bill bodkin looks at the final show of the band Hero Pattern …
A hero pattern is a literary archetype that arise through different stories. In these stories, heroic characters arise and their lives follow a very specific pattern, especially in their rise and fall.
In this story, the four heroic characters are Jason Kundrath, Michael Kundrath, Rob Fitzgerald and Peter “Pierre” Marceau — formerly known as the rock ‘n’ roll band Hero Pattern.
On the night of Friday , July 9, 2010, the band’s story ended at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J. It was a show not just to honor their final performance, but to help a friend — who received the evenings gate to help offset medical bills. It was a night of honor, respect and rock ‘n’ roll. A night this writer wished would’ve happened when the band was feeling the Murtaugh Effect — they were getting too old for this shit. (It’s a How I Met Your Mother reference — excellent episode).
Yet, alas, these musicians, just starting out into their 30s, have called it a day. And while one could lament the loss of another excellent indie operation to the doldrums of everyday life, we should in fact celebrate a vibrant musical catalog, a dynamic touring band and a group of solid guys who did the right thing for a friend instead of throwing their own last pity party.
The experience of their final show was not just a farwell, a sense of closure for the band, it was also one for the couple hundred fans who came out that humid Friday night. Hero Pattern was our band, we had our stories of we discovered them, shared them with our friends. For me, I will never forget the day I discovered Hero Pattern. It was a cold day in New Brunswick, N.J., and I was working at the entertainment desk of The Daily Targum, Rutger’s independent student newspaper. I was sifting through the innumerable amount of CDs we received in the mail, looking for something interesting to review, since one of our freelancers bailed on us at the last second. I opened a large manila envelope and out fell Hero Pattern’s first record Cut You Out, along with a photo of the band. I stared at the lead singer and wondered, “I know this guy.” I did indeed. It wa Jason Kundrath, the guy who had given me a break a few years earlier at the newspaper as a music writer. I figured I’d throw my old friend a bone and review his album — give it a positive review, since I did owe him one.
After listening to that first record, I was hooked. I fell in love with the high-energy pop-rock/indie/plain-old-fun rock ‘n’ roll the band produced. It was hip, it was current, it was awesome. To this day, I still have that entire record on my iPod.
And to me, seeing my old friend in a band didn’t surprise me. For all those who knew Jay, music and being in a band was at the forefront of his mind. While at Rutgers, he immersed himself in music, writing about it for the Targum as the paper’s music editor and playing it as a DJ at Rutgers’ student radio station, WRSU 88.7 FM. In one of his columns, Kundrath lamented, “And though I’m hopeful, I’m haunted by the fear that my efforts have only served to seal my fate: become a starving musician or a starving journalist. And neither option seems particularly inviting.”
Eventually, Hero Pattern would become known as road warriors. They bought a van and began touring anywhere that would let them play — Hoboken to Boston to Tennessee to Ohio. Hero Pattern played to crowds no matter what the size. In an interview I did with the band in 2003, Jay admitted: “We’ve been home for a few weeks after being on the road for three weeks and I’m like, ‘We need to go back out on the road.'”
On the road, the band has played with such name acts as Supedrag, Dismemberment Plan, Pilot To Gunner and Ted Leo & The Pharmacists. I’m sure there’s more. One of the band’s big moments came when they got to play the historic radio show The Buzz, hosted by former WRSU music director Matt Pinfield — the famed MTV VJ who is now the top DJ at New York’s top alt-rock station, WRXP 101.9 FM
The band’s exposure lead to them getting their profile and videos on MTV, performing at concerts and festivals around the country. And in their latter days (when they were broken up), they even got some of their music played on the mega-popular MTV series Jersey Shore.
Flash forward from years on the road to July 9, 2010. The final show. The foursome took the stage and showed no signs of ring rust. They rocked out with their proverbial jocks out. Fitzgerald’s bass was explosive, Mike Kundrath’s drums were super-tight, Pierre wowed the entire crowd with his amazing guitar gymnastics, while Jay Kundrath had the audience in the palm in his hand. The entire crowd was in it for the long haul. Hands a clappin’, fists raised in the air, this was rock show. As for the tunes, I hold dear to my heart, they were all killer, no filler.
What I loved more than how good the band sounded, was watching the genuine emotion being poured out in each song. The band was excited, upset, emotional and energetic. You can see the fun they had on stage and yet you could also see the heartbreak. Closing tracks “Monster” and “What Do You Have To Say” were sung with a resounding passion, near tears and pure rock ‘n’ roll spirit.
When the night ended, I didn’t feel cheated that I’d never see this band again, because that’s the beauty of music. It lives forever in the digital iPod world, but most importantly, it lives on in our souls.
Thank you Hero Pattern for allowing me to come along on your journey through the world of music. It was a fantastic ride.