Cape Town punk rockers Crossfire Collision launched in 2011 on the back of what appeared to be a bad idea: “Hey, don’t sell your drums. Why don’t we start a punk rock band?”
As a leading local music promoter put it at the time: “I’m going to be straight with you, there is little to no punk rock scene in South Africa and you are going to find it very difficult to book shows and make any money from gigs.”
But the band cared little for smart business propositions. They had formed to play uncompromising punk rock regardless of trends. So, “Fuck him,” they said of the promoter and bashed out a high-speed, melodic, five-song EP and launched the band at a “punk rock revival” show in Cape Town.
The single “Broken Walls” was taken up as a punk rock anthem locally and internationally. EPs were shipped to pretty much every continent., and the band was booked to play some of South Africa’s biggest music festivals.
Meanwhile, punk rock started to bubble back up from the underground, with new albums from the likes of NOFX, Propagandhi, Anti-Flag, Bad Religion, Pennywise, Rise Against, Frenzal Rhomb; and Durban’s Lowprofile.
Pleased with the company they found themselves in, Crossfire went back to the studio to record their debut album Panic Face, released in February 2013.
The new album was mastered at Blasting Room Studios, Fort Collins, Colorado - the fulcrum for US punk scene, having recorded albums for the likes of Rise Against, NOFX, Propagandhi, Alkaline Trio and Anti-Flag.
Panic Face is proudly high speed, 180bpm, melodic punk rock with face melting guitar riffs, soaring vocal harmonies and unforgettable melodies.
Within days of the launch the band had shipped CDs to fulfill orders around the world – to Japan, Canada and across South Africa.
“Their sound was mind-blowing. The band seemed like they belong between great acts at huge festivals around the globe,” wrote SAMusicScene.co.za.
Covering a rare acoustic show, Rolling Stone wrote that the band sounded like it was “channeling The Eagles’ guitar work. What would normally be a thrashy, trashy pop punk riot on electrics, turns out to be an energetic but affecting set of highly singable, affable pop songs, smartly crafted and tightly performed”.
Crossfire Collision are vocalist and guitarist Matthew James, guitarist Devon Martindale, drummer Jimmy McGregor and bassist Craig McKune. Collectively they have played in bands like The Doppler Effect, LPShow, Sweet Victory and A B Turbo.