The first line-up of Apocalypse Hoboken convened in 1987, when we were attending our Senior years of high school.
It was Rich (Bass) and Ted (Vocals) from Glenbard North, and Scott (Guitars) and Andy (Drums) from Glenbard West.
We played probably four shows (including one at Durty Nellies). At one point, Rich was out, and Kurdt was in, but
this didn't last long. We broke up, started other bands, and some of us started college. There are still people who
remember this line-up, and kinda figure that we've been around since then. There are only basement tapes
to confirm that this band ever happened. It wasn't until two years later that the band would "re-convene".
The original line-up of Andy, Scott, Ted and Rich got back together in 1989 and recorded some new songs for a demo.
One song, "Punk Rock Gods" was chosen for Achtung Chicago! (Underdog Records), though it was re-recorded. We did a 6
song cassette, Yes, But..., of which 100 copies were made. This was enough to get us some shows at Durty Nellies,
until Matt Nelson moved to MacGregors. We finally got enough money and songs together to do our first 7-inch, Green Monster,
with Ted's Dad on the cover (and us dressed in drag on the back). We got to do some better shows, including gigs with
NOFX, The Offspring, and Fifteen, as well as good local bands like Gear, Sludgeworth, and Screeching Weasel. We
contributed a song to Martin Sorrendeguy's Native American Treaty Rights compilations, as well as to Shakefork's
Decline of the Western Suburbs 7-inch. Our last recorded project was a split 7-inch with Gear. We did two songs,
"Yer In" and "We Got The Beat", and even did photos with Dan Schaefer's girlfriend of us walking down the streets
of Chicago in nothing but white towels. But the single never came out. Gear never paid for their studio time, and
we were falling apart ourselves. We had no means or plans to do anything "new", we played only locally, and overall,
it got stale. We weren't getting along, and in the end, Ted was gone (he quit, and no one was sorry).
The 1990-91 period was about as productive. We didn't change the name as a matter of pride (though we should've laid the
corpse to rest, we were too pissed off to give in to good taste). Before Ted left, he had brought Josh Caterer to a
practice with the intent of having HIM sing, with Ted on guitar. With Ted now gone, Scott contacted Josh and asked him
to play second guitar. We asked our friend Lyle Zimmerman to sing, and forged forward, writing new songs. They were
pretty aggressive, angry songs, as can be witnessed on our cassette Punish The Innocent (500 copies made). We were
determined to obliterate our past; the poppy, Descendents-like tunes. In the process, we had a lot of fun. We did
two shows with this line-up, playing only new songs and some covers. Josh, who was also in The Smoking Popes at the time,
left to pursue just that (good thing, too. I think they're still around. Ha Ha). In January 1992, we asked Bill to play
guitar, and he happily agreed. Only at this time, Lyle didn't have time to do the band anymore, so now our singer was
gone (again). We did a final show at MacGregors (w/Seaweed), and went into hiding. We did a few shows with Bill and
Andy on vocals, but it just didn't work. We wrote songs and dumped them just as quick. Scott suggested either finding
a "real" singer, or calling it quits. Rich left again (before we asked him to), and Kurdt was back (again!).
We put an ad in record stores for a new singer, and Todd called first. We knew Todd would be perfect because he sounded
like no one we'd ever heard (maybe the RKL guy). We didn't try anyone else out. In September 1992, we played our first
show with Todd, all new songs again, but this time we paid homage to the past with "Punk Rock Gods" and "Thug". We hadn't
exactly come full circle, but the more melodic sounds were creeping back ever so slowly. we recorded in December 1992 at
Solid Sound with Phil Bonnet (ten songs, I think), five of which became The Kingpin and Strikes Back 7-inches. These
7-inches came out on our own label, Dick Records, and sold out. We began playing out of town in earnest, and more or
less began acting like a full-time band instead of a side project that had outstayed it's welcome. We recorded the
Superincredibleheavydutydudes CD in the summer of '93 with no means for putting it out. Jason Jackson was starting
Dyslexic Records and offered to help out if we'd split the costs. While we were doing the mastering and covers and
stuff, Jason would meet me at Stratford Square mall with little envelopes of money to speed the project along. 8
months and $2200 later, the CD was out in March 1993. Lyle and his friend Rod Kranz did the covers for us, and the
good people at Optimax delivered 1000 CD's. We were stoked. Our first full length. (Pete Kourim was pretty excited, too).
By the time our CD came out, we were already moving on. We recorded Jerk Lessons, a 10-inch on Dyslexic again. It came out
in July 1994, and cost about the same as the CD to do! (1000 made). We recorded again, with intention of putting out a
7-inch by years end (we got busy). At this time, Marc Ruvolo at Johanns Face was interested in doing something with us.
