Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

that you should hear…

 1)      The Green Pajamas, Summer of Lust (Self-released, 1984.)  Recorded in Jeff Kelly’s bedroom, this collaboration between Kelly and Joe Ross could only have been made by two naïve young artists in love with the Beatles and psychedelia.  (Try ebay or contact Tom Dyer via greenmonkeyrecords.com.)

2)      3 Swimmers, The Worker Works To Live (Engram, 1982.)  Accused by some of ripping off Gang of Four, 3 Swimmers’ friendship with G of F certainly created an influence, but regardless, this EP showcases Seattle at its post-punk finest.  3 Swimmers did subscribe to a similar British socialist philosophy, but this EP—particularly the title track propelled by drummer George Romansic—captures Seattle during the peak of its early ’80s post-punk years.  (Ebay.)

3)      Room Nine, Voices…Of a Summer’s Day (C’est La Mort, 1987.)  Room Nine’s only full-length offering showcases Seattle’s leading Paisley Underground act.  (Ebay.)

4)      Capping Day, Post No Bills (Popllama, 1990.)  Combining the velvet harmonies of Laura Weller and Bonnie Hammond, Post No Bills features the classic “Mona Lisa,” and offers another wonderful contrast to the Seattle Sound stereotype. (Try emailing Conrad Uno at info@eggstudios.com.)

5)      Bundle of Hiss, Sessions—1986-88 (Loveless, 2000.)  Due to the efforts of drummer Dan Peters and producer Jack Endino, audiences get treated to two periods of Bundle of Hiss.  The CD, of which one track came directly from a cassette, begins with the blues/hard rock version of the band, with Jamie Lane on lead vocals and goes back in time to Bundle of Hiss’ post-punk days with front-man Russ Bartlett. (Try info@lovelessrecords.com or iTunes.)

6)      Soundgarden, Screaming Life/Fopp (Sub Pop, 1990).  Issued as a double EP set, Life documents early Soundgarden at their weird alga mum combining metal, punk, and post-punk, particularly showcased in “Hunted Down.”  (Try subpop.com.)

7)      TAD, 8-Way Santa (Sub Pop, 1991.)  TAD’s could-a-been record recorded by Nevermind producer Butch Vig, offers metal-esque sludge like “Jinx,” “Stumblin’ Man,” and “Jack Pepsi,” but showcases the band’s sensitive side with the melodic “3-D Witch Hunt.” (Try subpop.com or iTunes.)

8)       Swallow, Teach Your Bird to Sing (Flotation, 2007.)  Swallow’s third effort, recorded in 1990 for Sub Pop but not contemporaneously released, finally saw the light of day in 2007 after mastering by Chris Hanzsek.  Nothing really grunge about this one, just one great hard rock song after great hard rock song by a band with two guitar players and songwriters (Chris Pugh and Rod Moody).  My favorite is the Pugh-penned “40 Days.”  (Try flotationrecords.com.)

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The following story relates to a show Nirvana headlined at Seattle’s downtown “Center on Contemporary Art” (CoCA) on August 26, 1989.  The line-up also featured the Black Supersuckers, Cat Butt, and Mudhoney.  The first part of this tale shows up in the book and relates to Cat Butt’s James Burdyshaw’s interaction with Kurt Cobain before Nirvana’s set.  The second part appears below.

CoCA had emptied out, and the Cat Butt guitarist needed a ride home.  According to James, band mate David Duet crammed some girls into the Cat Butt van and sped off.  James found himself stranded on 1st Avenue, save for his guitar and amp.  “There I was,” he recalls, “we’d played this big show and everything seemed to be going really well, and there I was sitting on 1st Avenue…and I’m just on the fuckin’ street.

“I looked down the road,” James continues, “and I see Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic just kinda lingering outside the club, and I waved to them.  And so they came up the street towards me.  And it was one of the cutest images I ever remember is watching the two of ’em walk up 1st Avenue towards me, because one guy is like super-tall and one guy is really short.  And they literally were bopping up and down.  They looked like—remember that cartoon Mutt and Jeff?  That’s what I thought [of] when they were coming.  It was like, ‘Bee-bee, bee bee bee.’

“And they come up and they got big smiles on their faces.  And I asked Kurt…I was trying to ask them if they’d give me a ride to West Seattle.  They were like, ‘We gotta go to Gig Harbor and I don’t know if we have enough room and…’  But they were all concerned about me bein’ on the street.  And they were like, ‘We’ll see what we can do.’

“Then, all the sudden this cute girl [said], ‘I’ll give you a ride.’  And I turned around and I looked and I saw three cute girls.  I looked at Kurt Cobain, and I looked at [the girls.]  And I was like, ‘I’m gonna go with them.’

