Monthly Artist Spotlight: Blair Crimmins and the Hookers

We have lots of pride and love for our local talent. Every month we introduce you to someone new! This month we went back in time to a fun swing-themed band, Blair Crimmins and The Hookers. Blair does it all, dresses the part, writes the songs, donates proceeds from his music to charities, and travels the world with his wife. He has a fun perspective of what being a showman is all about.

Listen to the full audio on Soundcloud

I’m just going to jump right in here: Do you think prostitution should be legal?

Blair: Alright! That’s not a redundant question! The name Blair Crimmins and The Hookers is not really a commentary about my opinion on prostitution. It’s really about my opinion of the music business, so I don't have much to say about that. I did recently take a trip to Amsterdam and I saw the way things are run there and it seems like they have a system that's safer for the ladies than they do over here, which is no system at all, [when you consider] pimps and disease and all that stuff. I would probably lean more to yes, some sort of legalized prostitution would be better. 

So, where did the name come from? 

The name is a way for us to weed out the squares. If you don't have a sense of humor and you can’t laugh at the name the hookers, then you shouldn’t come out to our show. There's a lot of jazz snobs out there and we don’t want them to show up scratching their chins while we’re playing. We do have a mentality in the band that where we’re hustling. The guys that play with me don’t just play with me, they play with other bands, so they’re promiscuous in that sense; they’re ready to play with anyone at anytime. 

Congrats on your latest release. Could describe to someone who’s never been in the studio what it feels like to finish a release?

To finally get there is questionable as to when you can actually say you’re done. It gets really hard to let go, especially when something takes a little longer than you thought it might, it kind of consumes your life for the better part of a year. When it's finally over, it's almost sad. You’re not sure when to throw the party. You’re never quite sure if you’re completed or not until you hold it in your hands- it's a pretty exciting moment. I guess you could compare it to having a child, you work on it for so long and then you experience like this post-partum depression when it's over. And you think, “I actually hate this kid.” You definitely go through some strange emotions. 

Can you play favorites?

With albums? Yeah! You’re gonna baby the youngest, right? My others are all grown up, they’ve done their thing, ya know?

I read in Creative Loafing that you suffered from an injury. Could you tell me more about that and what your recovery process was like?

The head injury I had was a real turning point for me and guided me into the kind of music that I'm making now. It got me off a path that was more focused on the party and the image than it was about the music. Having that injury really brought me back to a place where I was focused on working hard and doing the best with my craft. That was a really important thing for. My brain needed to heal and there was a period of time where I had to really exercise my mind. One of the things the doctor had recommended was playing the piano, and I hadn’t really played piano before that, even though I’d played music my whole life. It was the impetus to pick up a new instrument. I started writing some songs, one of which was March of The Hookers which become one of the first songs on our EP. That was a great part of the recovery. 

What is the most meaningful lyric you have is and why is it so meaningful to you? 

I think they’re on latest record in a song called “Passed Around” it's meaningful to me and has a special meaning because I wrote it when I was fairly young, a while back. Its one of those moments you have in your early twenties and you’re looking up at the stars and you appreciate the vastness of everything and the future is this beautiful open thing in front of you. It's a gospel number because it's so existential.

The lyric is, “You could take that dollar bill and you could stick it up your nose/or you could put it down the underwear of some girl you don’t know/you could buy yourself a ticket for the lottery or a train. Or you might decide to give it to help ease somebody’s pain and that dollar might come back for all the workin' that you do/but it just looks a little thinner from all the hands it's been passed through. Like the lines upon your face/that start our fine but then get bolded/like everytime you love, you laugh or cry or feel a little folded.”

It’s one of my favorite verses ever, really.

Tell me about your weirdest fan experience. We could change names and locations to protect the weird…

I will say exactly where it was. We had a show in Colorado at this place called Three Kings. We walked in and we’re trying to set up and this bartender came up and said, “What do you think you’re doing?”

I said, “We’re playing here tonight.”

She said, “NO, you’re not. My burlesque troupe is playing here tonight.”

And we said, “Uhh, no we have it right here… a contract..” and she responded, “Well, let me call the manager.” She did that. The manager says, “Oh yeah, I put them on the bill I forgot to tell you about it.”

Then the bartender tells me, “You have to play at 9 o'clock before we go on.”

We had already advertised the show as being at 11 PM! “All of our fans are going to come out and we’re going to be done playing!” I basically, told them both, after a lot of arguing, to kiss our ass and we’re not playing at all.

So we went all down the street Downtown Denver into each venue, each bar, saying, “Do you want a band tonight?” Eventually, we found this Irish Pub that actually had a little stage in the back that had a really minimal sound system.

So we said we’re going to come to you and play for free. We would rather just play here than deal with those jokes down the road. We put up a sign on the original venue explaining that the gig had been moved. We had everybody come down there, we had a good crowd, and at the end of the night I got all the fans up on stage and we all took a picture of us flicking off the camera to send to Three Kings in Denver. The door guy at Three Kings was cool! I think he was in a band and I think he realized we were getting pushed around. [What a sweetheart] He let the people who showed up for us at Three Kings know that our gig was moved if they didn’t see our sign.

Grace Kelly

Grace has always been close to music. In her earliest years her mother took her on tour following the Grateful Dead. At 19 she was an organizer for an electronic music festival (Inca Tek) in Cusco, Peru. In 2015 Grace interned at SF Music Tech Summit in San Francisco. Since she’s remained an active member of the music event community wherever she is. Lately she’s been managing a small business based in Atlanta, Ga. 

Follow her on the gram @gracerosekelly