Urge Overkill

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Urge Overkill
Background information
OriginChicago, Illinois, United States
GenresAlternative rock, hard rock
Years active1986–1997, 2004–present
LabelsTouch and Go, Geffen
MembersNash Kato
Eddie "King" Roeser
Nate Arling
Adam Arling
Past membersJohnny "Blackie Onassis" Rowan
Nils St. Cyr
Chris Frantisak
Mike "Hadji" Hodgekiss
Brian "Bonn" Quast
Burf "Sandbag" Agnew
Patrick Byrne
Kriss Bataille
Grumpy "Crabnar" Carnitas
Jack "The Jaguar" Watt
Chuck Treece
Scott “Fever” Evers

Urge Overkill is an American alternative rock band, formed in Chicago, consisting of Nathan Kaatrud, who took the stage name Nash Kato (vocals/guitar), and Eddie "King" Roeser (vocals/guitar/bass guitar).[1] They are widely known for their song "Sister Havana" and their cover of Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon", which was used in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Oui, their latest album, was released in 2022.


Kato and Roeser met at Northwestern University in 1985. They formed Urge Overkill (getting the name from a phrase in the lyrics of the Parliament song "Funkentelechy") in Chicago in 1986,[1] with drummer Pat Byrne, and released an EP, Strange, I..., on Ruthless Records.[1] The EP was recorded by Kato's friend Steve Albini. The full-length album Jesus Urge Superstar soon followed, again produced by Albini, and with Kriss Bataille on the drums.

Americruiser saw a change in style. Jack "Jaguar" Watt (of the band Baron Lesh) was the drummer and their sound from then on has been described as a "Stonesy fusion of arena rock and punk". Produced by Butch Vig, Americruiser was widely praised, and scored a college radio hit with the lead single "Ticket to L.A." Watt returned to Baron Lesh and was replaced by Blackie Onassis (real name: John Rowan) on the next album The Supersonic Storybook, which was named by Material Issue's Jim Ellison and was released in 1991.

After opening for Nirvana on the American Nevermind tour,[2] Urge Overkill returned to the studio to record another EP Stull in 1992, which featured the tracks "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" (produced and mixed by Kramer) and "Goodbye to Guyville". Having a strong following by this time, they jumped from their indie label Touch & Go to Geffen Records.[2] Despite some criticism for the label switch, Urge Overkill's major-label debut Saturation received strong reviews upon release in 1993,[1] and to support the album, they opened for Pearl Jam on their Vs. tour. The single "Sister Havana" gave the band a hit record and broad recognition.[2]

In 1993, the band contributed the track "Take a Walk" to the AIDS relief benefit album No Alternative produced by the Red Hot Organization. As the band recorded a follow-up album, cult filmmaker Quentin Tarantino used the group's cover version of the Neil Diamond song "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" in his 1994 film Pulp Fiction. When the movie became a hit, the song made it to number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100.[3]

Urge Overkill retained their sound for Exit the Dragon, released in 1995. Kato and Roeser started feuding, resulting in Roeser leaving the band. Roeser went on to perform with Jim Kimball (formerly of The Jesus Lizard) as L.I.M.E. and with his brother John in the band Electric Airlines. Now a duo consisting of Kato and Onassis, Urge Overkill moved to Sony's 550 Music in early 1997.

After a break of several years, Kato released a solo album in 2000 titled Debutante. Six of the album's 13 songs were co-written with Onassis.

In 2004, Kato and Roeser reformed Urge Overkill without Onassis, recruiting former Gaza Strippers guitarist Mike "Hadji" Hodgkiss to play bass, keyboardist Chris Frantisak, and drummer Nate Arling. The reformed Urge Overkill performed shows at The Troubadour in West Hollywood, Double Door in Chicago, First Avenue in Minneapolis and the Bowery Ballroom in New York and continued to tour through Europe, North America, and Australia.

