It’s been quite a few year’s since the band has come to town. For fans it will be a special treat. Their last stop in PDX was 1996, at the then music venue, Berbati’s Pan. And for those whose didn’t catch them the last time around, this will be a great opportunity to see and hear the musical chemistry of what an American rock band with smartly crafted tunes backed by stellar musicianship and soaring vocal harmonies sounds like.
Known mostly for the catchy referential tune Diz Knee Land, Puzzle contains 12 solid tracks that showcases the spectrum of the band’s musical proficiency. With band members Michael Hurley on guitar and vocals, Joie Calio on bass and vocals, and Phil Leavitt on drums, percussion and vocals, they created something fresh and powerful amidst the tidal swell of grunge in the early 90s.Their debut saw early success with their crafted sound solidly anchored in a rock tradition.
In the first of this two-part article, Gurley shared in a phone interview last month on how it felt to be celebrating dada's 20th Anniversary of Puzzle, being out on the road again, and did he think he would still be playing with Joie and Phil twenty years later. “I didn’t think about it at the time because it was about playing music first. Me and Joie went through about six or seven drummers before finding Phil. After a 9-minute jam in E, it felt and sounded good. We are equal parts and members. There’s no one leader or ego.” Gurley cited bands like U2 and R.E.M. as examples of groups whose synergy flourish, succeeded, and endured over their history.
With five studio releases, a live album, and EP release, what was Gurley’s favorite album? “Probably Puzzle, because of how it came together. We had over 45 tunes when we started. We rehearsed a lot before going into the studio, about seven or eight months, and developed a really good relationship with producer Ken Scott. He reminded us to remember, and not to forget, how good it was to be where we were.” Gurley acknowledged the surreal feeling of having finally landed a recording contract and be in the studio to record their first album.