a powerful and wide sound, from just three instruments.

“Our original lineup did not include Jason.” Stefen added. “Originally, it was Me, Fred and Tom Shields on bass. And that went on for about the first year before we added Jason to the band.”

Anchor LogoBeing somewhat of a fan to the band, I’ve kept up a little over the years. I recalled something that happened about a year ago, when the band was putting together new graphics for T-Shirt logos, and they decided to incorporate an anchor as a visual depiction along with their name.

“The anchor was Jason’s wife’s idea. Kelly came up with the idea to use the anchor and helped design that logo.” Stefen added. “Jason pretty much created our online presence, images, and worked with John Althoff while designing our album cover for our first CD entitled Dirigo.” John has helped the band with other art projects as well.

“Reuben Little has been doing our fliers and silk screening as a way to promote himself. He really does a phenomenal job too!” Stefen was quick to point out. “Reuben does work like this for other bands too, including; “Conifer”, and “Cortez” as well as his own band “Ocean” too!”

Dirigo coverEldemur Krimm is getting ready to release their second compact disc which will be entitled; “Train Wreck On A Ship”. You can find “Dirigo” in local record stores, or pickup a copy at their next show.

Right now, the band is booking gigs primarily in the state of Maine. In the past, however, Krimm has gone out of state to share their songs with the west coast.

“In October, 2006, we went on about a one month tour along the west coast. We toured with a band from Indianapolis called “Devil To Pay” who are now very good friends of ours.” Krimm started their relations with the Indianapolis band when they shared a show in Portland about a year or two before that tour. “We shared a lot of similar interests, and decided to team together to book our tour. They actually booked most of the tour.”

So the band loaded up a van and drove out of state to introduce the east to the west. “We stopped in Indianapolis along the way to kick off the tour, and drove straight to Des Moines, then across the Rockies and into Seattle. From there, we basically drove down the west coast before finishing our tour back in Indianapolis.”

Stefen continued to conjure up memories of the tour, and remembered what he referred to as a “scary moment” saying; “We were crossing the Rockies. Now… Our van is NOT fuel-injected. So we nearly broke down.” Fearful all the way up the mountain, cheerful on the way back down, the band made it over the Rockies and were able to continue their tour without incident.

TestimonyWhile the band performed, I caught up with Jeff Foran, drummer for “Bloody Marble Collective” who had decided to come to show his support. During my interview with Jeff’s band back in November of 2007, I had recommended that his band check out Eldemur Krimm for the possibility of booking gigs together. So it was awesome to see Jeff present at this event.

“We saw Eldemur Krimm at Geno’s one random night and I instantly became a fan.” Reported Jeff, expressing much enthusiasm.

“I went down to Bullmoose Music shortly afterwards, and without any second thoughts picked up their CD and brought it to the counter to purchase. When the salesman at the counter mentioned that they had a used copy of the disc available for a smaller price tag, I declined, knowing that it would be more supportive to purchase the new disc instead.”

I think it’s safe to say that Jeff has the right idea. Buying a copy of a band’s disc is directly supportive if you buy it new. However, just owning a local band’s CD can be helpful too, especially if you play it during parties, or between sets at your own band’s shows. Introducing local music to other people is one of the best tips you can give a local band who’s music you truly enjoy.

More TestimoniesWhile going around the room, I also touched base with Mark Belanger, front-man of “Pig Boat” out of Portland. Mark is always resourceful, and seems to know everyone in the Portland scene, so I asked him if he had any unusual stories to tell about Krimm.

“You can tell everyone that I got my guitar back!” Mark jested, referring to a resolved mishap where Belanger loaned his guitar to the band during a performance in New York, where the band accidentally left poor Mark’s guitar behind. “Yeah, I got my guitar back, and there really weren’t any problems. I just thought it’d be a funny thing to throw in there.”

The people attending the gig at Amigo’s were either good friends, or steady fans of Krimm.

Brian Higgins, drummer of “Lost Cause Desperados”, was there to show his support too. “Nobody is more stoner rock in this area than Eldemur Krimm!” Brian appreciatively boasted. “They are the ultimate band for that kind of sound.”

Brian and I talked briefly about his current project, where he mentioned that his band has recently taken on a whole new rhythm section.

Fred on coversI left the room towards the end of the event while the band was playing “Fairies Wear Boots”, one of the few cover songs that they are known to perform.

“We play a couple of covers, usually towards the end of the night.” Fred explained earlier during our interview.

“We do a couple of Black Sabbath songs, such as “The Wizard” and “Fairies Wear Boots”, as well as Led Zeppelin’s “What Is And What Should Never Be”. But I really enjoy doing “Pictures in The City” by King Crimson, who happens to be my all-time favorite band. They are my ‘stranded on an island’ band.” Fred divulged.

“Maybe some Zappa once in a while too, like; “Cheapness”. I love Frank! For a lot of reasons beyond just his music. From his genius intensity to the social humor of it all.”

While walking away from Amigo’s, towards the parking garage across the street, I could still hear the song playing through the cobblestoned streets, and to my surprise, could still hear the echoes of the band even when I got to my truck inside of the garage!

FredThere was a time when many bands performed all along Wharf Street, and it would have been impossible to center out just one band from the cacophony of live music throughout the Old Port.

I was a little saddened by the lack of support that many of the club owners in Portland seem to be giving to live entertainment lately.

Never-the-less, it was cool to catch up with Eldemur Krimm. The guys in the band are all really easy to talk to, and humble enough to have a laid back conversation.

Well, that doesn’t include Fred, who’s sure to raise a brow with his animated out-of-this-world stories.


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