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Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2005
Band Rock Progressive




"A Sense of We Review"

Former New Groove of the Month Quactus returns with their second album, and it is a dense yet fluid mixture of what made the band stand out in their live shows. Whether or not it is a long jam, a short melodic run through of a memorable hook, or a rampage through an outlandish groove that won’t quit—equal parts Phish and a soaring momentum all their own—the quartet plays with a focused abandon that is quite enchanting. It helps that the band can lay down some of that energy in the studio, as well.

From the opening track (“At Ease”) with its roll out of a patient jam in the interlude, to a reggae-soaked rumination (“Fearless”), to an ambient adventure featuring Steve Molitz on keyboards (“Wine”; other guests on A Sense of We: Mike Mangan is also featured on Hammond organ on “Superflitious,” and Rebecca Freund on violins and vocals on the Celtic-like romp “Drinko (A Quactus Toast)), to the clever bookend (“Van Winkle’s Nightmare”) to the spectacular instrumental from their debut album (“Van Winkle’s Dream”), to a clever homage to inspirations which rocks with a pulse (“Roger Waters”), to an impressive closing trio of tunes with a variety of mature conceptual ideas, Quactus is beguiling in their clever simplicity, never sacrificing mood for self-indulgent moments.

Indeed, that climatic trio—“Better Days” features a gorgeous acoustic opening en route to its sonic journey, while also including Michael Russeck on piano, “The Offer” well…offers an upbeat riff and jam, and “Hot Whopper” closes with ample confidence on this inspired and determined second platter from a band that is not only able to jam with a clear purpose, but has the taut songs to match the flexible explorations. Add to that Quactus’s innate ability to have fun and one is left with a sense that the band gets it: freely experiment while having chops, tunes, and a warm positive attitude covering the collective catalogue, and the possibilities yet to come may be endless. - Jambands.com

"Quactus, Goat Head Saloon, Mesa, AZ – 4/1 - Show Review"


Quactus, Goat Head Saloon, Mesa, AZ – 4/1
Originally published April 12, 2009

By Randy Ray

Former New Groove of the Month band, Quactus, hailing from Southern California, returned to Arizona, en route to their first Colorado gigs, and a further foray out on the road that will hopefully lead them to the Midwest, and the Northeast someday soon.

In Mesa, the young, gifted songwriters and improv wizards played a taut two-set gig that was bereft of flab, and focused on tight playing without a lot of meandering adventures. That isn’t to say that the band doesn’t take risks. Sure they do, just like any burgeoning jamband, and let’s make this clear from the opening review gate, Quactus is a jamband—from their goofy name, sharp wit, and the fact that most of their band sounds like they have practiced since the Renaissance period, and know how to play just about any song you can shout out. Quactus has come even further since the last time I saw them in 2008, and their group confidence supported the music the band was making—jam or otherwise.

Alas, it was a Wednesday night, and the crowd wasn’t as large as it would have been on a weekend, but Quactus didn’t care, and played their sets with buoyant enthusiasm. The quartet began the first set with a prominent “Fluffhead” tease that garnered a response that wasn’t exactly Hamptonesque, but appreciated nonetheless. In fact, the band led by Gabriel Weiner on lead guitar, Seth Gordon on rhythm guitar and vocals, Greg Zachan on bass and vocals, and Matthew McDuffee on drums, impromptu solos, and witty outbursts, is adept at not only choice song teases, but admirable full-length covers, taboot (taboot). Would I have liked to hear “Fluffhead?” Well, no, actually, I wouldn’t right about now, but to be able to tease a Phish guitar lick or three, and then kick right into a strong original song without losing any pace whatsoever is fairly impressive, just as well.

And that’s what Quactus did without a lot of time spent on shenanigans. There is an engaging and warm innocence about their songs, i.e. the opening “Alligator>Firefly,” which followed the Phish chestnut tease, but some of that feeling may be the fact they when the band isn’t trying to bend noodles with some pretty heady improvisation that is both orchestrated and/or off-the-cuff, they can write. And write well. “Like I Do” has a great, multi-tiered construction, while “Van Winkle’s Dream” at the Goat Head Saloon—a tour-de-force from the first album “Once upon a pond, a spine…” written by Weiner—is a mini-masterpiece of nuance and well-crafted virtuosity with a real sense of purpose.

Quactus teased the Grateful Dead’s opening notes of “Dark Star” before moving into “Them,” which had a nice free-form yet structured jam, and melted into a reggae breakdown leading into “Roger Waters.” Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean” followed, and thankfully, wasn’t teased but played all the way through, complete with the prerequisite John Bonham count-off to open the song, uttered with Brit gusto by McDuffee on drums. Three originals closed the first set with rigorous style, reinforcing the notion that these four cats from El Lay could also write rockin’ tunes that jammed when they weren’t tune-checking supreme rawk gawd titans: “Mine All Mine>Tyson>Esprit D'escalier.”

The quartet began the second set where they left off with another series of potent ear candy rockers which eventually led to “Poinephobe.” This catchy tune, written by Gordon, has a great hook, and some intriguing and rhythmic tempo changes that work quite well while providing a firm foundation for some potential mid-set jamming.

Later, a very sturdy cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have A Cigar” came out of left field, and was solid, too, before Quactus bumped it up several notches, hitting the heart of the set with an extended reading of that aforementioned “mid-set jamming” on “The Journey.” Written by Weiner, the guitar virtuoso has penned quite an impressive composition, and perhaps more importantly, the band moves through its many passages in an exploratory fashion that is both scenic and momentarily transcendent.

The spirit of Phish made a return to the set, as Quactus teased the opening guitar notes of “Sample in a Jar,” and that was welcome, youbetcha, before the band effortlessly moved into a long bit of improvisation called “Wine.” The song also featured former Relix On the Verge and ex-Mojo Farmers’ percussionist and vocalist, Kevin Gordon, on bongos.

Yes, this was a cool little intersection in our parallel universes—On the Vergers Meet the New Groovers in a battle of energetic percussive jammery—and the set deepened further with a “Finally Free” sandwich that included a few verses of Rick James’ “Super Freak,” and MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This,” which, granted, are very well-known and over-the-top songs, but somehow the ancient artifacts work within the “Free” mix.

A brain-melting and metallic “Hot Whopper” closed the second set, and served as yet another reminder that, yes, Quactus can write some mindblowingly difficult music that is Zappa and Anastasio-family tree-d and great fun to hear, but the quartet also hits their rigorous stride in an ongoing effort to conquer the other areas of the American map with some pretty stellar songs that just plain rock in a very fresh way. Stay tuned.

