Let’s face it. Mainstream rock ‘n’ roll is at the mercy of industry trends. Always has been, always will be.
Fortunately, there are plenty of underground bands ignoring what corporate rock and MTV dictate as hip and cool, and churning out music that defies trends.
Spokane’s The Makers is certainly one of those groups.
The band, which formed about four years ago under the moniker The Haymakers, plays a record release party for its second long player, “All-Night Riot!!,” tonight at the Big Dipper.
The Makers, stuck in a 1960s time warp, dredges up a style of raw and unbridled music that has been all but forgotten: garage rock. The band doesn’t play what’s considered garage rock by today’s standard. No, we’re talking feisty garage music reminiscent, though more volatile than that of the Animals, Them and the Sonics.
Like those groups, the band performs with matching costumes, vintage equipment and lots of attitude.
Most of the band’s recordings, including its debut “Howl” and numerous other EPs and singles, were recorded in nothing but low-fi, monophonic sound, and are always made available on vinyl. Now that’s authentic.
To top it off, the band treks from show to show in a black 1960 Pontiac Bonneville hearse, which was recently injured by a hapless deer near Memphis, Tenn.
In other words, The Makers - vocalist Mike Maker, bassist Don Maker, drummer Jay Maker and guitarist Tim Maker (they’re all brothers but Mike and Don are the only ones related by blood) - is the ultimate in cool.
The band is also notorious for getting into a little trouble here and there. Somehow, sometimes, minor misunderstandings between the band and the audience or a promoter escalate into large brawls at shows.
Hence, the reputation - hip and unpredictable - follows the group everywhere it goes.
In Spokane, The Makers’ popularity was slow to build.
Early on, the band had difficulty getting shows. When it did, the group was stuck opening for three or four other bands.
According to Don Maker, the most the band was ever paid for its efforts was a mere $33.
“We played a long time before anyone would go to our shows,” said Mike Maker.
“They’d sell out San Francisco before they could even get a gig in Spokane,” said Vic Mostly, manager of The Makers, and the older brother of Mike and Don.