In an era when many long-defunct bands are settling differences (or simply realizing how much money there is to be made) and reuniting for bigtime tours, music fans can at least rely on one thing: The Smiths are never going to get back together. The egos of the folks involved are still too big, the dismissal of the band's rhythm section by frontman Morrissey too painful, and the ink on those lawsuits still drying.
Perhaps that's the reason that the ardor that Smiths fans feel towards the band only grows stronger every day. And the fact that dozens of young men and women around the world want to play some role in filling the gap by starting a Smiths tribute or cover band.
And seeing the mass of bodies that piled into Bunk Bar this past summer to hear one of Portland's only Smiths cover bands, This Charming Man, shows that the demand isn't going to slow down any time soon. Part of that, too, could be that this particular cover band is fronted by a fixture on the local scene: Jeremy Petersen, host of OPB's weekend music program In House Radio.
It helps too that the band--with Petersen as Morrissey, Rich Millward and Ben Alberts on guitars (either a nod to Johnny Marr's unnatural facility with a guitar or to the post Queen Is Dead live lineup that featured Marr and rhythm guitarist Craig Gannon), and Susan Reilly and Emily Hall in the roles of bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce, respectively--do a great job in recreating the Smiths' mix of glam, bubblegum pop, and post punk.
Petersen and Reilly were kind enough to answer some questions about their love of the Smiths, other tribute acts and the warm embrace that they've felt from local music fans prior to their show on Tuesday at Bunk Bar.