Do you remember when you fell in love with Minneapolis? You know, when The Replacements, Hüsker Dü, and Soul Asylum were the greatest bands in the world? For decades now, it’s been apparent that there’s something special in the blood of upper Midwest natives when it comes to rock and roll. The Evening Rig are not here to make you forget your heroes, but to maybe remind you of them.
The Evening Rig was formed in 2005 by singer/guitarist Jason Miller and drummer Becky Hanten. Jason spent several years at the beginning of the decade fronting The Crush, who released two albums (the second on Billie Joe Armstrong’s Adeline Records) and a slew of singles and compilation appearances, toured the U.S. several times over, and opened for Green Day at Wembley Arena. Becky was drumming in The Cardinal Sin during The Evening Rig’s inception and previously played in Cadillac Blindside. Jason and Becky shared a desire to shed the pop-punk reputations of their previous bands and play in a band that more closely resembled the beer-soaked country and rock n’ roll in their record collections. Shortly thereafter, they were joined by Jake Jarpey (ex-April Epidemic) on bass.
The Evening Rig played their first show on April 8, 2006, opening a sold-out show for Lucero. Later that evening, Lucero frontman Ben Nichols said from the stage, “How ‘bout that band The Evening Rig? That boy sure can sing like Paul Westerberg, can’t he?” The next day, popular Minneapolis music blog HowWasTheShow.com published this review of the show:
“The doors of the Triple Rock opened at 10:00 on Saturday night and the staff began turning people away around 10:15. Luckily, I was able to get in and get a good look at The Evening Rig, fronted by Jason Miller (formerly of The Crush). The Evening Rig is a little more poppy and a little less angry than The Crush, but equally passionate. There was an unmistakable Westerberg/ Replacements influence. If this show was any indication, The Evening Rig have a lot in store for local music fans.”
The Evening Rig continued to play regularly around the Twin Cities throughout the summer of 2006, and toward the end of the season new lead guitarist Josh Lynch (The Framed, Big Fuckin Skull) was added to the fold. Their first high profile show as a quartet was at the legendary First Avenue in Minneapolis, opening for The Hold Steady. (Video from this show is available at www.scheduletwo.com.)
The Evening Rig's rapidly escalating fanbase has been eagerly anticipating their debut release. Never Been'er, released in October 2007 by Heart of a Champion, is a glorious rookie effort. Hanten and Jarpey's rock-solid rhythm section and Lynch's blistering leads are the perfect backdrop for Miller's insightful lyrics and ultra-sincere vocals. With their tales of love and loss, The Evening Rig have provided the ultimate soundtrack for the drive home from the bar.