Top Twelve Book-Related Highlights of 2011

Posted: January 4, 2012 in Seattle-Related Lists

In reverse order for extra-dramatic effect…

12) Seeing Empire Vista at Tritone in Philly.

It’s always fun seeing a Seattle musician play my hometown.  Empire Vista included one Leighton Beezer, formerly of Seattle’s Thrown Ups–the seminal grunge ensemble.

11) Reading/signing at Siren Records, Doylestown, PA.

Siren is the quintessential local independent record store, and I appreciated the opportunity to present there.

10) Hiking Washington’s Monte Cristo peaks with producer Chris Hanzsek.

Chris, an avid hiker and cycler, whips poor Easterners like myself into shape.  We went on a pretty tame 10-miler back in July and got to see an abandoned mining town.  After we marched upward for another mile or so past the town, Chris asked me if I wanted to continue.  My response: “I’m good.”

9) Seeing Built to Spill at Seattle’s Moore Theater.

Concert experiences have been different lately.  For this one, I showed up during the warm-up act, and parked myself at the edge of the stage.  Loud as hell, but I enjoyed the amazing interplay between the guitar players.  Fortunately, I brought ear plugs.

8) Hanging with Rob Morgan at his house in Ballard, Seattle.

Enjoyed seeing Rob’s memorabilia and amazing paintings, all the while listening to Alice Cooper.

7) Seeing the Baseball Project at North Star in Philly.

Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, R.E.M., etc.) has this side project where they write songs about the national past time.  For this show, the band included R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, who at one point announced he was going to play a song about the Atlanta Braves.  We booed him heartily.  Welcome to Philadelphia, Mike.

6) Seeing Love Battery at the Mix in Georgetown, Seattle.

Saw them briefly at Geezerfest back in 2007, so it was great to catch a (near) full set this time.  I always enjoy watching and hearing two guitar players, like LB’s Kevin Whitworth and Ron Rudzitis, feed off each other unbounded by the typical lead/rhythm model.

5) Reading for history students at West Chester University.

I enjoyed all of my readings and signings last year, but this one was especially fun.  WCU professor Charles Hardy put this event together, and about 25 of his students showed.  For about an hour, they asked me questions about my transition from history student to author, as well as researching, getting published, and the Seattle music scene.

4) Seeing the Fastbacks reunion show in West Seattle.

The Fastbacks are Seattle’s Ramones.  They called it a day back in 2002, after a career spanning nearly a quarter century.  Other than opening for Pearl Jam on their 1995 and ’96 tours, though, the band achieved little notoriety.  I wrote a chapter addendum on the Fastbacks, and I lamented never having experiencing the band live.  This one was worth the wait.  (Bonus: a band called the Cops followed and their “Don’t Take It Personal Dave” is still in my head.)

3) Book launch party at the Feedback Lounge, West Seattle.

Great experience all around…met a lot of super people, sold some books…but the highlight was watching the Tom Price Desert Classic perform.  I had never seen the former U-Men guitarist play before, so this was a real treat.

2) Elliott Bay book panel, Capitol Hill, Seattle.

Four panelists (Jack Endino, Leighton Beezer, Rob Morgan, Tom Price), plus an audience of about 40 people = two hours of laughter.  Rob stole the show with stories about his old U-District punk days.

1) 2012 Strangest Tribe calendar put together by my wife.

This birthday gift meant more to me than anything, as she included wonderful photos symbolizing the journey that was this book.

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