15 Underrated Seattle Music People

Posted: August 4, 2011 in Seattle-Related Lists

(The following list originally appeared in my February 3, 2010 Facebook post.  I basically took that list and expanded the descriptions.)

In no particular order. Open to anyone as long as they are not quote “obvious.” In the words of a generic politician: if I offend anyone, then I apologize.

1) Jim Basnight (Meyce/Moberlys).  Seattle’s punk scene basically starts in the mid-’70s with Jim and Roosevelt High School in Seattle’s North End.  In addition to Jim, a bunch of folks came out of that school and migrated down to the University District to jump-start Seattle’s underground music scene including: Lee Lumsden (see 11 below); Rich Riggins (Red Dress/Chinas Comidas); Gary Minkler (Red Dress); Tom Price (U-Men); Paul Hood (Meyce/Enemy); Duff McKagan (Vains/Fastbacks/10 Minute Warning); Steve van Liew (Overlord/My Eye); Bill Rieflin (Telepaths/Blackouts.)

2) Larry Reid (Rosco Louie and Graven Image galleries, CoCA, managed the U-Men.)  Larry’s various art galleries provided a place for oft-rejected punk (and later grunge) bands to play out in Seattle.  His association with the U-Men also helped inspire others to create their own art.

3) Jeff Kelly (prolific songwriter with the Green Pajamas.)  The Green Pajamas didn’t play out as much as their brethren, but Jeff’s talented songwriting combined elements of late Beatles psychedelia and Leonard Cohen.

4) Chris Hanzsek aka Cap’n Mystery (discovered Green River, opened both Reciprocal Recording studios, started C/Z Records, put out the Deep Six compilation.)  Mark Arm argued with me about Chris discovering Green River, since that band existed before it met him.  That being said, Chris provided Green River with their first recording experience, leading to Come on Down, released on Homestead in 1985.  That record could arguably be called “grunge’s opening salvo.”  Regardless, Chris’ Deep Six, released on his own C/Z label in early 1986, became that genre’s first recognized document, containing early recordings by Green River, Malfunkshun, the Melvins, Skin Yard, Soundgarden, and the U-Men.

5) Dawn Anderson. (great writer with the Rocket. Also started Backfire and Backlash fanzines.)  Dawn is clearly an unsung hero of Seattle’s underground music scene.  She made it a point to challenge the accepted punk rules when her first zine, Backfire, dared to cover both punk and mainstream metal acts.  She is my favorite Seattle writer, among a talented bunch.

6) Hugo Piottiin (the Metropolis.) Hugo’s Metropolis became the centerpiece of a vital all-ages scene in early ’80s Seattle. This community, which also included Larry Reid’s Graven Image Gallery, Ground Zero, and the Grey Door, helped lay the basis for the coming grunge scene.

7) Terry Lee Hale (great musician, but also important in getting local bands in to the Five-O, Central, Squid Row, and Crocodile Cafe.)  Terry Lee was instrumental in getting some of the underground bands (like Green River and Soundgarden) into Pioneer Square’s Central Tavern, after he began booking shows there in 1986.

Eight [showed as a smiley face when I used the numeral…don’t ask] Roger Husbands (started the Bird–Seattle’s first punk rock club.)  Before the Bird (opened and closed in 1978), local underground bands had nowhere to play, unless they rented a hall and booked the show themselves.

9) Kurt Bloch (not underrated in Seattle, but perhaps everywhere else. C’mon, the Fastbacks. What’s better than that?)  Kurt has written so many great songs, they are almost beyond counting…both with the Fastbacks and his current band, Thee Sgt. Major III.

10) The Showbox guys: Terry Morgan, Carlo Scandiuzzi, Mike Vraney, Jim Lightfoot.  Before the Metropolis, downtown Seattle’s Showbox became the music community’s hub because of these guys.  They booked an incredible array of talent there and exposed a whole generation to live performances from the likes of the Police, the Specials, PiL, the Ramones, 999, Gang of Four, and others.  Local bands would typically open these shows.

11) Lee Lumsden. (started Chatterbox fanzine, played drums for the Meyce.)  Lee should probably be number one on this list.  I’m not sure Seattle would have had a music scene without him.  His Chatterbox planted the seed for the early University District punk rock scene.

12) Steve Pearson (the Heats.)  The Heats were not punk rock, and were sometimes disdained by the punkers.  They were more poppy new wave…akin to what the Knack was doing back in the late ’70s.  But the Heats set an important precedent that others would later follow: you can actually make a go of this music career thing.  For that, they were about a decade ahead of their time.

