Sunday, September 30, 2007


Detestation was another in a long string of great Portland anarcho-crust punk bands. Formed in 1994, the band was made up of ex-members of Resist, Defiance, and Starved and Delerious. The female vocals helped set this band apart, especially when it was coupled with brutal metally punk and dark images. These photos are from a show they played at The Radio House. Their "Massacre of Hate" CD, which contains a bunch of their vinyl releases, is still available through a bunch of punk distros.

Band members: Saira on vocals, Kelly on bass, Brian on guitar and Dominic on drums.

Today Kelly plays in the Pierced Arrows with Fred and Toody from Dead Moon, as well as Severed Head of State and the reunited Defiance. Saira is now a fashion designer in Minneapolis and plays bass in shock punk band Faggot.

(Thanks to the couple of blog readers who recognized the band in my photos when I was trying to recall their name!)


This photo of Akimbo is from when they played the University branch of the Seattle Public Library. Darlene Nordike and a few other rock'n'roll librarians used to put on some great punk and rock shows in different neighborhood branches of the library, it was awesome. Akimbo are a fun band that walk the line between hardcore and metal with definite gamer geek overtones. Totally in the vein of other local bands like Bloodhag and Teen Cthulhu.

Band members: Aaron Walters on guitar and vocals, Jon Weisnewski on bass and vocals, and Nat Damm on drums.

Friday, September 28, 2007


One of those punk bands I've seen a ton of times is DOA, mainly because over the years they've released so many records and toured relentlessly. But they also used to be a band that often wouldn't show up for their Seattle shows... the promoters would always claim they got stuck at the border. Still, I probably have seen them a dozen times, and even in their older years, they still put on a decent show and pull out all their old hits. This shot of Joey Shithead is from a show at The Off-Ramp in the late-'90s.

Zine Fiend Festival

The Zine Fiend Festival was a zine festival and zine art show that took place in Seattle, Washington in the Summer of 1997. The festival was hosted by the Project 416 Art Gallery, located at 416 Occidental Ave South. The festival featured a ton of Washington zine artists and publishers, as well as a few out of town guests like Aaron Cometbus and R. Seth Friedman. And the Primate 5 and other bands played at night! I tabled between Chris "Wez" Lundry of Pooldust zine and Seth from Factsheet Five, it rocked. The highlight for me was hanging out smoking with a bunch of zinesters and Aaron Cometbus accusing me of not liking him, which couldn't have been farther from the truth. Creepy cool artwork by local artist and zinester Blair Wilson.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Guitar Wolf

October 23, 1997, Guitar Wolf opened up for The Cramps at Seattle's Showbox Theater (also on the bill were The Demolition Doll Rods). This was my second time seeing The Cramps, but my first time beholding the Japanese rock'n'roll stars Guitar Wolf. The band came out in black leather pants and motorcycle jackets, then soon stripped down to wife-beaters! They totally rocked the joint and were a perfect opener for a band like The Cramps.


I first heard Seattle punk legends Sicko when I was at Fallout Records one day browsing the demo tape case and picked up their new 3-song demo. It was super catchy and fast pop punk, I loved it from the get go. While jamming out to "FB Song" I looked through all the info on the tape and spotted the band's address and phone number. No way, they lived about 15 blocks from me! So I called up and talked to one of the band members and lined up and interview with them for later that week at one of their practices. This photo is from the very first time I saw Sicko live, practicing in their basement in September of 1992 in their house along the side of I-5 by Seattle's U-District. Somewhere I think I still have a recording of the interview and a few songs I recorded that day, I hope to stumble upon it and put it up as an MP3 some day. I bet Denny only wishes he had this much hair still.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Manna, Bloody LaManna

That photo I posted of Duane Peters' bloody forehead yesterday made me recall an old picture of The Valentine Killers I had. Sure enough, I found it!

The setting: Gibson's Bar & Grill in downtown Seattle in the middle of 1999 (ignore the incorrect date stamp on the photo). Brian Foss was booking the shows and Friday nights there was an awfully tempting double-whiskey sour in a pint glass drink special that lead singer Brian LaManna was fond of. A few songs into The VK's set he smashed his drink glass on the floor and sliced his forehead open. He dripped blood the rest of the show. Later I remember Stu being kinda pissed about it, but from the crowd's viewpoint, it was pretty awesome!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Apocalypsticks

Bambi of The Apocalypsticks (possibly one of the best band names evar) performing live at the OffRamp in June of 2001. Bambi went on to be in The Razorbabes and then The Rotten Apples.

