Helping to bring back grass-roots independent guitar rock in the Pacific Northwest, Sundodger blends straightforward guitar-driven anthems and simple song writing of classic ’70s rock with contemporary musical influences that define the present day.
The new project was formed in 2014 by long-time band mates and Seattle natives Jeff Norman and Dan Engel. The music is influenced by the straightedge punk and hard rock anthems they loved in the ’80s, ‘70s classic rock, and the indie rock they produced together through the ’90s and 2000s — all blended together to create a sincere, pounding rock show.
Like many musicians of the time, Sundodger’s members where immersed in an alternative rock scene that dominated cities like Seattle, Chicago and Athens in the early ‘90s. Jeff and Dan gigged all over the Northwest with hard rock band Divided Sky. Turned off and burned out from a rock n’ roll industry that was seemingly devouring itself, they quit the music business entirely later in the decade and set out to build careers and families. Jeff ventured in an entirely new musical direction, leaving Seattle for Sun Valley, Idaho and created a successful following in electronic music before returning home in the mid-2000s.
Jeff and Dan reunited musically later in the decade, with Dan emerging from behind the drum kit to sing and play rhythm guitar. It eventually led to five new songs captured on their EP Home released in August 2014. The effort was recorded at ButterSound Recordings in Everett, Wash. with the help of engineer Chip Butters. Butters is known for working with such rock legends as Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, Sunny Day Real Estate and Soundgarden.
Sundodger’s music deals with more mature themes than youthful angst which dominates mainstream radio. The songs are outlined in optimism but dive deep into their personal battles with addiction, depression and the responsibilities of becoming an adult in America. The title track “Home” is about the desire for both an addict and their loved one to reach out to one another for help. Similarly, “Chemical Life” deals with the duality of drug addiction and the ultimate freedom found in recovery.
“Tunnel Vision” is a track dedicated to the youthful spirit and desire to leave the nest in search of a new life. “Option Arm” was born from the Great Recession and financial crisis that hit America in 2008. It’s a raw narrative about the mindset of a predatory lender. And “Anti-Depressant” deals with a reawakening that many people experience after getting help with clinical depression.
The band is already back at work writing their next album. In the meantime, Sundodger continues to tour the Northwest rock clubs and giving music lovers a preview of what’s to come.