The last time Superdrag frontman John Davis played with Mike Smithers was 2001, when Smithers’ regrouped with an early line-up of his ’90s power-pop/punk band 30 Amp Fuse to open for ex-Hüsker Dü drummer Grant Hart at Pilot Light. That lineup included Davis on bass and Superdrag drummer Don Coffey Jr. The trio had recorded 30AF’s first album, Wind-Up, which was released on indie imprint Darla Records in 1995.
Next month, Smithers and Davis are getting together with Nashville session drummer Joey Sanchez (who also plays with Davis in his solo project, the John Davis Liberation Front, and the Ramones cover band Warthog) for a one-off reunion show at Barley’s Taproom, where they’ll play Wind-Up in its entirety, start to finish, to commemorate the disc’s 15th anniversary. The band plays Friday, July 9, at 10 p.m. The show is all-ages.
“We have the conversation about booking some shows and playing about once a year, but this time we actually went through with it,” Davis writes in a recent e-mail. “I’m just such a huge fan of Mike’s songwriting and I really want to make sure as many people as possible know this show is happening.”
Davis, Smithers, and Coffey played together in various configurations of various bands in the early ’90s before Smithers formed 30 Amp Fuse. After a couple of personnel changes, the lineup settled with Smithers, Davis, and Coffey for Wind-Up. After Superdrag was signed to Elektra for its debut album, Regretfully Yours, Davis and Coffey left 30 Amp Fuse to focus on their major-label careers. Smithers recruited bassist Mike Knott and drummer Rodney Cash for Saturday Night at the Atomic Speedway, which was produced by Bill Stevenson and Stephen Egerton of the Descendants. On the heels of Regretfully Yours and along with the V-Roys’ Just Add Ice and R.B. Morris’ Take That Ride, all released within a few months of each other in late 1996 and early ’97, Saturday Night, which featured the local radio hit “Punk Virtuoso,” helped create a sense of big things to come from the Knoxville music scene.
The band limped along after 1998’s Rewind, playing sporadically until Smithers moved away from Knoxville. He now lives in Virginia.
The last 30 Amp Fuse show in Knoxville was in 2004, according to Davis, but he hopes this reunion will lead to at least a few more shows. “Frankly, man, I’m as stoked to have been a part of this band as I am about anything else I’ve ever tried to do,” he says.