Duane Peters

Master of Disaster Duane Peters has been skateboarding for over 25 years and has been credited with helping skateboarding evolve by the invention of a number of tricks in the '80s. In 1993 he formed the punk band U.S. Bombs and in 2000 he formed the band Duane Peters and The Hunns. In 2001 he started dating Corey Parks of Nashville Pussy. In 2002 he came to Seattle's Sea Sk8 to perform with his band and skate for fans on August 24th. It was a trip to see this little tattoo covered legend strut out with blonde Parks a good foot taller than him, then rip off his shirt and start skating a few hours before his band played. He was all over the place stepping up the level of skating and didn't blink for a moment when he gashed his head open and blood started pouring out.

He just wiped it aside and kept skating. Parks and Peters later married and had a son named Clash and Peters runs a label called Disaster Records that put out a great album by locals The Hollowpoints, among others.


I actually watched quite a bit of the " Rock Star: Supernova" show on television, hoping Portland's Storm Large would win. But I still thought it was ridiculous they were naming the band Supernova when there was already a great band in existence with that name. Apparently the producers of the show weren't smart enough to Google the name first. This is a shot of Supernova from 1996 playing at Moe's on Seattle's Capital Hill (now Neumo's).

Formed in 1989, the real Supernova are a great pop punk band who many of us got into through Sub Pop's rival label Amphetamine Reptile, who released their first album entitled "Ages 3 & Up." The best part about the band? They wore fucking spacesuits! They even claimed to be from outer space! Awe. Some. Man, those suits must having been fucking hot to play in live. The band has a whole fake mythology about coming from the planet Cynot 3 and crashing their rock'n'roll spaceship on earth that's hilarious (and pretty much ripped off by Peelander Z, who I also love). Today the band is still around playing live shows, but perhaps even cooler is this crazy kid show some of the members are involved with called "Yo Gabba Gabba!"

Monday, September 24, 2007


Decrepit was a crusty grindcore band from Seattle during the late '90s featuring members of Whipped, Cease and Desist and Whorehouse of Representatives. The were heavy, loud and powerful. The band put out one LP and a bunch of split 7"s, all their vinyl releases were put on one CD by Czerwony Diablek Records. This shot is of the band playing at Second Time Around Records in the U-District.

Band members: Doug on vocals, Jim on bass, Jay on guitar and Jon on drums.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Degenerats

The Degenerats live at Club 99 (I think that's what it was called), a short-lived club doing shows in Pioneer Square around the corner from The Velvet Elvis. Geezus, check out Nils' hair, his eyebrows are even died green and purple. He looks like the punk rock Joker.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Stratford Mercenaries

The Stratford Mercenaries were a UK punk supergroup around during the late '90s (1997 to 2000 specifically). The band featured Steve Ignorant from Crass on vocals, Gary from Dirt on guitar, Phil from The Buzzcocks on drums, Ed from the Suicidal Supermarket Trolleys on bass, Mariska from Oheisvasara on keyboards, and Stick from Doom also on drums. They toured the U.S. after only releasing one single, the big names of the band members was enough to draw good-sized crowds. This photo is from their first tour when they played Rkcndy 4/23/97.

The Tri-Cities invades Seattle!

In the late '80s there was a wave of people from the Tri-Cities (Hanford, Richland and Pasco) that moved to Seattle and got involved in the local music scene. Paula Senn (AKA Paula Milkbone) booked shows at Washington Hall and later became the singer for Whipped. Nate Mendel, Erik Akre and Glen Essary arrived with their band Christ on a Crutch. Carrie Akre fronted Hammerbox, Mike from Aspirin Feast and a couple others. A decade later in the 1990's another bunch of miscreants arrived, including Vas, Jed Maheu and Kevin Flush. This picture is great because they were all still in highschool and had road tripped up from Richland to a show at the Black Cat and were drunk goofy little kids still.

