The Prids’ story begins in St. Joseph, Missouri in the late ’90s. Prids bassist Mistina Keith saw guitarist David Frederickson play at a local house show and convinced him to walk out of his current band and form one with her. At the time, Keith did not play any instruments. This story, and Keith and Frederickson’s subsequent marriage and divorce, are part of Prids’ growing lore.
The Prids’ story begins in St. Joseph, Missouri in the late ’90s.
Prids bassist Mistina Keith saw guitarist David Frederickson play at a local house show and convinced him to walk out of his current band and form one with her. At the time, Keith did not play any instruments.
This story, and Keith and Frederickson’s subsequent marriage and divorce, are part of Prids’ growing lore.
It’s easy to focus on The Prids’ history as a band. It reads like a soap opera, or a dark romantic comedy, but Frederickson and Keith have always maintained a friendship and rapport that is apparent in their music. The Prids are, first and foremost, friends making music together.
Many critics call The Prids a goth group, a label that Frederickson has strived to shake.
“I wear my share of black clothing, but we’re not like a vampire kind of thing,” he says. “I think if you write depressing music and you wear black clothes, people call you that.”
Their new wave and post-punk influences–which include The Cure and New Order–provide a convenient reference point for describing The Prids’ sound, but this does not do their music justice. The Prids are constantly refining their sound and experimenting compositionally. Their songs are tight and well rehearsed, but have a compassion, sincerity and earnestness not often found in pop music.
After leaving Missouri, the group lived in different cities in Nebraska, before relocating to Portland in 2000.
“We moved to Portland for its politically liberal climate,” Frederickson says. “We’re vegans, so it pretty much had everything. You know, like a good music scene, lots of places for vegans to eat–we just wanted a place where we didn’t have to think about all that other kind of stuff, we could just focus on music and enjoy our lives.”
After several lineup shifts, The Prids have emerged as a quartet, with Frederickson playing guitar, Keith playing bass, Joey Maas on drums and Maile Tarries on keyboards. They have built a strong local and national following through their constant bouts of touring.
While touring in July 2008, The Prids had a serious accident. Their tour van blew a tire and rolled several times, injuring all four band members, and two of their significant others who were touring as well.
Frederickson had to be airlifted from the scene, and Tarries may need surgery for a cracked vertebra. The financial cost of the accident has been staggering. In addition to the cost of repairing damaged equipment, The Prids face astronomical medical bills.
Fortunately, the band has an extensive support network. People from across the country have donated on their Web site, and benefit shows have been held as far away as San Francisco and New York. In the Portland area, hardly a week has gone by since the accident without a benefit of some kind. Benefit shows have been held at the Wonder Ballroom, Someday Lounge, Doug Fir and the Town Lounge.
“[The shows] were all really special, and lifted the spirits, even when I was in a lot of pain,” Frederickson says.
He anticipates that the band might have seen the same kind of national support had they settled somewhere other than Portland, but speculates that Portland may be unique in the outpouring of local support that it has provided.
“Portland is unlike any other city, really, in the country right now,” Frederickson says. “There’s just so many musicians, so when something happens to another musician, you’re like, ‘Oh, that could happen to me! That could have been us!’ You know, everyone you meet is in a band and I think that has a lot to do with the response we’ve had.”
Frederickson describes many of his favorite records as sort of transcendent.
“Certain music becomes more than just a band, it becomes a friend that you’ve known forever,” he says. The Prids clearly have potential to be a band like the ones he describes.
“I feel like we’re going to be the next generation of bands that do their thing, and then, people discover them, you know, 20 years on and go ‘oh this is great music,’ but by then I’ll be an old man. It’s some people’s destiny, really, to end up there.”
The PridsLive on KPSU, 1450 AMOct. 15, 8 p.m.