VIDEO: Art Zone with Nancy Guppy (September 21, 2012)
Author Charles R. Cross made a visit to the Seattle Channel‘s TV show Art Show hosted by Nancy Guppy to speak about the new book he wrote with Ann & Nancy Wilson to share their stories about the origins, life, career, highs, and lows of their band, Heart. The close to 28-minute show also features Jennifer Jasper, Gail Grinnell, Poor Moon, and remembrances about Nap Ishikawa Cantwel. It’s a taste of Seattle, so if you’ve never visited the city or wanted to watch a decent Seattle-based show, try this one out. If you like it, you can also subscribe to it via iTunes. For more information on Art Zone with Nancy Guppy, click here for more information.

DVD Review: “Pearl Jam Twenty”

Photobucket Pearl Jam Twenty is the 2011 documentary film on a Seattle band that, for some people, came out of/from nowhere, figuratively and literally. Directed by Cameron Crowe. the movie is an in-depth look at Pearl Jam’s roots, along with the roots of each member, plus what they had to get through in order to get from way over there to becoming the Seattle band naysayers didn’t think would last more than two years. Through a mix of newly shot interviews and archival footage, one is able to watch the growth of the band, their music, along with how each member managed to stick together despite initial mental obstacles. In terms of rock documentaries, this is one of the best because the band allowed complete access to their lives. Die hard fans will love this, as it offers a chance to see not only early nightclub shows when they were known as Mookie Blaylock, but also some of the promotional duties they had to do during the first album, all of which lead to what guitarist Stone Gossard calls “the birth of no”: no videos, no interviews, no Ticketmaster. It seemed so revolutionary and out of the norm, and years later, we have people like comedian Louis C.K. who is able to sell concert tickets directly to fans and have it be celebrated rather than criticized. There are so many highlights to this, but I liked it when Eddie Vedder said that the innocence of Seattle did not die when Kurt Cobain killed himself, but when Mother Love Bone vocalist Andrew Wood died after being taken off of life support following a heroin overdose. Then years later, have Vedder and the rest of the band sing a Mother Love Bone song. There are a number of touching moments here, but it has to be watched to be truly felt. It feels like a concert film even though it’s not. I have seen many music documentary films, but along with the Fishbone doc Everyday Sunshine, this is one of the best docs I’ve seen in a long time. While the film does touch on the hype and mystique, you also hear them talk about why they shunned it, and how they managed to beat the odds after taken the route most bands would never do, especially not today.

  • Now, my sidebar story. I remember when Mookie Blaylock was getting a lot of attention in the Seattle bi-weekly magazine, The Rocket. It was a magazine that pretty much covered anyone and everyone, and they championed some of the best bands in their existence. At the time, Europe and Japan were enjoying the superhype of the Seattle music scene. Alternative fans in the U.S. loved it, and it was far from being pop. People talked about how Soundgarden were on A&M, and people were wondering who would be the next to get a major label offering. Everyone was hoping for Mudhoney. But these Mookie Blaylock guys… it seemed like every issue had a status report on shows, demos, and how they might be getting a buzz. They then talked about the name change. Soon, there was a bit of mystery about a secret project from Nirvana, and something was very much in the air. I lived 200 miles away from Seattle, but if you were in touch with their music scene, you wanted to show support. I, on the other hand, felt like this Pearl Jam stuff was crap, and I hadn’t heard a note of their music. I was a long time Green River fan, ordered their “Together We’ll Never” green vinyl 7″ after reading a review from Bruce Pavitt in his Sub Pop column in The Rocket. It arrived with a letter from vocalist Mark Arm, who was nice enough to introduce me to a new band. He threw in a free record by some band called Melvins. I ended up enjoying Melvins much more than Green River, but I loved how sarcastic Green River were in their approach. When they split up, there was news on what the members would do next. The bassist from Melvins decided to join up with some members from Green River, ended up creating Mudhoney. Two other members of Green River would create Mother Love Bone. I knew Mother Love Bone received a lot of praise due to vocalist Andrew Wood. Loved when Mother Love Bone got signed to a Polygram deal. Then Wood died. I went to the New Music Seminar in 1990, and as I walked around in New York City, there were loads of posters of the forthcoming Mother Love Bone debut. It was meant to be a promotional push not only for them, but of Seattle. I wanted that to be their moment, but it didn’t happen, so the posters were just there and MTV played “Stardog Champion” as much as they could.

