Kent band hopes for rise to fame

Nic Byrd speaks confidently about the chances his three-member Kent band Jobe Himself can make it professionally. In fact, Byrd believes the band just might be hitting the stage at the right time with what he describes as a "heavily blues-influenced grunge" sound. "Soundgarden and The Smashing Pumpkins are back together," said Byrd, 26, guitarist, lead singer and manager of the band. "Grunge is coming back in a big way. We might be what people want to hear."

Kent's Jobe Himself band members Terry Sanders

Kent's Jobe Himself band members Terry Sanders

Nic Byrd speaks confidently about the chances his three-member Kent band Jobe Himself can make it professionally.

In fact, Byrd believes the band just might be hitting the stage at the right time with what he describes as a “heavily blues-influenced grunge” sound.

“Soundgarden and The Smashing Pumpkins are back together,” said Byrd, 26, guitarist, lead singer and manager of the band. “Grunge is coming back in a big way. We might be what people want to hear.”

Fans have started to follow the band at venues throughout the Puget Sound area. Jobe Himself will release its first CD at 8 p.m. Nov. 26 during a free show at Poppa’s Pub in Kent.

Byrd and business partner Aaron Schmitt opened their own record label, 2Fold Records LLC, in September, to market the 10-song CD that will sell for $10 at the show. The band recorded the album at Comune Productions in Tacoma.

“We had our first show here April 9 and drew 250 people,” Byrd said, kicking at a table at Poppa’s, where the band has played about a half-dozen times.

The other band members include Mike Estill, 27, on bass, and drummer Terry Sanders, 29.

The band recently completed a performance streak of 12 straight weekends at venues from Seattle to Tacoma to Bremerton. They’re a known quantity at the Central Saloon in Pioneer Square as well as Jazzbones and Hell’s Kitchen in Tacoma.

They’ll start an eight-state tour in April, doing 40 shows in 60 days. Most of the stops are small venues in college towns across Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, Nevada and Utah as the band strives to get its name and sound known outside Seattle.

“Our ultimate goal is to be successful enough to live comfortably,” said Byrd, a 2002 graduate of Kent-Meridian High School. “I want to raise a family one day off of music and show my kids that if you are passionate and determined about something you can be a success.”

Estill, a 2001 K-M grad, said he looks forward to a day when playing in a band can pay all his bills.

“I want to be able to make a living doing this and not have a 9-to-5 job,” he said.

Estill and Byrd have worked part-time with Rhino Staging, setting up events around the Puget Sound, as they strive to earn a living as musicians.

The band went through a couple of drummers before Sanders, originally from Las Vegas, joined the group in July after leaving another band.

“Our styles all fit together,” Sanders said.

The band’s name is a variation of the spelling of Job in the Bible. Byrd, who moved to Arizona where he played in a band for several years before returning to Kent, said he had experiences similar to that of the biblical character when living out of state. The band added “Himself” to the name because so many Christian bands use the name “Jobe,” Byrd said.

Byrd writes most of the songs based on his views of life, politics and relationships. The mix of blues and grunge might seem at odds, but Byrd said it works.

“They’re different styles but both are from the heart with passionate driven music,” Byrd said.

On Byrd’s Jobe Himself Twitter account, he summarizes the band:

“If you took Stevie Ray Vaughn, Queens of the Stone Age, Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and the Foo Fighters; made them into eggs, then scrambled them, that’s our band.”

Jin Choi, owner of Poppa’s Pub since last spring, said the band has been a hit.

“These guys pack the house,” Choi said. “You will not get a parking spot if you get here late. They have a good following.”

Choi makes an effort to give local bands a place to play in Kent. Poppa’s now has a stage where numerous pool tables previously used to dominate the bar.

“We’ll give an opportunity to any local artist, whether it’s rock, blues, rap or comedy,” Choi said.

Tacoma bands Big Wheel Stunt Show and The Black Sails also play Nov. 26 at Poppa’s. Guests must be 21 or older. Sponsors of the show include Shark Skin Tattoo of Kent and KGRG 89.9 FM, the Green River Community College radio station.

For more information about Jobe Himself, go to www.reverbnation.com/jobehimself.

If you go

What: Jobe Himself band

When: 8 p.m. Nov. 26

Where: Poppa’s Pub, 510 Washington Ave. N.

Cost: Free


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