Gorilla Gardens

"We played the very first show at Gorilla Gardens, where Soundgarden played their second show ever. That was like the place where all the out of town bands would play all-ages shows. A total rip-off joint." -Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden/March of Crimes)

"At the time, the local tavern rock scene was dominated by granola R&B with an occasional serving of loopy new wave. Metal ruled the burbs to the east of Lake Washington. Most of the early bands who would later be associated with the embryonic 'Seattle sound' were still playing at Gorilla Gardens, an unsavory all-ages club." -Sub Pop's Jonathan Poneman (Spin, 9/92)

I was a bit young to catch most of the shows at Gorilla Gardens, but I caught a few in 1985 while in highschool. Oddly enough the first time I checked out this legendary punk club was to see The Green Pajamas, a more psychedelic rock band two of my highschool friends were doing a class project on. Located at the edge of Seattle's International District (still called Chinatown back then) off of 5th Avenue and Jackson, this all-ages club featured two different stages/rooms for bands to play in - Gorrilla Gardens and The Omni Room. The club was managed by Doug Mays, who also managed the band X-15 (who later became Life in General). The shows I went to were all local bands and one cover got you into both rooms. At times you could walk back and forth between the two and bands would be playing in each. Bands like Bam Bam, Green River and The Fartz seemed to play Gorilla Gardens a lot, but the venue also pulled in good-sized touring bands like The Ramones, Circle Jerks, Guns'n'Roses, Sonic Youth, Violent Femmes, Hüsker Dü and Butthole Surfers.

Eventually the club shut down and relocated for a short time to the Fremont neighborhood (I think in late 1985). While Gorilla Gardens flew under the radar as an underground club for most of it's existence, it was thrust into the spotlight in January of 1986 when the Circle Jerks played. A couple songs into the headliner's set the Fire Marshall busted into the venue and shut down the show. Needless to say, the crowd wasn't so happy, bottles started flying and cops stormed in and started beating people with clubs. As people ran outside the club chaos ensued--cops chased punks, punks through snowballs at cops (it was during a snowstorm), more kids were beat, dumpsters were lit on fire, a car or two were tipped over. I remember watching it on the TV news with my folks at home thinking, "Damn, I should be there!" and my parents being outraged that it was a club I'd gone to and all the kids run amok.

UPDATE: The address of the second location for Gorilla Gardens was uncovered by a blog reader recently on an old Accused flyer. It turns out it wasn't in Fremont after all, but across the Fremont bridge in the Queen Anne neighborhood at
307 Nickerson:

View Larger Map

This is a partial list of shows at Gorilla Gardens:
(I'd love help filling it out if people have old flyers)

02/31/84- Fastbacks, Young Fresh Fellows
01/11/85- The Wipers, Girl Trouble
01/19/85- Sonic Youth, U-Men, Green River
01/25/85- Violent Femmes
02/23/85- Hüsker Dü, Rancid Vat, Limp Richards, Thrown-Ups
02/24/85- Hüsker Dü, Melvins, Soundgarden
??/??/85- The Faction, Manifest Destiny, Insolents
06/08/85- Fastbacks, Guns N' Roses, 5150
06/28/85- Adrenaline O.D., The Accused, False Liberty, Inverted Morals
08/16/85- Sonic Youth, Green River, Upright Citizens
12/31/85- Green River, Shadow
06/06/86- GBH, Frightwig
??/??/86- DRI, 7 Seconds, NPO

Thursday, September 20, 2007

At The Drive-In

In 1993 a spazzy "post hardcore" band from El Paso, Texas burst onto the underground music scene. They wore all black, had music that at times seemed to have elements of art rock and others harnessed the energy of hardcore. The band was called At The Drive-In. After releasing a number of 7" singles, the band's debut LP/CD, "Acrobatic Tenement," came out in 1996 on Flipside Records (the label run by Flipside fanzine). Around that time the band toured the States and played a free show in Seattle at Second Time Around Records in the University District (where I took these photos). The band's live show was nothing short of explosive, with the singer and band members jumping and flying about up against the audience, each other, and rolling around on the floor. The band broke up in 2001 and members went on to form The Mars Volta and Sparta.

Piss Drunks at Gibson's

I've already written about both Gibson's and The Piss Drunks in previous blog articles, but combined, much like chocolate and peanut butter, they were great together. Friday night's special at Gibson's was often a double-whiskey sour served in a pint glass. Oh boy would two of those knock you on your ass and get you primed for a band like The Piss Drunks. This is a crowd shot of a typical Friday night at Gibson's with the Drunks rockin' out on the small stage up against the front windows. Typically at least sometime during the show someone really drunk or high would stop and stair at the bands through the window, sometimes making faces, dancing, or doing something crazy and becoming part of the show for the crowd.

The Obliterated

I don't think I ever owned any records by Portland, Oregon punk band The Obliterated, but I saw them a handful of times live back in the mid-'90s. The lead singer was totally cute and had great female vocals and the rest of the band had spiked punk hair and played old school punk with a great edge to it. Here they are playing at The Radio House.


