The Rocket was a Seattle paper that was my introducing to the Seattle music scene when I moved from Honolulu in 1984. I happened to live 200 miles east of Seattle, which made things difficult to fully enjoy the music until I was “of age”. But there were records with such labels as Green Monkey and Popllama. Because of the fact that I couldn’t get my shit together after high school, I remained in the Dry Shitties (a/k/a Tri-Cities). However, between 1990-1994, I made a number of visits to Seattle, which included a visit to Sub Pop HQ. It looked like a bedroom, with vinyl and boxes everywhere, a huge Bruce Lee movie poster, Kim Warnick of the Fastbacks handling phone calls, the guys from Seaweed handling press for their then-new album. Now, I had made a call to Sub Pop publicist Jenny Boddy and said I wanted to visit. She told me “I could not visit unless I came with a bribe.” I said what kind, she told me “chocolate”. I went to Uwajimaya and bought a box of Hawaiian Host chocolate covered macadamia nuts. I visited Sub Pop, and she was not there. Or maybe she was, and thought I was a freak. I simply wanted to visit the label, do some record label stuff (i.e. possible freebies), and that was that. I did see Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman there, which for me was like seeing Ahmet Ertegun. Well, maybe not in a celebratory way, but to know that I was in the “house” of the people whom I had seen that day. I ended up leaving with nothing, only exhaustion from finding the label (if you ever visited, you’ll know why). I also ended up eating the entire box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts.
I sent it to the address listed, and in a week received a package from a guy named Mark Arm. In his letter, he told me that he included another record for free, a cool band called Melvins. It was the 6-song 7″ EP on C/Z. While I grew up with the slow dirge of Black Sasbbath, Melvins felt like “my music”, even though at the time I had no idea who their influences were. It changed my life forever. I ended up interviewing King Buzzo twice, once in 1987 for the high school radio station I was with, and in their Atlantic days. At the end of the second interview, he goes “you’re John Book? The same guy who interviewed us in high school?”