It’s 11 a.m. on a Tuesday and Sean Badders has already been up and working for four hours.
Granted, if you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance you’re up at 7 a.m. every day. But you’re probably not in a band. Badders is. He’s the bassist in Portland’s Quick & Easy Boys, who’ll play Saturday night at The Astro Lounge in Bend (see “If you go”).
And 7 a.m. is painfully early for most musicians. But Quick & Easy got an opportunity too good to pass up, even at the expense of sleep: to perform on one of Portland’s morning news shows, “AM Northwest,” and reach a bunch of ears that otherwise might have never heard of the band.
“The studio audience was maybe 20 or 30 older women,” Badders said. “But they were definitely into it.”
It’s hard not to be. In a town where earnest folk-pop and shoegazing indie rock are all the rage, The Quick & Easy Boys are a band that unabashedly plays music for good times. The trio’s psychedelic mix of funk, punk, country and rock is super fun, in your face and highly danceable.
Simply put, Badders and his mates — guitarist Jimmy Russell and drummer Michael Goetz — are a walking, talking party on a stage. Which makes them a great fit for Bend, where they’ve played at least a couple dozen times over the past several years.
“We like to have a good time and (make music) that people like to have a good time to,” Badders said. “And people in Bend definitely like to get down. We usually have a good time there and end up staying up all night and doing whatever.”
But Quick & Easy is not solely focused on fun at all costs. In fact, the band has been in a constant state of evolution since it came together in the dorms at the University of Oregon in 2005, forged from the ashes of other bands.
“Jimmy and I are from Portland and Mike’s from Des Moines, Iowa, and we were all in different bands before we ended up in a band together,” Badders said.
“It was just kind of like all the other bands were breaking up around the same time, and we all liked what each other did,” he said, “so we said, ‘Alright, let’s put it together and see what we can do.’”
The goal in the beginning was simple, he said.
“We just wanted to make a rock ‘n’ roll band where we could do whatever we wanted,” Badders said. “It was like anything we want to do is OK. We’re not going to limit ourselves.”
Over the past seven years, Quick & Easy has drawn attention for its fearless genre-hopping, bouncing from garage-punk to authentic honky tonk to full-on funk jams with ease. The variety plastered plenty of smiles on faces, but also left some listeners confused.
They became known as the band that drew inspiration from Willie Nelson, Funkadelic and the Minutemen, and even coined one of the better band descriptors in recent memory: Honkadelic, an amalgam of honky tonk and psychedelic. Or maybe Funkadelic. Or both.
Quick & Easy’s mosaic of styles is on full display on its 2010 album, “Red Light Rabbit,” a collection of bracing, swaggering tunes that The Oregonian called “redolent of great ‘60s rock, the best parts of ‘70s funk and their own fearless adaptation of juke-joint country.”
Despite such kind words — not to mention the growing crowds at Quick & Easy shows — Badders, Russell and Goetz are looking to evolve yet again. The band is currently working on its third album, and a sample they posted on Facebook recently reveals a more stripped down, straightforward rock sound.
“It retains the same influences and elements but we’ve definitely streamlined it,” Badders said. “Before it was like very extreme, either honky tonk or funk, but now ... we’re trying to get a more cohesive sound.
“We’re trying to refine it so we have more, like, cool rock ‘n’ roll songs that encompass whatever rock ‘n’ roll is,” he continued. “It’s all rock ‘n’ roll, you know?”
The trio is aiming to release the new record later this year, and they hope their new, more refined sound attracts a few new ears.
They’re not expecting to draw in the kind of crowd they played for at “AM Northwest,” but they know there are plenty of music fans in Portland who might dig what Quick & Easy does.
“We’re very much operating outside the hip radar (in Portland),” Badders said. “Yeah, there are people that know about us, but there’s still so many people who have no idea who we are.
“The super-hip bands in this town, they all seem to be comprised out of a core group of about 100 people who all know each other and are all very connected, and that’s just not how we did it,” he said. “We really came up on the outside, and we’ve made good in a way. But at the same time we still want to expose ourselves to that other audience and get it going with them, too.”
And for Quick & Easy, that’ll be just another step on a sonic journey that has seemed to twist and turn over and over throughout the years.
“We wouldn’t have been able to be at this point where we’re able to have a vision of the sound we want,” Badders said, “had we not explored in the past and figured out what works and what sounds good.
“We’ve spent a lot of time playing and learning what our unique sound is and what’s us, and that’s because we were all over the place for so long,” he said. “And now, we’re just trying to focus.”