    This is why I hated Pearl Jam. I honestly felt that Eddie Vedder was nothing more than a random surfer stoner from San Diego who was trying to cash in on the Seattle thing, and they just snapped him up for attention. Keep in mind that I was in punk rock mode, and being overly protective for a music scene 200 miles away. I didn’t care too much about Vedder’s singing, his songs, I didn’t want to listen to it. They didn’t sound like what “grunge” sounded like, but then again, compared to everyone else, neither did Nirvana. Hell, every band sounded completely different one another. It would be too easy to say “Melvins is the sound of grunge”, but they loved Flipper as much as they loved Black Sabbath. Their influences were as diverse as everyone else. I thought Pearl Jam sucked, but they were always on MTV so they were hard to miss. I had to admit, even though they sucked, I found the sounds oddly catchy. I didn’t want to admit it. “Jeremy” got all the hype, “Alive” was their grand opening song, but I liked “Evenflo”, especially the video since it was shot at the Moore Theater, one of my favorite concert venues. To me, Vedder came off like a pompous poseur and that’s because I did not understand what he was about. He didn’t seem like the sarcastic fuckers of Seattle, and that’s because he wasn’t from Seattle. I’d read his interviews and thought “wow, who in the fuck is this guy?” I always heard the “hits” on the radio, but being in Washington State, the few rock stations in my area also played the album cuts. I happened to have a liking to the one “hit” that didn’t have a video: “Black”.

    After the buzz from the “Jeremy” video died down and they were getting ready to put together album number two, I still didn’t like them, but then they started doing things that I did like. I liked the fact that they chose to not too any more music videos, at a time when videos were meant to be “all or nothing” for artists. I liked that they would battle Ticketmaster when most major label/mainstream artists never had the balls to do the same. At a time when the compact disc was finally the preferred format of choice, I liked that they were pro-vinyl, often releasing albums two weeks before the CD release. (Today, if an album has a vinyl counterpart, it is usually released two weeks after the digital and CD releases are out). They also had a fan club where they would release Christmas records, just like The Beatles did. As serious and as “poseur” as I felt they came off as, there was a sense of something else that perhaps I had always wanted in a band. There was humor, there was fun, and there was a true love for music. What convinced me was when they started collaborating with Neil Young. I’ve been a Young fan since a kid, had an uncle who adored After The Gold Rush, which remains my all time favorite NY LP. It sounded great, and I realized wow, have I been wrong in assuming this band was crap? It sounds good to me.

    The weird thing about is that, Epic Records would send me promos of their albums and I didn’t bother listening to them. That hate was strong. Yet I found myself traveling 45 miles to the only record store in the area (Hot Poop in Walla Walla, Washington) to buy a vinyl pressing of Yield. The early reviews seemed good, and I thought “okay, this is album number five. I need to put my unrealstic hatred away. Maybe this album will change me.” It did.

    In between this hate, I became a huge fan of Gossard’s other band, Brad. I played the Shame album religiously and felt that this was the sound of Seattle, and it still is.

    I then realized wait: I’m from Hawai’i, where surfing originated. I was born in California, and there’s still a small bit of that boho California vibe in me. Why should I feel hatred for a guy who loves the ocean? I’m that guy who is always writing about how the lure of the ocean is strong and a beach tends to bring to me a bit of inner peace, even if just by thinking about it.

    I’ve been a Pearl Jam fan longer than the seven years I chose to hate them. It was more Vedder-hate than Pearl Jam, and as I began listening to his songs with the band and his solo work, I felt much of what he was going through. He can pick up an ‘ukulele and make it heartfelt. I could relate to that. No more hate.

    There is little chance they will read this but: to Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Eddie Vedder, and Mike McCready: I apologize for being ignorant to your music from 1991-1998. Call it Pacific Northwest pride, call it support for the Seattle music scene from a distance, call it dumb. It will not happen again.

