Allister is an American pop punk band from Chicago, Illinois. The four-piece formed in 1994 and were one of the first bands to sign to Drive-Thru Records. Besides releasing five studio albums – 1999's Dead Ends and Girlfriends, 2002's Last Stop Suburbia, 2005's Before the Blackout, 2010's Countdown to Nowhere, and 2012's "Life Behind Machines — Allister made a cameo appearance in the 2004 film Sleepover. On March 6, 2007, the band announced their intention to go on hiatus. In 2010, Allister reunited after a three-year break, and have been touring and recording since.
Early years (1994–2002)
Allister was formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1994 under their original name Phineas Gage by James B. Conant High School classmates Tim Rogner (vocals, drums) and John "Johnny" Hamada (guitar, vocals), with Eric "Skippy" Mueller (bass) joining in 1996. The following year, they changed their name to Allister, paying homage to Alasdair Gillis from the Canadian TV show You Can't Do That on Television. Upon being submitted a short demo tape, Drive-Thru Records decided to put out their debut release: a 7-inch vinyl record containing four songs, titled You Can't Do that on Vinyl (1998). Before the end of the year, Allister added another guitarist to the band, so Mueller took over guitar duties while Scott Murphy joined on bass.
In 1999, Drive-Thru Records released the band's full-length CD Dead Ends and Girlfriends with that very line-up. The catchy 28-minute album, which was recorded with a production budget of a mere $700, featured playful yet promising pop punk tunes, along with covers of the Fraggle Rock theme song and the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way". Within the following years, Mueller quit Allister, and has been writing an MP3 blog called . Rogner replaced Mueller on the rhythm guitar, and David "Dave" Rossi joined on drums in April 2000; Rossi commonly performed without a shirt. Hamada eventually quit as well around 2002, after tracking some songs for the group's follow-up record. Rogner's younger brother Chris filled Hamada's shoes on lead guitar.
Commercial success (2002–2007)
With the aid of producer Chris Fudurich, the band recorded their second full-length album Last Stop Suburbia in 2002, showcasing a certain degree of growth in the songwriting of Rogner and Murphy. The album featured several fan-favorites, such as "Radio Player", "Overrated", and "Somewhere on Fullerton" (an ode to the legendary Chicago punk venue, Fireside Bowl), though the band had to part ways with both Rossi and Chris Rogner, who would concentrate on his own band August Premier. The band added Kyle Lewis (guitar) — formerly of Showoff, Now She's Gone, and The Fold — and Mike Leverence (drums); formerly of PARR5, the following year. Last Stop Suburbia reached No. 9 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. The song "Somewhere On Fullerton" was featured in Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure
In 2004, Allister toured the world (including Europe and Japan) and scored a small guest appearance on the big screen in the film Sleepover, before releasing their third album Before The Blackout (2005) and supporting it by co-headlining the "Before the Blackout, after the Breakup Tour" with Fenix*TX.
In 2006, the group was invited to a two and a half-month tour of Japan with Japanese band Ellegarden, with whom they’d become friends while playing together at the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas. The tour consisted of 40 sold out shows all over Japan. At this time, the group released a cover EP titled Guilty Pleasures, on which Murphy sang half of the songs in Japanese. Before the departure, Rogner learned that he was becoming a father and made the decision to take a job where he was more available to his family. As such, Allister decided to go on hiatus following one final Japanese tour that the band had already committed to in the spring of ‘07. — for which former Allister member Chris Rogner took his brother's place – and a final farewell show in Chicago at The Metro on Friday, July 20, 2007, at which Tim Rogner returned to perform. Former member John "Johnny" Hamada returned to sing backing vocals on the final song, "Somewhere on Fullerton", as well as other members of support bands Punchline and The Fold.
Breakup and side projects (2007–2010)
Soon after, Murphy and Lewis went on to start the band The Get Go with friends and former members of bands Home Grown and Mest. The Get Go released 2 records and toured the UK and Japan, but due to conflicting schedules has since ceased activity.
