Recurring Theme of Failure
'I am the greatest songwriter that anyone will ever hear.' I look across the ever-growing horizon of empty beer-bottles on our little table. None of these bottles, save two, are my fault. I look over, and into the face of Travis Gerke, to see if this is the prelude to some sort of joke. But in a distracted sort of monotone, he continues; 'I am sorry if you write songs. Or if you know someone who writes songs. And I apologize to this guy,' (here he nods towards the stage, where an act all here have subconsciously written off as mediocre at best, drones on). 'and yet I'm not even sure what I'm sorry for. Should I really be sorry that no one is better than me?' Here, I do catch the slightest of grins. As he stands to take the stage he tells me, 'You're a writer. Write me a bio and i'll buy you a beer.' Travis Gerke is the man behind 'The Labors of Sisyphus.' In 2001, he was fresh off of a national tour with the Sloppy Meateaters - with whom he had earned spots on the USA network and Warped Tour, and shared the stage with the likes of NOFX, Saves the Day, MxPx; even Eminem and Destiny's Child - when he decided to leave the pop-punk world behind. In August of 2002, the Labors of Sisyphus released it's debut full-length, 'A Recurring Theme of Failure,' to a whirlwind of support from the independent market. His sound has been described as 'Dashboard Confessional without the over the top vocals...Red House Painters turned up a notch...a more accessible Jeremy Enigk...Onelinedrawing with more impassioned vocals.' Travis further honed his lyrical mastery and signature baritone in 2004 with the release of his brutally honest EP, 'Two Points, a Cast, and the Whore.' Never one to rest, tracks have already begun to emerge from his upcoming full-length, 'The Greatest Salesman,' which will undoubtedly raise the bar for the craft of storytelling in song. Presently, Travis finishes his set, and I believe I may have been holding my breath. I now notice the silence that has lingered over the crowd, as they too draw breaths and again begin to speak. I cannot say that I will hold Travis' audacious claim against him. If he will not be the greatest, who will? I do know this: he owes me a beer. -Collin Aspen.