By Vish KhannaEven though he played guitar and sang in two esteemed underground rock'n'roll bands, Rick Froberg isn't dwelling in the past with Obits. Froberg's powerful voice and post-punk zeal first transcended his native San Diego with Drive Like Jehu, the legendary band he commandeered in the early '90s with old friend John Reis (Rocket From the Crypt, the Night Marchers). After Jehu collapsed, the two collaborated in the comparably streamlined/extra fierce Hot Snakes, a stylish punk quartet, which itself ended in 2005 when Froberg's move to Brooklyn to pursue work as a graphic artist/animator strained the band's existence.
"I've been in several bands and, generally, a band breaks up and does something different," Froberg explains. "John and I are both into doing something new. But, basically, the Night Marchers is like Hot Snakes without me, which is kinda funny!" Along with Edsel's Sohrab Habibion, Froberg had a particular goal assembling Obits. Word of mouth helped a seven-inch sell out quickly while the band completed their new, super-charged, Sub Pop full-length, I Blame You.
"We wanted to concentrate more on songwriting itself," Froberg says. "The first thing I heard that made me want to play music was like Sonic Youth's 'Brother James.' I thought 'Oh wow, this speaks to me, and I could conceivably do this.' I don't want to say that Obits is a regressive thing but we're trying to not just base it around guitar textures or riffs; we're trying to actually write some songs. That's a new challenge."
With guarded sentiment, Froberg acknowledges his previous beloved bands may have died prematurely and hopes a different fate awaits Obits. "I'd like this band to have a little more longevity," he says. "Since we're getting older maybe we can grow old into this music. We'll see.