In the history of Northwest rock, Squirt is not the greatest band of all time. When Squirt died in 1995, the world kept moving.
Squirt is not iconic. They’re not seminal. And they’re not even widely remembered (at least in a pop culture sense, where not much more than the gay Teletubby and Crystal Pepsi seems to be overwhelmingly recalled from yesteryear by masses now consumed by digital downloads and sexting).
Even Squirt, or perhaps more accurately the gentleman of Squirt — Dick Rossetti, Eric “The Swede” Olson, and Electric Vee Vee Roark — seem to agree. Although the band, after 14 years, has decided to play one last string of shows starting here in Tacoma on Thursday, Nov. 19 at Hell’s Kitchen, they’re not doing so for anyone but themselves. Though hack journalists like me will no doubt write about how cool and underappreciated Squirt was in their prime, and wannabe old school Seattle scene music buffs will posture with stories about the time they saw Squirt look way sexier than Candlebox at RKCNDY, there’s at least a decent chance this Squirt reunion — a one time only affair — will go largely unnoticed.
Really, Squirt could give a shit.
“We’re only doing this to please ourselves. It’s a chance to be a band again for four days. It’s a chance to just hang out again. It’s just going to be fun,” says Olson, who says he planted the seeds for the Squirt reunion.
“Basically, it was kind of my idea. I just kind of felt like it was time to play Squirt songs again,” explains Olson. “Dick’s reaction was ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’ But once I explained what I was thinking, and once we thought about it, it started to sound like a good idea.”
Of course, getting Rossetti and Olson together was one thing — but there’s no Squirt without guitarist Electric Vee Vee Roark, which was definitely an obstacle seeing as Roark currently lives in California. But with a bit of determination, and a plane ticket, the older, theoretically wiser, Squirt was able to overcome it and begin their trek back toward the stage.
“We really couldn’t have done it without Vee Vee,” says Olson. “Luckily, he just loves to play guitar.”
The last hitch was finding a drummer — which Squirt ably accomplished by signing up long time Northwest drumming force Geoff Reading, who has pounded for Duff McKagan’s Loaded, Top Heavy Crush, Green Apple Quick Step and New American Shame.
After that, it was on long like Donkey Kong.
Squirt is back — at least momentarily — Nov. 19-22 for shows in Tacoma, Portland and Seattle. Along with Thursday at Hell’s Kitchen, Squirt will plug in with Cherry Poppin’ Daddies on Friday, Nov. 20 at the Wonder Ballroom in Portland for quite possibly the band’s biggest show of the reunion, then Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Tractor Tavern and Sunday, Nov. 22 at the Sunset Tavern, both in Seattle. Throw in an on-air interview on KEXP 90.3FM’s Audio Oasis at 6 p.m. on Saturday, and it starts to feel like a real deal happening.
Which it is, in case I wasn’t making that clear.
“We had a way of doing things that guys in other bands seemed to enjoy,” recalls Olson of Squirt’s heyday. “Everybody wanted to be in Squirt. I don’t mean to sound cocky, but it was kind of true.”
“I miss the songs,” Olson continues. “Dick’s early songwriting was unmatched. People didn’t really know how to take him back then.”
Nowadays, of course — thanks in large part to his time with 107.7 FM The End — people have a much clearer idea of the snark and sarcasm that makes Dick Rossetti tick, and typically gets channeled through his bands — Squirt included. When Squirt laces into songs from the band’s epic (wink, wink) album, Pike St. Ball Bag, on Thursday, that’ll be as clear as ever.
What else should fans expect from Squirt’s Hell’s Kitchen show?
“There should be at least 2,000 people at these shows,” jokes Olson. “For every true Squirt fan it seems like there are about three douchebags that say they were at every show. This will be their chance, I guess.”
“We’re not going to do it again, so this is one last chance to see it,” adds Olson. “It’ll be a typical Squirt show. We’ll bring the medium rock energy.”
That’s all you can ask.
[Hell’s Kitchen, Squirt with The Dignitaries, Big Wheel Stunt Show, Thursday, Nov. 19, 9 p.m., $5, 3829 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.759.6003]