Had you walked into Bardo Coffee House last Sunday afternoon, you would have seen four dudes — one wearing a shirt with cats on it — crammed onto a couch, trying not to spill tea on themselves or the one female member of their group, who perched comfortably in the corner of the sofa. The newest configuration of Denver band Quantum Creep — Justin Couch, Heath March, Eric Ten Hoeve, Kaleo Kaualoku and Suzi Allegra - was preparing for its Underground Music Showcase performance at Illegal Pete’s, and original member March’s final show with the group.
Though the band's power-pop music, with hints of Elvis Costello and the Buzzcocks, has remained the same since its inception, the faces of those behind the instruments have continued to change. Within the last few months alone, original guitarist Joey Wiley left the group, followed shortly afterward by keyboardist Crawford Philleo. The UMS performance would mark Kaualoku’s debut with the band, as it would Allegra’s; the latter performs mostly with local band Fingers of the Sun.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate that we have so many talented friends who want to step up and join us,” says Couch, referring to Allegra, who is filling March’s shoes as the band’s new bassist. March’s new adventure is fatherhood: With a three-year-old and five-month-old twins at home, he reports, “there’s no more time for rock and roll."
“Honestly, I’m thrilled for this change. because Suzi is one of my absolute favorite bass players,” March adds. “The fact that she’ll be playing in my place is completely daunting and horrifying, because it’s going to be so amazing.”
Couch, March and Hoeve laugh as they share memories of Quantum Creep, including one of an infamous house show in Boulder with “the strangest energy.”
“We walked in the door, and there were fifty students sitting cross-legged on the floor, listening to a presentation on cutting down environmental emissions,” Couch recalls. “We were supposed to play third, and then a funk band muscled us out of our spot and played for an hour and a half. We ended up starting at like one in the morning and playing for the two friends who invited us there. We played a really good show to no one.”
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With a new Quantum Creep lineup in place, the band will get a restart of sorts as the members make new music and memories together and find themselves in more interesting and challenging situations, including the recent loss of their practice space. “I like to think of us a Rocky movie at this point,” says drummer Hoeve. “We keep taking all these hits, but we just keep swinging. We’re determined to keep going.”
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Couch agrees, saying that at this point he’s "no longer getting upset about the blows." In fact, he notes, "it’s fun to keep rolling with it.” Though the band has rarely experienced a time without a seemingly constant slew of changes, the musicians continue to make the music they love for themselves and the people who love them.
When the group finished their coffee and tea — and posed for the first photo of this new version of Quantum Creep — they performed to an audience of friends, family and hungry burrito eaters, as well as former member Joey Wiley. Though the sound guy was admittedly spending more time sharing his quesadilla than focusing on the mixer, it was but another minor obstacle for the band to push through.
Drinks were raised and a toast was made in thanks to everyone who’s ever been on the Quantum Creep trip before the sound of VCR filled the room.