My friends Larry and Beth were completely into Turbonegro before me... and before everyone's obsession with them. They'd play "Ass Cobra" drinking beer and sing along to the ridiculous lyrics. But I have to say, within a few listens I was hooked. So when Turbonegro played their first Seattle show at Uncle Rockey's (which Amy and I called La Cucaracha because of the all cockroaches you'd spot in the place), we were there front and center. Apparently the brilliance that is Turbonegro hadn't quite caught on yet, there were only like 50-60 people at the show. The band was disappointed too, "Vee are huuuuuge in Europe," they exclaimed. Not matter, they put on a hell of a show which included the singer trying to get someone to swallow his snotty spit and lighting fireworks out of his ass. Damn, it was awesome.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Flight 800

Flight 800 were great because of the dichotomy in the singers. While they were screamy hardcore, one singer looked the part with crusty band tshirts and dreadlocks, but look at the other guy! The tall, skinny dude with glasses and a Hawaiian shirt. was the second singer. Awesome. Here they are in the mid-90's playing in someone's living room at a party.

New Bomb Turks

In 1993 Columbus, Ohio band The New Bomb Turks released the album "Destroy-Oh-Boy!!" which pretty much gave a major kick in the ass to the punk and garage rock scenes. Easily one of the top ten albums of the last decade, the band seemingly came out of nowhere with a full album packed of catchy, fast and raw rock'n'roll that was the complete antithesis to the grunge scene in Seattle. In punk zines and underground music magazines across the States and Europe huge praise was heaped upon the record and the band, who helped spark a revitalized punk rock movement. I can't understate how important The New Bomb Turks were to underground rock in the '90s, as well as my own music fandom. "Destroy-Oh-Boy!!" was the shot of adrenaline I needed at the time, much like Bad Religion's "Suffer" five years earlier. Harnessing the spirit of bands like The Dead Boys and Pagans, updating it with a garagey-feel, breakneck speeds, catchy songwriting, and witty, insightful and sometimes dark lyrics, The New Bomb Turks were the total package.

NBT touring in support of their first album and played Seattle's Off Ramp. I met up with the band before their show and along with Rev. Rot'n'Hell from Vancouver's Gee-Zus zine. We sat around in a van drinking and talking with the band for an hour or two, they were super cool dudes. I saw the band probably every Seattle show they played over the years. This photo is from the band headlining at the Gold Coast in Vegas in front of a couple thousand people during the infamous Vegas Shakedown weekend. I ended up grabbing a cab with singer Eric back to the airport when the Vegas festival was over, which was awesome. Fantastic band and most of their albums are worth picking up, especially:
  • Destroy-Oh-Boy!! (1993)
  • Information Highway Revisited (1994)
  • Pissing Out the Poison: Singles & Other Swill... (1995)
  • Scared Straight (1996)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Voodoo Glow Skulls

This photo I took of Riverside, California band The Voodoo Glow Skulls in 1993 or 1994 at Seattle's King Theater. I arranged an interview with the band, so I got into the theater early and we hung out and did the interview and photoshoot in the movie theater's old projection room (hence the film reels behind the band and the marquee sign letters).The band members were totally fucking hilarious and told me a bunch of stories and we goofed around for a good hour. The band was a fun ska-punk band that had just put out their second LP, "Who Is, This Is?" on Dr. Strange Records and got instantly hugely popular. They are still around today and now have eleven albums under the belt, the newest is titled "Southern California Street Music."

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

For Valentine's Day in 2001, garage rock band The Valentine Killers booked a show at Seattle's Comet Tavern and billed it as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. The band completely coated themselves in fake blood before coming out to blast out a fun set to fans.

The real Saint Valentine's Day massacre was a shooting during prohibition times in February of 1929 in Chicago. The South Side Italian gang led by Al Capone lined up against the wall six members of the North Side Irish/German gang led by Bugs Moran, who were killed along with a mechanic in the garage where the murders took place.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Trots

This photo is from the mid-90s at a house party. The band is The Trots, with Owen screaming up front. Tri-Cities transplants Kevin Flush and Jed are up front screaming along. Today Owen and I agonized watching the Seahawks go down to Arizona. There are some in the punk community that are totally anti-sports... fuck 'em, football RULEZ.

