The Ataris

Kris Roe ? Vocals/Guitar
John Collura ? Guitar/Backup Vocals
Mike Davenport ? Bass
Chris Knapp ? Drums

Easily my favourite pop-punk band, The Ataris are one of the first bands I ever got into in a really big way. The band are often overlooked as just another generic pop-punk band, but there?s far more substance to them than people first think. Kris Roe has a unique style of writing that can be touching, funny and serious all at once. He doesn?t write using meaningless metaphors and clichés, opting instead for a very literal style, which results in very deep and often personal songs.


To date The Ataris have released 4 full-length albums, 1 live album and 3 EPs of superb pop-punk goodness.
The band began when lead singer Kris Roe - 19 at the time - handed a demo tape to Joe Escalante of The Vandals backstage at a concert in early 1997. Impressed with the tape, Escalante asked Roe to put together a band and record for his label Kung-Fu Records. Kris moved from Indiana to California in search of band mates, eventually settling with Bassist Jasin Thomason, and ex-Lagwagon drummer Derrick Plourde. After deciding on their name (based on Kris? huge collection of Atari games) they recorded their first full-length Anywhere But Here.
Fat Wreck Chords owner Fat Mike soon had his eye on the band after hearing the first release, and persuaded them to record their next release with his label. Soon after signing to Fat Wreck (in 1998) the band wrote and recorded the EP Look Forward To Failure - which incidentally was produced by several members of The Descendants. The EP was Fat Wreck?s biggest selling release for months, and finally got the band some decent publicity in the pop-punk/punk scene. In late 1998 after some touring and a change of line-up (Patrick Riley was added as a second guitarist, Thomason was replaced with Mike Davenport and Plourde with Chris Knapp) and record label (back to Kung Fu) the band settled down to write their second full-length Blue Skies, Broken Hearts? Next 12 Exits, released in early 1999.
More touring ensued, supporting increasingly big names in pop-punk such as MxPx and Blink 182, and even emo wonder act Jimmy Eat World. In 2000 Patrick left the band to go back to school (later joining another band; Five and Dime) and was replaced with Marco Peña. The EP Let It Burn, a split with Israeli band Useless ID was released, and later in this year another full-length End Is Forever was released.
In mid 2001 after the last show of a tour in LA, Marco left due to ?minor personal and creative differences?. He was replaced with guitar tech and former Beefcakes band member John Collura, leaving us with the line-up we know today. In August 2001 The Ataris? contract with Kung Fu expired and after some initial confusion over what to do next, they joined Columbia Records (though Columbia still wants the band to release 7? and EPs on Kung Fu).
After a short silence from the band, they came back in a big way in 2003 with the release of their first major-label album So Long Astoria. Though this was an emphatic, emotional album, the band?s sound had clearly lost some of its edge over the past few years. 2003 also saw the release of a very limited DVD Live at Capitol Mill, which was basically a short ?making of? documentary followed by about 4 live performances.
Lately the band has been alternating between touring and taking time off. 2004 brought the release of a remarkably average live album Live At The Metro mainly worth owning for the excellent acoustic set at the end.
Currently the band are writing and recording for their next full-length due for release in mid 2005. On the overall sound of the album, Kris has been quoted as saying: ?As far as the music goes, it is very dark, textural, atmospheric, very moody... kinda like a soundtrack to a rainy day. Not so far removed from Swervedriver, Slowdive, David Bowie, My Bloody Valentine, Kent, and Snow Patrol. I honestly just wanted to make a record that finally fits along with the music I listen to and I think that is what we will have done.?
Hopefully with this release the band will escape the world of mainstream pop-punk that they embraced with the last album and return to their rawer, more original roots.

