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

Bob Marshall Volumen Beta
Bob Marshall

Watch Bob, and watch him close. See if you can catch him slippin’. You never will, because this plunging draft horse of the VOLUMEN skins never does. Every beat, fill, ride...every damn flam-flam or paradiddle he plays fits as tight and snug as in those walls at Macchu Picchu where you can’t even slip a piece of paper between these stones as big as a Volkswagen Beetle. It’s a craft he’s honed in nearly half a dozen other Missoula bands, including Prosciutto, Saved for This Dark Dawn and the much-missed Spanker. The tireless BobJob is still foaming to rock long after his bandmates have packed it in for the evening, and, like Doug, he’s also an excellent cook. Keep him away from the chilies, though—last time Bob came to my house, he whipped up some 2:30 AM quesadillas that cleared the place out like a canister of CS gas.

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

The Missoulian 03/09/2006
URL: View Actual Article
Author: Tristan Scott

Often mimicked but never duplicated, this indie pop band is riding a wave of success from stages to basements

With two strips of duct tape and a Hanes V-Neck, you can be a part of Volumen.

That was the scene in a suburb of Eureka, Calif., a few years ago, when the veteran geek-pop quintet rolled into a basement packed with teenage Volumen clones, all sporting their homemade “V” tees.
“We felt like we were in some magical Volumen land,” said Bryan Hickey, the band's bassist. “Our show fell through that night, but these kids wanted to do it in their parents' basement. Their parents were there chaperoning. We were playing next to the washer and dryer, there's all these snacks and Skittles. The mom made us fried chicken. It was amazing.”

Screaming every lyric in perfect chorus, those pint-size fans were the lost boys to Volumen's Peter Pan.

“Those are the best shows and the best fans,” Bryan said. “It's the kind of towns where we grew up, and the fans are so hungry for it. Those towns can't just be stops on the way to something bigger, they've got to be your destination.”

And having already shaped the Missoula indie rock scene with their first two albums and countless performances, the band's new album - their first release in four years - will once again whet their scythe, and hopefully attract some new recruits to Volumen's never-never land.

“You're gonna get out of touch with the youth, you're not gonna have any Volumen,” Bryan said.

To help further that philosophy, the release of “Science Faction,” slated for Friday at the Raven Cafe, won't be an ordinary kickoff party.

The band, which consists of Shane Hickey on guitar, Bryan on bass, Doug Smith on guitar, Chris Bacon on keyboards, and Bob Marshall on drums, scoured Missoula's local high schools for a batch of bands to help celebrate the new release.

They selected Riddilin Que, Zepher and Abstract Anthem from Big Sky High School and Happy Unit Gang from Washington Middle School.

Each band is expected to perform a cover of one Volumen tune, which the band members will judge based on certain criteria - creativity, musicianship and stage presence. The winners get a half-day of free recording at the Volumen Compound.

The purpose: “I guess they're trying to bring out the music of the next generation,” said Ki Imus, the 16-year-old drummer of Zepher. “We're kind of getting the godfather deal, where they're bringing us under their wing. Getting your first gig is one of the biggest challenges a band can face, and they've already been through those hardships.”

But there's a symbiosis between the teenage musicians - whose local haunts are mostly talent shows - and the seasoned new wave rock group whose globetrotting includes a Baltic tour.

“Local bands is local bands,” said drummer Marshall. “Bands are all super good to each other.”

“The high school bands all know each other,” Imus said. “We're all family.”

In December 1999, Volumen exploded onto the Missoula indie-rock scene with a historic gig at Jay's Upstairs. And although they played under a different name, the band's same lineup is intact today.

Of course, the Jay's days are all over. But the show helped cast an era defined by bands with intimate knowledge of other bands.

“You didn't know anybody's last name, you only knew their band name,” Shane said. “Their last name was their band name.”

And the relationship between Volumen band members is nothing if not intimate.

Songwriters Shane and Doug (aka Volumen One and Two, respectively), were childhood friends who grew up on Montana's Malmstrom Air Force base.

