Filed under: Issue 20, Issue 20 Home Recordings | Tags: Home Recordings, Local music
You would think that a band that broke up just before the MySpace explosion of the mid-2000s would be pretty bummed that they never got the play they deserved. In the case of long-defunct Syracuse indie rock band Hijack Jupiter, the very opposite is true. The same guys that supported Rooney and The Donnas (when people cared about The Donnas) take a pretty easygoing outlook on the scene they have since left behind.
Zack Denfeld, Hijack Jupiter’s co-founder and former guitarist, now lives in Portland, Ore., where he works as an artist and a professor at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Denfeld still speaks fondly of the early-‘00s Syracuse scene.
“It was definitely pretty unpretentious and a lot of fun,” he says. “You could have a show where you could play with a bunch of hardcore punk bands or with hippie jam bands and be sort of sandwiched in the middle.”
From 2000 to 2003, Hijack Jupiter were known for playing energetic, hook-laced rock in the vein of Spoon, Pixies and Pavement. Throughout their career, they played nearly 100 shows and enjoyed wide popularity and media exposure in Syracuse.
Today, Denfeld DJs and plays in an experimental project called Weird Fiction. The group makes use of costumes, live video and a blog that discusses topics like futurism, quantum physics and space-time collisions, all in charmingly difficult jargon.
Meanwhile, Scott Wiener, Hijack Jupiter’s former guitarist/vocalist, has his own band called The Bikini Car Wash Company and has toured with indie rock veterans The Spinto Band. He also runs a tour company in New York City called Scott’s Pizza Tours, dedicated to showing visitors the best pizza the city has to offer.
Despite their love for music, the other two former bandmates have mostly moved on. Philadelphia-based drummer Mike Lang currently works as a political activist and is heavily involved in job training for the poor and underprivileged, though he still occasionally drums on the side. Former singer Dave Saltzman now works as a film producer in New York City, but is no longer involved in rock music.
Denfeld cites growing up and entering the workforce as the reason for the band’s split.
“When we moved away it wasn’t that the band moved on or we had bad feelings, it’s just that we weren’t in the same place,” he says. “In the end Hijack Jupiter was very much a Syracuse band.”
— Eric Vilas-Boas