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The Walkabouts

The Walkabouts at the Orange-Blossom-Special-festival of their label Glitterhouse Records in 2006: Glenn Slater, Paul Austin, Terri Moeller, Chris Eckman, Carla Torgerson
Background information
Origin Seattle, Washington, USA
Genres Indie rock
Alt. country
Country rock
Folk rock
Years active 1984 – present
Labels Sub Pop
Associated acts Chris & Carla
Chris Eckman
Carla Torgerson
Michael Wells
Glenn Slater
Terri Moeller
Former members
Curt Eckman
Grant Eckman
Bruce Wirth
John Baker Saunders (deceased)
Fred Chalenor
Joe Skyward
Brian Young

The Walkabouts is an American rock band formed in Seattle in 1984. The core members are vocalist Carla Torgerson and vocalist and songwriter Chris Eckman. Although the rest of the line-up has changed occasionally, for most of the time the other members have been Michael Wells, Glenn Slater and Terri Moeller.

The band draws inspiration from folk and country music, particularly Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young and Johnny Cash, but also from other types of artists and musical styles such as Scott Walker, Leonard Cohen, French chanson and Jacques Brel. Their sound is typically rich, with string arrangements and keyboards in addition to the standard rock instruments. In reviews the band's music is often described as melancholic or mellow, while Eckman's lyrics, concerning such themes as human relations, loneliness and restlessness, are often emphasized as poetic.

The Walkabouts have achieved commercial success and a strong fanbase in Europe, where they have done promotion and extensive touring since early 1990s. They have occasionally even made it high on the record charts in countries such as Greece and Norway.



Carla Torgerson and Chris Eckman met in 1983 when they were both working at an Alaskan fish cannery as a summer break from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. In 1984 they moved to Seattle, and the band was born when they joined forces with Chris' two younger brothers, drummer Grant and bassist Curt. The Eckman brothers had been playing in various punk rock and pop groups during their college years, and Carla came from a folk and street singing background. The band took their name from the cult Nicolas Roeg film, Walkabout. [1]

They released their first EP, 22 Disasters, in early 1985. Curt Eckman then left the band, to be replaced by Michael Wells. Their second EP, Linda Evans/Cyclone, was released in 1987. The following year they released their first album, See Beautiful Rattlesnake Gardens, on the PopLlama label, before being signed by Sub Pop as that label's first non-grunge band. Adding keyboard player and multi-instrumentalist Glenn Slater, they released three albums on Sub Pop over the next few years - Cataract (1989), Rag & Bone (1990), and Scavenger (1991). They also toured extensively, particularly in Europe. In 1992 they left Sub Pop Seattle, but remained with Sub Pop Europe who issued three more albums, New West Motel (1993), Satisfied Mind (1993), and Setting The Woods On Fire (1994). Drummer Terri Moeller replaced Grant Eckman in 1992, when he left to care for his new born son, Dakota Eckman.[1]

Satisfied Mind was their first of several albums largely or wholly comprising songs originally written and recorded by an eclectic variety of other artists, including Nick Cave, Charlie Rich, Johnny Rivers, Patti Smith, Mary Margaret O'Hara, and Gene Clark. Their 1996 collection of unreleased songs, Death Valley Days, also included songs by Neil Young, Nick Drake and Bob Dylan, and in 2000 they issued Train Leaves At Eight, which broadened the approach further by including songs by European artists including Mikis Theodorakis, Goran Bregović, Jacques Brel and Neu!.[1]

In 1995 the band signed with Virgin Records in Germany and released Devil's Road (1996) - recorded in part with the Warsaw Philharmonic - and Nighttown (1997), leading to new levels of success in Europe. Michael Wells left the band for several years in 1996, rejoining in 2003. In 1999 they moved to the German record label, Glitterhouse Records (the successor to Sub Pop Europe), and released Trail of Stars (1999), Train Leaves At Eight (2000), Ended Up A Stranger (2001), Slow Days With Nina (2003) - an EP tribute to Nina Simone - and Acetylene (2005).

