Volumen 1 :: Shane Hickey
Volumen 2 :: Doug Smith
Volumen^2 :: Bryan Hickey
bKCAWCK :: Chris Bacon
Volumen Beta :: Bob Marshall

Doug Smith Volumen 2
Doug Smith

If Shane is the high school Physics Club treasurer of VOLUMEN, Doug is the affable, popular guy who toes the fine line between band dork and senior class president. Cheerleaders leak the info that they want him to ask them out, but he’s always genuinely nice to the less popular girls and boys, too. In addition to writing most of what doesn’t get written by his longtime friend and musical partner, Shane (in the platonic sense, that is—at least we THINK so), Doug’s signature wikkid lyxx and fine tenor are the yin to Shane’s yang, the butter to Shane’s muffin, the hot dog in Shane’s....well, anyway, the other half of the songwriting equation. Additionally, Doug is a beacon of calm and tranquility in his other bandmates’ roiling sea of adolescent squirreliness, and a fine cook to boot. The last male bonding I did with Doug was undertaken when we spent two days in the Montana wilderness picking morel mushrooms. Oh, the magic he worked with those little morsels...

Here's some articles and other random press for your viewing pleasure.

The Missoulian - Bear Neccessities 10/20/2005
URL: View Actual Article
Title: Big Town Sounds
Author: Michael Heinbach

Congratulations on making it to Missoula. Wise choice, but for those of you who can’t live without the tunes, you’re going to want to check out the local-music scene.

Despite the recent closing of two of the Garden City’s most beloved downtown music venues, there’s still a wide variety of local tunesmiths to make you tap your foot, bob your head or bump and grind. Whether it’s a Grateful Dead bootleg in your CD player – try the second set of the Dead’s only Missoula appearance (5/14/74) – or the Kiss “Destroyer” album on your old-school turntable, there’s a little something for all in our quaint little city.

The Volumen are quite possibly Missoula’s top-drawing local band
The following is a newcomers’ guide to 10 Missoula bands to see (in no particular order) ranging from hard rock to jamband. Apologies go out to the bands that don’t appear on the list. But hey, this is just one man’s opinion, and if you’re good enough, your music will do the talking for you.

It would only be fitting to begin with the Oblio Joes, a strong group of musicians that, with only a minor lineup change or two, has managed to grace Missoula’s venues with their skills since 1993. Their latest album, “Swallow the Moon,” the 13th release the Obes have appeared on, has propelled them to an all-time high as far as fan base is concerned.

Colin Hickey, whose Missoula-based concert promotion company, On the Rocks Productions, is a major player in booking both local and out-of-town bands, knows the secret to the Oblio Joes’ mass appeal.

“They’re just the great American rock ‘n’ roll band,” Hickey said of the quintet consisting of two guitars (John Brownell and Stu Simonson), bass (John Fleming), keyboards (Ian Smith) and drums (Dan Strachan). “People who are into all genres, all types of music … they all love the Obes and the secret is just real solid songwriting.”

Mo-town’s fab five are laidback dudes and good friends to boot, which is most likely the reason for the band’s longevity. Look for the Obes to get back into the studio to record a fresh batch of new songs shortly after Smith and Strachan get a grip on their latest gigs as first-time fathers.

The Volumen are quite possibly Missoula’s top draw, but what should someone expect when they see these guys for the first time?

“Get ready to expect anything and everything,” said Hickey, who bears a not-so-striking resemblance to two members of the Volumen, Shane (guitar) and Bryan Hickey (bass), who happen to be Colin’s brothers.

Songwriting with a sense of humor is just one of the band’s fortes. The music is driven by Bob Marshall on drums, Doug Smith on guitar and the Edgar Winter-meets-George Duke synthesizer licks of Chris Bacon. But coming up with a true description of the Volumen’s music is like trying to memorize all the words to “Rapper’s Delight” in five minutes.

“It’s like they’re a different band with every song,” said the Hickey brother who isn’t in the band. “They’re impossible to put a label on.”

If blues is your bag, try it with a jammin’ rock ‘n’roll edge by going to see Hog Wild. Texas native Pat McKay has been gigging around town for long enough to become something of a local legend. His gravelly lead vocals and sizzling guitar are complemented by the funky bass of Missoula icon Norman Medley and the scorching riffs of guitar man “Sweet Baby” Jim Taylor. Their covers range from ZZ Top to Albert King, so bring your dancing shoes to fully appreciate the Hog Wild experience.

Do you like your rock loud and dirty? Then get out and see the International Playboys, who took the summer off, but are ready to bust back on the scene with at least three gigs in September.

The five-man outfit has been known to turn the volume knobs on their amplifiers way past 11 and are looking to release their second album, “Sexiful,” in early October. The Playboys then will hit the road on a tour that will take them from the Pacific Northwest, down the California coast, east to Texas and back north through the Midwest before returning home. The Playboys aren’t to be missed before they go on tour.

The rockabilly sound of the Swillbillys delights both young and old with a twang that stems from the classic hollow-body guitar sound of Josh May, a 10-year Missoula veteran of the local music scene, and the pounding upright bass of Tim Martin.

They might draw an older crowd, but Bob Wire and the Fencemenders are sure to get music lovers of all ages on the dance floor with their brand of old-time twang rock. Bob Wire is actually lead singer/guitar player Russ Nasset and his act never gets old. Nasset, whose son Sam plays guitar in the Swillbillys, has many incarnations of this band, including Russ Nasset and the Revelators. If there’s a Nasset involved, a good time is guaranteed.

Signalpath is Missoula’s favorite local jam band, drawing a crowd you might have seen selling “kind veggie burritos” in the parking lot of one those final Phish shows this past summer. These guys have started to make a name for themselves beyond western Montana and rightfully so.

In the old-time tradition come Cash for Junkers, who take a fiddle-driven approach to folkie/country tunes, making them quite popular on the summer wedding reception circuit. This band is very tight and has played in Missoula long before the “O Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack returned their style of music mainstream.

Need a horn section to get you into the groove? Then look no further than Missoula’s own funk sensation, Sweet Lowdown and the Zoo City Players. If you think their name is too long to fit on a marquee, try fitting all the members of this band on one stage. They cover songs from Stevie Wonder to Dee-Lite and always leave the crowd begging for more.

For straight-up bluegrass, the Rank Strangers can’t be beat. Their tight harmonies and expert musicianship have impressed the likes of bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley, for whom the Strangers opened on the University of Montana campus in July. Their renditions of the classics will assure an audience one thing – when the Strangers do the pickin’ and the crowd will be a grinnin’.

Somewhat surprisingly for a town of this size, there are far too many local bands to mention, so consider this a starter kit. However, it only scratches the surface of what Missoula has to offer.

Michael Heinbach is a self-proclaimed music dork and 10-year veteran of several failed attempts at open-mike gigs around town who finds it much easier to write about than play music.