What do we regret?
We regret buying into the buzz around A.R.E. Weapons. It would've been one thing if these guys had played, like, the basement of the Punkin House or Zak's. But these N.Y. boys came to town with hype glowing like a golden halo above them, the Saviors of the New York Electro Scene practically tattooed across their skinny little asses. Chloë Sevigny's brother Paul was little more than eye candy the night they played the Crocodile, though, looking completely wasted as the rest of the band did their worst impression of an electro-rawk karaoke fest, laughing all the way to the next press junket. We regret our feature on this in-joke of a band.
We regret buying--literally--Princess Superstar. She played our Genius Awards party, she played some downtown department store, she played a Lucky Strike boat party, she played... herself out. The lady who was once a smart-mouthed, tongue-in-cheek answer to Prince Paul's psycho-delic hiphop seems to be selling herself to the highest bidder.
We regret giving the Darkness a mouthpiece in our paper. The real Def Leppard and David Lee Roth both came to Seattle this year--and then came the Darkness, with a rip-off that's got about 15 more minutes of NME time before they're gone in a poof of glitter and gold lamé.
We regret licking the clits of Avenue D. Their booty-shaking electrotrash lasts as long as a hit off a whip-it and their shock value's as deep as a window display of edible underwear. So this female duo likes to get fucked in the ass--and? We apologize for making it seem like they were doing anything worth the column inches.
We regret nearly acting like Viva L'American Death Ray Music doesn't exist. The jangly, Velvet Underground-influenced band was one of the best unknown touring acts we saw in 2003, and all we gave it was an understated Stranger Suggests. Next time, the Memphis band deserves to ride into town on a red carpet of glowing press.
Getting outside of The Stranger's mistakes, I also regret--and I think I speak for everyone when I say this--bad neighbors. Underground shows are as vital to a music scene as the big clubs, and one selling point of Seattle is that you can afford to live in a house with a basement and then have bands come play in it. For every month of on-the-radar events, there should be at least one show at a house/gallery/loft space/street corner to shake things up a bit. But nothing puts the kibosh on that fun like grouchy neighbors. No one wants 3:00 a.m. ragers next door every weekend, but the assholes living near Fallout Records (RIP) helped kill the memorable run of afternoon shows hosted there, and Friends Forever's Sunday-afternoon theatrics at the Aftermath Gallery were nearly derailed by lights and sirens that didn't belong to the Denver band (the lights and sirens were the cops'). Seattle needs music shows in offbeat spaces, and that can only happen if the neighbors cool off their trigger fingers every time someone plugs in an amp in their vicinity. (One of the rare examples of neighbor tolerance happened at the October Lightning Bolt show on Summit Avenue, when an impromptu block party was allowed to prosper for several hours--even some senior citizens came out to watch the show.)
And I'm sad to have missed Mark Lanegan's now-famous response to crowd heckling. We hyped his show but I missed the actual performance... which meant missing Lanegan's dry-humored retorts to smart-ass drunks. His reported comebacks of "Hey, I don't come to the 7-Eleven and unplug the Slurpee machine when you're working," and "I don't go to the Greyhound station and kick down the bathroom door when you're on the clock" are two of the best rock comebacks around, juvenile as they may be, and I sincerely regret not being there when those lines were bestowed on the assholes who I'm sure justly deserved them.