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Ataris Happy With Band Reinvention

Of the Oakland Press

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The Ataris’ last album, 2003’s “So Long, Astoria,” sold more than 1 million copies and launched a couple of radio hits in “The Boys of Summer” and “In This Diary.” But frontman Kristopher Roe and guitarist John Collura weren’t happy.

“By the end of 2003, I had kind of reached the end of my rope with the lineup and the way things were going,” Collura, 35, says. “We weren’t getting along. Kris and I were on a different page from the other two guys. They were caught up too much in the excess of being in a rock band, and music wasn’t something that was a priority to them.

“It was kind of strange; it was probably the most success this band had ever had, but it wasn’t really a happy moment. We needed to do something about it.”

They did. Roe and Collura parted ways with their bandmates and began working on new material. They eventually began adding new musicians, expanding the onetime quartet into a sevenmember corps of multiinstrumentalists, adding more keyboards and even cello to the mix. They also left their major label deal with Columbia to launch their independent Isola Recordings imprint.

The result on the new “Welcome the Night” is a fuller and lusher sound, more sophisticated and, Collura says, more rewarding than the poppunk blend of Ataris’ previous albums.

“We just wanted to progress,” the guitarist explains. “The bands we really admired and listened to were bands that always put out different sounding records, whether it was David Bowie or the Clash or Radiohead. They had that principle of always evolving and not being stale.

“It’s hard to say we’re genreless, but we just didn’t want to belong to one set group of people. We never wanted to limit ourselves and really try to go to the left or right of that genre we were lumped into.”

The Ataris, Asobi Seksu and Wax on Radio perform at 8 p.m. Saturday (March 10) at St. Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Tickets are $15. Call (313) 961-6358 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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