They've only been active since this summer, but Seattle's Steel Tigers of Death have already started to garner a following of fans with their gale-force drumming, disorienting time signatures, and undercurrent of freakishly hooky melodies.
The quartet was originally the brainchild of Mike Grigg (AKA "Michael Deth"), who pulled in old pal and drummer Jason Legat (AKA "Remington Steel") and worked up material on a minimalist skeleton of bass and drums. "We thought we'd do the Death from Above thing, but it was too frail; there wasn't enough body to the songs," says Deth, sipping on a draft beer. "Then we met him at a party [this spring]," he says, gesturing to 37-year-old Morgan LaVigne (AKA "El Tigre").
El Tigre had just moved to Seattle from Brooklyn, where he led well-regarded punk trio X's for Eyes. "It was mostly just me writing the songs, playing guitar, and singing," explains El Tigre. "I decided [that this time] I just want to be in a band—I didn't want to be 100 percent responsible." Deth and Steel initially asked him to play bass, a role that evolved into that of second guitarist when he brought in former Confounded Books proprietor Brad Beshaw (AKA "Bradley Of") on bass. He and Of had met many years ago when they both lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and coincidentally reconnected in Seattle.
Much of what gives STOD their color is a shared admiration of the angular, melodic sound associated with the San Diego punk scene. "I love Drive Like Jehu, Pitchfork, and Tanner—all those Swami Records bands," says Steel. "I was always a big fan of that sound where they beat the hell out a piece and play something for like 200 measures so you just want to smash the radio."
The band has already recorded and self-released a four-song EP, Cockpuncher, but has plans to head back to London Bridge Studio soon with friend and producer Jonathan Plum. Summing up their obviously easy and earnestly collaborative relationship, El Tigre says, "It's great seeing the reaction we're getting, and we all get along so well. It's just tremendously fun right now."