The Gloryholes
w/the Triggers, the Authorities, Muddy River Nightmare Band

Sat Nov 23, Zak's, 9 pm, $5.

Golden opportunities always turn up when you're not looking for them. Give up trying to find work after six months, and someone will call you with a kickass job offer the very next day. Swear off women for good, and you'll meet the girl of your dreams in line at Dick's for a Deluxe and fries.

If the axiom holds true, then the Gloryholes, who've purposely chosen to keep things local and low-key, might want to brace themselves for bigger labels looking to coax one of Seattle's best punk-rock bands beyond city limits with the promise of riches. Then again, frontman Doug White's been around long enough to know how all of these stories usually end--the kickass job truly kicks your ass, the girl breaks your heart, and making music stops being fun.

"It's hard to say no if someone wants to give you tens of thousands of dollars for an album, but at the same time I'd be like, 'That's really nice, but no thanks,'" White insists. "All the trappings, everything that comes with it, all the bullshit, the relentless touring.... I'm just not interested in that. We're all in our 30s, and that stuff doesn't appeal to us. We just want to be in a band and have a good time."

It's easy to believe that the only bands burning with rabid intensity are the 19-year-old up-and-comers desperately trying to bust out of the dive-bar circuit and bask in the global limelight.

The truth, though, is that the Gloryholes rip it up as mightily as anyone, and it's because they have to, because they believe in it, because their passion for simply playing rock 'n' roll--which manifests itself in every shriek and yowl, every super-fuzzed guitar crunch, every grimy, raucous song--is real. Because they're doing it for themselves, and for the benefit of their friends and the people who love garage-punk, not for the tourists, the national media, or the fickle corporate music world. Realize this, and you'll see that there's a lot at stake for the quintet.

"We're pretty fiercely independent, and we're all about making our own scene happen here, something that gets you really excited, something that can totally light you up," White exclaims. "We support people who are doin' it for themselves the way they want to do it--independent labels like Dirtnap, zines, record stores. We're part of all that, and we're gonna stay that way."

The Gloryholes' recorded contributions to the scene include their explosive 2002 debut, Knock You Up, and the upcoming Want a Divorce, set for release in January. Both discs, engineered by Jack Endino, display the group's penchant for scuffing up catchy, accessible melodies with tough, dirty layers of distortion, and all the usual '60s and '70s trash-rock influences.

It's a sound that could easily fit in with what's going on at rock radio and MTV these days (albeit far better and way more sincere). But the Gloryholes turn their noses at the potential for that kind of "success" as if it were a steaming pile of dogshit. Snobs? Misguided idealists? Nope. Fact is, all the members--White, guitarists Shelly Corwin and Chris Kenan, bassist Melanie Belanger, and drummer Johnny Machine--came of age during Seattle's grunge heyday, and White vividly recalls how the gradual, well-documented mainstream-ization ruined it for anyone who genuinely cared.

"In the late '80s I was going out to shows every night, seeing bands I was friends with, everyone there I pretty much knew, and I felt this total camaraderie with these people who'd been supporting it for years when no one knew about it. It was really defining my life. And then when it got bigger, suddenly I was going to shows and lookin' around goin', 'Who are these people? What happened to my fun?'"

With that in mind, White says every Gloryholes show is a chance to reclaim a little bit of that lost spirit, a goal far more important than creating "industry buzz." And perhaps, as they do, they'll even help usher in another magical musical era for Seattle, one uncorrupted by money and fame and hipsters and posers. It hardly seems possible, does it?

"It's easy to become jaded, but that's the struggle--don't let that take over," White insists. "There's still a whole lotta fun to be had."

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