The Casualties

In the early 1980's there were a couple bands that capitalized on the punk image to form bands... that were basically more about image and style than punk rock. In the UK there was The Exploited, who had the punk rock look down but had about the dumbest lyrics ever. They got dubbed "postcard punks," which was a name for fashion punks in the UK that posed for pictures for money, some of which ended up on postcards of England supposedly depicting punk rockers. In the US the epitome of the phenomena in the early '80s was exemplified by the California band The Surf Punks. But one good thing The Surf Punks did was hit the mainstream via the movie "Urgh A Music War" and in record stores, since they were signed to Sony early on. Sadly as a highschool kid growing up in the 'burbs of Seattle in the early '80s, The Surf Punks (along with Suicidal Tendencies and Black Flag) were one of the first punk bands I started listening to. In the '90s the most obvious postcard punk bands were The Casualties and The Blanks 77. New York City band The Casualties in particular were so over the top and ridiculous with their fashion and hairstyles that even fans like me had to laugh at their records, lyrics and live show. The band members were nice guys and their first album is great, but they always still felt completely ridiculous to me compared to the rest of the punk bands at the time that took their music and lyrics far more seriously than their image. This shot is of The Casualties in Seattle on their first tour to the West Coast in support of their 1997 album "For The Punx,"

Friday, September 14, 2007

Stiff Little Fingers

Two of my top 25 albums of all time are by Stiff Little Fingers, 1979's "Inflammable Material" and 1980's "Nobody's Heroes." Outside of the punk scene not too many people even know who the band is, but I think they were fantastic. That first album is raw and gritty, it was like Ireland's answer to The Clash. The vocals are rough, songs catchy, and most of the lyrics were fairly political. The second album, released only a year later, found the band moving in a bit of a more pop direction much like The Buzzcocks did. Both albums are totally great and worth seeking out. I loved the band and finally got to see them live about 8 years ago at RKCNDY when they were well past their prime. They still put on an excellent show for old guys and didn't massacre their old songs thankfully. These shots I took at that show. It's funny, the crowd shot almost looks like it could be from the late '70s.

Legs McNeil

Legs McNeil was one of the founders of the legendary "Punk Magazine" in the late '70s and is author of the excellent book "Please Kill Me." He claims to be the first person to use the word punk to describe the music we listen to. "Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk" was published in 1997 and co-authored with Gillian McCain. In researching the book Legs and Gillian did countless hours of interviews with most of the major players of the early punk scene left alive and put together a history of early punk through mostly quotes from these interviews. It's a fantastic read that any music fan should pick up and pour through if they haven't already. This photo is from a reading Legs and Gillian did at Fallout Records. He was very funny in person and talked also about the book he was writing about the porn industry, which has now been published. When he was in town we lined up an interview with him for my old magazine Tablet. Jenny Hayes from Fallout and I think Meghan from Empty took him to the Experience Music Project thinking he might like the rock'n'roll museum. He freaked out and begged to leave, saying rock and roll just doesn't belong in a museum. I couldn't agree more!

The Gits

I stumbled across this great early photo I took of The Gits last night, it's from a show at The Off Ramp from 1992:

Punk Fiesta

A decade ago in July of 1997, this girl named Mell put on a punk rock festival at a campground in the middle of nowhere a few hours from Seattle. Creatively named "The Punk Fiesta" it drew a wide variety of bands, mostly from Washington, but also a few bigger crusty California bands. Fuck if I can remember all the bands that played, but the fest did include: Divisia, The Resistance, The Degenerats, Detestation, Whorehouse of Representatives, The Bloodclots, and The Obliterated. Probably around a hundred punk rockers camped out for the weekend and a bunch more would drive for the day to watch the bands. Which is what we did, we packed our shitty old car with me, Amy, Owen, Beth, Larry and as much beer as we could carry. I have no idea where it was actually held, but I do remember driving down a long dusty logging road with a big amphitheater and campground at the end, loaded with the stinkiest, drunkest, dirt covered punx I'd seen since the last time I walked down The Ave. Ha ha ha!

This first photo is of Owen, me and Larry at a hamburger joint we stopped at along the way that had Hagar the Horrible as their logo. I totally miss the Discharge shirt, I wish I knew what happened to it.

This second photo is the campground. The bands actually played in the dirt. Punk rock!

