To some folks, she's the Showbox's radiant, smiling gal with the braids who keeps a constant eye on both the stage and the crowd from her privileged viewpoint. Some, like myself, know Jonna McCurry as not only the fiercest patroller Seattle has ever known, but also as the nicest lady in clubdom. That's why bands like Mudhoney and Nebula are dedicating a show in her honor on Thursday, August 29--which will feature an auction of valuable pieces of Seattle rock memorabilia--and are donating the money they bring in to Jonna, to help pay the medical bills she incurred from having an emergency appendectomy several months back.
Let me tell you why I love Jonna. For the better part of two years, I hobbled around clubs on a cane due to an injury I had sustained while drunk, proof that God will punish you if you do something stupid like snowboard loaded. Jonna let me stand in the VIP side stage area, where I would not be buffeted. As we got to know each other, I realized that many times it was she who was far more entertaining than the bands on stage, and now Jonna's the reason why I usually spend most of the performances at the venue perched on a stool next to her, gabbing and gossiping while she keeps her eye on the crowd and is in constant contact with the rest of security via walkie-talkie. She has stories about famous people from "back in the day" that make me guffaw, but always manages to teach me a lesson or two in the process. She's been around the scene a long time and some very juicy bits from her go into that REAL It's My Party, the name-dropping, unabridged version that remains unpublished for my sake as well as the sake of the guilty. My personal (printable) favorite incident experienced while sitting next to Jonna happened during a Modest Mouse show, when fan Stephen Malkmus, who did not have a backstage sticker, moseyed over to the side stage soundboard, folded his arms, and parked himself like he was a superstar. Jonna got up off her stool and asked to see his backstage pass, and when the Pavement frontman admitted he didn't have one, she sent him back to stand with the unwashed. The peevish look on his face was priceless, as it was obvious Malkmus was mustering restraint to keep from pulling out the dreaded and embarrassing, "Do you know who I am?" "I can't believe you just did that," I said to Jonna when she sat back down on her stool. She swatted her hand through the air and giggled, "Aw, I do that all the time."
Though she's performing a traditionally male-held job, Jonna is tough as nails. The best thing is, she's a Woman's Woman, the kind of gal I think of whenever I hear the old-fashioned but still meaningful "The Lady Is a Tramp," in which Rodgers and Hart pay high compliment to strong, independent, and above all, discreet women. Jonna is synonymous with rock 'n' roll, but to me, the lady is a tramp, and I love her for it.