the arkive

Buffalo Tom

Buffalo Tom (Bill Janovitz, Chris Colbourn and Tom Maginnis) formed at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1984 – a breeding ground of post punk guitar bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Pixies. They thrived on college radio in the late 1980’s and toured extensively in Europe, the US, Australia and Japan.

Buffalo Tom began with a friendship at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst among students Chris Colbourn, Tom Maginnis, and Bill Janovitz. The school was a breeding ground of post punk guitar bands like Pixies and Dinosaur Jr. Their friendship with the latter’s guitarist/frontman J. Mascis helped the band’s career to take off by assisting with the production on the band’s first two albums. Mascis also played lead guitar on the song “Impossible” from Buffalo Tom’s self-titled debut.

Buffalo Tom had their highest-charting songs in the mid-1990s: “Sodajerk” (1993) peaked at No. 8 and “Sleepy Eyed” (1995) peaked at No. 4 on the Heatseekers chart. Their album, Big Red Letter Day, peaked at no. 17 in the UK Albums Chart in October 1993.

The band contributed the track “For All To See” to the 1993 AIDS-Benefit Album No Alternative produced by the Red Hot Organization, and the track “Lolly Lolly Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here” to the CD School House Rock! Rocks. Buffalo Tom’s song “Sodajerk” was featured on the soundtrack to the 1994 television series My So-Called Life. They appeared in a club scene on My So-Called Life, episode 12, titled “Self-Esteem,” playing “Late at Night.” The episode originally aired on 17 November 1994. They were also mentioned on the CW show Gossip Girl.

The group also wrote the theme song to the short-lived 1999 sitcom The Mike O’Malley Show. In 1999, the song “Taillights Fade” was used in the Breckin Meyer/Elizabeth Berkley independent film Taillights Fade. They also recorded The Jam’s “Going Underground” for the 2000 tribute album Fire and Skill: The Songs of the Jam. Issued as a double A-sided single, with Liam Gallagher and Steve Cradock’s cover version of “Carnation”, the single reached No. 6 in the UK Singles Chart in October 1999.

They were the final musical guest on The Jon Stewart Show. Buffalo Tom is a perennial performer at the Hot Stove Cool Music concerts that benefit Theo Epstein’s Charity, ‘Foundation to Be Named Later’.

They continue to release albums and have released nine full length albums, the most recent, Quiet and Peace, came out in 2018.

  • Buffalo Tom