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A multifaceted songwriting style

The punk rock scene in Medford may be hardly visible, but it has not vanished entirely — at least not if the lads from Seek Help have anything to say about it.

The roughly two-year-old band, composed of Mike "Jonathan" Wilson on drums, Shawn Arnspiger on guitar, Matty Visser on guitar and vocals and Zack "Fackel" Stewart on bass, is on a quest to quench the local thirst for music of the fast and fun nature.

Seek Help will perform at 9:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 29, at Johnny B's, 35 S. Bartlett St., Medford.

The group was formed when what was supposed to be a short stay in Medford for Visser — originally from Southern California — turned into a permanent move.

"Matty needed a couch to crash on, and basically just never left," says Wilson. Visser and Stewart had both been members of Pocket Lint, the house band in what was formerly Bozz' Rock and Bluez Club. Pocket Lint's dissolution and a short-notice show request led to the formation of Seek Help.

"The other band had kind of fallen apart. We were asked to play a party and had two weeks to get ready. We've been a band ever since," Wilson recalls.

Seek Help lists prominent punk groups such as NOFX, Mad Caddies and Sublime among their primary influences, but the imagination behind much of Visser's songwriting can also be traced to a less punk-oriented source: his two daughters.

"A lot of the inspiration for my songs comes from my daughters, Patience and Ashia," says Visser, who attributes his compositional style to a desire to be multifaceted.

"I try to keep it silly at one moment, and say something important at the next," he says. "I like the ebb and flow of that better than doing just one thing."

Although the band has had some difficulty getting its music heard locally, those who do get a chance to listen seem to like what they hear, members say.

"A lot of times we end up playing for crickets. But when people hear us, they tend to like us and follow us around," explains Wilson.

Seek Help is focused on increasing its fan base in Southern Oregon, but hopes eventually to branch out into new territory.

"The tight quarters, sleeping on floors, the band crankiness "¦ we can't wait to get on the road," says Wilson with a laugh.

With plenty of original material in their collective pocket, band members are also eager to record — but they're not in a rush, they say.

"We're looking for a studio," says Wilson. "We've done a lot of different types of recording, but nothing has turned out quite right yet."

Seek Help members are partial to the idea of selecting material for their next recording according to fan demand, rather than simply picking all the songs themselves.

"We'd rather let the people decide, so we don't over-think it," says Stewart.

Cover for the show at Johnny B's is $4.

Call 773-1900.

Bobby Seus is a freelance writer for the Mail Tribune. Reach him at bobbyseus@gmail.com or at 574-514-8997.

Seek Help features (clockwise, left to right) percussionist Mike 'Jonathan' Wilson, bassist Zack 'Fackel' Stewart, guitarist and vocalist Matty Visser and guitarist Shawn Arnspiger. Graphic artist and friend Joe Mundo is crouched in front. - Photo by Joe Mundo