Known as "the least ambitious band in rock" for maintaining their day jobs in the face of success, Fastbacks were a Pop Punk group active from 1979 through 2001. Drawing influence from 60's Girl Group pop and 70's Hard Rock, lead guitarist Kurt Bloch, rhythm guitarist/vocalist Lulu Gargiulo, and bassist Kim Warnick took to the Seattle circuit with poor early results. Provincialism reigned in the local rock scene, which spelled trouble for a punk band without a set drummer playing AC/DC covers. The addition of teenage multi-instrumentalist Duff McKagan on drums stabilized the lineup for a time. Fastbacks developed their following and became a draw in the local clubs, despite their reliance on a drummer too young to stay on the premises.
McKagan's departure to Guns N' Roses left them without a permanent drummer for a time, but Fastbacks graduated from local favorites to national cult heroes thanks to the early-nineties Grunge explosion and the 1992 Sub Pop-released singles compilation, The Question Is No. With Mike Mussberger now the semi-permanent drummer and the endorsement of grunge heroes Pearl Jam, Fastbacks released their biggest album, New Mansions In Sound in 1996.
In 2002, Warnick retired ("As much as those songs mean to me, I've just grown tired of having to be a singer in a rock band,") effectively breaking up the band. An odds and ends collection, Truth, Corrosion, and Sour Biscuits followed in 2004, and a one-off 2011 reunion show spawned (for now) one last single - a seventies rock cover, Cheap Trick's "Come On, Come On", this time going over somewhat better with the crowd.
- Play Five Of Their Favorites - EP (1982)
- Every Day Is Saturday - EP (1984)
- ...And His Orchestra (1987)
- Bike Toy Clock Gift (1989)
- Very, Very Powerful Motor (1990)
- Never Fails, Never Works - UK compilation (1991)
- In America! (1991)
- Zücker (1992)
- The Question Is No - singles compilation (1992)
- Answer the Phone, Dummy (1994)
- Here They Are...Live At The Crocodile! (1996)
- New Mansions in Sound (1996)
- Win, Lose, Or Both - EP (1998)
- The Day That Didn't Exist (1999)
- Truth, Corrosion, And Sour Biscuits - rarities collection (2004)
Tropes associated with the band:
- Album Intro Track: The Question Is No starts with "Dear Mr. Oswald", a spoken intro addressing a seemingly-fictional executive who wanted to replace the singer.
- Book-Ends: At the end of the album, the speaker returns to complain about the quality of the recording.
- Album Title Drop: Zücker oddly had its title dropped in a music video, but not on the album proper. The Day That Didn't Exist has a more standard example on the title track.
- Asleep in Class: The premise behind the "Going To The Moon" video, with the band's performance as a dream sequence.
- Careful with That Axe: "Space Station #5"; covering Montrose means covering Sammy Hagar, after all.
- Christmas Songs: "Come All Ye Faithful", from a 1984 holiday cassette.
- The Cameo: Eddie Vedder does guest vocals on "Girl's Eyes"...and botches them. A bootleg recording also includes him and Mike McCreary joining the band for songs during the '96 tour.
- Instrumentals: "Breakup Theme", "Bill Challenger"
- Intercourse with You: One of their many cover songs was "Go All The Way" by The Raspberries; since the cover doesn't change the gender, it's also Les Yay.
- Punk Rock / Pop Punk
- Revolving Door Band: Estimates range between twelve and twenty different drummers over the band's run. McKagan, John Moen, Dan Peters, and Jason Finn are the most famous members of the carousel.
- Signature Style: Melodic Punk Rock with occasional harmony vocals, somewhat more guitar soloing than usual for the genre.
- Start My Own: Gargiulo started the band convinced she could do better than the last punk band she'd seen.
- Updated Re-release: The later CD version of ...And His Orchestra includes the first two EPs as bonus tracks.