The Exploding Hearts

The Exploding Hearts were an influential American punk rock and power pop band formed in Portland, Oregon, United States, in 2001. The band was composed of vocalist/guitarist Adam Cox, bassist Matt Fitzgerald, guitarist Terry Six, and drummer Jeremy Gage.[1]

The Exploding Hearts
The Exploding Hearts. Left to right: Adam Cox, Jeremy Gage, Matt Fitzgerald, Terry Six
The Exploding Hearts. Left to right: Adam Cox, Jeremy Gage, Matt Fitzgerald, Terry Six
Background information
OriginPortland, Oregon, United States
GenresPunk rock, power pop
Years active2001–2003
LabelsVinyl Warning, Pelado, Screaming Apple, Dirtnap
Associated actsThe Nice Boys, The Iguanas
Past membersAdam Cox (deceased)
Matt Fitzgerald (deceased)
Terry Six
Jeremy Gage (deceased)
King Louie Bankston
Jim Evans
Matt Bunza

Shortly after the release of their debut studio album, Guitar Romantic, Cox, Fitzgerald, and Gage were killed in a car accident on July 20, 2003, after which the band ceased to exist.[1]


The band rose to prominence in the US Pacific Northwest scene shortly after they formed in 2001. The band drew influences from early British punk bands such as The Undertones, Buzzcocks, The Clash, The Jam, The Boys and The Only Ones, as well as power pop acts like Nick Lowe.[1]

The Exploding Hearts led a revival of 1970s-era power pop and new wave in the Seattle and Portland area along with bands like The Briefs and the Epoxies on the then-Seattle-based Dirtnap Records. Their combination of punk rock and power pop influenced melodies and their energetic live shows brought them attention on the West Coast and from magazines such as Maximumrocknroll and Shredding Paper, which featured them on their covers.[2] They released their debut studio album, Guitar Romantic, in April 2003.

July 2003 accidentEdit

On July 20, 2003, the band was headed home to Portland on Interstate 5 after having played at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. It is believed that Fitzgerald, who was driving, fell asleep and lost control of their van near Eugene, Oregon. Cox, 23, and Gage, 21, were thrown from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene and Fitzgerald, 20, died at a hospital. Guitarist Terry Six, 21, and manager Rachell Ramos, 35, sustained only minor injuries.[2][3] The band disbanded in the aftermath of the accident.

A compilation album was released by Dirtnap Records in 2006. In 2009, their song "Modern Kicks" was listed as the 290th greatest song of the decade,[4] and their album Guitar Romantic deemed the 60th best album of the decade by Pitchfork Media.[5]

Post-Exploding Hearts projectsEdit

Terry Six joined former members of the Portland-based band The Riffs, Gabe Lageson, Colin Jarrell, Alan Mansfieldwent, and established the Portland-based power pop band, The Nice Boys. They released a 7" single on Discourage Records entitled "You Won't See Me Anymore" b/w "Lipstick Love" and a S/T full-length album on Birdman Records.



  • Guitar Romantic (CD/LP, 2003): The LP was released on Screaming Apple Records with an initial pressing of 1000. The CD was released on Dirtnap Records on March 24, 2003 with an initial pressing of 2300.
  • Shattered (CD, 2006): This Dirtnap Records CD is a compilation of all of the Hearts' singles, including their unreleased final recordings. There is also a five-song video collection of live performances from the band's second to final show at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco.


  • "(Making) Teenage Faces" (2002): Single release on Vinyl Warning Records with an initial press of 200 white and 300 black vinyl. The b-side is "Your Shadow". A second pressing of 500 on black vinyl was also made. The planned third pressing (which was to have a different cover) was canceled after the accident.
  • "Modern Kicks" (2003): The single version is different from the version on the full-length album. The single was released on Pelado Records in a pressing of 700 black, 200 mixed colors. The b-side is "Busy Signals"
  • " I'm a Pretender" (2003): Was also released on Pelado Records


  • Dirtnap Across the Northwest (2003): This Dirtnap Records label compilation featured The Exploding Hearts' cover of FU2's song "Sniffin' Glue."


  • Original Demo (2001): Unreleased three song demo recorded with original drummer Matt Bunza. Contains as yet unreleased versions of “So Bored” and “Black and Blue.” The band's cover of the Paul Collins' Beat’s “Walkin out on Love” was recorded as part of this.
  • The Pink Demo (2002): Unreleased five song demo, recorded with engineer Pat Kearns. Most of these songs were later released on Shattered, although the demo does contain an as yet unreleased version of “Still Crazy.”

Their song "Your Shadow" is featured in the EA skateboarding video game Skate.


A documentary film is currently in production and is scheduled for a 2019 release.


  1. ^ a b c Wade Kergan (2003-07-20). "The Exploding Hearts | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-09-30. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b "Death in the Family - City - Portland Mercury". Retrieved 30 August 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ " - Adam Cox, Matt Fitzgerald, and Jeremy Gage of the Exploding Hearts". Retrieved 30 August 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Pitchfork: Staff Lists: The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s: 500-201". Retrieved 30 August 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Pitchfork: Staff Lists: The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 100-51". Retrieved 30 August 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit