In 2003, David Gerow (mandolin), Don Henson (percussion) and Mike "Cheddar"
Schmitt (bass) met on a musical project in Flint, Michigan. David was a native
Michigander; Don and Mike were guest musicians from Portland, Oregon. David left
the project and found his way, coincidentally, to Portland, where a friend had
another gig all lined up; Mike returned home a week later. For a couple of months,
David and Mike lived in the same house, played music 10 hours a day, and busked
on street corners as they began built a repertoire of cover songs and a few original
Enter Don, fresh from that Michigan gig. At a show at Portland eatery Eugenio's
one day— where Don had accompanied Mike and David as appreciative audience
member—he picked up the couple of percussion instruments lying around,
and the trio broke into a rendition of Pink Floyd's "Money." With
that a band was born. David remembers that day and the electrifying impact it
had on all three band members: "From that point on it was full speed ahead.
It was like we weren't exactly doing what was happening: it was happening to
us, through us. We just realized it, cooperated with it, received it, and are
giving it away."
On the horizon for the band are more original tunes that showcase the unique
instrumentation of the trio, along with experiments in inspired improvisation.
At its most basic, Sneakin' Out simultaneously confirms and explodes listeners'
expectations. People recognize the songs, but with a disorienting twist. It's
a combination that unleashes laughter, headnodding and singing-along. Hearing
Sneakin' Out, you're bound to hear differently.
In the two years that have followed, Sneakin' Out has played hundreds
of shows and developed a loyal audience. The band's opened for luminaries
kd lang, John Jorgenson and Pink Martini; played on the stages of bars and festivals
and concert halls; released one CD (Train Wreck) and recorded another (Opera
Tuna Teen Ox, slated for release in 2006); appeared on KOPB's LiveWire
and KMHD's Home Grown Live; and formed the 11-piece Billy Shears Orchestra,
with which it performs a loving recreation of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's
Lonely Hearts Club Band.