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Jump right in: The Urge gets to it
[November 23, 2012]

Jump right in: The Urge gets to it

ST. LOUIS, Nov 22, 2012 (The Telegraph - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- When The Urge got a foothold in the music scene they cemented their name in "the industry" just before the industry fell apart.

After an eight-year hiatus until reuniting last year, members of The Urge -- one of the most popular bands to come out of the St. Louis scene -- sold out two shows last week at The Pageant in the University City Loop and are with special guests Gravity Kills Friday at the same venue. The Urge, originally formed in 1987, plan to make "the day after Thanksgiving show" a yearly tradition for their fans who have gone into a frenzy since the band's comeback. No one wants to miss a show because the live performances are typically few and far between.

"We haven't really played a lot -- Point Fest last year, the shows at Pageant last Thanksgiving, and then these," lead singer Steve Ewing recounted during a telephone interview with The Telegraph. "Oh, and two with 311 this last spring; maybe just 10 shows in the last two years." The band's longtime and consistent supporter 105.7 The Point is promoting this year's last Urge show. Doors open at 7 p.m. Friday at The Pageant in St. Louis for The Urge with Gravity Kills.

The Urge band members took a break to do individual music projects as well as domestic projects, such as getting married and starting a family. Ewing, of St. Louis, now has his own gourmet hot dog business that he opened more than a year ago, Steve's Hot Dogs On The Hill, a historic Italian neighborhood in south St. Louis city, and a 5-year-old daughter, Madeline, with his wife, Beth.

"I'd been doing mobile food for a few years and wanted to get into a shop, like brick and mortar, to run all year long," he said. "I put it on the Hill, which is a fantastic neighborhood." He envisioned preparing hot dogs they way chefs prepare gourmet burgers or pasta. He has two chefs who come up with the recipes and every variety of meat in the menu items is hickory smoked. Meats include sausages and Italian beef. Recipes even feature hickory smoked apple slices.

Ewing put the same effort and energy into his eatery that he has put into The Urge and his music career in general. When The Urge reunited last year they took the time to do it right.

"When the band decided to get back together, the timing was good; we'd been out for a long time," Ewing said. "We all were friends, had our own projects but just felt like the timing was right and we had enough time to put it together." The other band members are Karl Grable on bass; Jerry Jost on guitar; Matt Kwiatkowski on trombone; John Pessoni on drums/vocals; and, Bill Reiter on saxophone/keyboards/vocals. When they decided to reunite, they needed time to rehearse and took their time with concerted effort.

The Urge's music combines hardcore punk, heavy metal, ska, reggae, funk and rhythm and blues.

The band sings mostly early-era Urge tunes but has added some new music to their live shows, which makes for a magically delicious mix.

"But it's real similar to what we were doing from a long time ago," Ewing said. "It's pretty much what we're about." Ewing clearly notices a broader age range in The Urge's audience since the band began in the late 1980s and really hit their professional stride in the 1990s. Younger fans are discovering The Urge, who played prolifically during the right time for music when record labels supported bands and tours.

"I think we were lucky and able to make music before the collapse of the industry, and we got to take foothold within the industry, with a record label and radio that supported it," Ewing said. "We were making it and putting it out during a great time for music." Although it is easier to get music heard because of the internet, a caveat exists.

"On the other hand, it's making it really hard, and almost impossible for new musicians to actually make a living or actually get paid for their music," Ewing explained.

The Point never stopped playing The Urge on its airwaves and has presented the music to new generations.

"We've seen that the music is actually growing even without having to do anything," Ewing said. "Music kind of perpetuates itself, and I've seen it with lots of bands; I always see younger people singing Journey or Bon Jovi." The Urge has a new record coming out in February and once again will cease doing shows for awhile while they finish the album.

"We got lots of work to do to get the record done," Ewing said. "I imagine next year, when the record comes out, we'll have a reason to go out and play, so we wanted to wait until something is released." But knowing their fans would come in droves to the recent shows, The Urge brought something new to fans to listen to while they wait for The Urge's new release.

"We knew folks were there, and didn't want to take advantage of that so released a live CD and live DVD for our shows, available at the Pageant only," Ewing said. "If you really got to have it, you got to come to the show." Fans can purchase the double live CD and DVD at the show for much less than they can when eventually, just a few weeks before Dec. 25, it will be available at stores or on iTunes, Ewing noted.

Visit for more information and to purchase tickets. Steve's Hot Dogs On The Hill is located at 2131 Marconi Ave. in St. Louis. Visit the Facebook page for more information, menu items and telephone number. ___ (c)2012 The Telegraph (Alton, Ill.) Visit The Telegraph (Alton, Ill.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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