- Jambands.com

"Bands You Need to Know, A-Z"

What do you get when you combine a duck and a cactus? A big headache! Oh, and you also get Quactus, a talented jam ban based out of Los Angeles, California. Their logo features a cactus with duck bills and eyes. We can only assume this is a Quactus. Does such a thing really exist? We can't say we've encountered one in our travels as of yet. We have encountered a creature that was half-watermelon, half-Mario Lopez - or we might've just been drunk watching Saved By the Bell. - RAG Magazine

"Footing the bill - Quactus combines an amalgamation of styles with a good sense of humor"

Footing the bill - Quactus combines an amalgamation of styles with a good sense of humor
Originally published October 2, 2008

By Bryce Propheter

It’s not often that while wandering the desert one comes across a prickly saguaro with a bright orange beak protruding from its top. But then again, it’s not very common to hear music that combines elements from every conceivable genre of music into a single melodious masterpiece either. Quactus, however, fits the bill for both of these unlikely scenarios.
The Los Angeles-based band formed when rhythm guitarist Seth Gordon placed an ad on Craig’s List seeking like-minded musicians. And in February 2006, Quactus began touring only eight months after meeting. They released their first album, Once a Pond, a Spine …, earlier this year following almost two years of recording (if you don’t understand the title, read it quickly).

The band consists of Gordon, Gabriel Weiner on lead guitar, Gregory Zachan playing bass, and Matthew McDuffee as the percussionist. Everyone in the foursome has extensive backgrounds in the musical field, and each member takes turns writing music and contributing vocals.

I know what’s on your mind: How does one come up with the idea of crossing a web-footed bird with a desert-inhabiting plant? While the exact story remains a mystery, I did manage to get some of the information. “It all started with the letter Q,” explains Weiner. “We wanted Q somewhere in the name. And somehow we just came up with the word and we kind of laughed about it for a half hour straight. And we instantly came up with the logo and everything.”

The logo proudly spoken of is precisely what the name Quactus implies—a typical green saguaro cactus with two big white oval eyes and a duck bill.

The exact musical style of Quactus is as hard to describe as the origin of their name. Because of the varying styles and influences found throughout the music, Quactus doesn’t really fit into one specific genre, nor should they. There’s definitely a heavy jazz and classical influence in many of their tracks. But to leave it at that would be too simplistic. Some of the beats are reminiscent of reggae, while they incorporate hooks from pop music. Perhaps the best way to describe the music is to list the many influences they use to create and hone their style.

“I’m literally influenced by everything,” says McDuffee. “Growing up, my parents had season tickets to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra every year. I absolutely love jazz, rock, hip-hop, electronica, industrial, dance music, basically every style out there. Oh and I forgot metal. I’m the hugest metal-head of all time.”

These varied interests and influences in music are shared by every member of the band, helping Quactus create music that is uniquely their own. Although the sound and improvisational style of Quactus draws immediate comparisons to other jam bands like Phish, the Grateful Dead, and Umphrey’s McGee, other influences that are hidden somewhat deeper within the tracks include the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Metallica and Slayer.

It doesn’t end there. The members of Quactus take pleasure in playing live and it is there that they use their improvisational prowess to really shine. In order to give their fans something new at every show, they’ve developed a system of hand signals while on stage as a way to communicate with each other during their set and change the songs on the spot.

“At the drop of a hat we can change from reggae into metal or into funk, to an extent,” Weiner says. “I don’t like playing the same thing twice.”

And the members of Quactus have guaranteed nothing different for those attending their show at Flag Brew. They’ve promised a high-energy show with intense and extended jam sessions that will be completely free-form, as well as a cover song or two. They’ve also promised good melodies, good songwriting, and some great musicianship.

“Watching Gabe (Weiner) solo on lead guitar will just blow your mind,” Gordon says.

“He’s definitely the guy to come check out,” Zachan concurs.

Quactus maintains that they play music because they love playing music. But they admit that the possibility of being able to support themselves by doing what they love remains their ultimate, long-term goal. In fact, Weiner has hinted that an opportunity for bigger things in the future of the band, including playing festivals and getting more exposure, has already presented itself.

“I don’t want to say too much since it’s still in its infancy,” Weiner says. “But we’ve been offered something that would enable us to get our name out there more.”

With such talent and expertise and a sound all their own, it’s only a matter of time before more people learn of this small jam band from Los Angeles.

Quactus will be performing at 10 p.m. at Flag Brew on Sat, Oct. 4. Doors open at 9 p.m. and admission is free. For more information on the band, visit their Web site at www.quactus.com. You can listen to select songs from their album at www.myspace.com/quactus.

- Flagstaff Live

"On The Up"

Craigslist brought the guys in Quactus together. “When I first moved out here from Chicago I was constantly auditioning for bands I found on Cragslist,” drummer Matt McDuffee says. “So I finally put ‘Phish’ in the search engine and Gabe’s ad was the only one that came up.”

Singer/guitarist Seth Gordon also met guitarist Gabriel Weiner through Craigslist; they were united by a desire to play Phish as well. Not long after that, bassist Greg Zachan joined in and Quactus was born. The band has been playing for two years now.

Quactus has a very mellow sound. Bassist Zachan says their music is mix of progressive, rock and jam. Their influences include the Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and, of course, Phish.

Live shows are also featured on the band’s MySpace page. In the jam band tradition, each is unique. “We try not to play the same show twice. We try to make the songs different every time,” says Gordon. Check out their upcoming shows at The Blue Café in Huntington Beach and The Mint in
Los Angeles.

www.myspace.com/quactus - 944 Magazine - Orange County

"Winner of Jambands.com - New Groove of the Month - May 2008 - Interview/Show & CD Review"

1st place on Jambands.com's 250 Poll - New Groove of the Month, May 2008

Randy Ray
The Gig

The Goat Head Saloon in Mesa, was the band’s second stop on their brief foray outside of California and the band delivered two sets of confident rock ‘n’ jam music in front of a jovial Arizona audience. Quactus is fronted by Gabriel Weiner on lead guitar and vocals, and Seth Gordon on rhythm guitar and vocals, with a solid engine room led by Greg Zachan on bass and vocals and Matthew (Duffee) McDuffee on drums and vocals. Weiner is an extraordinary lead guitarist with an obvious talent and education and, let’s face it, a natural gift for lead textures and general shreddery. Gordon is a great frontman, as well, as he doesn’t just stand back hitting the chords or race through vocal verses, but has a cool showman’s vibe which would be just as much at home inside a theatre as a club. Zachan and McDuffee are a tight rhythm section and keep things interesting as they neither hold a monotonous beat nor improvise without purpose. Instead, the duo weave around the guitarists and provide a solid enough bedrock so improvisation can kick in at a moment’s notice; at other times, the tandem slams a riff home with a formidable punch.

Set I began with a jam which led into a monstrous version of “Van Winkle’s Dream,” which already sounds like some crowd favorite chestnut. “Fever Boy” kept the party atmosphere intact while “Finally Free>Jam>Finally Free>Suzy Greenberg,” served as notice that the band had a mission to accomplish—equal parts nod to influences and a statement about their own powerful identity. “Mine All Mine” simply kicks ass and reminded me of Tea Leaf Green in a small club in Tempe, Arizona in 2005 as they played a gig for the ages that was filled with hard rock and great jam music. Quactus has that ability to switch between good hooks and improvisation quite well and Weiner and Gordon were doing an admirable job of sending various signals back-and-forth as the jam ebbed and flowed, changing direction at a moment’s notice—arcing upward and then, at the right intersection, descending downwards as the mood altered the sonic atmosphere. “Might Be You” closed the set with a nice snatch of Allman Brothers-like panache with its own original twist and included a “Flintstones Theme” tease intermingled with a wee bit of Zappaesque thrills. The closing jam was incredibly tight and I wondered how many hours the band had to have practiced to get that good at such an early juncture.