  • BOOK’S FOODIE: Dry Soda

    Sometimes I don’t specifically search for food items, there are times when they’ll come across to me through a completely unrelated search. Other times, I want something specific. I enjoy looking for local and regional products, and when I had heard about the Oregon City Soda Company, I wanted to know if there were others in the Portland area. Just as Portland is vast in its love of wine and beer, there were many soda makers, including some that I was not aware were based in Portland. That lead to the discovery of other soda makers throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Crater Lake and Mt. Angel. One name that caught my eye was Seattle’s Dry Soda, which lead me to think “oh, an alcohol soda?” At least that’s where my mind goes when one equates “dry” with a drink. No, Dry Soda is non-alcoholic. Even better.

    The soda is for those who want something that’s not as sugary sweet, heavy, or weighty on them, but still has the refreshing feel of a soda, or as their website indicates, “soda re-imagined”. I had discovered that it was available at my local Fred Meyer, so I went there and bought their Blood Orange variety. It comes in a 12-ounch 4-pack, and I decided to have my first taste. It was nice, but my mind went into the whole “do I play soda fan or do I become critical?” As a fan, I would probably say “this tastes like when you’re at the end of a cup of soda you get at a fast food place, and all you have is ice and remnants of flavor. More water than anything.” But I thought okay, I have to be smart and play critical. As for its flavor, it was light, but my soda intake for years had always been the sugary stuff. I would later move to diet sodas, and this to me initially lacked the punch of even a diet soda. Dry is meant to be an alternative of sorts to even a regular diet soda. In fact, a 12-ounce bottle of Dry’s Blood Orange has only 50 calories, so sugar level wise, it’s not bad at all. A few days later, I’d have another bottle and I realized that this may be good perhaps with an alcoholic drink or spirit. I’m not a heavy drinker, but Dry’s website did features a few recipe suggestions so I wasn’t too far off on that. At the end of the week, by the time I was at my final bottle, I found it quite nice and refreshing. I wanted to try more.

    I had posted a comment on Facebook, and that lead to the Dry Soda company itself, which then lead to them wanting me to try another variety, on the house. I immediately wanted to try their Vanilla Bean soda, as I’m a longtime fan of cream sodas. I knew what to expect, but flavor-wise, I had to wait to see if it would give me the kind of boost I like, but Dry style. It was 60 calories a bottle for this one, but upon first sip, I became an immediate fan. Carbonation is nice and strong, and the vanilla flavor is present and lasting. It’s not “deep” like a normal cream soda but it’s not meant to be. It’s subtle but you know that you’re tasting vanilla. Or as their website puts it, “delicate”. With this, I immediately thought of using this to make an ice cream float. Thumbs up for me on this one.

    The Dry Soda website also features suggested foods that you could have this with. It comes off like a soft drink sommelier because Dry wants to be a company that is different from the others.

    It is a natural soda but I will say as someone who has tried my share of natural sodas over the years, Dry makes one that has most beat. This is not a soda that compensates by using who-knows-what to make their drinks, and as far as being a “diet soda” without being called one, it actually tastes like it’s light. It may be perception, but you can be happy with drinking this without thinking it will add a huge amount of calories into your system.

    Dry Soda comes off like a distant cousin of other sugary-sweet sodas: likes to go to and from work on a bike, and simply sees life a bit more differently, with its own style of marketing and promotion. The company are expanding their horizons to where they may be more than just a Pacific Northwest thing, and they should be. Perhaps there may be a cooking show where they decide to use Dry as an essential ingredient.

    Dry has a total of seven different flavor varieties. You may be able to find it at some of your favorite stores, or you can order from them direct.

    (Mahalo nui to Garth Purkett at Dry Soda and Gene Dexter for the hook-up.)

    (If you would like to submit your product for review, send me an e-mail at BooksMusica [at] gmail [dot] com.)

    SOME STUFFS: announce sale and end of network

    A year, a month, and a day after I made the announcement of‘s debut to Portland, Oregon and the rest of the world, it seems the internet broadcast network will be closing up shop in its current motif. founder Robert Wagner made the announcement through Twitter that the network has been sold to a company in Southern California. By doing this, will now be a new company with completely new shows, and broadcasting from California. None of the programming that is currently on the channel will be there, including Knit Happens, Cort & Fatboy, Unibash Radio, and the show that gave the network its life, Portland Sucks. will become a new company under new ownership.

