Active at the end of the pre-internet era, the original incarnation of the country-rock outfit Copstache retains an air of mystery to this day. Active in and around central Illinois in the mid 1990s they build their notoriety by playing politically-charged songs at high speed and high volume in venues where, in retrospect, everyone probably would have been much happier with another .38 Special cover band. It was the frat-house dive-bar circuit. No tickets were sold, no journalists ever came to their shows, and nobody who was there was ever sober enough to give much of an account of the proceedings.

Documentation is scarce. Copstache never even sniffed a record deal and it wasn’t yet the era where two mics and laptop was all you needed to call yourself a recording studio. Some demos were apparently cut in a campus radio station, but the former band members disagree on which university*. Instead, the story of Copstache is told in whispers, rumors, tall-tales and battle scars, cigarette burns potholed across the upholstery of an old van, half-forgotten remembrances of a wild night at the rock show.

This page was originally started as tribute to that band, but since that time Jeff Klemens and Jason Bookman have (with approval) taken on the Copstache mantle as the name for their current, Philadelphia-based, project. Jeff and Jed Walker*, frontman for the original, met in 1997, and we’ll put that story up on the band webpage when we get the chance. To add to the confusion, Jeff performed as Jed Walker for a couple of years in the country covers band Rowhome on the Range. You’ll see some evidence of that if at the beginning of our timeline.

* If by some miracle you are reading this and you do have any recordings of the original Copstache, in any format and of any quality, please do get in touch with us through this page!