Set II was another wonderful combination of fresh rock songs with the almighty hooks (remember those?) as Quactus opened with the Dead’s “Scarlet Begonias,” charged into the swamp stomp spectre known as “Poinephobe,” which provides whiplash and general wild dancing before another excellent workout on “Espirit D’escalier” fed into a smart cover of Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison,” and, finally, “Drinko” and “The Offer” as the jamband closed the deal on a great evening of rock, funk, pop hooks and improv.

The Band

RR: What were the origins of Quactus?

Gabe Weiner: Seth [Gordon, rhythm guitar and vocals] put an ad on Craig’s List and Duffee [Matthew McDuffee, drummer and engineer] had answered it a couple of months before I had even seen it. The three of us got together. I actually got together with Seth, originally—just he and I playing guitars. It worked instantly, musical chemistry, right off the bat. The three of us played for a while and we were introduced to the keyboard player—Michael Russeck—who did all of the playing on the album. We played with him for six months and had a bass player, in the meantime, before we found Greg [Zachan]. Greg was introduced to us in the guys in Revolutionary Side Effects. They had recommended him to us. He came and tried out and we all realized that he was the guy that we were looking for. Mike ended up leaving about a year and a half ago to pursue his own interests.

RR: What is the story behind the recording of your debut album?

GW: We recorded everything ourselves. We have a little studio down in North Hollywood and we have a computer setup and we’ve been using Sonar and some other computer programs. Our drummer, Duffee, is actually an audio engineer so he’s pretty handy with all of this stuff—very knowledgeable about the technology and everything. It took us two years to finish everything—from start to finish. Some of the tracks like “Fever Boy,” we recorded about two years ago. Some of those solos and bits on there are really old. After I got back from India, we laid down a few more tracks as the guys had written some new tunes while I was away. We did a couple of overdubs—here and there—doing the vocals and then, it took three or four months for us to mix it down to where we really liked it and getting all the transitions from the sound effects and then, figuring out the order and getting all of that in line.

RR: Why did you go to India?

GW: I’m a graduate student working on a PhD in Ethno Musicology so I had gone there to conduct research for my dissertation. I’m studying the influence of Indian classical music on jazz music in the west and visa versa. I had gone there to study jazz played by Indians in India. I got to see some great shows. I got to sit in with some bands. I also took lessons with some Indian classical musicians and it was a very amazing experience.

RR: You’re the drummer but you also serve as the band’s engineer. What is your background in engineering?

Matthew McDuffee: My recording knowledge comes two-fold from a lifetime of doing live sound at places since I was 14 as an assistant engineer from Chicago. I was in the punk rock scene back then and met a guy who was quite a bit older and he would mix
groups like NOFX and all those bands like that when they’d come to town. I was an assistant engineer and I learned from the live sound and, also, I went to Columbia College in Chicago and got my degree in Recording in Acoustics there. I’m actually an acoustical engineer in my day job.

RR: How was the album recorded?

MM: You can tell—some of them are a lot older, some of them sound way better than others do. Every single bit of it was recorded in our practice space here in L.A. The room has minimal amounts of treatment but there’s foam everywhere to control the reverb. It was all recorded on 8-track. There’s occasional overdubs but the grand majority of it was just us all playing at once. The drums were only recorded with four microphones—two overhead, kick and snare—and each guitar got one mike, the keyboard got one mike and then, we’d do the vocals after the fact. The main core of all of those songs was literally 8-track recordings with vocal and guitar overdubs and extra tracks done after the fact. None of it was expensive gear. Nothing too fancy. We spent, literally, more than a year mixing it. (laughs) I was trying to get it right and slowly learning it because I was more of a live sound guy. It was a learning experience for me. We used Sonor 6.0 to track and mix it all. It was basically learning plug-ins for a year and what sounded good with our setup. The hardest part of the deal was the phase issues because everybody was pointed at each other. There was a lot of microphone bleeds and even using gates after the fact there was only so much I could do to get rid of the bleed crossing from mike to mike. We had a lot of phase issues that were really challenging to deal with and I think next time I’d learn to put some kind of baffle around my drums to at least try to keep my drums out of their mike and their guitars out of my mike.

RR: What are your influences and training?

Seth Gordon: Phish was my biggest influence. My dad very much grounded me through Pink Floyd and The Beatles, which were big ones growing up and strangely, classical and opera. When I was in college, I was in an a cappella group, which was a lot of singing of dorky pop songs with friends. So, there was a pop mentality in my head along with my liking jamband music. I think it is actually one of the reasons I like Phish so much in comparison to some other jambands. I feel that the songs are strong pop songs on their own. They just happen to have jamming in it. Not naming names of other jambands because I like all sorts of music but sometimes a band will wander a little bit aimlessingly to try to get a groove going. I like the idea of a set song structure where you can go in and change it up along the way.

RR: Often in a jamband based on improvisation, the bass player is a fan favorite because of his ability to switch gears and lay down a tasteful groove. How has your role in the band evolved in the last couple of years?

Greg Zachan: It’s funny because I was just talking about that. Just listening to our recordings from now like that Goat Head show compared to some of our first ones—as a whole, we’ve really come a long way in terms of improvising, playing off each other and taking our jams in different directions. We’re definitely getting tighter. As a bass player, I just do my best to get better. I practice all the time. In the jam world, there are tons of great bassists out there and I know I still have a lot of work to do. In the end, I just try to hold it down and improvise and keep up with Mr. Gabriel on guitar.

RR: You also write your fair share of songs.

GZ: Yes, I write, too. I’ve been writing songs for a while, since I was 18, 19. “Might Be You” was actually the first song I ever wrote. It’s a long one and it seems to get a good response everywhere we play it and that’s always good. I love the way it turned out on the record. It was good to show these guys some of my songs because I don’t necessarily come in and have the whole song complete with everybody’s parts written. I come in and I have my bass lines, the chord progressions but everybody else adds their own kind of flavor to it, which really turns it into a unique piece. We all have similar goals when it comes to music. We all like the same kinds of music and the whole jam kind of thing but it is good that we all have different backgrounds. When it comes to music, we all approach it the same way—jamming and having fun. We all like each other’s songs and we enjoy what we’re doing and it just comes natural to us.

The Album

Once a pond, a spine…, the debut Quactus album is an obvious pun on the commencement to many fine tales. The band wears a few influences—Phish, the Allman Brothers Band, Frank and, yes, Dweezil Zappa and Umphrey’s McGee—proudly on their sleeves on numerous tracks but, what is even more impressive, is that the quartet also writes good hooks, can rawk da funkin’ house and certainly show signs of what Gordon [Seth, not Mike] said about the Phish legacy, “the songs are strong pop songs on their own. They just happen to have jamming in it.” The band can also PLAY. Weiner as guitar god with three sidemen would have been so easy; on the contrary, all of the band members write solid material and play quite well—improvisationally-speaking or not.

