Western Medicine Is In Transit

The quartet talks Benetton, Bigfoot, and a rejected kiss.

The Situation I'm spending the evening at the Sunset Tavern's "Black Monday" goth night sharing an asparagus-and-goat-cheese pizza with the rock quartet Western Medicine. The band's founder and frontman, Adam McKinnon, is Mexican, and grew up on a dairy farm in Indiana. Drummer Rudy Gajadhar is an Eastsider of Trinidadian and Indian descent. Bassist David Audino comes from a Cleveland Jewish family. Keyboardist Laurel Hoffman sports a bowl cut; she was born in Seoul before being adopted and raised in Pennsylvania. "We're the United Colors of Benetton," she says.

How They Got Here McKinnon, warehouse manager at Barsuk Records, started Western Medicine more than two years ago. He and Audino went through several bandmates before settling on Hoffman (this is her first band) and Gajadhar, whose extensive musical past includes drumming for defunct local favorites Waxwing and Gatsbys American Dream. He insists on recognizing his first band: Sister's Uterus. "Back in eighth grade—that's where it all started!" he says.

Shop Talk Western Medicine's first effort is the audacious, politically tinged EP In Transit. Of the songs, McKinnon says, "I want it to be eclectic; I want it to be huge-sounding and then get quiet, too. I want it to be weirder than it is."

"That's where I come in!" says Hoffman, who's just started to write her own songs for the band. For now, McKinnon says he wants the band to focus on playing a lot of shows and "letting the songs breathe"—which makes In Transit a perfect name for their first EP, although he originally wanted to call it Psychic Bigfoot.

"Psychic Bigfoot will be the full-length, for sure," says McKinnon.

BTW: Western Medicine is something of a family affair. Gajadhar is married to McKinnon's younger sister, and the couple is expecting their first baby—a girl, to be illustriously named Valentina Grace Gajadhar—within a matter of weeks. And McKinnon and Hoffman, who got off to a rocky start a couple of years ago when he tried to kiss her and she rejected it, are now a couple. "She brings a softness to the band," McKinnon says, admiringly.

Hoffman says her first years after moving to Seattle were aimless, but "One of the grounding things for me is this group. I find solace in it, I find comfort in it, I find peace in it."

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