Tuesday, July 31, 2007

KJET

During the early '80s as a kid I totally fell in love with a Seattle radio station called KJET. Located at 1600AM and owned by the classic rock station KZOK, KJET was constantly trailblazing new alternative music for Seattle area music fans. They mostly played music that could be classified as new wave and college rock. Bands like Talking Heads, The Smiths, Joan Jet, The Dead Milkmen, Violent Femmes, Nick Lowe, UB-40, Joe Jackson, Oingo Boingo, The Police, The Replacements, Husker Du, The Cult, B-52s, Jonathan Richmond, The Lemonheads, etc. But they also played a fair amount of local bands and punk, from The Sex Pistols to The Dead Kennedys. KJET also aired special programs sometimes, like a long one on the early NYC punk scene that featured interviews with Television, Patty Smith and The Ramones. The station always seemed haphazardly run. Most of the shows were pre-recorded and sometimes the DJ bits and music tapes were off--you'd hear 5 songs and then the DJ would come on and say he just played completely different songs, which you might hear an hour later. But no matter how low-budget and low-fi AM sounding KJET was, it played great music and I absorbed it all as a kid. It's the first place I heard a lot of punk rock and new wave (and frankly it just had a more consistent format than KCMU/KEXP, which played a lot of world music that just wasn't cool to me as a kid). KJET also used to sponsor free live shows at the Seattle Center Mural Amphitheater, that's where I got the antenna ball in the photo, and I even remember going to a show they sponsored at a bowling alley in Bellevue that the Young Fresh Fellows played. The station was on the air from 1982 through September of 1988. KJET staff included Debbie Payne (who also DJed for KYYX & K-Rock), Mike Fuller, Mike "Beaver" Bell, Marshall Gooch, and Jim Keller (who later DJed for KNDD "The End").

From a 2002 interview with Jim Keller in the South County Journal:
For six hours a day, Keller was paid to sit in the production room making sure the tapes ran smoothly. "I would take my guitar into work and practice the whole time," said Keller. "I got pretty good." The timing couldn't have been better. While Keller sat in a back office jamming on his guitar, station owners were in search of a new face for their commercial AM station. Hoping to bring a younger demographic to its range of listeners, KZOK decided to switch from what Keller calls "an awful Barbara Streisand, Barry Manilow format," to KJET, a "New Wave" station with alternative appeal. Keller soon found himself promoted from lowly intern-status to program director of a radio station, a lucky break he chalks up to pure circumstance. "It was all about being at the right place at the right time," he said. "But they (KZOK owners) didn't understand what they were getting into."

Looking back now, Keller recognizes that the radio station he helped to create was truly revolutionary. "It was an amazing station because there were so few rules about what was alternative," he said. "We played Duran Duran, Ramones, the first rap stuff, African pop, Go-Go music out of Washington D.C., -- everything from California rock of the '70s to the Sex Pistols." Without a fully-developed "alternative music niche" to conform to, Keller and his fellow KJET staff of "radio brats" had very few rules about what they could or could not play. The upstart station at 1590 AM soon became one of the world's only voices for alternative music in all of its eclectic forms. Even for all its rebelliousness, KJET was one of the only stations that took the local music scene seriously. "We understood we were tapping into something," said Keller. "We were at the forefront of the creation of youth culture."

Together with KCMU, a local underground publication called The Rocket and the newly-founded SubPop Records, KJET played a pivotal role in creating a network of support for fledgling local music acts. At the time of its operation, from 1982 to 1988, KJET had a maximum of approximately 50,000 listeners, an audience considered small by today's standards. However, the unusual sound waves left lasting impressions. "

We were as taken aback by grunge as anyone," said
Keller. "We were sold and signed off as that started to take off."

Amazingly, someone that taped a bunch of the the shows back in the day has put up a streaming KJET station online. If you are feeling nostalgic, check it out:

http://www.live365.com/stations/bleekswinney

Gibson's

This photo is from just another Friday night at Gibson's (and the crazy part is I know at least a dozen people in the photo). Gibson's Bar and Grill was located located in downtown Seattle on 1st and Stewart (116 Stewart Street). After the Lake Union Pub closed, Gibson's became the go-to destination for garage and punk shows. Brian Foss started booking the bar in 1998. Tons of great shows took place at Gibson's, bands that played included Scared of Chaka, The Valentine Killers, The Gloryholes, Schlong, The Reatards, The Evaporators, The Motards, and The Spits.

