Rocking Family Tradition

By Beacon Staff

For one Montana band, the generational beat certainly goes on.

The young members of House of Quist – Guthrie Quist, Halladay Quist, Pat McKenna and Chauncey Allison – are well on their way down a musical path studded with live shows and a new album in the works.

It is a familiar route for the Quist siblings’ father, Rob Quist, who co-founded and still plays with the Mission Mountain Wood Band, legendary in Montana and across the country for decades.

With musical roots like that, it would almost seem a foregone conclusion that the younger generation would take to the stage, but Rob Quist said there was never any pressure to do so, aside from joining him for his annual Christmas show at the Outlaw Inn in Kalispell.

“It’s just been a thrill for me. I never really pushed them into being entertainers,” Rob Quist said. “It was really gratifying for me that they decided to choose the music path.”

While the elder Quist’s music moved within the country genre, House of Quist’s sound is more rock and roll, with traces of harmony styles popular in the 1970s, from groups such as the Beach Boys and Crosby, Stills and Nash.

“We’ve been doing that for years, but just lately it’s been getting more en vogue,” Guthrie Quist said.

Both siblings sing for House of Quist and their vocals complement each other, Rob Quist said. He described his son as a more powerful, full singer, whereas his daughter almost enters the jazz world with her style.

Chauncey Allison, left, and Guthrie Quist rehearse with House of Quist at a cabin on Flathead Lake. Allison’s uncle, Terry Robinson, played with Quist’s father, Rob Quist, in the Mission Mountain Wood Band.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody who loses themselves in a song quite like Halladay,” Rob Quist said.

The band’s journey began seven years ago, when Halladay Quist took a trip to visit her brother in Malibu, Calif., while he attended Pepperdine University on a voice scholarship in 2003.

The point of the trip was to vacation away from Montana after she graduated from high school, but that changed after the bassist left Guthrie’s band, Wild Stallions, two weeks before a three-week Montana tour.

Guthrie Quist called on his little sister to replace the missing bassist, which she did with aplomb, he said.

“She was totally a trooper,” Guthrie Quist said.

Wild Stallions played their tour successfully, both Quists said, but split soon after. Drummer Pat McKenna moved to Seattle and Halladay went back to school in Missoula. Guthrie took time to drive across the country in his van, ending up in Key West, Fla.

After a couple years, Guthrie moved to Seattle, eventually running into McKenna again. The two formed a hard-edged band called Quisthammer, a name that often got them booked on the same bill as hard-core metal bands despite being more of a rock and roll group, Guthrie said.

Then, during another visit from Halladay, the band found itself in familiar territory: Quisthammer lost its bassist and Guthrie once again called on his sister to fill in.

“We were kind of metal back then,” Halladay Quist said. “In Seattle, it’s hardcore. You got to show up and play some hard stuff or they’ll laugh you off the stage.”

After shows in Seattle and solid reviews from the press, the band moved to Missoula when school began again for Halladay, Guthrie Quist said.

The blazing hands of drummer Pat McKenna blur as they pound out jungle beats during a House of Quist rehearsal.

This time, the trio stuck together. While back in Montana, they met Polson-based music producer David DeVore, whose resume includes working with industry heavyweights Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner and REO Speedwagon, among others.

Since meeting DeVore, the band has played numerous shows in the Flathead Valley while also spending time at a studio in a cabin on the lake in Lakeside.

Studio time with DeVore has changed the way the band writes songs, Guthrie and Halladay Quist noted. They have been working on transitions and creating more memorable tunes.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in the studio with someone who could get better performances out of people,” Rob Quist said of DeVore.

House of Quist has also had another significant change, with the recent addition of a new guitarist, Chauncey Allison. By joining the band, Allison brings a new element of family tradition to the group.

Allison’s uncle, Kalispell native Terry Robinson, was the original lead singer in the Mission Mountain Wood Band.

“It’s kind of like this next generation,” Guthrie Quist said.

And Allison is reminiscent of his famous uncle in more than just musical talent, Guthrie Quist noted.

“One thing Terry was always really known for was the beard,” Guthrie Quist said. “Chauncey just turned 20 and he already has the burliest beard I’ve ever seen.”

House of Quist has a full summer schedule and often frequents Ricciardi’s restaurant in Polson. When he has a break in his own touring schedule, Rob Quist joins his kids on stage with his banjo or electric guitar.

It’s a fun time to take off the cowboy hat and rock the old amplifier, Rob Quist said, and it’s a thrill to play music with his children.

“I don’t know too many kids that would ask their dad to be in their rock and roll band,” Rob Quist said, laughing.

House of Quist hopes to release its new album soon and the band is scheduled for a July 9 show at The Boiler Room in Kalispell.

Guthrie Quist said the band promises its audience a solid performance and an authentic rock experience, and he hopes to see plenty of young people in the crowd.

“It’s going to be a real good time when they come out,” Guthrie Quist said.

For more information on House of Quist, visit the band’s website at www.myspace.com/whitehawkrock.

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