Thursday, October 27, 2011

Eric Melin and Bill McShane of Ultimate Fakebook on this weekend's reunion show

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 8:00 AM

  • Jennifer Long

Long-running area power-pop trio Ultimate Fakebook called it quits back in 2003, after three LPs and a series of frustrating label issues. Since 2008, though, the band has been playing occasional reunion shows, and last year they released Daydream Radio Is Smiling Static, a digital collection of unreleased cuts and b-sides. This Saturday, October 29, they're throwing down with the Revenge of the Nerds Halloween Ball, an eight-hour extravaganza of bands, contests, and general rock 'n' roll revelry. We spoke with singer and guitarist Bill McShane and drummer Eric Melin via e-mail about the festivities.

The Pitch: How has this grown from what was originally announced — UFB, Podstar, and the Touchdowns playing reunion shows together — to the marathon hullabaloo it's become?

Bill McShane: Well, basically since we are only doing one show for the whole year, we figured why not go all out and make a mini-festival out of it with a bunch of our friends? And since it's at Halloween time, all the better to go crazy with extra stuff like Eric's Air Guitar action and all the smoke machines and stage theatrics we love. At this point in our "career" (if you can call it that) as a band, we only do stuff that sounds like a blast for us and hopefully our fans. We aren't trying to gain anything other than a great time with good friends. That's what our shows have always been to us, and now they are so more than ever. And we love "hullabaloos" when it comes to rock and roll. Who wants to go out for the evening and see another boring indie rock show? Not us!

Eric Melin: It started as a Podstar reunion with UFB, but Bill said "I want a Touchdowns reunion too!" Then it was booked around Halloween and became a costume party with a contest element. Then Bill suggested air guitar performances 'cause he wanted to see some of those live. Then we added the ACBs because we all love them and we wanted Bill to see them play. Then Pyromaniac came on (more friends!) and we knew we had an over-the-top party rock '80s theme — perfect for a UFB show. Then we refined the '80s theme and made it fit our band so it became "Revenge of the Nerds" — any kind of '80s vibe is encouraged for costumes, not just "nerds." Then we decided we better play early to get people to come out and stay all night because 6:00 p.m.-close is a long time. So now we are opening and closing our idea of the Ultimate Halloween Bash.

Did anyone come to you wanting to be involved?

Bill: Yes - in addition to the Pyromanics, actually a lot of friends in bands across the country have contacted us ... so there just might be some surprises in store that night!

Eric: All the guys in that band are guys we've known for 20 years and they know hair metal (and most all-around metal) better than anybody. Andrew Sample, Boomer, and Doug Minner were all in Manhattan's premier thrash band, Puke Weasel and Brian Brooks and Andy Crow were in Manhattan's best metal band, Dr. Zeus. Minner is also Slash in Sweet Band 'O Mine. They'll be in full costume, playing at 8pm, and it will be a freaking blast.

When did KJHK become a part?

Eric: Cameron [Hawk, of the Dead Girls and Podstar] asked them at one point if they wanted to be involved and they said "hell yes."

The regular and acoustic sets allow people to catch you twice. Have you ever played a full acoustic set before

Bill: We have done acoustic sets around the country when we were on Sony. But since this is Halloween time, you never know what might happen ... or what we mean by an acoustic set! (EVIL LAUGH....)

Eric: Last year at Sisters of Sound in Manhattan, Bill played an acoustic set and I sat on a stool and played tambourine. This year, we're going bigger and better. (No spoilers, but the 2 sets will be completely different.)

What can people expect from the acoustic set that they might not otherwise get in the electric one?

Bill: All I can say is that they should expect something unexpected! We thought it would be cool to open up for our own show because lots of people want to take their kids out for Halloween early, and this way they can join in the fun even if they can't stay for the whole night.

Eric: Spontaneity, jackassery, original tunes, cover tunes, the look of absolute terror in our eyes and the audience's. It will be really scary.

This makes the third set of reunion shows in as many years, making it an annual event at this point. Do you plan to keep doing this year after year?

Bill: We have so much fun doing them, I can't see why we wouldn't continue to make it a tradition if our schedules work out.

Eric: It sure is fun, though. This year, we have people flying in from as far away as Florida. We love putting on ridiculously fun shows and playing for our ridiculously awesome fans who know all the words. We realized after 2 KC shows and a Manhattan one that we hadn't played Lawrence yet! The Bottleneck was always our favorite venue in Larry, so it was kind of a no-brainer. Plus, we have a new album to promote — ha! Well, we gave it away — as you know — but we also made 100 physical copies to sell as collector's items.

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