The K revolution is exploding the teenage underground into passionate revolt against the corporate ogre. —founder Calvin Johnson's label motto
Last Wednesday, City Arts editor-at-large Mark Baumgarten read from his new book, Love Rock Revolution: K Records and the Rise of Independent Music, at Elliot Bay Book Co. (Mark was my editor when I wrote for Seattle Sound, precursor to City Arts). After the reading, Tomten's Brian Noyeswatkins played a couple of songs. Then Mark took questions from the audience and signed copies of his book.
More pictures, commentary, and other stuff below.
The passage Mark read recounted Beat Happening's 1984 Japanese tour, one of the first things the Olympia trio ever did, and part of guitarist Bret Lunsford's impetus for joining the group (singer/songwriter Calvin Johnson promised the trip if Bret joined, an offer the fellow Evergreen student found too enticing too resist).
Mark also talked about the brain injury Johnson suffered in 2003 while on tour with Old Time Relijun. In March, I wrote about a Calvin appearance at the Northwest Film Forum; near as I can tell, he's fully recovered from the accident.
My Beat Happening singles collection
I thought I owned a copy of Beat Happening's Japanese cassette, Three Tea Breakfast, but I couldn't find it anywhere, so I guess I never picked it up, and it doesn't really matter, since their self-titled debut now includes the five songs.
From 1985's Beat Happening (with drummer Heather Lewis on vocals).
Single from Mike McGonigal's Chemical Imbalance (issue #7, 1989)
Relevant tracks: Beat Happening's "Foggy Eyes" and Dean Wareham's Beat Happening cover, "Indian Summer" (I'm also fond of the Spectrum version).
Brian played two Beat Happening songs, including "Foggy Eyes." They were quite lovely. If you haven't heard Tomten's first full-length, Wednesday's Children, I'd recommend it, and I know for sure that Mike Nipper would, too. In fact, Mike's name came up in our discussion after the reading, since he occasionally shares his Value Village finds on Line Out, and Brian used to work at the same Capitol Hill outlet (below The Stranger offices). He said it was not a good experience.
Love Rock Revolution: K Records and the Rise of Independent Music is out now on Sasquatch Books, Tomten's Ta Ta Dana EP and Wednesdays Children are out now on Flat Field Records (disclosure: I'm friends with label publicist Chris Estey).