A Book about The Hopefuls!

The Hopefuls: Chasing a Rock 'n' Roll Dream in the Minnesota Music Scene (McFarland & Company, 2018)   is the definitive musical biography of Erik Appelwick, Eric Fawcett, John Hermanson, and Darren Jackson and the musical collective that formed around them in the Minneapolis independent music scene, encompassing bands Kid Dakota, Spymob, Storyhill, Vicious Vicious, and many others.  The book comprehensively traces how their musical partnerships formed, reformed, and transformed from the early 1990s through the late 2010s. You can read the introduction  here  and watch the book trailer below. The book was recognized with a Certificate of Merit in the 2019 ARSC Awards for Excellence. It's available in paperback and ebook. Buy it from your favorite independent bookstore, Amazon , Barnes & Noble , or directly from McFarland . The official book trailer!

The Hopefuls: Chasing a Rock 'n' Roll Dream in the Minnesota Music Scene: Introduction

Showtime was supposed to be 20 minutes ago. We’ve watched the band carry in their gear, set it up on the tiny stage, but then they disappear for awhile. When they walk back on stage one-by-one, it’s with no ado. The lights don't dim; the overhead music doesn't even turn off. Despite the lack of usual ceremony – this is a slightly upscale bar on the edge of Loring Park, afterall, not a club – they seem like trickster gods taking the tiny stage, resplendent in their matching red and orange tracksuits. They're visually striking, Appelwick tall and lanky with a lopsided sly smile; Darren short, bespectacled, and poker-faced; Johnny tucking his long brown hair almost shyly behind one ear while focused intently on his keyboard; Heath smiling widely; and Matt fresh faced and blonde behind the kit. Darren asks politely that the overhead music be turned off, and his request goes unheeded. The band look at each other and shrug. The feeling that we're seeing something special

A Soundtrack to The Hopefuls: Chasing a Rock 'n' Roll Dream in the Minnesota Music Scene

The Hopefuls' musical world is rich, diverse, varied, and just a bit daunting to navigate. Even trying to create a primer or "greatest hits" is a tall task, because there are so many different ways to approach it. I've tried several times over the past 5 years without hitting on anything I was completely happy with. But recently I struck on the idea of using the 3-part format of The Hopefuls: Chasing a Rock 'n' Roll Dream in the Minnesota Music Scene to create a soundtrack for the book. And I kind of like how it turned out. Here are links to the playlist on YouTube  and Amazon  (note: the latter is missing The Harvesters' "Skid Row"). Introduction 1. Olympic Hopefuls: "Let's Go" (2004)  Part I: It was Once Upon a Time (1994-2000) 2. Storyhill: "Parallel Lives" (1994) 3. The Harvesters: "Skid Row" (1995) 4. Spymob: "Half the Time With You" (1996) 5. John Hermanson: "80s Party" (1998) 6. Spymob

How'd the Hopefuls Lose Hope?: A Revised Interview

I did an Q & A in November 2018 with Erica Rivera for (now-defunct)  City Pages  about  The Hopefuls: Chasing a Rock 'n' Roll Dream in the Minnesota Music Scene . This was a really cool thing that I pretty much completely fucked up. I made two rookie mistakes. One was not asking to see the questions – or at least asking what the focus of the interview was to be – beforehand. The other was not being more on my guard. Erica’s questions weren’t bad, they were just hyper-focused on a somewhat negative aspect of the story I told in the book, and I just wasn’t prepared for that. As a result, my original answers were too raw and under-thought. Here's what I should have said. (If you’d like to torture me by reading my original answers, here’s a link to the original article ).   City Pages:  They say they you should never meet your idols or your heroes. In researching the Hopefuls, did your opinion of them change? Paul V. Allen:  That’s always a danger of writing about som

1994: Reno Meets Jay Krasnow

While working on The Hopefuls: Chasing a Rock ‘n’ Roll Dream in the Minnesota Music Scene – a story so sprawling and multi-faceted that each of its four principals could easily have a whole book to themselves – I knew I was going to miss some things.  Case in point, in June 2020, I received an e-mail from Jay Krasnow, who revealed that he had served as Spymob’s very first manager, before they were even Spymob. Jay is a multi-instrumentalist and composer who spent 10 years in the Twin Cities scene producing, playing, and co-engineering for a wide variety of artists. He happened across The Hopefuls by chance in a public library in Cleveland, where he now makes his home (I must say it warmed my heart to hear that the book is in libraries in “The Rock ‘n’ Roll Capital of the World”), and realized that he had a missing piece of the story to share. Jay and I chatted on the phone about his memories and impressions of his brief time with Eric Fawcett, John Ostby, Brent Paschke, and Brian Roe

The Hopefuls: Two Years Later

I knew in writing about The Hopefuls that I was writing an incomplete story. As long as Erik Appelwick, Eric Fawcett, Darren Jackson, and John Hermanson keep making music, there’ll be more to tell. In that spirit, I’ve decided to continue to compile and document their ongoing adventures, and release updates every couple of years.   Believe it or not, it’s been two years since I sent The Hopefuls: Chasing a Rock ‘n’ Roll Dream in the Minnesota Music Scene off to the publisher, so that means it’s time for the first update, covering mid-2018 (where the book ends) to mid-2020: Appelwick When we last left Erik he was doing freelance composing, and had teamed with Johnny, Fawcett, and Todd Casper in a new band called Intl Falls, who released their self-titled debut in early 2018. More recen tly, Appelwick has taken a job at Dual Citizen Brewery, though tha nkfully he continues to write, record, and produce.  He did some playing and producing for the Minneapolis electro-pop group Totally A


Bio (from their website) "Citrîne was made possible by fate and modern technology. Formerly an acoustic singer-songwriter, Nashville-based Bethany traded her ukulele for synths and formed a new  sound. A string of serendipitous coincidences led to her collaboration with St. Paul-based musician and producer Erik Appelwick (Tropical Depression, Vicious Vicious, Tapes 'n Tapes) and Citrîne was born. Having never met in person, the band uses a modern-day mail-and-return system to complete songs in their respective cities. After releasing two EPs, Spine and Waves , Citrîne continues to release a steady stream of new material, building on the momentum of their Spotify success with the ambivalent break-up single, “Arcade.” Their songs have been featured on HBO, MTV, and The CW." Links Official website Facebook Instagram Discography Spine (2017) Waves (2018) Dreams (2019)