The Nisqually Earthquake in 2001 permanently damaged the building Gibson's was in and the bar was closed down. Brian Foss moved on to booking at other venues like Industrial Coffee, The Monkey Pub, The Sunset and Zak's and now is a co-owner and the booker of Funhouse.

Christ on a Crutch


I dated this girl named Veronica Stoffels around 1987-1989. Some of her highschool friends from the Tri-Cities were in a band called Diddly Squat, who released one 7" and played around a bit. In 1988 Diddly Squat broke up, around the same time one of the members tragically drowned in the Columbia River.

Nate Mendel, who played in Diddly Squat
(and later in Sunny Day Real Estate and the Foo Fighters) explained in a 1998 interview what happened next:

"Diddly Squat drummer Eric Akre and I then conspired with friends in a Washington D.C. band called Christ on a Crutch (with included Product of Rape singer Glen Essary) to reform that band in Seattle. In the six month interim between Diddly Squat and Christ on a Crutch, I moved to Seattle and played in a straight edge band called Brotherhood. This band had pretty great songs but was weighted down with burden of being a straight edge band. It was really fun, though. Christ on a Crutch got together and played for a few years, doing tours and putting out a bunch of singles and an LP. We played at an anarchy festival once. This band died in 1993."

This history is pieced together from a bunch of sources and my own memory, hopefully it's correct. Christ on a Crutch began in Washington DC in the Summer of 1983 when Jerry, Wayne, Glen and Dave performed under the name Turtles Basking in the Sun. By '84 they had taken the name Christ on a Crutch. In '85 Glen moved to the Tri-Cities the band played as a 3-piece with Jerry singing and did some recording. In 1986 Glen came back to the band as the singer and is on the first album "Spread Your Filth" on Over the Top records. Glen and Jerry both relocated in '88 to Seattle and re-formed Christ on a Crutch with ex-Diddly Squat bandmates Nate Mendel on bass and Erik Akre on drums (Erik's sister is Carrie Akre of Hammerbox fame, and Erik has gone on to play drums with a lot of bands).

When Christ on a Crutch gelled as a 4-piece in Seattle, they were completely awesome. S
ince my girlfriend at the time was friends with the band, I ended up hanging around partying with them a bunch and got to know them, they were totally cool guys. They played around a lot at places like Washington Hall and the Party Hall. I remember a pretty infamous show at Washington Hall where first they threw out a zillion egg cartons into the audience, then chainsawed a pumpkin on stage. The entire floor was coated in pumpkin goop and people were throwing the cartons everywhere, it was complete chaos and a super slippery pit. Another time they played a demolition party in the U-District for a boarding house that Mike from Aspirin Feast lived in behind the Wilsonian Apartments. The band's final show was at Rkcndy in 1993, this photo is of Jerry at that show. New Red Archives later released all Christ on a Crutch's material on CD.

Christ on a Crutch discography:
  • 1987, "Spread Your Filth" 7" (500 pressed, Over the Top)
  • 1987, "Spread Your Filth" LP (2000 pressed, Over the Top)
  • 1989, song "Off Target" on "State of the Union" compilation LP (Dischord Records, re-mastered and released on CD in 2002)
  • 1990, "Kill William Bennet" 7" (Black Label)
  • 1991, "Crime Pays When Pigs Die" LP (New Red Archives)
  • 2000, "Spread Your Filth: The Doughnut and Bourbon Years" CD (New Red Archives, re-issue of 1st LP)
  • 2000, "Shit Edge and Other Songs for the Young and Sentimental" CD (New Red Archives, re-issue of 7"s and past compilation tracks)
  • 2000, "Spread Your Filth/Shit Edge" double LP (New Red Archives)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Stagediving at Rckndy


Seattle promoter and now owner of El Corazon, Lori LeFavor, booked the all-ages venue Rckndy (AKA Rockcandy) for most of the mid-90's. Finally Seattle had a large sized all-ages venue that punk and rock bands could play. It wasn't always the greatest place to see a show with long lines to get in, no in-and-outs and sometimes pain in the ass security, but it was a good, safe venue that hosted hundreds of great shows from stuff like Ween and Hammerbox to the The Misfits, UK Subs, Damned and Bouncing Souls. Rckcndy can be seen in both the movies "Hype!" and "Singles." It was also a venue that actually had a stage a couple feet off the ground, making it a prime place to try out your stagediving and crowd-surfing skills, much to the dismay of the staff that worked there.

