The Embarrassment

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This is the home page of The Embarrassment, the greatest rock and roll band you never heard of. Read more about the history of the group.


Roadhouse Blues, Wichita, August 18-19, 2006

Liberty Hall, Lawrence, August 20, 2006

Visit the Embos Yahoo Groups Site for Ticket Information

New Mailing List and Yahoo Group!

Click on the clapping hands of John Nichols to Subscribe to the NEW Embos Mailing List!
A Service of the Embarrassment Appreciation Society

version 4.02 of this site
August 15, 2006 updated

We had a party...we had a band...and
a thousand
loving friends.

(since 3/28/96, more or less)

Blister Pop, the live/rarities/authorized bootleg CD is available from MyPalGod records!

The Embarrassment's Sketchbook

Fans, critics with a memory, and those new to the band who've stumbled upon news of the release of The Embarrassment's Blister Pop (My Pal God Records, www.mypalgodrecords, MPG039), may all well ask the question: what's the point? Why issue a "new" CD of a mixture of mostly lo-fi 'pre-history', live, practice, and otherwise secondary recordings of a band that never hit it big in the first place, and hasn't recorded a note in a decade?

I've often described the Embarrassment as the greatest rock and roll group you never heard of, and as the years since their demise have passed this remains generally true. It's been over twenty years since their first recording, seventeen years since the Embarrassment first broke up, and a decade since their last studio recordings as a part-time side gig. They've been a classic story of what-might-have-been that's all too familiar to anyone who's been involved with a creative project that never had success or stamina to match its quality level. Their critical praise and still-faithful following of fans has not created what one might call a lasting legacy except by the long thin line of word of mouth.

It's hard to say the Embarrassment were ahead of their time: they were of their time, as soundly and fundamentally as a band can me. But they were outside of the place and conditions that would've brought them a mass audience. [MORE...]


In the early 1980s, Wichita, Kansas's Embarrassment secretly set a template for American indie-rock: edgy, rocking tunes full of clever wordplay and subtle wit, as played by four guys in thick glasses. They fell somewhere between the Feelies' perpetual nervousness and the Replacements' inebriated garage-rock; it's hard to think of many other peers from their era. Bar/None collected most of the Embos' studio work a few years back on the Heyday double-CD, but Blister Pop captures the group in a live setting: on college radio, at various dives throughout the Midwest, and on two-track demo tapes from their practice space. More than one-third of Blister Pop's tracks are covers, and virtually every song the band tries becomes utterly their own (from "Oh Pretty Woman" to "Now I Wanna Be Your Dog" and "Pushin' Too Hard"). Also included are primitive versions of "Faith Healer" and "You're Not You Anymore," both of which were later reworked for Embos' guitarist Bill Goffrier's later band, Big Dipper. Blister Pop pulls off the rare trick of collecting some valuable artifacts from a legendary independent band while remaining an engaging listen for even the casual fan. You, too, will wish you were there. -- Mike Appelstein

From the All Music Guide

Collected from various live shows, radio performances, and unreleased studio sessions, Blister Pop is a near obligatory companion piece to the comprehensive two-disc Heydey 1979-1983. While the source tapes from which these tracks have been culled are necessarily lo-fi, the true power of the band as a live act is heard in tracks like "Podman" and "You're Not You Anymore." Of course, the recording quality does occasionally muffle some of the more humorous lines, like the barbs thrown at John Cale and Lou Reed in the Velvet Underground-esque "It's Like It's What You Like" or the tongue in cheek ageism of "Song for Val." Further, the Embarrassment's strength in covering others' material is obvious in the stomping "Time Has Come Today" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog," even though quirky renditions of "Oh Pretty Woman" and "On Broadway" may ultimately be more memorable. Faithful to its billing as an "authorized bootleg," the disc's insert has various errors, with songs and attributions occasionally listed out of order. As the set opens with the band him-hawing through a radio interview in which they're asked to define their sound, by the disc's end it becomes apparent that on many nights the Embarrassment were easily one of the world's greatest garage bands. -- Matt Fink

Embarrassing News

  • 04-20-06 Reunion Concerts in August!

    It's true! The boys will be back together for two concerts in Wichita on August 18 and 19, 2006, and one in Lawrence on August 20, 2006! See the Yahoo Group for details!

  • 03-05-06 New Embos Group on Yahoo

    For the latest in Embarrassment news, click on over to the Yahoo Groups website for the Embarrassment!!

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