power pop - it's all about the songs



By late 1991, Chris and his brother, Sean (drums) were tiring of playing cover material six or seven nights a week and continued planning the formation of a band focused on doing original songs exclusively.  This was something they had experimented with previously, slipping a song or two into their cover sets here and there with some success.  However, the audience at the dance clubs and pickup bars were not ideal for original material, especially material with a progressive leaning.  The crowds at those clubs wanted to hear what they had heard a million times before.  

So, by 1991, the quest was on to find a lead singer for this band which focused on hard rock originals with a progressive bent.  This proved to be a frustrating endeavor as many auditioned fancied themselves singers yet could not quite make the grade - either tastelessly over-singing the material or, in some cases, being unable to project strongly enough.  Just getting to rehearsals was a common problem (you know, starving artists can't afford to drive cars).  

The solution to this vexing quest came quite naturally one day in the living room of their mother's home in Olympia.  With Chris strumming and singing some Beatles songs on an acoustic guitar, Sean joined in and within a matter of about thirty minutes they discovered they could do this sort of vocal harmony with great ease.  Also, this style of singing would fit the new-found hook-laden power pop style that the band was beginning to lean toward.  This also eliminated the need for another band member, beyond that of a bass guitarist who could provide a third harmony when needed.  Not many power trios had this many layers of sound and this made Lund Bros unique.  After auditioning several bass player candidates at their rehearsal digs (Grandma Nell's basement in North Tacoma), the brothers chose Don Allen to be the right fit.  Don eagerly joined the band, showing his enthusiasm by making t-shirts and taking on some of the load putting together promotional material and booking gigs.  

At this point they were still using the name Kingsfoil to maintain the following they had maintained in the many years before.  Recall, that this was before the internet's saturation and it was harder for fans to keep track of band's that changed their name.


Their first demo/album actually turned out to be a 6 song self-produced EP of all original material written by Chris.  This was issued later on as the Loving Cup release.    The songs were mixed and tracked by Mike Tortorello at Triad Studios in Redmond.  This was a much more laid-back and fun experience than their previous studio experience at Crow - Chris and Sean had learned a few things this time around and Mike actually seemed to care about the way things turned out.  The songs were eclectic stylistically, from the all out metal of Smash Your TV (with a psychedelic violin bowed guitar section in the middle), to the complete Beatles/Rembrandts pop of Man of Your Dreams (with a completely new arrangement), the AOR rock feel of Mind's Eye, and a delicate acoustic ballad, I'll Be There.  This first CD included all the elements of what was to come, but in more disparate and raw form.  The performances are a a little green here with Chris' first efforts as a lead vocalist and a minimum of vocal and instrumental overdubbing - with the exception of Mind's Eye (which had more multi-tracked guitars).  

This first effort was good enough to land them a record label deal in 1995 with a Michigan label named SVR which was known for it's success in the 60s with garage rock bands (a la the Sonics).  The label targeted a song which the band had recorded and funded at Steve Bean's, T-Town Recorders in North Tacoma.  The song was Ride, which many years later turned up with a new mix and new tracking on the Lund Bros Songbook IV.  They managed to get Ride to chart in the Midwest, but after two years with very little support from the label or other promotion, the Lund Bros opted out of the deal.  


Sometime in late 96', the Lund Bros had played a gig at St. Martin's College and the fellow running sound, Steve Wold, was blown away by the Lund's vocal harmonies and song writing abilities - which he thought to be uncannily like the Beatles.  Steve had some major label connections at Geffen Records and was totally convinced he could get them signed.  He was so sure that he had the band sign a contract taking 10% for himself!  Steve arranged for Geffen to pay for recording sessions at his studio, Moon, in downtown Olympia and rushed the band through two or three short sessions to cut a demo, which would then be sent to Geffen A&R man, Ray Farrell.  

Several months later:   

It wasn't long before their first full-length record, Loser, was cobbled together with a collection of Geffen Records spec deal out-takes and other material the band had recorded at Ironwood, Triad and Hanzek Studios in Seattle.  You see, Geffen had just passed on the band with  A&R man Ray Farrell stating they "sound too much like the Beatles" while engineer Steve Wold (aka Seasick Steve) bemoaned, "Ray, you're not getting it".  The band didn't mind sounding like the Beatles at all and took it as a compliment, though the deal with Geffen didn't happen.   

However, the basic tracks that Geffen paid for proved to be an excellent foundation for adding additional tracking to fully fill out the songs.  Chris had insisted all along that the demos should be further fleshed out before submission to the record label, but Steve wouldn't have it, insisting they be kept "live" sounding.  Probably because Steve had assisted the Murder City Devils in getting a deal the band took his word for it - another rock and roll lesson here.   Right or wrong, the band had the start of their first official album.   

It should be noted that two of the tracks recorded at Hanzek and written by Chris were engineered by Posies member Ken Stringfellow, who had a tireless work ethic (15 hour sessions) but didn't quite capture the band's stripped down sound.  On top of that, the band's performances were not quite up to par.  And, it didn't help that the vocals were cut at the end of a 15 hour session at 5:00 in the morning.  Ken attempted to get some label connections at Mercury and elsewhere interested in the 2-track demo, but in retrospect, the band were not surprised interest did not materialize based on the recording and performances of those two tracks. 

