by Jeff Niesel
Desaparecidos, the Nebraska-based 5-piece fronted by Conor Oberst (of Bright Eyes fame), started out with a bang. The group formed in 2001 and made a lasting impression with its 2002 debut, Read Music/Speak Spanish, a white-hot blast of rock 'n' roll that lacks some of the pretentiousness of Oberst's other, more folk-oriented outfits.
“We all grew up together and knew each other for years,” says guitarist Denver Dally via phone from a St. Louis tour stop. The band plays House of Blues at 8 tomorrow night. “We used to practice in different basements and that’s a Midwestern tradition, especially in the winter. It’s like, ‘What else are we going to do? Let’s go downstairs and make some noise.’”
The group initially toured in support of Read Music/Speak Spanish and then went on hiatus for nearly a decade. It reunited in 2010 at a political rally against a restrictive immigration bill.
“It feels like we’re a band for the first time because it was so long ago,” he says. “We played that Concert for Equality in 2010 and it was like a reunion show and we had so much fun together and it felt so natural. It inspired us to want to be a band and not just a reunion. If we had pursued being a band 10 or 12 years ago, it wouldn’t have worked out now like it is.”
Since reuniting, the band has released two limited 7-inches. “Te Amo Camila Vallejo,” the latest of those releases, has a real urgency to it as Oberst’s screechy vocals make it sound like he’s on the verge of a breakdown. The b-side, “The Underground Man,” is equally incendiary. The band isn’t shy about its left-leaning impulses and Dally says the guys regularly talk about current events.
“We love to show each other links and talk about different things going on,” says Dally, who adds that he's particularly excited to play Cleveland because his brother has just moved here . “I was just talking about a recent school shooting. At the same time, we’ll send each other videos of goats that seem like humans. But we talk about writing songs about different issues all the time. It’s a crazy time but it always is. I don’t think things have ever been peaceful.”