“I ended up haulin’ my gear into this pretty girl’s car…and we ended up going to a party.  At the party, I ended up hookin’ up with her.  And this guy like let us sleep in his bedroom for the night, while my gear was in her car.  And then she took me home the next day.

“So, yeah, that was a good night.”

Kurt Danielson (TAD, Bundle of Hiss) recounted the following story to me during our 2007 interview.  It took place in the Summer of 1988 in Seattle’s University District and involved members of TAD, Mudhoney, and their friends.  My book does mention the event, but in a very summarized version.  Here you can read about it in all of its glorious detail.

“One weekend,” Danielson recalls, “we decided to go out and have a few beers.  We decided also to drop some acid, and we do.  We’re sitting in this bar on the Ave–which is University Avenue–in the U-District of Seattle.

“I’d noticed that the Ave at night was getting to be a sinister place.  At this time, you’d see gangs of big black guys, weightlifter types, roaming the streets at night, looking for Greeks–you know, frat boys–to beat up.  And on this particular night, little did we know, a similar gang was patrolling the streets looking for action.  And they all had these big, thick, leather weightlifting belts that they were wearing around their guts.  So, they could take those off and use them as weapons, swing ’em around their heads like lassos and beat people with ’em.  Pretty amazing when it happens.

“Imagine sitting in a place called Georgio’s, which is a dumpy Italian restaurant/bar up on about 55th and University, and in it is Tad [Doyle from the band TAD], Dan Peters [from Mudhoney], myself, my brother, a couple other friends–and we’d been drinking all day–and then we get the bright idea to take acid.  And acid hits, and I’m wearing a t-shirt I designed myself that says: SUCK MY COCK on the back in big letters and on the front it said: STINKY PUSSY STINKS.  I wrote it with a black felt pen.  It looked like I was just a complete moron–clown–and I felt like one, too.  Anyway, I was talking to all these chicks, and they were all just appalled by my shirt, and I was just laughing and laughing.  Acid was hitting.  There was a non-existent wind blowing–like sometimes happens on acid–and lights were flickering.  We decided to go out on the street.  Actually, no, we didn’t decide, they kicked us out.  That’s right.” (laughs)

It was about 1 am.  The streets were deserted except for an occasional carload of drunken frat-boys.  Danielson’s group decided to venture back to his apartment, which was about four blocks away.

“We [begin] to walk down towards my apartment,” Danielson continues, “which is in a brick building with a very ornate glass–leaded glass–foyer…

“We see on the opposite side of the street–me and Dan were walking out front–we see this big group of black guys, BIG black guys, coming up on the same side of the street.  So we discreetly shifted over to the other side–the right side–which is closer to my place anyway.  And, the other guys [Danielson’s friends] follow.  And we’re kind of like, ‘Fuck!’ sensing the bad vibes, even then.  So, we round the corner, and the rest of the guys are following.  But one guy, a friend of mine who shall remain unnamed, sort of legged back.  The black guys passed all the rest of us.  This guy legged back about a block, up on the corner.  We turned around, like ‘Where is so-and-so?’  There he is on his back like a dog, with his feet in the air, and his hands also.  And those guys are glowering over him.  And I don’t know what the fuck is going on.  We’re watching from a distance.

“Finally, Dan runs up there–’cause he knows him best–and talks him out of his craziness, and gets him to come with us.  He does.  [Our friends] around the corner join us, so we can finish the last, oh 40 yards to my front door–which is locked and I’ve got the only key.  We hear this thunderous avalanche of footsteps.  And it’s that group of black guys and they’re swinging those belts over their heads like lassos, and they’re howling like wolves.  And they came just down on us.  We all turned, and we’re like, ‘Hey, hey, we can talk about this.  What’s going on?’  We had no idea what our friend had said to them when he was up there acting like a dog.  Turned out he was soliciting crack from them.  And these guys were like anti-crack warriors, little did this guy know.  We had no interest in crack.  This particular guy did, apparently….

“So these guys are running right at us.  It just freezes the blood in our veins.  Remember, we’re on acid.  It totally is blowing our minds.  ‘Is this real?  Is this really happening?’  [Our friend] Dick Johnson is the first they come to, and he’s like trying to placate them.  He’s putting his hands up.  He’s kind of shrinking, cringing down, trying to talk to them.  They immediately just are on him with their leather belts, and smacking him down to the ground, and he’s down AND out.  Next they come to Tad, and I’m hiding behind Tad.  And they do the same thing to him.  Tad goes DOWN, and the Juniper bush that he landed on–died that instant.  [It’s] dead to this day.  I’ve been by there recently, well, couple years ago.  It was still dead. (laughs)

(Photo I took of the dead Juniper bush in August of 2007.  Don’t ask.)

