A pop-punk band based in Santa Barbra, CA. The Ataris are: Kris Roe - vox, guitar, Mike Davenport - bass, vox, Marco Pena - guitar, vox, and Chris Knapp - drums. Kris is originally from Indiana. At a Vandals show in Indiana he gave the band a demo tape. Later Vandals' Joe Escalente owner of Kung-Fu Records called Kris and asked him to do a record for his label. Kris moves to CA formed a band and started making records. I like this band a lot, because I like the topics they address on some songs. Still their music is basically pop-punk which means it isn't technically interesting. The lyrics while good and angsty are pretty simple. Sometimes when I listen to one of their albums I end up wishing for a little more. They still have some room to grow. That being said they still kick ass.

I have their album Blue Skies, Broken Hearts...Next 12 Exits. Lots of angst-ridden songs. A really cool song off this is San Dimas High School Football Rules.

The latest album End Is Forever follows in the style set by Blue Skies, Broken Hearts...Next 12 Exits. It is an enjoyable listen. Teenage Riot is good poppy fun and there is still plenty of angst, like Giving Up On Love. Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start is probably my favorite song on the album.

End Is Forever -- Kung-Fu Records (2001)
Let It Burn -- Kung-Fu Records (2000)
Blue Skies Broken Hears...Next 12 Exits -- Kung-Fu Records (1999)
Anywhere But Here -- Kung-Fu Records (1997)
Looking Forward to Failure -- Fat Wreck Chords (1998)
They have also appeared on several Fat Wreck Chords compilations as Fat Mike took a liking to them. Plus some other comps. They also have a bunch of tracks on MP3.com.

Oddly enough I first started listening to The Ataris because of their name (I kind of have an Atari fetish, if you didn't already know). They quickly moved to the top of my favorite bands list.

Now I listen to The Ataris almost everyday in my car on the way to work. It seems to me that they only write songs about one thing, lost love. Now you would think that one angsty lost love pop punk song after another would get old, but it doesn't. You know why? The lyrics. Almost every word of every Ataris song hits home with me (even the Claire Danes one). I just end up thinking about the same girl whenever I hear these songs.

Today I woke up alone wishing you were here with me,
I wanted us to be something that we'd probably never be.
From San Dimas High School Football Rules
I sometimes think about how things could be
If you would've took a chance and moved out here with me.
From 1*15*96
Finally got the nerve to tell you
How much you mean to me
You said that I was your best friend
A real sweet guy
But that's all I'd ever be
From Your Boyfriend Sucks

Every line of almost all their songs (or at least the ones I have heard), are just like the above. A guy like me (who is still hopelessly in love with a woman he hasn't seen in two years), cannot help but identify with this kind of stuff.

If you would like to experience the teen angst first hand, i recommend going over to mp3.com where The Ataris have put up a nice selection of some of their best songs for free download (enough to burn your own Ataris CD). Don't blame me if you find yourself singing along one second, only to feel sad the next.

You have been warned.

After their last release on Kung Fu Records, "End Is Forever", their contract expired, and the band went looking for a new record label. They eventually (somewhat to the surprise and disbelief of their fans) signed to Columbia Records, seen by most as selling out. "Most" apparently includes Marco Pena, the guitarist, who left the band about that time. He was replaced by their guitar tech John Collura. The band deny that Marco's departure was over Columbia or money, but it seems unlikely that the timing was a coincidence.

Since then, the Ataris have released a new record, titled "So Long, Astoria" on Columbia, which seems to be a step backwards to the simpler, more upbeat feel of Blue Skies, Broken Hearts...Next 12 Exits rather than the heavier, thicker texture of End Is Forever. Their live set seems as compelling as ever, and (at least here in the UK) they're still playing fairly small venues.

Their debut album, ...Anywhere But Here has also been remastered (and on some tracks rerecorded) and rereleased on Kung Fu, presumably to show that there are no hard feelings.

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