Alex "Crankshaft" Larson has been pounding the pavement since 2008, developing his own "pork neck" style along the way. A sound heavily rooted in rock 'n' roll, blues, country, swing, and surf that "could not have been imagined prior to the early punk scene," as described by Dig In Magazine. Rock solid original lyrics, a dedicated fan base, and his 21st century twist on the American roots is pushing him to the top of the crowded Minneapolis music scene in a hurry. It's becoming clear to many that Crankshaft is "one of the best and most interesting roots, rock and blues acts playing around town these days." - Cities 97.
Born into this world from gas station cassette tape collecting semi-truck drivers, Crankshaft was introduced to a wide variety of music as a pup. In 1996 he traded a combination oil/wood stove to his uncle for his first electric guitar and amp. Since then he's been involved in many projects, including a band he started with his brother in 2001 called The Mojo Spleens. In April 2008, while self-employed as a contractor, he started practicing as a one-man band and was playing shows two months later. Larson self-produced and released three albums during the next two years. In 2010, backed with the business skills he developed running a construction company and the strong DIY ethics he learned from his connection to the underground punk scene, Crankshaft decided to hang up his hammer for good so he could focus on writing and performing music. Since then he's been earning a living playing, as both a traditional one-man band and as the leader of his trio, Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders.
Give him a listen, if you like what you hear, tell someone (or everyone) you know, then come to a show!


Larry Kay -

Eric Roberts -
Phone: 651-647-4464

Fan Email:
Alex "Crankshaft" Larson -



Friday, September 25, 8pm, Hard Rock Cafe Mall Of America - Bloomington, MN - w/Gear Grinders

Saturday, September 26, Private Party

Thursday, October 01, 5:30pm, Cowboy Jack's - Minneapolis (126 5th St N) - Crankshaft (solo)

Saturday, October 03, 10am (TIME CHANGED!) - Target Field Station Amphitheater - Minneapsolis, MN - w/Gear Grinders

Saturday, October 03, 8pm Silver Dome Ballroom - Neillsville, WI - Crankshaft + DATV

Friday, October 23, 8pm, Norm's Wayside Rest - Buffalo, MN - w/Gear Grinders

Saturday, October 24, Private Party

Saturday, November 14, 9pm - Jumpin' Jacks - North Branch, MN - w/Gear Grinders

Wednesday, November 25, 7:30pm, $16, First Avenue - Minneapolis, MN - CD/LP RELEASE PARTY!
(the password for presale tickets is "boogie") Buy Tickets

Friday, November 27, $20, The Jehova House - Wheaton, MN - w/Gear Grinders

Saturday, November 28, 9pm Russell's Bar and Grille - Annandale, MN - w/Gear Grinders

Saturday, December 05, 8pm Mac And Chesters SRO - Cedar, MN - Crankshaft (solo)

Friday, December 11, 9pm The Whistling Pickle - Zimmerman, MN - w/Gear Grinders

Saturday, December 12, 9pm Nakato Bar - North Mankato, MN - w/Gear Grinders

Friday, December 18, 9pm, $8 Famous Dave's Uptown - Minneapolis, MN - w/Gear Grinders

Saturday, December 26, 9pm, $8 Lee's Liquor Lounge - Minneapolis, MN - w/Gear Grinders


9-18-2015 --- I have the new CD in hand! The artwork and the audio turned out amazing, this is hands down the coolest thing that I've done with my life so far! If you'd like to show extra support, signed pre-sale copies will be available on this site for $50, until the CD/LP release party on November 25th. By paying a little more you will receive the CD early, and the extra money you spend will help me recover my personal financial investment towards music video and audio production for this release. Copies will be available to the general public at First Avenue Night Club on November 25th for $20 and at all shows there after. Thanks in advance for the support, I'm very appreciative that I'm earning a living making new music for the world to hear, and incorporating visual art that goes along with it! BOOGIE!

8-10-2015 --- I decided to take a pretty big risk, I'll be investing my own money to press 500 records in gate-fold jackets with a 28 page booklet on one side and the vinyl record on the other. My fingers are crossed, hopefully I can sell 200 copies between Thanksgiving and Christmas so I can break even on the initial investment. Thanks for the support everyone, you pushed me towards this decision with the overwhelming responses to my Facebook post last week, you all are rad!

