The talent: Jacob “Dr. Nasty” Cowan (guitar), Joe “Papa Darkness” Robertson (bass), Tony “Smokehaus” Johnson (drums)
The sound: Rockabilly
The Afterdarks don’t fool around. There’s no cheeky sensibility, no inside jokes, no gimmicky stage performance. They just rock. And rock hard.
Hailing from the Quad Cities, The Afterdarks are poised for a major breakout in the wild world of rockabilly with no-holds barred tunes like “No Cops, No Stops” pacing a menagerie of songs about drag racing, beer, women, and good times.
Pulled from the ranks of horror punk back in 2005, The Afterdarks (the name came from the days of playing punk shows that uniformly started after dark) took on a new sound with the addition of guitarist Jacob “Dr. Nasty” Cowan and the desire of bassist Joe “Papa Darkness” Robertson to add his upright bass to the arrangement. Tony “Smokehaus” Johnson rounds out the trio on the drums.
Their punk sensibility shows through, both with the pace the songs make you feel – “No Cops, No Stops” fast-paced riffs yank you out of your chair at the opening note and drag you through even its catchy chorus – and the way the band thinks about itself.
“It’s a runaway train with a sober engineer,” says Cowan. “It’s
It shows through in the music. “End of the World” is a song about making love in the back of a hot rod as the apocalypse rains down around a couple of Romeo and Juliets. Tracks like “No Good” punch you in the ear and beat you senseless while you move to the rhythm of the concussion.
“King O The Sinners” is the bastard love child of the Charlie Daniels Band and Iron Maiden.
Yet their most successful tune has been “No Cops, No Stops,” paced by a raucous drag racing chorus “Red light, yellow light, green light, GO” that’s as catchy as it is juvenile.
“It’s probably the first time The Afterdarks were successful in writing a — and I hate to say this — a pop song,” says Cowan. “A pop song has a certain formula, and we did it accidentally.”
Accidentally or not, “No Cops, No Stops” has become one of the band’s favorite songs to play, as much for its ubiquity on the road as for the energy it brings to their concerts.
“It’s one of my favorites to play. Anywhere you play it, people know the words. It’s almost deafening at the larger venues,” said Cowan.
To their credit, not all of their songs move at 180 mph. With a catalog of over 50 original tracks, The Afterdarks mix in some bluesy rifts, some country twang, and a little bit of everything on tour.
“We do believe we have something for everyone,” says Cowan. “If not, we’re going to keep our writing true to The Afterdark sound.”