bug toast defies categorization, playing original, genre-bending, world-influenced, progressive folk on bouzouki, accordion, guitar, bass, violin, cello, and percussion, with field recordings, sound design, textured instrumentation, vocal harmonies, and interesting time signatures.
Blended from two musical families, the combination of brothers, father/brother/daughter plus husband and son, makes for familial yet unfamiliar music. The group creates the arrangements together -- richly textured, interwoven pieces with careful attention to counterpoint, voicing, harmonies, and rhythms. The ensemble fluctuates between being a trio, a quartet, a quintet, and a sextet. Perhaps our next project will feature a septet ...
The Making of bug toast :
Newly moved to Portland, Oregon from Chicago, Dave met Susanne in graduate school and soon after lamented to her how he missed playing in his old band. Susanne invited him to come jam with her band The B'Jesus (with husband Christopher, Joe Walker, and Bob Thompson). Dave joined the group. That was 1992. A drummer change one year later brought Susanne's brother Bob into the mix, and the band was renamed Mind Gulp. Mind Gulp played frequently at the Ash Street Saloon, but Mark's Hawthorne Pub became the band's home bar. Brother Bob moved to the exurbs and became Farmer Bob two years later, and the three-hour round trip just to rehearse swallowed the group up.
Dave, Susanne, and Christopher stuck together as a trio and became bug toast. Music promoter Billy Kennedy heard them at an open mic at Laurelthirst Public House and took them under his wing, promoting them for performances at many other Portland venues: The Green Room, Rock Creek Tavern, Snake & Weasel, The White Eagle Saloon, The Kennedy School, Mississippi Pizza, Biddy McGraw's, and The Mad Hatter Lounge (where they played two to four times a month). In 1999, after moving out to Portland from DeKalb, Illinois, Dave's brother Mark joined the band as another string player. Then in 2001, Susanne's father Robert joined the band as percussionist. Brother Bob returned as the group's drummer in 2010.
Since 2010, bug toast has chosen not to play the clubs, preferring festivals, special concerts, benefits, and house concerts: Wilsonville Festival of Arts, Blackfish Gallery, Art in the Pearl, the Bite of Oregon, Old Church Concert Hall, The Community Music Center, Friends of Chamber Music, Cycle Oregon, Camp More, PDX Unplugged Festival, Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization, and the Be About Love Festival are some examples. The band has never been interested in touring.