Successful local Groove Rock faves Homunculus have decided to call it quits after an eight-year run that found them touring the country several times and releasing the nationally-distributed CD, Words, on L.A.-based Howling Records. The band will play one final show on Saturday at the Mad Frog. Without an opening act, Homunculus takes the stage at 10 p.m. and plays two sets. Advance tickets are available at themadfrog.net.
Homunculus formed in the mid-'90s in Bloomington, Ind., where members were attending Indiana University. A few years later, they relocated to Cincinnati and began expanding their dedicated fanbase nationally, helped immensely by grassroots, word-of-mouth buzz. With great hooks, an amazing rhythm section and unbounded creativity, the band quickly emerged as one of the leading bands in the Cincinnati music scene.
The band members say the split came about naturally, as scheduling conflicts began to interfere with writing and other interests pulled the foursome in different directions.
"A lot of people keep thinking there is a hidden reason or a soap opera-type ending or something to that effect," says bassist Adam Schoen of the reasons for the break-up. "Basically, this band has been together about eight years, and it's very difficult to keep four people on the same page for that long — musically, business-wise and personal-wise.
Some of my favorite bands that were very big never lasted eight years. I think we all feel that that, in and of itself, is a huge accomplishment."
Schoen and singer/keyboardist Ben Doepke (the only born-and-bred Cincinnatian in the group) both say no ill feelings have emerged, and that their friendships are as strong as they've ever been.
"We're still brothers," says Doepke, "and there's more love and respect than ever, which is why we've made this decision ... preserve the good."
Was being such good friends the hardest part about deciding to call it a day?
"It's been the easiest thing," Doepke says. "Real friends put friendships first. Everything else is decoration."
"I think that's the best part about calling it quits — we are all still good friends," Schoen adds. "Certainly, a band breakup is tough, especially after eight years, but I am so glad we did it now, while we all still like each other, rather than in the future when maybe (we) wanted to kill each other!"
While none of the members have concrete musical plans for the future, both Schoen and Doepke seem convinced that they will all keep making music in some format.
"I know all four of us will continue playing music forever — it's what we do," says Schoen, who plans on starting a recording studio and continuing to work with his promotion/booking/management company Yes Yeah Productions (yesyeah.net). "The music will be forthcoming, it will just be in a package other than Homunculus.
As for Doepke, the future is wide open.
"Who knows? That's the fun part, eh?" he says of his immediate plans. "If there's one thing I've learned these past years, it's that plans are make-believe. Less talk, more rock, as they say. So, yeah ... there will probably be more rock. "
For more on Homunculus' history and music, check out homunculture.com.
More Local Notes
· Singer/songwriter Kim Taylor hosts a CD release party for her new EP, Extended Play, on Saturday at the York Street Café in Newport. The disc is the first featuring Taylor's full band, which includes guitarist/producer extraordinaire Ric Hordinski. (kim-taylor.net)
· Several area bands join together for a benefit concert at the Southgate House on Friday. The show was set up to raise money for Matt Ashcraft, a 19-year-old who was beaten to near-death when he tried to stop a "hate crime" in progress. The money raised will help pay for Ashcraft's medical bills. The bands lined up for the event include When Sparks Fly, .andrew. (with full band), And Andy, The Change, Emily Strand, Brian Charniga, Ryan Watts, Matt Shetler, Abigail, The Gravity Car, Simply Waiting and Name and a Nation. Music starts at 7 p.m.
· On Sunday, 20 local acts will play the Southgate for the Tommy Steffen Memorial Music Fest. The concert will raise funds for Big Stef, Inc., a nonprofit organization which helps the elderly and underprivileged in Northern Kentucky (the group was founded by Bobby Steffen; his brother Tommy died from surgical complications last year). Sunday's show features music from Buckra, Blues For Dharma, Taylor Farley, The Newbees, Straw Boss, The Blue Rock Boys, Abigail, Renegade and others. The show runs from 2 to 10 p.m. (bigstef.org)