Bus Stories: Just Lions


Just Lions is releasing their Great. Ok. EP today, and they have a FREE show at Mississippi Studios in Portland tonight.


Chandler Strutz (lead vocals/guitar), Andrew Shepherd (percussion/drums/vocals), and Brady Strutz (bass guitar/vocals) in 2012 at Ash Street Saloon in Portland, OR

I met Just Lions, a three piece band from Portland, Oregon, in July 2012 the first weekend I took the bus to the city for three consecutive days of shows. I saw them play at The White Eagle with Denim Wedding, and both my friend and I were immediately drawn into their performance. The songs were catchy and original, the band was tight, and Chandler’s voice had a beautiful cool to it. Their harmony choices added a layer to their sound we didn’t often hear in the indie music we’d been exposed to in the past. We were instant fans.


After their set, I introduced myself, told Chandler my friend and I loved the show, and thanked him for the music. He was very gracious and gave me a copy of their Athena EP. I listened to it on the way home and continued to listen to it daily for at least a couple months.


I contacted them soon after that first show and somehow tried to explain the bus project, which had yet to develop into anything more than pictures of a toy bus, but I had a vision. I know Chandler thought I was nuts, but he humored me. From then on, I paid attention to anything the band did and tried to go to as many of their shows as possible. It’s been almost two years and they’re still one of my top three favorite indie Portland bands. I’ve honestly adored everything they’ve done and their Great. Ok. EP is no exception.




I usually don’t like sending people questions to answer, but I’ve written plenty of Facebook messages to Chandler, so this was pretty easy.

H: How long have you been a band?

Chandler: Andy and I started playing music together in grade school, but Just Lions has been a band since 2008.


H: Who is the coolest member?

Chandler: Not sure who the coolest member is–we’re all pretty lame, in our own special way.


H: How often do you write new songs? Name of last song you wrote?

Chandler: I am always writing, but there isn’t a “usual” amount of time it takes to write new songs. Sometimes it takes an hour, sometimes 5 years. And I don’t always name them right away, so I don’t know the name of the last song I wrote.


H: How would you describe this EP?

Chandler: How would YOU describe the new EP? I’d say new. pretty songy. fun?


H: Do you have a new band t-shirt?

Chandler: New shirts will be avail. at the release show! Dustin from Tiger House designed them. Old Age guys printed them.


H: What’s your favorite kind of pizza?

Chandler: I like pineapple and pepperoni pizza from Eat Pizza on Burnside (gluten free dairy free–told you I was lame).


H: Did you think I was crazy when I first messaged you on Facebook?

Chandler: I had NO idea how to read you at first. I think you might’ve been drunk, cause you were spelling bad, which isn’t a trend with you. It was funny though, for sure. (Heather’s note: It was sleep deprivation, not alcohol!)

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H: Best SGCBus memory. Remember the night of the red room session? And the cab ride…

Chandler: LOVED the red room session! I’m not saying alcohol was involved but…it was. And it was fun. AND I remembered all the lyrics to that brand new song. Pretty killer success. Oh yeah! AND I don’t get to ride in cabs ever, so it was already a novelty for me, but even more hilarious/rad that we met the guy from Aan, who also drives cabs to make money. Luckily we were only saying nice things about Aan in the backseat. “hey…I’M in that band.” -cab driver (yeah we live in Portland. I should be used to EVERYONE I meet being in a rad band).

My FIRST bus memory was our White Eagle show forever ago. It was a rad show and a great crowd, but you were still only one of like 4 or 5 people dancing in front. Made it more fun for everyone, for sure!


June 2014 – Great. OK. EP

October 2013 – Paper Cage EP

January 2013 – Monsters EP

May 2011 – Athena EP

Give Just Lions a like on Facebook and follow on twitter!




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SuperGroovyCosmic Bus

My parents call me Heather Hanson.
I'm a weirdo based in Portland, OR .
I take pictures and video of live music and promote the music I like. Sometimes I interview musicians, sometimes I organize my own events, sometimes I take the bus on the road, and sometimes I even write stuff here. Follow on twitter, instagram, and Facebook for new content everyday.

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