This of The Degenerats playing live. Note Dean's headwound and the younger plumper Nils. Now Nils sings for The Greatest Hits.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Courtney Love

Less than 60 seconds after I handed a copy of my zine to Kurt Cobain and walked back over to my friends, I heard an awful ear-shattering squeal. The crowd lingering after Fugazi’s powerful show began parting like the Red Sea from the source of the racket, through the entire club, towards me. At the end of this corridor of music fans stood Courtney Love. She was drunk, irate and yelling someone’s name. I quickly realized as the crowd parted right up to where I was standing with friends, that it was my name Courtney was yelling. Holy shit! I gulped fear as I saw her eyes widen, honing in on the obvious target of her anger… me! As Courtney began charging through the club towards me and I prepared for an unavoidable confrontation, I took a moment to think about how I got myself in this situation.

I’d been publishing my fanzine 10 Things since 1991 with the help of a bunch of friends. We wrote about local Seattle bands, reviewed zines and music, interviewed musicians, and usually had tons of columns and editorials on everything from recipes and fashion to politics and social issues. After two years our hodgepodge of underground music and alternative ideas had grown into a fairly popular zine, slapped together in what I hoped was an entertaining package--written, designed, assembled and distributed totally by my friends and I.

One night at one of my favorites clubs, The Off Ramp, I spotted Courtney Love and some of the other members of her band Hole sitting in a booth. The newest issue of 10 Things was hot off the presses and I knew I had shit-talked about Love moving to town and sinking her claws into Kurt Cobain. Since I had brought a pile of my zines to the club, I did what any self-respecting zinester would do--I walked over to Courtney, introduced myself, and gave her a copy. It couldn’t have been five minutes before she came running over to talk to me and I was sure I was going to get yelled at. Love’s reputation had got around Seattle fast. She was known as a drama queen that was usually wasted and loved to make scenes. And boy was she wasted when she came to talk to me. Luckily it turned out she was a bit too wasted to read and hadn’t gotten to the part in my zine yet where I gossiped about her. It wasn’t a lengthy editorial on my part, but I had mentioned she seemed to have moved to town and was clearly after Kurt Cobain’s money and fame. But Courtney said nothing of my comments at all. Sweet, I thought to myself, I’m off the hook! She instead told me she liked my zine and went on a 20 minute ramble about how crappy Seattle’s college radio station was. The station, KCMU (now KEXP), was embroiled in a huge controversy after trying to limit the heavier music DJs played--ironically at the height of the grunge explosion. Over half the DJs were on strike. Courtney said she and Kurt wanted to lodge some kind of protest, but her drunken ideas didn’t seem very well thought out. She then proceeded to tell me the reason she was at the club that night was to steal the bass player of Janitor Joe, the Minneapolis band that was about to take the stage. Janitor Joe was Joe Breuer from The Bastards new band and I loved their 7” singles I had picked up. I was there to see them rock out, however, rather than steal one of their band members. Love continued, saying she helped break up Joe’s previous band and was going to break up Janitor Joe, like she had The Bastards. Nice! I completely thought she was talking shit, but sure enough, within a few months bass player Kirsten Pfaff had left to join Hole. Janitor Joe, however, continued with a new bassist. In June of 1994, Kirsten Pfaff died of an overdose, a little over a year after joining up with Courtney Love.

Even though Love was loaded and shit-talking when I ran into her at the Off Ramp, I ended up having a decent conversation with her. She was funny and flirty, and while certainly not someone I’d trust, I definitely saw a bit of her human side shine through that night. I went home and listened to a couple of my Hole singles (I don't think they had an album out yet) and came to the conclusion I had been kind of an asshole in what I’d written. So I wrote a small editorial for next issue of 10 Things in which I mentioned finally meeting Courtney. I apologized for printing gossip about her. Over the next few months I spotted Courtney at a party or two (once at the Jalepeno House in the U-District), but avoided talking to her until my new zine came out with the retraction.

Fast forward to the Fugazi show where this story began. I had seen Kurt Cobain sitting on a bench staring around aimlessly like he was pretty high, just after Fugazi finished their encore. “Nevermind” had already bolted Kurt and Nirvana into being mega-stars. It was actually the first time since the album was released that I had seen him out at a club trying to blend in. It wasn’t working of course. Everyone was whispering about Cobain being there, but no one was talking to him. So I did. I walked up and said hi, made some small talk about the show we had just watched, and I gave him a copy of my zine. Kurt smiled, said thanks, he like my zine, and started reading it as I walked away. Courtney Love must have walked up soon afterwards, seen him reading the zine, and began screaming for my head on a spike.

