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.