Fat Anthony (RIP)

Fat Anthony was a plump crusty punk kid I first met hanging outside a house show drunk, cracking jokes and pretty much holding court with half a dozen or so people because he was so funny. He wore a dirty tan t-shirt with beer bottlecaps stuck on it, smelled pretty bad, but I stuck around and ended up talking to him for hours because he had great stories and was totally fucking funny. Over the years I ran into him all the time at shows around the U-District, Olympia, Everett, etc. In this picture he's singing along with I think Flight 800 at a show at Second Time Around Records in the U-District. A few years ago Anthony died of a staff infection that was left untreated. His smile and sense of humor are missed.

Poison Idea

I really can't say enough about Portland's kings of punk Poison Idea. On record they played a brutal blend of punk, hardcore and metal (depending on which record and era, one of those sounds was more prevalent). And live P.I. always put on a great show, often with lead singer Jerry A breathing fire, cutting himself open, or jumping out into the audience. I saw them at least a dozen times, probably more. Seattle audiences always went insane for them. Huge slam pits, beer flying everywhere, the whole crowd singing and dancing along to the music, totally eating the whole experience up. I'll never forget their show at the OK Hotel with Naked Aggression when the whole place was going nuts and I'd just recovered from almost knocking myself unconscious from running into a wooden post at the side of the pit... as kids bodies were flying everywhere, Jerry A looked out over the chaos and got the biggest shit eating grin on his face. He was soaking in our energy and used it to propel the band's set to an even heightened level of excitement. Over the years the line-up of the band changed drastically and a few years ago guitarist and founding member Pig Champion died, while the band still plays on, they are nothing quite like they were back in the day.

This photo is of Poison Idea in their later years playing at the Crocodile Cafe with Steve from the Gits on guitar.

Best Poison Idea albums to pick up: Pick Your King (The Early Years CD has this on it), War All The Time, The Best Of Poison Idea CD

The Black Cat Cafe

The Black Cat Cafe was a vegetarian co-op located in Seattle's University District at 4110 Roosevelt Way. During the mid-1990s it began to host all-ages punk rock shows pretty regularly. It wasn't a very big space and it seemed like sometimes twice as many people were hanging out outside than could fit in the actual room where the bands played. Katrina Hellbusch (AKA Katrina Outcast) booked a bunch of the shows. Since I lived in the U-District just a few blocks away, I loved going to shows here. Lots of touring crusty punk bands played here, as well as local bands. I remembering seeing the Catheters for the first time here and a couple of good shows by Vancouver BC's Submission Hold.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sasshole / Missoula

Missoula, Montana has long been an oasis of rock'n'roll in the middle of nowhere. Missoula bands like the Fireballs of Freedom, Skoidats, Volumen, Hellgate Stranglers, No-Fi Soul Rebellion and Sasshole have rocked the Northwest, playing shows in towns like Seattle and Portland quite a lot (and sometimes relocating to them). This is a photo of Kia from Sasshole rocking out, probably at Gibson's in the mid-90's. Kia amazingly posed nude in Aaron Muentz' infamous zine The Probe. These days Sasshole is still playing out live locally, according to their MySpace page. Hopefully they lost the film footage of Milli and Kia trying to de-pants me in parking lot behind Zak's (now Funhouse).

Band members: Kia on vocals, Dave on guitar, Milli on bass and Jen on drums.