    This has caused a bit of a panic amongst listeners and supporters in Portland, the Pacific Northwest, and judging from the comments on the announcement page, in various spots around the world, with many asking about what will become of their favorite shows. Here is what is known:

  • as we know it will end its live stream and broadcasts effective immediately on Friday, November 18th, at 5pm.
  • The status of all shows currently presented by are now “free to roam”. If you follow some of these shows, you will find out the status of each one from their creators.

    Wagner made a comment on his own blog that Portland Sucks will definitely continue in podcast form, and only as a podcast. A few other shows have announced that they plan on continuing in some form. Bottom line is, everything that is been under the umbrella will no longer be. Take care, time of your life, good riddance, right? In a way yes.

    Portland Sucks began under its own entity, a podcast that was a way to simply get some thoughts out. That show would become a part of the Small Plate Radio Network, and then came It would spawn, but then the .am part shut down. evolved into and now we’re… here. While Wagner plans to keep Portland Sucks going, his future endeavors are unknown. Or at least he plans on saying more when he’s ready to reveal something of interest. He did say that Portland Sucks co-host Sabrina Miller may not be coming back “after the transition is made due to her increasingly busy schedule.” Miller has become one of the network’s primary faces and voices, with the lady known as SabMil to some (and for a select view, Luscious Duvet) becoming a personality on a network that apparently ended up with no personalities. Maybe it didn’t, or that’s a way of saying that Miller, Wagner, and everyone involved in the network were simply being themselves, and not playing the role or being fake for anyone.

    I think that’s what attracted me to their shows. I’m someone who would still like to move to the Portland area, and because of my curiosity as to what kind of podcasts were being down in the city, as a way to find persons, places, and things that were similar to my own, I found Portland Sucks. It sounds like the conversation I might have at a record store, book store, doughtnut mansion, a park, simply people shooting the shit and not being afraid to say what they want to say. I’ve listened to shows throughout the last few years, and I keep on asking myself “why am I not hanging out with these fuckers?” It may not have been their intention, but created shows that made the listener feel welcome, like old friends and family members. Or maybe that family member that you didn’t think you’d ever see, but you dealt with their crap. I am a fan, and whatever the future has in store for Portland Sucks, Wagner, Miller, and everyone else, I would like to remain a fan, whether it’s in audio form or otherwise.

    There have been a number of changes in the years I have been listening, and none of them could be predicted. I had posted a comment on their website, saying that my interests are merely selfish because I want to hear more. in its current form will be coming to an end, but there will be more. What that “more” will be is unknown, at least for now. will be doing one last week of streaming before the plug is pulled on November 18th at 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern. As an early Thanksgiving present, I would like to say thank you for the shows and podcasts you have offered as a collective. I know there was a lot of hard work, time, and dedication involved, but please know that all of your work was never without support and gratitude. With liberty and blumpkins for all… thank you.

  • OPINION: Kurt Cobain & Layne Staley, in passing

    The anniversary of two respected Seattle musicians/singers made me think of how close-knit things were in the music scene in the early 1990’s.

    I became a Washingtonian in 1984, when my mom moved us from Honolulu to be closer to her sister. I thought we would be moving to Seattle, but we found ourselves 200 miles to the East, crop circles and fields that looked like they hadn’t been watered in years. Culture shock? Yes. But it was the music that pulled me through.

