Siren Records Reading/Signing II

Posted: February 18, 2012 in East Coast Events

Doylestown, PA’s Siren Records graciously invited me back for a second book reading and signing.  This time, I would have the opportunity to play musical and interview clips over the store PA.

My wife and daughter sat down as I set up my array of laminated Seattle photos and show posters.  I played a few musical selections to get the audience warmed up: “Polly” and “In Bloom” by Nirvana, “Half Past You” by Love Battery, and (at my daughter’s request) “Don’t Take It Personal Dave,” by the Cops.

A group of about 10 patrons stopped over to listen as I began the presentation.  I talked about that wonderful Seattle sense of humor, and introduced the audience to Mr. Epp and the Calculations…the fake band that became real.  Then I played them the following clip where Mr. Epp’s Mark Arm (now with Mudhoney) talks about the band’s latter days where a band mate began complaining that Epp had become “too rock.”  Back in the ’80s, punk bands could be shunned for sounding too much like a mainstream rock band.  As  I played the clip, I scanned the store, waiting to see how people would react to Mark’s imitation of a guitar plugged into way too much distortion and amplification (occurs at the end of the clip.)

I saw a few patrons physically jump.

I then read the notorious U-Men 1985 Bumbershoot (annual Seattle outdoor music festival) story, where the band set fire to a moat in front of the stage.  The band members didn’t realize that the moat actually ran underneath the stage, and that flames would follow.  But the U-Men kept performing, oblivious to the danger of the players themselves going up in flames.  A clip of U-Men guitarist Tom Price’s assessment of the situation followed…”We just kept playin’,” he said with typical Seattle nonchalance.

I talked about the incredible diversity of the Seattle music scene, which existed even during grunge’s heyday–offering up the Young Fresh Fellows’ “Amy Grant,” and Jack Endino’s experimental “Sideways Savannah” as evidence.

At the conclusion, my daughter asked some great questions about the book (not planted, I swear), as did some other folks not related to me.  After signing a few books, I hung out for about an hour, and Siren owner Blair allowed me to maintain control over the store’s PA.  And so I played a few Nirvana selections (“Love Buzz,” “Spank Thru,” “School,”); the U-Men (“Shoot ’em Down”); Mudhoney (“Into the Drink,” “Fuzzgun ’91,”); Screaming Trees (“Ash Gray Sunday,” “Last Words”)…quietly finishing with the Shins (“Caring is Creepy.”)

I’d again like to thank Siren’s Blair and Chloe for hosting the event, and for supporting local writing.

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