What: The Romantics, with Wave State, Autonomics

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Drake Park, 777 NW Riverside Blvd., Bend

Cost: Free

Contact: munchandmusic.com

The fourth paragraph of Detroit power-pop band The Romantics’ online biography is pretty on-the-nose:

“Wally Palmar, Jimmy Marinos, Mike Skill and Rich Cole — the original Romantics — were tough kids escaping hard work, probably in machine shops or factories, but they weren’t punks. They were a response to the nihilism of the U.K. punks.”

This idea is readily apparent in the band’s biggest hits, “What I Like About You” and “Talking in Your Sleep,” and indeed most of the songs in the band’s ’80s ­oeuvre — energetic blasts of upbeat, classic-sounding rock ’n’ roll that emphasized the joy, rather than anger, apparent in bashing away at three chords.

But the Detroit scene that would eventually birth The Romantics, with bands such as The Stooges, The MC5 and Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels, was often just as nihilistic as the early U.K. punk movement. The band’s bio lists these groups as key influences before its seeming rejection of punk from across the pond.

Songwriter, guitarist, bassist and co-founder Mike Skill saw these similarities firsthand before The Romantics even formed. But the band, which kicks off the 28th Munch & Music concert series in Drake Park on Thursday, didn’t so much reject nihilism as stay true to its members’ roots, he said.

“We just didn’t want to, coming with all the influences we had, (focus on) the negative part,” he said recently from his home in Portland, where he has lived with his family since the early ’80s.

“There was a lot of angst and people pissed off, and that came out in the music,” he continued. “… We’d go to New York and try to see as many bands — The New York Dolls, and Tuff Darts and Ramones and Television — and go back to Detroit and spit that stuff out. We just didn’t want to be — The Jam and all that stuff; I loved that stuff. But to us, it would have been kind of phony if we were trying to do something that we weren’t feeling, so we were just doing what we were feeling at the time. It’s not that we were against it; we weren’t against what they were saying or doing. In fact, it influenced my playing, pounding the guitar, hitting the guitar hard.”

Skill, who wrote or co-wrote most of the band’s songs including, “What I Like About You” and “Talking in Your Sleep,” has now come full circle on his first solo release, the single “67 Riot.” As the title suggests, the song tackles the 1967 Detroit race riot, in which 43 were killed over five days of fighting between black protesters and police.

“It’s just something that my voice was in it from living there at the time — 12, 13 years old and seeing the National Guard in the streets and the turmoil that led up to it,” Skill said. “Kind of stuff that’s still there. There’s still kind of a segregation there — I don’t want to say segregation, but everyone still lives in separate areas. It’s something that’s going on everywhere, but it was magnified at the time. And you know, unfortunately some of that stuff still goes on.”

The song, released last year, followed a series of singles — mostly influential covers of rock classics such as “I Fought the Law,” “Daydream Believer” and “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” — released by The Romantics through K-Tel, known for its series of “as seen on TV” compilation albums in the ’60s and ’70s. The songs are the first material the band has released since 2003’s comeback album “61/49,” which also came after a long layoff in the late ’80s and early ’90s, due in part to a lawsuit the band brought against its former managers for misappropriating profits.

The new singles are also the first to feature core founding members Skill, bassist Cole and frontman Palmar since the band’s second album, 1980’s “National Breakout.” (Current drummer Brad Elvis joined in 2004, replacing Blondie’s Clem Burke, who replaced Marinos in 1984.) The reunion with Cole occurred in 2010, followed shortly by longtime guitarist Coz Canler’s departure and Skill’s return to guitar. Here’s where things get somewhat tricky for the uninitiated: Skill left the band in 1981, and Canler was hired as his replacement; when Cole left in 1982, Skill returned as bassist and stayed on the instrument until Cole’s return.

“In the early days, I was gonna play bass, and no one wanted to play the simple, straight-ahead Kinks, Beatles, Stones sound,” Skill said. “FM radio had become bogged down with progressive rock pretty much, and that’s what led to the whole punk-new wave thing, because everyone was thinking of melodies and harmonies and minor chords and shorter songs. So it was simplicity, and so I was a very simple, basic guitar player — melodies in my head and minor chords and all that. Now I’ve progressed. I still have the same attack … but my catalog and my writing and playing is extended. We’re just like grown-up versions of what we were.”

Skill said the band may release more cover-song singles, which will eventually be compiled into an album tentatively titled “Up From the Rubble.” The band, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, is also “starting to think about what’s next,” including an album of original material that could follow in the heavy, blues-rock vein of “61/49” and “67 Riot,” Skill said.

“Once you’re connected — we never had any kind of animosity against each other, it was more management and outside forces,” Skill said of the band’s longevity and its protracted legal woes. “… As far as them keeping money that we were supposed to get is pretty much what it was, publishing and all that stuff. And yeah, it makes you go, ‘Damn.’ But you know what, I don’t know. We never felt like we should have got something we didn’t deserve. It’s never been perfectly smooth going. It’s always been running at a good pace, but it was never like, you got your money now and you can sit back.”

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