    For four years, it seemed Seattle’s creative community struggled with the deaths of some of its contributors:

  • People were cheering for Mother Love Bone to become the next it band for Seattle, when vocalist Andrew Wood died of a heroin overdose, a few days before he was to make his debut as a major label artist. I remember being in New York City for the New Music Seminar and seeing posters for their album, APPLE, and thinking it was odd. But that was the “business”, to be able to milk that dollar even though the singer was dead for four months.
  • Writer/poet Steven Jesse Bernstein may not have been someone who wrote for everyone, but he was not the people’s poet. But his work was rough, dark, and full of sharp edges and was someone who gained a lot of respect not only among Seattle musicians but people in the city who were into writing and the spoken word. Bernstein killed himself in the fall of 1991 at the age of 40.
  • Stefanie Sargent was the guitarist of 7 Year Bitch, and a band whose music I liked a lot. I had plans on meeting Stefanie and some of the other members of the group when they were going to be at the Beastie Boys show at the Moore Theater in May (where the Fu Schnickens and Big Chief opened) but I was not able to find them. Sargent died a month later.
  • Mia Zapata was the vocalist of The Gits, a group who were not originally from the city but had migrated to the Pacific Northwest with friends who were also in other groups. I loved their music, loved her voice and lyrics, and even admitted this to the group during a phone interview. They played in my town on July 3rd, a holiday weekend, and unfortunately I was too chickenshit to say hello to her, yet I found out from their drummer that Mia wanted to meet with me and say thank you for my kind words. Four days later, Zapata was attacked and killed, the story of which gained national attention soonafter.

    My connection with any of them was simply as a music fan, but as a music journalist, I’d talk with these bands, publicists, even hung out in their stinky ass vans not as a fanboy, but because they were music fans too, there was no issues over things that didn’t matter. Most bands simply wanted enough money to pay for gas to their next gig, some extra beer, and a meal. Any extra money made would be split and maybe they could buy some cigarettes.

    One year after the other, someone from Seattle’s vibrant scene had passed away and at the height of the Lamestain movement known as grunge, it kept on going but with little to know fanfare outside of the scene. Then 1994 happened.

    When Kurt Cobain died, that may have pulled the plug on the national spotlight for Seattle’s music scene. Maybe not completely, but now there were were no forced heroes to worship, and Cobain was not a hero. He was a guy who loved music, did some drugs, played guitar, and liked to fuck shit up in his own way. It’s odd to think that this isolated kid who hung out under bridges in Aberdeen, Washington an now be heard in Nirvana blocks on the radio every day, when most of the bands he grew up admiring never received airplay to the right of the radio dial. Nirvana were great, but even Cobain would’ve told you that he was not the only musician or band worthy of attention. This is exactly why major labels signed everyone from Mudhoney to Hammerbox, Sweetwater to Tad. I mean fricken Tad from Boise, the lumberjack big man who did songs about getting a Kool-Aid buzz and riding cars into frozen waters while drunk on Jack Daniels and Pepsi.

    A lot of the music from that era is great because it meant something to me then, or at least it offered timestamps to what I was doing, what I wasn’t doing, and what I hoped to do, even though half the time I was making shit up as I went along. If I was a bit wiser, I would’ve done a lot more, but I was hustling at shows wanting to write, let limited myself to the constraints of a small town in Southeast Washington. Yet when I visited Seattle (and I did a lot), they’d welcome me as if I was family. I’d walk into the slophole that was Sub Pop Records, with old kung fu movies painted on canvas with loads of publicity packets, CD’s, records, and boxes of unknown origin, hidden in what felt like a basement somewhere on First Street. One of their publicists told me that if I wanted to talk with her, I should bribe her with chocolate. I went to Uwajimaya and bought a box of Hawaiian Host chocolate covered macadamia nuts. I visited Sub Pop, and said publicist wasn’t there. Those were good times.

    My reason for writing this? Nothing other than to share memories. Music is so deep and diverse that it’s sad that people will know of the anniversary of Cobain’s death and only listen to Nirvana. You had Screaming Trees from Ellensburg, Seaweed from Tacoma, Beat Happening from Olympia, the Mono Men from Bellingham, Melvins from Montesano (who eventually said “fuck this” and moved to L.A.), Motherload from Spokane, and incredible groups like Gas Huffer, Coffin Break, Positive Greed, Fitz Of Depression, Girl Trouble, Imij, Dickless, and so many others who were able to kick people in their faces with music. With every forced leader of a movement, there are scenes that didn’t want to be a scene in the first place, just a group of men and women who wanted to rock, drink, smoke or sniff something, and make people happy. So look into these bands, and look into any independent/underground scene in your city or region. Listen and have a good time.

