Mousetrap, Buchanan played in a series of bands beginning with The Hot Serpents
in 1997. That was followed by a stint as drummer in The Reports, then as bassist
in a '70s punk revival band called Grand Theft Auto that played local gigs in
the Chicago area through the last two years of the '90s. The band eventually evolved
into Hustler, featuring Buchanan on guitar and lead vocals. Hustler survived for
three years while Buchanan formed Intercontinental Ballistic Missile -- or ICBM
-- with former Mousetrap drummer Duncan Black.
"ICBM played weird
music, electronic but still very noisy," Buchanan said. "I played guitar
and we had two keyboard players. It was a keyboard freakout, like Gary Numan gone
ICBM went on tour in 2000 with the relatively unknown Omaha
band The Faint, playing a series of house shows and small venues that Buchanan
called "the funnest tour I've been on." Regardless, ICBM broke up shortly
afterward when Black moved back to Dallas. Next was The Lust, a band with two
bass players (including Buchanan), keyboards, drums and no guitar. "That
band is still together right now, but we haven't played in a long time."
brings us to After Dark, the new four-piece featuring Buchanan on guitar and vocals,
Jamie Ayukawa on keyboards, Keith Styles on guitar and Mick Romeo on drums --
all veterans of other Buchanan bands.
"It's a more sensual kind of
band," Buchanan said. "I think the music is sexy in a twisted sort of
way. It's almost soul music and I'm actually singing (versus screaming), which
is a first. I'm almost crooning like Frank Sinatra."
After Dark's sound is influenced by German cabaret, soul and classical music.
"It's kind of a natural evolution," he said. "I wanted to explore
the darker side of life in a way that wasn't so obvious. It's dark music with
film noir elements. We've got a death vibe going. There's a lot of Birthday Party
in it and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds."
And though the band has only
been together for a month, Buchanan said After Dark is "without a doubt the
best music that I've made since Mousetrap. It just feels like there's magic when
we play together, the same way it did when Mousetrap was really on."
night's show at The 49'r will be the first time After Dark has played in front
of an audience. "I'm really happy that our first show will be in Omaha,"
Buchanan said. "It's where it all began for me."
It won't, however,
be the first time Buchanan's been back in town since his Mousetrap days. The Hot
Serpents, ICBM and The Lust all played gigs in Omaha, and he's returned numerous
times to visit his father, artist Sidney Buchanan.
So is there a chance
that Mousetrap will ever get back together? Not likely. Buchanan said he heard
Crawford still lived in Chicago, while Miller had moved to California, then returned
to Omaha. He's not sure where either is now; he hasn't talked to them in years.
"I'd love to get in touch with them again," he said. "I feel bad
because we don't talk anymore. Everything got a little too heavy."
surprised and flattered, he said, whenever he hears that the current crop of Omaha
indie bands remember his old band. "Other than the music, the thing that
I'm most proud of is that we sort of led by example," he said. "We helped
show that you can go on tour and put out records and still be from Omaha.
never really realize that you're making history until a lot of time has passed,"
he added. "You might think you made some good records, but you never know
if you're creating anything important. I guess we did. Maybe in 10 or 15 years
I'll be able to listen to them again."
in The Omaha Reader March 3, 2004. Copyright © 2004 Tim McMahan. After Dark photo
by Martin Cimek, used by permission. All rights reserved.