an unauthorized Squid Band biography
It all started when Jim Pontack got back from Vietnam in 1970. Honorably discharged from special ops, Jim began important undercover work for the CIA. The details of his assignment can't be shared but the job brought him into a lot of nightclubs in the urban area of Dallas, Texas. Playing the part of a street musician, Jim would sit in with various bands playing the drums. One night in the fall of 1977, Jim was undercover in a bar called "The Alamo" and sat in with Disco-rock band named "Sweet Energy". Playing bass for the band was Brent "Bottoms" Gillespie. The two hit off with both their disco style of music and attire.
A New Beginning
Since Sweet Energy's drummer at the time (Carl "Pete" Carlson) was both a good drummer and on a work release program, the only way Jim could join the band was as an under-study. Jim decided to quit the CIA and go as a full-part-time/back-up/under-study drummer with Brent and the band. Sweet Energy soon changed their name to "Alladdin's Magic Vest" and began touring the South . . . part of Dallas. Gigs at various truck stops and cafes brought a modicum of success including 8-track sales, LPs, and a few bumper stickers. After 6 months of touring the Greater Southern Dallas Area (GSDA), Alladdin's Magic Vest decided to to hit the road. This meant Jim could go full-time as a drummer as Carl Carlson couldn't leave Dallas without going back to jail. (He subsequently was involved in a bizarre weed-wacking accident which cost him one precious drumming arm anyway). So, the band began playing throughout the Southern-Midwest . . . part of Texas.
In the fall of 1979, while on a break during their hectic gig schedule, the band decided to attend a hot new fad workshop at the time in Alberquerque, New Mexico. The workshop was for young rock bands seeking a sound and direction. Ravi Shankar, Carl Jung's grandson, and various other notables were leading sessions. In a small break-out session, Jim and Brent attended a small meeting titled, "Hearing the Music in Your Music: An Investigation in Recursive Musical Reflexology" led by an up and coming guitarist/philosopher named Jeff Lund. During the question and answer part of the session, Brent stumped the guru with his question, "If motorcycles don't have doors, why should one always return to the 'one' in a given key?" The guru was so taken by this question he decided to join the band.
Guitar, Bass, and now Drums?
With new virtuoso guitarist Jeff Lund, the band changed their name once again now to "Salubrious" and stretched out to playing a chromatic-evolving classic rock/ progressive Asian opera triple set to the entire United States. Jim started taking on lead vocal responsiblities and shunned his drum work. When he finally showed up to a gig with only his drum sticks and a foot pedal, Salubrious thought it was time to hire a new drummer and just let Jim sing. Jeff happened to have an old friend from his days of remote mountain climbing in the Andes who he remembered had pretty good rythym. His name was Dan Mead. Dan had just gotten back from a back-packing search for very-alternative-energy sources in an undisclosed moutainous region and had some free time after his de-briefing. Dan carefully studied all the recordings of "The Who", and Raymond Scott, and quickly became a top-notch drummer. The chemistry was just right. The band changed their name once again, finally to "the Squids" (1989).
the Final Chapter
The Squids were rocking Nothern Saskatchewan one night in 1990 and after the gig were invited to a house party in Vermilion. At the party, a disheveled guy was sitting at a piano playing Chopsticks with a pair of chopsticks. This gave the trained visionary guitarist Jeff Lund an idea: what if they added keyboards to their sound? This could extend their sonic template to a new level and help communicate the true mission of the band in a more effective way. After the dishelved guy played a funky rendition of Linus & Lucy (the Peanuts theme), they were sold and hired mitch foster (a foster kid) on the spot to play keyboards and kazoo. This brought the band to the current line-up a as you know it today. Ever since, the Squids have been bringing the rock and roll to every room they play in (and some that they don't), in an intimate and personal way.
The Squids -- a band for most occassions -- different, but the same kind of rockin' each night or day.
The Squids have also shared the stage with many "sit-in" artists and musicians -- the above picture is from a record day of 7 guest artists.