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April 23rd, 2014 WW MUSIC STAFF | Music Stories
 

Flashback: Federale

music_federale_4025Image courtesy of Collin Hegna
     
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Federale, perhaps the only band in Portland playing original spaghetti Western soundtrack music, marks an unlikely 10th anniversary this week. Founding member Collin Hegna recalls the group’s inauspicious beginnings.

“In 2004 we started Federale, mostly because our old band, Cocaine Unicorn, had broken up. Our drummer, Ryan Sumner, and I spent our days sitting around drinking bloody marys and watching The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Somehow—probably thanks to the BMs—we hit upon the idea of starting a band that played music similar to Ennio Morricone’s famous score. We needed a band name: ‘What’s Spanish for “sheriff”?’ Check. ‘We’re gonna need a trumpet and a whistle.’ Check. ‘OK, now we need a sombrero.’ Check. Our first gig was at Kelly’s Olympian on Cinco de Mayo a few months later. It was pretty awful but people seemed to like it. This photo is of our second show at a Western-themed barbecue. Our compañeros, Spindrift, showed up from L.A., and we had a duel starting at dusk. There was a ‘barn bar’ with people doing trick lassoing. Almost everyone was dressed up Western style. We still weren’t very good, but damn it was fun. Ryan Sumner passed away in 2005. We decided to keep playing, though. The songs got better, the shows got better, the recordings got better. Now we have a song in The Lego Movie. But we never could improve on the sombrero.”


SEE IT: Federale plays Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., with Daydream Machine, on Sunday, April 27. 9 pm. $8 advance, $10 day of show. 21+.

 
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