Boys of Summer: The Ataris rock the Trap

Richard Kelly / Special from OriginalProFilms.com

Even with singer Kris Roe being the only founding member remaining, it’s been over ten years and alternative rock’s The Ataris are still alive and kicking.

Recently they began on their Summer Tour across the U.S., with one of their first stops being the Boobie Trap Bar at 1417 SW 6th Ave. The tour continues through September with Don’t Panic joining later in the tour. Gasoline Heart is currently playing with The Ataris and the Topeka show included local band The Balance.

Gasoline Heart is headed by singer Louis DeFabrizio. DeFabrizio normally plays with the members his band, but after touring with him during the last few weeks of their previous tour, The Ataris wanted to continue playing with him, so they’re doing the instrumentation for him on the tour.

“We’re fans. We’re Gasoline Heart fans. And he asked us if we wanted to play some songs and we all were like ‘hell yeah’. We get to play other people’s songs so it’s like you’re a part of his songs and it’s awesome,” said guitarist Aaron Glass. “This is only the second night we’ve done it on this tour and it’ll hopefully snowball into more songs eventually.”

While The Ataris did play mainly music for their set from their most recent record Welcome the Night, the band also played their 2003 hit single “The Boys of Summer,” which they joked before playing was for the mainstreamers who didn’t know any other songs by them. They do also plan on releasing a new album by the end of 2010 or by the beginning of 2011 titled The Graveyard of the Atlantic. They have completed all the song recordings for the record, except for vocals, deeming any extra songs they create before the time the album is completed.

The title may quick sound odd, but as bassist Bryan Nelson explained, when Roe named it, he did so with meaning behind it. As he was exploring information about explorer Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton for a possible song, he discovered what he’d name the album.

“Kris found this website that had all these old maps for ships traveling the world. And there’s one that’s called The Graveyard of the Atlantic and it’s where a bunch of ships have actually crashed or sunk and they’re in the ocean,” said Nelson.

A seven inch vinyl record is also expected to be released soon including a couple new songs off the upcoming record. It was due out July 6, but a defect has pushed back the date.

It was not certain to Nelson or Glass how the album title was taken and put into concept for the new album, but according to them, Roe does not simply write lyrics. All songs are based on experiences. And while sometimes, he may go very personally in his writing, all the songs are written with a good intention behind them.

Nelson can definitely reaffirm this.

“The lyrics that he writes now and has been writing for a long time actually have a lot of meaning. They relate to something that he’s experienced. I think that’s the idea a lot of the time. You put it out there but you make it big enough that people for people to relate to. I mean, Kris gives away a lot of information in his songs. And I don’t think a lot of people realize it.

“But when you think about it, don’t you want to hear songs that have meaning? It’s not just something that’s like when you write it ‘It would be cool if this happened.’ It’s like, ‘It’s cool because this did happen.'”

In their free time, the band likes to check out places they’ve seen off the Food Network for their meals and has also had some interesting meals in their experience. As the band notes, Roe likes barbeque and has found, the more “sketchy” the restaurant looks, the better it usually is.

They’ve also stopped recently at the Guinness Book of World Record’s Largest Arcade in the World called the Fun Spot. Located in New Hampshire, it’s connected with a movie “King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters” which includes Steve Wiebe, who has now has the world record for the highest score ever on the original Donkey Kong game. He will be joining them for their Seattle stop on the tour.

When it comes to venues, they have played their fair share, from small venues where they play on the floor to the Pontiac Superdome in Detroit. But they definitely enjoy places like the Boobie Trap when it comes to their performances.

“We love places like this. I’d like more stage room but if it were that and the same exact size of the room, then that’d be perfect.” said Glass.

Nelson agreed, adding too about the sound aspect of a smaller “dive” as he termed the venue.

“I mean it’s awesome to have a big stage but usually with that comes better sound. But places like this, you don’t need the sound to be the best, because you can hear it wherever you are in there. It’s great at these kinds of stops.”

For now, they continue across their U.S. tour. You can check out their music and their tour dates at www.myspace.com/theataris. More photos from the Boobie Trap show coming soon to Original Pro Films.