After nearly a decade, Kristopher Roe, John Collura, Mike Davenport and Chris Knapp of The Ataris reunite to give fans one epic tour. The group is the original line up for their most notable album, “So Long Astoria”. The album produced massive radio hits such as, “In this Diary”, “The Saddest Song” and “Boys of Summer”. The band will play the album from start to finish. Here is an exclusive Hornet interview with bassist Mike Davenport held on Thursday.
Hornet: Mr. Davenport thank you very much for this interview. After ten years there has to be a slew of emotions you guys are feeling?
Davenport: We’re pretty excited. It’s been a very long time. Rehearsals are going super great. We couldn’t be more thrilled to share what we’re feeling with the audience. We are truly excited about this tour.
Hornet: Where are you rehearsing?
Davenport: In Santa Barbara. This is where The Ataris originally got together and we all lived here at one time about 10 years ago. Then everybody slowly started to move now I am the only one left who lives in Santa Barbra.Kris Roe moved to Phoenix, our guitar player John moved to New York where he is originally from and our drummer Chris Knapp moved to Los Gatos next to San Jose. So they left me stranded here all alone. But they are all in SB right now and it’s really great to see them and rehearse with them again. It’s really cool, it’s like a flashback for all of us.
Hornet: How long has the reunion tour been in the works?
Davenport: It has been a year since I first heard about it. I was at Soundwave Festival in Australia with my band Versus The World when I got a call from my guitar player John and he told me everyone wants to do a reunion tour and asked if I was in. I told him to count me in. The next part was figuring out when we were all available. Kris tours, I tour, Knapp owns his own business and John owns a recording studio. We started to nail down when we could do it and it took about 6 months to finalize everything. When we all finally got the time it then became an 11 year anniversary so we changed the concept instead of a 10 year anniversary. We are now playing Astoria beginning to end. It’s more fun for us anyways and it is definitely a challenge.As a musician you want your band to have a challenge.
Hornet: Can we expect any songs prior to Astoria like “San Dimas High school Football Rules”?
Davenport: We will definitely be playing San Dimas, it’s a given, we just have to. We’ll also play “I won’t spend another night alone” and probably “Your boyfriend sucks” but that one is not for sure yet so don’t hold me to it, but probably. Other than that, Astoria will be played from beginning to end, which is what makes this show interesting and a challenge for us. But being able to play the record in its entirety is so fun and I can’t wait for our fans to hear it. We will also be doing some B-Sides from that record. A lot of people never heard our song called, “A Beautiful Mistake”. It was on our Japan and Australia Astoria versions so were pumped to play that along with a couple other B-Sides people haven’t heard of. Even my bandmates from Versus who were big fans of Ataris never heard a couple of these songs we’re playing. I think it will excite people who were fans of that era of Ataris.
Hornet: Can you tell me a little more about the shows?
Davenport: Since Kris lives in Phoenix now we will be heading over there and practicing 5 days leading up to the tour. The first show of the tour kicks off there in his hometown. The next 4 dates [shows] will be more of a warm up to get ready for the first official show of the tour at the House of Blues (HOB) in Hollywood on March 5. The Anaheim show on March 6 is going to be a great show it’s on its way to being sold out people are buying tickets like crazy so I know its going to be a great show. Personally I like the HOB Anaheim in Disneyland, it’s one of my favorites; Versus played a show there with Zebrahead and it was great. The LA HOB, because of Hollywood, is a little snobby; they don’t tend to buy tickets up until the day of the show.
Hornet: How is your new band Versus The World going?
Davenport: Really great! I started it right after The Ataris. It began after I did the whole touring cycle for “So Long Astoria”. We [The Ataris] took a break for about a year while Kris was working on writing a new record. During that time I did the first Versus The World record. Tony Sly from, No Use for A Name really loved our first record and basically took Versus all around the world. When Kris reconvened for the next Ataris record I was gone with Versus. I never really quit The Ataris and we never got in a fight or broke up, I kind of just moved on with Versus.After that I took a hiatus from music, period, for about 3 years. I needed it, after The Ataris and first 2 years of Versus I been on the road for 11 years.During my break I started a family and stuff. After some time we worked on the new Versus record with Lagwagon guitar player Chris Flippin. Once the record came out we just took off. We got signed to Pennywise’s label and we’d been all over the world the last 2 years; Europe, Japan, Australia, China, Canada and the U.S. it’s been a whirlwind. Now look I got 2 bands on the same tour.
Hornet: That was going to be my next question how do you feel playing 2 shows each night with both of your bands?
Davenport: As old and as long as I’ve been around I don’t get nervous that much. But I am a little nervous and excited to see how this is going to work out. I don’t want to waste my Ataris show performance on Verus. I’m hard to contain so we will see. Thank God Versus is not touring all the way. Don’t get me wrong, I really want Versus on the whole tour but I’m actually a little secretly glad Versus ends in St. Louis. That way I get to enjoy the last half of the tour with The Ataris as The Ataris, especially if this ends up being my only time back with them. Who knows? We don’t know. Kris and I are really great friends but he has a great bass player that he plays with now. He is all of our friend’s and he is actually coming on tour to do sound for us. We’re all a big family and Versus Is my baby and some things you can’t predict. But one, this is for sure, playing together feels really good. Maybe it will happen again and maybe not. One thing we are trying to get across to our fans is that this could be your only chance to see us together again one last time. It’s going to be amazing. It’s really special, we realized through rehearsing why things were so great 10 years ago.
Hornet: Sounds like the fans are in for a treat?
Davenport: Yup it’s going to be great. Just rehearsing it, we been working really hard together and on our own parts. The last 2 days we been together as a band and I’m really excited to see what this is going to be like.
Hornet: So no official word on coming back together?
Davenport: Nothing like that. I know Kris is still working on his record that has been due for a super long time, it’s called, “Graveyard of the Atlantic”.
Hornet: Any word on when that may be released?
Davenport: He told me last night that it should be done recording and released next year. The thing about Kris is he’s just a perfectionist. Astoria was almost a perfect album. When his album after that, “Welcome the Night”, was released, he felt like he was rushed to do it and he doesn’t want to be rushed again. He would rather wait and do it right than do it half-ass.
Hornet: How about Versus anything coming out?
Davenport: We have a new album coming out next year as well. It’s called “Homesick, Roadsick” it’s because we been on tour for like the past 2 years and it’s all songs about on tour. So 2015 should be a great year for Ataris’ fans.
Hornet: Any words you want me to take back to Fullerton College?
Davenport: Tell everyone this could be it so please come out and check it out.
The Ataris will tour from Feb. 28- March 30 with Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World (Feb.28-March 18) and Gasoline Heart (March 20-30).