The Spits


The Spits burst onto the Seattle music scene wearing a variety of goofy costumes and belting out keyboard and guitar punk reminiscent of the late '70s Killed By Death era of punk rock. Brothers Sean and Erin Wood were up front trading off vocal duties and playing guitar and bass and they were backed by quite a number of different drummers and keyboardists. Their live shows have always been great because not only of the costumes and fun catchy music, but bad jokes, banter with the audience, and the two brothers arguing, sometimes to the point of fists being thrown, on stage. I took this photo of the band in when I interviewed them at their house in Wallingford, the date stamp from my camera has to be wrong. When I was on the Bumbershoot Advisory board I managed to talk them in to booking The Spits for the festival. I think they got caught drinking beer they brought in the bathroom of the EMP and got banned from playing there again... but their show of course was great! They've released a variety of records since their debut 7" on Dirtnap in 2000, including a live LP or two. The essential Spits stuff to pick up is their albums on Nickel and Dime, Slovenly and Dirtnap.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fight Club at the Lake Union Pub

Seattle's Lake Union Pub was pretty legendary for its punk shows, drunken nights of debauchery, fights, etc. The Pub is probably the setting for a thousand great stories. This photo was from a night in 1995 when Garageshock was going on in Bellingham and a bunch of the bands were also playing Seattle. My friend Mark, Maximum Rock'n'Roll columnist and member of the Boise, Idaho band Haggis, was visiting. I said let's check out this great garage show! And it was a great show, but it probably wasn't the greatest impression of my favorite club to have about 10 zillion fights break out. The legendary Makers beat on some people dancing too hard and drunk in the pit, who later got put up against the wall in the photo (Hooch the guy on the far right has been bugging me for ages to scan this, I finally found it). Later all hell broke loose with all kinds of fights.

There are many accounts of how this night went down, here is the one from the old Statics page on the Rip-Off Records website:

"The Statics also played possibly their most infamous show that year, at the Lake Union Pub. It was a show going on during the Garage Shock ‘95 weekend, with The Statics, Kent 3, and Sinister Six. Most of The Rip Offs and The Makers were in attendance, and they noticed some skinheads that kept giving people a hard time and bumping into Zack’s mic when he tried to sing. The story goes the Makers started a fight with the skinheads at Greg Lowery’s urging, which turned into a horrendous all-out brawl that kept re-erupting as the night went on. Zack went in the alley after their set and saw the police with a bunch of skins against the wall, and overheard the skins saying “We’re gonna get those Mod motherfuckers”! Known to some as The All-Night Riot, it was better known as The Lake Union Pub Massacre, it’s victims immortalized in the thanks of The Makers middle-finger/self-titled LP."

Uh, as you can see in the photo, none of the people lined up against the wall are skins... they were a couple crusty/old school punk kids and half of them were girls. Also the Rip Offs weren't just in attendance, they played the show (wearing black stockings on their head with yellow police tape in front of them). The real fighting took place later in the evening after The Makers were long gone between skins, mods, punks and some Samoans and ended around 2am when a big skinhead was knocked out unconscious on the sidewalk out front and 3-4 cop cars converged on The Pub.

R. Seth Friedman

R. Seth Friedman was the final publisher of Factsheet Five and publisher of The Factsheet Five Zine Reader (as seen in the photo). Seth published F5 quarterly from 1991 until it folded in 1998. He gained mainstream media attention during the 1990s when zines became popular, and was often featured in panel discussions about the medium. I tabled next to Seth at the zine convention and shot this photo at in some art gallery in Pioneer Square. Seth was totally cool, he told me all kinds of zinester stories and gave me a free autographed copy of his book. I also met Aaron Cometbus for the second time this weekend, but Aaron deserves his own entry. Apparently Seth now lives in Portland, but he hasn't had anything to do with zines in a long time.

Odd R. Seth Friedman facts:
  • The movie Capturing the Friedmans is a documentary about his family and the allegations that his dad and brother sexually abused children. It's a great movie that really leaves you torn between them being railroaded and being guilty, and the trippy part is a lot of the footage was from the families' home movies. Seth refused to be part of the movie, but appears in a few of the clips as a kid
  • During the 1990s, Seth hosted a weekly poker game regularly attended by a number of fairly well-known zinesters, including John Marr of Murder Can Be Fun, Chris Becker, Jerod Pore (Poppin' Zits), Mark Saltveit (The Palindromist) and John Held (Bibliozine).

