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On Their Terms 

Bellingham-based band Polecat has gained considerable recognition & in the PNW, continuing onward at its own pace


ometime over the course of the last year, I boarded a flight on Alaska Airlines. Upon opening the in-flight entertainment app, I pleasantly discovered a show called "Bands in Seattle." Ahhh. Perfect. As I browsed through the options, one band stuck out: Polecat. Not only had I seen them live in Bend several times, but I'd also interviewed them for The Source back in 2015. As soon as I heard they would be returning to Bend this summer, I knew I had to find out more about this unique opportunity.

"They searched out bands from Seattle or that played in the Seattle area a lot," Aaron Guest, singer and guitarist for Bellingham-based band Polecat, says of the producers of "Bands in Seattle."

"They did a huge blanket search and got a ton of bands to do it and we were lucky enough to be one of those bands that could. The producers really loved our episode, which is flattering, so we ended up getting double airtime for our show on public TV and then they ended up selecting ours to be one of the few that were actually aired on the plane."

After the episode aired on public television and on Alaska flights, the band did see an increase in downloads from a variety of different places farther out in the world. Mostly, the appearance resulted in a lot of random texts from friends and shout-outs years later from Bend music writers.

We maintain the towns we love.
Bend is top two.
...it's always the most fun crowds.
We always keep going back."


ne thing that's really admirable about Polecat, beyond its blend of rock, bluegrass, Americana and roots music (among many other styles), is the band's longevity and equal ownership of the band. According to Guest, the band's five members each own 20 percent of the band. Over the course of the past seven years, they have grown into a place of modest recognition around the Pacific Northwest. Now, the band swims a little closer to home, rather than exploring the country in the back of a van for hundreds of shows a year.

"We maintain the towns we love," Guest says. "Bend is top two. Bend is always the most fun crowds. We always keep going back. We're excited it's going to be a free show. We love playing these concert series, these are great for this band. We can be a party band but it's still fun and kid-friendly."

Seven years in and Polecat continues onward, on their terms. They play the music they want to play, when they want to play it, in the towns they love and they do so with open and honest communication. And making sure they all have their own personal lives.

"We've always talked, we've always connected with each other," Guest says. "We really listen to each other and make sure that if someone needs some time off, it happens. I think we dig each other musically and inspire each other. Showing each other stuff that we really like. Our music has really allowed us to evolve thematically and change on the albums and in our live shows as well."

Everyone in the band contributes to the arrangement of the set lists and helps keep things fresh.

"When we come together, it's a job, but it's still fun," Guest says.


Thursday, Aug 31. 6-10pm

Crow's Feet Commons

875 NW Brooks St., Bend.

No cover.

About The Author

Anne Pick

Music Writer | The Source Weekly
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