Interviewing Neil Hubbard

Posted: November 26, 2011 in Other Key Interviews

You won’t read about Neil Hubbard in most Seattle music books because he never became famous, nor did most of the musicians he associated with. Yet Seattle’s punk scene would never have gotten off the ground without him.

Neil is Seattle’s ultimate D.I.Y. guy. Along with such notables as Jim Basnight, Lee Lumsden, Rob Morgan, and Paul Hood, Neil helped create a music scene out of nowhere.

As a punk musician in mid-’70s Seattle, you had no support. Clubs weren’t interested, mainstream print media didn’t cover your events, and radio wouldn’t touch your music. Essentially, you were on your own. Instead of whining about it, Neil decided to take matters into his own hands on several occasions. In 1976, he helped organized the “TMT Show,” Seattle’s first public punk experience. Held at a local hall, TMT showcased three Seattle bands: the Telepaths, Meyce, and Tupperwares. Neil created a made up entity called the “Telepathic Foundation” to help fund the event. “This one radio station, KILO, gave us free public service announcements,” he remembers, “’cause we had this nonprofit group that we just made up out of thin air called the Telepathic Foundation. We were just pretty resourceful about things.”

The next year, after finding out the Ramones were playing an over-21 club in town, Neil called up their manager and requested the band play an all-ages show. The Ramones happily complied, and performed for punk fans at Seattle’s upscale Olympic hotel. The Meyce opened.

In 1980, instead of complaining about the lack of local record label support, Neil started his own: Engram Records. The following year, Engram would put out an era-defining compilation: Seattle Syndrome, Vol. 1. The comp showcased the scene’s varied musical expression: everything from hardcore (the Fartz), to postpunk (the Beakers, Blackouts), to arty new wave (Student Nurse), to pop/punk (Jim Basnight, the Fastbacks, Pudz). Syndrome documented Seattle punk as effectively as 1986’s Deep Six represented early grunge, and 1988’s Sub Pop 200 recognized Seattle’s arrival as an indie music hotbed. “Nobody had a full album’s worth of material recorded,” says Neil, referring to Syndrome. “I think a lot of the groups had that much material, but they couldn’t afford to spend all that time in the studio recording it. So, we just collected [the tracks] and put out the [compilation.]”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s