This article appears in the Spring 2023 issue of CREEM. Get your copy now.

In a windowless white box, a band that hasn’t played a proper gig in two decades is rehearsing in front of me. Their list of tracks explodes with staples from an era when experimentalism was valued—long before their professed genre trafficked in merch collabs and titles like “vocalist/pro wrestler.” After rehearsing a hardcore punk track that soundtracked my early 2000s, the virtuoso guitarist asks the band what’s next before turning to me: “Well, what do you want to hear?” Deer, meet headlights.

The band is Botch, and I am currently with the four founding members as they run through some songs in their recently christened space in Seattle. Unlike most spaces, the room is utterly bare-bones—no inspirational photos of heroes past and present, no gig posters featuring the band, no chairs, no storage, no boxes of merch or gear; only a hanging whiteboard with messily scribbled names like “Canada,” “C. Thomas Howell,” and “Mondrian,” barely legible. It’s clear that this is a practice space for getting down to business and business alone. Yes, Botch are back, but for how long and in what capacity?

“A lot of times reunions feel like cash grabs and they’re just gross.” —Brian Cook


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