RICHLAND -- The Cracker Factory's latest album might be titled No One Knows We're Here, but this trio of musicians is far from obscure.
Shane Smith on bass, Denali Williams on drums and RL Heyer on guitar have been playing professionally together for 10 years. They describe their music as a blend of straight-ahead rock 'n' roll, progressive rock and a little grunge tossed in for flavor.
The band performs May 3 at The Emerald of Siam on Jadwin Avenue in Richland.
"I've wanted to be a musician since I was 14 years old and got my first guitar," Smith said in an email to the Herald. "Back then, glam-rock was popular, but I was more into the heavier stuff, Iron Maiden, Metallica, even Slayer.
"While in high school, the grunge explosion hit, and I went to a school in Bellevue, just 15 minutes from Seattle (where grunge was born). I was going to the OK Hotel under the viaduct almost every weekend since it was the only all-ages venue around."
Then he met Williams and Heyer, and they formed a trio that eventually fizzled out, he said.
The guys played other gigs for a while. Heyer and Smith played in show bands for the Premier Cruise Lines for a while, and Williams was a percussionist in the Tacoma Symphony.
They got back together in 2003 and formed Cracker Factory.
Smith came up with the title No One Knows We're Here, but it has nothing to do with the band's name.
"Most people think that title is about the band," he said. "It is, in fact, the title track that I wrote about the righteously religious. If we zoom out from our planet far enough, you will see how incredibly vast our universe is. There is a very distinct possibility that no one knows we're here, we're all alone. I actually find a sense of peace in that. All the stuff that we worry about doesn't matter. So let it be."
Heyer also writes songs, and Smith describes his bandmate's songwriting style as unparalleled.
"He's simply a great songwriter and writes much faster than I do," Smith said. "When I asked him about writing lyrics, he said he doesn't write to get something off his chest. I don't write like that, but I love his concept and I love his lyrics."
Also appearing at the Emerald with Cracker Factory will be Blue Lotus. Showtime is 9 p.m. Cover is $10.
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal