Before The Spirit Animals.
Before PETS and SupperClub.
Before March Fox and Marceline and Haüs Cats and even Gosling, there was Small.
It was the early 90s, the age of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, and the Tri-City punk/grunge band was huge on the local scene — and making waves far beyond the Mid-Columbia.
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Its first full album, Finished One, dropped in 1992 and sold thousands of copies.
Decades later, it still has reach and juice.
A campaign is under way to reissue Finished One on vinyl in time for its 25th anniversary next year.
The album “is definitely of its time. But it’s not just a grunge album. It’s more than that,” said Peter Greenberg, a longtime fan who’s leading the campaign.
About half the $3,500 goal has been raised so far.
The guys of Small are thrilled. The band included Jon Boetes on vocals, Jim Acquavella on drums, Kris Boisoneau and Craig Woodall on guitar and Bill Hughes on bass.
It went through some different names and lineups before becoming Small. The name, the five guys — they clicked.
Small played local shows, gaining more and more fans. Bigger crowds came. So did gigs in bigger cities, from Seattle to Portland.
The band shared bills with the likes of Treepeople, Hammerbox and Black Happy, even opening for Green Day.
Major labels were interested, and the band got a promo on MTV.
Finished One was released in August 1992 on a local label called Mysophobic Records.
It resonated because of its sound, its emotion, its themes, band members said.
“It was a small town, and some of the songs were directly related to the scene at the time,” Boetes told the Herald. “Out at the Delta was about how we didn’t really have many things to do or anywhere to go, so we’d go meet out at the delta and have parties. That song was relatable for everyone.”
And the song Friends — “it was an anthem song about loving your friends,” he said. “That resonated with kids.”
Acquavella, the drummer, said Boetes sang from the heart, and “I think people really appreciated the genuine representation of what our lives were like back then.”
The guys were in their late teens and early 20s when Small was at its height.
It was an exciting time, they said. The crowds, the MTV spot.
And each other.
“We were best friends. We were traveling in a band together playing music and writing music,” Boetes said. “I look back at it as a really great time. We were best friends and we were just having fun.”
Greenberg remembers the first time he heard Small play. He was a teenager, and he’d moved to the Tri-Cities with his family a few months before.
“They were the first local band I saw,” Greenberg said. They were energetic. They were funny and put on a great live show.
“They really got me interested in the local music scene,” he said.
Greenberg eventually became part of the scene himself, working for a radio station and as a concert promoter.
He now lives in Seattle, and he still loves music. He has a vinyl collection, and Finished One is an album he’s long wished he had in that form.
He reached out to the guys with the reissue campaign idea, and they got on board.
Small didn’t have a dramatic breakup. Instead, it eventually morphed into the band The Ladybird Unition, with several of Small’s original lineup.
The five guys all remain friends. Boetes and Acquavella live in the Seattle area, along with Boisoneau, while the others are in the Tri-Cities.
As part of the reissue campaign, Small agreed to a couple of reunion shows next year — in Seattle and the Tri-Cities.
Boetes and Acquavella seem excited.
“I’m glad that (Finished One) is still important to the people who really appreciated it,” Boetes said. “I look forward to seeing those faces there in the crowd, at the shows. I’m sure I’ll remember a lot of them.”
Acquavella said it will feel good to play with his old friends again. “To have us all in the room, revisiting these songs and trying to recreate it — I think we’re going to kill it.”
Greenberg thinks so, too.
He looks forward to having Finished One on vinyl. To honoring its place in the Tri-City music scene.
“That record did so much for the scene that it deserves acknowledgment,” he said. “A place in history.”
To donate to the campaign, go to tinyurl.com/smallonvinyl.