A little while ago I featured a track by late 90s/early 00s rap-rock trio Trimmed Naval Beef, which got me thinking about about revisiting some other great bands from that era of local music. I starting putting out feelers, trying to track down local musicians who are still active but were also pioneers of the St. John’s music back in the day. One of the first people that came to mind was current Wizards of Kaos member Ritche Perez, who was in New York staying at the same hotel as Obama and Clinton when I interviewed him about his old band, local legend Potatobug. Here’s what he had to say…
When and how did Potatobug form?
We got together from the early 90s. We all knew each other from being in other bands, and as high school friends.
Where did the name come from?
Potatobug came from a spontaneous comment by previous member, John Rowe. We had a band or songwriting argument, and he said “shut up, you potatobug.” I said “Hey, that’s a cool name for the band,” and we kept it. We were going to call ourselves Buzzwax before that.
What’s your favorite Potatobug song?
My favorite Potatobug song is probably “Carpet Burn.” I like the off-time chorus and the songs we were writing at the end of the band’s dismantle were starting to get technical and proggy. I got more into that taste as a guitar player… it just kept me busy in playing guitar.
What is your favorite memory of being in Potatobug?
Fondest memories were playing PAC and LSPU Hall all ages shows. There were so many people coming out to those.
Right now you’re in Wizards of Kaos. What else have you been up to musically since Potatobug split?
After Potatobug, I played in Draize Eye Test, Supagloo, JKW, The Parasite Drag/Jigger, and Hero Gets Girl.
Any plans for a Potatobug reunion in the near or distant future?
No plans for reunions, I don’t think. I grew up cringing back at the lyrics that I wrote for some songs. We, as a band, all still stay in touch. I’m jamming with Jamie (Potatobug bassist) again.