My name is Everett True. That means little or nothing to you. That is how it should be. Ephemeral. Transient. Pissing futilely in the face of Bruce Springsteen fans the world over, sooner or later our light dims and you get big gaudy flashing neon replacement signs that read, READ ALL ABOUT IT! 100 GREATEST PACIFIC NORTHWEST BANDS OF ALL TIME EXCLUSIVE TO ONLY A THOUSAND WEBSITES TODAY.
You’re too busy celebrating the fifth anniversary of the 10th anniversary of the fifth anniversary of the fourth anniversary of the first anniversary of when record companies the world over realised they could make money by continuing to flog a dead horse (Nirvana) from here (Olympia) to the next millennium. That’s good. That’s as it should be. You’ve got shit taste in music anyway.
I was a music editor of The Stranger at the arse end of 1998. I did not have an official title. I’d been fired from my role as a professional British freeloader a few months earlier, and my interview for the post (at Sea-Tac, as I was about to leave town) went something like this.
"Why the fuck do you want this job?"
Looking back on it, I always considered it a plus that I hadn’t tried to deck my interviewer beforehand.
I wrote a story the week before I arrived centered round my collection of Spice Girls dolls: "Ten Reasons Why I Think I Might Be Gay." It was the only time I was given a strapline on the cover.
I vividly recall being told by then-editor Emily White that within a week of my arrival I had broken every rule of local journalism, alongside several others she didn’t know existed.
I also equally vividly recall being asked at a house party by our excitable publisher, Tim Keck, what my next week’s column was about. I responded thus:
"Well, Tim. I don’t know..."
"How don’t you know?" (It was due the next day.)
"Well, I didn’t write it."
"You didn’t write it?" Tim stopped, con- founded for a second. Perked up. "Ah, I get it. You got a friend to write it, all the better to reveal insights into your personality and the local music scene."
"Ah, no," I confessed. "I was on the phone to someone I had never spoken to before earlier today, and I liked the thrust of their conversation. So I asked them to write my column for me. It’s about UK TV shows from the 1970s" Pause. "Made-up ones."
It’s best not to have titles. Certainly not when that musician showed up early one morning with his lawyer and threatened to shut down The Stranger if they printed my next week’s column, nor when that hiphop collective offered me gun protection, and certainly not when the taxi driver nearly crashed his cab when he found out what I did.
"Man, that must be such a great pickup line for girls," he choked. "Do you mind?" I rejoindered. "My fiancée is sitting next to me."
I fronted a pickup band of local musicians and "personages" for the Stranger Christmas party, and before we even started the first song, we had a giant wheelie bin of containers hurled onto the stage and Dan Savage—at that point a rock virgin—had to fend off not one, but two people looking to punch me. (I later took Dan to his first rock show: Hole.) We performed five songs. I’m not saying I was drunk, but we only performed five songs and I sang the same song twice.
A few weeks after I arrived in town, the Rocket ran a full-page exposé on how I was in the pay of Sub Pop to help boost their fortunes. The fact that the story originated from me clearly escaped their notice.
I have not held down a job for longer than three seconds in the 18 long wilderness years since my three short hours at The Stranger. I am, however, the proud holder of a PhD in Everett True studies. Don’t believe me? Try googling The slow death of Everett True: A metacriticism, QUT 2016.
Wait a moment... the deadline is October 10, and you’re asking me to write something on October 9? Wow, you really did have a lot of no-shows, didn’t you?