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Ataris reunion is fun but not likely to be long-lasting

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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The Ataris' John Collura admits he was "a little bit" apprehensive about reuniting the lineup of the group that recorded 2003's lauded "So Long, Astoria" album for a 10th anniversary tour.

But so far, the guitarist says, the results "have exceeded all my expectations."

"It's been great," says Collura, who was with the band from 2001-2007 and now operates a recording studio in Pine Island, N.Y. "It's a little better than I thought. I wasn't sure what to expect after not doing it for awhile. I hadn't talked to a bunch of these guys in years. It could've gone either way.

"But it's good. It obviously wasn't so band that I couldn't sort of rekindle some stuff, and we're having fun. It's not like we're showing up to these shows not talking to each other -- in fact, we're all getting along better than we ever did."

"So Long, Astoria" was the most successful of the Ataris' five releases, selling more than a million copies worldwide and featuring radio hits such as "In This Diary," "The Saddest Song" and a punky cover of Don Henley`s "The Boys of Summer." Bassist Mike Davenport and drummer Chris Knapp left in 2005, while Collura stuck around for one more release, 2007's "Welcome the Night" -- which is the last album the Ataris put out even though frontman Kris Roe continues to lead different lineups of the group.

Despite the renewed bonhomme, however, Collura doesn't think this version of the Ataris will remain a going concern, with the other three members of the group returning to their own pursuits. And while he doesn't begrudge Roe continuing to use the band name, he thinks it may be time to put that to rest, too.

"I think this (tour) is more about salvaging the brand of the Ataris than the band," explains Collura, 42. "It's solidifying who the real core members of this band were, not what's been going on the past five or six years. The rest of us have our own businesses and things we're doing, and I think Kris would benefit from doing that, too.

"I think he's a talented guy. He should do his own solo stuff. I think it would be more successful for him and a lot less pressure than putting out an Ataris record. He hasn't put out anything in awhile, anyway, and I know that wears on him. People give you grief about that at first, but after awhile they just leave, and I'd hate to see that happen to him."

The Ataris, Authority Zero, Drag the River and Gasoline Heart perform Sunday, March 23, in the Shelter, 431 E. Congress, Detroit. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $27. Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

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