In 2013, Jetman Jet Team were ascending to the upper echelon of Seattle’s rock scene. They released the outstanding album We Will Live the Space Age [reviewed here] and played a storming set at the inaugural Hypnotikon: Seattle Psych Fest. Their live shows revealed a band with an aptitude for both pretty shoegaze songwriting and interstellar krautrock jamming. But in 2014, they are history, although perhaps not permanently. I caught up with guitarist/vocalist Brenan Chambers to find out why such a promising young group burned out after such a brief run.
“We split because it felt like the natural progression of things,” Chambers says. “I don’t think we ever really figured out the proper band dynamic, how to work together as a team in a productive way. We were a very immature band and it caused us a lot of unneeded stress. I think the problem was that we never really intended to be a real band in the sense that we’d play shows, tour, etc. Jetman started out as a little 'studio' project between [guitarist Miguel Diaz] and me. For some reason a label liked our 4 or 5 tracks we had on Bandcamp and we sort of let it go to our heads, both in an undeserved sort of self accomplishment, but also like 'Hey, we gotta get our shit together, fast.' So we sort of threw together a band and winged it from there, and usually not in the most constructive or positive way."
“Anyway, after lots of really bad practices and petty fights, eventually [bassist Tyler James] needed to move to Portland, personal relationships started to sour, tastes were changing and honestly we just didn’t like each other anymore. Everyone turned into a dickhead, the atmosphere was acrid and uncomfortable. Most of us lost our creative drive and didn’t want to be involved in the project anymore, despite still really enjoying the music itself. Tyler, Miguel, and [drummer Quin Dickinson] all joined or started other bands and that was that. We acted like children and that’s what comes of it.
“But I think it needed to happen to teach each one of us lessons that sorely needed learning. Miguel, [former JJT bassist Adam Breeden], and I took a trip to Portland to visit Tyler just recently, and it felt like we’ve all sort of had enough time to see how potentially destructive we can be to each other, but really do miss what we had and what we wanted to be. So I think we’re going to tread lightly and proceed with caution and work on some new stuff. Probably just do what we originally intended and be mostly a studio band. I see it with the same respect you give a bottle of cheap tequila after your first major hangover as a teenager. Like, woaahh slow down this is great, but it could get nasty. I guess Jetman is in a band hangover.
As for Jetman's future, it's uncertain, but the members are tentatively making steps toward reforming. “We’re doing a cover of 'Souvlaki Space Station' for a label compilation [of Slowdive covers on Saint Marie Records] at the moment," Chambers says. "This is our probation period to see what happens, but I think we’re pretty excited again.”