Live at the Metro (2004)

1. Unopened Letter to the World
3. IOU One Galaxy
4. So Long, Astoria
5. Between You & Me
6. Your Boyfriend Sucks
7. Song #13
8. All You Can Ever Learn is What You Already Know
9. Someday
10. The Saddest Song
11. The Boys Of Summer
12. Astro Zombies (Misfits Cover)
13. 1/15/96 (Acoustic)
14. My Hotel Year (Acoustic)
15. The Hero Dies in This One (Acoustic)
16. Fast Times At Dropout High (Acoustic)
17. A New England (Acoustic)
18. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding (Acoustic Cover)
19. San Dimas High School Football Rules (Acoustic)

As I said in the bio, this CD is mainly worth owning for the acoustic set. The acoustic version of San Dimas is just beautiful, so much better than the version on Let It Burn. The covers are superb and the mid-song banter between Kris and John is good for a laugh. The main live performances are well played and recorded; but if it weren?t for the acoustic part, this album may not be worth the trouble you?d have to go through to get it.

So Long, Astoria (2003, Columbia Records)

1. So Long, Astoria
2. Takeoffs And Landings
3. In This Diary
4. My Reply
5. Unopened Letter to the World
6. The Saddest song
7. Summer '79
8. The Hero Dies In This One
9. All You Can Ever Learn Is What You Already Know
10. The Boys Of Summer (Don Henley Cover)
11. Radio #2
12. Looking back On Today
13. Eight Of Nine

A lot of people who listened to The Ataris before this album don?t like it. It?s not as good their older stuff IMO, but it sees a fair amount of time in my CD player. It?s great fun to play along to if you fancy a bit of power-chord mashing and simple lead (or you?re just not very good).

All You Can Ever Learn Is What You Already Know (2002, Australia only release)

1. Takeoffs and Landings
2. Eight of Nine (Demo)
3. Teenager of the Year (Cover)
4. 1*15*96 (Acoustic)
5. Pretty Pathetic (Cover)
6. Fast Times at Dropout High (Acoustic)

Not much to say about this one since it?s just basically demo or acoustic versions of songs that have been released elsewhere.

End is Forever (2000, Kung Fu Records)

1. Giving Up On Love
2. Summer Wind Was Always Our Song
3. I.O.U. One Galaxy
4. Bad Case Of Broken Heart
5. Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start
6. Road Signs And Rock Songs
7. If You Really Want To Hear About It...
8. Fast Times At Drop-out High
9. Song For A Mix Tape
10. You Need A Hug
11. How I Spent My Summer Vacation
12. Teenage Riot
13. Song # 13
14. Hello and Goodbye

This is in my opinion their best CD, I?d definitely recommend it for anyone who?s interested in The Ataris but doesn?t know any of their stuff. This CD was released before they were watered down, but after the ?less than 2 minutes long? song period. Most people who know any song off this CD will probably know Teenage Riot - probably their third best known song after San Dimas and The Boys of Summer - with one of the best bass lines ever written. Also worth mentioning are Summer Wind, featuring the first lead riff I ever learnt and which remains to this day one of my favourite songs to play along to, and Song #13 which is pretty different to their usual style but really good.

Let It Burn -split w/ Useless ID (2000, Kung Fu Records)

1. The Radio Still Sucks
2. Song For A Mix Tape
3. P.S. The Scene Is Dead
4. Blue Skies, Broken Hearts... Next 12 Exits
5. Let It Burn
6. How I Spent My Summer Vacation
7. On With The Show (Motley Crue cover)
8. San Dimas High School Football Rules (Acoustic)

Good CD, Useless ID are a great band and the Ataris? part is good too, Blue Skies? is a great song and I love covers so On With The Show goes down well.