13) Tom Dyer. (Green Monkey Records)  Tom’s under-the-radar label and recording studio provided a platform for a number of underground acts to emerge, notably the Green Pajamas and Mr. Epp.  He also foisted (in my opinion) Seattle’s funniest “dead band member” hoax, to those unsuspecting writers at the Rocket.

14) Neil Hubbard (TMT Show, 1st Seattle Ramones all-ages show, started Engram Records, released two Seattle Syndrome comps.)  Neil was kind of the behind the scenes guy of the early punk rock scene, as part of the Chatterbox and Bird crowd.  His Seattle Syndrome Vol. 1 compilation, released in 1981, may be the most valid document of pre-grunge Seattle.

15) Jeff Smith, aka Jo Smitty. (The inspiration behind the legendary Mr. Epp and the Calculations.)  Epp may be the most hilarious of all the Seattle put-on jokes: ‘Let’s form a fake band, with fake posters, fake shows, and fake tours, and then make it into a real band.’  It’s even funnier that they named it after a math teacher whom they actually liked.

  1. George says:

    That mention of Roger Husbands would more accurately be Damon Titus, of the Enemy, who paid Roger to manage the band, manage The Bird, and generally carry out Damon’s fits of genius.

  2. Where the fuck is Tony Bortko? Have some respect! I gotta agree with puttin Jim on the top though… was just chatting about this at a party the other night… Peace

    • Stephen Tow says:

      Well, I talked to about 120 people, from the early scenesters like Jim, Paul Hood, Mike Davidson, Peter Barnes, Rob Morgan, etc., through the folks playing around 1990, and that’s the first time I’ve heard that name. Enlighten me.

  3. Sorry Stephen, there is only room for 15 after all, and there were a lot of underrated Seattle music people! But those that did know Tony, would all agree that he was one hell of a guitar player. My post wasn’t really meant to be a jab at you as much as was meant to be a shout out to those who were lucky enough to have known Tony. He didn’t play in many bands and it was half a generation earlier, in the early 80s. He was punk rocker at heart (that’s why I liked him) though he didn’t play much punk. He would have had way more fun if he was born 10 years later. Unfortunately, Tony died in 2006. He will be remembered for his brilliant guitar licks and contributions to several local bands going back to the 60s, Mojo Hand, X-Static, Numatics, The Life, Variant Cause and TKO with whom he had the most success, opening for such bands as AC/DC, Van Halen, Heart, The Kinks and Cheap Trick. He wrote many of TKO’s songs and they were also very popular in Japan, where they toured as headliners and sold more than a million records.

    That said, I think you did a great job on the column! I would encourage you to keep digging, maybe incorporate a voting system, and expand the list to include more names. You could also mix up the order occasionally or make it random. I mean Jim’s a great guy (he was actually the first person I met in Seattle) but it’s hard to qualify who is the ‘most’ underrated. Keep up the great work!

    • Stephen Tow says:

      Was Tony a West Seattle guy? My book is admittedly urban-centric, although I did talk to people who at least ventured out to the suburbs to play. In addition to interviews, I did lean a lot on the Rocket, and urban-oriented fanzines. And other than Jeff Gilbert, there weren’t a whole lot of people writing about the suburban music scene–especially metal. One could write an entire book just on the suburban scene.

      Regarding the numbering of my list…it was totally random. Jim was not the “number one” most underrated person (although I suppose you could make that argument). I just jotted people down as I thought of them, and the number 15 is completely arbitrary as well.

      That being said, thank you for contributing. There is no reason this list has to be limited to any number, and anyone is free to add who they believe is deserving.

    • Frida Ray says:

      Women are apparently so underrated in Seattle music that there isn’t even one on a list of underrated people in music. Nice.

  4. Ralph Becker says:

    How about Steve Pritchard, who did a lot of promoting at the Showbox and Eagles and others? And Kitchy Koo did a fair amount of supporting the music scene. And not all musicians left the Roosevelt area for the U District–it was a hotbed for the growth of Variant Cause, Skin Yard, Goodness, pearl Jam, and many others.

