M a t t . T r e d e r

A band called ToneDawg

In Tunes on April 18, 2008 at 10:46 am

I wanted our band to be called “Merlin’s Madness” or perhaps “Merlin’s Magic.” I was overruled, and perhaps that was for the best, as our floppy-eared alter ego did constitute the coolest band logo/mascot ever. The genius behind the madness was an energetic, pony-tailed 6th grade teacher who moonlighted as a guitar god, ruling over Eugene and the surrounding environs with a potent mix of Steely Dan, Grateful Dead, Bruce Hornsby, and Phish-influenced jam band rock.

With bassist Arne Olsen and drummer Rick Buckendahl, we crisscrossed western Oregon, often traveling as far as Bend, Portland, and Ashland, as often as not depending on the kindness of strangers for our lodging. We played Ashland, in fact, during the infamous New Year’s Eve flood of 1996, loading in during a driving rainstorm over a wet wooden footbridge spanning the creek that lent the late, lamented Ashland Creek Bar & Grill its name. When we loaded out the next day, Interstate 5 was closed and part of the outdoor dining deck was washed away, along with two unfortunate and adjacent lower-lying businesses.

We sailed, we soared, and for $40 a night we presided over Eugene’s hallowed haunts — The Old Pad, the Good Times, the Vet’s Club, Taylor’s. We played for weddings, parties, and festivals. We packed it in when I got the call to go on the road with a rising country singer, never to resurface.

More’s the pity.


  1. Even 10+ years later, I listen to the music we wrote and recorded pretty often. We had some pretty cool moments, and lots of treasured memories. I appreciate you sharing this with the world, Matt, and hopefully I’ll get to play with you again very soon!

    Arne Olsen

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