So there I was talking to my friends when the crowd parted and a yelling and irate Love came charging at me. She instantly got up in my face and told me she had read the zine I’d given her months before and was totally pissed at me. She said she felt betrayed because she thought we had a great conversation, then got home and read my editorial. I tried to explain I wrote it before meeting her, but she cut me off again and again. Courtney was truly an amazing piece of work, she laid into me for what seemed like five minutes without stopping to breathe. She ranted and raved about a wide variety of things that had nothing to do with me. It seemed like I represented everything bad that had been said about her in the press. She told me that she really was smart, that she was an accomplished musician in her own right, and how much she loved Kurt. About then she stopped, smiled at me, and asked to bum a cigarette. Immediately after I lit her smoke, her smile faded and Love started back up with the verbal assault. How pissed could she really be at me? And how weird was this whole experience? I was barely absorbing what Courtney was saying, I had too much going on in my head and she was droning on and on. A rockstar was screaming at me in a club because of something I’d said in my little punk rock fanzine. And there was a good-sized crowd gathering around us to watch the spectacle unfold. At some point I just started laughing. Thankfully, Love started smiling too. While she continued to yell at me, her volume level dropped a little and it seemed like she was just doing this for fun. Fun at my expense, sure, but at least she wasn’t entirely serious or angry. She was soon smiling the entire time she continued to rant at me. Eventually the situation calmed down and she paused long enough for me to blurt out, “Courtney, after meeting you I wrote an apology in my new zine!” We walked over to where Kurt Cobain was and took a look at the copy I’d handed him together. She made a half-hearted attempt to get him involved, saying “Kurt, this is the guy that thinks I’m just after your fame and money!” He seemed a bit too high or bored to care, he just kind of smiled and handed her the zine. After the longest pause in her now 15 minute rant, she read the paragraph with my apology. Then Courtney looked at me, smiled, and said, “Oh, it’s all good then. No big deal.” I quickly used the opportunity to leave the drama of the situation and rendezvous with my friends.

As I walked away I thought about Courtney’s final words. “No big deal?” I had just gotten yelled at for 15 minutes in a crowded club by Courtney Love with Kurt Cobain by her side. No big deal my ass, that was fucking awesome!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Doc Martens

There is this great scene from The Young Ones where Alexei Sayle is singing a song about Dr. Martens boots in the living room during the "Oil" episode. "Doctor Martens... Doctor Martens boots!"

I can't remember when I first saw a pair of Docs, but I know by about 1987 I had to have a pair. Back then you had to mailorder them from England, much like Manic Panic hair dye, until John Fluevog shoes in downtown Seattle started carrying them. I bought my first pair for around $120, which was insanely expensive in the late '80s. But they were way cooler than combat boots for aspiring punk rockers. The big fear at that time was that skinheads would steal your boots. They were known for chasing down punk kids, beating on them, slicing their laces with a blade and stealing their boots. If a skin asked you what size your boots were, you'd get out of there quick! We'd even lace them different to make them hard to steal by tyeing a knot on one end and lacing it all the way through from the bottom to the top. It looked pretty rad too.

And lace colors were a total big deal. I remember an Anti Racist Action huge mohawked dude at the Lake Union Pub giving my friend total shit for having red laces, calling him white power and fascist. He totally wanted to brawl with us. It was funny too, because it was my friend Tony who had red laces... because he was Native American! He had long hair and brown skin and looked very native, hell he was usually getting into fights with Nazi skins himself.

It wasn't long before you could buy cheaper Docs around town at places like Retro Viva and The Cramp on Broadway... and even later Nordstrom's. My favorite pair of Docs were 20-hole bright blue ones I bought at The Cramp, they were totally ridiculous, but I loved them. My friend Karl bought a pair of pink steel-toed Docs at The Cramp as well and for the next few years was often referred to as Pink Doc Karl. Ha ha ha! Nowadays Dr. Martens are everywhere, no one cares about your laces, and they are priced like any other boots. But back in the '80s they were a huge deal and you suffered through the first month of heal pain because it was that cool to have on a pair of Docs.

Here is what the lace colors were said to mean back in the day:
  • White = White power/white pride, but also traditionalist/non-racist since it was so common
  • Red = Neo-Nazi/National Front, but alternatively used to identify Left Wing or Socialist (AKA a redskin)
  • Blue = Killed a cop. Also worn by SHARPs/anti-racist
  • Yellow = Worn by SHARPs/anti-racist
  • Green = Neutral/non-racist
  • Black = Traditionalist skin, punk kid, neutral, or wearing the laces the boots were sold with
  • Black + White = Two Tone/into ska or racial unity
  • Plaid = Non-racist/neutral

Poison Idea and Naked Aggression

This is a pretty funny photo backstage at the OK Hotel during the Naked Aggression and Poison Idea show. Slayer Hippy is blowing Jeff's beer, while Mondo and Jamie look on.