Bassist Bryan (aka Volumen Squared), is Shane's younger brother, whose first memory is of the time a group of Air Force cadets stole Shane's Big Wheel.

“It was just gone one day,” Shane said. “Then it reappeared with a note saying ‘Sorry, angel dust makes you do crazy things.' ”

“They even patched a hole in the wheel because they thought they broke it, but it had been like that forever,” Bryan said.

Bob (aka Volumen Beta) and Chris (aka Volumen bKCAWCK), also perform as Bacon and Egg, a side project that Marshall says allows them to be more involved with songwriting and decision-making.

Sitting around the living room at local music promoter Josh Vanek's Missoula home, the band is preparing for a 10-day tour of the West Coast later this month.

Vanek operates the Wantage Records label that released “Science Faction,” and calls Volumen “an outgrowth of Montana's make-your-own-fun culture.”

They're sorting records and profile zines into promotional packages for the tour, recounting the difficult process of selecting the perfect tracks for the new record and dismissing others.

“We'd listen to 10 recordings of the same song over and over,” Doug said. “You want to keep making the smallest changes, and it can drive you insane.”

And while most of the album's tracks will be familiar to fans who frequent Volumen shows, capturing the energy of Volumen live has long been a challenge for the band during studio recording sessions.

“I think it's just cause we're spazzes,” Shane said.

In the studio, there's the risk of losing your signature grit or sounding overproduced.

Listening to a Volumen record at home, one can only imagine Bacon thrashing over his keys like Gumby on crack, or Marshall beating his snare like a drunken minotaur. But Volumen's essence is still intact, and on “Science Faction,” their meticulous fussing has paid off.

Someone's made curry at Vanek's, and the whole band is present. Doug is drinking water through a paper towel, trying to cure his hiccups.

On March 23, they'll all drive to Spokane for the first of 10 shows. The 10-day tour will take them to San Francisco and back. And of course, they'll travel in their tour-vehicle of choice - the ambulance.

The 1982 Ford Amublance has working sirens and a lightbar, and has guided the band on many memorable tours, through good shows and bad.

Surprisingly, their worst show on record was three years ago in Sandpoint, Idaho, just after a bikini contest.

“We played after the bikini girls,” Shane said. “That's a spot you never want to play.”

“We had free Red Bull products, two hotel rooms, bikini girls on stage, and that was the show that almost broke the band,” Bryan said.

“We were playing to these pseudo-jocks, these steak necks who had just finished a wake-boarding contest and kept shouting ‘You suck!' ” Shane said.

The crowd's aggression was contagious, and the band made an executive decision to break up.

But the next morning, the guys visited a diner for an epic breakfast, with “sausage bits as big as your fist and the biggest and best chicken fried steak,” Bryan said.

Later, they played laser tag and rode go-carts.

“So we started out good with chicken fried steak, then we got to play laser tag and ride go-carts,” Bryan said. “The band broke up - then chicken fried steak.”

That's what happens when the crowd turns on you, the band members agree.

But there have been too many perfect audiences to let the bad ones break a band like Volumen.

The Eureka teens who invited Volumen into their parents basement years ago have formed a band of their own, Fro the Lazy, which even covers a couple of Volumen songs.

“To me, that's insane that we're a band that gets covered,” Bryan said.

It sounds strange since the band ordered each of their underlings to cover a Volumen song at the CD release party, but the bands were happy for the chance to play live.

Volumen's geeky, new wave pop music is rooted in a small town, and in a small town those roots will continue to spread.

Vanek calls the show “a good opportunity for some new faces to check out Volumen, but likewise for some old faces to check out” the new.

“When I talk to some of these high school kids, it's like talking to my peers,” Shane said. “They're just like we were. We needed that, and now they need that.”


When: March 10 at 8 p.m.

Where: The Raven Cafe, located at 130 E. Broadway St.

Who: Volumen, Abstract Anthem, Happy Unit Gang, Riddilin Que and Zepher

Admission: $5 (all ages show)