Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
The Figgs formed in 1987 in Saratoga Springs, NY. Mike Gent (guitar, vocals), Pete Donnelly (bass), Pete Hayes (drums), and Guy Lyons (lead guitar) were power pop and brash punk freaks, recklessly mixing elements of each but rarely losing sight of a solid hook. The combo issued 7" and cassette releases on the area indie Absolute-a-Go-Go before making their official debut with the 1994 Imago LP Low-Fi at Society High. The Hi-Fi Dropouts EP followed that same year; both received solid notices from critics and college radio. Imago's sudden loss of financing and distribution left the Figgs and material for their follow-up high and dry, but the band landed on its feet at Capitol, which issued Banda Macho in 1996. However, despite some touring and promotion, Capital wasn't really sure what to do with the ambitious Banda or the guys who made it, and the Figgs were kicked to the curb. Their next opportunity came as the backing band for Graham Parker, who tapped them for a tour after hearing their version of "Passion Is No Ordinary Word." The jaunt spawned a live set called The Last Rock N Roll Tour (Razor and Tie, 1997), but it was mostly a great excuse for the Figgs to play with one of their heroes. The Couldn't Get High LP appeared from Absolute-a-Go-Go in 1998, followed by an EP for Hearbox a year later. 2000 saw issue of both the vinyl-only Rejects (Philthyrex) and Sucking in Stereo (Hearbox), which emphasized the early new wave side of the Figgs' engaging, bratty pop. Stereo was hailed by some as a return to stripped-down, happily rocking form for the group, which by this point had endured its unfair share of label woe and teasing success. The 2001 EP Badger built on Stereo's success, as did the Hearbox full-length Slow Charm a year later. Touring for that album included a stint with Tommy Stinson; the ex-Replacement returned the favor in 2004, guesting on the Figgs' self-released double album Palais. Two years later the Bloodshot label released 103 Degrees in June, a mail-order and download-only live album with the Figgs backing Graham Parker at Chicago's Double Door. By the end of the year, the new album Follow Jean Through the Sea appeared.