The proposed 7-inch became a double 7-inch, DateRape Nation, released in November 1994. We kept busy playing shows into
1995, writing songs for the new full length, Easy Instructions for Complex Machinery, which was ready for our July 1995
tour. In the interim, we also released our split 7-inch with Sidekick Kato, as well as recording some compilation tracks
days before we left for our tour. All in all, things were going well, but inevitably, stale.
After the tour, we worked rather slowly on following up Easy Instructions... Bill started playing in Junior Loader,
and the band was once again in neglect. In January 1996, we recorded 9 songs with Chuck Uchida, with no plans of what to do
with them. Bill was gone less than two months later. In a move that will forever baffle historians of such trivial matter,
we asked Sean of Jerkwater to join, and he gladly accepted. Jason Mojica of Rocco Records offered to put out the Uchida
stuff as a 10-inch and CD, Now's Not a Good Time (though not very quickly).
In early 97 we played a show with Less Than Jake and they mentioned us to Fueled By Ramen and, well, look what happened.
Those suckers put out our record, Led Zeppelin III. This was our first release with Sean. Our
split 7-inch with Oblivion followed shortly after.
With Sean now on guitar, we had a pretty good idea of what our next record would sound like. House of the Rising Son of a
Bitch was pieced together over a number of sessions throughout late 1996 and early 1997. A projected split with the Blue
Meanies fell through, so we had plenty of material to chose from. A little more "rock and roll" and less punk (at least
that's what the reviews said), we concentrated on writing better songs, and actually started to demo (!) our songs before
going into the studio. This record probably best personified what set us apart from everyone else. Not that everyone
thought that was a good idea. Somewhere in the middle of recording this album, we struck a deal with Kung Fu Records
after deliberating for close to two years. We got a recording advance, and finally got to tour full time with a label
that would push our record outside of Illinois. Once House... was released in the Spring 1998, we were gone for months at a
By the end of 1998 we had finished touring in support of House... and we took two months off so we didn't kill each other.
When we got back together, we started working on some things we had written during breaks in the action. Sean, Todd and
myself met with Phil Bonnet to talk about recording our new songs. The next morning, Phil was found dead in his car. He
had had an aneurisym. I saw Bill, Lyle, and Josh at the wake. It was amazing to think how Phil had been our cheerleader,
and how he had touched us all so profoundly. Eventually, Dave Trumfio at Kingsize Studios got handed this mess in Spring
of 1999. Microstars was released on Kung Fu in October of 1999.
Well, the story doesn't exactly end here, but for all practical purposes, it does. Scott moved to Michigan when we began
touring, and without touring, he had no reason to stay in Illinois. He needed to make a living. Sean needed to get on with
his life as well. Joe Escalante offered us a tour of Europe with The Vandals and The Ataris at the end of 2000. We accepted, only to find that neither Sean or Kurdt could actually go. With John San Juan doing guitar and keyboards, we recruited Erik Bocek and Scott Thompson and headed out to Europe. It was a blast, but it wasn't Hoboken.
By the end of 2000, Kurdt had left to pursue adulthood. The lineup of Todd/Sean/Erik Bocek/John San Juan survived into 2001,
wrote a half dozen songs, and folded. We were doing great stuff, but I could feel that it wasn't quite what I wanted. It
would take a lot of work to get back to where we were, and things were going from bad to worse. Todd was fighting
constantly with his (ex)wife. She retaliated by selling our band equipment (none of which actually belonged to Todd,
and she knew this). Debts we had accrued because of our touring (especially the van payment) were now becoming a serious
problem. I wanted out. Bad. One reason we kept going was because I couldn't let Todd's wife think she had broken us up.
If anyone asks why Apocalypse Hoboken broke up, I can safely say we outgrew the band. We changed a lot over the years, and
our priorities changed as well. As the years wore on, and we toured more and more, the music became secondary in a lot of
ways. It's hard to look at what's popular and say, "If we had done THAT, we'd be huge by now..." We did what we felt was
right, and creative, and fun. Quite a few people viewed us as a product. We made Apocalypse Hoboken Brand Music.
Unfortunately, when we started to violate that formula, many were unwilling to move forward with us. That pressure,
and internal fights killed off a pretty good band. Rather than stubbornly fight on, we called it a day.
Thanks to everyone who has supported us throughout the years. Thanks to Phil Bonnet just for making us feel legitimate.
I miss him a lot. Sorry we didn't conquer the world, but at least we got to go to Portland. Br