The Rocket documented Seattle’s music scene from 1979 through 2000. The monthly magazine featured an incredible array of talent including music biographers Gillian Gaar and Charles R. Cross, renowned journalist and critic Karrie Jacobs, Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt, Scott McCaughey of the Young Fresh Fellows and R.E.M., and graphic artist Art Chantry. Periodically, I will include samples of the Rocket‘s take on Seattle’s music scene throughout the years.
Today’s post comes from 1979 and 1980 issues, a decade before most Americans knew Seattle existed.
From the Rocket, November 1979; by Contributing Writer Kay Joslin
Heart put Seattle on the map [as a] recording town and it’s been…off ever since. Seattle has nothing to be ashamed of in the quality of its musicians….it blows your mind, [what’s] happening in the music [scene.]
From the Rocket, June 1980; by Senior Editor Bob Newman
“There’s not a revolution going on in the arts,” says John Rogers of Student Nurse, “but there’s one in the making.” Student Nurse is one of a relatively large group of Seattle bands that are challenging established concepts of music and art. Call it art rock, for lack of a better term. It includes the storm and thunder of the Blackouts, the funky dissonance of the Beakers and Red Dress, and the music of Student Nurse, Young Scientist and others. In places like the Rosco Louie gallery, the Showbox and the Washington Hall Performance Gallery, new music is being performed to increasingly larger and more appreciative audiences.
“Seattle is so far removed from the major markets that you have to do something extremely radical to draw attention,” says Larry Reid of the Rosco Louie gallery, an important venue for art rock music. The distinctions between musical artists and visual artists are rapidly breaking down. Many of the members of art rock bands are excellent visual artists in their own right, and bands are combining dance, films, painting and other art forms with their live performances.