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An enthusiastic local crowd says goodbye to Klein and Atomic Raygun Attack at the band's final show in 2009.
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BY RYAN BROSMER
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Eric Klein moved from a California farm to Fredericksburg at 14. During and after his time at Chancellor High School, he ran the one-time nexus for underground music in this city: FredRock .org. He also played in more bands than he can count, including Kamikaze Escape Plan, Jeff Mullins Band and Atomic Raygun Attack.
So what is he doing now?
In 2009, Klein left town and has been on the move ever since. He traveled to New York and hopped a plane to Thailand on Sept. 11 of that year and spent 14 months traveling the world. All told, he has spent only a couple of weeks in Fredericksburg in the past three years.
"I can't find any compelling reason to stay," he said.
In April 2011, Klein married longtime girlfriend and traveling partner Kyde Marshall. They moved to Japan just after the devastating earthquake and tsunami so Marshall could teach English. And so Klein was gone again. They plan to stay put at least till spring.
"Traveling the world has taught us that everything works out," Marshall said of their spur-of-the-moment adventures.
It also taught them that other cultures can taste different. Their trips are well-documented at kydeand eric.com, and they regularly post short YouTube videos that highlight the idiosyncrasies of their adopted hometown, Kumagaya. Their channel has nearly 900 subscribers.
Of particular note are their food reviews, which mainly consist of specialized fast-food offerings you will never see in the U.S. Case in point: the BK Ringo Burger, a cheeseburger topped with mayo and a spiced, grilled apple that they found at a Japanese Burger King. Perhaps you will want to wash that down with Salty Watermelon Pepsi. Or not.
Klein was once even more popular for his music.
Despite strong followings for many of his bands, it was with Atomic Raygun Attack that Klein gained a cult following in Fredericksburg and beyond. He played bass alongside Clint Winfrey on guitar and Andy Breivik on drums.
Between 2003 and 2009, the band played a clever, humor-laden brand of pop-punk that packed community centers, libraries, and other small venues for crowds singing along to every word. The band practiced and recorded at Klein's Spotsylvania home, and all of their music was released and is still available free online.