The Suffocated

The Suffocated had a short, but fun run, playing old school punk with a bit of rock'n'roll vibe during the mid-90s in Seattle. This is a photo of them live at The Off Ramp. Much of the band went on to form The Berserkers.

Band members: Johnny D on vocals, Paul Blow on lead guitar, and Maddy Matt (ex-Jesters of Chaos) on rhythm guitar.

Paul "Ace Diamond" Blow now is in The Space Cretins and Maddy Matt is in The Bloodclots.

Angel Hair

I'm back from vacation and I'm ready to rock with more entries...

In the Hush Harbor article I mentioned emo in the '90s when it was less commercial and more of an indie hardcore movement. Angel Hair, Heroin, Clikitat Ikatowi, Mohinder and Antioch Arrow, along with the record label Gravity, defined the Sand Diego sound of the mid-'90s. It was loud, spastic, screamed hardcore noise with occasional moments of calm before the chaos erupted again. Angel Hair brought anger and rage to the forefront of their music in a way not too many band before them had. This photo is of Angel Hair live in the basement of the Goat House from around 1995.

  • Self-titled 7" (Gravity)
  • Insect Mortality LP/CD (Gravity)
  • Pregnant With the Senior Class LP/CD (Comp of all material, 1997, Gravity)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Hush Harbor

Remember when emo wasn't some radio rock blend of pop and hardcore played by goth dudes? Back in the '80s and early '90s emo meant emotional hardcore. Emo bands were into the DC sound of more melodic hardcore (Rites of Spring, Embrace, Gray Matter) or the crazy noise coming out of California on Gravity Records (Heroin, Mohinder, Angel Hair, Antioch Arrow, Universal Order of Armageddon). Seattle's answer was bands like Hush Harbor and Sunny Day Real Estate in the early '90s. Sunny Day got hugely popular thanks to signing with Sub Pop, but I always seemed to like Hush Harbor better. Of course that could be because the bass player lived right by me and dated a friend and I hung out with him a bunch right when the band formed. They had the soft-loud-soft-loud formula down pat, great catchy songs, and emotional sounding vocals. This is a shot of Hush Harbor live at The Velvet Elvis from around 1994.

Band members:
John Atkins on vocals and guitar, John Wickhart on bass, and Andy Rohrmann on drums

Frontman John Atkins went on to form 764-Hero, The Magic Magicians, and The Can't See.


  • Self-titled 5-song EP/CD (1995, Up Records)
  • Cut on "Stacked Up" compilation CD (1995, Up Records)

The Putters

In the early '90s The Putters were one of those bands that were in perfect step with my idea of the sound from that period. Rather than listening to a lot of grunge, I was listening more to garage fueled punk and rock bands bands like The New Bomb Turks, Earl's Family Bombers, Zeke, Gas Huffer, The Fumes, The Supersuckers and The Putters. The Putters played around town a lot and put out a couple 7"s and one great LP on Empty (which kicks off with the totally rocking song "Muscle Car" and never lets up). Empty is still selling the album, it's definitely worth picking up. Singer James Erdman now fronts The Black Fairies. This live shot is from 1992 at The Off Ramp.

Band members: James Erdman on bass and vocals, Robert Scafe on guitar, Nathan Hill on guitar and Bryant Grace drums (Tony Hardiman was original drummer before any recorded material.

Funny story about the band's history from Nathan Hill's old website:

We were getting ready for a show at Speedy O' Tubs in Bellingham with Gas Huffer and to make a long story short, James and Tony got in a fight 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave and Tony quit the band on the spot. Desperate to carry on, I called my roommate Bryant and said "get your ass over here, you're playing with us tonight." Bryant and Robert went over the songs in the back of the truck on the way up. We played 5 songs badly and Bryant was signed up for good. With Bryant we went on to record the "John Hicks" single for Bag of Hammers, and the "Fear of Women" full length for Empty Records. Shortly before breaking up the Putters recorded 4 songs with Sean Hollister (of King Krab, Valis, Kitty Kitty): Kim, Selling A Bridge, Puerto Rico, and Revenge at John and Stu's Place in Seattle.

  • John Hicks 7" (1991, Bag of Hammers)
  • Muscle Car 7" (1992, Empty Records)
  • Fear Of Women CD/LP (1994, Empty Records)