Not many bands survive the passing of time, let alone the cross-country moves of their members. But Fatigo manages to come together amid breaks, relocations, and new projects. If anything, the fact that the band can evolve, taking on new members and styles as the members spread out, enhances its sound. After nearly 15 years, Fatigo has spread its wings to include membership and musical variety from not just Phoenix but also Bisbee, Tucson, El Paso, New Mexico, and New York.
When it comes to how far apart from each other that Fatigo is, singer Mike Montoya says he is "blessed with some pretty talented people that can put together a show with minimal practice." The band has employed 23 people over the years.
Although the band has drifted recently from writing songs that include at least a little absurdism and fantasy to something more heartfelt after the deaths of friends Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl and Mark Erickson of Colorstore, ROAR, and Gospel Claws fame, Montoya hopes to return to that lyrical style soon. While inspiration for Fatigo’s lyrics can come from anywhere, it hasn’t always been an easy process for Montoya. Take the song “White Bear” — the opening line “white bear lives in the desert" took him a year to come up with.
"[The song is about] a feeling that lots of people can relate to who live in Phoenix . . . when it's like 114-15 degrees. They're like, 'Wait, should humans even be here?' so you could imagine like a polar bear being in a zoo," Fatigo says.
Musically, Fatigo has pulled from a diverse pool. Some bands that have intrigued them are Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66, Los Lobos, Queens of the Stone Age, and pre-Pinback project Heavy Vegetable. Another band that has impressed Fatigo is Depeche Mode — the band has gone so far to play entire Depeche Mode sets. They also dig the spiritual aspect of Depeche Mode. There's one band that stood out among Fatigo's influences: The Cardigans.
Their "pretty cool lounge-y music" that is something that Mike "just gravitated toward" is from a band that he was "almost afraid to mention" for fear people would "see where I stole all of my secrets from."
As far as future plans go, Fatigo is embarking on a cross-country tour that will end in Maine. Fatigo is set to play Phoenix at the newly opened Rebel Lounge, formerly the Mason Jar. Montoya has fond memories of catching some sweet bands there; Fatigo opened for Devotchka there dack in the day. For Montoya, though, the space means so much more.
"I went to my first show at the Mason Jar when... I was 15 years old," Montoya says. "I'm really honored that [Rebel Lounge] asked us to play there.
Fatigo is scheduled to perform Friday, May 22, at the Rebel Lounge.