On our Friday Random Top
A Cruel Hoax were a post-punk psychedelic band from the South Bay, playing from 1985 through 1990. Rising from the ashes of those Scandinavian favorites The Wonders Of Science, A Cruel Hoax set toes a tappin' and ears a bleedin' with snappy little numbers such as I'm Right!; Watch Out, Franco!; God In The Doorway!; and Vesco!. They also pioneered the use of exclamation points in song titles. Loved by hundreds, they won the title of "Loudest Band In San Jose" in 1986, a title they wore proudly.
Made up of members Mickey "The Religious One" Dresbach, Travis "The Drunk One" Hunt, Steven "Guitar Hermit" Swayzee, and a host of drummers: Lexie "Tatooed Maniac On Survivor" Vanden Burgh, Michael "Why Do The Girls Like Mickey So Much?" Lugin, and Norman "Plays In Three Different Bands At The Same Time" Baja (deceased), they were favorites of the other bands in the area and members of both the San Jose and Oakland symphonies, but considered "a bit strange" by normal people. They served as house band for WORKS, an art gallery in San Jose known for providing space for performance artists and those of an avant garde bent. They were founding members of the First Strike Musician's Collective and helped book bands at The Laundry Works, a down-town San Jose club which was sold out from under everyone and turned into a piano bar. First Strike was formed when other South Bay bands became interested in the compilation album San Jose Is Ground Zero: We're Number 1!, which featured A Cruel Hoax, The Social Club, The Kingpins, and The Frontier Wives.
Purveyors of all things Date Farm, they defined the Date Farm style and refined the Date Farm sound. Unfortunately, they were unable to get anyone else on the Date Farm bandwagon, leaving the Date Farmers of Indio, California, to fend for themselves.
Recorded works of A Cruel Hoax are: A Cruel Hoax: Now! (1985); San Jose Is Ground Zero: We're Number 1!; and A Cruel Hoax Now (1988). Mickey and Travis thought that every recording should be named A Cruel Hoax Now!, as every recording was a record of the band at that moment. It was this clever marketing strategy, along with Mickey and Travis lying their butts off in every interview, and the bizarre press releases which they sent to local papers that kept them poor, yet authentic; well, mostly poor and obscure.
The band came to an end when Mickey "The Religious One" decided to leave the band and return to night school in preparation to enter seminary and, upon ordination, enter the high-paying world of the missionary priest. The remaining members became Blue Hindu and worked their way into further obscurity with their free-form improvisations. The demise of A Cruel Hoax was a great loss to both Rock and Roll.
A Cruel Hoax during their demise
This post had a little visit from the Alter Guild