In some respects, The Bishops were the perfect rock band of their moment, constructed to the finest, exacting standards of their time. And that’s not some kind of gauzy remembrance, at least not completely. These days, live videos of theirs have started to be re-released to an audience perhaps too young to remember their original, spirited run through the clubs of the St. Louis region. But if those new-to-the-party young ‘uns understand the classic components of what rock music’s about, they’ll see and hear in these videos the same things we used to “get” about The Bishops.
Among the finest rock bands of this region over the past 25, or so, years, The Bishops could rightly lay claim to that well-worn riff: “We deserved a better fate.” While big in St. Louis (and, of course, their native Alton), they never fully found a welcoming audience beyond. But in talking to the group, the band seems to feel that they lived it the right way, playing a host of dates with St. Louis’ best-and-brightest, as well as the College Music Journal all-stars of their era.
Says the Nukes’ Chuck Lindo, “While the other guys were either slapping funk rock or using smoke machines (or both), these guys were yelling about Salvador Allende and African prisons. I defy you to find one thing about The Bishops that isn't timeless. I could not have been more in love with a band.”
A few members rolled through the group during their near-decade together, but most fans will recognize something of a “classic” lineup, with Fritz Beer on vocals, guitars and (smart) lyrics; Tim Bramstedt on lead guitar; Ben Herzon on bass and backing vocals, eventually Eric Harnetiaux on drums.