    • Stephen Tow says:

      Pritchard’s a good one…I’m thinking about doing another 15, not as an “honorable mention,” but just as 15 more people deserving of recognition. Regarding your third sentence, I’m not exactly sure what you mean, but…if your thrust is that RHS was not exclusively a feeder to the U-District scene (or that the U-District was not entirely dependent upon RHS for talent), I get your point. That being said, if you look at the early punk rock scene, say mid-’70s, there is an absolute correlation between Roosevelt and the scene’s formative years.

      • Ralph Becker says:

        All I meant was that to characterize the early punk scene as U District-centered ignores the concentration of musicians in the Roosevelt area, who were lured by the low rents in “Sisleyville” (many group houses owned by Hugh Sisley). RHS whelped a few bands, but cheap rents drew many more a bit north of the U.

      • Stephen Tow says:

        Gotcha, and thanks for the clarification. In my book, I just had to go on the interviews, fanzines, and other primary sources to get a picture of what went on there.

  5. Tony was a Capitol Hill denizen for as long as I can remember. He was something of a loner though, which may be the reason for his obscurity,

    There certainly are many more names for this list, and Jim really does deserve high ranking! For example as George suggested, Damon Titus was a huge influence and George was very influential himself! 😉 In fact, many of the people you interviewed were deserving as well, especially Peter and Rob.

    I’m sure the list here *will* grow over time and I’m looking forward to reading your book this fall!

  6. Damon Titus says:

    @George: I love you man!! @Stephen: Oops! My bad, I forgot to mention that part!

    In a way, for me, The Enemy & Bird were my own version of the movie “Arthur” and everything was floating on my own magnetic bed. (uh..that’s reference to the new Russel Brand “Arthur” um .. yeah)

    But yes, I hired Roger, picked up his tab and The Bird’s tab, and I conceived the whole idea to turn our rehearsal space into an all-ages venue and book the bands we saw in California. Anyone who thinks different didn’t attend The Band Meeting of the Card Carrying Wobbly Collective I drew together at the Hippie Commune in Olympia. Go Geoducks!

    Nonetheless, I love your list and I would add Tomato du Plenty & Penelope Houston. Had I never met them the Bird would never have happened.

    “My Grandmama left every penny to me, I spent it on Punk Rock, and Pot and Pussy, Now I’m a drunken old liar @CabDriverD,”—I’m A Loser-CabDriverD

    • Stephen Tow says:

      Doh! I wish I had known that tidbit about you hiring Roger. It would have made the book. Maybe the second edition, if there is one? I’ll definitely run those two folks you mentioned by the All Underrated Committee…should go through no problem, but the East German judge is a real pain in the ass.

  7. @Stephen, do you have much material on The Bird?

    @Damon, I went to The Bird at the IOOF Hall quite often – Thank You!!! IMHO, that venue was the burning ember/white hot spark at the birth of the explosion of the Seattle music scene. Sure there were other venues over the years but those couple few years (it’s all a blur now…) I was running back and forth between The Bird, The Mad House, Capitol Hill and The Ave. What a great movie that would be though… “The Bird”

    I heard about an earlier Bird downtown that I missed. Can you talk about that at all?


    • Stephen Tow says:

      So you attended “The Bird in Exile” shows at the Oddfellows Hall on Capitol Hill? The original Bird, which lasted for a grand total of about three months in 1978, was located on the second floor of the building at First and Spring. Peter Barnes of the Enemy described it as “literally nothing more than our rehearsal space and a Coke machine.” But that space was such a key piece of Seattle’s puzzle. The city finally had an all-ages venue where punk bands could play and not have to do the whole DIY rent out the hall thing. Opening night on March 4, 1978 featured the Telepaths, Mentors, and Enemy. Then there’s the whole closing night melee. Have you heard about that?

  8. Oh yea, I was a regular at the IOOF Bird. I arrived in Seattle on 6/1/78, so I barely missed the original space. I was 17 at the time and lived near the U District, so I quickly gravitated to the Ave where I met Gregor Gayden among others and followed them to the Capitol Hill space. I have seen Jo David’s video of the opening night, but I don’t recall hearing about the closing night festivities, so what happened?

    • Stephen Tow says:

      Closing night party, June 1, 1978, migrated to the roof. Somebody threw some stuff off the roof and a the cops were called. According to P. Barnes, the vice-squad showed up and beat the shit out of everyone in sight, even breaking Enemy singer Suzanne Grant’s arm. The whole thing was captured on tape. The Enemy sued and won some money. An excerpt of the fracas made onto the Enemy single “Trendy Violence.”