However, the Loser album stands tall overall and really defined the band's style.  There were some new developments as well.  Sean had made his songwriting debut on this album, writing and singing lead on the three songs he contributed to the album.  Don had also contributed a song to the record.  It seemed natural to have whoever authored the song provide the lead vocal.  This would also make for a more diverse sound when moving from track to track on complete listens.  This actually brought the style more in to focus than ever, tilting things toward 3, or at most 4 minute chunks of power and hooks.  Perhaps the  best tracks were the now remixed Geffen tracks such as In My Hands and Come On, along with the tracks the band funded, recorded and produced at Triad and Ironwood.  The album had one critic citing production "like the Beatles' Revolver album".  The latter, such as Birthdays, Enjoy the Fire, 19 Digits, and Kick Me, are strong representations of the band's evolving production values. 

1997 was a great year for the band in several ways.  That year Lund Bros were in the final four of 1997's Best Independent NW Band Competition.  This was sponsored by Discmaker's, the go-to for music and media production and manufacturing.  The final four show was an appearance on the big stage at the ShoBox with many industry people and fans in the audience.  

Also, the Lund Bros got a lot of local TV air time and exposure via Dwayne and Hazel Howe's, Rock Hard Television.  In addition to using the band's songs, New Horizons and Big Deal respectively, as their outro and intro show themes, this TV show featured numerous videos and interviews with the band.  Three of note were a raw video of the Steve Bean recorded Enjoy the Fire, which was rerecorded at Ironwood (now Avast) and turned up on the Loser record, a video of the Queen/Byrds influenced I'll Be There, and a video of Chris performing, the Lesson (a song he'd written about Mary Kay Latourneau that appears on the 2008 Tangent's record).

Their second release, 2001's International Pop Overthrow (hereafter referred to as IPO) was a real fan favorite with great production by Jonathan Plum (thanks for all the cool delays Jon!).  In the words of one who attempted to market the album, respected singer songwriter Joseph Lee Wood, "every song is a hit"!  However, the band's surety of success and that of their fans was not rewarded. Though there were some excellent reviews from around the world, there was to be no record deal.  Ironically, one of the songs on the album was called Big Deal, which Chris wrote as a sarcastic tongue in cheek critique of the music industries shark-filled waters.  Perhaps for these reasons, to this day, Chris remains disgusted by the music "BUSINESS" and no longer attempts to cater to it - or, perhaps never did.

From this point on the Bros decided that the making of their music would be strictly their domain and would be done exclusively for their own artistic pleasure.  Making it "big" would no longer be on the to-do list.  After all these ups, downs, and near-misses, frustration was starting to take it's toll.  Perhaps due only to a consistent work ethic, the band was kept off the shoals of complete disintegration and disillusionment.

The next two albums reflected the prolific songwriting abilities of both brothers, with each contributing about half the songs to the records.  There were now so many songs that they couldn't fit all the good stuff on one record or disc.  Both 2004's Tangents and 2008's Songbook IV were double-disc sets and are eclectic, ranging from Heavy Metal to folk, from a whisper to a scream, ballads to anthems, and all centered around a rock and roll nucleus.  These were very well-received by the band's fan base and continue to sell around the world via the band's independent distribution network.   Chris and Sean were working together less often in the studio for these albums due to a tendency to get side-tracked with arguments and disagreements that could be as hard on the engineers they worked with as on themselves. Sean continued working with Jon Plum and Chris worked with Paul Speer on Tangents and Evan Schiller on Songbook IV.  Still, in the end the albums came together well with each adding their respective instruments and vocals to the other's tracks.  

However, the songs on the latter two albums (perhaps like their idols, the Beatles), were becoming more and more studio creations, and there was increasing tension in the studio between the Bros (Chris and Sean).  As a result by the time International Pop Overthrow was nearing completion, bassist Don Allen was not bothering to attend the mixing sessions at all.  Understandably, psychologically he was on his way out of the group by this time but still appeared posthumously on many IPO out-takes that made it onto Tangents and Songbook IV.  With Allen leaving, Chris and Sean brought in long-time fan David Worth on bass for the new material on Tangents.  By the time of Songbook IV, Worth was replaced with bassist Gwon Chang, who made his first appearance on Songbook IV.     

After the completion of these albums, the band has gigged only sporadically, focusing almost exclusively on recording.  During the Great Recession, Chris felt the financial pinch when his guitar instruction business took a hit  and found it too expensive to work out of the bigger Seattle studios he had used previously.  This, coupled with the fact that he was intent on learning new skill sets that would enable him to achieve complete artistic control, led him to invest in an old Soundcraft Ghost 32 channel mixing board and some ancient outboard gear whereby he proceeded to hole up in his own home studio, learning the black arts of how to administer signal processors and effects, and how to mix and master recordings.  As a result, the last five of the band's records, Sanquine, Great Event Syndrome, Lund Bros-Live!, "Loser" 1993-97'-Remasters and Rarities, and "Loser" Live and Unplugged have been tracked, mixed and mastered entirely or at least primarily at Chris' home studio, Demon Studios.

Which brings us to 2019's summer or fall anticipated expected release date of yet another newly composed Lund Bros record, with upcoming shows to boot!  As we said before, not one's to sit on their laurels, expect at least another decade or two of fantastic original Rock and Roll from the Pacific NW's own Lords of Power Pop and Rock and Roll.