Heavy Stereo

St. Louis favorites the Urge change frequency on their new album, Too Much Stereo

"I guess living in St. Louis, you see the news and it's pretty mellow," Ewing says. "Out here, every day there's a shootout or a helicopter chase. Every day! And then, with kids and guns, and schools out here -- you're starting to hear more and more of kids threatening teachers and violence in schools. I was just so overwhelmed by it -- it was like, 'Oh my God.' So I put it down on paper and just kind of ran with it lyrically and idea-wise. I don't know where the 'trigger-happy or trigger-sad' phrase came from -- it just kinda popped out of me -- but that's where I got the idea, just from sitting down and watching television, watching the news.

"Of course, that stuff doesn't just happen here; it happens in small rural communities, too, but it's just that they glorify it here on the news. They didn't start doing that whole helicopter thing until O.J., and now it's like every fucking day."

Another significant shift for the band is mostly invisible to fans but could act as a make-or-break factor for their career. In the time between Master of Styles and Too Much Stereo, the Urge's record label, Immortal, switched affiliations from the Sony-connected Epic label to Virgin, which is distributed by Universal.

Just what the Urge's style might be these days is becoming increasingly hard to tell -- not that there's anything wrong with that.
Steven Stickler
Just what the Urge's style might be these days is becoming increasingly hard to tell -- not that there's anything wrong with that.

That means a new and, until recently, unfamiliar set of people will be working to promote and publicize the band, a potentially disastrous situation if not handled right by all concerned parties.

So far, the band members report, so good.

"Actually, it's been an incredibly positive thing," Ewing says. Working with a new machine can be trying, I guess, because you're learning who's who at the label, etc., but everyone is totally working together on this project, and we're one of the only rock projects that Virgin is working on right now, so all eyes and efforts are really on Urge. It's really nice. I feel like we're getting the attention we deserve at the label."

"I'm really impressed with the people at Immortal Records, because they've showed us nothing but faith from day one," Jost adds. "They came to us and said, 'Stay with us and everything is going to be cool,' and it is."

St. Louis fans who've followed the group since their early days back in the late '80s can breathe a sigh of relief. Despite the band's mocking new video, the Urge's integrity is something that is still not up for sale.

The Urge performs a four-night stand at Mississippi Nights, July 20-23.

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Music (04-07-1999)

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