Armchair Martian's decision to reunite turned out to be a timely one, although not intentionally so.
Just a few weeks ago — not long after the group signed on for three Colorado dates with their friends Samiam — the influential Consequence of Sound put together a list of "The 100 Best Pop Punk Bands." Green Day and Blink-182 predictably took the two top spots, while the less fortunate Good Charlotte was consigned to last place.
In between were bands with considerably smaller but no less devoted fan bases, including Armchair Martian, who landed right between Weston and Monsula at No. 86. The accompanying write-up compared the Fort Collins-based group to Hüsker Dü's Bob Mould, an influence that frontman Jon Snodgrass has always been happy to acknowledge.
And while music fans may endlessly debate exactly who is or isn't a pop punk band (or, for that matter, who would want to be), another question is raised by the article's distended subheadline: "Because we all get nostalgic sometimes for Warped Tour, Hot Topic and Mountain Dew."
Do we really?
"I overdid it on Mountain Dew when I was a kid," says Snodgrass when the question is put to him. "And I've never even been in a Hot Topic, although I've been to other mall stores where they sell Misfits T-shirts."
But Snodgrass, perhaps better known as "the guy with glasses in Drag the River," does have a soft spot in his heart for the Warped Tour, which he attended for the first and last time back in 1995.
"I am nostalgic for that," he says, "because that was the beginning of us putting out records on Cargo. I was hanging out with Chris Shiflett, who I met that evening — he's now in the Foo Fighters — and he thought we were good people and recommended us to [Cargo subsidiary] Headhunter. So I guess that's my connection, that I got signed and I didn't have to play."
After bringing the world undeniably catchy tracks like "Brodeo" and "Xenophobe: A Car," Armchair Martian put out their final album, Good Guys... Bad Band, in 2007. Snodgrass, meanwhile, went on to release dozens of recordings — some on his own, others with collaborators like Rise Against and Frank Turner, and still more as a member of Drag the River and Scorpios.
The latter band, which also features Lagwagon's Joey Cape, took its own six-year hiatus before putting out a sophomore album a couple weeks ago. Released on One Week Records, it's titled One Week Record, and was recorded last May, says Snodgrass, over the course of eight days.
So are these recurring reunions the musical equivalent of Bill Murray tracking down old girlfriends in Broken Flowers? Snodgrass has never seen the film, but he's pretty sure they're not.
"I was in the kitchen recently with a couple friends who are in bands," he says, "and one of them was saying, 'So I think this will probably be our last show.' And I'm like, 'You should never say that.' I mean, I'm not going to tell people what to do, but my opinion is you should always leave the door open to do whatever you want to do."