  9. You shoulda named it Seattle Music Men (and Dawn).

  10. Mai Sinn says:

    i noticed that eldon hoke,”el duce” of the “mentors”, “the feelings” with greg ragan, jack hannan, dean helgeson, and geoff d. cade, have never been given any mention or props, also the “lewd”, satz, skull, curt….these stalwarts, some dearly departed, added sex, danger, and humor into the fledgling scene……without their input, quite a bit of what our writing about might not of happened.

  11. Danella says:

    asqueeze me? Que: Paul Dana (a.k.a. Paul Soger- of Solger, Ten Minute Warning, The Fags, The Mourning Doves, The Passengers..ad-fucking-nauseum: welcome to the root). Plus I see no ref to Sonics, Steve Turner, or Daniel House. All genius and amazing, with little to no credit for their musical brilliance and contribution as artists and pioneers [never mind if they ever made a dime, because most of them didn’t- that’s not what music is].

    • Stephen Tow says:

      “Underrated” is a funny thing. I define it as someone who has had a great deal of influence/impact, but has received very little credit. So, let’s go with that. Paul Solger, I absolutely agree. Amazing guitar player, influenced a lot of folks. 10 Minute Warning. Nah. Their influence is debatable, and because of Duff’s inclusion…they’ve received their fare share of cred. Mourning Doves, and the Passengers…you’ll need to educate me on those folks. Okay, Sonics, no way underrated…I’d agree they could use some more recognition, but critical circles around the country and the UK have certainly recognized their impact. Steve…great player, love Mudhoney, but not a chance. Come on, Mudhoney has received a ton of recognition for their impact. Stone Gossard even mentions in my book about Steve’s creation of grunge with “Touch Me I’m Sick.” Daniel House I’d also have to disagree with. His C/Z label did its thing, but he’s gotten some pub including of course in hype! So feel free to disagree.

      • yangziman says:

        Ten Minute Warning’s influence is not “debatable.” They were the missing link between the hardcore punk of 81-82 and the roots of Grunge that started with Green River in 1984. At their peak in 1983 they were the Kings of the Scene. If you had been a part of the Seattle music scene then (like I was) you would know this. The only reason their influence isn’t recognized now is because none of their many studio recordings were ever actually released (until the 1998 “reunion” LP which was quite a different story), partly due to the sudden collapse of the Faulty Products label that was going to release their debut LP. BTW, fans of GNR typically don’t appreciate TMW, so the Duff reference is irrelevant. TMW were great not because of Duff but because of their lead guitarist Paul Solger, their singer Swad, and their drummer Greg Gilmore, who later ended up in Mother Love Bone, which of course spawned Pearl Jam.

      • Stephen Tow says:

        You’re right. I wasn’t there. I did, however, talk to 120 people who were, not to mention going through every issue of the Rocket, fanzines, liner notes, etc…and that’s the conclusion I came up with. That’s cool you have a differing opinion, but using your argument, I guess McCullough wasn’t qualified to write about John Adams since I’m pretty sure he wasn’t there at the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

  12. Vee Enslow says:

    Wow! How amazing that there are NO WOMEN–except a great writer, Dawn. WTF?

  13. yangziman says:

    First of all, Stephen, the references you’ve posted to 10 Minute Warning in various parts of your blog contradict themselves. Here you say their influence was “debatable,” but in the interviews section you quote a whole paragraph of comments by none-other-than Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard saying how much they influenced him. [https://thestrangesttribebook.wordpress.com/category/doing-the-interviews/page/4/]

    Secondly, as a widely published historian myself, with two history degrees from two top 50 universities, and a former music journalist for a college newspaper in the PNW in the early 1980s [See http://catinthehat1981.blog.com/2013/07/21/western-front-music-critic-1983-1984/%5D, I have to say that the history of the Seattle music scene prior to 1988 can’t be approached in the same way you would the history of the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution. The same type of documentation simply doesn’t exist. It was, after all, an underground counterculture that was largely ignored by all forms of traditional media. The Founding Fathers were sober intellectuals who kept private written journals and diaries as they produced written legal documents and later wrote their memoirs. Punk rockers typically didn’t keep a written record of every show, club, concert, party, etc, and many of them didn’t live long enough to even think about writing a memoir.

