Eugene's Spunj describe themselves as a "high energy jam band" in a Facebook bio. Having caught their set at an Après Ski Bash in January, that phrase is the perfect two words to describe the four-piece set of rockers. Spunj delivers one groovy anthem after another, keeping the night moving along as one big dance party, featuring the talents of Sage McCommas (drums/vocals) from Austin, Texas; Josh Harris (guitar/vocals) from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; David Richards (bass/saxophone/vocals) from Cottage Grove, Oregon and Dan Underkofler (piano/guitar/vocals) from Fairfield, Connecticut.
McCommas and Harris first met in 2017 at a cannabis trim scene in Humboldt County, bonding over jam music and seeing shows together. Then they moved the early renditions of the band from there to Eugene, found the other members through other bands and never looked back.
"I definitely think our different backgrounds have impacted our sound. I was a metal and punk kid 'til I was 20 years old and never had even heard of Phish or the Dead, so there is a lot of Spunj music that gets pretty heavy," says McCommas. "David is also a huge jazz guy and plays saxophone, so that bleeds into the music as well. Dan was big into indie music and hip-hop before finding jam music in his teenage years, and Josh grew up on classic rock and listening to bands like The Doors, Led Zeppelin, but really found his inspiration the first time he heard the Grateful Dead."
- Courtesy Spuni
- Good vibes rule when the dudes of Spunj are on stage.
Inspired by classic jam band leaders like Phish, Goose and Umphrey's McGee, the band also looks outside the box for inspiration in bands like Hiatus Kaiyote, Animals as Leaders, Jacob Collier and more. Some of the band's favorite jam tracks include "Fly Famous Mockingbird" by Phish, "Weather Report Suite" by the Grateful Dead, and "French Bowling" by Dopapod.
On Tuesday Spunj released its latest EP. After working on the project for the last three years, the foursome is pumped to drop it. Led by the single "Sanity," Spunj has a good group of songs on their hands with this latest release.
"The EP is a culmination of the hard work and time we've put into the band and ourselves over the last three years. We've grown so much as musicians and as a band since our first release nearly three years ago. At times it really feels like a different band entirely and that's why it's also super important for us to get this out. It's also the first release with our current and finalized lineup so it's super exciting and truly feels like it represents the whole scope of the band," McCommas tells the Source.
"The general idea was to give people something with variety and depth but also delivered in a form that is digestible in today's ADHD world. Finding even an hour of free time to listen to an album can be hard nowadays, so releasing something that you could listen to on your way to work and nearly finish was important to us. And who knows, maybe we'll release a string of these and do some cool meta connecting-them-together sort deal. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge..."
This Friday those in downtown Bend will get the chance to see them rock out with fellow jammers Lespecial in The Commons, but if you want to keep the good vibes going, head to the Volcanic Theatre Pub for the official Lespecial after party with Spunj and Brother Gabe. They're definitely going to bring the heat.
"We are very excited to headline the VTP because not only is it our first time doing so, but Bend is probably our favorite city to play in besides our hometown of Eugene. The people in Bend know how to party!"
The Lespecial After Party w/ Spunj & Brother Gabe
Fri., March 18,, doors at 9:30pm
Volcanic Theatre Pub
70 SW Century Dr., Bend
$13 adv., $15 at door