The following are e-mails: one to a friend in Olympia, the other in response to a questionnaire from a Seattle video production company. Both are included to show what life is like for Seattle's premier artist, Feb '99.
1. Hello, good to see you at the show, Seattle, but where you go man, off to some Amazon party? I like that area around where you live. Well, we went to the K Valentine's party, and as you probably heard it was drama and depravity left and right, only we missed it all somehow and just danced and ate snacks. I have had the sore throat. And now the sniffles on top. Hope all is well, get in touch man.
Hey J. My rides have been dropping out left, right, and center. Something someone hasn't told me? Missed the depravity at Amazon.com's shindig, the pizza at Re-bar, the studes at Pioneer Square. People with too many scary syllables in their spittle tell me I should be checking out rock again--rock is alive, left, right, and center. Jeez. Somebody coulda warned me. Sorry we didn't exchange fluids--I left the show early, bro; I liked the feeling of chaos that Tight Bros. From Way Back When engendered in the crowd, but not the dirt. I couldn't stand the dirt, man. You think they sound like [Nation Of] Ulysses raised on a diet of debauchery and bad '70s music instead of cool platties? Me too. Dead Moon simply confused me: too earnest and too ancient (as in wise); all the songs I yearned for turned out to be blips across a radar screen.
I celebrated Valentine's Day in the company of some heart-shaped balloons and bad rap down at the Showbox. Not that locals Turntable Bay sucked--the opposite, our man Vic filling the stage like he was three rolled into one, our man Scott drumming like beatboxes hadn't been invented--but Tone Loc was so dire. He couldn't give a fuck, he knew his time had gone, he grabbed rappers from support acts into an interminable banana rap contest which dragged on for an eternity... or at least until our stupefied exit. Fuck. They hadn't even played "Wild Thing."
Valentine's Day, I celebrated at the Velvet Elvis... like anyone cared. I thought I'd wandered into a private David Lynch party by mistake, all the insiders huddled around a three-piece Olympian band on stage, jealously guarding their secret among the dim red lights and theatrical seating, nodding and shaking like punk rock was still alive. You wanna know how good Unwound are? Sure. They have no use for words: inarticulate noise from the heart, like a mantra to alienation which doesn't stop churning. You know that, fucker.
2. Please return these questions at your earliest convenience. How do you affiliate yourself with the music community?
I don't understand words like affiliate. I'm a pariah, an outcast, a chameleon, and a cipher. I am a blank canvas for others to paint on as they wish. I only hang out at "rock" shows in futile attempts to fill a yawning chasm.
When did you first decide to become actively involved with music? For how long?
I have never been actively involved with music. I am passive, a consumer, I take bands in and spit them out, all sullied. I destroy. I hate the concept of music, musicians, art. I only got into criticizing because I was socially inept, and it seemed like a decent way to piss people off I hated enough already without even knowing them. Wanna know an act to avoid? Damien Jurado. At least my arse is so big, my head doesn't stick out when I cram it in there.
In what way do you or your organization contribute to the NW music industry?
Think of me as the schoolyard bully.
In your opinion what are the largest misconceptions about the music industry?
That it has any worth.
Are you able to survive financially from the creation and/or your career in the music industry?
Now you're talking. No, of course not--not even through prostitution. The opposite, in fact. I'm American and have a trust fund. I'm American and only work at The Stranger as a diverting hobby. Yeah, that's right. I'm as rich as Jon Spencer and Justine Elastica and all those assholes who wear Kickers.
What advice would you give to the aspiring musician seeking success?
Don't ask me for advice.
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HUGS AND KISSES TOP 51. RACHEL SWEET "Stranger In The House" (from the Stiff/Columbia LP Fool Around) From 1979, teenage Rachel covers world-weary Costello on a heart-rending country break-up song. Buy her '60s-style bubblegum pop album secondhand for 49¢. I did.
2. THE GROCERIES "Danny's Song" (from the Rosasharn CD Get a Handle on Your Groceries) Seattle's answer to Australia's delicate Cannanes. Deeply resonant trembling female and male vocal interplay. Contains a Delusion.
3. MARILYN MONROE "After You Get What You Want You Don't Want It" (from the Rhino CD Irving Berlin In Hollywood) Unadulterated sex. "And though I sit upon your knee/You grow tired of me"--yeah, right. Killer compilation, too.
4. THE GO-BETWEENS "Lee Remick" (from the forthcoming Jetset CD The Lost Album '78-'79) Early stalker-style song from Australia's most critically feted guitar band. "She was in The Omen with Gregory Peck/She got killed, what the heck." Like an Antipodean version of Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer." Almost.
5. UNIVERSAL MADNESS "Embarrassment" (from the Goldenvoice CD Live In Los Angeles) Unfeasibly fine 1998 reunion show from the late '70s U.K. take on the Kinks. Getting old? Who cares when it's this much fun.