It was way back in 2001 when Bad Astronaut first got their start. A side project of roommates Joey Cape and Derrick Plourde (both of Lagwagon fame), the outfit quickly grew to include Sugarcult bassist Marko DeSantis, guitarist Thom Flowers, cellist Angus Cooke, and keyboardist Todd Capps. The songs, mostly written by Cape and Plourde, paid homage to the un-punk purveyors of indie rock ‘n’ roll—David Bowie, Thom Yorke, Wayne Coyne—yet still maintained a hint of the swagger and bravado that made Lagwagon what it was.
The tunes were penned, recorded, and released—on three different albums, even—but the group (which claims a cult following to this day) was never able to take their show on the road. “There were four songs on the first EP that we just came up with in our little garage, but beyond that it was always just studio stuff. It wasn’t a normal band,” said Cape recently.
Sadly, Plourde’s suicide in 2005 put the ultimate halt to Bad Astronaut and the songs that would eventually become 2006’s Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment. “Derrick’s death sort of ended the project for me,” recalled Cape. “He was the type of drummer who had just a massive effect on the sound of anything he played on. He had so much character—it just really wouldn’t have been the same without him.”
But now, nearly four years since Disappointment’s release, Bad Astronaut is poised to make a comeback. “I think there’s a little bit of a hole in all of us that we never played a show,” said Cape. Night One of the band’s acoustic inaugural tour takes place this Thursday, July 8, at 8 p.m. at Velvet Jones (423 State St.) and promises to be a memorable one, both for the group and for fans. In addition to locals Cape, DeSantis, Flowers, and Capps, Thursday’s show will feature former Penfifteener (and current Mike’s Drum Shop owner) George Pendergast on percussion. It’s the kind of all-star lineup that doesn’t come around too often—and the kind of milestone showcase that is sure to pack a strong sentimental punch. For tickets and information, call 965-8676 or visit inticketing.com.