Desert Doom Rock: Salem’s Bend Returns To Oregon
Salem’s Bend began as the brain child of vocalist/guitarist Bobby Parker less than three years ago. And already they have released their debut album on vinyl, and toured the southwest and west coast multiple times, including multiple stops in Oregon, including a return to Grants Pass on Saturday, May 26 at The Haul, Salem’s Bend will be returning to Grants Pass.
Parker fondly remembers the last time the band stopped here: “We did play Grants Pass last year at the G Street Bar and Grill, last November,” says Parker. “That was actually a really fun show. We had a real blast playing there. At the end of the show [some lady] asked the [sound guy] to get us to play ‘Free Bird’; actually paid him $5. He actually showed us the chords and we played a horrible rendition; it was all crazy fun,” recalls Parker. “That was a good one.”
Although a lot of bands bemoan the drudgery of life-on-the-road, Parker seems well suited for it.
“A lot of times we’ll have friends to crash with,” says Parker. “Every now and then we need a shower so we’ll get a hotel room. For me, the van is kind of comfortable; it’s a big Ford van.”
In fact, Parker started with the cart in front of the horse, so to speak: While most bands first square away their line-up, record an album, and only then hop in the van and on tour. But Parker did it in a different order: He already had a tour booked, before he even had a band together.
“The first album came out December 2015,” says Parker. “I just released it myself; Kevin and Zach aren’t playing on it. I didn’t have a band assembled and recorded the album first. Ripple Music saw it in January 2016 and they contacted me about doing a release on vinyl; they released it October 2016 on vinyl. Before it was even released [Ripple] had to get our first tour going. It was definitely a dream realized which was cool. Once I got it on vinyl and listened to it, it was kind of surreal.”
The band came together fluidly enough: Bassist Kevin Schofield and Parker had been playing together in various bands since 2009. And they found drummer Zach Huling through a Craigslist add.
“Ripple Music offered me this tour in June 2016,” says Parker. “I said ‘yes,’ and then I put out the Craigslist ad and started rehearsing. So we had about four weeks to rehearse before hitting the road. We practiced a lot and then hit the road. It was a lot of fun.”
And the Ripple Music label was a dream come true for any band trying to get their feet off the ground.
“It’s a great label; tons of awesome bands,” says Parker. “They’re very honest and straightforward. They call it the Ripple family. They’re not trying to make a quick buck; it’s all about the music.”
And now, the tour is getting even bigger: Salem’s Bend will be playing their first international dates on the Vantopia tour.
“We’re on tour with another band called High Priestess,” says Parker. “We are doing the first half of the tour with them. And we are continuing the second half of the tour with them and Ape Machine. We are all heading up to Canada for those dates; it’s gonna be pretty nuts. We’re gonna go 6000 miles total; it’s gonna be quite the trek.” He adds, “It should be a lot of fun; shout out to ‘Free Bird.’ And now we know how to play it.”
Salem’s Bend, w/High Priestess
9 pm, Sat., May 26
The Haul, 121 SW H St., Grants Pass