Local Wire

Unruh Talks Reunion Show, Release of Box Set

Sweating to the oldies will have a new connotation after Saturday, February 21, at Club Red. Local heroes, Unruh, are reuniting for their first show in 15 years and celebrating the release of their box set, Tomb, with a giant show featuring some of the best bands in the current local heavy/hardcore scene. We caught up with guitarist Ryan Butler (also of Landmine Marathon and many others) to talk about the reunion.

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Why the reunion? Why now?

Ryan Butler: Well, it's the 20-year anniversary. We've been working on a box set with [label] King of the Monsters for a few years, and it finally came together. We've had so many reunion requests. We just felt if we were gonna do it, it would be a good reason now.

What has everyone been up to since Unruh initially called it a day? Mike Bjella (bass) has been doing GOG pretty steadily for about 10 years and was in a great stoner rock band called Black Hell. Mike Edwards (vocals) has been somewhat out of the music scene raising two boys and working. Bill Fees (drums) has been a professional musician for the last ten years in a band called Antique Scream which came from the ashes of our band, Structure of Lies. I've done time in Structure of Lies, Mercitron, North Side Kings and have been playing in Landmine Marathon since 2006. I'm also currently involved in the revitalization of NYHC greats, District 9, here in Arizona and I run Arcane Digital Recording in Chandler.

How has it been going getting ready for the show?

It's been going good. We still have a few more rehearsals, but it's been fun to jam with these guys again, though the songs are pretty tough to relearn.

You're releasing something as well ... tell us about that.

It's a three-LP box set with the two albums, all the EPs, compilation songs, and demos. The download will have a CBGBs set on there, too.

When you think about the "good ol' days of Unruh" what do you remember most?

We had some amazing tours in the U.S. and Europe. We also fought a lot near the end. But we had a great kinship between us and bands like Enewetak, Fall Silent and Gehenna. We played with so many killer bands, many of whom later were huge. Unruh was really the band where I was kind of discovering how to conduct myself personally as a musician and a human. So, it was very formative years. We formed my senior year of high school and I was married and nearly divorced by the end of it. Haha.

How was the band received outside of Phoenix? What about outside of the USA?

If there's one thing I can say about Unruh, it was that we were well liked at home and abroad. Our Phoenix shows were amazing from day 1. Tour shows in the US were usually rad and pretty much every show in Europe was great.

What is the Unruh sound? If you were trapped in the middle seat on an airplane and your seatmates wouldn't let you sleep until you explained the band to them, what would you say?

The goal was to incorporate the sounds of Rorschach, Voice of Reason, Crossed Out, Assuck and Citizen's Arrest all into one band. I think we kind of created our own sound by doing so. I wouldn't saw we sounded like any of those particular bands and I can't think of any bands that I would say sound particularly like us after.

Is the show a one-time thing?

That's the plan.

Unruh plays Club Red in Mesa on Saturday, February 21, 2015 with Gay Kiss, Sorrower, Seas Will Rise, and Cave Dweller.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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Tom Reardon has written for Phoenix New Times since 2013. He's been in several notable bands over the last 25 years including Hillbilly Devilspeak, North Side Kings, and the Father Figures.
Contact: Tom Reardon