St. Louis ska rockers the Urge are calling it quits after 14 years and three major-label records together.
The group, whose most popular single, 1998's "Jump Right In," featured 311's Nick Hexum, will play its final shows together on December 21 and 22 at the Pageant in their hometown.
Bassist Karl Grable called the breakup amicable and said the bandmembers will remain friends, adding that the decision has been a long time coming. "Everyone has a different idea of how they want things to turn out musically. And people change over time. Everyone grows, and everyone changes. It's not a bad thing."
Singer Steve Ewing and Grable formed the Urge in 1987 and performed and recorded with a revolving door of guitarists, drummers and horn players. Their Receiving the Gift of Flavor (1995) caught the attention of Epic Records' Immortal imprint and was reissued by the label a year later. Master of Styles followed in 1998, and Too Much Stereo was released in 2000 (see "The Urge Readies Third Album").
"It was all such a blur," Grable said. "There were a lot of highlights, though. When Korn took us to Europe, when 311 brought us out before we even had a record deal. None of the labels wanted to pay attention to us because we're from the Midwest, but we sold so many records on our own that they had to."
Before the Urge's members decided to part ways, they finished their final album, Escape From Boy's Town, which will be released in March or April on their own label.
"This record is awesome," Grable said. "It's by far the most diverse thing we've ever done. The concept was we should show up to band practice and not allow anyone to come in with any ideas. We only played what we felt at that moment. We wouldn't overanalyze anything, just keep playing. By doing so, we would write two full songs a night, which is unheard of for us. There's a song that sounds like [Sly & the Family Stone bassist] Larry Graham and one that sounds like Stuck Mojo and everything in between."
Grable said he will continue to play in Ulcer, his side project with former members of the Urge. "It's a mix between Helmet and punk rock, but it's theatrical. We have actors and set changes. We call it punk rock theater," he said. "If I do anything else, I'm sure it will be with some of the musicians from the Urge."