Day 2, Friday, April 10

I woke up at 6:30 when I had the opportunity to sleep in (of course.) The only thing planned in stone was the Malfunkshun show that evening. I was hoping, though, that I might have a chance to meet up with Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt on this trip. I interviewed Bruce about his two books and he was kind enough to Skype with my students a couple years back when I did an honors course based around my book (ooohh…here’s a course about me, aren’t I great!) So I texted him around 9 and we agreed to meet for coffee. We chatted about a number of topics including the future of music. And then, for some reason, I mentioned how Nirvana’s Dive intrigued me…in the way Kurt threw in this weird G chord which disrupts a clean progression going up the fret board. It makes the song. Bruce said Dive is one of his favorite Nirvana songs, as it just captures the essence of that band and Kurt.

Update: I almost forgot to mention. Bruce recalled a trip he made to East Berlin in 1988, where he um, misplaced his passport. Fortunately, he retraced his steps and retrieved the document from the shop he left it at. If Bruce had been unable to return to the West, there would have been no Nirvana (also, his life would have been ruined…that, too.)

Later, I met up with the Before Cars people (more on those folks coming up in the Day 3 post) on Bainbridge Island. By the way, it’s always fun to take the ferry over to Bainbridge from Seattle. If you haven’t had the experience, go for it. You get a 30 minute ride with a chance to check out Seattle’s beautiful skyline. Plus, Bainbridge is a cool place to explore. We had a bite to eat and a couple beers before making our way up to the Point Casino to see Malfunkshun.


[Leaving Seattle on the Bainbridge Island ferry.]

Experiencing a one-time subversive grungy band in a casino somehow doesn’t seem right…but the tacky beach motif (including sand) made it so over the top that it seemed to work. Mos Generator opened. I’m not familiar with their music, but apparently they’re heavily influenced by Black Sabbath. Paul Burback from Before Cars told me their drummer quit like the day before or that morning, so the remaining two players decided to do an acoustic set. All I can say is they were fantastic…really bluesy and the guitar player (Tony Reed) also has a great voice. I chatted with Tony afterward and bought a CD and a shirt.

Malfunkshun took the stage next. I sat toward the back with the Before Cars folks, including multi-instrumentalist Chad Channing. The highlight, for me, was the last song (With Yo Heart and Not Yo Hands…off the original Deep Six record.) Malfunkshun’s Kevin Wood called out and requested Chad to come up and play drums…which he did.


[Chad Channing plays drums for Malfunkshun.]

We all stood around and bantered back and forth a bit before they whisked me off to catch the last ferry…which was supposed to leave at 12:55 am. It didn’t depart until nearly 1:30 am, however, and I had breakfast plans at 9 with the Thrown Ups’ Leighton Beezer. I could not miss that for anything, so I resigned myself to another brief night of sleep.

Coming Up: Day 3, otherwise known as Cat Day.

Finally made it back to Seattle after a two-year hiatus. This trip, so far, has been an absolute whirlwind…fortunately, today is a kick-back chill kind of day, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to reflect.

Day 1, Thursday, April 9

The day began at 8 am East Coast time for me, where I did a phone interview with a member of the Pentangle who resides in London.

A couple hours later, I drove up to the college where I teach, now known as Delaware Valley University (Two days previously, it had been Delaware Valley College. I instantly became a better professor due to the status change.)

After discussing Richard Nixon with my two classes, I drove to the airport and flew to Seattle. I did the obligatory stop off at the Sub Pop shop at SEA-TAC airport and checked into a B&B on Capitol Hill. I then headed down, on foot, to a tiny bar on Eastlake called the Victory Lounge. I had discovered that Kinski, my latest Seattle band crush, was playing there.

After a few songs by an opening act, Kinski took the stage and proceeded to blow the roof off the place (well, not literally, it’s a clichéd rock writer expression.) It’s pretty cool to watch one of your favorite bands play from five feet away (and, yeah, earplugs are a necessity.) I don’t know how to describe these folks, but picture going to a Black Sabbath concert, and then finding out they play in odd time signatures and alternate tunings. In other words, if Black Sabbath and Sonic Youth had a baby, it might be Kinski. Oh, and one of the guitarists also plays flute and the bass player occasionally uses a bow. And they completely rock out.

After the last song, I turned to a stranger next to me, and told him just how flat out great this band is. He agreed, and I noticed he spoke with an English accent. Turns out he is from London. So, in a way, my day began and ended in London.

Kinski 4

[Kinski. From left, Chris Martin (guitar/vocals), Lucy Atkinson (bass), Barrett Wilke (drums), Matthew Reid-Schwartz (guitar/flute.)]

After Kinski finished up, I headed back to my room…and if you don’t know anything about Seattle, Capitol Hill sits on a hill (hence the name, duh) and well…let’s just say the walk back was a good workout. My head hit the pillow at 1:30 am PT, or 4:30 ET. So after a 22 hour day, I drifted off to sleep to rest up for a full day on Friday.

Kinski 6???????????????????????????????

feature in The Weeklings:


I know it’s been quite a while folks, but take a look at this outrageously creative band at: