For a minute there in the mid-’90s, it looked like Urge Overkill were going to be huge. Maybe not Nirvana huge, but certainly Smashing Pumpkins huge.
Indeed, for the Chicago trio — singer-guitarists and songwriters Nash Kato and Eddie ‘King’ Roeser, along with magnificently named drummer Blackie Onassis — the stars had truly aligned. Their fourth album Saturation — also their first on a major label — was one of the best releases of 1993. Their single Sister Havana was in heavy rotation and in the top 10. Their faithful yet ironic cover of Neil Diamond’s problematic oldie Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon was on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. They had it all. Until they didn’t.
Like countless bands, they couldn’t hold on to the brass ring. After their next album didn’t really connect, they imploded due to the usual rock-biz cocktail of drugs, ego, excess, bad decisions, bad luck and bad timing. Nash and Eddie spent nearly a decade nursing their wounds, popping up from time to time with a solo album or a new band. Then, thankfully, they buried the hatchet, and in 2011, they released the excellent comeback album Rock & Roll Submarine, which featured a return to their old sound.
Now, a decade later, they’re back again with the similar-sounding Oui — out Feb. 11 — which features more songs from the same sessions, including the best cover of Wham’s Freedom! I’ve heard. A while back, Nash and Eddie got on the Zoom to talk about the new album, the old days, their approach to covers and much more. Enjoy. Then check out a few cuts from Oui below, along with some of their older hits. For more, visit their website, Instagram, Facebook and Bandcamp. And if you want to buy the double-sided UO poster on the wall behind me, email me: Nash says they’re currently worth “in the $50,000 range,” but I’ll sell it to you for way less.