Deli Magazine




Spotlight: Federation of Horsepower 10th Anniversary Show


For 10 years, Federation of Horsepower has made a name for itself for being one of loudest, toughest bands in Kansas City. This Friday at The Brick, this rock n' roll machine will celebrating 10 years together and every current and former member will take to the stage. We sit down with lead vocalist and founding member Gregg Todt to tell us a little bit about the band.

The Deli: Give me a little history about the band.

Gregg Todt: Mason Fann (original guitarist) and I had been batting about the idea of starting a band in early 2002. Sometime in late February of that year, our friends from Seattle, The Gloryholes were heading out on tour. In a nutshell, it all went down like this:

We're coming to KC in 3 weeks, we need an opener, start a band.

FOHP made its live debut on St. Patrick's Day 2002 at El Torreon.

It's all been downhill since!

The Deli: Who had the initial idea for the band?

Gregg: Me and Mason started it. I blame the booze.

The Deli: You guys have always played straight-up rock n' roll, even when it hasn't been the "cool" or "indie" thing to do. Why do you continue to rock harder than most other bands in KC and beyond? 

Gregg: Trends come and go. Styles change. But AC/DC and Motorhead are still around and kicking large ass... my guess is they're doing something right.

Here's the deal... People are always going to hate their job. They're always going to hate their life. They are always going to need that visceral release that only a guitar plugged into a loud ass amplifier can provide.

We provide a service.

This is what we were built to do.

The Deli: You guys have been on a ton of huge bills with groups like Judas Priest, Motorhead, etc. What shows have been your favorites over the years?

Gregg: Honestly, most of those shows are a complete blur. Talking to Lemmy for a few minutes was cool. Duff McKagan telling us how much he liked us was pretty damn awesome.

But it's the little shows that make it cool... Chipping a tooth on the mic at The News Room. Playing a coming home party for a soldier in San Antonio. Playing in Austin and seeing some of your musical heroes watching you. Every show, good or bad, holds a special place in my memory banks.

The Deli: Even though you've had a few lineup changes, you've been a part of the KC scene for 10 years. That's a huge accomplishment. Why do you think you have the staying power that others don't?

Gregg: It's simpleYou're never too old to play music that went out of style 30 years ago. That, and there's no pretense to what we do (at least not that I know of)... We're loud, we sweat, we fall down. We're honest.

I write about what I know. Sometimes those subjects are painful. But it's real.

That and I am obviously too stupid to quit.

The Deli: Are there any other local bands that you think can deliver a similar high-octane dose of rock n' roll that you guys do?

Gregg: I love love love Cherokee Rock Rifle and Radkey. But there's a ton of great music that isn't just like us that I love too. The Latenight Callers, The Quivers, Deco Auto, The Cave Girls... Kansas City is brimming with amazing music these days and I find that very exciting.

The Deli: Tell me about the Friday show. What can we expect? Will there be fire?

Gregg: No fire, but lots of fun. Pretty much everyone who was an official member of the band will be onstage that night. It's going to be a long ass night for me because I'm the only constant member.

But hey, if it kills me, at least it'll be doing something I love.

The Deli: This will also be drummer Kriss Ward's last show before he moves to Austin. What's next for the band?

Gregg: I had considered kicking it in the head when Kriss told us he was moving. But then we found out that Chris Fugitt was moving back and it just seemed right. Chris had replaced Kriss, and then Kriss replaced Chris, so now Chris is replacing Kriss again. Makes it easier on my old brain.

We're working on recording a new CD. It's going to feature the current line up as well as some tracks we recorded with Troy and Kriss. It's tentatively going to be titled Hermanos de Sangre (Blood Brothers)... because once you're in FOHP, you're it it for life. This is my family.

It's amazing to me that we've lasted this long, but it makes me happy that I'm still friends with all of the former members of the band. Like I said, this is my family. It makes me incredibly sad that Kriss is moving away, but he is my brother and he has to do what's best for him and his family. In the end, this is just a band, it's temporary. Family and brotherhood are forever.

The Deli: Do you see FOHP being a band for another 10 years?  

Gregg: Well, considering I am going to be 50 next year... if I am still doing this at 60, we are going to have one hell of a party.

Federation of Horsepower is:
Gregg Todt: lead vocals/guitar
Johnny Catfish: bass guitar
Christian Liljequist: guitar
Kriss Ward: drums (last show is Friday, September 14)
Chris Fugitt: drums (first show back is Saturday, September 22)

Past members:
Mason Fann: guitar
Paul Clark: bass
Kristin Thompson: bass
Troy Van Horn: guitar

And guest appearances from:
Chip Sage: drums
Brock Ginther: bass
Mike Rooney: guitar
Mike Myers: drums

Make sure you don't miss a moment of the 10th anniversary Federation of Horsepower show at The Brick this Friday. The lineup will feature The Buddy Lush Phenomenon, followed by an evening of songs by every former and current member of the group. You should not and cannot miss this show with one of Kansas City's most electrifying rock bands. It will leave you banging your head and moving your body and wanting more afterwards.

--Michelle Bacon

Michelle is editor-in-chief of The Deli - Kansas City. She also has a weekly column with The Kansas City Star and reviews music for Ink. She plays with Deco AutoDrew Black and Dirty Electric, and Dolls on Fire. Unfortunately, she didn't begin eating Fruity Pebbles until too late in life.

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Federation of Horsepower