The evidence: “Might Be You,” a curling hook which leads to sweet open jam terrain, “Van Winkle’s Dream,” a bass-driven bit of guitar wizardry written by Weiner which also evokes some cool 70s prog rock; “Umbrella,” a languid tableaux written by Zachan that is also a tight yet playful nugget; “Fantazor’s Escape” and “The Journey” are just plain great multi-section adventures with stories to tell, taboot. Listen to the last 80 seconds of “The Journey” and you hear a band fully confident and in control of its tempo. But it is a trio of songs, “Poinephobe” and “Mine All Mine,” written by Gordon, and “Alligator,” by Weiner, where the band shows a true bit of original flair as the hooks are memorable, the playing is inspired and the sections lend themselves to open-ended improvisation before the inevitable return to snakebite riffs. “Poinephobe” is the best song not written by Jack White or Luther Dickenson as the blues via the swamps of the South are explored and rendered with whiskey-blurred eyes and classic riffs. “Mine All Mine” is a mean ole ass thrasher—bravado and chutzpah sharing the stage with wicked machismo—and is a welcome bit of unapologetic hard rock—raw, dirty and shamelessly catchy. Another winner from a group to watch. Quite a few shows are on Archive.org and one can also slide onto YouTube for performance clips or quactusmusic@yahoo.com for information about the band and their debut album.

- Randy Ray stores his work at www.rmrcompany.blogspot.com. He pays tribute to the late Charlton Heston by saying that “you will have to pry this heady soundboard tape from my cold, dead hands before I will even think that jam is dead.” Good luck, anti-improv indie pop clowns—may your stolen melancholia help you paint the fence and wax the floor of your wayward youth. And, lest we forget, cheers to Phish and the phans.

- Randy Ray - Jambands.com

"QUACTUS — Duck + Cactus sounds like Phish"

A Quactus -- combination duck and cactus -- dances on the band's MySpace page. The creature has become their logo and name, but lead guitarist Gabe Weiner wouldn't reveal why. Instead, he laughed and said he'd have to check with bandmates before giving away the story.
The band knew they'd found a name when they found the word "Quactus" and laughed nonstop for about 30 minutes, Weiner said.

Was it an inside joke? Not really.

Regardless, Quactus is nothing to laugh about. These guys, all age 28, are serious about music.

Weiner, originally from Gaithersburg, moved to Los Angeles, Calif., to study music. After earning a Bachelor's degree in classical composition in music theory and a Master's in jazz guitar performance, Weiner is now working on his doctorate at the University of Southern California, his thesis being on Indian classical music and jazz.

"I like things in 5 or 7," he said.

His song "Van Winkle's Dream" is in 7/4.

Guitarist Seth Gordon, meanwhile, studied classical vocal performance as an undergrad, so Quactus members go to him for vocal arrangements. Greg Zachan, their bassist, has studied, too, and continues to take bass lessons.

Their first album, "Once a pond, a spine...," produced by their percussionist, Matt McDuffee (who doubles as an audio engineer), took two years to complete but sounds worth it. The songs vary in style (depending on who wrote them), but whether jammy or jazzy, they're as tight as, well, Phish -- or any group of schooled musicians who fit musically (a 7/4 key signature is typical Phish tactic).

They get the comparison often, Weiner said.

"A lot of people come up and tell me I sound like Trey," he said. "And I'm flattered."

They've also been compared to Umphrey's McGee, although nothing on "Once a pond, a spine..." is that heavy. Their heavier songs, Weiner explained, are more difficult to play, and recording them probably would've taken another two years.

"We all have our own styles," Weiner said.

Gordon writes poppy, immediately catchy stuff with lyrics usually about relationships between people.

Zachan's songwriting is more quirky. "Might Be You" is a good indication of his style.

Weiner fills in the gaps with more technically-minded, difficult to play tracks, "music for musicians," as he calls it.

He rarely writes lyrics. "If I do, it'll be one word or one sentence. Like 'Alligator.' I came up with ... the lyric ("alligator"). Because that's all it is."

McDuffee is the only member who doesn't write.

The band formed when Weiner responded to a Craigslist post written by Gordon: "Allman Brothers, Phish, Dead-minded guitarist searching for others" -- or something along those lines.

"It was kind of like the instant music chemistry between us," Weiner said.

They found McDuffee, who had a studio in North Hollywood, jammed with him, and noticed the same chemistry there, too. (Although band members live in various parts of Los Angeles, they meet in North Hollywood to rehearse at the studio, which is in a lock-out, some of them driving over an hour to get there. Weiner explained that L.A. has several of these old warehouses-converted-to-studios, with some 30 rooms in this particular one.)

They also played with keyboardist Michael Russeck, who can be heard on their album but has since left the band.

Zachan joined most recently. The other guys took about four months getting him up to speed, and then they began gigging as Quactus in February 2006.

With a recent win on Jamband.com's New Groove of the Month poll, Quactus gigs locally a couple times each month.

"L.A. is not a great scene for this kind of music," Weiner said. "And it's already over-saturated with music."

They played in Arizona in March and hope to expand their gigging radius soon to include Colorado.

"We've all agreed that if something big happens, we'll drop whatever we're doing," Weiner said, adding that for now they all have day jobs.

— — —

Go to www.quactus.com for more information. Their "Once a pond, a spine..." CD can be purchased at cdbaby.com/cd/quactus or through iTunes.
- Frederick News-Post - May 22, 2008

"Once a pond, a spine - CD Review"

Quactus makes no quacking bones about it - they draw inspiration from the biggest jam bands of our generation and beyond.
If you're looking for a disc that emulates the touchstones of the genre, like harmonically intertwined guitars, open-ended jam segments, and sudden shifts in mood and tempo, then you could find a keeper in their debut, Once A Pond, A Spine. Quactus dives headfirst into all of these influences and more, embracing the nuances of the form by dotting their setlists with covers from expected (Phish, Zeppelin, Dead) and unexpected (Bell Biv Devoe, Ray Parker Jr.) sources, and religiously keeping setlists updated on their website.

The album highlights their original tunes, which run the gamut of tried-and-true psychedelic vehicles, like the simply endearing funk-rock crunch of "Fever Boy." "Van Winkle's Dream" incorporates further prog-rock and fusion influences into a triumphant instrumental excursion that bounces between sections heavy with notes and others with a gliding improvisational feel. The gently swirling "Them" soothes the ravaged mind with circular vocals and a genuinely pleasant groove. The album has a flow that is apprent, as "Umbrella" strides out of the mist with vocals and understated music that remind me of Keller Williams' recent band projects - eloquently simple rock rhythms and subtly trippy melodies.

