OK, some show reviews. Last night Mudhoney celebrated their tenth (!) anniversary with a show at Seattle's Crocodile Cafe. A fine time was had by all. Noteworthy were the helium baloons floating on the ceiling; close inspection revealed them to be inscribed "Mudhoney... ten years in, baby!" Mark Arm rather craftily pointed out to me that some of 'em were brown. "First pressing", he whispered, conspiratorially... I passed on to him a suggestion Steve Fisk made to me a couple seasons ago: that they should take the song "Here Comes Sickness" and substitute the word "Christmas". ("Here comes christmas, movin' up my block...") Astoundingly, no one had suggested this to them before; but sadly, they had not rehearsed the song so we were deprived of this interpretation.
...Two weeks ago, the Mono Men played what was billed as their "last ever NW show" at the Double Wide in cosmopolitan Bellingham, Wa. They have opted to break up, though Dave and Aaron have decided to go on with a new band, yet to be named. They played a loud, inebriated, lengthy, totally relentless set befitting the occasion. I finally had to leave for the long, lonely drive back to Seattle when it became apparent that they were going to play until closing time or even beyond... Opening were the mighty Makers from Spokane, with whom I will spend some of January in the studio. These guys are on the way UP.
Finished The Day I Fell Down, then also finished the Crush Groove record (massive sledgehammer riffs and a great singer) and also finished mixing the new Ten Minute Warning EP for Sub Pop - a record about which I am quite excited. I predict all the alterna-rock trendsetters will hate it with a passion 'cause it's so RAWK. For the full story on TMW, see Newsletter 2.8. Also in the pipeline is a new record from the band Hai Karate; it will be an EP on Frank Kozik's Man's Ruin label. (We did it in two weekends.) The band includes current/former members of Gas Huffer, the Bottom Feeders, Dwarves and the Putters. Furthermore: the band Green Lizard, in Holland, self-released the EP I recorded for them earlier this year, since label negotiations have been dragging on and they wanted something to sell at gigs. Shark Chum has also self-released their CD. This band has two ex-members of Zeke in it, so one guess about what type of music it is. For what it's worth, guitarist Kurt was also in a band long ago called Holy Terror. Warning: not for the politically correct. Write to Shark Chum at P.O. Box 25453, Seattle, Wa. 98125 to get their CD... Upcoming work: the Makers, for Estrus records, in January.
Sorry for long silence, been working too hard. News: still working with The Day I Fell Down, soon with a Vancouver, B.C. band called Crush Groove, and soon after mixing an EP for the reformed Ten Minute Warning (see below) featuring former Fastbacks drummer Duff McKagen and my friends Paul Solger and Greg Gilmore. Mudhoney will record an album soon with a fellow named Jim Dickinson, and after seeing his credentials I am actually kind of psyched to hear it. (The nice side of not recording a Mudhoney album is that when it comes out I'm not already sick of hearing it, and can hear it "fresh" like everyone else.) Just sent out Newsletter 2.7. If you were on the mailing list and didn't get it, let me know. I'm getting quite a little sub-list of bounced addresses.
The good news: working with The Day I Fell Down. Getting ready for the NXNW Convention in Portland, Oregon, Oct. 17-19. The bad news: the band Failure may have broken up. If true, I am thoroughly dissappointed. Just when I find a good band...
Well, with the addition of an album by Ain't (friends from San Francisco) on top of my discography right above the long-reigning Thrown Ups, things are looking pretty punk rock around here, and will become even more so with the addition of upcoming albums by the Mono Men and Shark Chum atop my list. (Not to mention Zeke when it finally appears next year.) But this will soon be remedied with the debut album by The Day I Fell Down, the excellent and shamelessly Pop band that I am (thankfully) working with next.
Also, just sent out Newsletter #2, a too-lengthy diatribe about tubes vs. tape vs. digital. God knows what exciting subject I'll tackle next. (Subcribed yet?)
Work proceeding on Zeke. Mark from Zeke got me to go see a band called Steel Wool. They were so good I was forced to ask him later, how come they're not huge? He shrugged, as have several other people to whom I have lately asked the same question about Steel Wool, who after all have been around several years/albums. Always a pleasure to discover a good band.
Suitcase Nukes (me, Josh Sinder, Alex Sibbald) gig #2 last night at the Colourbox club in Pioneer Square, Seattle. Rock took place satisfactorily. Just got done recording the basic tracks (everything but vocals) for a new Zeke album to come out on Epitaph. These guys are amazing and you should go see 'em if they come to your town. All of us old guard geezers (see below) think they are the best band in Seattle.
Gosh, another show. Saw this one advertised as "Beneath the Valley of the Underdog featuring members of Bloodloss and Valis and ex-members of the Melvins and the Fallouts." This could only be a Mudhoney show, disguised for some reason! Indeed. At Moe's cafe on this fine thursday night, full house but not uncomfortably so, Mudhoney played a set consisting entirely of new songs, about a dozen I think, testing 'em out. Titles I got were "Beneath the valley of the underdog", "Poisoned water poisons the mind", "Mother's Lament" ("...This is about a mother who's, like, really sad"), "She's drinking for two", something that sounded like "Evil Empire" but knowing these guys I think it was actually "Evil Umpire", and something that sounded like "I wanna live". So, Mudhoney are very much alive and now we know that there will some day be a new album. (Early 1998 release, I'm guessing.) All in all a decent batch of songs, most of 'em on the slow side but a few rave-ups (this is the only proper word) with Mark's splendid full-throated yowling. The encore was "Judgement, rage...", a very slow bluesy version of "Sweet young thing", and a completely chaotic (of course) "1995" which went on until the room started to empty....
