The joke begins as an off color comment made by
All Nite Skate guitarist Bob Haddad: “Two Arabs
walk into a band.” At first glance, this doesn’t
make a whole lot of sense, but then you take into
account that Bob is Egyptian and the other
guitarist, Omar Afzaal, is Pakistani, and it
makes a bit more sense on the racial level. But
if you take it just a little further, you find
that it is exactly how it really began: two Arabs
really did walk into a band, they became friends,
and the show starts.
All Nite Skate began after the demise of the
Plain Crashers and during the formation of the
Poseidon Adventure, two bands that have fewer
things in common musically than they do in
members. Afzaal was in Plain Crashers, with
bassist Cole Strader, who also happened to be
playing bass in the Poseidon Adventure after
Plain Crashers broke up. Afzaal and Strader
decided that they were not quite finished making
music together and began looking around for other
musicians. Strader introduced Afzaal to Poseidon
Adventure guitarist Bob Haddad, and things began
"The three of us went out to dinner one night,"
began Afzaal. "Bob and I began talking about
music and guitars, the usual stuff. We just
really clicked, Bob is probably one of the
funniest people that I have ever met."
"Really it was because we’re both really big
Smashing Pumpkins fans," added Haddad.
The two began jamming together and began to
click musically as well as socially. After
awhile, Haddad introduced Afzaal to Poseidon
Adventure keyboard player, Darcy Flannigan. Once
again, the four clicked musically. Flannigan
introduced the four of them to ex-Beautys’ guitar
player Kay Gregg and violist Michelle (last name
unknown). Finally the sound was complete. At the
end of the summer of 2005, Michelle left for the
metaphorically sunny shores of the Pacific
"The loss of Michelle was pretty tough," said
Afzaal. "But, at the same time, it was probably
the best thing to ever happen to us. It forced us
to pick up the slack; she isn't in the front
"It really did," echoed Haddad. "Nothing against
her at all. We love her; we really do. She's an
absolutely amazing musician, but it just forced
us to be a better band without her."
Up until Michelle's leaving, All Nite Skate had
been kind of floating by. There wasn't - and
still isn't - anything in town that sounds
remotely like them. The best hole to put them in
is the ever-widening genre of indie rock, which
is , after all, what most of the band listens to.
They do in a way sound like their component
parts. They listen to Pelican, Mogwai, Fugazi,
Slint, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Smashing
Pumpkins, Hum, etc., and this is also how they
sound. They are instrumental and melodic and have
a passive-aggressive undertone that makes them
sound very genuine.
"We get compared to bands like Godspeed all of
the time, and I hate it," said Afzaal. "I mean, I
understand why genres exist, so that we can be
placed on a shelf in some music store under ‘alternative’ or ‘punk’ or whatever, but it is so
limiting. We’re not special. We’re just a band,
and we’re not trying to be put into a category,
but people try to put us in one. We don't
consider ourselves to be anything at all."
"There is a void in rock n’ roll, and we intend
to fill it," added Haddad with a laugh. "No,
really, we just like to play music together."
"We like playing music, we like being an
instrumental band," continued Afzaal. "People can
sing along to the music if they want, and there
is no way that they can get the lyrics wrong.
This band is pretty open musically, too, or at
least we try to keep it that way. Right now we
can kind of play whatever the hell we want, and
it still sounds like All Nite Skate."
With all of this in mind, All Nite Skate look
passively into the future. What it holds does not
really matter one way or the other.
"Since Michelle left the band has grown and
changed a lot," commented Haddad. "Right now our
goal is to just keep writing. We are all pretty
creative right now, and we are going through a
creative spurt. I'm sorry, I'm saying creative a
lot; we all just have really good ideas.
"It'd be kind of cool if we could do a bit of a
tour, keep playing shows around the Midwest.
We’re really not trying very hard to make
anything happen though."
"It's cool if something happens," echoed Afzaal.
"But, you know, no big deal if it doesn't. We're
not out trying to get signed or anything."
"Yeah," quipped Haddad. "We're in it for the
chicks. The chicks and the