“We fit the definition of a one-hit wonder, but I look at it as being lucky enough to have written a song that’ll be remembered forever”: Brian Vander Ark on how The Freshmen changed lives, including his own

Brian Vander Ark
(Image credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Hailing from East Lansing, Michigan, the Verve Pipe’s Brian Vander Ark and his cohorts quickly built a following among a vibrant Midwest indie rock scene. The recording of 1993’s Pop Smear did nothing to slow the momentum of the young band, leading to their signing a deal with RCA, a label that saw the Verve Pipe as its ticket to the top of the alt-rock charts.

“I think the whole reason RCA wanted us, to be honest, was that they were severely lacking in rock bands at the time,” Vander Ark says.

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Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.