Come Back

by Suitcase

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about

To understand the history of the Seattle-based rock ‘n’ roll band, Suitcase, is to understand the idea of dualism. Similar to a strand of DNA, the band is a double helix with two sides working in tandem to create the building blocks of something bigger than any single component. Indeed, what began in the mid-90s has since blossomed into something special, but that wouldn’t have been the case without the constant push-and-pull from the band’s central members, Don Farwell and Ed Otto.

The seeds for Suitcase were first planted in 1995 at Washington’s Evergreen State College where Don recruited some musicians to jam, including original member, bassist Sonam Miller. The band’s first shows came in 1996 and while there was much room for the project to grow, there was clear direction. Soon, Don, who was also working on a burgeoning career as a recording engineer at Washington’s Bear Creek Studio, enlisted Ed, the talented musician and songwriter.

“At first, Ed wrote songs but wouldn’t sing them,” recalls Don. “Our first incarnation, he made me sing the songs. But at some point a couple years later, Ed began to sing. He has a really different approach to songwriting. It provided a great blend.”

Many great bands feature a dichotomous core - think: John and Paul in the Beatles, Mick and Keith in The Rolling Stones and Anne and Nancy in Heart. Similarly, Don and Ed provided the necessary two sides of Suitcase’s successful coin.

“We’re best friends,” says Ed, “but that didn’t stop us from getting into arguments in the studio. We pushed each other’s buttons. We had different stylistic points of view but, ultimately, over a long period of time that really worked for us. We learned how to use it.”

Using it meant using their musical acumen with their powers of observation. As the band grew - both in confidence and song catalogue - the players, which included Miller on bass and now Jon Foley on drums, learned how to make space for one another. Space became a major theme for the group. Growth, of course, requires room to spread out and this was crucial for Suitcase as the group zeroed-in on their first EPs and, later, their breakthrough second LP.

Suitcase released their second LP, Lisabeula, in 2001, a collection of 13 songs that bridged the gap between the heavy rock Seattle had come to be known for in the late 20th century and the pretty choruses that would propel it into a new sonic future.

“The album started with me crying in a bar,” remembers Don. “I had been trying to break up the band but I couldn’t do it. So, I said, ‘If we’re going to stay together, we need to make a record.’ And we did.”

The record did more for the band than they could have predicted in their most grandiose daydreams. Seattle’s famed radio station, KEXP, picked up the LP and spun it in rotation. DJ John Richards especially took to it, inviting the band to play a prestigious in-studio on his historic Audioasis radio show. In addition, Suitcase was asked to play to thousands over the airwaves on KEXP’s show, The Live Room.

But the biggest feather in the cap came when R.E.M. guitarist, Peter Buck, singled out the “really good” group after seeing them play live, saying, “Geez, I haven’t seen a band that was unheralded in a long time that I liked.” The shoutout led to high-profile gigs at venues like The Crocodile, The Tractor Tavern and Sit ‘n’ Spin.

A year later, however, the duties and realities of life caught up with Suitcase and the group had to disband in 2002. Both Don and Ed went on to play intermittently with other groups and, later, Don founded his own recording studio, Earwig, in the city’s Wallingford neighborhood. Unbeknownst to Don, however, this professional decision would lead to Suitcase getting back together years later.

In 2017, the band received an opportunity it couldn’t refuse. The new Emerald City-based music festival, Upstream, had asked the band to play a reunion show. The band agreed and though they had to drop out of the festival at the last minute because a severe injury sustained by their drummer, the invitation created the momentum the group needed. Enter the band’s most recent record, Come Back.

The 2019 album picks up where Lisabeula left off but also offers a musical evolution for the four-piece, which now includes Clint Hoyler on bass and Joe Patterson on drums.

“Timing is everything,” says Ed. “Having the chance to make music feels really joyful. I love the creative process. Clint and Joe are so good; it really made me step my game up even further. I didn’t want to let these guys down. There’s no attitude, we’re all on the same page.”

Come Back features several hits, including the ear worm, “This Party Sucks,” a smashing, catching track flouting FOMO and pushing the listener to love what he’s doing rather than jump on the bandwagon of someone else’s joy. Much of Come Back was recorded at Earwig, which has become a community and creative hub for the band. Indeed, Earwig is the launching pad for the future of Suitcase and both Don and Ed couldn’t be more excited for the days, months and years to come.

