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Before joining the Enz, Crowther played trumpet in an air training corp band but swapped to drums later on. Moved to Auckland in 1969 and played drums in a couple of covers bands and Alastair Riddell's band, Orb. Riddell was at one stage a possible replacement for Phil Judd when he left Split Enz in 1977.
As well as drumming on the first two Enz albums, Crowther (by this stage known as Emlyn), was an electronics and live sound expert who also built the synthesizers used on Mental Notes.
Crowther invented the HotCake guitar distortion pedal in 1976, which has openly been used by Neil Finn of Split Enz and Crowded House, Noel Gallagher of Oasis, Hugh Harris of The Kooks, Buzz Osborne of The Melvins, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Stephen Malkmus of Pavement and The Jicks, J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., Nels Cline of Wilco, Ed O'Brien of Radiohead and Adrian Utley of Portishead. In 1996 he created the 'Prunes and Custard', originally designed as a bass guitar distortion pedal. The Datsuns' song "Harmonic Generator" is named after this pedal.
Apparently the HotCake was re-designed from the switch to the dial after Nigel Regan from Head Like a Hole kept on breaking them while playing and was constantly taking them to get fixed.
After Split Enz, Crowther drummed in a few local bands, did live mixing work for New Zealand band The Mutton Birds and was involved with a sound company between 1980-90. He currently resides in Auckland with his wife and son, and runs a company named Crowther Audio, manufacturing effects pedals and other equipment.
Crowther currently plays drums for the 1960s cover band 'The Con-Rays' which includes former Split Enz keyboard player Eddie Rayner.
- Chunn, Mike, Stranger Than Fiction: The Life and Times of Split Enz, GP Publications, 1992. ISBN 1-86956-050-7
- Chunn, Mike, Stranger Than Fiction: The Life and Times of Split Enz, (revised, ebook edition), Hurricane Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9922556-3-3
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