Thursday, August 14, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Show Time At The Showbox -- Up-And-Coming Band Willis Is Part Of A Hot Week At Seattle Nightclub

Special To The Seattle Times

The four young men in the Seattle band Willis - named in part after the "Diff'rent Strokes" TV character - have been pursuing a music career since they met at Blanchet High School two-and-a-half years ago. After much hard work and numerous club gigs, it looks to be happening.

Willis recently signed a recording contract with Capitol Records and is already working on its major label debut. The band's lively acoustic rock sound has been well-received, not only in Seattle but in clubs up and down the West Coast.

The group plays the Showbox tomorrow, part of a colorful and very diverse lineup this week at the Seattle nightspot. Also on tap: old-school New York DJ Afrika Bambaataa on Tuesday and the Scottish pop band Del Amitri on Wednesday (see previews next page).

"We've always been particular about where we played," Willis keyboard player John Low says. "We tried to choose the places that would show us off best." The band's favorite local spots are the Tractor, the Pier and, naturally, the Showbox.

"I like everything about the Showbox," says Low. "We've played there three times and it's always gone well."

Low, lead singer/guitarist Tim Seely and drummer Max Perry are Seattle natives, while bassist Diarmuid Cullen - is from Ireland. Seely is the band's primary writer.

"We have a lot of influences, but Paul Simon is the big one for Tim," Low says. "We also listen to Built to Spill, the Beatles, whatever's going on around."

Seely's acoustic guitar is a big part of the band's sound and an instrument he's comfortable with, Low says.

"He's a little intimidated by electric guitars," Low says chuckling. "There's so many different sounds and tricks, but with the acoustic he knows exactly what he can do."

Although the band is excited about recording, it will mean fewer live performances.

"We're doing the Showbox tomorrow and then Bumbershoot and that will be it," says Low. "The record is where we'll be putting our focus. We want it to be as good as we can, and that takes time and work."

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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