INDIE ROCK The Hopefuls look for window of opportunity
People are taking notice of the band's material.
By JOHN BENSON
Generally speaking, side projects from successful bands rarely have much merit.
For every New Pornographers (comprisingVancouver indie rockers) or A Perfect Circle (with Tool's Maynard James Keenan) that achieves mainstream success, there are dozens of Mad Seasons (Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam) or Boxcar Racers (Blink-182) that quickly fall between the cracks into obscurity.
For indie rock act The Hopefuls, made up of Kid Dakota's Darren Jackson and Vicious Vicious' Erik Applewick, the latter scenario came to fruition upon the release of its 2004 album "The Fuses Refuses to Burn." While proud of the project, the twosome didn't tour the album outside of its home state of Minnesota.
Then something odd happened. People took notice of the '60s pop-meets-'80s new wave band's material.
"The Hopefuls have become one of the more popular bands in Minnesota," said Jackson, calling from a Kid Dakota tour stop in Cleveland. "It's sort of the critics' favorite band, and this happened sort of out of the blue for us. We didn't expect anything like this, so now we're strategizing differently about how to go about promoting it."
Part of that strategy included putting a full-time band together and going on tour -- the quintet makes its Youngstown debut Wednesday at Cedars Lounge -- in hopes its window of opportunity is still open.
"I think we missed out on a window but at the time when we released that record, we didn't really even have a solid lineup," Jackson said. "Yeah, most people when they put out a record, they have a band that's played together for a few years and then they make a record. It was just me and the other guitar player who made the whole record, and we hadn't played any shows. I met the bass player at the photo shoot. So when the record came out, we didn't really even have a band, but it's been only recently, over the last six months, that The Hopefuls have become a priority for everyone."
In fact, The Hopefuls already has material written for its next album, which it hopes to have out next year. In the meantime, the band plans on touring as much as possible, hoping to attract fans whose musical tastes range from The Beatles and Herman's Hermits to Weezer and Apples in Stereo, as well as dispel one of the many clich & eacute;s associated with calling The Land of 10,000 Lakes home.
"People generally think that all Minnesotans are just kind of naively nice," Jackson said. "I don't think that's the case."
So, are you nice?
"We are nice," Jackson laughed, "but not naively so."