    Dearly departed friends from the ’80s Seattle music scene who passed away long before your book was published, and who may have provided you with an alternative point of view, include Big Jim Norris of the first Crisis Party lineup, Landrew of Malfunkshun & MLB, Upchuck of Clone and the Fags, Stephanie Sargent of 7 Year Bitch, Todd of Gut Reaction/Hippy Big Buckle, and Slats of the Zipdads/Silly Killers/Itchy Brother/Cheatin’ Death/Pain Cocktail. If they could have written their memoirs maybe your book would have a wider canvas of sources.

    Your use of “liner notes” is not very useful for bands that put on great live performances and were very influential on their peers in the music scene, but never released any official recordings during their original lifetime, e.g. the Tupperwares/Screamers, the Untouchables,the Zipdads, Boot Boys, Gut Reaction, 10 Minute Warning, the Fags, Young Pioneers, On The Rocks, the Crotch Rockets, Maggot Brains, Feast, Room 9, Cheatin’ Death, Hippy Big Buckle, Rebel Blade, etc. Recording time in a studio was too expensive for most of us to afford, as was putting out your own record. There were no real local record labels able to finance a vinyl release for a band, and no major labels were paying any attention to what was happening in Seattle at the time. Liner notes are only useful for bands whose musical catalog is widely available in some published format.

    As just one classic example, in 1984 I managed a Seattle band called On The Rocks that at the time was considered to be a local post-punk super group as it featured Tommy Hansen (the first guitar player for the Fartz), Eddie Huletz (the singer for the Silly Killers), Tom Bonehead (later the bass player for Love Battery), and at various times also included Paul Solger (the second guitar player for the Fartz and later TMW) and Duff McKagan (formerly of TMW and later of GNR). When they were opening act for out-of-town headliners such as Canada’s Shanghai Dog, the whole audience would often walk out of the hall after On The Rocks had played, head off to a house party with them, and leave the headliner playing to an empty room. [See http://catinthehat1981.blog.com/category/on-the-rocks/%5D

    Hansen later led the band Crisis Party which in 1989 (the same year MLB’s Shine EP was released) was arguably the first downtown Seattle band to get signed to an out of town major label to release a full-length LP since Heart, although they never get the credit for it. [See http://www.discogs.com/Crisis-Party-Rude-Awakening/release/4491376.%5D

    Despite having such a stellar lineup, and a loyal local following that attended all their live shows, this band is never mentioned in any of the history books written about the Seattle music scene by outsiders such as yourself who weren’t there. Why? Not because they weren’t important. They started the New York Dolls/Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers sound revival long before GNR and probably gave Duff much of his ideas for later. They’ve been overlooked because none of the traditional types of evidence that you looked for exists.

    You had to actually be there as an eyewitness (like I was) or talk to someone else who was. So, yes, oral history is really the only way to research such a topic as the underground Seattle music scene of the 1980s. You say you interviewed 120 people, which sounds like a lot, but its the quality of these sources rather than the quantity that matters. I’d love to see your whole list of interviewees to assess how complete a picture they would have given you and note who was left out. You would also have to know the right questions to ask, which would require a certain amount of knowledge of the subject matter in advance. How much time did you spend talking to each person? Etc. I’d love to see your list so I could point out to you who’s not on it but should have been,

    Napalm Beach, who some cognoscenti see as the godfathers of Grunge and who packed the house with a loyal following every time they played in the 1980s, were not able to release their first vinyl LP until 1986, although they’d been performing live for five years since 1981, and even that is long out-of-print and unavailable as it was put out by their manager on a fictitious label of his own creation. [See http://catinthehat1981.blog.com/2013/07/21/chris-newman-of-napalm-beach-the-road-to-recovery/%5D

    Back issues of the Rocket are in some ways useful, at least for the listings of who was playing where and when, but the articles and bands chosen to be on the cover present a misleading and incomplete portrait of the music scene in the 1980s. As a commercial publication that had to survive by selling advertising, the Rocket tended to focus more on the over-21 bar scene featuring bands like the Heats playing at clubs such as Astor Park, rather than the underground all ages punk scene, although this focus varied somewhat over time depending on who the editor was. Many of the shows and recording releases they said would happen in the future, actually never did, and many of the artists put on the cover as “the next big thing” never saw any success materialize.

    There were other fanzines that presented a more accurate picture of the underground scene than the Rocket did, e.g. Punk Lust, Attack!, and Desperate Times, but these were short-lived and not widely distributed publications. Dawn Anderson’s Backfire and Backlash publications did a much better job than the Rocket of capturing the latest cutting edge sounds, often focusing on bands such as Crisis Party that the Rocket totally ignored, and right when they were emerging as the hottest new act in town, but those fanzines did not come around until much later in the 1980s.