6-12-2015 --- Hey everybody,  Sorry it's been a while since my last update, I've been burning the wick from both ends so to speak. I've finished my time recording and mixing the upcoming studio album (Nov.2015 Release), and it's in the process of being mastered as I'm typing this update. All of the tracks were mastered to 1/4" reel to reel tape, from there it will be cut straight to vinyl making this a 100% analog release, a practice that has dropped off the map since the early 90's. The album will be release on Itunes and on CD as well, BUT if you buy the vinyl copy it will be totally free of zeros and ones!
I've slotted August 14th as the double music video release party at Lee's Liquor Lounge, featuring two songs from the upcoming release, I Can't Take It, and Any Other Way. The promo video for I Can't Take It is attached to this email, it turned out pretty rad, check it out! The footage for this one was actually captured while we were recording the song in the studio. A promo video for Any Other Way will be released to Youtube sometime before the Fourth of July.
If I can make the deadline work out August 14th will also be the date that I release a vinyl 7" 45 RPM for the same two songs, a limited edition 300 copy release. Cross your fingers for me, I had to pull some strings at Noiseland Record Pressing to squeeze product into place before the deadline, as they are actually pushed out to mid September for current production.
I'll be touring the Rocky Mountains next week, hitting SD, WO, MT, ID, and UT, covering 3,500 miles in 8 days! If you have family or friends out that way please spread the word that I'll be out there next week.
I'll be taking Fourth Of July weekend off to focus on writing songs for a 2016 release, I have six or seven more songs to write before September so I can hit the studio again before my Upper East Coast one man band tour in October. The tentative plan is to release the album I just finished (Tied To The World Behind Me) in Mid-November, then start working on mixing the next album (Bad Mother Trucker) during December, hopefully it will go smooth and will be released in spring of 2016.

3-31-2015 --- All of the tracks have been cut for the 2015 album, during April I'll be co-mixing the songs with Jeremy Johnson in his home studio in North St.Paul. This album is being produced in 100% Analog fashion, recorded on 16 channel two inch tape, bounced to 1/4" master tape, then it's being cut straight to 12" vinyl, as well as CD and MP3. I've collaborated with some pretty heavy hitters on this release including Davina Sowers of Davina and the Vagobonds, and Bruce McCabe who co-wrote Johnny Lang's "Lie To Me" album. This album will include 13 new original Crankshaft songs and is set to be released sometime in November.

11-14-2014 --- I'm happy to announce that I've slotted eight days for the recording studio in December! I've got 14 new songs written, arranged and ready to be recorded, I have one more song to write from scratch. I'll be recording with three different drummers for this release, Pete Hennig, George Marich, and Victor Span. Each of them bring a different bag of tricks to the table and I'm super stoked to be working with the three of them! Three of the new songs will have horn arrangements, one with backup singers, and I'll be playing harmonica on two of the songs. I'm confident that this will be my strongest release yet, the songwriting was two years in the making. 2015 is gonna be a wonderful year!


Old News --- Little blurps like above but from the past.

Photos --- Photos from past performances, tours, and art projects.

Flyers --- Promo art of the past.

Past Performances --- When was that?! All shows going back to 2010.

Fan Comments --- Flattering or funny comments from the past.

Email Updates --- Updates archive, going back to January, 2011.


Mp3/CD/LP Release November 25th!

Tied to the World Behind Me

14 Original Songs!
I Can't Take It
Gotta Run
Let Me Be
The Right Dress
Eatin' Chili
Loose Cannon
We're On Fire
Any Other Way
Boxed and Charred
Fit For Flyin'
Made To Race

Fan Support CD Pre-Sale

All copies purchased from this
link will be hand signed!

(After 11/25/15 copies will be available
for $20 at all Crankshaft shows!)

Released February, 2013 - 4,000 Pressed

What You Gonna Do?

12 Original Songs!
When the Sun Goes Down
Dancin' In The Dirt
Trail Of Tears
Kingpin (music video)
I Wanna Play
Waiting For Me (music video)
Earthquake Shake
Let Me Love You
Don't Leave
Fill It Up (music video)
Barkin' Up The Wrong Tree

Vinyl or CD (Includes S&H)

Available at:
Down In The Valley - Golden Valley, MN
Mr. Mark Music - Anoka, MN
Electric Fetus - Minneapolis, MN














Phtoto by Tiffany Smith

Phtoto by Tiffany Smith

Old Photos --- Photos from past performances, tours, and art projects.


