Mother Yeti awakened by nature

Local neo-grunge indie rock band has no shortage of crazy stories from performances over the years


MICHAEL LINDER | The Daily Evergreen

Bill Tracy, left, and Zack Degler of Mother Yeti tell stories about the band’s travels. The group was formed in 2012.

BLAINE ROSS, Evergreen reporter

Deep in the cold, arctic tundra that is the Moscow-Pullman area there exists a mythical being that many people are skeptical about: the Mother Yeti. It is a strong, burly creature that thrives off of watching drunken college students roam about in its ever aware, gazing sight. Rumor has it that local musicians Bill Tracy and Zach Calkins were born from this mischievous yeti and their music goes to show it.

Mother Yeti is a local band formed in 2012 and their music can be describe as a neo-grunge indie rock, an ethereal mixture with blues influences. The band consists of five rock ’n’ roll dudes: Joe Hein on bass, Zach Calkin on the electric organ, Jim Rizzuto on drums, and Bill Tracy and Zach Degler as the band’s two lead guitarists and vocalists. The band started out as a three-piece, then became a two-piece, and are now a full-fledged five-piece group.

“I’d say it’s a project that revolves around making music that doesn’t cater to one genre,” Calkins said. “We like to play loud and powerful music, but it doesn’t have to be punk, psych rock or rhythm and blues.”

The root of their sound is pretty hard to describe, Calkins said, because of all the different influences that affect their music. Tracy said their sound “came from us playing anything and everything that sounds good. It’s just a matter of us appealing to our own ears and playing to anything that makes us satisfied.”

Being a Pacific Northwest-based band, they have a lot of influence from the natural world.

“I grew up skiing and living in the mountains, and Zach is kind of an outdoorsy kind of guy,” Tracy said. “Being surrounded by mountains, nature and snow we have experienced supernatural experiences and been awakened by nature which has inspired the music.”

The group has collected some crazy stories over the years. Once, Mother Yeti had just finished a show in Missouri and an old drunkard, the last person in the bar, convinced them to go spend the night down at the river with him. Against all intelligent advice, they spent the night with him at the river’s edge.

They decided to hop in the river for a late-night swim and when they got out, they remembered that the only thing the guys had to sleep under was a single wool blanket. So Tracy and the boys were exhausted, wet and freezing cold, and shared their night with a presumably homeless man on the muddy banks of the Missouri.

They managed to sleep through the night until the train came by early in the morning, waking up the band, and revealing an entirely different man who was panning for sapphires and precious metals in the river. To say the least, it was an interesting night for the guys.

Mother Yeti’s album “Gimmick’s Valley” is available on Soundcloud, Bandcamp and Spotify, and as of this week they are recording an unnamed, untitled album at a farmhouse in the Moscow-Pullman area.