Blue Skies, Broken Hearts...Next 12 Exits (1999, Kung Fu Records)

1. Losing streak
2. 1*15*96
3. San Dimas High School Football Rules
4. Your Boyfriend Sucks
5. I Won't Spend Another Night Alone
6. Broken Promise Ring
7. Angry Nerd Rock
8. The Last Song I Will Ever Write About A Girl
9. Choices
10. Better Way
11. My Hotel Year
12. Life Makes No Sense
13. Answer:
14. In Spite Of The World

My second favourite album by The Ataris, I?d also recommend this to anyone who doesn?t have it already. San Dimas is their best known song, it?s one of the best pop-punk songs ever written, just listen to it. The Last Song I Will Ever Write About A Girl is good for when you?re pissed off, the chorus is just great:
?Why do I never seem to learn/that love is wrong and girls are fucking evil/I guess I?ll never figure out/what woman-kind is all about?

Look Forward to Failure (1998, Fat Wreck Chords)

1. San Dimas High School Football Rules
2. Not A Worry In The World
3. My So Called Life
4. My Hotel Year
5. Between You and Me
6. That Special Girl

Two of the first songs I heard by The Ataris are on here, My So Called Life and That Special Girl. I think they were playing them in the background of some skate program on Extreme Sports channel or something. My So Called Life in particular is a great song about stalking Claire Danes. Also when I got the CD Between You and Me was one of the first songs I found I could really relate to, an example of Kris Roe?s writing at it?s best; the lyrics to this song are pretty literal but really, really effective.

Anywhere But Here (1997, Kung Fu Records)

1. 1-2-3-4
2. As We Speak
3. Bite My Tongue
4. Hey Kid!
5. Take Me Back
6. Are We There Yet?
7. Angry Nerd Rock
8. Let It Go
9. Lately
10. Alone In Santa Cruz
11. Make It Last
12. Sleepy
13. Four Chord Wonder
14. Blind and Unkind
15. Clara
16. Myself
17. Neilhouse
18. Perfectly Happy
19. Boxcar (Jawbreaker Cover)
20. Ray?

Not one of my favourites, but this album is still well worth a listen. As I said I love covers so the Jawbreaker cover really appeals to me. Four Chord Wonder is a great laugh and Angry Nerd Rock is awesome.

Notable appearances on other CDs

Spider-Man 2 OST (2004, Sony) ? The Night The Lights Went Out In NYC
Punk Goes Acoustic (2003, Fearless) ? Eight Of Nine (Acoustic)
Punk Goes Metal (2000, Fearless) ? I Remember You (Skid Row Cover)

They?ve also appeared on a Warped Tour Compilation or two, but no new tracks so probably not worth mentioning.


you may consider these guys indie rock, or even emo...but oh well...

The Format
you?ll get no apologies from the format when it comes to dissecting their brand of rousing, straight ahead pop music. sam means and nate ruess, the bright, prolific duo who make up the new elektra group, both barely scraping their early 20?s, have crafted a sparkling, spirited 12 song hook-laden epic that defies you not to hum along. the debut is a cocktail of diverse flavors, with emphasis on the singer/songwriting nucleus that mixes a knack for beatlesque melodies with ?80?s styled layerings, including big fat drum machines, idyllic synths, maybe even a handclap or two. topped off with the curious title, interventions and lullabies, and buoyed by an opening salvo that is aptly titled, ?the first single (you know me?), the arizona natives are anything but coy about the musical road map that brought them to this point. for lack of a better term, you can call their unique amalgam of words and music: desert pop. ?we love all kinds of music,? says nate. ?we had been in a few other bands together which always seemed to get bogged down with definitions. one guy didn?t like that sound or another didn?t want to try this sound. one of the reasons we started up in the format is because we wanted to write for ourselves. wanted to write songs that lived or died on the strength of the songwriting, and not some pre-conceived notion of what music should be.? the new album celebrates that simple declaration from top to bottom. from the percolating kick of ?first single,? to the snarling pomp of ?give it up,? to the heart-tugging ballad ?on your porch,? the ambitious disc is a virtual tour de force of musical styles. the group?s mutual influences - cat stevens, the beatles, (even paul mccartney?s ram says sam) james taylor and many more shine further light on the process of their song-crafting. sam and nate each testify to plenty of late night writing sessions, acoustic guitar at-the-ready. ?writing acoustically made everything easier,? says nate, who pens all of the lyrics. ?we could write the way we heard them in our head,? adds sam. ?we knew we could always change them up and fill them out, if needed, if we ever got to the recording stage.? just such a path emerged a little more than a year ago when the guys hooked up with a local musical supporter, bob hoag, who offered to lend some technical expertise to a batch of songs they had written. hoag produced a 5 song demo with the format, with one song ?the first single (cause a scene)? eventually getting into the mix of a local arizona radio station. the song became hugely popular with local listeners, and the duo soon found themselves in demand as live performers, as well. by the spring of 2002, major labels were beckoning, and the format signed with elektra, enlisting producer walt vincent (pete yorn, liz phair) to work the knobs on their debut album.