    Even photographic and video evidence is scant for the pre-1988 period as film and video cameras were expensive and almost none of us could afford them. One exception was Randy Hall, who photographed many of the underground shows dating all the way back to the Avengers in 1977-79, but who has sadly passed away. His photo archive would be an invaluable source for the history of the Seattle scene. [See http://www.discogs.com/artist/2409031-Randy-Hall-3.%5D

    To borrow a phrase from the L.A. punk band X, the pre-1988 period in the Seattle scene was characterized by “the unheard music” of bands that were great but would be forgotten by all but their small cult following of local fans. Outside of your local fan base, nobody was watching, nobody was listening, nobody was paying any attention, and there was no hope to achieve any greater level of success, which is why there is almost none of the traditional types of documentation a historian such as yourself would expect to find, and why people like Jim Basnight felt they had to leave town and move to New York and/or L.A., or as in the case of The Blackouts, Boston and/or San Francisco, and why someone as talented as Paul Solger has never earned one penny off his trade.

    • Stephen Tow says:

      First, Eric, have you read my book? If so, you would know the name of everyone whom I interviewed, as well as my take on bands like 10 Minute Warning.

      I’m quite impressed with your two history degrees. You beat me. I only have one, although it’s at the masters level (impressed?)

      I remember a particular graduate class where we studied pre and post-Columbian Native American history, and we discussed the concept of essentialism. As a historian, I’m sure you are familiar with that term…the notion that one can only study a portion of history related to one’s background. Reminds me of English folk singer Ewan McColl enacting a rule that one can only play songs from one’s own tradition—so if you’re Welsh you can only play music from Wales, etc. (Never mind he was from England and pretended to be Scottish, but that’s another matter.) As the Brits would say, essentialism is “rubbish.” As a white boy from the suburbs, I can write just as valid a history on anything…women’s history, labor history, black history, military history, whatever…as long as I do my homework.

      And so it goes with Seattle music. As a historian, it’s my job to piece together the past from multiple sources…interviews, fanzines, newspapers, the music itself, liner notes, and other artifacts. I have boxes of materials people have sent me including fanzines like Backfire, Backlash, the District Diary, Chatterbox, posters, non-released recordings from bands like Overlord, the Telepaths, and 64 Spiders, etc. That’s what historiography is all about, and that is why I’m not a fan of oral histories in general (although there are some good ones), because you are telling the story with one arm tied behind your back.

      I might talk to a person who was close to becoming a rock star, but never did, and resents the hell out of people who did…and then someone else who doesn’t give a shit…and then someone else who became famous. What do all these sources have in common? They all have an agenda. As a historian, I need to sift through all of that and attempt to recreate the past as accurately as possible.

      Is it 100%, or even 90% accurate? Probably not. That’s why historiography is so fascinating. We can have endless discussions about whether this band or that band deserves more or less mention in my book. I remember having such a discussion with Mark Arm, him disagreeing on some points, but overall offering a favorable opinion. Those disagreements are healthy, and I welcome them.

      What I have a problem with is people crawling out of the woodwork and saying, “Your work is not valid, because you weren’t there.” I guarantee my work is just as valid as anything someone like yourself would put together, perhaps even more so because I wasn’t there. I have no agenda. I never became a rock star, or wanted to (well, maybe when I was in high school.)

      And yes, writing about the Declaration of Independence requires the same skills as writing about the Seattle music scene or about the French Revolution, or about the Paisley Underground, or about the Vietnam War. Sources differ, of course, in terms of validity, availability, and accuracy, but the approach remains the same…get as many valid primary sources as you can get your hands on, supplement with secondary sources, and use your training as a historian to articulate a premise and conclusion. Then someone can come along later, when new sources become available, and challenge that earlier history and come to a different conclusion. Hence the exciting and fluid nature of historical study.

      Before I forget, let’s talk briefly about 10 Minute Warning, a band you felt I didn’t give enough props to, and apparently contradicted myself about, given Stone Gossard’s mention of Paul Solger as a major influence. If you read my book, you’ll see I do give that band props, as it did have a strong place in Seattle’s pre-grunge music history…as sort of a tweener between the hardcore and post-punk worlds and the grunge scene. That being said, TMW had not nearly the impact on the underground community of bands like the U-Men, the Blackouts, or the Young Fresh Fellows for that matter. And that conclusion comes from talking with a ton of folks about them, including people who were in the band…like Greg Gilmore, whom you mentioned in a previous post. I even had prominent members of the music scene refer to TMW as “10 Minute Boring.” Again, feel free to disagree, but leave out the nonsense of how I can’t come to such a conclusion because, again, “I wasn’t there.”