Side projects

Eckman and Torgerson have also released albums as side projects under the name Chris & Carla and as solo artists. Chris Eckman has worked in 1996-2003 with Norvegian band Midnight Choir and teamed with Al DeLoner of Midnight Choir in Electronica-project called Höst for an album „The Damage Suite“(2001). Also Eckman has worked in recent years with Willard Grant Conspiracy on the albums Regard The End and Let It Roll, as well as with The Bambi Molesters.

Terri Moeller has also formed The Transmissionary Six with Paul Austin, formerly of Willard Grant Conspiracy.

Band member history

Chris Eckman, 2005-09-02
Carla Torgerson, 2005-09-02

Current line-up shown in bold.

Name Playing Member period
Chris Eckman vocals, guitar, piano 1984-present
Carla Torgerson vocals, guitar 1984-present
Michael Wells bass 1985-1996; 2003-present
Glenn Slater keyboards, piano 1989-present
Terri Moeller drums, percussion 1991-1999; 2001-present
Grant Eckman drums, percussion 1984-1991
Curt Eckman bass 1984-1985
Bruce Wirth violin, lap steel, mandolin, vibes 1991-1994
John Baker Saunders bass 1996-1999
Fred Chalenor bass 1999
Joe Skyward bass 2000
Brian Young drums 2000




Year of Release Title Label Produced by
tW = The Walkabouts
1985 22 Disasters Necessity Terry Date & tW EP
1987 Linda Evans/Cyclone Necessity Bruce Calder, Tony Croes & tW EP
1988 See Beautiful Rattlesnake Gardens PopLlama Tony Kroes, Ed Brooks & tW
1989 Cataract Sub Pop Tony Kroes, Ed Brooks & tW
1990 Rag & Bone Sub Pop Tony Kroes, Ed Brooks & tW
1991 Scavenger Sub Pop Gary Smith
1993 New West Motel Sub Pop Germany Ed Brooks & tW
1993 Satisfied Mind Sub Pop Germany Kevin Suggs & tW
1994 Setting the Woods on Fire Sub Pop Germany Ed Brooks & tW
1996 Devil's Road Virgin, Germany Victor Van Vugt
1996 Death Valley Days: Lost Songs and Rarities, 1985-1995 Glitterhouse Rare or previously unreleased songs
1997 Nighttown Virgin, Germany Victor Van Vugt
1999 Trail of Stars Glitterhouse Phill Brown & tW
2000 Train Leaves At Eight Glitterhouse Kevin Suggs & tW
2001 Ended Up A Stranger Glitterhouse tW, Larry Crane & Phill Brown
2002 Watermarks Anthology featuring the best of the Walkabouts from their Innerstate, Glitterhouse, and Virgin releases 1991-2002
2003 Shimmers Glitterhouse "Best of" collection
2003 Slow Days With Nina Shingle Street Chris Eckman, Carla Torgerson & Glenn Slater Tribute to Nina Simone
2005 Drunken Soundtracks: Lost Songs and Rarities, 1995-2001 Glitterhouse Rare or previously unreleased songs
2005 Acetylene Glitterhouse Tucker Martine & tW


Year of Release Title Comment
1987 Linda Evans/Cyclone
1991 Where The Deep Water Goes
1992 Dead Man Rise
1993 Jack Candy
1993 Your Hope Shines
1994 Good Luck Morning
1996 The Light Will Stay On
1996 All For This
1997 Lift Your Burdens Up Not official released
1997 Immaculate Not official released
1999 Drown
2005 Devil In The Details Jack Wolfskin-Promo

Official bootlegs

Lists of official bootlegs sold through mail order or sold at concerts.

Year of Release Title Comment
1994 To Hell And Back - Live in Europe
1997 Mystery Mountain Chronicles
1999 Airmail
2000 Bruxelles w/ the Nighttown Orchestra
2002 I'm Sorry
2003 Emona From the Italian music magazine Il Mucchio Selvaggio)
2005 No You Won't
2007 Prague


External links


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