Tag Archives: Seattle

The Spoonman

When I was living in Seattle, my band mates and I decided to go out one night and see the Spoonman perform at the Showbox.  You know, the guy made famous by the Soundgarden tune.  I have no idea what possessed me to go along with this.  I hated that guy.  I mean here I was workin my butt off tryin to play all the clubs and get a record deal and some bum (he was a street musician) gets big playin the freakin spoons!  But I went along anyway.

The Showbox was one of the premier clubs in Seattle at the time and the place was packed!  There was one or two opening acts and then the Spoonman came out.  Everybody went nuts for this guy and then the place got deathly quiet.  You see, beatin two spoons together doesn’t really make a lot of noise, so you have to be quiet to hear it.  I wouldn’t say that I heckled the Spoonman, but I also didn’t really go along with the whole being quiet thing.  One girl in particular took offense to my behavior and actually moved to the other side of the room.  I was in one of those moods that night so I followed her over there and continued to talk… at an elevated volume.  She was not amused.

Finally the bum finished beating the spoons together and it was time to get the hell out of there.  On the way out, somehow I ended up right behind my new “friend”.  So I tapped her on the shoulder and asked her, in the most friendly voice, “Did you enjoy the show?”  She turned around so excited to tell someone how great it was only to see my smiling face.  I’ve never seen a person go from such excitement to such disappointment so quickly.

Thankfully the Spoonman has gone away now, probably back to the alley, but at least he gave me a great memory and a good story to tell.  Got any good concert stories to share?  Leave me a comment!  I’d love to hear em!

Brian

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A Few Of My Favorite Places

It’s hard to believe how much a city can change in 10 years, but from the time that I lived in Seattle (’93-’99) till now; it’s a completely different city…especially the club scene.

Gone are most of the “original” clubs that hosted such acts as Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney (long before they were popular).  Some buildings lay vacant while others have been turned in to something entirely different, like a quilt shop.

I was fortunate enough to have been able to play on the same stage as most of the original grunge bands that put Seattle on the music map.  A couple of my personal favs were the Off Ramp Cafe, and the Crocodile Cafe.  You may notice the word Cafe in there, see, the cool thing about these rock clubs is that they also had some killer food! (and usually till 3am).

The Croc (as we called it) was great for it’s sound quality and really just a fun place to be even if you weren’t there to see a band.  My bandmates and I often just went there to hang out and be a part of the scene.  One local music writer called it “the living room of the Seattle music scene”.

The Off Ramp was a classic Seattle club.  It’s been described as, “a little dirty, a little nasty, and a whole lotta fun”.  A total hole-in-the-wall club that saw the birth (and death) of many Seattle bands.

Both these places will always have special memories for me.  As I reflect on the time I spent there, I can still smell the food, taste the drink, and my ears still ring from the rockin sounds that came from all the great bands that played there.

Brian

Guys I’ve Rocked With, The Series Pt 4

There is always a special bond between a bass player and a drummer.  Something that syncs them together that can’t be explained.  One guy always knows what the other is going to do.  I’ve always shared this phenomenon with the best drummer I’ve ever rocked with, my brother in rock, and my best friend…Chris Villasenor.

Chris and I have known each other our whole lives and music has been one thing that we’ve always shared.  Villa has always been instrumental in pushing me to become better, challenging myself to be the best that I can be…and then do it better.  He is also an outstanding drummer in his own right.

When we first started out things weren’t easy for either of us.  Villa was a lefty trying to play a right handed set of drums (which he has since mastered) and I was a guitarist trying to become a bassist.  We spent many hours together jamming in his basement, watching MTV (back when they played videos), and just hanging out.  Perhaps that is what made us such a good rhythm section.

I can remember countless trips to Springfield, IL to the record store with Villa to grab the newest releases from our favorite bands.  When Metallica released …And Justice For All, we were there the first day; the Crue’s Dr. Feelgood, Extreme’s Pornograffitti, and so on and so on.  Not to mention all the concerts we rocked at together.  Villa was there when I moved to Seattle and helped get me goin’.  Although we never played in a band together while I lived there, he always supported me, encouraged me, and believed in me.

Chris still lives in the Seattle area with his family and is still rockin’.  Do yourself a favor and check out his band The Copper Kings!  Totally rockin’ band you can check out on itunes or live if you’re in the Seattle area.  Keep rockin’ Villa and know that you’ll always have a fan back home.

Brian

Bands That Influenced Me

Let’s face it, if you’ve ever played an instrument or been in a band, you’ve probably been influenced by someone.  Someone who’s inspired you to play or someone you’ve aspired to be.  For me, it was all the above.  I just wanted to be a rock star!

Growing up I listened to all kinds of music, but rock music always attracted me the most.  Once I started playing, certain bands really jumped out at me.  Anything from their songs to their clothes to their hair or their talent had an influence on me.

Rush, was probably one of the biggest influences in my rock life.  They were never the most popular band, but I’ve also never heard 3 guys make so much music.  And Geddy Lee (bassist/singer/keyboards), is one of the most talented bassists I’ve ever seen.  If I ever wanted to be able to play like anyone, it would be him.

Motley Crue also had a definite influence to my rock life.  The Crue is the band that I think started the whole 80’s rock era.  Every band that ever came from the 80’s should personally go and thank The Crue.  I wanted to move to LA, grow my hair long, put on leather pants and party on the sunset strip!  If any band ever lived the lifestyle of a rock star it was the guys in Motley Crue.

Metallica came a little later in my life (Master of Puppets, I think), but I remember hearing them for the first time and just feeling the energy come through my radio.  Their sound was like no other I’d ever heard, so heavy, and fast and just distorted enough.  Also excellent musicians, anybody that can play that fast and be that together has major skills.  Metallica didn’t really change the way I did anything but they certainly opened me up to a whole new style.  I would say that they made me a more rounded musician.

One band that did change me in a major way was Pearl Jam.  I mean they made me load my truck up and move 2600 miles away from where I lived.  The whole Seattle scene was such a huge impact on my life.  To be able to say that I was a part of it is unbelievable to me.  Since I was too young to move to LA in the 80’s, I would probably say that living in Seattle during the grunge scene made up for that.  Just being able to rock in the same clubs and hang out in the same bars with these guys was an amazing experience that will last my lifetime.

These are just a few of the bands that made me want to play…or who I wanted to look or act like…or just who I thought made really good music.  Music has a way of impacting a persons life.  It speaks to us in ways that nothing else can; I know it did for me.  I’d love for you to share any bands that had (or still have) an influence in your life.  Leave me a comment and keep rockin!

Brian