"What You Gonna Do?" Hymies Top Ten Records of 2013 - 12/28/2013 -

Crankshaft's the real deal. He's one quarter honky tonk, one quarter rockabilly, and one quarter rhythm and blues. The last quarter is pure @#%ing awesome. When he sings “there won't be a dog asleep in this town” there's no reason to doubt it — His act is filled with swagger and smarm in just the right proportions. What You Gonna Do? leans a little towards the hotel lounge acts from the seventies we love to feature here on the Hymie's blog when their records turn up, mostly in that it tries to showcase a wide variety. The thing is that Crankshaft is one of those old fashioned showmen who can actually deliver — want a little heavy blues? Gotcha. Want to hold your sweetheart for the next number? Gotcha (check out “Waiting for Me” for a little closing time pull at your heartstrings). Want to hear a song about a guy filling up a Cadillac with cement? Gotcha.

Yeah, there's that too. Who else could write “Fill it Up,” probably the funnest song to come out of Minnesota this year — and then produce and direct an even funnier video?! (read more)


Alex "Crankshaft" Larson Music Video Review - 11/3/2013 -

Three videos have been made for songs [from What You Gonna Do?], and as an added bonus in my opinion, they also happen to be my three favorite tracks on the album. “Waiting For Me,” “Kingpin” and “Fill It Up” were all three produced, directed and edited by Alex which, admittedly, immediately made me a little wary. I mean, on the TV show “Survivorman” Les Stroud did EVERYTHING on that show, and only one of them was done well – surviving. Fortunately for everyone, it turns out Alex is not only a damn fine guitarist, singer / song-writer and performer, but seems to know his way around making a video as well.
(read more)
- by Kevin


Alex "Crankshaft" Larson Q&A + Music Video Backstory - 9/21/2013 -

Some months ago, by chance I was introduced to a band I probably would ignore if I had seen their latest release, What You Gonna Do? in a record store. Simply because I wouldn't look in "that" section - I only look in the hard rock and heavy metal section usually. However, since I received a promo copy for a possible review I listened to it and Crankshaft And The Gear Grinders from Anoka County, Minnesota had me hook, line and sinker. The band is the brainchild of Alex "Crankshaft" Larson and after a great conversation with the man I knew I had to share it with you all. So sit back and enjoy the story of a man with a distinct musical vision and how you turn prize money into three excellent videos.
(read more)
- by Swedebeast

Alex "Crankshaft" Larson Q&A - 8/26/2013 -

Q: I love that you perform wearing a suit and slicked back hair, very classy. What inspires the look that you have?

A: When I'm dressing up I'm paying homage to all of the greats that did so in the golden era of music, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Link Wray, The Ventures, The Sonics, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, the list goes on, and on. Also, I believe that it's a statement about how serious I take my role as a performer. It's my job to entertain people, and looking sharp should go hand in hand with that.
(read more)
- by Brandon LaBelle


Alex "Crankshaft" Larson interview - 7/18/2013 -

I already knew Crankshaft was an engaging performer—just last month, I watched him tear through a set at Bunker's in front of a whooping crowd, his black, slicked-back hair flying through the air as he assaulted his guitar. But what I didn't realize was that he's also quite insightful and charming off stage, and he speaks eloquently about everything from the roots of punk rock to his hometown of St. Francis, Minnesota. (read more)
- by Andrea Swensson


"What You Gonna Do?" Album Review - 7/6/2013 - Flyin' Shoes Reviews

The style touches on swing and some pretty hard-rocking stuff whilst that skuzzy, muddy sound is there throughout in glorious fashion. There's a whole stack of extra instrumentation beefing things up – horns, sax, piano and organ being particularly evident – but they never stray far from the sound the three man band can reproduce live. (read more)
- by John Davy


Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders Live Review - 6/4/2013 -

Words can not fully articulate how amazing they are live. What they can do is something spiritual. They bring rockabilly way back to its roots (I'm talking Jerry Lee Lewis here), all way into the 21st century and lose none of it in translation. Throw in some rock and blues into the mix, and you get Crankshaft. Seeing them perform these songs live makes want to get down on my knees and praise the music gods for their existence. If I had my way, they would be bigger than Elvis, and hopefully one day they will be.
- by John


More Reviews


Designed & Maintained by Alex "Crankshaft" Larson