A special gathering of more eclectic music, art and culture has been happening in tribute to a fan and booster that passed away some nine years ago. An underground radio broadcaster with McMaster University’s 93.3 CFMU, Imants Krumins started as a fan of local musicians and would develop into one of the music scene’s most important parts. The underground scene sometimes clashed with his love for professional wrestling, roller derby or bands like Abba but Krumins would become part of a clutch of music fans that would help foster culture in Hamilton since the ’70s. Krumins was cheerleader, taste maker and promoter long before the internet took over and did so much work and never asked for credit or glory. Imants Krumins embodied a different time and character that helped shape what the local music scene is today. He was there in the nascent days of Simply Saucer, Teenage Head and the Forgotten rebels and over decades would always support the underdog musicians looking to make a go of it. We lost part of the soul of the local scene when he was struck down with brain cancer, but many fans continue to memorialize Krumins underscoring the importance of everyone in the scene and the community that needs them.
“He had such crazy choices in music and sometimes you'd just shake your head and ask, ‘what are you listening to?’ and that happened often,” remembers singer and guitarist Larry Reece who has performed with a half dozen punk bands over the last twenty five years or so. “Droning space rock to Japanese grind core or extreme noise. It puzzled many people I think but we bonded over punk. He loved going to see music and he’d tell you if he liked your band or not. Without fans there’d be no bands and Imants would come to all the shows and if he was there other people would know it’d be a good show.
“Community builds friendships but whatever you put out there, it comes back to you,” adds Reece. “His brother and sister–in–law and his nephews are always a part of this and a whole bunch of friends get together for it so it's a whole community coming together to put on this show.”
As well as some bands directly connected to Krumins, Reece always adds an up and comer — because that’s the band that Imants would be most curious about. And since they bonded over the Ramones as a stylistic ground zero, Reece has fronted the Krumones — a local punk star tribute — this year featuring guitarist Jay Hickey, drummer Adam Vesselin and bassist John Welton — to the music that was so influential.
“The Krumones have played every Imants show with different people in the band,” says Reece. “The Ramones, Screeching Weasel and all of these punk bands, they were what connected us all. We do the show as a dedciation band not a tribute band. We’re playing the songs but we’re not re–creating the Ramones — we just dedicate the music and the energy to Imants. Imants was a big collector of music and posters and more — so some things from Imants’ collection will be displayed and we’ve got some great raffles from sponsors happening as well.
“I’ve added a fresh new band on the bill — Imants always wanted to check out the new bands and support them,” adds Reece. “I don’t know what Imants would have thought of these shows — but we’ll keep doing it as long as we can. This is about friendship, making some money for a couple of good causes and having a good time with friends — remembering a friend we won’t forget. I hear they will be putting up a plaque for the donations in Imants’ name at St. Peter’s this year so they’re going to help remember him as well. Who should come? Anybody who wants to hear some good tunes — if you’ve heard of Imants you should come out. If you want to help the causes — that’s a good reason as well. None of the bands get paid, a hundred percent of the door goes to the charities. We all celebrate Imants and what he loved so if you come — just remember to wear your Abba shirts!” V
Ninth Annual Tribute to Imants Krumins happens this Saturday June 15 with Krumones, the Let Downs, Hoodwinks, Motormouth, Bring the War Home and DJ Love Gun. Doors open at 8pm and it’s a pay–what–you–can cover charge with proceeds going to St. Peter’s Hospital and Over The Bridge. Click on hamiltonhealth.ca/donate or overthebridge.org