plays the Vaudeville Mews on Aug. 17 at
9:30 p.m. $5.
They’re a band with a sound that passed out
of the mainstream consciousness 15 years ago.
They don’t play live often enough to get the
“local institution” moniker, and they aren’t
popular enough to warrant playing any more shows
than they do. That suits the members of Squidboy
“I’m not going to make what I think is a compromise
just to get over,” said guitarist Tim Beachy.
Regardless of where you live, local music is
a tough row to hoe. Ask any musician, regardless
of age or musical style, and he or she will
tell you stories about shows played for nothing
in front of nobody. Every band understands the
frustrations and hardships that come with making
music. Band in-fighting, external politics and
the natural wear-and-tear of long hours and
long miles spent in close quarters with the
same four people are all things that conspire
against band longevity.
So for a band to have endured for as long as
Squidboy has without experiencing sustained
commercial success speaks to the passion these
guys have for their sound and for the friendships
that bonded them together in the first place.
Squidboy — comprised of Beachy, lead vocalist
Eric Kennedy, drummer Craig Jensen and bassist
“Roly” Koenen — celebrates its 20th year of
existence with a show at the Vaudeville Mews
on Friday, Aug. 17. Talking to Squidboy’s members
about how the past two decades have unfolded
is an interesting autopsy.
Squidboy started out just as the grunge scene
was exploding from the Pacific Northwest. The
band’s rock/punk amalgam seemed to fit with
the Melvins-descended sound of bands like Nirvana
and Mudhoney, and it appeared for a time that
success was inevitable.
“I remember sending out tapes,” recalled Beachy.
“And the first phone call we ever got was from
Geffen Records. There were a couple of calls
like that from Geffen that seemed promising
but never really went anywhere.”
While the Seattle sound would carry on through
more polished bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden,
the grunge scene ostensibly died when Kurt Cobain
did in 1994. Effectively, this made Squidboy
something of an anachronism before they had
even compiled their current lineup. But for
a band weaned on influences for which success
was an afterthought, that was no big deal.
“When we signed with Allied, grunge was pretty
much dead by that point already,” said Kennedy.
“I don’t think we ever had ambitions like ‘we’re
going to headline Lollapalooza’ or anything,
but we hoped to build up a core group of fans
that would come out and see us.”
“There was frustration (over not making it big),”
added Beachy. “But I remember arguing with an
ex-band member… and my thing was, ‘look at all
our favorite bands. Most of these guys aren’t
full-time musicians.’ That’s the bands we (emulated).
It was always sort of underground.”
While other local bands have achieved greater
and wider-reaching success, Squidboy has quietly
released three albums in its history, with enough
solid material to fill out a fourth in the near
future. Life and families have encroached steadily
further into the group’s playing time as the
years have gone by, but Squidboy has carried
on, fueled — as all good bands are — more by
camaraderie than dreams of success.
“I think we’re all at a point where we play
enough that we still enjoy it,” said Kennedy.
“It’s never become something that we have to
“There have been peaks and valleys,” added Jensen.
“But I’ve never gotten to that point where I’ve
said, ‘I’m done.’ We’re just all kind of buds.”
“And that’s the biggest part of it,” said Beachy
in conclusion. “There’s not three guys that
I’d rather hang out with than these three guys.”