& & by Mike Corrigan & & & &
& & EIGHTFOLD PATH & & may call Spokane home, but curiously, the local progressive rock quintet has found a hotbed of support in -- of all places -- Europe, specifically, Greece, Italy and Germany. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, the band's music has been flung to the far corners of the globe where it has found a sympathetic ear in foreign lands. All the Web site hits and fan e-mails from abroad are great, but, man, some attention a little closer to home would be nice, too.
"It's fun," admits Eightfold Path guitarist/songwriter, Mike Calvert. "We even did an interview with this magazine from Greece called Metal Hammer, which was cool. But it would be nice to have that kind of support here. It's great to know that we're reaching people, but the thought of us getting over there to tour in the near future seems unrealistic. I can hardly keep my car running across town much less think about traveling to Europe."
Locals have a chance to listen on Saturday night at Ichabod's.
Calvert assembled the basics of what would eventually gel into the band's current configuration back in 1993. The project was originally called Beggar's Opera, and under that banner, the group recorded a four-song EP and graced stages at Ichabod's, the Great Scott and elsewhere throughout the region, trying to gain local support for their complex, melodic hard rock. As Beggar's Opera began work on a full-length CD a couple years ago, however, they discovered that a group from (you guessed it) Europe had recorded with that moniker in the early '70s. Spokane's Beggar's Opera gathered to consider their options.
"There was no problem with us using that name in the States," explains Calvert. "But we decided that if Europe is going to be a potentially big market for us someday, we thought it would be smart to just change the name now."
And so they did. To Eightfold Path, a name chosen by committee. A name that -- not unlike a new skin -- took awhile to get used to. The current lineup consists of Calvert (guitar), Aaron Potter (vox), Michael Campffer (drums), Sean Johnson (bass) and Ben Adams (keyboards).
Eightfold Path isn't shy about wearing its influences -- primarily Rush, Yes, Dream Theater and Queensryche -- on their sleeves. Their music emphasizes technical virtuosity, emotion and a dense, multi-textured sonic approach that is uncommon on the current local scene. In fact, the group frequently finds itself mismatched stylistically on local bills.
"Yeah, that's always been a problem for us in Spokane. But it used to be worse. There are actually a lot of really good melodic metal bands out there right now. And that makes it easier for us."
Calvert promises the new CD (a seven-song prog-rock opus tentatively entitled The Seeker) by early March.
"Of course, we've been saying this thing will be out soon for a long time now," he laughs. "But we just have two more songs to record, and it will be finished."
The guys in the group are hoping the CD, along with appearances on local radio (the group was recently featured on Rock 94.5's "Local 945") and frequent live gigging around town will cause the Eightfold Path family of fans to swell -- on the local level.
But for Calvert and his bandmates, what is ultimately most important is their shared belief in the power of their music and the camaraderie they feel with other like-minded local musicians.
"In the last couple years, there have been just so many cool bands popping up around Spokane," says Calvert. "And it seems like the attitudes that were making things rough a few years ago are gone. Bands seem to be networking and working together a lot more. We need that to keep the scene healthy. I mean, the support for live music is so weak here that if the bands don't help each other, everything just flounders."
& & & lt;i & Eightfold Path plays at Ichabod's with High Velocity and Kill Switch on Saturday, Jan. 6, at 9:30 pm. Cover: $4. Call: 328-5720. & lt;/i & & lt;/center &