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


From my point and shoot…


(Waiting in the GA line across the street)


(Waiting inside…c’mon already. That’s a pretty grunge-looking guy in front of me.)


(Finally…the band takes the stage. No warm-up act.)


(Chris Cornell)


(Ben Shepherd)


(Kim Thayil and a semi-headed Chris…I pretty much had to lift the camera over my head and hope for the best)


(Chris with his head restored)


(Ben Shepherd)

chris 2

(Chris Cornell)


(Matt Cameron)

chris 3

(From left: part of Kim Thayil, Mike McCready [Pearl Jam], Chris)


(It’s funny. People seem to think these trips are all about partying with the bands. It’s actually relatively low key for the most part. Fun, but low key.)

The morning was pretty relaxing, and then I headed over to the Bainbridge Island ferry to meet up with Before Cars. I’m writing a feature about this band, since they have a new record out in a couple of weeks called How We Run. Unlike most groups, where you can just match the players to their respective instruments, BC presents a bit of a challenge, because the musicians play a variety of them… acoustic and electric guitar, bass, drums, violin, keyboards, mandolin, and ukulele (I think that covers it, although there may be a recorder in there somewhere.) I had interviewed one BC member several years ago, Chad Channing, for my book since he was in this band you may have heard of (hint: it starts with an N and ends with an irvana.) Also in Before Cars: Paul Burback, Justine Jeanotte, and Andy Miller. (Below: taking the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island.)


I’d never been to Bainbridge (referred to as “Brain Damage” by one person whom I will not identify), so taking the ferry there would be a treat. It’s pretty cool. You can drive or walk on (I drove), and then you relax for about a half hour crossing. I met the band in a cool little town called Winslow and we ventured over to Hale’s brewpub.

What a great group of people! We chatted over lunch and beers, and they all agreed with me that humankind’s greatest inventions are the brewpub and bread. Afterward, we wandered over to a coffee place (this is Seattle, after all) and talked some more about the new record and upcoming tour plans. I’ll get into specifics in my upcoming feature. (Below, hanging with Before Cars…from left: Senor Dorkinger, Chad Channing, Andy Miller, Paul Burback, Justine Jeanotte.)

Before Cars

After taking the ferry back to Rob’s house in Ballard, I realized I was in no shape to go out that evening. I had planned to head over to Capitol Hill to see a Rod Moody-recommended band called Atomic Bride. I felt so rundown, though…I never really recovered from that first day. So, I camped out on Rob’s couch and we watched great old-bad movies. He had found one called Don’t Knock the Rock or something. Bill Haley was in it. The whole premise revolved around a battle over how rock n roll had been corrupting ’50s youth. Some of the lines were like: “Gee, Mrs. Jeepers, you don’t have to be sore with us rock n rollers. Us kids just want to have a swell time.” It was great.

I fell asleep on the couch, and opened my eyes at 5 am, packed up and left. Rob was still sleeping, so I figured I’d message him good-bye and thanks and stuff. As I got into my car and started up the engine, Rob came frantically running out of the house wearing his Charlie Brown t-shirt to wish me off.

You see why I like these people? So long, Seattle.

UPDATE: Why Rob Morgan is my hero…

We’re hanging out watching TV, and Rob has a giant hole in his sock with his big toe sticking out. He looks at his toe says, “Ah, trying to escape, are you? Dumb shit. You’re attached to my foot.”


Day Two was pretty relaxed, which is a good thing since I am still kind of wiped out from Day One (yeah, I’m old.) I chilled with Rob Morgan for a while at his house, watching a Darkness show he burned to DVD (Rob’s kind of a little bit of a Darkness fan…picture AC/DC meets Alice Cooper meets Queen meets who knows.)

Then, breakfast with Jack Endino and Leighton Beezer at Ballard’s legendary Vera’s. I usually check in with these guys on my Seattle trips, but I’ve never hung with both of them at the same time. Heard some funny Screaming Trees stories from Jack, while Leighton was hysterical just being Leighton.

After breakfast, I made my usual stop at Ballard’s Sonic Boom Records, picking up a Walking Papers CD (features Barrett Martin from the Trees/Skin Yard/Mad Season plus Duff McKagan from Guns N Roses.)

Later that day, I met up with friends Dave O’Leary (author of Horse Bite) and Clint Brownlee for happy hours. It’s always good to hang with those dudes and talk music. Clint’s been writing, while Dave’s spending time playing bass in Sightseer, a band which has been getting positive pub around Seattle. (Dave mentioned a hysterical Onion story about a groupie mistakenly sleeping with a bass player…I’ll have to check that out.) Then, it was time to check out the GUM at Darrell’s Tavern in Shoreline with my host, Rob.

The opening act killed me…the Guardians, featuring the one and only Lee Lumsden.  Don’t know Lee? You should, if you have any interest in Seattle music. Along with a handful of folks like Jim Basnight, Neil Hubbard, and Rob Morgan, Lee essentially created the Seattle music scene out of thin air in the mid-’70s.

Rob had told me just how nervous Lee was before this performance, his first ever as a front man. (Lee drummed for the Meyce back in the day, a band that played some of Seattle’s earliest punk rock shows.) You’d never know it from watching Lee perform, though. He seemed totally comfortable and in the moment on stage. And the songs! That dude can write. Great hooks, and creative. I wish they could have played longer. Fortunately, Rob’s band followed. (Below, Lee Lumsden fronts the Guardians.)


The GUM nailed it as usual, playing a variety of covers…some well-known, some more obscure, as well some mash-ups (Rob calls them “mudleys.”) Sporting a jacket and bow tie, Rob held the audience in his hand, and proceeded to entertain us. Everyone had a good time. (Below, Rob Morgan and the GUM.)


I ended up chatting with a few folks during and after the show, notably Lee, Kyle Nixon (no making out this time…we’re just friends), Scott the soundman, the GUM’s Rod Moody, and some other folks who said nice things about my book. It’s always a cool thing to find out your work has touched someone.

So, yeah, a pretty mellow, but fun day overall…looking forward to tomorrow. I’ll be taking the ferry over to Bainbridge Island to meet up with the members of Before Cars. I’m working on a feature about that band, as they have a new record coming out in a couple of weeks. BC features former Nirvana drummer Chad Channing.