Archive for the ‘Offbeat Seattle-Related Music Stories’ Category

This is just a tease. Repeat. This is just a tease. I will post a summary of this past weekend’s activities with Seattle crazies after Thanksgiving. Much to report, though…great bands on Saturday night, lunch and beers with fellow writer Dave O’Leary, rehearsal session with James Burdyshaw’s current project, dinner with producer Steve Fisk, and an Alice Cooper show on Sunday. In the meantime, I will leave you with a couple of photos.

(The GUM, November 17, 2012 at Darrell’s Tavern, Shoreline, WA.)

(The Tom Price Desert Classic, same night.)

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I’m killing time here until I put together my post on the Walkabouts…I was thinking about the Seattle music folks I’ve actually met.  I live near Philadelphia, and conducted most of the book-related interviews over the phone, but I made it a point to meet as many people as possible during my trips to Seattle.  So, (insert Michael Scott drumroll please), here are folks I’ve met in person…most of whom I also interviewed:

Dawn Anderson, Mark Arm, Jim Basnight, Leighton Beezer, Kurt Bloch, Jane Brownson, Paul Burback, James Burdyshaw, Chad Channing, Art Chantry, John Conte, Chris Crass, Kevin Crosby, Charles R. Cross, Duff Drew, Tom Dyer, Jack Endino, Five, Steve Fisk, Gillian Gaar, Jeff Gilbert, Greg Gilmore, Stone Gossard, Chris Hanzsek, Paul Hood, Daniel House, Tad Hutchison, Ben Ireland, Justine Jeanotte, Jeff Kelly, Joey Kline, Jamie Lane, Michael Laton, Lee Lumsden, Scott McCaughey, Scott McCullum, Maire Masco, Lance Mercer, Andy Miller, Rod Moody, Rob Morgan, Mike Musburger, Dave O’Leary, Bruce Pavitt, Dan Peters, Mark Pickerel, Jonathan Poneman, Tom Price, Chris Pugh, Larry Reid, George Romansic, Jim Sangster, Scott Schickler, Jeff Smith, Glenn Slater, Ben Thompson, Jim Tillman, Damon Titus, Carla Torgerson, Dan Trager, Steve Turner, Conrad Uno, Scott Vanderpool, Kim Warnick, Laura Weller-Vanderpool, Dennis White, Kevin Whitworth.

I wish for a certain band to do a reunion show in 2012.  I can’t mention the name lest my wish doesn’t come true…but let’s just say there is an Alfred Jarry connection.

For folks who have been following my blog, you’ve notice I’ve posted stuff pretty randomly…pics, video links, weird stories, interview background pieces, book events, reviews…

Now is your chance to tell me what you’d like to see more of, relating to Seattle music of course.

(January 4, 2011)…my comments are bolded and in brackets

Please give a nod to three important bands that i looked up to back then playing at lake hills [the Bellevue, WA roller rink hosting metal shows in the ’80s]: The Trids (who had the balls to introduce genuine glam rock in a full leather, motley crue scene), i mean they were 14 years old in private boarding schools and wearing trashy thrift store bought attire for every show), it threatened the machismo heads at lake hills that one night they were being bombed with m-80’s and didn’t miss a note [M-80 story recounted in the book by Trids drummer Duff Drew]. mainly covers like [the New York] Dolls, and Ramones but best songs were their originals. like Lill ET, their “hit” you could get more info from rob or [Shadow’s] mike mccready in PJ because they did several shows with Shadow and Overlord. Ironically or not, Dario Scardapani (Trids guitarist) moved to Hollywood and is now he writer, director, producer of CBS’s TRAUMA in prime time. You can find any Trid in my friends list or others…
Onto Shadow: They were the ultimate rock n roll band at lake hills with not just the look, the attitude to back it up and sense of humor. McCready and Newcomb were writing great riffs already, incredible stuff for back then and is timeless today really.
Overlord: was the daddy we all looked up to them, mixing this unpolished, do what we want sound, who gives a fuck how drunk we are Rock. Alice cooper meets the best of blues with this amazing nasally singer, just worked so damn well. [Note: Overlord and the Trids would morph into My Eye, one of the early urban grunge bands.]
Thats all i want to contribute on those bands that deserve a nod in your 80’s eastside metal scene (BTW: NONE OF mentioned bands lived on Eastside) [Note: the Eastside sits across Lake Washington from Seattle, and includes towns like Bellevue, Kirkland, and Bothell and would contribute to such bands as: Mr. Epp and the Calculations, Mudhoney, and the Posies.  Bothell also gave us photographer Charles Peterson.]
Good luck Stephen Tow

