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One more time, Onward Crispin Glover to soldier on

A performance by Onward Crispin Glover at the Crossroads Music Fest will feature (clockwise, from upper left) Marty Robertson on guitar, Chris Fugitt on drums, Byron Huhmann on lead vocals and guitar, Kristin Thompson Conkright on bass and Brad Huhmann on guitar.
A performance by Onward Crispin Glover at the Crossroads Music Fest will feature (clockwise, from upper left) Marty Robertson on guitar, Chris Fugitt on drums, Byron Huhmann on lead vocals and guitar, Kristin Thompson Conkright on bass and Brad Huhmann on guitar. Special to the Star

His band Onward Crispin Glover dissolved 10 years ago, and Byron Huhmann hadn’t thought a lot about it since. But when he was invited to reunite OCG for this year’s Crossroads Music Fest, he thought about it for a bit and then said yes.

“Bill asked us to do it back in June,” he said. “After the first practice, we all felt confident we could pull it off.”

Bill is Bill Sundahl, who founded the festival in 2005 and now directs it as events coordinator for KKFI (90.1 FM).

“It’s something I try to do every year,” he said. “There are lots of great local bands that crapped out that people would love to see again. I was listening to ‘The Further and the Faster’ several months ago, and I saw Byron after that and said, ‘That album really holds up well.’ Several days later I called him and asked him to play the festival.”

The band plays at 7 p.m. Saturday at Mercy Seat Alley, 16th Street and Grand Boulevard.

Huhmann, who’d previously been in Exit 159, started Onward Crispin Glover in 1999 with brother Brad Huhmann, Kristin Thompson Conkright and Billy Johnson, formerly of Frogpond and Rocket Fuel Is the Key.

“They recruited me to play bass, though at the time I did no such thing,” Thompson Conkright said. “I was pretty much obligated to learn how to keep up. And fast.”

The band played heavy, dynamic pop tunes.

“It’s heavier than what I do now with Knife Crime,” Byron Huhmann said. “But I’ve always written pop music, so it has lots of hooks and choruses.”

“The Further and the Faster” was released in September 2001 on the Kansas City label Anodyne Records. Marty Robertson replaced Brad Huhmann, who wasn’t interested in touring, and the band hit the road hard

“We went out on tour four or five times,” Byron Huhmann said. “We toured both coasts at least twice. I remember being gone for months at a time.”

Robertson eventually left the band and was replaced by Steve Tulipana, formerly of Season to Risk, among other bands, and is now co-owner of the RecordBar.

“I was flattered when they asked,” he said. “I was never known for my guitar-playing skills, and some of those parts were complex. Byron, Kristin and Billy really encouraged me to challenge myself, and I had a blast doing it.”

But the end was in sight.

“We were planning on recording another album,” Huhmann said. “But Billy started playing with Shots Fired, and Kristin started playing with Federation of Horsepower, and things just kind of fell to the wayside.”

Johnson is not available for Saturday’s reunion, so Chris Fugitt of Federation of Horsepower will sit in on drums.

“We wanted someone who can hit the drums as hard as Billy,” Huhmann said.

The band will play “Faster” in its entirety plus two songs that never made a record, Huhmann said. Tulipana will step in for at least one song.

The reunion has given band members a new perspective.

“There are so many memories and stages in that band’s life, it’s hard for me to distill them,” Thompson Conkright said. “It was an exciting time, getting to play shows with bands I’d looked up to for years. I was lucky to play with such talented people who had been in successful bands.”

You can count Onward Crispin Glover among those successful local bands.

“We charted fairly well on CMJ (College Music Journal), and our video was being played on MTV,” Huhmann said. “So it was worth it.”

To reach Timothy Finn, call 816-234-4781 or send email to tfinn@kcstar.com. Follow the Back to Rockville blog on Twitter @kcstarrockville.

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