Leaves of Grass: Arcata’s Grass Band
The music scene of Humboldt County is diverse. We have bluegrass, electronic, reggae, jazz, funk, punk and rock all within our reach. It’s no surprise that bassist Dan Davis, singer/guitarist Mark Morin and percussionist Chris Johnson of Grass Band play the full range of that spectrum.
Grass Band formed back in 2001, when Davis, Morin and Johnson met at Humboldt State University. The three men had part-time groundskeeper jobs while they attended the university. The band name is an inside joke that glances back at that formative time. What started off as jamming together turned into a solid band that’s spanned over a decade.
The trio cannot be contained or described in one genre. One minute, they’re busting out a fusion-esque jam, the next they’re laying down some funk with Morin crooning over the instruments. The three musicians play off each other, jumping into improvisational jams. But regardless of whatever style of music they draw from, Grass Band is one of those groups that you can’t help but dance to. And the band loves it.
The band plays with other local bands like The Fickle Hillbillies, Silent Giants and The Malone. They’re rooted in Humboldt County: the farthest south they’ve played is in Benbow at the Summer Music and Arts Festival and as far north as Trinidad.
The Grass Band’s debut album is in the final stages of completion. Davis described it as 10 songs of all original, “homegrown rock and roll.” Some of the songs are a couple years old, others less than a year. Davis, Morin and Johnson collectively write the songs. Morin is the chief lyricist of the band. Johnson said the themes on the album range from politics, dealing with situations that get thrown your way and contemplating our time on Earth.
“There’s some songs where we’re laying out an opinion on life without preaching,” said Morin.
Yet no matter what the topic of a song might be, Grass Band loves connecting with the audience. If there’s one thing the band strives for with their music, it’s impacting the crowd in any way they can.
“Our peak moments of performing have been when there’s an energy tied between us and the audience,” said Davis.