After five years, Ideal Fathers are calling it a day. For that all-too-brief window of time, the Fathers offered something special to fans of smart, fun, and uncompromising post-punk. Over the course of a single EP (which we loved), a handful of singles, and regular shows around town, the Fathers carved out a legacy of punchy and hook-filled post-punk angularity, clever song titles, and songs the punk rockers could dance to (plus a few chiptune experiments, just for fun). Before packing it in forever, the band is playing one final show, Saturday, Sept. 3 at Larimer Lounge—an EP release show for its brand-new EP, Retail Eyes, at that—and The A.V. Club caught up with guitarist Adam Rojo to reflect on the beginning, why it ended, and what’s next.
On the first show
“The first official gig would have been at this bar on Leetsdale, east of the Glenwood area. I can’t even remember who we played with, but it was a Halloween show. The bar absolutely hated the fact that bands were playing there. It was a place a little smaller than Sputnik or Hi-Dive, and the bar was an island in the middle of the room. You had to go around a narrow portion either way to get to the back. I think the owner didn’t even tell anyone there was a show there, so it was a hostile environment to play in—no one wanted us to be there. The regulars who were there to get their drink on weren’t too happy. The bartender tried to tell me a whiskey and Coke wasn’t a well drink. He told me to pick something else, so I was like, ‘Uh, gin and tonic?’ and he said, ‘You’re getting a can of PBR.’ That was a well drink in that bar.”
On the band’s most memorable gig
“Probably for me [that would be] the time we opened for The Giraffes, about two years ago, I think it was. It was right after or right before [Mike] Perfetti started playing drums with us, and one of our first gigs playing with Lion Sized, [which] was a band I really liked before I got a band in Denver, and The Giraffes are really crazy. A friend got a lit cigarette thrown into the hood of his hoodie and there were full, unopened cans of beer being chucked at the stage. I guess that’s a Giraffes tradition, to throw things at the stage—ramen, pies, whatever. It was a fun gig. The Larimer Lounge was kind of a mess afterward.”
On the breakup
“We’ve been through a couple of lineup changes. We lost Vinnie [Wray, original bassist,] to an injury, so Mike King played bass for us. Paddy [McDonough], our original drummer, did the family thing: Got married, didn’t really have time for us. [Singer] Jesse [Hunsaker] moved to Iowa to get married. I didn’t want to be the last original guy in the band. We recorded a new EP in the fall, and we thought we’d have a few fun shows, play with the bands we like, and put it to rest.”
On putting out a new EP on the eve of the breakup
“We had songs, and we have kind of known for a year that we were going to split up. We just didn’t have an absolute time frame until January. Once we knew Jesse would be leaving around July, we planned to have it ready and getting the final details sorted out. He’s going to fly out the weekend of the show and we’re going to play it by ear and see how we do. The organization of the breakup happened pretty last-minute.”
On the new EP
“It’s actually a little different. We’ve slowly been phasing away from the generic dance punk beat we had when we were first going. The early stuff was just a punk band thing with some danciness thrown in. We added a little more of the dance and got more aggressive. This record draws from other post-punk influences: angular, Drive Like Jehu stuff, weird 154-era Wire stuff. Mike has been refining his bass stuff—adding fuzzy textures and distortion. It’s different. It was an interesting evolution on what we were doing, we were still excited to be writing music together.”
On future plans
“That was another part of the last year, figuring out what we’re going to do with that. Mike King and I, as well as Perfetti, have talked about doing something with music, but we haven’t figured out a definitive idea of what we’re going to do. I’ve been writing some stuff, but it’s different than the Ideal Fathers, so we’ll see. I still want to have a band in Denver and do music, but immediate plans are up in the air.
I think we’ve had a lot of fun in general, playing here the last few years. We’ve met a lot of awesome musicians. Everyone says Denver is a really fun music town, and there’s absolutely a lot of truth to that. It’s been fun playing with a lot of bands and meeting a lot of friends.”
Miss out on Ideal Fathers while they were still a going concern? It’s not too late: the band’s entire catalog is available for download.