Opening were Bottle of Smoke, interesting in that the singer was David Duet who used to sing for Cat Butt, guitarist was Chris Quinn who used to be in Truly and SGM, drummer was the one and only Charlie Ryan formerly of the U-Men (this man can swing!), and the bassist was unknown to me; followed by Kent 3 who are on Steve Turner's Super Electro label. Both were pleasant and easily endured. Seattle's Old Guard turned out in force for this show, making me uncomfortably aware that that includes myself! Why do I keep going to these shows? I should be out checking out NEW bands. Still, a good show, and nice to see the Mud boys in a small room.
A strange and unlikely experience last night at the OK Hotel in Seattle. Opening a show for Gruntruck (who are back to their original rhythm section) was a band, unadvertised but quietly word-of-mouthed, known as Ten Minute Warning. This would mean nothing except that this band was the great lost missing link (along with the U-men) between early 80's Seattle punk and late 80's, er, grunge (ouch! I used that word! So sue me.) They broke up originally in '84, and though they recorded a number of things, were not lucky enough to ever get a record released, so there is no documentary evidence of their existence. A number of now famous Seattle rock luminaries were heavily influenced by this band's legendary live shows, and a couple turned up last night, incognito. So why should we care? Well, the sheer unlikeliness of it all for starters. Except for a new singer, it was all original members. On guitar: Paul Solger (lead) and Duff McKagen (indeed him - used to drum for the Fastbacks, too); on drums Greg Gilmore who was later in Mother Love Bone (and played on my solo records); on bass David Garrigues. Everyone looked fit and healthy, and they rocked. Took about half the set to really warm up, but for a first gig in 13 years they were pretty damn good - and this was not a one-off; they appear to be older, wiser and quite serious about this, more gigs are planned. There were no stupid cover songs, and only 3 of their own "oldies". After a few more gigs they should be pretty great - and the advantage of having never released anything in their original incarnation is that no one can really compare them to their old selves except by dim memory, and there were probably 10 people there who may have seen them originally (myself not among them, though I have tapes).
Gruntruck, having somehow extricated themselves from their contract with Roadrunner at great financial and career cost to themselves, recently got back their original rhythm section and played the best 'Truck show I've seen in a while. They're shopping a new demo and hoping to get a new deal. Their own website should be up any day now, watch here for a link.
Finished mixing a new Mono Men album last week. It rages. They wouldn't even let me listen to their old records, just told me to do my thing to it. Was fun. Tim Kerr from Texas produced it (nicely) last year. One song sounds like Motörhead. This was stuff they were going to have me re-record for some reason, but they changed their mind after the fire; good thing too, there was absolutely nothing wrong with it except that Dave said they play everything faster now. Hey, 12 songs, 29 minutes! Way to go guys.
Just spent the weekend at the Music West festival in Vancouver BC. Pleasant, low key, especially compared to the usual SXSW frenzy. Took Amtrak from Seattle. Can't recommend it highly enough - less hassle at the border, great scenery, and its WAY mellower than driving for 4 hours. Weather up there was amazing. Seattle's got nothing on Vancouver. Why don't all you folks move up there instead? Met lots of cool people, schmoozed and was in turn schmoozed. Saw some cool bands and some less so.
I've been asked repeatedly what I think about the Soundgarden breakup. Wouldn't you know it? I've got NOTHING TO SAY.
Holland and back. Great fun with Green Lizard, 3 brothers, raised in Holland, whose family was from Aruba (Dutch Antilles); they speak about five languages. (This sort of thing always makes me feel pretty stupid whenever I go to Europe.) I think its a demo but they'll try to get it released. Then recorded a few songs for my friend Tony Slug's new band, possibly for a 7" or two. Tony (and the singer Eric) used to be in a Dutch punk band in the late 70's called the Nitwitz, and Tony was later in BGK, then in a band called Loveslug who made 3 albums on Glitterhouse, the last two of which I recorded, way back when. Now they're doing the Nitwitz again, and its actually quite good. We're talking punk rock here.
Suitcase Nukes Gig #1 rocked very successfully indeed. Fun was had by all. Tad and Trees smoked as well. A fine (and rather incestuous) evening.
Went to the PO box yesterday. In it was a large padded envelope from "Theologian Records." Huh? Inside was a nice surprise - a brand new DWARVES CD, "The Dwarves Are Young And Good Looking", which made me smile very much. Hey, Blag, thanks for thinking of me.
Seattle news: Went to some shows for a change. VALIS is a side-project of Van Conner (Scr. Trees) on gtr/vox, his brother Pat Conner on gtr/vox, Dan Peters (Mudhoney) on drums, and Kurt Danielson (TAD) on bass. Their low-key unannounced debut gig opening for Love Battery was quite pleasing. Hopefully someone will be interested enough to put out a record. Love Batt is about to release a new CD on Seattle-based Y records. The band Willard is threatening to do a reunion gig. Gruntruck is playing their first show in 4 months at the Sit'n'Spin on about March 15 I believe. They have their original lineup again, which could be a good thing. Saw Modest Mouse at a packed all-ages club. They exude youthful integrity, etc, etc. Pretty quirky too. Can't really compare them to anyone which is a very good thing.
Finally got this page up and running, lo and behold. Went to the NAMM show in LA in mid-January; truly a gear-head's wet dream. Finishing my third solo album, or more properly second Endino's Earthworm album, with Barrett Martin on drums and Rob Skinner and Pat Pedersen sharing the bass duties. By the time it comes out I'm sure several new musical trends will have come and gone. [2005 note: this is pretty funny!] Thought I was recording the Mono Men in Feb, but their recent and very tragic warehouse fire may have changed things; its too soon to say. Recently did a demo for Shoveljerk (who are now shopping it) and CD's for Shark Chum and Ain't. S'all for now!