You Say It's Your Birthday: Urge Overkill's National Kato

Today is the birthday of Urge Overkill's National Kato,

whose given name is Nathan Katruud. Urge Overkill earned its keep as a

noise-punk band out of the Chicago underground scene before turning itself into

a '70s lounge parody that have turned their mentors against them. Founded by

Kato and Eddie (King) Roeser, the group was pushed by Kato roommate Steve

Albini, who produced their indie debut, Strange, I... in 1986. The sound

was typical Albini: grinding guitars, antisocial lyrics and incoherent

vocals.

Urge Overkill worked with Albini again for 1989's Jesus Urge

Superstar, including a tribute to heroin addicts Royal Trux called "Very

Sad Trousers." For their 1990 release Americruiser, the group went with

a pre-Nevermind Butch Vig; actual music -- as opposed to noise -- seemed

to come out of this record, though they returned to Albini for Supersonic

Storybook in 1991. Drummer Blackie Onassis joined the team for this

acclaimed record. In a final deal with their label, Urge Overkill recorded the

Stull EP, which included a poke at friend Liz Phair in "Goodbye to

Guyville" and a cover of Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon," which

found airplay as part of the Pulp Fiction to-do. In '95 the group

released Exit The Dragon, which was expected to make them major stars.

Instead, the album was a total bomb and the group aborted a tour to support the

album's release. Other birthdays: Paul Westerberg, Andy Summers (Police), John

Denver, Donna Summer, Peter Quaife (Kinks), Burton Cummings (Guess Who), Tom

Hamilton (Aerosmith) and Joe McIntyre (New Kids On The Block). -- Beth

Winegarner