764-HERO was an American Indie rock band from Seattle, Washington, signed to Up Records. The band's name, suggested by a friend, is taken from the Washington State Department of Transportation phone number for reporting HOV lane violators .
Formed in 1995, the original members of the group were singer/guitarist and Seattle native John Atkins from the Up Records' artists Hush Harbor, and drummer Polly Johnson from Bell Jar. After releasing two vinyl 7" singles, 764-Hero released their debut album Salt Sinks Sugar Floats in 1996, followed by an EP called We're Solids the next year. Known locally for their powerful live performances, the duo quickly garnered a national audience. In early 1998, the band released a collaborative CD/12" single with Modest Mouse called Whenever You See Fit, consisting of a single track the two groups co-composed and performed while touring together. The B-side of the E.P. contained two remixes by DJ Dynomite D and Scientific American.
In 1998, the band was set to perform live on the radio and thought they'd mix it up a bit. They called their old friend James Bertram (from Red Stars Theory, formerly of Lync and Beck) and asked him to play bass. The session went so well they decided to make it permanent. With the new line up in place they recorded their second full-length record, Get Here and Stay. The group's fans felt that this record marked a large step forward for the group.
After several tours, the band got to work on Weekends of Sound. Recorded in early 2000 with Phil Ek (who also produced Get Here and Stay as well as many of Built to Spill's releases), the record was felt to be sonically in keeping with their previous effort.
Following the release of Weekends of Sound the band embarked on a tour of the U.S. with Modest Mouse. Shortly after the tour, citing creative differences, Bertram parted ways with 764-HERO. Shortly after, Robin Peringer took up bass guitar duties in the band. John and Polly met Robin while he played second guitar for Modest Mouse on tour. He started as a temporary replacement so the band could tour but quickly turned into a permanent member of the band.
Around 2001, John Atkins got together with friend Joe Plummer to release songs he felt wouldn't fit under the 764-Hero title, and thus, The Magic Magicians were born. In 2001, they released their debut album Girls.
764-Hero moved over to Tiger Style Records for their final release Nobody Knows This is Everywhere and they headed out on tour in March 2002. The album name is a play on Neil Young's album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. The group broke up in 2002.
The Magic Magicians have continued on, however, with the latest release being their self-titled album in 2003. In 2004, John Atkins got together with two friends, Thomas Wright and Ken Jarvey, to form The Can't See. In 2006 They released Coma Comma no More. Atkins has also collaborated with Spencer Moody of the Murder City Devils in a group called the John and Spencer Booze Explosion.
Ten years after breaking up, 764-Hero reunited on March 4, 2012 for a secret show in Seattle. A week later, the band went on a five-day tour of Japan with Japanese band Moools.
The original two piece lineup had a small reunion playing two songs at the Suicide Squeeze Records 20th Anniversary Party on August 25th, 2016. They played "Now You're Swimming", the first song ever released on the label while also covering Elliott Smith's "Division Day."John Atkins - vocals, guitar, keyboards (1995–2002)
Polly Johnson - drums, percussion (1995–2002)
James Bertram - bass, guitar, keyboards (1998–2000)
Robin Peringer - bass, guitar (2000–2002)
Salt Sinks and Sugar Floats (Up Records; 1996)
Get Here and Stay (Up Records; 1998)
Weekends of Sound (Up Records; 2000)
Nobody Knows This is Everywhere (Tigerstyle Records; 2002)
High School Poetry 7" (Up Records; 1995)
Now You're Swimming 7" (Suicide Squeeze; 1996 (reissued in 1998))
We're Solids EP (Up Records/Suicide Squeeze; 1997)
Whenever You See Fit 12" (Up Records/Suicide Squeeze; 1998)
Garrison 7" (Up Records; 2000)