Editor’s Note: This article features brief profanity.
Tomato Dodgers, a College Park-based band, are releasing their first full-length album, Ketchup Chemtrails, Feb. 22, and according to the band’s brainchild, Asher Meerovich, “people are going to really lose their shit over it.”
Everything about this album is original, from the artwork to the songs, which were predominantly written by Meerovich and the band’s bassist, Joe Doyle. The music is loud, fast and made for dancing. It is what the band would call “a carousel of genres.”
This bold description suits the personality of the band, whose lineup rotated several times since its inception more than three years ago, before culminating in the form of the Tomato Dodgers as they are known today.
Between their loud, contagious songs and “ridiculous” live shows, they are a spectacle in and of themselves.
“Whether or not people come for the music,” said Tera Stanton-Duffer, a recent UMD graduate, who plays glockenspiel, ukulele and sings for the band. “They come back because it was a show.”
The band mates deck themselves out in costumes – robes, capes, hoods.
They thrash. They dance. They improvise. They feed each other pieces of toast on stage.
Meerovich has even been known to jump into mosh pits with his guitar. And Jeaux Phred, the band’s human-sized orange stuffed groupie-doll, joins them on stage for every show dressed in a matching costume of his own.
For the Tomato Dodgers, it is all about the entertainment.
“My favorite band growing up was My Chemical Romance, and they are so dramatic and larger than life,” Meerovich said. “They’re not just a band. They’re like, the spectacle of the band.”
And this band has no intentions of keeping its act quiet.
With Doyle abroad this semester, the Tomato Dodgers are switching things up – considering new styles, new songs, and even new names. Faithful to their versatile nature, the bandmates are considering going by “Currently Known As … [Insert Current Band Name Here]” so they can tag on a new identity with each show.
If the band has an album release show, it will not play as the Tomato Dodgers without Doyle, but will consider playing new songs.
“In this new semester, I want to take things a step further and, like, cut pillows open during our sets and spray ketchup on each other,” Meerovich said. “I want us each to have an expendable set of instruments that we could just, like, destroy with ketchup and shit.”
If it seems that the Tomato Dodgers, or whatever they may be known as, are trying to stand out. And according to them, it is working out pretty well.
“We do a good job as rolling as a crew,” said Pete Myers, Tomato Dodgers’ drummer and a sophomore economics major. “We’ll walk in and people will be like, ‘Oh, there’s the Tomato Dodgers.’”
Over the past semester, they have booked a variety of gigs all around the DMV – at WMUC, at house shows in Maryland and Virginia, and at D.C. venues like the Rock and Roll Hotel and DC9 Nightclub.
They even performed with the former governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, at an event sponsored by the Young Democrats on McKeldin Mall in October.
The band described this gig, which was unlike a usual thrashing-moshing-toast-eating Tomato Dodgers show, as “unlike any other performance” they had ever done or will ever do again.
“I would do anything, as long it didn’t make people think I care about something political that I don’t,” Meerovich said. “So, I would just as quickly do it with his opponent. Like, I would hope we could do it with his opponent just to make sure that there is no misunderstanding.”
The bandmates’ confidence in their personal image and artistic vision is something they intend on maintaining as their musical endeavors continue.
Upon Doyle’s return this summer, Tomato Dodgers plan on taking the road to spread Ketchup Chemtrails “like wildfire.” They will be joined by Virginia-based rock band Shirt/Pants as they travel from New York to Michigan, crashing at the homes of friends and fellow musicians along the way.
“We just want to go out into the world and sell our wild music,” Meerovich said.
Ketchup Chemtrails will be available for purchase upon its Feb. 22 release.
Daphne Pellegrino is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.