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Crash Bang Boom: The Last Punks on South Street.

April 1, 2015

CrashBangBoomOnline02Interview by Elias Morris. Images by Chris Fascenelli.

Few people stick it out in the long run without succumbing to the pressures of “growing up” and abandoning your passions. Rob Windfelder is one of the few.

Windfelder is co-owner of Crash Bang Boom, where he began working when it was still called Zipperhead, a name immortalized in the song “Punk Rock Girl” by Philadelphia’s celebrated punk band, The Dead Milkmen. He is also the guitarists of local dark punk outfit Live Not On Evil, who have been gracing listeners with grit and gloom since 2000.

From behind his counter full of enough leather and metal to make Rob Halford squeal, Windfelder speaks of his reign as the South Street area’s single remaining punk liaison.

Give us a quick history of Zipperhead and Crash Bang Boom, if you know anything from before your employment until now.

The store opened originally in 1980 as Zipperhead on South Street. My business partner Stephanie Jolles (pictured above) and I had both worked there for quite some time. I was the general manager.

Then the original owner was looking to sell the business and it eventually got to the point where he was willing to sell to us if we could come up with the funding. So we had to jump through a million different hoops to finally get an SBA loan and purchased the place in 2000.

At that point, when our first five year lease was up, we moved around the corner here. Since it was a fresh start and something new and something that we were building for ourselves, we, at the same time, changed the name to Crash Bang Boom. It seems crazy but as of this summer, we’ve been at this location as Crash Bang Boom for 10 years already.

Do you know why the original owner quit or had you guys take over? How did you get hired?

He was more of an entrepreneur than somebody who was actually involved with the scene. It wasn’t where his passion was, so to speak. One of the main selling features to the job was that almost everybody else who worked at Zipperhead at the time were also in bands and understood it was like the “code of the West.” If you had a show and you were going to take off, someone was going to fill in – no matter how inconvenient it was – because it was going to come back at you someday.

Do you realize now that Crash Bang Boom is pretty much the sole punk distributor on South Street. Have you seen a steady decline of punk stores around here?

Yes, I do realize that. And yes there is a decline.

The face of South Street is always changing and as it stands now, that is based more on the economy and rents than anything else, just like with us moving to Fourth Street.

It seems like there’s still a lot of reasons to come to the South Street area and a lot of them are on the side streets and surrounding areas. There are so many great independent shops condensed in this area. But not a whole lot of them can afford to be on the main street. That has changed the face of things a little bit.

When did you decide to form Live Not On Evil? And what’s going on with the band currently?

Its inception started out as a concept that was a pact between two friends, Eric Bower and myself. It was my birthday and we were talking. Neither one of us was in a band at the time and we both had an idea of what we wanted to do and already had material, but it wasn’t the same band. We weren’t actually starting a band together. We were discussing starting two bands together, both playing a role in each other’s band until they both got off the ground.

So Live Not on Evil and Dead City Psychos were born on the same night, which is kind of neat. Eric was in the band for a few years for the first album and as things tightened up for him and for us… We’re still really close friends. We have a record out currently that we’re working on promoting. It’s our third full-length album.

Do you hope that Crash Bang Boom will remain running after you’re no longer able to run it?

It would be nice to see that. Stephanie and I don’t have any plans of bugging out of here. It’s something that we love doing and it’s a ‘so far ahead in the future’ type of plan that I haven’t even mulled over.

I guess someday, that time will come. Of course, anything that you’ve put so much work into, you hope will live on and not just vanish. But sometimes, you know… no one knows what the future holds. As far as the place is concerned, Steph and I are adamant about doing what we need to do to keep this an important part of the Philadelphia scene.

  1. krebs permalink
    April 2, 2015 12:09 pm

    long live Crash Bang Boom

  2. April 2, 2015 1:01 pm

    FANG-tastic interview involving FANG-tastic people! We sank our teeth into it! 5 GRAVES dug out of 5! ^v^

  3. April 2, 2015 11:52 pm

    I xo Crash Bang Boom– & still proudly display my zipperhead mug to bring back to my own crazy reality. I remember my mom bringing me to SOUTH STREET- to get my hair dye, scrounging through boxes of dresses in a vintage shop basement. I can’t wait to bring my niece there for her first time, intro her to manic panic, and of course Rob & Stephanie 🙂 xo

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 4, 2015 9:50 am

      Can’t wait to meet her Cheryl! – Stefanie

  4. MIke permalink
    April 3, 2015 7:40 am

    I remember going to Zipperhead back in the early 80″s. A really cool place.

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