If you've been paying attention to the blog at all this week, you know that the International Pop Overthrow is happening at the Sunset Tavern all weekend. One of the many bright spots on the IPO schedule is the headlining slot on Saturday, which is occupied by the Amateur Lovers reunion.
I had a chance to do a quick interview via myspace with the fellas, and here are the results:
SPB: First, a history lesson. When and how did the Amateur Lovers start playing together?
The Amateur Lovers came together around 1994, but the final lineup – including drummer Jefferson Allen - wasn't in place until 1997. A mutual appreciation of 70's inspired power-pop brought us together, but the easy availability of mixed drinks, combined with the advancing technology of video game play, made us friends. Our first shows were at the Colourbox, the Off Ramp, and of course the Brick Street, our home-away-from-home.
We were lucky enough to get noticed by Loosegroove records, and signed to a modest deal. We held our CD release at the OK Hotel – another fav haunt of ours – and spent the next couple of years intermittently touring around the country in our van, Halen.
2. What are your best memories from those early times?
We played America's great, stinky rock clubs from coast-to-coast with taters and toast - and we had a great time doing it. Chico, California is a great town, if you ever get the chance. Jamming with a didgeridoo player in Montana, backstage at Memorial Stadium, Bondi Beach, getting sued, opening for the Bay City Rollers, tracking dog-shit through our copyright-infringing artist's home - There were so many good times…
Touring Australia with Ben Folds Five was pretty cool, too.
3. What prompted the reunion for this year's International Pop Overthrow?
We created a MySpace page earlier this year, just figuring why not have these songs and pictures available for our friends/fans and anyone who might stumble upon it. So David Bash, the IPO creator saw the space and inquired about our status as a band, and asked if we wouldn't consider reuniting for this show, since we played the 1st IPO in Los Angeles 10 years ago. So it all came together really easily, and since we all love playing these songs, it wasn't a tough decision.
4. What's it been like in prepping for the show?
Prepping for the show has been great - playing these songs and getting reacquainted with one another again has been really enjoyable for all of us. I think it might be the first time Sean has had a beer since 1998... We’ve also been toying with the idea of playing some new tunes - although we recognize that our fans may be as open to that idea as REO Speedwagon fans having to listen to something other than "Can't Fight That Feeling" at their reunion show...
5. So, is this truly a one-off? Last chance ever to see the band?
This may not be the last chance to see the band, but it certainly is the last guaranteed chance to see us play. We have never formally broken up, and may never do so. We consider ourselves "on hiatus," which means we are not actively writing music as a band and are not in hot pursuit of our rock 'n' roll dreams. Some of us are "seeing other people," so to speak, but we're always open to playing a gig if the right offer at the right time comes in. This is one of those occasions.
6. What should IPO attendees expect to experience?
We plan to bring out a bunch of the old hits from Virgin White Lies, and we'll also be playing several "new" tunes (8 year old tunes that would have made our 2nd record). We also plan to stage a fake fight between Scott and Jeff, and Mark might wear eye makeup. It's a game time decision.
1997 Amateur Lovers press photo by Tony Mott