The energy rises on the countryfied live staple "Poinephobe," which combines dancy funk breakdowns with rip-roarin' verses and typically plain-spoken vocals. "Mine All Mine" is the disc's most rocking track, exhibiting a distorted, strutting classic-rock vibe with a fierce guitar solo within a succinct time frame. "Fantazor's Escape" stands in stark contrast, with flighty, hippy-dippy guitar melodies scattering over a propulsive rhythm that drops suddenly into a piano-driven section with mythical subject matter. It's 4 or 5 song ideas in one, featuring sections that could stand on their own. A song like "It Isn't True" makes one wonder why they don't keep writing such well-constructed, pop-leaning tunes that stand on their own.

Once A Pond, A Spine could use a few less minutes of running time, more forceful vocals and a larger helping of the band's concise song ideas - even an overtly fun, simple one-word blues jam like "Alligator" works better than the overwrought complexity of "Fantazor's Escape" - but that's not to say that their lengthy creations like "Might Be You," "The Journey," and "Van Winkle's Dream" are without merit, and some are very good indeed. Quactus certainly doesn't lack song ideas or the ability to flat-out jam, and I think their fame will grow as they learn to be a bit pickier about what makes it into their repertoire.

--Bryan Rodgers
- HomeGrown Music Network

"One to Watch"

Originally published in Surrender to the Flow #19 (Phish Fanzine) at Hampton Reunion Shows, March 6-9, 2009
by Tom W. Metz III

One of Quactus' many strengths comes from their apparent refusal to be boxed in. Quactus draws inspiration from a myriad of genres, while managing to make the convergence seem both effortless and unselfconscious. Listening to a Quactus song can be compared to unwrapping a present that feels both nostalgic and also excitingly new and innovative. They are clearly a band that is interested in striving toward the future while paying their respects to their predecessors. By weaving together strains of Classic Rock, Grunge, Jam-Band experimentation, Reggae, R&B, Funk, Jazz, Hip-hop and Metal, Quactus presents themselves as a band that is almost impossible not to enjoy. Somehow, they are able to be everything to everyone, while not losing their signature sound. It's never gimmicky. Instead, listening to Quactus is like attending a concert of a number of different accomplished bands, but all in one tidy package. For the new jam-band listener, their sound is refreshingly accessible and catchy. But this catchiness is deceptive, only for the fact that the amount of intelligence behind the songwriting is staggering, and more than enough to keep both new jam-band fans and learned die-hards coming back for more.

A Quactus show is a high-energy smorgasbord for the ears. The band prides itself on never playing the same show twice. With consistently changing set lists and new jams and solos every time they take the stage, you can be sure you are in for a night like none other. Band members Gabriel Weiner (Guitar and Vocals), Greg Zachan (Bass and Vocals), Matthew McDuffee (Drums and Vocals), and Seth Gordon (Guitar and Vocals) use signals, with their hands and body movements and in their music to tell each other where to take each song. At the drop of a hat, they can transform a free-form experimental mélange into a thumping bass driven Funk groove, or a precise and hypnotic Reggae “riddum.” Cues are often used to switch between songs as well, seamlessly morphing from a Hard Rock song like “Mine All Mine” into a psychedelic guitar woven epic like “Might Be You,” followed by the Progressive Rock inspired tour de force, “Van Winkle’s Dream.”

All four members love a musical challenge, and aim to make music that will satisfy your cerebral druthers as well as your pop sensibility. Through multi-sectioned musical adventures, Quactus tries to keep you on your toes. Subtle key and time signature changes, as well as style changes are feathered throughout a Quactus song. In a live setting they are the kind of band that will start off with funk, drop into some Heavy Metal, throw a random TV theme tease into a jam, lighten things up with a dynamic and airy waltz, cover a Dead or Phish tune, launch into a syncopated Latin groove, and then finish their set with a Hip-Hop cover of “Poison” by Bell Biv Devoe, or a nostalgic nod to the 80’s with a rocked up version of the “Ghostbusters Theme.” They are not afraid to take risks and it pays off.

Their self-recorded and produced debut album, “Once a Pond, a Spine…” was released in February 2008, receiving rave reviews, and making its way into the libraries of jam band fans nationwide. Through constant promotion on the internet and by being invited to join the Homegrown Music Network, Quactus’ album has been spinning on jam band and college radio stations incessantly. Much like the band, their debut album cannot be described by one genre, including hints of Rock, Funk, Afro-Cuban, Rockabilly, Prog-rock, and Psychedelia. It is a musical free-for-all that highlights untamable guitar solos upon a bed of down and dirty bass lines, intricate and ambitious drum patterns, and inspiring vocal harmonies. The album has the feel of a live show, with off-the-cuff cohesive improv laying the base for extended, yet tasteful jams. The production of the album is also of note, with various sound effects peppered throughout the tracks creating a flowing, and at times humorous listening experience. These guys are certainly “one to watch.”

“Once a Pond, A Spine…” is available on iTunes, CDBaby, through the Home Grown Music Network, and various digital retailers.

For more info and tour dates check out their website: www.quactus.com or look for them on Myspace and YouTube. And remember to rock out with your quack out!

- Surrender to the Flow

"An Interview with Quactus"


An Interview with Quactus

Originally published August 21st, 2009
Interview by Chris Robie

Don’t let the strange name fool you; Quactus is a serious band with some serious skills. With an upcoming tour and a sophomore album in the works these guys are ready to blow some minds, Quactus style.

HGMN: What has Quactus been up to these days?

Seth: We have been playing gigs, writing and working on new material and covers, and recording and mixing our second album. When we first started playing shows, they were small shows out here in LA, but now we are on to that “next step” of playing bigger shows and festivals, both in California and in neighboring states as well. We just played the Phamily Reunion Festival last week in Colorado, and a few months earlier we had a small tour through California, Arizona and Colorado. We really enjoy playing in new cities, so we are really excited to travel even though it’s hard work.

Greg: Being in the "Jam Band" genre, means we always have to be on our toes when it comes to musicianship. The audiences that we cater too are fans of Umphreys, Phish, The Dead, Govt Mule ect ... and those bands set the bar pretty high when it comes musicianship. There is no time for relaxing!! When I’m not in the studio, or at my day job, my bass is rarely out of my hands! Ask Duffy!

HGMN: What are your day jobs?

Greg: I work for a marketing company who does advertising promotions for car dealerships across the country. Business man by day, musician by night. I like to think of myself as some sort of super hero, but we'll let the readers decide!

Gabriel: I'm a guitar instructor by day. I teach privately, and also for a nationally recognized music chain.

Seth: I am an elementary school music teacher. It's very entertaining. One minute, I might be explaining basic music theory, and the next minute one of my students could disrupt the whole lesson to make a fart joke. There is no way to truly plan for a lesson with elementary school students, but that makes it interesting.

Matthew: I am an acoustical engineer day; basically a giant audio and sound geek that optimizes the acoustics of studios and performance halls, designs noise control for the environment (transportation sources) and within buildings, and deals in ground borne and structural vibration. It sounds really cool, but in practice it is way too much math and writing sometimes.

