Rooting for duckPuppy

Drummer Simon Eyles, bass player Zac Lloyd-Zantiosis, guitarist Tim Crutchett, guitarist and lead singer Sheldon Holmes and manager Guy Sherlock of the Australian band duckPuppy pose in the Kitsap Mall for a pic.

On Sunday I met a rock band I had never heard of, but now without fear of shedding my journalistic impartiality I will say that I am really rooting for these guys to make it big. Maybe to them “making it big” means something different than what it does to me, so I’ll restate my wishes for them. I hope these guys get whatever happiness they want. Frankly I suppose I wish that for everyone, but now especially these guys.

When I learned Colton Harris-Moore had been caught and believing that some local perspective might be in order, I decided to travel to Poulsbo to talk to boaters, then to Bremerton to talk to flyers. In between I hoped to speak to a younger set with neither boat nor plane to shade their views of a guy some considered a folk hero of sorts. I figured people about the Barefoot Bandit’s age would be most likely to be sympathetic to him. Finding them could happen at Olympic College, but it as Sunday, so I went to Kitsap Mall.

After talking to a couple of younger folks, I spotted five casual guys wandering through, seeming in no hurry. “Interview prey” I determined. They agreed to stop and chat when I told them about the bandit, but only two said they knew who he was. One of them explained to the others and it then at least one more recalled the story. The guy explaining it, Sheldon Holmes, had an accent you don’t hear much in these parts. I asked him where he was from. He told me Australia, that he was here on holiday.

Holmes’ comments are in the story. After a few minutes Guy Sherlock (Seriously, there is both a Sherlock and a Holmes) told Holmes he should be talking about the band.

Sherlock is the manager/driver/baby sitter for the group duckPuppy, a rock band made of members who saved their own money to finance their own U.S. tour. Heard of them? Don’t feel bad, they tell you. No one here has. And yet they are five weeks into a seven-week tour that started in the Viper Room in Los Angeles, took them to New York City and now gets a show Wednesday in Seattle. They’re getting another show at the Viper before they head home. Sure, they want a record deal. But rather than waiting around to get a label to finance a trip, they decided to raise their own money and pay for the tour themselves.

They were in Bremerton because all the hotels in Seattle were booked. But they weren’t showing any disappointment. Zac Lloyd-Zantiotis, the band’s bass player, brought up that MxPx is from here. He said he met that band’s lead singer Mike Herrera in Australia, but just as a fan so the meeting was brief. I told them about Death Cab for Cutie‘s lead singer being from here. Lloyd-Zantiotis said he met him, too, but none of us could instantly recall his name. I remembered that he’s married to Zooey Deschanel, the actress/singer. “Josh something” one of them said.

Nope. Benjamin Gibbard. Sorry, Ben. I hope the fact that I like your stuff makes up for it. I’ll legally download “What Sarah Said” as penance.

Wednesday the lads from Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, Australia will be playing at the Funhouse with the Shining Skulls, a band that promotes itself as a cure for emo. The band’s bass player, Jordan Cassidy, is from Kitsap, so I’ll start rooting for them, too.

I wish I could say I was going to the show Wednesday, but instead I’ll be watching the live performance of the Bremerton City Council and the Port of Bremerton commissioners, who will be performing together at the Norm. Lucky me, eh.

The guys from duckPuppy were all very nice and I have a world of admiration for their willingness to not wait for the world to come tell them when they can go on tour. I once knew a guy who went to Europe with his guitar and said he was going to play in the streets wherever he could and stay as long as possible. I don’t think my car’s gas tank needed refilling before he came back home. He said it was awful. These guys seem to be having a great time, coming over here with few expectations other than to enjoy the experience the tour offers them.

The journey is costing them each about $5,000, but for the rest of their lives they can tell everyone they once toured America. And that seems to be the point.

Lloyd-Zantiotis caps the video that follows with dreamer talk. “So I’m just going to chase it as long as I can, until I don’t have the choice and I have to make some grown-up decisions.”

4 thoughts on “Rooting for duckPuppy

  1. Nice kids…right now they’re where they want to be – they made it happen…. my wish is that they always make it so..

  2. Steven — You said, “Sure, they want a record deal. But rather than waiting around to get a label to finance a trip, they decided to raise their own money and pay for the tour themselves.”

    I spent 10 years in the music business and can tell you that record companies may front the money for a tour, but they deduct every nickel of it from future royalties. The musicians eventually pay for everything themselves.

    Unfortunately, most musicians are so excited to get a deal that they never even read the contracts they sign. The contracts are fair in a business sense, the labels do provide a lot of value, but the players might choose to stay in a Motel 6 instead of a Four Seasons if they knew it was going to come out of their pockets.

    Just sayin’.

  3. Biff, I have no doubt what you’re saying is true. I just think getting it deducted from future royalties is a lot different than saving up your own money and creating your own tour.

    Steven Gardner
    Sun staffer

  4. Steven — Absolutely. Sorry if I didn’t make my point. I think it’s great that these guys spent their own money to finance a U.S. tour. Sounds like they are making reasonable choices with their own money. A return gig at the Viper Room means they must have put on a good show… lots of industry people will be on hand for round two. I wish them luck.

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