Graduation Day

Straight Outta Junior High plays its final show

After hinting at it for a while, Straight Outta Junior High’s last show is here.

“This one is our actual final show,” says lead singer Nate Olsen over the phone, resolutely.

It’s an amicable breakup that Olsen says just felt like the right thing to do.

“Yeah, you get older and other things get more important. Houses, jobs, and families take up more of your time,” he says. “We had a pretty good run as a band though.”

The goofy, power-punk four-piece from Lincoln has been going hard since 2000, a remarkable run for four guys that started off jamming in a garage. Their first real gig was at Knickerbocker’s, and the band has since played 448 other shows in that time span, give or take a few blurry nights.

Fun and consistently high-energy, the guys in SOJH didn’t let popularity get to their heads, and Olsen seemed proud of the group’s journey. “At first I never even thought we’d have a CD,” he recalls.

The group bills itself as making “stupid music for smart people”, and features Nate Olsen singing, along with Matt Tatroe on drums, Benji Johnson on guitar and Louie Stites on bass. They’ve produced some notoriously catchy and immature songs throughout the years, singing about anything from Tina Fey to fantasy football. Their fan favorites include the radio-friendly jam “It’s a Brand New Day”, and the less radio-friendly “Boner Song”. They even had a tune sneak onto Rock Band 3.

Olsen is proud of the overall scope of what the band has achieved.

“My favorite moment was probably when we won the battle of the bands in an online contest for Warped Tour 2003. They liked us and flew us out to LA to play a show.”

The group hit the ground running, as Warped Tour saw them sharing the stage with national acts like Alkaline Trio and Sum 41, among others. One of Olsen’s favorite bands to tour with was Before I Go, a rowdy group from Detroit.

“We mooned some volleyball players and destroyed a cake,” from what he remembers.

But lately Olsen feels the Lincoln music scene has lost some of its punch.

“It was like a big party with all of our friends every time we played a show,” Olsen recalls. “All those bands that we played with are gone now. It’s really not what it used to be.”

He thinks they probably ran with SOJH as far as they could go, and looks back on the memories with fondness.

“Yeah, six albums, four full-lengths and two EPs. After a while it felt like we were rewriting the same songs over and over. I mean how many songs can you write about STDs?” Olsen laughs. “Every song we came up with, we managed to record. There’s not much left on the table. I was really lucky for the experience to be in Straight Outta Junior High.”

SOJH stuck together over 12 years, an eternity for punk rock groups. “We had one guy quit the band along the way, but mostly we’ve all gotten along.”

As far as the future is concerned, Olsen says the band members all plan to stay busy with other projects. “Pretty much all of us have stuff going on already. Matt’s drumming for Screaming for Silence, and Benji is in Secret Weapon.”

Olsen is also working on a solo album called A Million Pardons, with Matt from SOJH.

"That’s going to be kind of catchy, but with violins and cellos, somber and more mature,” Olsen says.

But until then, he’s looking forward to celebrating the good times one last night with SOJH.

“I’m amazed we still have fans after 12 years. I appreciate them putting up with our crap, coming out to our shows, singing along and throwing stuff at us.”

Straight Outta Junior High play w/ Screaming for Silence & Another Lost Year this Friday, Dec 7th, 9pm at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $8. For more information, please visit sojh.com

posted at 11:32 am
on Monday, December 03rd, 2012

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