“We’re getting back to the music,” Don says. “The really cool thing about that is reconnecting with old friends. I remember distinctly what it was like in the 90s and 2000s. Then Ed and I started our families, life happened. Now, though, we’ve come back to the band. We have our sound. Ed and I co-write the songs and we’re ready to share Come Back with our fans before making even more music.”

credits

released October 11, 2019

Suitcase - Come Back

Ed Otto Jr - guitar, vocals, keys and Chromonica
Don Farwell - guitar, vocals, keys and percussion
Clint Hoyler - bass
Joe Patterson - drums

Additional musicians:
Julia Massey - vocals on “Super Knife” and “Coos Bay”
Marian Macapinlac - vocals on “Coos Bay”
Sharon Chang - vocals on “Coos Bay”
James Han - keys on “Super Knife” and “Coos Bay”

All songs written by Don Farwell & Ed Otto Jr

© ℗ Suitcase 2019

Produced, engineered and mixed by Don Farwell at Earwig Studio

Recorded at Earwig Studio & Ed’s Garage
Additional engineering by Ed Otto Jr, Jen Gilleran and Brandon Goh
“This Party Sucks” mixed by Don Farwell & Jen Gilleran

Mastered by Levi Seitz at Black Belt Mastering

Album design by Cara Hoyler

Suitcase logo design and photography by Lance Hofstad

Album sequenced by Sean Moe

Special thanks: Levi Seitz, Brent Lyons, Sean Moe, Sharon Chang, Jen Gilleran, Marian Macapinlac, Julia Massey, Cara Hoyler, Brandon Goh, Lance Hofstad

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Suitcase Seattle, Washington

SUITCASE is back in 2018 and beyond! Their new album, "Come Back" is due out on vinyl early fall 2019. Stay tuned:)

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Track Name: Jack Burton
Lo Pan
At the chinese showdown
Egg Shen
The six demon bag
has got somethin to teach ya
Into the pork chop express
Into the alley

I've run out of conversations with you
I've run out of conversations with you

Miao Yin
I'll make you my princess!
Sexy gracie
I'll make you one too!
The girl with those jade green eyes
is making me crazy
Crazy
Track Name: Good God Why Did I Do This?
Bad designs are being made
Too many cooks, too many blades
The orphan is disconnected from the center line
A life time of suffering awaits

Everyone speaks, nobody cares
Amorphous clouds of poison glares
You creep what you flow
It seems like I’m waiting
For you to show me how

A sunrise appears, it’s glimmering
Your steady hands are wavering
Fall into the dark pool
You fool!
I’ll hold you down
Track Name: Mary's
There’s a place in Portland's home
An archipelago of pleasure zone
But one stands above the rest
Rest your head on her supple breasts

Mary’s! Mary’s! Mary’s!

Saddle up in a padded booth
Wild Turkey is a hundred proof
The views are hot and the beer is cool
Shake it, shake it, shake it

Mary’s! Mary’s! Mary’s!
Track Name: Super Knife
Bob Marley’s on my switch blade
smoking that spliff like it’s some kind of miracle
Standing around like your dumb kid brother
Who’s thinking of ways to die

See you staring at the blade
Laughing out loud ‘cause it’s so ironical
We’re going to hell in a handbag
Holding a super knife

Living long will cut you deep
Take all the time that you need

Snow’s falling by the airport
Goldie’s too close to the practice studio
Standing around by the green screen monster
It’s time to hit the bar

Diamond Dave is in my brain
singin so loud you don’t need that microphone
We’re goin to hell on an open tab
Let’s get another round

Living long will cut you deep
Take all the time that you need

Are we wandering alone
Down a western road?

Are we wandering alone
Down a western road?
Track Name: Cooler Heads
It’s over now
I’m shutting down

What’s in your head
We lie in our bed
Shoulder to shoulder and a million miles away
I can’t resist the pull
It’s irresistible
The urge to fight and prove I’m right is eating away at me

Cooler heads will prevail
Cooler heads!
Cooler heads in between the sheets and I’m counting sheep now

It’s shutting now
I’m over down

What’s in a bed?
Lying in a head
Dreaming of all the things I’d like for you to do to me
You recall the words.
That pull me from this world
The spell's a lie, it proves the night is slipping away from me

Cooler heads will prevail
Cooler heads!
Cooler heads in between the sheets and I’m counting sheep now

It’s over now.
Track Name: San Francisco
I see the color run from your face
from the cocktails in your veins
The tap, tap, tap and refrain
And you whisper out god’s name
Jesus I’m coming home
On the wings of an angel
On the wings of an angel

Cyclone of trash in the wind
The smell of decay and the end
of existence, now you begin
down the trail that leads to hell
On the wings of an angel
Of an angel

You begin to memorize,
the ordinary lines appear
in the ground opening the door
A man is there waving the prize
Extraordinary paths await
for a price I know I paid.
I know I paid.

