A guttural three-piece posing in skeletal framework, the Gossip's steamy Southern gospel has the power to send converts into fits of holy-rolling hysterics. However clichéd and hackneyed an adjective, it's difficult to accurately articulate the Gossip's sonic makeup without making use of the term "bluesy," as their sound is something of the audio equivalent to downtown collard greens--as much in homage to Southern grit as classic punk filth.

With her well-documented maternal demeanor and graceful Southern inflection, fiery frontwoman Beth Ditto has become the obvious mouthpiece for the Olympia-via-Arkansas trio, a role she wields with congenial ease. For a change of pace, however, I've decided to cast a ray of limelight onto one Nathan Howdeshell: soft-spoken guitarist and sheer sonic force of the ensemble, who seems accustomed to carefully burying himself in the shadows of his affably articulate bandmate. The prolific Mr. Howdeshell (recently credited as, among other monikers, Brace Paine) also pledges membership in the brilliant, enigmatic foursome known as Monitor Bats, as well as participating in at least a half-dozen other theoretical bands. Perhaps the following excerpts from a recent e-mail interview will shed more light on his unfortunate legacy of neglect, as I present... Nathan's Guide to Bumbershoot!

Do you have any specific plans for your upcoming Bumbershoot experience?

"I plan to fall down at least 13 times amidst Jewel's set."

What is the most exciting thing about playing a festival with songstress/poetess Jewel?

"This Jewel character seems rather strong and mysterious--only time will reveal my feelings for this poetic beast."

What's your favorite Jewel song?

"I find it to be a tie betwixt the songs 'PHANTOM HOLIDAYS' and 'BOO-YA!'"

Nathan, what are your three favorite things about the Bumbershoot festival?

"My favorite things of Bumbershoot would be the following:

1. Being stabbed (in the thigh) in the parking lot at the last Bumbershoot.

2. Falling prey to Jewel fans.

3. Free H20!! To the maxx!!"

Now that you are playing big rock festivals with big rock stars, what do the Gossip demand on their backstage riders?

"Let this be known: The Gossip is not composed of rock stars. We are 100-percent hardcore punx with an appetite for VOID, GERMS, and S.O.A. The Gossip have found ourselves in a forbidden land of quest. We must search nightly for the best punk singles known to mankind. Please help us in this quest: Send us rare punk/noise singles now!!!"

Nathan, tell me--they're paying you guys a shitload of money, right?

"$1,200,000 to be exact. We shall spend this cash like wyld childzz of thee night."

What's your opinion of the legendary Lou Reed? And hey, what's the deal with that guy these days, anyway?

"My favorite LOU REED record is DEFINITELY METAL MACHINE MUSIC. I saw Lou Reed in Olympia feeding a homeless cat a chicken leg; was it performance art?"

On to festival food: What is your opinion of cotton candy?

"Excellent, if thou does not crave teeth."

And meat on a stick?

"Meat on a stick is definitely an excellent choice amongst cavernous folkzz."

Thank you, Nathan.

"Thank you, the interview man."

The Gossip perform at EMP Sky Church, Fri Aug 30, 6:30-7:30 pm.