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Seattle's Waxwing has successfully combined a myriad influences into a distinctive sound, blending elements of punk, folk, rock, and Southwestern music. With two full-lengths and a host of EPs under their belt, they have emerged as one of Seattle's most interesting and dynamic young bands around the turn of the century, along with Juno, Death Cab for Cutie, and Pedro the Lion.
Following the 1996 breakup of the band Lying on Loot (which included future Red Stars Theory violinist Seth Warren), singer/guitarist Rocky Votolato and drummer Rudy Gajadhar began playing with bassist Andrew Hartley under the name Waxwing. Rocky's younger brother Cody soon joined the band on second guitar, and the band recorded their debut 7" for Henry's Finest. In 1999, Second Nature released the band's first full-length, For Madmen Only. Blending the straight-ahead rock approach and emotional honesty of the Replacements with the moodiness of Black Sabbath, the record was a critical success and earned the band a solid local following.
When One for the Ride was released in late 2000, Waxwing's profile had grown substantially. Rocky had released several well-received solo records, while Cody's other band, the arty hardcore outfit the Blood Brothers, had a strong following of their own. Gajadhar also handled the drumming duties in Bugs in Amber (fronted by Sonny Votolato, Rocky and Cody's older brother), while Andrew played bass in Lightheavyweight. One for the Ride found the band exploring more diverse dynamics in their songs, exploring new styles of music (some moments wouldn't be out of place on a Calexico album), and focusing on a wider dynamic range. The band toured the Midwest and West Coast with the Casket Lottery in support of this album and returned home to Seattle to work on new songs and allow the members time to focus on other projects. In 2002, the band went back to their roots with the animated Nobody Can Take What Everybody Owns before going on something of an extended hiatus. When the band officially disbanded in late 2005, Rocky continued his solo career, Cody continued playing with the Blood Brothers, and Gajadhar carried on with Gatsbys American Dream.