The band arrived for its demo session in a Rolls Royce, but came home on the subway -- because they'd insisted on recording "Factory Grime," the song that excited them far more than EMI's preference, "Love Is All Around Me." Drummer Darryl Read's recollection of that misbegotten 1970 effort is an apt epitaph for Crushed Butler -- a charter member of "The Bands That Time Forgot" club.
Long before the Sex Pistols put the boot into what remained of the hippie dream, Read, guitarist Jesse Hector, and bassist Alan Butler were living out those fantasies with a fury that gave other bands good reason for pause. Formed in 1969, the trio soon moved away from covering the day's more happening fare (including Small Faces' "Song of a Baker") for an implosive urgency that won an underground following, but utterly baffled the labels that they courted.
Uncrushed rounds up the six tracks honed at places like Regent Sound (1969), EMI House, Decca Studios (1970), and even the Marquee Club (1971) with a succession of bassists (including Barry Wyles of the pre-Queen link Smile). They even got a rave from Sounds following an impressive gig opening for heavy rock mavens UFO. But companies wouldn't bite, and manager/cohort Graham Breslau left in the summer of 1970, after nearly a year of fruitless effort. (Former Pink Floyd overseer Peter Jenner also declined to get involved.)
By February 1971, the band had changed its name to "Tiger", but found no takers for "High School Dropout"'s more restrained boogie pop; former Crusaders guitarist Neil Christian bailed out, while orders by Black Sabbath/ELO overseer Don Arden to "sort out some gigs" never materialized. Crushed Butler split up in the spring of 1971 after Read approached Track Records -- who'd rejected them before -- and wound up being hired there as a songwriter.
Read has pursued an active solo career, recording with former DoorRay Manzarek and T. Rex stalwart Mickey Finn. Read's Shaved appeared in 2002 with help from former Sex Pistols soundman/producer Dave Goodman. Hector finally secured a deal in 1974 for his equally punked-out Hammersmith Gorillas. Listeners finally got the chance to judge Crushed Butler's lost output for themselves when Dig The Fuzz issued Uncrushed in 1998. ~ Ralph Heibutzki