Friday, January 28, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Sound Check

Critters Buggin' Ignites Sweat-And-Groove Sound

Who they are:

Brad Houser, bass, didjeridu, bass clarinet.

Nalgas Sin Carne (formerly Skerik), sax, some guitar and vocals.

John Bush, hand drums.

Matt Chamberlain, drums.

Critters Buggin' is jazzy, funky and industrial. They have no lead singer or guitarist but have two percussionists, one on drums and another who plays bongos, spoons and "other found stuff." They sample old songs and bits from TV. To get the true Critters Buggin' sweat-and-groove experience, see them perform live, in which the wailing, buzzing, clanking and funking all crash together into one outrageous sound.

Although the band formed last spring, its members have long musical careers. Chamberlain, Houser and Bush played with Edie Brickell and New Bohemians. Bush has played with MC 900 ft Jesus and the Spin Doctors. Chamberlain drummed with Pearl Jam before playing with The G.E. Smith Band at Saturday Night Live. Skerik, who recently decided he wants to be called Nalgas, has played with Sadhappy, another local, largely instrumental band. They plan to release a CD this year on Loose Groove Records. How did the band come together?

Brad: That could probably date back 11 years.

John: Do you want the big bang version of how we came together, or the immaculate conception version?

Matt: I moved here from New York and met Skerik, er, uh, Nalgas. Then Brad joined. Then John showed up from Dallas. It seemed like every two months, we added a new member.

Brad: The first gig we did as Critters Buggin' was at the end of May at Colourbox. The first gig we did as a trio (before John joined) was going to be at the OK Hotel, but Skerik got ill. Violently ill. Food poisoning. So things have been moving pretty fast. What's it been like?

Matt: The whole thing has been like going along for a ride. We haven't really been expecting anything, or wanting anything.

John: It was just a "sort of trying." Stone (Gossard) has really been the saving grace in all of this.

Brad: He's been our biggest fan. At first, I thought he was just being nice, but then I began to realize that he was totally into the music. He's been real supportive.

(A summary: They started out not really trying. Stone, who's friends with Matt, bought some new equipment for his studio and invited them to jam at his house. Stone brought in a producer and put them on his label.) How would you describe your music?

Matt: Jazzy, funky, rocky.

Brad: Tribal, industrial hip-hop.

John: Some people describe it as ambient music with a groove.

Matt: It has African rhythms, too. African, industrial, tribal music. It's music you can create vocals for. What kind of music do you listen to?

Brad: I've been really getting into Pakistani and Indian music lately.

John: It's grooving and droning.

Brad: And I listen to Patsy Cline and Eddy Arnold.

Nalgas: That's him. Not me. Write that down. That's him.

Instrumental music doesn't always have a big audience. How have people reacted to you?

Brad: Nobody has hassled us yet. And if they did, I would just laugh at them. Hahaha.

Nalgas: There is as much a story told with an instrument. If there's no feeling or passion in it, people are going to react to that, whether it's a drum, bass, vocals or sax.

John: It's music you can create your own imagery to, like when you read a book.

Where to hear them:

Critters Buggin' will play with Tchkung! Friday at the Weathered Wall, 1921 Fifth Ave. (448-5688).

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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