96-10-26 Los Crudos – Keith McHenry (Food Not Bombs)

Posted: January 17, 2013 in VV 1996
Tags: , , , , ,

96-10-26 Rent Is Theft poster96-10-26 Rent Is Theft schedule

Los Crudos tourposter 96 (-)tour organised by Nabate (Liège), Flat Earth (Leeds) & Maximum Voice (Leipzig)

The tour of ‘Los Crudos’ lasted about 3 months and each week they took along another band (with a backline). During ‘our week’ with them we did gigs in Leipzig, Chemnitz, Prague, Brno & Vienna… We were not at the Vort’n Vis (unfortunately) but I can remember they played each night as if it was their last one… So much energy, so tight… It was really awesome that we could be their ‘support’ for a week…

Bill, ‘Boycot’ singer

‘Los Crudos’ were a political HC band from Chicago. Vocalist Martin Sorrondeguy dealt with Latin-American issues and being Hispanic in the U.S. (originating from Uruguay), religion (being excommunicated from the catholic church), gay-rights (being gay himself), etc. Besides ‘originals’ Martin (vocals) and José Casas (guitar), Ebro Virumbrales (drums; also in ‘Charles Bronson’ & ‘MK Ultra’) and Lenin Montes De Oca (bass) were on this tour. They were all of Latino descent and their lyrics were in Spanish. Martin also ran the DIY label Lengua Armada Discos that released a bunch of Los Crudos 7”s. Around the time of this tour there was also albums on Kent McClard’s Ebullition recs (Viviendo Asperamente – Roughly Living, split with ‘Spitboy’, in 1995) and on Flat Earth/Nabate (Canciones Para Liberar Nuestras Frontera, in 1996).

A very interesting band, so I interviewed them for my zine Tilt! #9 (‘Los Crudos’ interview) and I think there was a follow-up planned but the floppy crashed and until this day my 10th issue never got out… Nice people too: when they played on a boat in Dunkerque (France), they were kind enough to let me and my friends join in on tasting the fantastic guacamole that Cathy Bennett had made for them…


‘Los Crudos’ started to talk about the Zapatistas and other political matters and within seconds people started to shout at them that they had to play and not nag. Bah!

Kenny Feyen; personal communication Dec. ’96

In the second half of the 90s my distro evolved more and more towards taking on more political books and pamphlets. One of them being Not For Rent (Conversations with Creative Activists in the U.K.), a book published by Evil Twins (Amber & Stacy Wakefield; eviltwinpublications.com). I guess that’s how I got to know about Food Not Bombs. I contacted co-founder Keith McHenry -or he contacted me- to help sell his book Food Not Bombs: How to Feed the Hungry and Build Community. (Later I also distributed FNB co-founder C.T. Lawrence Butler’s book On Conflict And Consensus.) We started communicating and when he mentioned he wanted to do a European ‘tour’ – the Rent Is Theft tour – presenting Food Not Bombs and talking about the “3 Strikes and You’re Out” law (Keith was arrested over 100 times for serving free food and spent many nights in jail. He faced 25 years to life in prison under the California Three Strikes Law.) I decided to help him out and arranged some of the (Belgian and other) dates, drove him around in Belgium and put him up at my place. Each night he talked about the history of FNB, their activities and the results of this law, and showed a few videos on FNB actions; at people’s kitchens, in squats, anarchist centres, etc. I remember a great night at the legendary Hogepont squat in Gent (huge attentative audience), a presentation at the Anarchist Centre in Gent, an interview for the university-radio in Leuven, etc.

I knew Los Crudos were touring and playing in Ieper, at the Vort’n Vis, so I arranged he could do the ‘his’ thing that evening aswell. Keith is a lively speaker, raconteur and warm-hearted person.

For those who don’t know Food Not Bombs yet; check out: http://www.foodnotbombs.net


I was so amazed when ‘Los Crudos’ turned out to be playing in Belgium after my presentation. I stayed with them in Chicago just before they broke up… They were the only ones that played. I remember that two guys on drugs gave me a hard time during the talk. It was in an abandoned brewery in Ieper. We all crashed upstairs after the concert. I had never seen them live so that was such a great surprise. I also remember people talking about growing up in Ieper and feeling the dead under foot from World War I and the room where we slept had a painting about the frog that was in warm water that failed to jump out to save his life…

I sure do remember enjoying the visits to Belgium. I learned that my mother’s grandfather was from Belgium and invented the dynamo. There is a Belgium stamp and a few monuments to Karl Vanderpoole in some place near Ghent.

I remember we went in search of pizza and went into a tiny shop where we ran into a guy I had met months before in Spain. That was a real shock. Showed what a small world we have. I fell in love with Belgium and would love to return. I remember you introduced me to a ton of great people. As a result I had a girlfriend from Leuven for a while. I remember you and I took a tram that passed the Cathedral and when I returned to the U.S. I found out there are some really wonderful paintings I should return to see.

Keith McHenry, Food Not Bombs

I’m writing the Rent is Theft book and your ideas about DIY have had an influence on the direction of the book.

Keith McHenry; personal communication, spring ‘97

excerpt from the V.V. guestbook:

VV 96-10-26 - (book C) Keith McHenry

additions wellcome!…

  1. Cathy Bennett says:

    Great times!…

  2. Bert A. says:

    Fantastic how the imagery of that frog is also something I can remember quite well!
    The text alongside the painting said something like: “If a frog is dropped inside boiling water, it will jump out immediately – if a frog is sitting in water and it starts to boil, the frog will boil too and die.”. And it also said something like “This is what’s happening to us every day… We’re the ones being boiled!”. This is so true! Think about it and act!
    Thanks to whoever painted it and laid down the basics.
    And big up this blog!

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