I just finished Mark Yarm’s Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge.  While it is quite voluminous, it reads beautifully.  He did a great job organizing the quotes and, as a result, the book flows seamlessly.  ELOT covers the grunge phenomenon, and I believe–as I’ve stated previously–that our books compliment each other well.  Strangest Tribe is kind of like a prequel to ELOT, but not in a lame George Lucas kind of way (as Mark mentioned to me). Tribe discusses the origins and development of the Seattle music scene, while ELOT takes the aspect that became famous and follows it to a conclusion.

With that, here’s what I liked about ELOT.  First, Mark got an incredible array of people to share intimate details of their life stories.  The reader gets a front row seat to the private lives of folks who made the music.  As I said, he organized the quotes extremely well.  Finally, Mark interviewed nearly every prominent/famous person involved with Seattle music including members of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Duff McKagan of Guns N Roses, and the notorious Courtney Love.  He also exhaustively covered the bands within his time frame, meticulously interviewing every member possible, even the late Mike Starr of AIC.

Second, ELOT contains some great photos of the famous bands, plus a nice shot of the U-Men standing beside their tour bus.

If I have to offer a criticism, I would say I’d like to have seen more discussion about the music itself.  Certainly, ELOT mentions some of the songs and albums within the grunge genre, but the book focuses on the culture surrounding the music. That’s just a personal preference, and in no way diminishes ELOT’s historical value.

So, in conclusion, I highly recommend you purchase Mark’s book.  You can find more information here: http://grungebook.tumblr.com/

I don’t fucking know.  But I thought I’d share how the title process for The Strangest Tribe evolved.

My first working title was Living in the Moment of It, which was inspired by a quote from TAD’s Tad Doyle.  I dropped that after I realized my book covered a fifteen year period…a long “moment.”

Briefly I toyed with Connections, given the often insectuous musical relationships the Seattle scene has displayed over the years.  But, that title seemed too generic, so…

Invitation to Participate, from a quote by Beat Happening’s Bret Lunsford.  I ditched that after it seemed a bit too flowery.

They Must Be Musicians, from a quote by the Thrown Ups’ Leighton Beezer.  This became the book’s working title for a while.  I liked it because it was meant to be taken sarcastically, knowing most people would take it at face value.  Very Seattle.  The people that marketed my book, however, believed this title would not work, so we kicked around a bunch of stuff before settling on The Strangest Tribe such as:

Where’s the Rage?  From another Beezer quote, which makes fun of a 1993 TIME magazine cover displaying Eddie Vedder screaming into a microphone accompanied by the caption “All the Rage!”

Raising Cain.  A fictional southern rock band created by the U-Men while they were touring down in Texas.  Cain had a “hit” with “God, Guns, Guts and Glory!”

House of Squalor.  The nickname of a band house where Love Battery’s Kevin Whitworth lived.  Kevin said it got it’s name because Skin Yard’s Daniel House encouraged visiting bands to “stay at Kevin’s house,” thus resulting in the said squalor.

Ahead of the Storm.  Doesn’t make a whole lot sense for a title, but I like the way it sounds.  It’s a song title from the Walkabouts.

Wasted Landlords.  Mark Arm’s side project that made fun of a band called Lords of the Wasteland, a group that became Mother Love Bone, a Pearl Jam precursor. (MLB also spawned a parody band called Daddy Hate Box.)

Amazes Me, the Will of Instinct.  From Nirvana’s “Polly.”  Makes absolutely no sense for a title, but I just love the song…so there you go.

The Squid Row.  A small now-defunct club in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.  Everyone played there back in the day.

The North End.  In honor of the neighborhood which created Seattle’s punk rock scene.

So, we went with The Strangest Tribe, from a  PJ song, at the publisher’s suggestion.  I admit I didn’t like it much at first, but it has grown on me.  I remember calling Leighton Beezer when the final title was decided.  He suggested we call it The Dumbest Club.  Very Seattle.