"There had been a band called Swelter for a number of years before that," says Jason Locking, former bassist for Archibald Leach. "That kind of split off into Argonaut and what became the Fucking Eagles. A couple of us got together and started doing the Archibald Leach thing."
Locking and I speak of a band that hasn't existed for more than 10 years: Archibald Leach. The year in question: roughly 1998 or 1999. How long the band lasted: about two years.
Friday, Archibald Leach will reunite for one show, and one show only.
"It's weird, man, looking back on it, ten years later, trying to remember how it all took place," says Dan Stone, former frontman for Archibald Leach. "I can speak for myself. A lot of times, people talk for me. I was going through some personal problems. I needed to get some time away from the entire scene. I went underground - kind of just went into hiding for a little while because of some personal shit that was happening in my life at the time. When I popped back up, a couple months or a month later, something was off. I don't think it was necessarily me being gone; it was just some tension being built up."
Shortly after Stone resurfaced, Archibald Leach disbanded.
Archibald Leach's music embraced a sound that is more effective in 2011 than it ever was when the band was in action. Theirs was a kind of post-punk, post-hardcore combination of proggy compositions and a relentlessly heavy sound. Stone recalls of a producer trying to talk him into whittling the band's songs down into three-and-a-half-minute pop nuggets. Stone says he refused, and is happier because of it. Archibald Leach sounds more relevant to indie rock's landscape today than it did in the '90s.
Stone left in 2001 to live in San Diego, where he joined the Viola Achad. Since that time, the remaining members of Archibald Leach have all kept active in the local music scene, becoming members in Tacoma heavyweights like Gold Teeth, Pioneers West, the Fucking Eagles and Mahnhammer.
"We talk about (the breakup) and we wonder what happened, and none of us can figure it out," says Stone. "A few years went by, and I got back in touch with them. I said, ‘Let's play again.' It feels like unfinished business, because we had just started to gel and come together and start writing - I don't think we ever really hit our songwriting niche by the time we split up. It just happened so fast. ... It doesn't feel like a reunion. We're all older and wiser, but that youthfulness and that energy is still there. We're all just really happy to see each other."
Speaking with Locking and Stone, they make it clear that they're putting on this reunion show for themselves - because they think it will be fun to reunite for one night only. But this is also a special night for anyone who heads out to see a slice of Tacoma music history coming together again for a limited engagement.
with Argonaut, Tallest Tree
Friday, Sept. 9, 9 p.m., cover TBA,
The New Frontier Lounge
301 E. 25th St., Tacoma