Buffalo Tom
Sat, Aug 17
Doors: 8:30 pm | Show: 9:00 pm
Tickets: $37.50 ADV - $40 DOOR
Ages 21 and Up
Buffalo Tom
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Buffalo Tom
It’s been 38 years since Bill Janovitz (vocals, guitar), Chris Colbourn (bass, vocals), and Tom Maginnis (drums) formed Buffalo Tom in the fall of 1986 in Northampton, MA while students at the University of Massachusetts in neighboring Amherst. The band's blend of melody, introspective lyrics, and powerful performances helped them gain a dedicated fanbase and earned them a place in the annals of alternative rock history.

“We are happy to still be around and have anyone coming to see us, never mind to release our tenth long-player Jump Rope,” says Bill Janovitz.

Bill Janovitz and Chris Colbourn started jamming together in various campus apartments. Drawing inspiration from their love for classic bands like The Replacements, The Gun Club, Bob Dylan, Echo & the Bunnymen, Van Morrison, and The Rolling Stones, they honed their songwriting skills and developed a distinctive sound. They soon joined forces with drummer Tom Maginnis to form Buffalo Tom, taking their name as a play on the shy Maginnis and Buffalo Springfield.

In 1988, they released their debut album co-produced by J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr., "Buffalo Tom," on SST Records. The record received critical acclaim, and songs like "Sunflower Suit" and "The Bus" became college radio hits, helping them build a dedicated fan base and interest from European booking agencies.  Grant Hart from Husker Du named the album as one of his “Best of 1988” in Melody Maker.

As the alternative rock scene exploded in the early 1990s, Buffalo Tom found themselves in the midst of a musical revolution.

Their sophomore album, Birdbrain, released in 1990, marked a significant step forward for Buffalo Tom. With songs like the title track and "Fortune Teller," the album showcased their growth as songwriters and performers. Birdbrain was well-received and garnered attention from major labels, leading to their signing with Beggars Banquet Records.  

Let Me Come Over, their third album released in 1992, became their most commercially successful record to date. The album featured “Velvet Roof" and their signature song, "Taillights Fade" (covered by Pearl Jam among many others), gained widespread popularity, cementing their status among alt-rock bands. Buffalo Tom toured North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

The band continued to impress with their 1993 album, Big Red Letter Day, which featured the singles "Soda Jerk” and “I’m Allowed.” Produced by the Robb Brothers at their famous Cherokee Studios in Hollywood, the album showcased a more polished and refined sound while retaining the band's raw emotional intensity. Despite their growing success, Buffalo Tom remained true to their roots, consistently delivering heartfelt performances and thought-provoking lyrics.  The song “Late at Night” was featured as part of the most pivotal scene of the acclaimed TV series My So-Called Life - and the band performed on an episode. Touring on this album included a stop in Japan.

Buffalo Tom released two more albums Sleepy Eyed (1995) co-produced by John Agnello, featuring “Summer,” which remains a fan favorite. Smitten was produced by David Bianco in 1998 and included the classic “Rachael” single. It was time to take a break from the recording-touring merry-go-round, though. As the band members expanded their respective families, they sought some balance.  

The band took a nine-year hiatus from recording new album, during which they stumbled into the Top Ten in the UK in 1999 with a hit cover of The Jan’s “Going Underground.” Buffalo Tom returned in 2007 with Three Easy Pieces, their seventh LP ton New West Records before forming their own Scrawny Records, named, yet again, after drummer Tom Maginnis, sheepishly admitting, “it’s a nickname from high school.”

The label’s debut album (and band’s eight overall), Skins, was released in 2011. All Music  wrote, “Buffalo Tom can still rock out and their songwriting chops are in great shape, Skins is a personal and introspective work… the product of an older and wiser trio than Buffalo Tom were in their salad days; they simply are who they are, and on Skins that means they're a gifted and grown-up rock & roll band.”

For both Quiet and Peace (2018) and the forthcoming album Jump Rope (2024), Buffalo Tom have turned to David Minehan at his nearby Woolly Mammoth studio. As a musician (David led the Boston legends, the Neighborhoods and played guitar with Paul Westerberg and in the reunited Replacements), David brings both production and engineering expertise and a sympathetic musical ear and sensibility. 

“We think the project evolved beautifully and are thrilled with the results. We look forward to adding these songs alongside BT classics when we take on whatever limited touring we are able to do.”