Crusties are members of an urban subculture, with roots in punk and grebo. The term pre-dates crust punk and can be used independently. The trend was most widespread in the UK in the late 1980s and early 1990s but there are also international subsets.
Crusties are distinctive for their unkempt appearance. They are associated with anti-capitalism, road protests, squatting, raves and begging. Typical dress styles involve dreadlocks, piercings, tattoos and dirty clothing, which are generally second-hand or army surplus. Similar to anarcho-punk, most clothing is black in color. Denim jackets, hooded sweatshirts with sewn-on patches, vests covered in studs, spikes, and band patches are characteristic elements of the crust punk style of dress.
Crusties have also been described as being typically unemployed youth with no permanent home. Some are an urban version of the New Age Traveller and so may have relatively settled long-term homes. In the American East, the trend has become increasingly associated with the riding of freight trains. One anonymous crusty is quoted as saying, "Punk may be about the music, but that's not what crust's about. Crust is about hopping trains and shooting dope".
- Jones, Liz, "I hate these Crusties", The Daily Mail, 5 April 2009
- Hetherington, K: New Age Travellers, page 9. Cassell. 2000
- Hetherington, K. New Age Travellers, page 9. Cassell. 2000
- Cambridge Dictionary, "Definition of Crusty, noun"
- Kevin Stewart-Panko, "I Saw Disfear Three Times in Three Days", Decibel, no. 46, August 2008, p. 22.
- Glasper 2009, 287