Greg: Getting out on the road and playing festivals has definitely been exciting for us. Our name is getting out there, and we're making new friends and fans. We seem to be getting a good response when in new towns, and that makes life on the road pretty fuckin’ fun and worth the tough travels ...we've also recently had a few interviews with interested management, but have yet to find the right fit. It’s not easy finding people with similar interest, goals and dedication. All and all - things are going well for Quactus!

Matthew: 2009 has been a really fun year for us; we played quite a few festivals this summer, opened for a lot of great bands (Most notably for me was New Master Sounds – Those guys can lay down some serious funk!), and have really been savoring getting out and doing what we love to do, play live music on the road. We toured to Colorado twice this year and met a lot of really good people during our travels, stayed in some great places full of hospitality, and a few hotels that seemed to be grossing out the roaches on the floor.

A few interesting notes about Colorado: Some of our band members cannot seem to bring the proper “shoes for the season” regardless of what time of year it is there. I always end up on a portable air-mattress that deflates every night; it does not matter where the air-mattress is from or who owns it, I always get the flat one. I bought a brand new one on the way last time for our camping run at Phamily Reunion and even my brand new mattress leaked all of its air out the first night. One could say in Colorado I cannot seem to “keep it up” with all my limp mattress problems.

HGMN: Who's wearing sandals in Colorado during the winter time?

Greg: ok, you got me... I looked at the weather report, I swear! I saw sunny skies ... it was April! That’s spring where I come from! I caught lots of shit for this one. So, I highly recommend, when traveling to areas that have a tendency to "snow," pack more than sandals, just in case!

Matthew: We also have had some really great trips down to San Diego, the fans in San Diego and Arizona really know how to bring it out and make a band feel loved.

HGMN: Are you guys planning an east coast tour anytime soon?

Gabriel: We hope to be doing that after the next album is done. So probably some time next year. Since we all still work, finding the right time can be tricky, but we will make it happen.

Matthew: We spent a few months placing very highly on the Jambands.com radio charts. We also did well on the Homegrown Music radio charts and have placed in the top sellers list on homegrown a few times. Our Debut album appears to be reaching the end of its glory days, so it is a good thing we have the sophomore album underway, hopefully to be released in early 2010. As always we are hard at work writing new tunes, learning new covers, practicing hand signals, and thinking of creative ways to sew our songs together in our set lists. Other than that we have been working hard on the business end of promoting and making contacts.

HGMN: When will the new album be ready? Will this be all new material or have you already been playing the songs at live shows?

Gabriel: We're planning to have it ready around the end of the year, or early next year. It will be a mix of material that we've been playing for years at live shows, along with some newer ones that have started becoming regular staples of our live sets.

HGMN: How would you describe your music?

Seth: That’s a tough question. One of the things I like most about Quactus is that all four of us have such different inspirations and musical tastes.

HGMN: What are your musical tastes?

Gabriel: Mine are very eclectic. I can go from listening to a Beethoven symphony to some progressive metal a la Dream Theater to classic soul or funk, or some flat picking bluegrass or instrumental guitar virtuoso stuff to a heavy raga performance by Ravi Shankar to some Coltrane, Miles, Scofield, or Charlie Parker. So I'm really all over the place. Overall, the music I dig the most has to be musically interesting or in some way inspiring.

Matthew: That is a dangerous question to ask me, how much time do we have? As a child I was raised on the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and Crosby Stills Nash, and Young, the Rolling Stones, Andres Segovia, John McLaughlin, and tons of symphonic music. My parents regularly took me to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra which was a real treat. During middle school and high school I went through a very big hard rock, punk, and metal phase, bands that come to mind are Metallica, Sepultura, and the Misfits. Chicago had a bustling industrial scene so I was into bands such as Ministry and Front line Assembly. College was where I discovered Bitches Brew by Miles Davis, which led to a huge appreciation of all things jazz and fusion. From there I decided I would listen to as much music as possible from all the available genres. The more diverse your tastes, the more open minded you become to other cultures and artistic impressions. The "Number One" hands down greatest band of all time is: Pink Floyd. These days I listen to a lot of Phish, Ween, MMW, The Meters, Burning Spear, Meshuggah, SCI, Weather Report, Fugazi, Dead Kennedys, I should stop there this could go on forever.

Greg: I think we all have a very eclectic ear for music. But, I will say, I am the only one with the hip hop back ground! I still love early 90's rap! I had my music on shuffle driving around the other day, and I went from bumping some old school Too Short to singing bluegrass with Keller Williams.

Seth: My favorite band of all time is Phish, and they definitely inspired me to start a "jam band," because I love the flexibility in the songwriting and the live shows. Musically though, my taste is all over the map. My other favorite bands are Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Guns N' Roses, The Velvet Underground, Ben Folds, Eve 6, Weezer and Cake. They all inspire me for different reasons, whether it is for musicality, lyrics, or energy.
One thing we all agreed on when we started this band was that we are all open to trying any type of musical idea that someone has for the band, and because of that, our sound is really eclectic. Ultimately, we are a rock-jam band, but there is a lot more to the music than that. We have songs that are hard rock, progressive, psychedelic, punk, reggae, dance, pop, funk and metal. We even have a bunch with Latin and Indian textures to them, so it’s really hard to categorize our music. The one thing I will say is that we are really proud of the songwriting. A lot of thought goes into these songs when we write them, and we hope they are songs that will entertain those who like more complex compositions, as well as those who just want to dance and have a good time. We’re having fun when we are jamming, so we hope the crowd has fun too.

Greg: Like Seth said, this is a tough question because we don't fit under one specific genre. I also hate having to compare our sound to other bands just to describe our style of music. We all have such different backgrounds with respect to "taste" in music, yet we all approach music in very similar way, which is what I believe gives us such an eclectic sound. We have 3 different song writers, a solid rhythm section, we all sing, and we have the soon to be Dr. Gabriel on guitar!


Gabriel: Yeah, pretty soon you can call me that. (Laughs) I'm working on my PhD in Historical Musicology at the University of Southern California. My thesis deals with Indian classical music and jazz, as played by Indians in India. I was fortunate enough to spend 6 months conducting research in India for my thesis awhile back.

HGMN: Who does the majority of the songwriting?

Gabriel: Greg, Seth, and I do the majority of the writing, with Duffy writing all the drum parts. Greg's style is artistically innovative, with lots of great grooves and interesting chord progressions and sections. Seth leans towards a mainstream vibe, meaning the tunes are catchy, with melodies you can hum, and riffs that immediately grab your attention. I tend to do more of the technical, odd meter, world music-infused type stuff. However, we all put our stamp on each others tunes as well. So for certain sections of some songs, I'll compose my part according to the harmony someone else wrote. A lot of times for my tunes, I write all the music, except the drum parts, and the guys take my original ideas and make them their own. Also, Seth usually writes lyrics for my songs, since I'm not much of a lyricist. It's always a collaborative effort.

HGMN: How did you guys meet?

