Seattle Rock n Roll Weekend: Day Two

Posted: November 29, 2012 in My Seattle-Related Concert Experiences

Woke up around 9…pretty good since I fell asleep at 3. Headed down to my favorite Seattle breakfast place: CJ’s in Belltown. As I sat down, I took off my Philadelphia Eagles cap and placed it on the table. The host walked by, pointed to it and said, “Nick Foles!” Foles would be making his first start for the injured Michael Vick that day…so of course we had a conversation about how badly the team sucks this year. The host apparently hails from South Jersey.

As I left CJ’s, talking more Eagles football with the host, a couple overheard us and said, “Hey, we’re from Philly.” Apparently, they’re from Lansdale, PA, my old stomping grounds. Weird. Anyway, I headed from CJ’s over to Ballard to meet up with my third contact, Cat Butt’s James Burdyshaw. Burdyshaw, a huge fan of ’60s Motown and Soul (actually ’60s anything), has formed a group called the Soulvation.

I arrived at James’ apartment around 11. He still had to finish getting ready, so he asked me if I’d like to hear some music while I waited. “Sure,” I said. “Any requests?” he asked. “Anything except hip hop and country,” I responded. He put on some old Motown. That sounded great to me, especially after the hip hop and country barrage I usually hear at home.

We headed over to the band’s rehearsal space in South Seattle. (Sort of funny…we drove around for what seemed like forever, ending up under the highway in an area filled with warehouses and little else. I asked James if this was going to be a mob hit. He laughed.) After we arrived at the space and met the rest of the band, I inserted earplugs and waited. Like Rob Morgan’s GUM, the Soulvation does covers, but they concentrate on James’ ’60s Motown/Stax fascination. I bopped around as the Soulvation played, taking photos along the way. One song with a killer riff (I’m a sucker for a great riff) really did it for me, and I asked James about it. “Love’s Gone Bad,” was done first by Kris Clark, and then covered by the Underdogs…both for Motown. The Soulvation played it the Underdogs’ way, which features that driving riff that could work in a rock, garage, or soul format (afterward I found the song and added it to my iPhone…that riff could go on forever as far as I’m concerned.)

(James Burdyshaw, left, and two other members of the Soulvation. The bass player, center, [forgot his name] is also from Philly.)

Following the practice, I took James back to Ballard and we had a coffee before saying good-bye. I had scheduled a dinner with producer Steve Fisk (whom I had interviewed twice over the phone), and we met at a little Thai/Vietnamese place in the neighborhood. Steve said some complimentary things about the book…although he mentioned he had found a couple of mistakes. He said he’d get back to me about them (I will fix them for the tenth anniversary edition.) I told Steve I couldn’t stay too long since I was about to go see Alice Cooper with Rob and Kevin from the Squirrels. Steve said something to the effect that they were the perfect guys to go to that show with.

After finishing my meal, I headed over to Rob Morgan’s place a few blocks away (apparently, all the cool Seattle people live in Ballard.)  We got into Kevin’s car, and he drove us down to Tacoma to see Mr. Cooper.

Alice was amazing…but I think I enjoyed Rob’s reactions most of all. When Alice took the stage, Rob smiled and clapped his hands like a kid who had just met Santa for the first time. I think he grinned the entire show. At the finale, as Alice’s band finished up amidst explosions and confetti, Rob exclaimed, “That’s how it’s done!”

(An admittedly horrible cell phone shot of Alice Cooper in Tacoma, WA, November 18, 2012.)

I’ll leave you with one more random story from this trip. I had an early flight home the next day, and took the train back from the airport. As my stop approached, I asked the gentleman sitting next to me to get up so I could exit. He basically said not to worry since he was getting off at the same stop. I said, “Ok, but you’re not going to change your mind and make me climb over you, right?” He said no, and then we both had a good laugh over what could become good sitcom fodder. We then talked a little Monty Python before he told me I should see Silver Linings Playbook, which apparently features the same quirky humor. What a great way to end a great trip.

  1. Lee Lumsden says:

    Mr. Tow had no way of knowing that later that Sunday (when he sat in on Soulvation’s rehearsal session), I would be entering the same practice space around 7:15pm to prepare for a music session with my own band, The Guardians. Next time you visit Seattle, Stephen, if you’re here for a weekend, perhaps you’d be interested in returning to that room to hear what The Guardians have been up to. Now that we finally attracted a superb bass player and our lineup is all but complete, we’re getting to that stage where planning our debut (in January, I hope) is in order. 2013 should be a lot of fun for Guardians and audiences alike!

    Was great seeing & talking with you at Darrell’s for the Aaiiee/The Gum/Tom Price Desert Classic show. FYI: One of Aaiiee’s guitarists, Johnny Vinyl, is in The Guardians; Aaiiee’s “See You in Seattle” CD, as well as their “The Bench EP” are must-have masterpieces. I urge you (and anyone reading this) to pick them up! – Best, LEE

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