Hayley Keith
Band of the Week

The Fatty Acids

No, they're not the Fatty Asses. And they're getting increasing love from rock fans of all weight classes.

By - Jul 7th, 2015 02:59 pm
The Fatty Acids performing at the Denim Park Music Series on July 31st, 2013. Photo by Allison Peterson.

The Fatty Acids performing at the Denim Park Music Series on July 31st, 2013. Photo by Alison Peterson.

The Fatty Acids are a local Milwaukee band with a memorable name (at least for most people) and distinctive sound which they call “scramble pop.” The group has captivated audiences in multiple venues around the city, earned a spot opening for the Flaming Lips at Summerfest and is quickly becoming one of the most successful Milwaukee bands. We asked guitarist Matt Pappas about the band and its recent success.

When and how did you band get started?

The band was formed by Derek Devinney and Josh Evert in 2008. Derek and Josh started writing songs and they figured, what the hey, let’s get a drummer and a guitarist and try and play these songs live.

Was their a particular band that inspired you?

To name a few: Devo, The Flaming Lips, XTC, and The Talking Heads.

How did you come up with your band’s name?

It has been said that Josh has a lot of bird-like features and birds like fish and fish have LOADS of omega-3 Fatty Acids in them.  So yeah, check please?!

Have you added or lost band members since you began?

Yes, a few actually. The band’s original lineup was Josh Evert (Keys/Vocals), Derek Devinney (Bass), Joel Van Haren (Guitar), and Cole Quamme (Drums). About two years after formation Joel got a job out in Washington DC working for Al Jazeera and Matt Pappas (that’s me) was brought on to play guitar. Around that same time Kurt Raether was brought on to provide Trumpet and Keys. Raether left the band after three years to pursue a career in film-making. The lineup is now Evert, Devinney, Quamme, and Pappas with members from the past making an appearance from time to time along with other guest musicians.

What’s the age range of your band members?

16 (Evert) to 65 (Devinney). Just kidding, all 27-29 years old.

How would you describe your music?


Like a good egg scramble it’s composed of many different ingredients and each bite has a different combination of each…and I can’t believe how dumb that sounds.

Who are your influences on the national or international scene?

Sheer Mag is a great band out of Philly, The Sueves (Chicago), Frankie Teardrop Rupert Angeleyes and Suzie (all from Minneapolis), Tame Impala, Weird Al Yankovich is a huge inspiration for us all, Josh just saw DJ Paris Hilton so I’m sure that’ll have a huge impact on his songwriting for the next few decades.

Are there any local bands that have influenced you?

Yes. The nice thing about Milwaukee is the city is small enough for the bands and musicians to know one another. So I think there are some bands and musicians that have influenced us/me musically, and others that have influenced my personality and how I see the world. But to name a few: Catacombz (RIP), Canopies, Sat Nite Duets, and Dogs In Ecstasy are some top notch groups that all are doing or did some really awesome stuff.

What are your lyrics about?

Unfortunately, I did not write them, so I’m not 100% sure, but my opinion is always that the listener can and should apply the lyrics to their own lives and philosophies

What do you think of the local music scene?

In a bigger city like Chicago it seems like you have everyone trying to be the craziest, most insane guitar player, or drummer, or singer they can be and I think that helps the quality of the music. You have to be really good at what you do there otherwise people will grow tired of it pretty fast. Milwaukee can be kind of damaging to people’s abilities because it’s really easy to get quick validation and praise; not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, but I think if one gets that too early on in his/her musical journey, it can stifle their progression as a musician.

Do you think the city has the potential to become nationally known for its music scene?

I like to believe that for every potential there is a parallel universe where that potential is true. So there exists a universe where Milwaukee is the music capital of the world and every band wants to sound like the hip stuff coming out of Milwaukee.

What makes your band uniquely Milwaukee?

Next question.

Where does your band most often play in Milwaukee?

We play a lot in Riverwest. Linneman’s is a favorite of ours.

Has your band toured and to where?

Yes! We’ve gone on a few national tours all over the United States.

Do you think you’re band has been in any way misunderstood or mis-labeled?

One time I told my boss at work the name of the band and for about 2 months she thought our band name was the Fatty Asses.

Have you released an album or albums?

We have released 3 full-length Albums: Stop Berries, Berries, and Berries, Berries, Leftover Monsterface, and Bolero.

Do you have a future album in the works?

Yes! Josh is currently editing and mixing the album.

Do you have other future plans for the band?

We are going on a two-week tour of the middle part of the States in August. Dates:

7/30 – Milwaukee, WI

7/31 – Madison, WI

8/01 – Somerset, WI

8/02 – Minneapolis, MN

8/03 – Sioux Falls, SD

8/04 – Des Moines, IA

8/05 – Kansas City, MO

8/06 – Oklahoma City, OK

8/07 – Hot Springs, AR

8/08 – Bloomington, IN

8/09 – Indianapolis, IN

8/10 – Pittsburgh, PA

8/11 – Columbus, OH

8/12 – Cleveland, OH

8/13 – Toledo, OH

8/14 – Detroit, MI

8/15 – Fort Wayne, IN

What is the hardest thing about keeping a band going?

Playing a lot of shows can get really exhausting both physically and mentally. A band has its stresses on everyone involved. Though, all it ever takes is playing a song really tight in practice and we’re all back on the same page.

What is the dumbest thing any one has ever asked about your band?

I’ll tell you later.

One thought on “Band of the Week: The Fatty Acids”

  1. Tom Martinsen says:

    I have been inspired by FATTY ACIDS shows at Linneman’s. I enjoyed talking with Matt when he worked at KNUCKLEHEADS. I dug Matt’s clever responses to questions in this interview.

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