Rocking Washington to it's core
Catalyst was founded by Craig Nicholson in 1989 and although the group has seen many different line-ups, it has successfully maintained the same CATALYST SOUND. Few rock bands in the Seattle area are doing what this band is doing, in that the overall sound is so distinctive. Catalyst is not a metal band, nor is it a progressive band. Catalyst is a vocally soulful, groove-driven powerhouse. The writing is very organic in nature but also very colorful and melodic. Catalyst was originally a two-guitar band consisting of Craig Nicholson and Matt Merlino on guitars. The band started when a mutual friend introduced Craig and drummer Randy Johnson back in '87. They started jamming to Pat Travers tunes (ironically 1st Nat'l Act opener was with Pat Travers) and playing a lot of jazzy material when Randy brought in jazz keyboardist Joe Riqua. Craig indicated that he wanted the dual guitar sound without keyboards, so Randy recommended a guitar player he was in a band with before, Matt Merlino. Craig and Matt hit it off immediately; not only had the same sound in mind but the same writing style and began writing and rehearsing some 30 songs for a year before ever performing. Craig then ran into an old friend Terry Dale Hartness at a local club who was studying vocals under the great Maestro David Kyle. Then, the name Catalyst was adopted. When inner tensions saw Terry Hartness and Matt Merlino joining another group, Craig took on the vocal duties and Catalyst became the three piece band that you see today.
The current line-up came about when Craig met bass phenom Jeff Eason through a mutual friend. Jeff is different than previous bassists, in that he fills the space in between guitars and percussion with such colorful strength and feel. Catalyst’s drummer at the time was dividing time between multiple projects which was causing scheduling difficulties. Craig wanted a member who was focused on this one group and someone who passionately loved Catalyst music. Sessions began for the new drummer and the first audition was the last. Introduce John Walker, who, like the original drummer Randy Johnson, is a complete percussionist who is not just a rock drummer, but can play many styles. Catalyst has always incorporated many styles in their music, and because of John's true love for Catalyst tunes and his diverse ability, he is a perfect fit.