?it all happened so fast,? says sam. ?some times we have to pinch ourselves. but it?s been a lot of work too. we?ve been able to tour doing acoustic shows, and honing our songwriting in the meantime. to be able to flesh the songs out in a real studio and record the album fulfilled most of our dreams. we realize, at our age, what a tremendous opportunity this has been. our goal now is to just get better as performers and songwriters and hope that people connect with the music.? sam points to the above mentioned ?on your porch,? as a personal favorite of his, as well as the stirring ?career day.? ?that song gels so nicely musically and lyrically that it hints at the potential that?s in this group for down the road. i think it showcases all our attributes.? ask nate to elaborate on some of his verses and he hesitates for a moment. ?some songs you can explain and others, i don?t even know what they?re about. mostly about relationships, which can be fairly simple, or as we all know, frustrating and complex. it baffles me every day how an idea for a song comes to the light of day.? the songwriter recalls with fondness when he first fell in love with the power and pull of music, however. ?we used to sit around and listen to my dad?s record collection. he loved everything from fleetwood mac to jackson brown to john mellencamp. so many of those songs have stayed with me.? even though the group wears its love for such pristine songwriters on its sleeve, nate says the duo has guarded against making their own songs too polished on interventions and lullabies. ?because we?re prone to writing mostly pop songs, we wanted to leave some edges around them. one great thing about performing them acoustically is you get a nice stripped down feel to them that gave us some ideas on how to approach them when we hit the studio.? the group also survived the recording process with their sense of humor intact. any band that calls their first single ?first single,? is winking at the stuffiness of the music business in general. ?we never take ourselves too seriously,? says sam. nate agrees: ?it started out as a joke, that title, and then we just decided to keep it. i?m not big on naming songs? i like to let the music speak for itself?i can?t name any of the song titles on my favorite albums. i wanted to call it the first single because at the time we had no expectations for ourselves or the song and i thought it was catchy. so i just thought the title was fitting for a song i would never expect to be on the radio.?

and what about the band?s name ? the format? is that also a jab at the industry?s proclivity for same-sounding solutions when it comes to the quest for the ?big hit.? ?well, we have two answers for that,? says nate. ?the real answer is we didn?t think our sound fit any one particular format, so why not have fun with it.?

and the made-up answer?

?we tell people we had a sick friend named matt and we went to visit him at the hospital? at the same time we were looking for a band name? and we just happened to be discussing it when writing on his card at the hospital gift shop.?


Interventions and Lullabies October 2003

1. First Single
2. Wait, Wait, Wait
3. Give It Up
4. Tie the Rope
5. Tune Out
6. I'm Ready, I Am
7. On Your Porch
8. Sore Thumb List
9. Mess to Be Made
10. Let's Make This Moment a Crime
11. Career Day
12. Save Situation

The Format EP June 3, 2003
1. First Single
2. At the Wake
3. One Shot, Two Shots
4. Let's Make This Moment a Crime
5. Even Better Yet

bio from sing365


I suggest "The first single"

Last edited by falloutboy at Apr 4, 2005,