Urge Overkill's New Beginning

Exit The Dragon, enter a new guitarist.

Last time we heard from Chicago's Urge Overkill, notorious in the Windy City

for their meticulous adherence to the dictum of style over substance and a

fondness for gaudy UO medallions and cocktails, the band were in melt-down mode

following the disappointing response to their muddled fifth album Exit the

Dragon. And while the record was hardly given the big push by their former

label, Geffen, in one of Chi-town's favorite pastimes, the wagons started

circling, as they had several times during the band's erratic career, and

reports indicated that the tipsy trio were on the verge of losing the

Urge.

What followed was a typically messy series of overkilling events. A

planned tour was canceled, chalked up to the group's desire to "be with family"

during the Christmas holidays, with vague assurances from their PR flacks that

the barely-charting album would be "re-launched" in the new year. Neither the

tour nor the album were ever heard from again. Drummer Blackie Onassis spiraled

into a very public battle with heroin, and, finally, a nasty split between

singer/guitarist National "Nash" Kato and singer/bassist/guitarist Eddie "King"

Roeser, which resulted in Roeser's ousting from the band, completed the

career-threatening hat trick. Suddenly, the band, who'd been flying high just a

year before, when their 4-year-old cover of Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be a

Woman Soon" became a surprise hit on the Pulp Fiction, looked like

goners.

Then, they were the beneficiaries of some very un-Urge-like good

luck. Their former Geffen publicist hopped to Sony/550 Music and asked the then

two-man band if they wanted to make the jump also. The duo began working on

some demos at The Bank, their Shaft-like Chicago recording/chill-out

bachelor pad complex, still without a guitarist to replace Roeser, when a tape

from Chicago expatriate Nils St. Cyr fell into their laps. St. Cyr, who

apparently had both the wardrobe and chops to impress Kato and Onassis, was

deemed Urge-worthy and, just last month, the band signed on the dotted line

with 550 Music. A source at 550 says they've already started working on new

material at The Bank for what they hope will be a late 1997 release.