A rock band from Champaign, IL, circa 1994-1998.

Castor was:

  • Jeff Garber (guitar, vocals)
  • Ben Eversmann (guitar)
  • Derek Niedringhaus (bass)
  • Jay Vance (drums)

All the members of Castor moved to a big house in Champaign-Urbana from Collinsville, IL (the home of Suede Chain) and were almost immediately adored by the C-U fans. They had a nice mixture of Unrest, Sunny Day Real Estate, and really fucking loud, which fit snugly (and left a huge dent) in our little scene.

Depending on their sobriety, their live shows could sound like either Nirvana (high) or Sunny Day Real Estate (drunk) or sometimes even the Archers of Loaf (drunk and high). The variety always made the shows interesting (especially since they'd play every week or two). And it really was very, very loud. The vibrations from Derek's bass could almost cause internal bleeding in small organisms. Garber's glasses would almost always fly out into the crowd by the third song, though they rarely got broken since people grew to expect it.

They eventually were assimilated by the C-U scene, and finally fell into their own (but still very C-U) sound, something like Braid's sense of melody and attention to detail and Hum's fucking loudness.

They toured nationally a few times, with Braid, the Promise Ring, Dianogah, and Compound Red and became pretty popular with fans of the same (that nasty emo word). They recorded two full-length CDs and one 7", all released on the local Mud Records.

Jeff Garber was also involved in quite a few side projects, such as Morning Becomes Electric (with Bill Johnson of Honcho Overload), Days in December (with members of Braid and Very Secretary), and National Skyline (initially an experiment in making a 45-minute song, with Jeff Dempsey of Hum and Nick Macri of C-Clamp).

Castor broke up in January 1998. Since then, Garber has moved and restarted National Skyline (rather, recycled the name), now with Jim Minor (ex-Compound Red and Milk Magazine) and a drum machine/light show. Derek took the bass spot in Sarge until they finally broke up, and tends bar at the hip indie bar in town. (As for Ben and Jason, I don't think they're doing much of anything musically.)


Here's a nice, weird quote about Castor breaking up from Garber (from a long email he sent to the Signal Drench website, drench.simplenet.com):

"Being in a band is hard, it's a lot like being married, except you can cheat on each other and you don't have to fuck each other at night. But, after a while, all bands must break up."