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Matt Crunk is a professional tattoo artist and musician residing in Town Creek, Alabama.
Involvement in the CBG Movement
Matt was drawn to the cigar box guitar movement after seeing John Lowe performing with his Lowebow on Beale Street in Memphis. In a desire to build a similar instrument of his own, Crunk's online research of the Lowebow eventually led him to the cigarboxguitars yahoo group, which at the time had around 300 members. It was contacts made through that group that inspired Crunk to organize and host the first annual Cigar Box Guitar Extravaganza in 2005.
Held annually in late May/early June at Huntsville, Alabama's Flying Monkey Arts Center, The Cigar Box Guitar Extravaganza is a premier event destination for the cigar box music community, drawing builders, performers, and fans from as far away as Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. The 2007 event was showcased in Max Shores' PBS documentary "Songs Inside The Box." Past performers include: John Lowe, Richard Johnston, Ben Prestage, Microwave Dave, Gerry Thompson, Boz, Tomi-O & "Rhythym Board" Ray Nutter, Cigar Box Slim, Doctor Oakroot, Stacy Puckett, Shane Speal, Timothy Renner, Leaving Miss Blue, Kirk Withrow & Buckeye, David Williams, Doug Beckman, Bluesboy Jag, and more.
In addition to cigar box guitars, Crunk is an avid collector of odd and unusual musical instruments in general. Although some are high-dollar "store-bought" instruments bearing brand names like Gretsch, Gibson, and Fender, the majority of his collection are pawn shop, yard sale, and flea market finds costing under $100, and in many cases under $30. The collection includes guitars, upright and electric basses, banjos, dobros, lap steels, mandolins, violins, ukuleles, accordions, vintage chord organs, cheap electronic keyboards, toy pianos, drums, percussion, woodwinds, brass and other assorted noise makers.
Musical Life and Influences
Crunk began playing guitar at age twelve, followed by banjo shortly thereafter.
Inspired after attending a KISS concert in December, 1977, he begged his parents for an electric guitar. A month later his wish was granted when he received a Gibson Les Paul for his twelfth birthday in January, 1978. A year later he would combine his Christmas and birthday money to buy his first banjo, this time inspired by Actor/Comedian Steve Martin's use of the instrument on his early comedy albums. Mandolin and fiddle would soon follow, and eventually keyboards.
Crunk has been writing, recording and performing his own material since his early teens. He played in a variety of rock, metal, and country bands, off and on, well into his twenties. Crunk played professionally throughout most of the 1990's, earning the majority of his income as guitarist/vocalist for the blues showband "The MudCats". The band gigged heavily (three to four nights per week) on the blues club circuit in the tri-state area of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
Matt Crunk's musical stylings are as varied as his instrument collection. He is currently actively writing/recording projects in a multitude of genres: El Mascaras (masked instrumental surf band), Battlehorn (mock-European power metal), Six Cent Circus (jug/skiffle/cabaret music), plus solo projects involving retro/traditional country & western, rockabilly, bluegrass, and his own self-described "junk music".
In addition to all this, Crunk also occasionally performs as an Elvis Presley Tribute Artist.
In his spare time, Matt Crunk enjoys sailing, powerboating, building/restoring old school hot rods, bikes, and vintage Jeeps, and studying architecture, screenwriting and filmmaking.