It's a Friday afternoon in Portland and like so many others of us on this, or any other Friday afternoon, Sean Badders is trying to make it to happy hour in time.
But he's not rushing to grab a cheap beer and some discounted hot wings. Rather, Badders is en route to meet up with the two other members of his band, The Quick & Easy Boys, at the Laurelthirst Public House. This is where for the past year the band could be found about once a month, playing to the sort of crowd that likes to, as Badders puts it, "dance at six o'clock in the afternoon."
For the past couple years, people have been gladly dancing and drinking along to the sounds of The Quick & Easy Boys in Portland as well as the other cities through which the band has toured. They've become, in a way, the ideal bar band - a three piece rooted in rock and roll that wears its funk and honky tonk influences on its sleeve. Maybe this is what the Hold Steady would sound like if they came up in Oregon and not New York City.
But does Badders agree that The Quick & Easy Boys are a great drinking band?
"Well I guess so. If we say 'yes' to that it can pigeonhole us, but we definitely are - that's just the music that comes out of us," says Badders, pulled over on the side of the road, in lawful respect to Oregon's new no-cell-phones-while-driving law.
"We totally embrace the party aspect of it, but I like to think we have some stuff that's not just full-on party," he says.
There are, indeed, plenty of Quick & Easy Boys songs that aren't "full-on party." On the band's 2008 record, Bad Decisions with Good People, there is plenty of party to be found, but there's also some earnestly artistic songwriting in the mix. And it should also be noted that the band is a rare act that plays funk without a shred of cornball-ishness. Many of the band's songs are strong rock numbers, or even honest-to-God country songs that slowly funkify upon takeoff, with all members contributing vocals. They've called themselves a "power trio" in the past and that's exactly what they are, oftentimes packing a sextet's worth of sound into their three-person lineup.
The band has finished work on their next full-length album, tentatively titled Red Light Rabbit, which is set for a mid-spring release. Badders says the album, while sticking to the band's roots, is a bit of a departure from Bad Decisions with Good People.
"This is more of a cohesive rock and roll album, but at the same time it still goes from a trancey blues thing to an afro beat song to straight up rock and roll," says Badders.
The group's material is the kind of stuff that can even shake the asses of Portland's most hipster crowds and has earned itself a nice following in the relatively musically saturated city. In fact, recent Quick and Easy Boys shows at well-known PDX haunts like the Goodfoot Lounge and the Doug Fir have sold out.
"It's a pretty good music scene where you can befriend different bands and musicians and even though we don't sound alike, we still get along," says Badders, whose day job finds him working as a substitute teacher, primarily with autistic children.
While they may have attracted a following, Badders realizes that what his band is doing is a bit different than what might be going on in the nationally known Portland indie rock scene. And he seems just fine with that.
"It's kind of nice having the outsider status," he says. "You're kind of the underdog that way, ya know?"
The Quick & Easy Boys
7pm Thursday, January 28. Three Creeks Brewing Co., 721 Desperado Ct., Sisters.
9pm Friday, January 29. Silver Moon Brewing Co., 24 NW Greenwood Ave.