On September 19, 2010, on the free form radio program Anything Anything with Rich Russo on WRXP-FM in New York, the first Urge Overkill song in 15 years was played. The song was called "Effigy". Russo also announced an Urge Overkill show on October 4, 2010 at Mercury Lounge in New York. Live shows began happening, including being the musical guest at a "Roast of Quentin Tarantino" on December 1, 2010.[4] The band released Rock & Roll Submarine, their first studio album in 16 years, in May 2011. A subsequent tour followed the release of the album. On October 8, 2011, Urge Overkill opened for Weezer at the Red Bull Riot Fest at the Congress Theater in Chicago.

Urge Overkill had continued to perform live occasionally from 2012 to 2018.[5][6] By 2019, the band had begun working on new material for the follow-up to Rock & Roll Submarine.[2][7] Oui, their first studio album in 11 years, was released on January 28, 2022.[8] Johnny "Blackie Onassis" Rowan died on 13 June 2023, at the age of 57.[9]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Label Peak chart positions
1989 Jesus Urge Superstar Touch and Go
1990 Americruiser
1991 The Supersonic Storybook
1993 Saturation Geffen 146 16
1995 Exit the Dragon 129 6 50 88
2011 Rock & Roll Submarine UO
2022 Oui Omnivore Recordings

Extended plays[edit]

Year Title Label
1986 Strange, I... Ruthless
1992 Stull Touch and Go

Live albums[edit]

Year Title Label
2004 Live at Maxwells 2/5/04 eMusicLive

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Title Label
1992 The Urge Overkill Story Shagpile
1993 The Urge Overkill Story...Stay Tuned: 1988–1991 Touch and Go
2012 Icon Universal


Year Title Peak chart positions Album


1987 "Lineman" Non-album single
1990 "Ticket to L.A." Americruiser
1991 "Now That's the Barclords" Non-album single
1993 "Sister Havana" 6 10 67 Saturation
"Bottle of Fur"
"Positive Bleeding" 23 40 61 61
1994 "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" 59 11 21 19 37 Music from the Motion Picture Pulp Fiction
1995 "The Break" 34 Exit the Dragon
"View of the Rain"
"Somebody Else's Body" 47
2011 "Effigy" Rock & Roll Submarine

Compilation appearances[edit]

  • Hog Butcher For The World (Mad Queen Records) (1987) - "Last Train To Heaven"


  1. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1205. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ a b c d Meredith, Kyle (August 1, 2018). "Urge Overkill on Saturation's 25 Anniversary and Touring with Nirvana". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  3. ^ "Surf Music and Seventies Soul: The Songs of 'Pulp Fiction'". Rolling Stone. 21 May 2014. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  4. ^ "Urge Overkill Returns with New Song, Tarantino Roast". Sentimentalistmag.com. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  5. ^ "Urge Overkill – 'Rock & Roll Submarine' – Australian Tour 2012". May the Rock Be with You. October 27, 2011. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  6. ^ "Tour - Urge Overkill". urgeoverkill.com. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  7. ^ "Chicago band Urge Overkill: "What we seem to be good at is the rock"". WGN. August 27, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  8. ^ "Urge Overkill Share New Song 'Forgiven'". antimusic.com. January 10, 2022. Retrieved February 11, 2022.
  9. ^ DeVille, Chris (14 June 2023). "Urge Overkill Drummer Johnny "Blackie Onassis" Rowan Has Died". Stereogum. Retrieved 14 June 2023.
  10. ^ "Urge Overkill – Chart history (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 23, 2016. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Peaks in Australia:
    • All except noted: "australian-charts.com – Discography Urge Overkill". Hung Medien. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
    • "Positive Bleeding": Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 290.
  12. ^ a b "charts.nz – Discography Urge Overkill". Hung Medien. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Urge Overkill | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  14. ^ "Urge Overkill – Chart history (Billboard Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  15. ^ "Urge Overkill – Chart history (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  16. ^ "Urge Overkill – Chart history (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved December 21, 2016.

External links[edit]