It’s time to sort out some of the vinyl – the Keep and the Keep Not piles. Thinning the collection, just slightly; I plan to move in the spring. (A move within city limit – no big relocations yet.)
I went back through the Keep Not stack, just to make sure. There are some pleasant surprises. It was mostly bands from the 1980s, some 1990s; quite a bunch of long-gone Seattle bands probably none of you have heard of, and other stuff. I lot of music I used to love just doesn’t have the staying power; some music just has their place in time. My tastes broaden, I become more discerning, and my interests take a generation of left turns.
There was a time that The Church was my favorite band. Unabashedly. Their jingly-jangly guitars, ethereal sounds, and groovy paisley clothes were just too much! Then I decided there were too many great bands to signify one. And now they simply don’t stand the test of time – they can sound thin and tinny. The Church is dead – godspeed.
I had ‘em all – albums, singles, special releases. I think I saw them play twice. I remember I was walking home from school one day – we were planning to see the Church play the HUB ballroom that evening. I was really excited.
I walked past the Travel Lodge on 25th Avenue and these really short guys with long hair were jumping off the bus. One smiled at me, and I just kept walking. I probably had headphones on. (Remember the Sony Walkman?) I got home – just up the street – put my key into the lock and exclaimed to myself, “Dammit. That was The Church.” I’m keeping Heydey, for memories’ sack. A whole bunch is going into the Keep Not pile.
There’s this song that I hear on the radio once in a while – maybe once every couple of years. It’s a classic Seattle song – I’ve been hearing it for thirty years. It’s not a great song, I think; I mean if some bloke walked up and heard it being played, he might not think anything of it. But it’s part of my history – part of Seattle’s music history; it means something. Every now and again a local DJ will put it on for a spin.
No other song makes me feel like Seattle is where I should be living.
GP is actually a pretty clever band – good mix of 1960s psychedelia and 1980s pop sensibility. Guitars mixed with revolving array of other instruments. “Kim the Waitress” is not on the album I have; Book of Hours is gone to the Keep Not pile.
I never bought very much of the grunge music. I went to all the shows, and loved all those guys, but never thought the energy translated to studio work very well. (My first Nirvana purchase was a 7” of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. They turned out to be a huge exception to my rule.)
I saw Cat Butt once, and it might be the greatest show I’ve ever seen. (Well, except Nirvana at the HUB ballroom, playing stuff from Bleach) Energy defined Cat Butt – the energy, the gross name, and the incredible guitarists. Both were pretty hot, but the one, tall and scrawny with huge, skinny fingers, laid his guitar neck right in front of my face and played the wildest slide/psychedelic guitar riff fucking ever.
The Vogue, a batcavers haven in Bell-Town going way back in the time machine, was a wild place. That night, that show, was an incredibly sweaty delight.
The album, Journey to the Center Of, was actually really pretty fucking good to listen to today. This was in the Keep Not pile, but shockingly, the green vinyl moved to the Keep pile.
And I said
Mother, the lead guitar
Goes just like thaaaaaaat
What the hell is this doing in my stacks?
My college housemates and I would make our rounds to the record shops almost weekly, it seems. Wendy would tag along and almost never buy anything. Back then, “imported records” was a big deal. There was a lot of stuff being pressed in the UK or Australia or wherever and not available in the US. There was a shop on Capitol Hill, all the way north, up near the Hwy 520 underpass on 10th Avenue, this guy had a promotional company that worked with acts that would come play in Seattle. He was in London all the time negotiating contracts, and he said he’d grab armfuls of records when he was over there and sell them here. He just wanted give us kids a chance to listen to stuff, and to monetarily break even with the shop.
He wasn’t open for very long.
But one day, Wendy bought the album from The Housemartins because she wanted to know what they sounded like. She listened to it once in my room, and I’ve had it ever since. Off to the Keep Not pile.
Surely sacrilege for many, I was never into Peter Gabriel. I have two 12” singles that a friend bought and I inherited. He liked the politics of “Biko”. I do, too, but I had no awareness at the time. Gone to the Keep Not pile.
That’s five stories for you guys. I ended up taking 45 records to the shop; I salvaged 15
from the Keep Not pile before all was done. Then I realized I had another 12 to figure out (The Rousers?). Other surprises: I kept Wild Billy Childish – lovely. I kept Chemistry Set – unexpectedly fresh. I kept Variant Cause and their earlier incarnation, Koo Dot Tah. (KDT’s song “Illegal Shirts”, about high schools banning T-shirts, is a really cool song.)
With my store credit I bought 4 Yoko Ono albums. Not the Plastic Ono Band and not John & Yoko. I’ve been obsessed with Yoko for months. I’ve written about half of what I want to say for a blog piece, and the piece is about two-times too long already. Stay tuned to this space – especially if you think you hate her – stay tuned, please. I have things to say.
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