Urge Overkill formed in Chicago in 1985 and made their full-length debut four years later with Jesus Urge Superstar, a heavy and riffcentric effort produced by Steve Albini. They followed it in 1991 with The Supersonic Storybook and supported Nirvana on the American Nevermind tour the same year.
But the Urge story doesn’t really begin until their 10″ Stull EP of 1992. It featured a cover of Neil Diamond‘s Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon, which was picked up for prominent use in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994) and became the catapult to modest success.
They made their major label move to Geffen and delivered Saturation in 1993. Despite being crammed full of punched-up new wave riffs and easy-swinging grooves it failed to fulfil Geffen’s expectations.
It wasn’t only that the band’s sound proved to be harder to sell than expected just when grunge was peaking, but by 1993 Onassis’ heroin habit was worsening and he began blowing out crucial band engagements.
When the band came to record their second LP for Geffen, the lyrically dark Exit The Dragon (1995), things had gone from difficult to disastrous. All three musicians were now riding the good-times express with gusto, and long-simmering animosity between Roeser and Kato began to boil.
And, in the year after Kurt Cobain committed suicide, an album of songs about drugs wasn’t really what Geffen wanted. They pulled the plug on the Exit The Dragon tour.
Onassis was arrested on drugs charges in late 1995 and Geffen told Roeser and Kato that they had two more records on their contract and could continue together. Roeser said no. The trio went their separate ways.
A reunion seemed unlikely, but in 2004 Roeser and Kato (minus Onassis) recruited new members and toured the US, Europe and Australia. 2011 brought a new album, Rock & Roll Submarine, with their energies renewed and old hatchets (mostly) buried.