'Crazy' Punk

"We're not even really sure what we are," says Julian Jones, bassist for Ashland punk band The Tentacles. "We're kind of progressive punk with a little dash of heavy metal and a little dash of classic rock."

The band's music draws inspiration from all things weird and creepy, and it cites horror-punk band The Misfits as one of its biggest influences.

Jones says he wants The Tentacles to be able to sing about the strange and remain accessible to fans who don't identify with horror.

"I want to say, 'We sound kind of like this band,' but I don't because people have their own ideas that might be negative," Jones says.

The group will play at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at Club 66, 1951 Ashland St., Ashland. They will be joined by Repellent and The Stamps. There is a $5 cover for the all-ages show.

Started in 2010, while Jones was a sophomore at Ashland High School, The Tentacles has seen a revolving door of members. Nine different musicians have been in the band since its inception, with Jones as the sole original member. The band's current lineup — which includes Lily Baugh on vocals, Austin Swanson on drums and Chris Vinson on guitar — is the longest standing at nearly a year together, and Jones thinks this lineup will stick.

"I met Lily in high school and brought her in when we needed a new singer. When we needed a new drummer, she suggested Austin," Jones says. "I met Chris at (Southern Oregon University), and we had him come onstage and sing with us for a Halloween show we did. Our guitarist at the time wanted to do more leads, so we asked Chris to be our rhythm guitarist. When the other guitarist left, Chris took over as our sole guitarist. I think we've finally gotten the lineup that works."

The band recently recorded a seven-song EP that will be released soon. It will have three previously released songs and four new songs, produced and mixed by Sean McCoy at Oregon Sound Recording in Central Point.

"Our style has changed considerably since we released those first three songs a year ago," Jones says. "Now that we're releasing them all together, people will be able to hear what we sound like now."

When it comes to live shows, calling the band energetic is an understatement. Jones recalls one show where he climbed on top of his bass amp and jumped onto the venue's PA speaker.

"We try to go as crazy as possible," Jones says. "We kick stuff over, mosh, jump around; sometimes our playing ability is compromised, but we try to balance it out to give the audience a good show."

Jones believes the band's future looks bright.

"The scene has been growing lately. The last all-ages punk show had a lot of people at it," Jones says. "More people at the high school and university are hearing the music, getting into it and coming out to the shows."

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