Before he played in Superchunk, Bob Mould’s band, Split Single or Verbow, Jason Narducy played guitar in Evanston, IL punk band Verboten. He was 10 years old when they formed in 1982. The band only lasted a year but it launched a lifelong love of music in Narducy and also proved inspirational, at least to one influential person. The group’s singer was Tracy Bradford and her cousin, Dave Grohl, saw Verboten play, which proved to be a formative experience for the kid who’d later be in Scream, Nirvana and Foo Fighters. Grohl talked about seeing Verboten and its effect on him in documentary series Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, and his testimonial is the inspiration for new musical Verboten: A Story About How Punk Saves Lives which opens this week at Chicago’s Chopin Theatre.
The idea for the musical came from playwright and TV writer Brett Neveu, who saw Sonic Highways and realized the guy Grohl was talking about was his neighbor (their daughters attended the same school). “I’d been in bands for 20 years and had wanted to do a rock musical for a while,” Neveu told The Chicago Tribune. “I loved Jason’s music, the pop quality of it, and felt it would translate well to the stage. I had a vague idea for a story about the music that stayed with us from that age, this universal truth about how a play or a concert or a movie can connect with us at a certain point in our lives and inspire us.” It took a few rewrites but the musical, which Narducy wrote the music and lyrics, opens Thursday, January 16 and runs through March 8. Tickets are on sale and here’s the synopsis:
1983. Chicago. It’s do-or-die for Verboten-a band made up of outsider teens with seriously complex home lives. As they gear up for a show at The Cubby Bear that is sure to change their lives forever, can they keep their parents from destroying the fabric of their self-made punk rock family?
You can watch video of Verboten playing that Cubby Bear show (opening for Naked Raygun and Rights of the Accused) and a trailer for Verboten (plus listen to Jason on an episode of the Car Carne podcast talking about the musical), below.
In conjunction with the musical, Verboten are releasing a posthumous 7″. “It only took us 37 years,” says Narducy. it’s limited to 500 vinyl copies and it’s on sale now.