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Artist of the Month: The Hopefuls

by Lindsay Kimball

May 01, 2013


This year, we’ll be spotlighting a prominent Minnesota musician or band each month with our new Artist of the Month feature. You’ll be able to hear a variety of songs from throughout the artists’ career on both the Local Current stream and the Local Show, and you can read more about the artists' history and their role in the community right here on the Local Current Blog. Our local artist of the month for May is The Hopefuls.

Bio, courtesy of Assistant Program Director Lindsay Kimball:

A band of many names, The Hopefuls began in the early 2000s as a project between Darren Jackson and Erik Applewick, which they called Camero. As their popularity grew, a local super group was formed with members from Kid Dakota (Jackson), Vicious Vicious (Applewick), Beatifics (Heath Henjum), Storyhill and Alva Star (John Hermanson) and Friends Like These (Matt O’Laughlin) rounding out the line-up of what was to become The Olympic Hopefuls. Their infectious, poppy rock earned them a spot on the local label 2024 Records where they released their debut The Fuses Refuse to Burn in 2004. Their high-energy shows were known for lots of dancing and their trademark bright orange track suits, which they debuted at their CD release show at the 7


Street Entry.

With songwriting and lead vocals split evenly between Jackson and Applewick, the album is full of morose themes – usually about the ladies – disguised by crisp harmonies, catchy choruses, and super sweet pop hooks. Songs like the anthemic “Let’s Go” became crowd favorites at their increasingly sold out gigs and also landed a spot on two MTV shows, The O.C. and Laguna Beach. Audiences shook their fists and whistled along with “Motobike” and bounced along to “Holiday,” in which their debut album takes its name. It wasn’t uncommon to see an entire venue clapping in time with the last third of “Drain the Sea.” “Stoned Again” completed the album with its guitar breakdown and cacophonous jam at the end.

Eventually by 2005, the actual Olympics, the United States Olympic Committee to be exact, caught wind of the band in Minneapolis getting a lot of attention, and they weren’t fans of the name. The Hopefuls were forced to chop off Olympic in favor of The Hopefuls. Not long after, Erik Applewick’s other band Tapes ‘n Tapes, in which he played bass, began to take off forcing him to leave The Hopefuls. That wasn’t the only change in the band. Eric Fawcett, who had drummed most recently with N.E.R.D. but had also been in Spymob, joined the band as Matt O’Laughlin exited. With Applewick out of the band, it gave Hermanson a change to step up into the songwriting role on their next record.

As the band line-up shifted, each member became busy with other projects – fatherhood, day jobs and releasing records with their other bands. So busy in fact, that while they recorded their second album, all four members were never in the studio at once. In addition to busy schedules, the band was in a protracted label dispute with 2024 Records who had put out the debut.

By 2008, their second album, Now Playing at the One Seat Theater, was released. This time it was out on Draw Fire Records, and the track suits were black instead of bright orange. And it ended up being their last album, as The Hopefuls disbanded for other projects and pursuits.

Notable side-projects: Kid Dakota, Vicious Vicious, Tapes ‘n Tapes, Beatifics, Alva Star, Storyhill, Friends Like These

You might not know: Rupert (Dancing Man) got his start dancing with The Hopefuls.

Videos: Videos of the band are extremely scarce, but if you look hard enough, you can find a few.

Related stories:

The Hopefuls perform in The Current studios for The Local Show (2005)

The Hopefuls at the Minnesota Zoo (2005)

The Hopefuls perform in The Current studios (2008)

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.