Personality Crisis: Warm Beer & Wild Times: By Chris Walter, 217 pgs. By Ty

May 14, 2009

Personality Crisis could very well be the greatest band to ever slip through the cracks. Sure, they are the stuff of legend throughout most of Canada—and perhaps San Francisco and Minneapolis—but other than that, they are in the realm of diehard fans and record collectors. Only having one (amazing) record that has been long out of print (until very recently), hasn’t helped the band either. Chris Walter is out to change that, though.
The book chronicles the beginnings of the band in the late ‘70s in Winnipeg when punk rock was beginning to rear its ugly head, the band’s various personnel changes, and their relentless tour schedules that were perhaps rivaled only by the likes of DOA or Black Flag. The anecdotes are fast and funny, often leaving me shaking my head in disbelief. I think the book truly captures what it was like to be struggling along on the road in a punk band in the early ‘80s. No stone is left unturned and no punches are pulled.
The book is also laid out really nicely. There are two major photo sections dispersed evenly, but throughout the entire tome there are tons of live shots, artwork, and gig posters littering the pages.
There are a couple of things that I didn’t like, however. First of all, the book kind of loses steam when it veers into the history of other Winnipeg bands The Unwanted and Stretch Marks. Both are amazing and underrated bands whose stories should be told, but smack dab in the middle of Personality Crisis didn’t seem like the place for it. I think that Walter’s intimacy with the Winnipeg punk rock scene is a bit of a double edged sword. On one side, he is privy to all the best stories, having known all the principals in the book for many decades. On the other side, I think there are times in the book where it feels like he is too close to the subject.
In the end, we wind up with a very important book about a very important band. I would urge anyone and everyone to get this book and a copy of the re-issued Creatures for Awhile LP. Personality Crisis are really that good! –Ty Stranglehold (GFY Press, #34-2320 Woodland Drive, Vancouver BC V5N 3P2, Canada