Ever wondered what happened to Mother Load, one of the local scene’s most significant bands?
It seemed as though the powerhouse punk rock trio kind of just dropped out of sight.
Well, it did. Last June, after six years together, Mother Load’s three members - drummer Brian Parnell, guitarist/vocalist Scott Kellog and bassist/vocalist Willy Dringit (a.k.a. Geof) - parted ways. They didn’t make a big fuss over their breakup; they didn’t even stage a farewell show.
Perhaps Mother Load’s reunion at Ichabod’s North on New Year’s Eve will mark an appropriate goodbye.
Even though the band still had a lot of mileage left in its music, 1995 was time for Mother Load to retire its unique herky-jerky, brawny, poploaded sound.
“It was just time to move on,” said Parnell. “For myself, I’ve never been gung ho that I wanted the band to be my life. It was a part of my life. I think that goes for the others.”
The last year had a lot to do with Mother Load’s split. The three, who endured a number of setbacks and missed opportunities throughout their career, suffered perhaps the most serious blows last year.
First, after shelling out more than $2,000 to record its second album, the band’s label, eMpTy Records in Seattle, decided against releasing it. The same thing happened with the band’s first album, “Buck Toothed Dream,” which ended up coming out on a local label.
“We never really got a lot of support or interest from eMpTy,” Parnell recalled. “We did our end of it. We played music and we wrote songs and we tried to tour as much as we could.”
The other occurrence that left Mother Load’s future in question was Kellog’s sudden move to Portland last fall. While he was away, the band only played once. (Appropriately, it was a reunion show last New Year’s Eve.)
“When Scott moved to Portland, it sort of gave Geof and I a period of time to start thinking about being a little more serious about getting our own lives back together … getting out of debt … getting something else going,” said Parnell.
Kellog rejoined Mother Load in March but the band only lasted a couple more months. After that, Kellog moved back to Portland, Parnell left for Seattle and Dringit headed to Alaska. And that was the end of Mother Load.
And, most of the world will never hear the veteran punk band. Too bad, because the unit really brought an interesting element to the Northwest punk scene. Mother Load had a distinctive sound, a restless drive noted for unpredictable shifts and quirky hooks.
Many of the band’s releases, including the three songs on the new Spokane punk compilation “Lie Lack City,” will attest to this. Although, Parnell feels the best Mother Load songs haven’t been released.
“All the recordings have a place in my heart,” he deadpanned. “None of them really nail down what the band was about. Unfortunately, most of the things I like were never released, like the Seattle stuff.”
That “stuff” was originally intended to be the band’s second album.
So will Sunday’s show be the last Spokane will ever hear of Mother Load?
“I don’t know that I will ever consider us broken up,” Parnell said. “We’ll probably end up getting together once or twice a year. I hope one day we’ll all be in the same city again.”
Four bands, Florida’s Less Than Jake and Spokane’s Flies, Big Comb and Crudlers, will also be on the bill. Showtime’s 8 p.m. The cover is $5.
Elsewhere in the night
Roadside Prophets, Ball of Destruction and Blood Blue play Outback Jack’s tonight. Music starts at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Outback Jack’s has Portland’s Waterman’s Hollow on stage with Never Man and Mike’s Pleasure. Show’s at 9:30 p.m.
Former Spokane resident Cristopher Lucas, a singer/songwriter most recently from New York, will bring his one-man, acoustic show to Mother’s Pub on Saturday, Outback Jack’s on Tuesday and the Happy Hour in Coeur d’Alene on Thursday.
Lucas has released three tapes, “Riding The Stick Horse Trail,” “Playing The Fool” and “Bye, Bye July.”