It was 1993, and punk rock was king in the Spokane music scene. In the thick of it all was Cause, a quartet of friends who bonded over a love of the genre.
"People were holding shows, and we got interested, then we turned it into this next generation," guitarist Jeremy Goldsmith says after a recent practice for the band's upcoming reunion show.
Cause came together after singer Kameron Read rounded up fellow punk rockers Goldsmith and bassist Rick Eyre as part of the Jantsch Alternative High School and the REAL School. They met drummer Merv Eggleston Jr. after he moved to Spokane from Alaska.
The four-piece played shows around town and eventually sent cassettes to bookers across the country using a Maximum Rocknroll supplement called "Book Your Own F---ing Life," eventually getting gigs in cities including Boston and Atlanta.
"The work that went into it, the DIY aspect, is really what represented our generation of punk rock," Read says.
But in 1998, despite a strong fan base and several releases, Cause began to fall apart. It all started when a band member didn't respect the rules of calling shotgun before a show in Seattle.
"I wanted to sit shotgun in the van and someone had my spot, so I decided I wasn't going," Read recalls with a laugh. "Every show after that, it seemed like another member didn't show up, so we stopped playing."
"We just became interested in other things," Goldsmith adds.
The four went back to school and earned degrees, while also playing in local bands like Black March (Eyre and Eggleston) and Crickets of Cascadia (Eggleston). Read joined the military and played in bands in Korea and Baltimore. He's back in Korea now, returning to Spokane just for this show.
Following a 2005 gig at Mootsy's — a night of fans moshing to Cause's we're-not-gonna-take-it-anymore brand of angry punk just as hard as they did in the '90s — preparation for this reunion marked the first time the quartet played together in 10 years. They'd like to get together more often, seeing their shows as a punk-rock family reunion of sorts, but they're wary about today's punk scene.
"I haven't been here physically to witness it, but I definitely keep track of what's going on, and I don't think it matches what the '90s and '80s punk scene in Spokane had to offer," Read says. "Kids were active. Now, they're just content."
But this show has the potential to ignite a spark in the next generation of punk rockers, just like the older generation did for Cause.
"One of the greatest things is that we have people that were in our circle bringing their kids to this show," Goldsmith says. "They're going to see that, so I think that's fantastic." ♦
Cause with Siamese Suicide and You Don't Know Me • Fri, Nov. 20, at 9 pm • $8 • All-ages • The Big Dipper • 171 S. Washington • bigdipperevents.com • 863-8098