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The Down-fi

The Down-fi mashes out a sonorous, explosive, and intriguing form of garage-y rock and roll. The power trio from Indianapolis, IN harnesses the ethos of the 1970s proto-punk movement, The Down-fi pose in the Grotto in Indianapolis, IN. The Down-fi features Rocket from the Tombs stalwart Craig W. Bell. where Craig Willis Bell provided bottom end and song composition for Rocket From the Tombs. The Down-fi is punk before standardization and rock and roll after adolescence. This is the story so far.

To truly understand The Down-fi's place in the American music landscape is to trace the history of one Craig W. Bell, who showcases a lifetime of songwriting in each Down-fi performance and recording.

In addition to his tenure in Rocket From the Tombs, throughout the 1970s and 80s Bell provided a driving force in future-revered groups Saucers (Connecticut) and Mirrors (Cleveland). His bands garnered the attention of punk oracles such as Lester Bangs and Legs McNeil as well as spawning the Dead Boys, Pere Ubu, Dumptruck, and Miracle Legion among others. This is the story so far.

The story picks up in 2008 in the punk rock rust belt of Indianapolis, IN where Bell put together The Down-fi by cherry picking some of the best players in the Indy scene. Joined by Samuel “Dr. Doomtone” Murphy (The Dockers) on guitar/shouting and Blane Slaven (Three Cent Queen) on drums, the trio has multiple releases on the Gustav label and has racked up milage touring around the Midwest. In 2014, Bell, Murphy, and Slaven recorded a seven inch record so impactful, that it was the first double A-side released in Cavetone Records history.

As usual, the release best explains the band. The first A-side “Roadmaster” is the psychedelic punk that provides the soundtrack to an exploitation motorcycle movie. The songs veers wildly as the fuzzed-out guitar winds, the engine of the drums and bass pound, and vocals scrape across every inch of asphalt in the vein of Steppenwolf meeting most of the New York Dolls. The second A-side features “Why Me,” a two-minute powerpop song with snarling desperation reminiscent of a ramped-up Kinks live track mating with a meaner Cheap Trick. But that's the story so far.

The Down-fi are currently playing shows in support of these records and looking for the best pizza in each city. For booking, press, merchandise, and other inquiries please contact

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Selected Press for The Down-fi

  • “The Down-fi's pre-punk sound is a welcome refreshment in a town dominated by fast-paced hardcore, and serves as a good reminder of hardcore's roots. It's no surprise that these guys can pull off such vintage tunes with such finesse; they're led by Craig Bell, whose pedigree gives him serious street cred. The Down-Fi … channels the Velvet Underground and the New York Dolls, with just the right mix of punk attitude and shoot-from-the-hip classic rock.”
    - NUVO (Indianapolis, IN)

  • “This is very American Rock and Roll. It is music from the heartland, the rust belt, the broken sidewalks and empty buildings of a once mighty industrial dreamland... Perhaps the famously and frequently burning Cuyahoga River... altered the musical gene pool in the Cleveland area and resulted in the beautiful and unique expressions found in the bands and writers that came out of the relatively obscure 70s music scene in that city. Whatever it is that produced so many great recorded moments is alive and well in Craig Willis Bell and the Down-fi.”
    - Penny Black Music (U.K.)

  • “As far as for being a representation of what '72-'76 (roughly) u-ground rock upgraded (not updated) for the last day of the oughts can be you probably can't find anything that much better than these Indianans. Former Mirror/Rocket mainstay Craig Bell... leads this quartet.. through some good mid-Amerigan pre-punque punk that sounds about as 1975 as it can...The results are post-Velvets ca. 1978 kinda blended through too many self-produced singles of that era and filtered through the entire Cleveland/Boston scenes at least when they mattered.”
    - Back to Comm (Pennsylvania)

  • “Punk was happening before The Sex Pistols blew it up in 1977. Punk as an attitude is old school. The Down-fi is old school punk.... Craig Willis Bell is 70s Punk personified. Every artist who wishes to understand Old School Punk should familiarize themselves with and study Craig Willis Bell...The Down-fi [combines the] classic jangle pop that defines both ’76 - ’79 London and ’75 – ’78 New York City … embracing Bell’s Rocket From The Tombs past, and mirroring The Velvet Underground.”
    - Independisc (Connecticut)