The members of Akimbo don’t believe the hype.
When the band announced in May that it would end its 14-year run as one of the Northwest’s premier hard rock acts, Good to Die Records head Nik Christofferson offered up an advance eulogy on his Seattle Rock Guy blog.
“Their influence on countless bands from the NW and beyond is unquestionable,” he wrote. “They are hugely important to many bands currently populating the local scene.”
Asked if they agree with that statement, the members of Akimbo laugh, their chuckles filling the Capitol Hill practice space where they were rehearsing for the band’s Aug. 11 farewell show at the nearby Comet Tavern. Then bass player Jon Weisnewski gets a little serious.
“Lately I’ve had dudes come up to me at shows being very vocal and very genuine about being big fans of the band,” he says. “That’s been really cool. But it doesn’t seem like we have created any major ripples or done anything important.”
“Then there’s people online who say, ‘I thought they broke up years ago,’” drummer Nat Damm adds, laughing again.
It’s a fair statement. Since releasing its seventh album, Jersey Shores, in 2008, the band has played fewer shows, its profile diminishing even as hard rock has become more popular in Seattle. The maturation of the scene has been furthered by the efforts of Christofferson, whose record label has issued a flurry of heavy releases in the last year, including the scorched-earth debut from Sandrider, a band that includes Akimbo’s founding members, Damm and Weisnewski. Sandrider will live on, but Akimbo was never meant for this new rock-friendly Seattle.
“It’s been a vibe that has been felt for a while,” Damm says. “We finally brought it up in conversation and we all decided that that was what had to happen.”
There are no hard feelings, said the members. The main reason for the split is that guitarist Aaron Walters wants to focus on his family and his rediscovered passion for archery.
“When I release the bow string, it plays a B,” he says before mimicking the action.
For its final show, Akimbo promises to dip into its back catalog and play some old favorites. As far as the future goes, the band plans to record one final album of new material before Walters officially trades in his axe for a bow.