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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 26, 2000)
..-'i :.: •• ., ,'i . ... — :.•••• yr, Scott Eastman/DN
New lineup\ new name help Square
win slot in LA. ’s Battle of the Bands
^By Jason Hardy
During the past semester, two of pop cul
B^ture’s favorite adages have been disproved by
^^three guys from Lincoln.
Those adages being: “You can’t
Wk teach an old dog new tricks,” and
^^“Once a dog, always a dog,” the latter
Hr having been corned by the well-meaning
audiences of the Ricki Lake show.
Happy Dog, the Lincoln-based jazzy rock
quartet, disproved the first adage by slimming
down to a three-piece, ditching its bass player and get
ting a new drummer. The members also changed their
^^name to Square, thus disproving the second adage.
On top of these groundbreaking advance
^H^ments, the group has also beat out 4,000 bands
from all over the United States to make it to
the final round of the third annual Ernie Ball
Battle of the Bands, which is being held in
Square’s future home, Los Angeles, on Feb. 3,
And, according to Sean Beste, the group’s
singer/songwriter, this chain of events has left Square
feeling a bit on edge.
“It’s kind of stressful,” he said. “We’re mov
^^ing there next week, so we get in on Monday
^^and we play on Thursday, so it’s pretty
crazy. But we ’re excited.”
As far as the group's dynamic,
however, Beste said things have
changed for the best, despite the depar
ture of his brother, Dave, the group’s former
bass player. y ,
“It’s great. We’ve never been so happy,” Beste
said. “It sucks that he’s not in the band anymore, but
r we just had to make it work, and we did. My brother was
B^the best, so we couldn’t replace him. We just had to
^ work our asses off.
“It kind of turned into a gimmick because
JBHr now we’re a crazy trio playing rock with a
synth bass. It’s like as soon as Dave left, as bad
JeSt as it was, tilings just clicked, and we knew it would
r Some things, however, won’t be as missed as Beste’s
“Happy Dog is the dumbest name I’ve ever heard,”
he said. “I really can’t explain the new one either, but I
think it sounds better.”
With a new name and outlook in tow, things are real
ly starting to lookup for Square. Hie band beat out local
groups Mercy Rule and Juror 13 to win the regional
battle of the bands.
They were picked by listeners from all over
the nation who voted for their favorite MP3
file on the Ernie Ball Web page,
www.emieball.com. Voters had 50 bands to
After being selected, Square went to Dallas to
battle it out with the other 15 remaining bands. Hie
pack was cut to 4 bands, one of them being Square.
Now die group has a chance to win $25,000 and to
piay in front of a number of record executives and book
ing agents at an event hosted by Dweezil and Ahmet
Zappa that will be simulcast on the Internet.
Things are moving fast for die trio, especially con
sidering Ryland Steen, the group’s new drummer,
had only been in the band a week and a half before
the first round of the battle of die bands took place at
Knickerbockers last October.
“At the time, we woe just thinking of it as a gig to
break me into the band,” Steen said. “I think it was one of
those things that just kind of thinking about it you
expect, but when it actually happens, you’re pretty sur
He said the group was excited about the con
test but was also very optimistic about its
move to L.A.
“We’re sending demos out to as many
record executives and booking agents as we ;
can, trying to get a buzz going in the area,” he
said. “We’re pretty much taking it one step at a
time. The main goal is just that every time we play, we
put on a rocking show.”
After numerous performances billed as the group’s
“last Lincoln show,” tonight die band will actually play
its final Lincoln show at Duffy’s Tavern, 14120 St.,
Milwaukee’s Tolstoi’s Tricycle at 10 pm.
Steen said it most likely wouldn’t be a senti
mental performance, just more of what has gotten
die group this far.
“We’re just going to try to play well like we always
have and put on a great show,” Steen said.
Of course, Beste said there would be one added
“There’s going to be free mints stolen from Taco
Bell. Thaffe all I could think of’
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