Scruffs – Break The Ice —-Power Pop Friday

Memphis in the early 1970s was more than Big Star. Many power pop bands and artists were coming out of there at that time. Not many made it huge but many were recognized later. They formed in 1974 and released their first album Wanna Meet The Scruffs? in 1977. Like the others around this period. Many of the power pop musicians worked with each other. The Scruffs worked with Alex Chilton, Tommy Hoehn, and Jim Dickinson. Break the Ice was the first single off of the album. It reminds me of the Raspberries.

Wanna Meet the Scruffs? - Wikipedia

To show what some rock critics thought of the band…here is Robert Christgau (rock critic):

Only a sucker for rock and roll could love this record, and I am that sucker. A middle-period Beatles extrapolation in the manner of Big Star (another out-of-step Memphis power-pop group on a small, out-of-step Memphis label), it bursts with off harmonies, left hooks, and jolts of random energy. The trouble is, these serve a shamelessly and perhaps permanently post-adolescent vision of life’s pain, most of which would appear to involve gurls. To which objection the rockin’ formalist in me responds, “I wanna hear ‘Revenge’ again.”

Pretty good endorsement right? That is just one of many but again they just couldn’t break through. They did not have the influence like Big Star did but they were a great power pop band. I listened to all of this album and that jangle of the guitar is infectious. The song was a regional hit but was not played outside of Memphis too much. They did move to New York in 1978 had some high profile gigs at  CBGB and Max’s Kansas City.

The Band broke up in 1981 but Stephen Burns the singer, guitar player, and songwriter  would continue recording albums under the Scruffs name into the 2010’s…with Peter Buck from REM guesting on the 2011 Kill! Kill! album .

Sorry I could not find the lyrics.

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

19 thoughts on “Scruffs – Break The Ice —-Power Pop Friday”

  1. New to me too. I like the guitars a lot. Memphis back then was , approximately the 20-25th biggest city in the country, but it seemed like a total musical backwater when it came to recognition … seems like the big labels didn’t pay attention and perhaps the locals should’ve relocated to get the recognition they deserved

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess with Memphis…people expected R&B or soul and power pop just wasn’t as welcomed.
      When Stax records went under it also hurt the city bad.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Just curious Tref. When did you first hear them? I’m really liking that Memphis power-pop from then…along with Big Star of course.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The early 90’s. I was living in San Francisco and hanging out with a lot of comics, and I was always being handed mix tapes from everybody’s ‘new’ favorite band. One of those was Big Star. And that led to Chris Bell “I am the Cosmos”, which led to me others like Tommy Hoehn and the Scruffs.

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      2. That is really cool. I live only 3 hours away from Memphis and Big Star I knew about in the 80s but the others I knew nothing until recently….Tommy Hoehn is next Friday

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    1. I didn’t either and it must have been a cool music community they had with each other…all of them seemed to help each other out. It seemed everyone went through Big Star though…helping or playing with the different members.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess in Memphis if you were not soul or R&B you had a hard time. I’m dwelling on these lately because they had some good music…I need to check and see if Nashville had some kind of scene going on.

      Liked by 1 person

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