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Stylish and functional

Papas Fritas was formed in 1992 with the simple mission of creating catchy, honest pop music that creates a feeling of euphoria in humans. 1 Although the band formed at Tufts University in Somerville, Massachusetts and still resides in the Boston area to this day, Tony Goddess (guitar, vocals) and Shivika Asthana (drums, vocals) originate from Delaware, where they played in high-school marching band together, and Keith Gendel (bass, vocals) immigrated from Houston, Texas.

For the first couple years, the band was a hobby --we played in barbarous basement parties and recorded tapes for our friends on Tony's Tascam 4-Track -- but everything changed when Matt Hanks of Sunday Driver Records released three of our songs on a seven inch single. 2 After the single was released, the band became more serious: we booked our first tours and promoted the 7" to college radio stations around the country. One spring day in 1994, the Gods smiled upon us -- Minty Fresh Records heard the song "Smash This World" on a Chicago radio station, and all of a sudden, music was no longer just a pastime. We signed that summer, and built an 8-track studio (affectionately called Hi-Tech City) in our house on Electric Avenue. We really wanted the record to have its own sonic identity, so for nearly 6 months the band holed up in the cramped basement space toiling over the 13 songs that would comprise the new record. Papas Fritas was finally released in October of 1995, and in the next months we rocked for audiences in tours of the US, Europe (with The Flaming Lips), and Japan.

An exterior view of the Ruins
In September of 1996, we regained control of our lives and focused on the next record. After relocating the studio to a rustic old school house in the woods of Gloucester, MA and dubbing it The Columnated Ruins, we worked the remainder of the year writing and recording music. The large, oddly-sized rooms, laid back atmosphere, and accessable farm animals of the Ruins perfectly complemented our desire to make a more organic and natural sounding record. Many of the songs were inspired by memorable events of the past year: "Rolling in the Sand" by a fight that broke out at a gig in Cape Cod while we were playing "TV Movies", our slowest song; "Live by the Water" by our move to Gloucester, the fish-stick capital of the world and home of "The Perfect Storm".

The mythical Columnated Ruins
control room

On April 22, Minty Fresh released Helioself, our second full-length, to the masses, and we toured so much for that record that we actually bent time and space and played as many as 3.56 shows at once in at least 7 dimensions.3 After Helioself was released, we played in the US with The Cardigans, Blur, The Hang Ups, and The Sugarplastic, and in Europe with The Eels and by ourselves.

Our third album, Buildings and Grounds was released in the USA, Japan, France, Belgium, Spain, Australia, the Philippines and Holland early in the year 2000. For us, it is a conscious departure away from the sounds of our 'youthful' and 'bouncy' past. There is more sonic space, soloing, Shivika -- more Adult Contemporary (if we may be so bold).

In addition, Buildings and Grounds is our first exploration of the realm of digital technology. Every song was digitized into our friend Paul Sanni's Pro Tools System and 'perfected' there. Most importantly, we were no longer limited to a measly eight tracks.

In February 2000, Chris Colthart and Donna Coppola (two former Papas Fritas roadies and members of The Solar Saturday) officially joined the band and toured with us for three months in the US and Europe.

A retrospective album entitled Pop Has Freed Us was released in August 2003 including all three Papas Fritas music videos on DVD, as well as our best-known singles, some early demo recordings, a newly penned track called “Love Just Don’t Quit” and a few cuts that didn’t make the various Papas Fritas albums for which they were recorded.

At the request of the Barcelona, Spain based festival Primavera Sound, Papas Fritas will be reuniting in May of 2011 to perform a short European tour preceded by warm-up shows in Gloucester and Boston, MA.

1. Although in rare cases, other species have been known to connect with our music --> During a live performance at HMV Records in Brussels, we were interupted by a crazed howling during Tony's falsetto in the song "Just to See You". When I looked up to see what was causing the disturbance , I saw a disheveled boy holding the inspired mouth of his golden retriever clamped shut.

2. Sunday Driver-001: "Friday Night" b/w "Smash This World"and "Angel" released in February 1994. By the way... if you are curious about the origin and meaning of the name "Papas Fritas": Tony came up with it one day in Spanish class and it means fried potatoes. If you catch us on a good day, you might receive an oratory drawing lofty comparisons of french fries and pop music. Coincidentally, Papas Fritas sounds like "pop has freed us" -- the plot thickens.

3. If you don't believe me, check out the tour date archives

keith shiv
Tony Goddess Keith Gendel Shivika Asthana