Squash is in dire need to get their jam on.
The Savannah four-piece, who describe themselves as a “shredding beast chock full of psychedelic soundscapes mixed with tight grooves and deep pocket bass,” have been in a funk since the pandemic hit right before St. Patrick’s Day.
“One of the biggest shows we have of the year, we take part in the official City of Savannah party down on River Street, so we work with the Riverfront Association, and this would have been our second year in a row headlining that festival,” said drummer Jeff Shaffer. “We got hung out high and dry on that one, as well as some of the peripheral, larger paying shows and bigger exposure.”
“It’s where a lot of us put our nose to the grind stone and get as many gigs in that weekend as we can and unfortunately a lot of them got canceled or fell flat. That’s when it really hit us as ‘This is real’ and ‘What are we doing going forward?’.”
Squash, who are co-fronted by guitarists Rhett Hutcheson and Russell Shostak, with the rhythm section of Shaffer and bassist Kevin Prusa, have been working their day jobs from home, and almost all have children. Getting together to practice is nearly impossible, so the bandmates have been using their quarantine time to write new material for a future album.
“We’re recording in our home studios and taking those tracks and sending them to the other band members and they’re taking those parts and laying down their parts on top of that,” explained Shaffer. “It’s a rough cut of a new song, but it’s got all of our parts written on it. Once we’re allowed to socialize we’ll have a lot more material coming out real fast. This is what we’ve been doing to keep our chops up and stay in contact with each other.”
Squash are also shopping around for a studio in Macon to record their new songs when they’re ready.
“We’re in slow talks with a couple studios in Macon — some of the old school guys that did Allman Brothers some of the Macon blues stuff from the ‘70s,” said Shaffer. “We’re looking to jump into the realm with them and try to get some of the gris-gris from the old timers.”
Although the members of Squash have regular jobs and consider their band a “side hustle,” they certainly appreciate the extra income regularly performing live can produce.
“We’ve seen the big groups that are able to absorb the down time and they’ve been doing benefit concerts, down to the guys who play here locally and are doing the open-mic Wednesdays,” said Shaffer. “We fall right in the middle of that where we’re not relying on this as a way to live, but it certainly helps when that car payment or mortgage payment comes around.”
“Our biggest thing is the interactions of our fan base and our friends,” Shaffer continues. “It’s like the music that we play is such a feeling, an environment to be in—there’s a certain type of fan base that follow improv jam bands like ours, and it’s such a family kind of feeling. We know people’s back stories, their struggles, so the relationship is what we’re missing the most. We’re missing seeing people.”
It may be awhile before they get to be with their friends and fans, but in the meantime, Squash have a gig on May 2 for the always stellar Quarantine Concert series broadcast from Tybee Post Theater.
“We are stoked,” said Shaffer. “We’ve never played the Tybee Post Theater, so this will be our introduction to that stage. At the same time it’s a mutually beneficial thing where we get to show off the quality work that they do, help support them, but give us the avenue and release that we’ve been looking for since last month.”
Squash can be supported through donations to quarantineconcerts.org or Venmo - @Kevin-Prusa and PayPal – email@example.com.