Courtney Love

If you know me, you've probably heard my Courtney Love stories at least once drunk at some party or outside at Funhouse, because they are fucking funny. A while back Fall of Autumn, a burgeoning zine collective, publishing house and indie movie making house asked me to tell the story for their Zinester Podcast series. I already had it written out as one of the chapters in the book I hope to someday finish, so it was kinda fun and also nerve wracking recording it. If you want to hear it, click the picture.

The Radio House

This is Felix Von Havoc's hardcore band Code 13 rockin' the fuck out in the living room of what became known as the Radio House (or Radio Tower House). There is nothing like a packed living room or basement of kids with the band rocking so hard everyone in the room is dancing and singing along. You are coated in sweat, beer, blood and god knows what else, but for a moment everyone is on totally the same wavelength, it's a shared experience that can make my spine tingle.

Felix lives in Minneapolis and went on to start his own label Havoc Records and become a regular columnist for Maximum Rock'n'Roll. This was probably taken before either of these things happened when he was just screaming in front of Code 13 in the early '90s.

Located just off Madison on 18th on the East side of Capital Hill was a house a bunch of punk kids moved into.
Since it was situated right by some huge radio towers, it eventually became known as The Radio House. Cameron Chapman and Jordan Rain lived there, amongst many others, I think Cameron did most of the band booking. They hosted local and touring bands and really fun house shows. An early AFI played there before they were big, playing on the same equipment as the Swingin' Utters, with the bands trading off every 3 or 4 songs. It ruled! Jawbreaker I think played The Radio House, as did Sicko, Patterns Make Sunrise, Mr. T Experience, The Quincy Punx, Submachine and quite a few other punk and emo bands. I set up a zine library there with about 250 zines on some shelves, but they were absolutely raided, people just took the zines they wanted home, it was kinda lame. I ran into Cameron just last week and caught up, which totally brought back all the great memories of the house shows he and his friends put on. Cameron used to write for 10 Things, book shows, and gave fairly legendary tours of Seattle. He's a great guy.

Area 51



Area 51 was a short-lived show venue in Pioneer Square during the mid-'90s, located about a block Southeast of the Velvet Elvis. It was like a dance club or something that started hosting punk shows, although I can't think they hosted more than 25. It had a black and whited checked floor and small stage, although you can't see either in these photos. I bunch of local bands played there like The Degenerats (shown in the photo), Bristle, and many more, as well as a few touring bands. The Casualties played their first Seattle show at Area 51.

Bikini Kill


"We're Bikini Kill and we want revolution, girl-style, noooooowwww!" When Bikini Kill burst onto the scene I loved them. They seemed couple pissed off punk rock, feminism and catchy music and they did it with humor. One of the things I think that was loss in the Riot Grrrl movement that followed was the sense of humor, people became far to serious, judgmental and mean when it got taken to the extreme. This photo is by Amy Halligan and taken when the band played at St. Joseph's, a Catholic Church on the backside of Capitol Hill that hosted a bunch of shows in it's lower gym. There was an incident where a bunch of riot grrrls got pissed at a guy for standing up front at this show and started hitting on him and eventually kicked him out of the show. He was dumbfounded on what had happened and why they hadn't just talked to him--the incident kinda highlighted the bad side of the riot grrrl movement to me. But I thought riot grrrl was great for the most part, it brought a bunch of new energy into the punk scene and got a ton of women involved producing zines, in bands, promoting shows and running labels. It was a good kick in the pants of the punk scene which at the time was growing a little boring and too male oriented. And Bikini Kill was pretty damn kick ass.

Seattle Punk Scene Photos


Sadly I can't remember the names of either of the girls in the first photograph, although I used to hang out drinking with them sometimes outside punk shows in the mid-'90s (update: Jenny and Lizzie, don't know how I could forget either). I am next to positive the photo was taken at Second Time Around Records in Seattle's U-District.

In the second photo we were hanging out drinking outside a church and I snapped a few photos. I'm not sure where this is, I'm guess in the U-District around 1994. Photo includes Larry Rickets, Beth, Jay from Point of Interest zine, Jason and a young Nils.