      I would suggest, given your intimate knowledge of the pre-grunge Seattle music scene, you write your own book. Then we can have a friendly banter about Seattle music over a beer and a burger at Two Bells.

  14. yangziman says:

    Stephen, whatever research methods you may have used, the point is that you are simply wrong in stating here on your blog that 10 Minute Minute Warning’s influence is “debatable.” If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe no less an authority than Jack Endino himself, who wrote in his online newsletter in December 1997 that Ten Minute Warning were “a VERY INFLUENTIAL Seattle band…Stone from Pearl Jam has said that if it wasn’t for TMW he wouldn’t be playing guitar today… they were almost the first Seattle band to make the shift from doctrinaire, fast punk rock to something slower, heavier and more varied…their live shows were legendary and they attracted quite a following.,,I was repeatedly struck by how much Green River (and even Pearl Jam) copped from these guys…” http://endino.com/archive/arch2-8.html.

    And in an earlier post in May 1997, writing about the band’s first reunion gig in 13 years on May 13, 1997, Endino said Ten Minute Warning were “the great lost missing link…between early 80’s Seattle punk and late 80’s, er, grunge,,,A number of now famous Seattle rock luminaries were heavily influenced by this band’s legendary live shows.” http://endino.com/archive/arch2-8.html

  15. IMHO TMW was a *huge* influence and I’m sure most that knew them would agree. Those that didn’t know them might debate it, so you are both right. Kinda silly to debate whether something is debatable or not.

    Thanks to Stephen for writing about a bunch of our friends, telling stories that many hadn’t heard, and bringing a lot of us together again to talk and make more music. You have not only influenced the current local scene through your efforts by bring us together, but you have also become part of it yourself in some humble way.

    Thanks to yangziman for sharing some insight, I’m sure you have many more stories to share and I’m sure many of us would love to hear more. I would actually not mind seeing yet another book on the history of the Seattle Music Scene. I personally don’t think we will ever have enough. Some will be better than others depending on the quality of writing, who is the reader, who they know, what their tastes are, and what shows they went to. I think the process of creating such a work (eg Tribes) has the potential to not only influence artists or were originally involved to create new music but also to inform and inspire new musicians and that’s pretty cool!

  16. Hi Stephen,
    Just hearing about your book for the first time, and now I have to go get it. As someone who grew up and experienced the scene first hand its always great to see these books come out, and folks like yourself, dedicating the time to researching and putting out this type of material. I hope that you have gone to a bit more length to cover the vibrant Metal scene that was inextricably linked to the Grunge scene, unlike many works of a similar nature miss doing. In terms of Underrated, I think the Seattle Scene pioneers like R.I.P. (whom The Rocket once called “…one of the biggest and most important cult movements in local music…”) and others (such and Forced Entry, Bitter End, Coven, Sanctuary, Rail, Shadow (with Mike McCready from Pearl jam), Culprit, Mistrust (with Owen Wright from My Sisters Machine), Metal Church etc) seem to always get a ever so short mention or footnote in works such as these. It docent detract from the enjoyment of the books, just leaves a gaping hole in a historical document that is fairly obvious to those in the know. In reading the above comments, I am guessing I will find much more fully rounded history in this area due to your diligent research, when I go and acquire a copy of your book shortly. In any case, thank you for your efforts.

    • Glen Starchman says:

      Seattle’s 80s metal scene is always completely overlooked, not just in this book. I moved to Seattle in ’86 and lived in Edmonds and those shows with Coven, Forced Entry, Bitter End, Sabre, (and from time to time) The Mentors, were very welcome distractions! Usually they were in tiny little community centers in places like Mountlake Terrace or South Everett. The thing I *loved* about Seattle in the latter half of the 80s is that I could see Coven in MLT one night, Variant Cause at the Seattle Center Mural the next, and stand outside of the Central later that night to hear Blood Circus.

      There is also the Seattle “hair metal” scene which was pretty strong. Slaughterhaus 5, Sleze (ne’ Alice n’ Chains), etc…

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