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Family Band Pig Snout!!

Pig Snout!! practices new songs in preparation for a show.

Joshua Huston


The practice space is typical: a set of drums, guitar, keyboard, and a Mac nearby so the room can double as a recording studio. The uniforms are also rock and roll standard-issue: Black T-shirts and jeans. Dahlia Tamminga, 6, is sporting a pair of pink Converse All-Stars; Lucien Tamminga, 9, is rolling around on the ground with his hands inside his shirt: “I just lost a bunch of arms!” Classic.

Pig Snout!! has been writing songs in its Tacoma studio since February, after Dahlia expressed interest in playing drums. Her father Justin Tamminga, 38, is a longtime area musician who teaches guitar, bass and drum lessons in the space. He didn't force music on his kids, but when Dahlia volunteered, he was ecstatic. Not wanting to miss out, Lucien started jamming, too.

Justin has a unique approach to music lessons: when he's teaching a student how to play drums, he gets them playing a beat, and then accompanies them on the guitar. For guitar students, he teaches riffs and bar chords, then plays the drums along with students so they can feel what it's like to work with other musicians. Using this approach with his two kids, a band came together quickly.

With Justin on guitar, Dahlia and Lucien switching off between drums and keyboard, and the three sharing vocal duties, the trio churns out hard rock numbers like “Panther.” The song is so named, Dahlia says, because “my dad's guitar — when I go to the ride cymbal — it makes a RO-AR sound!”

Though the combined ages of two of the band's members wouldn't equal one old enough to drive, Pig Snout!! isn't a gimmick. The band cuts no corners and writes songs that are alternately catchy and hard-hitting.

After several live shows over the summer, the band has just issued its first release, a two-song single called “The Tar Trap.” Like most of the band's songs, the name has nothing to do with its contents. But that's how Dahlia and Lucien wanted it. Justin lets the two make all band decisions: from naming the group to designing its T-shirts to creating the packaging for “The Tar Trap” out of paper lunch bags.

“I have to do it that way,” he says, “otherwise, it's a crappy band.”

To settle on a name, Dahlia and Lucien came up with a list of monikers, many brilliant, none of which would seem out of place on Pitchfork or KEXP: the Cave of Doom, Spytar, Dolphin Orchestra, The Ostrich Company. When the two decided on Pig Snout!!, they screamed it at their father, inspiring him to add a pair of exclamation marks to the name.

Bacon reference? Creative punctuation?


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