In 1986, when he was a student at Ohio State University, Ed Crawford managed, with some persistence, to convince Mike Watt and George Hurley to take a chance on him. The guitarist, who hadn't played in a band in his life, joined the legendary Minutemen rhythm section shortly after the tragic death of their guitarist, D. Boon, and became part of fIREHOSE. (It was then that he got his nickname, ed fROMOHIO, which sticks to this day.)
In the years after fIREHOSE's 1994 breakup, Crawford lived in the Chapel Hill, N.C., area, where his parents were, and played with bands including Whiskeytown and Southern Culture on the Skids, in addition to his own band, Grand National. Four years ago, he and his parents moved to Pittsburgh to be closer to his brother.
Crawford located drummer Mike Quinlan, who's played with numerous bands including The Cynics, through Quinlan's brother Tim, who works at Crawford's neighborhood watering hole, Gooski's in Polish Hill. It was also at Gooski's that he met another regular whom he saw from time to time: Eric Vermillion, whose early-'90s band Gumball was on the same Columbia label as fIREHOSE.
Vermillion, who also played in a Pittsburgh band called Steel Miners, joined what Crawford began calling FOOD. ("I told him, 'We'll call it FOOD, and it'll stand for Far Out Old Dudes, but we won't tell people that,'" Crawford recalls.)
This weekend, FOOD releases its first EP, Four Pieces From Candyland, with a show at the bar where it all began, Gooski's. Ranging from late-'80s indie rock in the vein of Dinosaur Jr. to country-rock, it's an eclectic four-song demonstration, showcasing Crawford's vocals.
Earlier this year things took an unexpected turn for ed fROMOHIO: He, Watt and Hurley agreed to revive fIREHOSE for a West Coast tour in order to play Coachella last month. An East Coast fIREHOSE tour will happen, he says — "It's not 'if,' but 'when'" — but it's dependent largely on the schedule of Watt, who tours relentlessly with his band, The Missingmen. Crawford's goal is to do the same, he says. "My main thing now is FOOD. I told the other two guys, 'Give me a year or two and you can quit your day jobs.'"