Uncle Eddie

A Conversation with Guitarist Darwin Sampson
by Teri Barr
April 2018

Uncle Eddie promo shot circa late 1990's

Uncle Eddie promo shot circa late 1990's

Sometimes, when history repeats itself, there’s a good reason behind it. So, when planning for the annual Maximum Ink Bomblastica Party for the People 2018 began, the conversation around who would play meant turning the clock back in time, and asking a hard-hitting early 1990’ish band, Uncle Eddie to make a reappearance.

Now, according to guitarist Darwin Sampson, who is also known as the venerable owner of The Frequency in Madison, Uncle Eddie never truly went away. On and off for the right reasons or the right parties the last twenty-years, original members including Sampson, Nate Arnold on bass, and Chad Ovshak on drums, would clean off the cobwebs, and make music as Uncle Eddie. All three have been, and are, in other bands since the days which Sampson tells me started for him in a house in the Fox Valley area, eventually brought him to jam in the laundry room of Ovshak’s Mom’s house, and led to big basement shows in a house on old University Avenue—one of the first which included a then brand-new band, Sunspot, now a solid regular on the Madison scene.  Those early basement shows turned into Uncle Eddie becoming a regular at The Inferno, Spooners, and O’Kayz Corral, three of the spots Sampson says he’d only wished he could play as a kid. “Madison, and some of the venues at that time, seemed like a dream,” Sampson says. “We met a lot of bands just before their time. Nirvana, Green Day, Husker Du. Some we’d play on a bill with, others found us not punk enough or too jammy, but we made so many friends. We just weren’t sure what we wanted to do with Uncle Eddie.” 

The lack of direction, Sampson says, “Pushed me out of love with guitar. I picked up the bass, started playing with another great band, the Skintones, and we all just moved on. Between new projects, school, work, and life in general, we just stopped playing together regularly.” But none of them wrote Uncle Eddie off for good. Some special parties, including the annual May-Bash, brought the guys back together for a few songs, but the invitation to play Bomblastica is what really upped the excitement all these years later. “We have been jamming, and it just sounds great,” Sampson says. “I’m in love with guitar again, and we even wrote a new song for this show.”

A new song, and reinvented old songs are on tap, with Sampson now even talking for the first time about keeping Uncle Eddie going after Bomblastica. “It’s kind of neat to be at a point and able to say we are still here,” Sampson says. “It all feels refreshing, and we are trusting our instincts to write together, which is really making us laugh. I think we are realizing if we can write together, and laugh together, it’s gold. Plus, it is so nice to be playing with my friends regularly again.”

*Uncle Eddie play Bomblastica 2018 at The Frequency in Madison on April 28, 2018.

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