Ooh la la la
Ooh la la la
Track Name: This Party Sucks
Head west to the setting sun
Find out that your mother’s done
I’m craving menthol cigarettes
We are tied to your childhood stare
That face you make when you’re there
Is all that’s left to use

Time to go, this party sucks now
No goodbyes, no looking backwards
Time to go, this party sucks now
Everyone’s the same, same, same

Fly east to the rising sun
I could wait, but I’m done
digging up these distant memories
What proof do you need from there?
Some place in your mind impaired
Mistranslates every word

Every painful melody
Make optimists resign
Nothing makes sense
I don’t speak the jumbled words
I can read your face the same

Time to go, this party sucks now
No goodbyes, no looking backwards
Time to go, this party sucks now
Everyone’s the same, same, same
Track Name: 12 Steps
Punch drunk in a fair fight
Everyone knows your name
Last call, then the bright lights
One more then you're gone

It's a chemical dream
Part of your caustic scene

You're built for the high times
Unless you're with me
12 steps on the straight line
And then you'll be free

Step 4 is a strange lie
to yourself, binge and rage
Last chance then it's step 5
One more then you're gone

It's a chemical dream
Part of your caustic scene

You're built for the high times
Unless you're with me
12 steps from the straight line
We'll never be free
Track Name: Come Back
And I can't breathe
Come back to me.
As the airplane pulls in position,
Come back to me.

And the air we breathe at the same time
And the chemtrails burning my eyes
And the whispers from the passengers
Is out of context from the feeling inside
Don’t they know that we’re gonna crash?
Don’t they know that the snacks, they won't last?
And everyone will lose connections
Debilitating pain and anguish
For a salary that doesn't make ends meet

And I can't breathe
Come back to me
As the airplane pulls in position
Come back to me
Track Name: Wyatt's a Boss
Wyatt’s a boss!
He never lost
Standing a foot above every friend

Kazuo screams
“Leo it seems
we never come close to taking him down”

Makin a plan
Taking a stand
Circle him slow and wait for a sign

The bell rings loud
The time is now
The moment passes, then we’re gone

You are sun on the sand
Beating waves on the sand

Wyatt’s a boss!
He never lost
Standing alone on top of his friends

Kazuo screams
“Leo it seems
we never come close to taking him down”

Immovable wall
Impossibly tall
I take my chance and go for his feet

The ring in my ears
Sweat and tears
The moment passes, then we’re gone

You are sun on the sand
Beating waves on the sand
Track Name: Don't Get Me Started
The bases are loaded
And I'm feeling great
I take my place upon home base
I swing for the fences
and the crowd goes wild

I’ve been to Chicago
I’ve been to LA
I’ve washed my hands
and then i shaved my face
In the lonely hotel rooms
on the road

I don’t drink wells
it’s only taps
The lonely hotel rooms
I sit in the back
Waiting for the day i go home

Don't get me started I want to go home
Don't get me started I want to go home

Take off from third base
slide into home
I hit the dirt and feel my shoulder explode
My run has ended
and the crowd goes wild

No more check-ins
I miss my planes
I lived the dream and then they took it away
The deal is done now
I want to go home

Where has the time gone?
Can’t find my hat
I hear the nurse whisper “his mind has gone slack”
I close my eyes
and the diamond appears…

Don't get me started I want to go home
Don't get me started I want to go home
Track Name: Coos Bay
If I could lift up from this space
would there something replaced?
Some kind of murder?
Some kind of waste?

If I could lift myself up from this place
would I be able to look in your face?
Some kind of wonder
Some kind of taste

Fade back and pass it on
Everyone’s the same
Siphon my life from the
Take it all away
I’ll meet you outside when the
Earth explodes today
Feedback and pass it on
Everyone’s the same
Siphon my life from the
Take it all away
I’ll meet you outside when the

Chemical dream fades away
Chemicals dream cathode ray
Chemical dream fades away

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