“There I am: ‘Hi.’  And I try to talk to them, too.  Same thing happens to me.  I’m down.  It’s like, suddenly this white light and you’re out, and you wake up and you’re on the ground.  I look, and what’s happening, but Dan has made it to the door–Dan Peters–and they’re all on top of him, ’cause he’s fighting back.  The rest of us had just crumpled, but Dan was kicking them and hitting them.  And so they all jumped on him, and were stomping him.  They picked him up and they threw him through the leaded glass window, dislocating his shoulder, and glass everywhere.

 “[But] it was not a serious dislocation, and it healed by itself, and he was able to go to Europe and do the Mudhoney tour with Sonic Youth and history was not interrupted, thank God.

“This became the basis for the first song on [TAD’s Sub Pop debut LP] God’s Balls–“Behemoth”–which I wrote about that night.”

Green River Plays CBGB’s, 1985

Posted: September 20, 2011 in Miscellaneous

In 1985, Green River consisted of Mark Arm (later in Mudhoney), Bruce Fairweather (Love Battery); Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam); Jeff Ament (PJ); and drummer Alex Shumway.  Green River was one of the few Seattle acts to make it all the way to the East Coast.  A highlight (or lowlight depending on whom you talk with) was a visit to NYC’s legendary CBGB’s.  Shumway recounts that evening (a much more summarized version ended up in the book).

Despite these tensions and guitarist Steve Turner leaving the band, Green River did tour the country in 1985.  Their travels led all the way to New York’s CBGB’s, the legendary punk club that launched the Ramones and Talking Heads.  They played to an almost non-existent audience on a Wednesday night, yet drummer Alex Shumway remembers the show fondly.  A legend developed that the band’s audience consisted of a handful of Japanese businessmen.

“I don’t quite remember [the Japanese businessmen,]” says Shumway.  “I do remember some jocks.  It was almost like a bachelor party kind of thing….They came in, ‘Hey, where are you guys from?’  These guys are all dressed up in tuxes.  ‘Oh, we’re from Seattle.’  ‘Alright!  Where’s that?’  ‘Seattle, Washington.’  ‘Oh, like by D.C.?  Around in Virginia?’ ‘No, ALL the way across the country…all the way across the United States.’ “Oh, cool! Ehhh…’”

“The first band was this band called Les Techno.  And the singer looked like an even dorkier version of [Talking Heads’] David Byrne….We were all sittin’ there in the back, and these guys came out, they started up and the bass player’s like clapping his hands in the air going, ‘Les Techno!  Les Techno!  Les Techno!  Les Techno!  Okay, we’re not gonna get going until we hear you all clap your hands and say Les Techno! Les Techno! Les Techno!’  And nobody did SHIT.”

“The second band got ready to play–set up all their stuff, and we waited for them for about 45 minutes until they eventually figured out that their drummer’s not showing up.  So they took all their stuff down and we eventually set up and I think we played around midnight.”

 “And we just ripped the place apart….got paid nothing, but the only people [that] were there to see us I believe were probably the same Japanese businessmen and the staff.  And the staff thought that we were great, so they gave us all the free beer we wanted.  ‘Hey, you guys are great.  Here.  You’re not getting paid shit, but you can have beer.’”

Meet Steve Albini

Posted: September 15, 2011 in Miscellaneous

[The following excerpt relates to the band TAD’s experience with legendary misanthropic producer Steve Albini.  TAD, then consisting of Tad Doyle on guitar and vocals; Kurt Danielson on bass; Gary Thorstensen on lead guitar, and Steve Wied on drums, in some ways inspired their friends in Nirvana to follow their lead in choice of producers.  The first three TAD records were produced by Jack Endino, Albini, and Butch Vig…the same three who recorded Nirvana’s Bleach (1989), In Utero (1993), and Nevermind (1991), respectively.]

Just before TAD’s 1989 European tour with Nirvana, Sub Pop had quickly booked the band to record another EP.  This time, the label bought time in Chicago with legendary eccentric independent producer and ex-Big Black front man Steve Albini.  Locals had come to know him after Big Black closed out their career in August of 1987 at Seattle’s Georgetown Steamplant.  Furthermore, after Big Black’s demise, Albini’s stature as a producer grew immeasurably after he recorded the Pixies’ influential Surfer Rosa the following year.

For TAD, a slight problem remained.  The band hadn’t written enough songs for a full record.  “So we had one week to write five tunes (we all had day jobs then so we did this at night) and then we flew off to Chicago,” bass player Kurt Danielson recalls in an e-mail.

