Once More With Feeling

Diamond Speedboat are teaching local listeners what it means to rock, freely.

Once More With Feeling
Young Kwak
Diamond Speedboat: (left to right) Airis Cerecedes, Justin Penna, Jason Overdorff and Ben Ham

It’s one thing to have fun onstage. It’s a whole other thing to re-classify your band because of that tendency to have a good time.

But that’s what Diamond Speedboat, a local four-piece rock band, does. They came up with an umbrella term that they think describes both their energetic and more reserved tracks, a title that suggests that listeners will hear both foreboding lyrics (like “Godspeed to all of those aboard!”) and yearnings for inner growth and hope for the future.

They call it “freedom rock.”

Not to be mistaken for the guitar-laden arena music of the 1970s, freedom rock, as defined by this band, is full of soaring vocals and instruments that grow bigger and bigger as the song progresses.

The whole freedom rock thing is mostly tongue-in-cheek, but it does apply to Diamond Speedboat’s philosophy: Music should be about having the freedom to play — or be — what you want, whether it’s silly or serious.

It’s a unique take on music that makes the band stick out in Spokane’s scene. And that’s not bad for a band that happened, frankly, on accident.

Singer Ben Ham was booked on a show at the now-defunct Seaside but wanted to add a band to his usual solo acoustic set.

“I had been playing acoustic stuff for a long time but put these guys together and it just kind of took off from there,” he says last week.

“It was a real loose, like, non-committal type of situation,” bassist Airis Cerecedes says. “Like, ‘Hey, you guys wanna play a show with me?’” Ham finishes.

That first show, over one Halloween weekend, went well — so well that they don’t recall having to book any shows themselves. Bands just kept calling and asking if Diamond Speedboat would play.

“It was like a non-committal band that kept getting called to play so we had to keep practicing,” says Cerecedes, laughing.

All that practicing, though, led the group to write enough songs for what would eventually fill out their debut album, Backlines & Rimshots.

The album shows the band’s wide range: Ham rasps by himself on “Build Your Boat” before the rest of the group joins in, proclaiming together “We’re going down!” From time to time, the band trades in-your-face riffs for lighter, smoother sounds that complement Ham’s gritty vocals.

Now that their album is out, the band says they have enough material written for a second album and hope to hit the studio sometime in June.

Though they won’t be trading their day jobs for full-time freedom rockin’ anytime soon, the members of Diamond Speedboat say they want to leave audiences smiling — no matter where they’re playing.

“Everyone’s stressed out about everything right now,” Ham says. “If we can make people forget about that for a second…” “

If we can put a dent in the hurt for just a second,” Cerecedes continues.

“Then we’re doing our job,” Ham finishes.

Diamond Speedboat with Team Growl and The Lion Oh My! • Sat, March 17 at 10 pm • Mootsy’s • 406 W. Sprague • $5 • 21+ • 838-1570

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