The Motards

There has always been a connection between Seattle and Austin, TX, I think in part because for a while we had a bunch of similar punk and garage bands and bands from both towns would hook each other up with shows and shit. For me the Texas band in the '90s that blew all the others away by far was The Motards. They were loud, fast and fucking great live, they had all the power of a band like the New Bomb Turks. Here they are playing live I think the first time they came to Seattle at the Lake Union Pub.

Band members:
Suzanne Bishop on drums, Dave Head on guitar, Toby Marsh on bass, Paul J on guitar and John Wilson on vocals. Their two albums on Empty Records are definitely worth seeking out: "The Motards Rock Kids" and "Saturday Night Special ED."

DC Beggars / Rathouse

"You're so pretty... and you make me sick!" I loved the DC Beggars, who had a fairly short-lived career in the early 1990's. The cover to the "You're So Pretty" 7" had a mirror on it, it ruled. This photo is of the band at The OffRamp. Some of the band went on to form the Dancing French Liberals of '48 with ex-Gits members. The DC Beggars were part of the Rathouse crew, a group of bands that had members or friends or that lived in or practiced at a Central District punk house called The Rathouse (some of the Gits lived there).

There was a compilation called "Bobbing for Pavement" that came out on Rathouse Records featuring the Rathouse bands and a few others. It was limited to 1000 copies and featured: Gas Huffer, The Derelicts, The Gits, DC Beggars, Bay Pigs, Hammerbox, Big Brown House, and My Name. A bunch of Rathouse bands were also on the "Powerflush" compilation CD that was co-released by Rathouse and SF label Broken Rekids and featured both Seattle and San Franciscan bands.


DC Beggars band members: Carla Sindle on vocals, Julian Gibson on guitar, Adrian Garver on bass and Steve "Hoagie" Gero on drums.

The Piss Drunks


You just have to love a band that cares so little about getting popular or what anyone thinks about them that they call themselves the Piss Drunks and put out an album titled "Urine Idiot." The amazing part is the album and band were actually great! Here they rocking The Storeroom in probably 1993, Joey Pissdrunk still looks kinda young and way skinnier too. Today he performs solo around town occasionally.

Band members: Buzzy on vocals, Joe on lead guitar, Howard on guitar, Barry on bass and Brian on drums.

My favorite song: "Black Label Me"

The Hellbound House


The Hellbound House was a punk house in Seattle's U-District during the mid-1990s. Gabe Kerbratz, who later became the Murder City Devil's roadie/practically a band member lived here with some other folks. Gabe did a zine who's name escapes me, but it used to have this hilarious comic strip about Abe Lincoln shooting steroids and fighting people. The Hellbound House was located right up the block from The Rainbow and Kinko's off 45th Ave by the freeway (at 4521 8th Ave). They would throw house shows for touring and local bands in their basement that were basically like fun parties. I can't actually recall any specific bands I saw play there, which is kinda sad. Probably bands like The Degenerats and Flight 800. I know there were a few crusty punk shows because I remember playing hacky sack with a bunch of crusty punks wasted on the lawn one night. This photo was from a show in the Summer of 1996 where the cops showed up and ID'd everyone that looked young leaving. This kid was a 14 year old runaway some crusty street kids had taken in and were taking care of... well until this night where the cops arrested him.

Welcome to the 10 Things Music Blog


From 1991-1999 I did what was probably the largest zine in the Northwest. 10 Things Jesus Wants You Know was an attempt to show the world the Seattle music scene in the 1990's that you didn't hear about when grunge made international headlines. We covered punk, garage rock, hardcore and other independent music. My friends and I took thousands of photos, interviewed close to 100 bands and went to countless shows. Since I'm a bit of a freak about documenting things, hate to see those bands and experiences forgotten as the world moves from print to the Web. Google Jesters of Chaos, the Lake Union Pub or Christ on a Crutch and you will find very little history... yet this is the shit that those of us in Seattle grew up on. I'll do my part to try to make sure a few of those memories make the jump in technology and get documented electronically. By all means, I'll be looking for your stories, photos and input as well, my mind grows a little foggy after so many shows and beers. Cheers!