  • SOME STUFFS: Internet radio takes its first sip of beer with the introduction of

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    If you have a favorite internet radio station or radio show, or happen to love the wide range of different programming that is available out there, I would like to introduce you to a new network that I feel will be a force to reckon with this decade, one that I feel will become your daily listening habit. Friends, get familiar with is the new version of what was, a “channel” based in Portland, Oregon that is dedicated to the views, opinions, hobbies, and interests of people in Portland, done by people in Portland. It is a home grown effort that looked to find an audience with their brand of humor, wit, and passion, and in time would find it not only in Portland, but throughout the Pacific Northwest, the West Coast, the United States, and in small pockets around the world. It was able to do this with a series of shows that are diverse as the people behind them. As attention towards Portland grows on a national and international scale, felt it was time to take on the challenges of a growing audience by letting people know why their city can be an influence for the rest of the nation, and perhaps the world. In other words, now that they have a loyal audience, it’s time to get to the people who aren’t listening but need to.

    The demise of is only in name, but now transformed into, they are now expanding their scope to Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. It will be the premiere internet radio network for the Pacific Northwest, all of “Cascadia” if you will, and programs pertaining to these areas will be added very soon (as I’m looking at the new site, i can see the potential of dedicated channels with programming dedicated to each region). Take a look at their daily schedule and you’ll find a show that will suit your interests. also hosts a number of events from movie showings to trivia contests, and even an annual Baconfest that I had the pleasure of visiting for the first time this past August. What will also be of interest in the coming weeks is an emphasis on applications for the iPhone and other forms of gadgetry, along with apps for other internet broadcasters that they plan on revealing soon. In other words, they are becoming more than just a network that broadcasts shows and archives podcasts, they are dabbling in multimedia by talking about it and creating it. is becoming an internet station that is expanding on the multitasking it has become known for, and by doing so, it is shining the light on the tech-savvy community of Portland that are helping to keep its city vibrant alive, while keeping true to its unique spirit. It’s talk radio, it’s good radio, it’s quality radio, but you can hear it on your mobile device, in the car, on your laptop or desktop. It looks to the future, and they’re welcoming you to listen. showed what a group of creative people can do when they put their minds together. is simply a new pair of shoes, and its ready to take its first step into the great wide open. From a “small plate” to a gourmet buffet, they are expanding their pallets and hope that others will join them. I call myself a fan because I enjoy the shows and the sense of community I think exists amongst everyone on the network. I want to spread the love by letting you know about them and if it moves you, spread the word. they will thank and if you’re lucky, spank you later.

    FROM THE BOX: The Rocket” issue #84 (October 1986)

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    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.

  • As a young writer at the time, I wanted to be a part of the Seattle music scene, but hard to do when I was in another city. I did end up writing for The Rocket for about two years, so it was the closest I came to doing that. However, what I loved about the people involved in the scene, including bands, managers, and publicists, was that it was very close knit. They all showed support for one another, and I was surprised that they showed support for me, as a supporter. When some of these bands from Seattle, Tacoma,and Olympia came into town, I’d go to all of the shows, take photos, and talk story a bit. They were happy for the reviews I did, even if it was just “a review”.
  • One review in The Rocket that changed my life was one that was in the October 1986 issue, which I just discovered in a box I’ve had in storage. I now know that I’ve been officially a Melvins fan for 24 years this month. Inside, Bruce Pavitt’s great Sub Pop column, which marked the release of the SUB POP 100 album. First record reviewed in the column was the “Together We’ll Never”/”Ain’t Nothin’ To do” 7″ from Green River, for a whopping $2.
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    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?”

  • Oddly enough, I have yet to see them live. A disgrace, I know, but when I’ve had opportunities to see them, I was either on vacation or simply unable to make the journey. A true Melvins fan is probably saying “but those fuckers tour all the time, how could you miss them?”.
  • Also in the same issue of The Rocket, this review of the first Full Force album by Glen Boyd:
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    Good times.

