Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Embarrassment: The Greatest Band You Never Heard

The Embarrassment are reuniting for a series of shows in Wichita and Lawrence this weekend. If you are unfamiliar with this classic American alternative band from the 80's (a major influence on REM, Freedy Johnston, the Ass Ponys and many others), you can obtain their excellent career overview, Heyday, on eMusic. Dan Fetherston, the drummer for the Oxford Collapse, approached the members of the Embarrassment to do the shows, and apparently Fetherston (who has a degree in film) is working on a documentary about the Embos.

Visit the Embarrassment's website for more information, and there’s an extensive article in the Kansas City Star here. An interview with singer John Nichols, plus a half dozen mp3's and a podcast, are available here. You can also download four classic Embarrassment tunes from the band’s myspace.

I love reading about what members of old bands are doing these days. The KC Star says that bassist Ron Klaus is the captain of a whale-watching boat. Guitarist Bill Goffrier (who also led the band Big Dipper) teaches art to fourth graders. Drummer Brent “Woody” Giessman (who joined the Del Fuegos after the Embos split) is a substance abuse counselor, and the inimitable vocalist John Nichols is a airline cargo sales manager.

The Embarrassment have reunited at least once since their 1983 breakup, and in 1990 they made a reunion album, God Help Us, which some longtime fans found wanting. The band revisited four of their old songs, plus an Elvis cover, and some of the new tunes did lack the old spark. But for my money, the one-two punch of the leadoff tracks, “Train of Thought” and “Beautiful Day” were as good as anything the band had ever done, and their new version of the old Embos tune “After the Disco” demonstrated the power of their rhythm section and the innovative rhythm/lead playing of guitarist Bill Goffrier.

The Embarrassment: Train of Thought

The Embarrassment: After the Disco


At 8/17/2006 12:19 PM , Blogger 2fs said...

Excellent stuff. I'm glad I'm not one of those folks mentioned in your heading!

At 8/17/2006 10:31 PM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

I borrowed that title from one of the articles I read about the Embos. Not sure who first called them "the greatest band you never heard". The idea of a documentary film sounds great to me; hopefully the cameras will be rolling in KS this weekend!

At 8/19/2006 5:58 PM , Blogger Happy In Bag said...

Nice time capsule. They were (are) so good.


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