The Rocket Notes, 1986

Posted: October 12, 2011 in The Rocket

In 1986, things were beginning to percolate in the Seattle music scene, particularly in the grunge arena.  The Deep Six compilation, featuring Soundgarden, Green River and others, documented the arrival of the new sound.  But there was a lot of other exciting stuff happening as noted below (btw, note also the prominence of Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman, two years before they would launch Sub Pop as a full-time record label.  Finally, note the opening of Reciprocal Recording, which will be the studio’s second go-around.  The new studio set up shop in Ballard and would churn out recordings by Green River, Soundgarden, TAD, Mudhoney, and Nirvana.)

April 1986

“Deep Six LP.  You got it.  It’s slow SLOW and  heavy HEAVY and it’s THE predominant sound of underground Seattle in ’86.  Green River, Sound Garden (sic), The Melvins, Malfunkshun and even Skin Yard prove that you don’t have to live in the suburbs and have a low I.Q. to do some SERIOUS head banging.  As an extra bonus you also get one cut by local sex gods the U-Men.  They is one of their mega-hits but sounds quirky and out of context (a fat slab from skull thumpers My Eye would’ve made more sense).  But enough slack, THIS RECORD ROCKS.”

Bruce Pavitt, “Sub Pop USA,” 23.

May 1986

“Guns N’ Roses, an LA-based rock ‘n’ glam outfit with ex-Seattleite and former 10 Minute Warning charmer Duff McKagen, (sic) has signed a bigtime deal with Geffen Records.”

Johnny Renton, “Lip Service,” 7.

Pavitt mentions Monkey Business, Danger Bunny, the Walkabouts, Green Pajamas, and the Fastbacks in his Sub Pop USA column.

June 1986

“Bill Stuber, owner of Triangle Studios, left town in a big hurry on May 10, taking all the studio’s equipment, plus many master tapes bands need for their records.  Aggrieved musicians are hoping Stuber will return the masters at least, before a posse is thrown together…”

Johnny Renton, “Lip Service,” 9.

Note article on Metal Church.

“There’s just one catch to studio time that costs nothing.  It usually means you’ll end up with a demo that’s worth nothing.”

Ad for Steve Lawson Productions, 21.

July 1986

“Local acts from the Young Fresh Fellows to the U-Men to Heir Apparent to Sir Mix-A-Lot to the Walkabouts to Green River are frantically touring the land, spreading Seattle gospel across the nation like so much seaweed.  Vinyl is bursting out (or about to) from every sector; the folk “scene” (Jim Page, Mark O’Conner, Uncle Bonsai), the metal “scene” (Metal Church, Queensryche) and always-popular compilation “scene” (Popllama’s 12 Inch Combo Deluxe, the Green M’s Monkey Business, Deep Six).  Such stalwart venues as the Backstage, Fabulous Rainbow and Central Tavern keep pushing a steady diet of local acts down our throats, with new-to-the-“scene” joints the Ditto and University Bistro hot on their heels.”

Johnny Renton, “Lip Service,” 7.

Lip Service also talks about Poneman’s KCMU Air Aid nights “were a smashingly successful series of rave-ups,” and Bruce Pavitt’s upcoming Sub/Pop 100 compilation.

Notes Jonathan Poneman as KCMU’s Audio Oasis DJ.

Pavitt recommends Feast’s live and like totally heavy, 23.  Note Pavitt heavily plugs Sonic Youth, the Butthole Surfers, Big Black, Scratch Acid…basically the hip alt rock acts of the period, throughout his various Sub/Pop columns.

“8-Track Recording: new studio opens July 1.  Otari-Revox-Lexicon.  Pro quality at reasonable rates.  RECIPROCAL RECORDING.”

Ad on 34.

August 1986

Reviews describe Green Pajamas as psych revival.

September 1986

October 1986

(Johnny Renton) Lip Service notes that Poneman has taken over as KCMU promotions director.  It also mentions that KCMU received FCC permission to build a new transmitter atop Capitol Hill, and will increase coverage by 400 percent, according to station manager Chris Knab, 7.

November 1986

“The Ditto closed and re-opened in the blink of an eye recently, a premature final night of music on September 28, with the musical antics of Sound Garden (sic), Bundle of Hiss, Weather Theater and more dazzling a capacity crowd.”

Johnny Renton, “Lip Service,” 7.


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