  • SOME STUFFS: Winter/springtime is the right time for Past Lives to go on tour

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    Do you know what this is?
    1.16 – Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
    2.18 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge $
    3.12 – St. Augustine, FL @ Harvest of Hope Festival
    3.14 – Portland, OR @ East End +
    3.15 – San Francisco, CA @ Elbo Room +
    3.16 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
    3.17 – Phoenix, AZ @ Trunk Space
    3.18 – El Paso, TX @ Dominics Piano Bar
    3.17 – 3.20 – Austin, TX SXSW
    3.20 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk Bar [Panache Booking SXSW Showcase ] w/ Surfer Blood, Dam-Funk, Oh Sees, The Intelligence, Turbo Fruits, Small Black
    3.21 – Monterrey, Mexico – Todd P Monterrey Festival
    3.23 – Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar #%
    3.24 – St. Louis, MO @ Firebird #
    3.25 – Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge #
    3.26 – Milwaukee, WI @ Miramar Theatre #
    3.27 – Grand Rapids, MI @ DAAC #
    3.29 – Cleveland @ Now That’s Class #
    3.30 – Rochester, NY @ The Bug Jar #
    4.01 – Toronto, ON @ The Garrison
    4.02 – Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo
    4.03 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Garfield Artworks
    4.04 – Washington, DC @ DC9
    4.05 – Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor
    4.06 – Atlanta, GA @ 529
    4.07 – Orlando, FL @ The Social*
    4.08 – Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder*
    4.09 – Gainesville, FL @ Rion Ballroom at University of Florida*
    4.10 – St. Augustine, FL @ CafĂ© Eleven*
    4.12 – Wilmington, NC @ Soapbox*
    4.13 – Carrboro, NC @ Cats Cradle*
    4.14 – Charlottesville, VA @ The Southern*
    4.15 – Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church Sanctuary*
    4.16 – Baltimore, MD @ Otto Bar*
    4.17 – Hamden, CT @ The Space*
    4.18 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East*
    4.20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl*
    4.22 – Princeton, NJ @ Terrace Club at Princeton University
    4.23 – Columbus, OH @ Cafe Bourbon St.
    4.25 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry

    $ = w/ The Oh Sees
    # = w/ Air Waves
    % = w/ So Cow
    * = w/ The Thermals
    + = w/ Get Hustle

    It’s a list of tour dates for the band Past Lives, who hit the road this weekend and will go across the U.S. until late April. While they are on the road, the Suicide Squeeze label will release their album Tapestry Of Webs on February 23rd, which you no doubt can pick up at the shows too. For a preview of the album, you can download a track called ““>Deep In The Valley“, featuring Hannah Blilie of The Gossip.

    SOME STUFFS: Sol’s “Dear Friends” EP

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic In the last few years, people have put too much faith in the term “emo rap”, because it basically means the rapper in question puts a lot of emotion into his rhyme style and lyrics. In other words, being personal, reflective and retrospective is considered too weird in a genre that has been dumbed down by its own applied dumbness. Sol calls the 206 (Seattle) home, although if you feel you know what a Seattle MC sounds like from other area MC’s of the past, push them to the side. Sol kind of has the vocal tone of old Fat Joe mixed in with the vibe of Common and Smif-N-Wessun, but manages to bob and weave through the comparisons and influences to come out sounding like an MC ready to put his skills and talents to the test.

    Dear Friends is a 6-song EP that keeps things brief and sample, so you get to hear him and his music, no skits, no fluff, no nutter, no nada. What you do get is someone who lives and loves the music, as he and guest Kush Carter talk about in the soon-to-be-stoner classic, “Music Crazy”. For a slight party vibe, but one that isn’t suffocate the song, you have “Millions”, which is what he seeks but he also seeks true love from his lady who is “my Beyonce, she calls me Jay-Z/my P.Y.T., pretty young thing”. “Never D.I.E.” has an old school feel, but that can be said about the entire EP, although don’t think of the throwback style to be an easy remedy just to get across to a certain audience. It’s more a classic feel than anything, and Sol is a rapper whose lyrics and delivery are worth listening to. He’s not just audio darts to fill the the void during any given time, you want to pay attention to him because you sense he has a lot of respect for hip-hop and the craft of writing.

    Free MP3 download (46.53mb)