Unlike the more relaxed God’s Balls sessions with Jack Endino, TAD had to deal with Albini’s offbeat and extreme personality.  The band stayed with him in Chicago and that meant living according to his rules.  As such, TAD ate a steady diet of meat and enjoyed a post-session 3 am screening of Caddyshack.  “…and each morning I was awakened by a double barrel shotgun that Steve poked me in the face with,” Danielson states in an e-mail, “rousting me from my dreams so that I had to confront the twin blue black gleaming barrels extending, lengthwise, to Steve’s insane eyes, which peered down the barrels at me; he was wearing only boxer shorts…”

 

More Newspaper/Fanzine Excerpts

Posted: September 6, 2011 in Miscellaneous

Reciprocal Recording offers high quality 8-track recording services at incomparable prices.  We’ve got good equipment and a versatile space.  Check us out for your next demo or LP project.  $12.50/hr, $10/hr block rate.

—Ad for Reciprocal Recording (where Green River, Mudhoney, TAD, Soundgarden, and Nirvana would record), The Rocket, July 1984.

“I’d call it a melting pot overflowing with bizarre and dastardly ingredients—a tad of psychedelia, a dash of glam.  Add it all together and it creates something that by its very definition is more powerful than any individual part.

I’m speaking here of the Northwest music scene, a scene that has more energy today than at any time since the heyday of the ’60s Northwest Sound—back when “Louie Louie” was heating up the Billboard charts and bringing the first real national attention to the Northwest music scene.

When The Rocket began almost seven years ago, the local scene was in a similar state to Boeing—there had been a decade of bust, and the only thing left was for the last person to shut out the lights.  At that point the only happening groups were the Cowboys and the Heaters [aka the Heats], and neither could be called revolutionary or creative.  There were only a handful of venues, and hardly a decent studio in town.

But over these seven years there has been nothing short of a major metamorphosis in the local music scene.  There are so many up and coming original bands and so much talent the only thing lacking is enough venues to showcase them all.”

—Charles R. Cross, The Rocket, December 1986 (five years before the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind.)

“The Seattle scene is gearing up for a major explosion.  Despite the desperate lack of a good club, Seattle has rarely seen so many bands.  Expect great records to come out of this region in ’87.”

 —Bruce Pavitt, The Rocket, January 1987 (nearly five years before the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind.)

“Everyone I know says the scene’s dead.  God, I feel stupid using the word “scene.”  The term comes up in conversation all the time, but if you actually write it down, everyone laughs at you, especially scenesters.

Shaddup – it’s not dead, alright?  The blob is merely changing shape.  The fate of any given band isn’t relevant anyway, as long as the individual members are still active, and most of these guys have proven themselves to be amazingly resilient.

Also, remember that we had to kill off punk in order to invent hardcore, then hardcore had to die to make way for the grinding, oozing mess we’ve got now.  What comes next is anyone’s guess.  But since the underground embraced the ’70s revival a few years before everyone else did (don’t expect it to end for normal people until at least 1993), I figure an early-’80s revival is right around the corner.  And you know what that means – Coffin Break.  They’re your future.”

—Dawn Anderson Backlash, February 1988.

Miscellaneous Fanzine Excerpts

Posted: August 23, 2011 in Miscellaneous

(Discussion between Ron Nine [Rudzitis] and Jason Finn about forming Love Battery.  Prior to Love Battery, Nine had been in the swirly psychedelic band Room Nine.)

“Some of the songs we play, I actually wrote when I was in Room 9,” says Ron.  “But I didn’t feel they were right for Room 9.”

 “Not gay enough?” asks Jason.

 —J. R. Higgins, Backlash, October 1989.

(Dawn Anderson, in her Backfire fanzine, writes about Alice in Chains after singer Layne Staley’s 2002 death.)

“In a way, Alice in Chains never really belonged to Seattle. The national media lumped Alice in with the grunge phenomenon, but they were not one of the ex-punkers-gone-heavy bands who played the Central Tavern on Tuesday nights throughout the late ’80s.  Instead, their roots lay in suburban metal.  Most rock critics hate that shit, and most scenesters expected to hate Alice in Chains when the band first ventured into the same clubs as Soundgarden and Mudhoney.  A lot of clubgoers acted visibly shocked, upon seeing the band for the first time, to discover they didn’t suck.  About five minutes after the locals recognized Alice in Chains’ potential greatness, the band had already gone gold.  Their music belonged to the world, not to Seattle.”

(Bruce Pavitt asking for music to review in his Olympia based Sub/Pop fanzine, which pre-dated his Sub Pop record label by a decade.)

“Hi There –
My Name is Bruce and we have to decentralize our society and encourage local art and things and music. Sub/Pop can be an outlet for this kind of subversive entertainment perspective but only if you help me by writing local gossip and sending it in right away to me with money and photos of you and your friends playing rock star. Send it in and I will print it. O.K.?”
xBruce

—Sub/Pop 3 introduction, Spring 1981.