Seth: We met through craigslist. That’s not the coolest story, but it’s true. I put up a post on craigslist about 5 years ago saying that I’m a guitarist who is trying to start a jam band in the vein of Phish, Umphrey’s, Allman Brothers, etc. Duffy responded, and although we talked on the phone and through email, we were never able to meet up. He hurt his ankle one week, and the next week I had a family emergency, and it just never happened, so I moved on. A few months later, I put up another post and met Gabe. We got together and jammed, and I knew from the first five minutes of playing that Gabe was “the guy” I was looking for. We played a few of my songs, and he soloed on them as if he wrote them. I was so excited, that the next day, I went back on the hunt to find a drummer and a bass player, and by chance, that next day, Duffy wrote me and said his ankle was feeling better and he wanted to play. So I met up with Duffy that next day and found out that he was an awesome drummer. All the pieces were coming together, and strangely, they happened in a 24 hour time span. I had been looking for the right guys for about a year prior to this and didn’t find anybody that fit with the idea I had for this band. Soon after the three of us started playing together, we met a keyboardist named Michael Russeck who was a member of the band for about 2 years. He left on good terms, and we still jam with him sometimes. In fact, he played a show with us a few weeks ago. We tried quite a few bass players, and about 9 months after the band had been together, we finally found Greg and the band was complete. The thing that makes this band work is that we all have a real understanding of not only our songs, but of jam band music. Good improvisation is more than just noodling on a guitar, and everyone in this band has a really good ear, so we all clicked well with each other. That’s how I knew that each of these guys was something special. Even before we really started writing original music, we understood how to make a good jam, and we could feel the music and sense each other’s moves. It was very cool when we started, and it has transformed into something well beyond our imagination.

Greg: I played for a brief moment with the drummer of Revolutionary Side Effects and made a good enough impression that when he heard Quactus was looking for a bassist, he passed my number along to our old keyboardist, Mike. The phone call couldn't have come at better, yet worse time! Better because of the fact I just stopped playing with the guys I was playing with, and worse, because like Duffy, I too was a wounded soldier with a broken hand! I happened to get in a scuffle with 5 or so bouncers and things did not land in my favor! After the hand was healed, I met up for a session, and soon became the bassist of Quactus.

HGMN: I hear you guys put on an interesting live show. How would you describe your stage antics?

Seth: We really want to change it up for every show, so we try new things all the time. We never repeat set lists. We segue in and out of songs in different orders to keep the listeners and ourselves on our toes. We like to add teases from different songs in our originals. For instance, Gabe teased the theme to “The Daily Show” last week at the Phamily Reunion, and we all followed him and did a little thing around that theme for a few seconds.

HGMN: Is this something that you guys rehearse or is it spontaneous?

Gabriel: Sometimes we preplan it, so we can work out a cool guitar harmony or just to figure out how we're going to get into or out of the tease, or how many times we'll play it. Other times, one of us might throw it in without having mentioned it to anyone beforehand.

Seth: We also like to put our stamp on some covers. Our most requested cover is “Poison” by Bell Biv Devoe. We turned it into more of a funk song than a hip hop song, and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser. We use a lot of hand signals while we play. We use these hand signals to change key, tempo, style, and just to communicate on stage. Most of the time, we let our music do the talking but we like to have fun on stage as well. We’ve covered the training music to “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out” from the original Nintendo, and when we play that song, we like to run in place and train the same way that Little Mac did. I remember one time we ended a show by throwing big handfuls of confetti into the air. That seems so cheesy, but it was fun. You have to have fun when you are performing. If you take it too seriously, it’s hard to enjoy it. We’re a bunch of goofballs, so we definitely like to have fun on stage, and hopefully that translates to good music as well.

Greg: We always try to have a good time when we're on the stage, and hope that energy finds its way to the audience. We want to give them an experience - play some serious rocking stuff, grooves they can dance too, and even slow it down a bit and play songs like Better Days, which is truly a beautiful tune. I like to hit all aspects of the spectrum, and truly make it a show they can remember ... I always enjoy our teases and covers that we play, but what I really like is when a jam starts from nothing, and we're able to take the listeners for ride! Esprit D' escalier is a perfect example. The jam starts with a drum solo, then the bass comes in followed by the guitars. Starting minimal gives the band room to build and take the jam in different directions. Check out Esprit from OC Tavern 4-16-09.

Matthew: High Octane, Mind Bending, Signal Throwing, Intergalactic Jam-stra-fication with a side order of Rocking Out with Our Quack Out.

HGMN: What other covers have you done Quactus style? What's your favorite?

Gabriel: We've done "The Ocean" by Led Zeppelin, "Have a Cigar" by Pink Floyd, and also "Mike's Song" and "Suzy Greenberg" by Phish, among others. We just did "West LA Fadeaway" for Jerry's b-day a few weeks ago, and we've done "Scarlet Begonias" before too. I really like doing "Ghostbusters" or the "Knight Rider Theme" because the crowds usually get a kick out of them.

Seth: We do a rocked up version of the music from "Mike Tyson's Punchout" on old school Nintendo when Little Mac is training. As kids of the 80's, that makes us really happy. We've also done "Cult of Personality" by Living Colour, a groovy version of "Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard" by Simon and Garfunkel, "Radar Love" by Golden Earring, and one of my favorites was when we covered the "Entry of the Gladiators", which is more commonly thought of as the music you hear when you go to the circus. The crowd was kind of creeped out and totally into it at the same time. It was fantastic.

HGMN: You guys use a lot of hand signals on stage. Has anyone ever mistaken one signal for another?

Gabriel: We haven't had any major train wrecks in a long time. Early on as we were developing the signals they would sometimes get confused, but we'd still make the mistakes work in our favor. Recently, we've been getting a lot tighter and quicker with changing from one thing to another. We now have an established "vocabulary" so we all know what we should be doing if a signal is thrown. It's a lot fun on stage and keeps us all on our toes and we still come up new ones from time to time.

HGMN: I like the claymation Quactus video. Did you guys do that?

Gabriel: Duffy and I did that one night. There was a lot of beer involved. Ha! It took us like 6 hours of work for that 1 minute of video. We had a lot of fun doing it. I'm sure there will be more.

HGMN: What do you guys do to keep from being bored while traveling on the road?

Gabriel: We came up with a word game during the last big road trip. It was a pretty simple game, and there's no real winner or way to actually end it, so it kept us occupied and laughing quite a bit.

Greg: We once made an art piece out of animal crackers ... we are a crazy bunch!

Seth: The word game really didn't have any rules. I think we were supposed to come up with a phrase or thing that started with the same letter that the last person ended with. We would give a category like, "things you can eat," and see how long we could keep that going. Naturally, we all thought of the most heinous and perverse things imaginable, so we were entertained with this game for hours.

Matthew: Group yoga and meditation, although we have run into a few issues with the driver going off the road during that. I like having really bad pictures of me taken, I probably should not tell the story but Greg snapped a real winner of me somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico during a roadside bathroom break at an abandoned mine shaft. Personally I love being on tour and do not find it boring at all, I love the open road, cheap hotels, and much more so camping. I am pretty sure I was a gypsy in my last life. I am the most hyper talkative person in the band which makes me the hardest one to irritate; this works out really well for me. Recommended stay in Flagstaff, AZ is the Relax Inn, the rats make for good early morning alarm clocks.

