Seattle’s Scenesters Speak

Posted: October 1, 2011 in From Scenesters

“Hi Stephen, I just read your book and thought it was very well researched. I especially appreciated the focus you put on KAOS and Olympia. I always felt that was a key part of the story. Thanks for a job well done.”

Bruce Pavitt (founder, Sub Pop Records)

“There is something pretty weird about being in history books when you are still alive. It is nice to have people notice that you did something, but you always have the feeling you are probably supposed to be dead already. Nonetheless, what we have here is a Seattle music history with very few dead people, mostly just living folks that probably did not expect to be geezers.

Stephen Tow has taken a look at the Seattle rock scene circa 1976 to 1993, basically from the beginnings of the punk rock scene until Nirvana blows up. Certainly this ground has been trod before, in Clark Humphrey’s “Loser” and Peter Blecha’s more recent “Sonic Boom”, but not in such narrow focus. To make it a spot more intriguing, Tow does not have a horse in this race. He is a historian from Philadelphia who thought there was a story here to tell and went digging. Perhaps in part due to his horselesssnes, I think he gets it right. Some might quibble over details, but it gives someone who was outside what was a fairly insular scene a reasonably decent feel of what the time was like. It rings of truth. And he can write. Tow does a nice job of pulling a pile of disparate characters together in a somewhat brief, but highly readable yarn. A fine read for a rainy NW afternoon.”

Tom Dyer (founder, Green Monkey Records)

“I am four chapters into your new book ‘The Strangest Tribe’, and wanted to say great work! This is the most accurate account of the Seattle scene during the late 1900s that I’ve seen to date. And thanks for your nice remarks about the Squirrels. That band was a labour of love and it’s very cool to see somebody noticed.”

Kevin Crosby (Squirrels)

“Gotta say, it’s pretty darn great.  You’re the first outsider to wade through the miasma of that period of time and actually see through it clearly enough to create a defining path through the mosh.  My partner said ‘it’s like he was there.’  I don’t think there is a higher compliment possible.  Good work and congrats!”

Art Chantry (acclaimed punk graphic artist)

“Stephen goes deep and broad in this book to create an accurate and wonderfully readable and entertaining account of a music scene that was far more diverse than the other ‘grunge’-related books that are out there. Lots of fresh information and stories make this a very worthwhile read.”

Laura Weller-Vanderpool (Capping Day)

“I just started reading ‘The Strangest Tribe’ and it is like going back to High School. I forgot how much I had forgotten and what an amazing time it was. Stephen Rabow was my hero.”

Faith Henschel-Ventrello (Former music director at KCMU [University of Washington’s radio station] and show promoter)

“Damn good book–I enjoyed it a lot. I can honestly say that it may be the first book on Seattle music that I didn’t want to throw at the wall within the first couple of chapters. Mr. Tow did an EXCELLENT job of piecing together how it all grew into such a… one dimensional mess (damn “G” word)- lol! HIGHLY recommended. I mean, ya GOTTA love any book that spends an entire page talking about Baby Cheevers.”

Rob Morgan (Pudz/Squirrels)

“There is an avalanche of information in Stephen Tow’s meticulously-researched The Strangest Tribe.  It almost feels as if the author were there. Hell, I WAS there and I didn’t know half of this stuff. You’ll find out how a bunch of punk rock geeks somehow turned sleepy Seattle and its basement-beer-bred music scene into a worldwide phenomenon. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll eventually fall over, as we all did at the time. A ton of seriously killer music came out of the fuzz and fuck-all attitudes, and eventually money changed hands. But it was funny, too. Still is.” 

Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows/Minus 5/R.E.M.)

“Got Strangest Tribe in the mail today, loving it!  As ‘Seattle-centric’ as it is, it also seems like the story of rock & roll, anywhere, anytime.”

Tom Price (U-Men, Gas Huffer)

“I haven’t finished Strangest Tribe yet but the pictures are awesome.  From the interview list alone Stephen seems to have talked with everyone in Seattle…”

Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam)

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