By Theresa Parker
Mollie B and Ted Lange will waltz across Texas one last time as the band SqueezeBox Jan. 15-18. They start with a dance in Hallettsville on Jan. 15, then visit the snowbirds at the Mission Bell RV Resort in South Texas on the 16th. They head north to Granger on the 17th, then end their tour in Houston on the 18th.
The tour will be bittersweet for the band and their fans. Mollie and Ted announced in August that they will no longer be performing together after the Southern Tour ends Feb.1 in Holiday, Florida. They have taken on one engagement in Georgia after February, but as of now, that is the only performance they are doing together.
SqueezeBox began in the late 1990s as the Bratwurst Boys, which was a spin-off band consisting of members of the Grammy-nominated Toledo Polkamotion. In 2005, band members were Ted Lange on accordion/bass and vocals, Dave Burner on drums and vocals and Ted’s mother, Betty Lange, on second accordion.
Mollie Busta added her talents in 2006, and in 2007, they changed the name to SqueezeBox. “It has been quite a journey,” Mollie says. “Starting with 10 gigs a year and building up to 100-plus gigs in 20-plus states each year has been exciting and rewarding.”
Ted agrees. “We have met some of the greatest people all over the U.S., and it has provided us with many great memories!”
He says the band’s success was a musician’s dream. “I’m still in awe when I look at what we have achieved. I’ve also been blessed to work with other great musicians who have performed with us through the years, and of course, my wife, Mollie, who is one of the hardest working and most talented people I know,” he adds.
“SqueezeBox did not fit the mold of the average polka band, which can make it a little harder to be accepted,” Mollie says. “That was NOT the case in Texas. We were not only accepted, we were embraced. Texans sure know how to make a Northern girl feel loved.”
At the present moment, it is not clear exactly what will happen to Squeezebox . Mollie intends to keep the Mollie B Polka Party going on RFD-TV and will resume performing again. “I just don’t know with who, when or where, but hopefully I will have performances in Texas again,” Mollie says. No word yet on Polka Party taping locales for the future.
Ted says it’s time for a break. “We’ve been working at a break-neck pace for the past four-plus years, and that takes its toll physically and mentally when you’re running your own business, and trying to balance that with family time and everything else that life throws your way,” he says. “I intend to take several months off to reorganize and work on some other projects. Beyond that, I know that I will be performing in some capacity.”
Ted has not ruled out a return for SqueezeBox. “Maybe after some time off we’ll be prepared to pursue our performing careers together again, but I also have not ruled out forming a new band or bands and moving forward from where SqueezeBox left off.”
Mollie says she’s taking things a day at a time. “The uncertainty of the future is a little uneasy, but I keep reminding myself, God’s got this,” she says. “I wish continued success for all polka bands and for Ted. And to all you polka fans, keep the support coming for the polka music and bring your friends out to dances. Polkas are alive and well in Texas. Keep them that way!”