My computer died last month, and I didn't get the chance to write about the Northwest Film Forum's tribute to Lou Reed, Soul Poet, which took place two weeks ago, so I decided to combine the pictures I took that night with a few I took at Bruce Pavitt's signing for Experiencing Nirvana at the Fantagraphics Store on Saturday (I finally got hold of a refurbished CPU a few days ago).
The two events aren't as incongruous as they seem. In both cases, my mind kept traveling back to Seattle in the 1980s and '90s.
That's par for the course when it comes to Nirvana, Sub Pop, etc., but there was more to it than that. Robert Roth, for instance, played at the Reed tribute with a lineup that included bassist Hiro Yamamoto, which didn't just remind me of Truly, but of Soundgarden, too, since I'll always associate him with that band, even if Hiro left 23 years ago. Roth's appearance also reminded me that he brought some Storybook Krooks cassettes to sell on consignment at Cellophane Square around 1989 or so. I thought he had a good voice then—and I was pleased to hear that he still does. But the Cellophane connections don't end there...
Bruce Pavitt, Gillian Gaar, Tad Doyle, Scotty Vanderpool, and a copy of the book
Even before I moved to Seattle, I used to read Gillian Gaar in The Rocket, while Scotty Vanderpool and I were involved with KCMU around the same time (while attending Whitman College, I would pick up a copy of The Rocket whenever I was in Seattle). Gaar, a friend, has written several books about Nirvana including Entertain Us, The Rough Guide to Nirvana, and a 33 1/3 entry on In Utero.
At the Fantagraphics event, Pavitt told a brief story about Mark Arm, and then the signing commenced. Since members of Tad and Mudhoney appear in the book, which documents a Sub Pop tour through Europe, Arm and Tad Doyle joined in on the signing and picture-taking. In the crowd, I also spotted author-musician Danny Bland (In Case We Die) and former Sub Pop general manager Rich Jensen.
Robert Deeble with Jeremy Dybash and Dana Hill at the Northwest Film Forum
Robert Deeble and band focused on the more introspective moments from the Reed/Velvet Underground catalog, like "I'll Be Your Mirror" and "Candy Says."
Robert Roth, Hiro Yamamoto, Mike Musburger, and Gary Westlake
As Dave Segal tweeted, "Roth & co. just did the smoothest segue from 'Sweet Jane' into 'Rock and Roll'." They also performed a fine version of "Satellite of Love."
Four bands participated in the Reed tribute, including Kinski with guitarist Matthew Reid-Schwartz. I worked with Matthew at Cellophane Square in 1988. That was my first Seattle-area job—possibly his, too, since he had recently moved here from New York. Flash-forward 25 years, and I got to watch my mild-mannered colleague blast away on some of the very songs we used to play in the store, like the Velvet Underground's "Foggy Notion" and Reed's "Vicious."
Chris Martin of Kinski tearing it up on "Vicious"
Soul Poet started with a compilation of video clips before seguing to readings from Chris Estey, Courtney Sheehan, and MaChell Duma LaVassar. Guitar-drums duo Jesus Rehab (Jared and Dominic Cortese) closed out the musical portion of the evening with a punked-up version of the VU's "White Light/White Heat."
For more information on the Pavitt book, Gaar spoke with him in this interview.