Dan Pelley was born in Cedar City, Utah to hippy parents with a love for rock, folk, and psychedelic music. He performed with South and Dig the Nightlife, influenced by Fugazi and Hot Water Music. He moved to Portland and performed One Dirty Hand and Thanks Kipp, working around the Pacific Northwest, drawing new audiences, but tragically Kipp was killed in November of 2009 by drunk drivers. It was an enormous loss for many people. Dan finished their album, Melodrama and released it in 2010. He also fell in love with his future wife, Lindsay, and took hiatus from active projects. Songs kept coming, so he continued writing and recording. The result became Potluck on Dukkha Plateau.
The songs were recorded and mixed by Adam Goldman, with assistance from mutual friend Graham Nystrom, who also played in Thanks Kipp as an irregular member. Dukkha is a Buddhist term that can be concisely defined as “suffering” or “anxiety”. It is the first principle of the Four Noble Truths. It refers to the universal suffering that arises from our everyday desires; suffering is reduced by limiting desires. Dan envisions some wholesome place called “Dukkha Plateau” where people can begin to shed themselves of those heavy layers of anxiety. A place like that would naturally be a potluck, where everyone feeds everyone.