In 2008, Scott Murphy signed as a solo artist to major label Universal Music in Japan, recording his debut solo album entitled Guilty Pleasures II as a continuation of the band's past work. The album contains a number of Japanese and English songs. On the album's release date, "Scott Murphy" is the number 1 searched word on Google in Japan. Murphy released another follow-up EP, Guilty Pleasures 3, on 3 December 2008. Guilty Pleasures 3 was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for shipment of 100,000 copies on 10 September 2009 and Guilty Pleasures II was also certified Gold by RIAJ on 10 December 2009. Throughout the following years, he released several more albums in the "Guilty Pleasures" series, including: “Guilty Pleasures Love”, “Guilty Pleasures 4”, “Guilty Pleasures Animation”, "Guilty Pleasures Christmas" and “Guilty Pleasures Thriller”, a track for track rock cover of Michael Jackson’s worldwide #1 selling album “Thriller”.
In 2010, Murphy began working on a project with alternative rock band Weezer's frontman Rivers Cuomo entitled Scott & Rivers.
The pair met in Los Angeles in 2010, and soon began writing and recording an album of original songs sung in Japanese for the new Scott & Rivers project. They will both share lead vocal duties as well as play guitar in the group, and are planning to release a full-length album in early 2013. Scott & Rivers will have their first show at the Countdown Japan Festival in Chiba on 31 December 2012, as the first non-Japanese act to perform at the 10-year-old festival.
In 2012, Rogner recorded and released a solo acoustic EP entitled "."
Reunion and recent events (2010–present)
Allister announced their intention to reunite in the spring of 2010, and the band broke their hiatus at the Bamboozle Festival in Chicago on 2010 May 15 at the Charter One Pavilion. They recorded and released their 4th full-length album Countdown to Nowhere on Universal Music Japan on 16 July 2010.
In 2012, Allister recorded and released their 5th full-length album entitled Life Behind Machines, and promoted its release with a tour of Japan and their first ever tour of China.
In 2014, Allister toured the United States playing dates with MxPx and Showoff. Former Allister members Chris Rogner and Eric "Skippy" Mueller have both been playing in new bands; Rogner in Hey Einstein and Mueller in We've Got Ours.
- Current members
- Tim Rogner – drums, percussion, lead and backing vocals (1994–2000); rhythm and lead guitar, lead and backing vocals (2000–2007, 2010–present)
- Scott Murphy – bass guitar, lead and backing vocals (1998–2007, 2010–present)
- Kyle Lewis – lead guitar, backing vocals (2003–2007, 2010–present)
- Mike Leverence – drums, percussion (2003–2007, 2010–present)
- Former members
- John "Johnny" Hamada – lead guitar, backing and lead vocals (1994–2002); backing vocals (July 20, 2007)
- Eric "Skippy" Mueller – bass guitar, backing vocals (1996–1998); rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1998–2000)
- David Rossi – drums, percussion (2000–2003, spring 2014)
- Chris Rogner – lead guitar, backing vocals (2002–2003); rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals (spring 2007, spring 2014)
- Studio albums
- Dead Ends and Girlfriends (1999)
- Last Stop Suburbia (2002)
- Before the Blackout (2005)
- Countdown to Nowhere (2010)
- Life Behind Machines (2012)
- Extended plays
- 5 Song Demo Tape (1997)
- You Can't Do that on Vinyl (1998)
- Guilty Pleasures (2006)
- Second City Showdown (Split EP with Good 4 Nothing) (2010)
- You Still Can't Do That on Vinyl (2011, Little Heart Records)
- "My Little Needle" – released on A Tribute to Alkaline Trio (2012)
- "We Close Our Eyes" – released on the original soundtrack to Sleepover (2004)
- "Shima Uta" – released on the Japanese version of Before the Blackout (2005)
- "Walking the Plank" – released on Hair: Chicago Punk Cuts (2006)
- "Scratch" and "Flypaper" from Last Stop Suburbia were featured on Project Gotham Racing 2.
|Somewhere on Fullerton||2002|
|A Lotta Nerve||2005|