As guitarist for indie/punk power-trio fIREHOSE, Ed Crawford had a following. After all, the band made five albums on SST and Columbia, and was well known to a generation of kids, thanks to songs like "Brave Captain" appearing in skateboard videos. fIREHOSE's road-warrior status stemmed from bassist Mike Watt and drummer George Hurley's musical legacy in punk legends The Minutemen (which ended when guitarist D. Boon died in a van accident).
Most are not aware, however, that although Crawford's band nickname was "Ed fROMOHIO," he feels close to Pittsburgh. "I grew up in Toronto, Ohio, a town of 7,000 people near Steubenville," he says. "Every Saturday, our family would drive to Pittsburgh. I went to Steelers, Pirates and Pens games, taking advantage of the good times."
Crawford studied trumpet and was offered a scholarship to Carnegie Mellon, but opted for Ohio State instead. After seeing the Minutemen twice in Columbus, he developed an admiration for their style. In 1986, when Camper Van Beethoven's bassist mentioned a rumor that Watt was looking for a new guitarist, Crawford dropped everything to fly to California. He visited Watt's San Pedro apartment, convinced Watt and Hurley to form fIREHOSE, and history was made.
"Sonic Youth had just put out Sister," Crawford says, "and they asked us to open their tour, which was a big break because they were drawing thousands at the time." But tensions grew after fIREHOSE's major-label signing; at a gig in North L.A., Watt told Crawford and Hurley he was ending the band.
Crawford moved to Chapel Hill, living in a house with Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster, and formed a band with Wurster and bassist Jenni Snyder called Grand National. Snyder and Crawford were called up by alt-country hero Ryan Adams to tour in a lineup of Whiskeytown for six months, and eventually Crawford hooked up with Southern Culture on the Skids, progressing from roadie to occasional trumpet player to touring rhythm guitarist.
However, Crawford's parents were approaching their mid-80s, so he convinced them to move up to Pittsburgh to be near his siblings. That put Crawford on a bar stool at Gooski's ("we usually went there after Southern Culture shows"), where he met stand-up bassist Brian Richmond of the Working Poor this past November and struck up a collaboration. "I've always wanted to do acoustic stuff, and Brian was the man to fill the bill," he says. "We're just a two-piece right now, and probably will be 'til we need a third."
So if you see a guy onstage at Gooski's playing acoustic guitar with Richmond on Sat., March 1, with Chris Cannon opening, you don't have to wonder who he is -- that's Ed fROMOHIO.