It all started about 10 years ago in a kitchen over some beer, a pair of acoustic guitars and talk about the Iraq War.
Erik von Gohren found out that Doug Baer, a fellow teacher in the Mukilteo School District, needed help decompressing from multiple tours in Iraq with the Army. So, he invited him to play the guitar.
In between songs and pints, they sorted through some of Baer’s experiences, including when he was nearly killed by a roadside bomb, seeing a friend die and losing hearing in his left ear.
“He trusted me, knowing that I wasn’t trying to get anything out of him,” von Gohren said. “I just wanted to hear his story.”
Eventually their jam sessions turned serious and in 2013, they formed an acoustic duo. One of their songs, “Confusion Grey,” is about Baer’s time in Iraq.
When a guitarist, bassist and drummer joined their ranks, they officially formed Scattered Sunn, a rock-infused alternative and blues band, in 2015.
The Everett band has played gigs around the greater Puget Sound area, including the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival, at Decibel Brewing in Bothell and Northwest Folklife in Seattle. They are currently working on their first album.
“We just started from drinking beers and talking and playing in the kitchen to having a full band,” von Gohren said.
Scattered Sunn is made up of von Gohren, 46, on vocals and Jamey Roberts, 39, on lead guitar from Everett; Monroe’s Joe Andrews, 39, on bass; and Shoreline residents Russell Schuh, 45, on drums and Baer 47, on rhythm guitar.
Von Gohren, a language arts and social studies teacher at Olympic View Middle School (Baer teaches at Kamiak High School), said everyone in the band is on the same page musically, although Roberts and Andrews are slightly younger.
“They listened to music our parents listened to — (Jimi) Hendrix, (Eric) Clapton and KISS,” von Gohren said. “But I think we’re more influenced by the Seattle sound of that era: Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.”
The band is helped by the fact that Roberts, Andrews and Schuh previously toured the Pacific Northwest with a rock band called Moss Eye from 1999 to 2005.
Von Gohren used to sing at campfires for the fun of it, but only started taking his voice seriously when Scattered Sunn formed.
“I never expected to be in a band like this,” von Gohren said. “It’s a lot easier when you have a great band behind you. But at the time I was petrified.”
The band practices and records their demos in Roberts’ basement, which is fitted with a stage and mixing equipment. They all have a hand in the writing process, which leads to songs about love, loss and life.
Von Gohren said they also repurposed Baer’s song about Iraq and turned it into one of their most recent singles.
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, email@example.com. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.