Full of “Wonder”: The debut album by Ypsilanti’s Cracked & Hooked came together quickly
David Freund didn’t mean to start a band; he just wanted to learn how to play guitar during the pandemic.
“I’d bought my first electric guitar, having very limited ability to play guitar at all, and within a couple of months, I began to sound like I had some idea of how to play it,” Freund said.
The Ypsilanti resident posted his playing progress and nascent songs on social media and jokingly gave himself the band name Cracked & Hooked.
“I fully believed that it would only ever be just that,” Freund said. “Just me at home making a racket and sharing it online. Essentially, it was a game of pretend where I’m in a band and my home is my studio.”
What started as a personal project for Freund evolved into a full band in late 2022 when he had the opportunity to play live and was joined by friends Alistair Dickinson (lead guitar), Andrew Peck (bass), and Brad Perkins (drums) for the shows. Cracked & Hooked’s musical camaraderie developed so quickly, on Christmas day the band headed to Ypsilanti’s Grove Studios to record the album Wonder Out of Your Mind, released in February.
The record features eight roots-rock tracks influenced by the likes of The Replacements and Wilco—the latter band also inspired Cracked & Hooked’s name, which was nicked from lyrics in the song “Via Chicago.” Wonder Out of Your Mind’s opening track, “Same As You,” echoes the bouncy, country-rock sounds of Drive-By Truckers, and “Windmill” has a stomping rhythm and simple chord changes that evoke vintage Neil Young.
Wonder Out of Your Mind documents not just Freund’s songs but the moment when a band found its spark.
“The record really has something that can only be made when friends play together,” Peck said. “There’s a communal thing that happens that major records can’t re-create with supergroups and mass production. … I don’t think this recording could have been made anywhere but in Ypsilanti and [at] the time we did it. It was inevitable.”
Freund echoes Peck’s sentiment.
“I’m beyond grateful for my band. This wouldn’t be happening without them. They all believe in my abilities for reasons I don’t quite understand, but I stopped wondering and kept moving forward regardless of how far we get with it or not.”
Sean Miller is a Michigan singer-songwriter and freelance arts and entertainment writer.
Cracked & Hooked will play songs from Wonder Out of Your Mind on May 12 at Ziggy’s, 206 West Michigan Avenue, Ypsilanti opening for Mercury Salad and Head Full of Ghosts.