The Ataris Biography

One of the many radio friendly US pop punk bands to emerge in the late 90s, the Atari’s roots lay in a demo tape that Anderson, Indiana native vocalist/guitarist Kris Roe (Kristopher Lee Roe, 12 January 1977, Anderson, Indiana, USA) handed to Vandals bass player Joe Escalante in 1995. It resulted in a recording contract with Escalante’s label, Kung Fu, as well as Roe’s relocation to Santa Barbara, California. It was there that Roe put together the Ataris, with the first of many different line-ups featuring Derrick Plourde (b. 17 October 1971, Goleta, California, USA, d. 30 March 2005, USA; drums), Marko 72 (b. Marko DeSantis, California, USA; bass) and Jasin Thomason (b. Jason Wayne Thomason, 4 March 1976, Franklin, Indiana, USA; guitar).

The Ataris (named after a popular home video game system from the early 80s) put out a steady stream of releases on Kung Fu from 1997 to 2001, with Roe joined by musicians including Patrick Riley (guitar), Mike Davenport (b. 1968, Orcutt, California, USA; bass/vocals), Chris ‘Kid’ Knapp (b. Christopher Knapp, 1978, California, USA; drums) and Marco Peña (guitar/vocals). They earned a reputation as a hard touring band, sharing the stage with acts such as Jimmy Eat World, Social Distortion, Blink-182, the Hives, and 311 among others, while also appearing as part of the Van’s Warped Tour, and playing shows in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.

The Ataris made their major label debut in 2003, when Columbia Records released So Long, Astoria. The album featured new guitarist John Collura (b. 1972, New York, USA), who actually became the first guitar player to play on an Ataris record, with Roe having previously assumed all instrumental duties. Personnel problems reared their head again in 2005, with Roe and Collura parting company with the rest of the band and recruiting a new line-up featuring Sean Hansen (bass), Shane Chickeles (drums), Bob Hoag (keyboards), Paul Carabello (guitar) and Angus Cooke (cello). The band was then cast adrift by the disintegrating Columbia label. New album Welcome The Night was released at the start of 2007 through their own label, Isola Recordings.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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