Don Kuchta wasn't burned out after playing some 500 gigs over eight years with the rock band Klatch. Quite the opposite.
"Oh, yeah, I'll do it till I can't," Kuchta said of performing. "I'm not one of those guys who like to sit in the basement jamming. I like performing."
He'll get his wish with a new band, Lobster Adoption, playing tonight and Saturday at Mort's in Old Town, a place favored by local musicians for its lively and highly visible patio scene.
Kuchta put together the band with the idea of taking a slightly mellower, more alternative approach than Klatch had employed.
He describes the band as two guys in their 40s — himself on guitar and Don Hamer on drums — and two guys in their 20s, bassist Dan Rivers and singer-guitarist Mark Graves. Kuchta met Graves through church and Rivers, a veteran of Third Hill, through a post-Klatch project that didn't quite click.
"He's just fun to play with," Kuchta said of Rivers. And, apparently, to concoct band names with.
"To be honest, I can't remember how we came up with it," Kuchta said of Lobster Adoption's name. "The one thing we wanted was to sound like a fun band. We're not trying to be rock stars."
Rivers agrees, while poking a little fun at his band elders.
"The two Dons are the older guys. They'll bring in these older songs that Mark and I are like, 'What?' But it works out great."
Hamer's most recent band was 30 Days Free while Graves, Kuchta said, "definitely gives us a more college band approach."
Lobster Adoption will delve into Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sublime, John Mayer, some "off-the-beaten-path stuff" like the Animal Liberation Orchestra (a side project of Jack Johnson) and Red Dirt country artists such as Cross Canadian Ragweed.
"We have a tendency to go for alternate versions of popular songs," Kuchta said.
But Lobster Adoption will also rock, he promised.
"We're throwing in some old stuff," he said. "We do a rocked-up version of 'Africa' by Toto. And we'll throw in a few party songs like 'Smokin' in the Boys Room.' "
Kuchta should know what works. Before Klatch, he was with Gee Wally, another band that worked steadily.
Down the road, he'd like to see Lobster Adoption record a CD of originals and incorporate those songs into its act. For now, though, "I'm more concerned with building our show up first. We've been trying to add a couple songs a week. I'm never opposed to dropping a song and moving on. In the last year I've probably learned 120 cover songs."
And he's ready to put them to use. Next weekend, the band has gigs scheduled at the Brickyard and Pumphouse, other popular Old Town nightspots.
"I'm looking forward to playing a lot again," Kuchta said. "It's going to be a blast."
If you go
What: Local pop-rock band
Where: Mort's Cigar Bar, 923 E. First St.
When: 9 p.m. Fri.-Sat.