HGMN: Seriously, how did you guys come up with the name, Quactus? Was it from a dream or a strange acid trip out in the desert...?

Gabriel: Unfortunately, it's going to remain a band secret. Sorry.

Matthew: Trade Secrete, we have that under lock and key just like the Corneal has his top secret blend of 11 herbs and spices. The best I can say is it all has to do with the power of the “Q”, its 10 points in scrabble you know.

Seth: Ummm... how did we come up with the name Quactus, eh? Well ... how did you come up with the name Chris Robie? Huh? You don't like it when we turn the tables on you, do you? No seriously, it's a band secret. I wish we could tell you, but we can't.

HGMN: Actually, I was named after one of the characters from Winnie the Poo. (Laughs) I was named after Christopher Robin, the kid with the umbrella and Poo’s best friend. Up until the age of eight all I got from anyone for holidays and birthdays was Poo shit! So we both have names that resemble a cartoon character. If you guys don’t want to give up your secret that’s fine, I’ll just speculate. I’m guessing the “cactus” part came from Matthew because he has some serious body hair issues – cactus skin. That would explain the mattress leaks. I can also imagine a lot of things about where the “duck” came from. Duffy…does that have anything to do with Daffy?

Matthew: All kinds of Poo shit for your birthdays, is that like double chocolate?

Seth: Damn! You're on to us! Our secret is safe with you though, right?

Matthew: Are you agreeing that I am excessively hairy? Duffy is extracted from my last name McDuffee, I add the "Y" because no one ever spells my last name correctly anyway

HGMN: What's coming up for Quactus?

Seth: Quactus is going to stay very busy. We are going to tour some more soon, but we are still figuring out the details, so we have no specifics yet. For the very near future, we are really focusing on making our second album spectacular. We have a few tracks completed and the next month or so will probably be dedicated to recording. We are also working on a bunch of new tunes that we are very excited about. So, with some good luck on our side, 2010 will be a big year for Quactus, and we can't wait to tour and share the new album with everyone.

- HomeGrown Music Network


"A Sense of We" (2010) - Sophomore Album (released on iTunes, CDBaby, HomeGrown Music Napster, Rhapsody, Amazon), features guests artists: Steve Molitz (Particle; Phil and Friends) and Mike Mangan (Big Organ Trio)

"At Ease" a track off of "A Sense of We" is the Editor's Pick in the April/May 2010 issue of Relix magazine.

"Once a pond, a spine..." (2008) - Debut Album (released on iTunes, CDBaby, HomeGrown Music Napster, Rhapsody, Amazon)


Auburn, AL - WQNR 99.9 FM

Bridgeport, CT - Fairfield Univ. - WVOF 88.5 FM

Burlington, WI - WBSD 89.1 FM

Carbondale, IL - WDBX 91.1 FM

Charlotte, NC - Gaston College - WSGE 91.7 FM

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Trenton, NJ/Philadelphia, PA - Burlington County College - WBZC 88.9 FM

Whitley City, KY - WHAY 98.3 FM

Woodstock, NY - WDST 100.1 FM

Internet Radio

Robin Hood Radio (www.robinhoodradio.com) - based in Connecticut

IndieSF (www.indiesf.com) - based in Santa Fe, NM

Live interview and performance on Akereni-io Radio on April 9, 2008

In rotation on Akereni-io Radio

Indie 104

The Dividing Line


Music featured in the Toclarity Entertainment film "Adam and Evelyn" (2008)

Music featured in the documentary "In Search of the Experience" (2008)



The most common asked question, What's a Quactus? A Quactus is a little bit of every great jam band you know and love blended together to form a familiar sound that you know you can put your finger on, but youre not sure why. A band for everyone, Quactus mixes intricately composed guitar leads, tight rhythms and spacey jams that keeps fans all over the country dancing. After 9 years of touring extensively throughout the West coast, Quactus may call Los Angeles, CA home but they continue to entertain crowds wherever they perform.

Quactus debut album, "Once a pond, a spine...", released in 2008 was quickly embraced by the jamband community and led to a win on Jambands.com as New Groove of the Month, garnering a wide fan base well beyond the West Coast. In 2010 Quactus released their sophomore album, A Sense of We, taking the band into new directions with genre bending tunes ranging from Irish Music, Heavy Rock, Progressive Rock and Electronic Jams all the while staying true to their roots...playing great music and having a good time doing it.

Quactus is Seth Gordon (guitar/keyboards/ukulele/vocals), Matthew McDuffee (drums), Gabriel Isaac (lead guitar/vocals), Greg Zachan (bass/vocals), Michael Russeck (keyboards/vocals) and Keith Erickson (percussion). Never playing the same show twice, Quactus often performs with special guests including Steve Molitz (Particle), Tom Ryan (Cubensis) and Mike Mangan (Big Organ Trio). Additionally, the band has shared the stage with several national acts, including Particle, The New Mastersounds, Tea Leaf Green, John Popper (Blues Traveler), Moonalice (w/ members of Phil Lesh and Friends, Hot Tuna, Bruce Hornsby, and Jefferson Starship), The Maykers, EOTO (w/ members of String Cheese Incident), Leo Nocentelli (The Meters), Bobby Vega (Sly and the Family Stone), CR Gruver (Polytoxic/Outformation), Marc Ford (Black Crowes), Banyan, U-Melt, The Heavy Pets, Cubensis, Underground Orchestra, Delta Nove, Big Organ Trio, Jamie Janover, Leon Mobley, Moksha and Al Howard & the K23 Orchestra. Individual members of Quactus have also shared the stage or bill with Umphreys McGee, Melvin Seals and the Jerry Garcia Band, Mr. Blotto, and NOFX.

Media Quotes:

"Its a ripping, upbeat album filled with soaring, fat, and, at times,
Allman-esque guitar leads; laced with psyched-out spacey effects and
organ-cushioned undertones A skosh of reggae here, an Irish whiskey jig
there, and a bit reminiscent of Tea Leaf Green over Yonder. At any
rate, this is jamband to its core." -Dirty Hippie Radio on Quactus A
Sense of We album.

"Whether or not it is a long jam, a short melodic run through of a
memorable hook, or a rampage through an outlandish groove that wont
quitequal parts Phish and a soaring momentum all their ownthe quartet
plays with a focused abandon that is quite enchanting." -Randy Ray,

"Dont let the strange name fool you; Quactus is a serious band with some serious skills." -Chris Roble, Homegrown Music Network

"Its not often that while wandering the desert one comes across a
prickly saguaro with a bright orange beak protruding from its top. But
then again, its not very common to hear music that combines elements
from every conceivable genre of music into a single melodious
masterpiece either. Quactus, however, fits the bill for both of these
unlikely scenarios." -Bryce Propheter, Flagstaff Live

Band Members