Nights and Days

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Guitarist/vocalist Rob Vasquez had performed in Seattle garage punk bands such as the Feelings and Look during the late '70s. Both groups received a fair amount of attention in the Northwest between the…
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Guitarist/vocalist Rob Vasquez had performed in Seattle garage punk bands such as the Feelings and Look during the late '70s. Both groups received a fair amount of attention in the Northwest between the years of 1976 and 1979. By 1985, Vasquez was ready to start another new band. As an avid record collector, and a child growing up in the 1960s, Vasquez held a deep passion for garage bands who would incorporate percussion, such as maracas and tambourines, into their three-minute songs. The first recruit into Vasquez's new group was Jerrat O'Bryan. With no previous musical experience, Vasquez taught O'Bryan how to play bass. Although Vasquez had played bass in various bands, his first love had always been the guitar, an instrument he'd been playing since junior high school. He'd amassed a number of original songs while in high school and wanted to take the lead guitar and vocalist roles in his new project. Matthew Jones, who had previously played in the Body Bags, was added on drums. Jones, Vasquez, and O'Bryan had known each other from their circle of mod-type friends. Although the trio's foundation was solid, Vasquez realized that there was still something missing to distinguish his new band from the up-and-coming grunge generation so prevalent in mid-'80s Seattle. It was decided that an additional percussionist was what the new group needed. Vasquez was in luck, as he found an interested musician in Jesse Sunval. Vasquez and Sunval hit it off immediately as they realized they both shared a love of '60s music, art, clothing, toys, and television. Vasquez couldn't remember how he finally decided on the group's name, but after kicking around possibilities like the Wrong Box, he finally settled on Nights and Days. Vasquez took the songs he'd written in high school and used them for the Nights and Days' first set list. By the following year, Sunval's friends were making fun of him for playing the tambourine. This caused Sunval to believe that his role as percussionist was unimportant, so he quit the band. As the group was playing house parties and bad bar gigs in 1987, the band ran across Brendan Shriane, who was added as their new percussionist. At that time, there was talk that acquaintance Mike Goodall was starting a record label. Kings of Rock were going to be one of the first groups to release material on the new imprint, and guitarist Tim Hayes suggested that Goodall ought to look into releasing a record by Nights and Days as well. Although Goodall approached Vasquez, who also recommended Fall-Outs for a single, nothing came of the transaction. Instead, Nights and Days wound up making a verbal agreement with Regal Select Records and releasing 1988's 7" Garbage Can. That same year, the group was approached by Sub Pop co-owner Jonathan Poneman about contributing a track to the Sub Pop 200 compilation. The band agreed and recorded the song "Split," which appeared alongside artists like Nirvana, Tad, Mudhoney, Catbutt, and Swallow. Nights and Days appeared at a release party for the Sub Pop album with some of those bands that same year. Nights and Days released one more 7" for Regal Select, 1989's These Days, and contributed a track to the label's 1990 Puget Power compilation. Sub Pop's Poneman was interested in releasing more output from Nights and Days, and the band recorded an album's worth of material with producer Jack Endino. Poneman encouraged the group to tour, however, Jones had received a bank teller job and didn't want to quit in order to go on the road. Vasquez asked Jones if he could at least find a replacement for the tour, but the discussion ended in a heated argument in which Jones and Vasquez both quit the group. As a result, the material recorded with Endino was never released and remains so to this day. "Nobody had any idea things were going to happen the way they did for Sub Pop," said Vasquez. "If I wouldn't have been such a hot head, I would have just found somebody to replace Matt and did the best we could." The band was officially over by 1991, although a posthumous EP, titled Live Above the Steel Room, did appear on the Rekkids label shortly thereafter. Following Nights and Days, Jones went on to play drums with Monkey Business, while Vasquez recorded with Gorls, the Man Tee Mans, Chintz Devils, Ape Lost, and Night Kings with O'Bryan.