Seattle! Done right.

Last week’s blog post was crap. You know it, I know it. I was just too busy to really get into it. I even forgot to mention that one night at Dom’s mom’s place we ate sheep’s balls for dinner.

This week I wrapped the mixing on Phil Ajjarapu’s album, the last day we were cramming in all the mix updates and making instrumentals mixes…but we got ‘er done. Then I spent a delightful couple of days with Mimi Schell , who has sung with me a few times now, we recorded a great song of hers in my studio. And the second night…

PARIS, 1/8

When Mimi & I wrapped our session at about ten, I took all the stuff I needed for my trip to Seattle to my place, kissed Dom, Aden and Dom’s mom (who was in town that week helping us out) good night and then went to Trés Honoré, for…believe it or not…an open mic. Mimi’s AirBNB host is an organizer of many, many things…events…performances…films…and she knew the people doing this open mic. She insisted we come and sign up and Mimi & I thought…why not. Even tho, I had to be up at 4am to head to the airport. I mean, so little sleep, it doesn’t even matter. So, we headed down there, and met the gallant host of the evening, Brian, who told us we’d be on about 5 artists in. Not so bad. I sipped some free cava, then…waited…waited…but it was fun! I can’t remember if I’d ever been to an open mic, ever, let alone played one. Considering it was such a swanky place, you had everything from a quite accomplished jazz singer to some girls singing some show tune or something, seemingly on a whim. House band with electronic pad drums, bass, piano, and organ. I loved the 50 to 60 -something guy who played hot jazz/blues rock and broke his reading glasses during his appearance. Well, eventually, Brian, who was like 7 feet tall as he was wearing…and DANCING in stiletto heels…called us up. We played “Superwise” with the house drummer, me on the piano, which was set up so my back was to the audience, but Mimi could sing the harmonies and look out on everybody so we had some contact going. That warmed the audience up (we played so late, like, almost 1am, I think…that the room had thinned but that meant it was calmer there) and then we played the new song of Mimi’s that we’d been recording, “This Love Is A Monster”, just me on piano and her singing. We’d never rehearsed it, and I’d certainly never played it on piano. It went great! She’s such a powerful singer and this song is in the perfect key for her voice. People really reacted to that, and that was what I had hoped for, the whole reason I went down to an open mic the night before I had to fly across an ocean. When we left the ‘stage’ the house band got back on stage and started playing the hook from her song…so cool!

One of the performers that evening, Brad, is a journalist covering F1 racing, and wherever he travels around the world he finds open mics and plays them! He has a blog about it, and he expertly covered the night–you can see video of many of the performances, including “Superwise” and “This Love is A Monster” here.

So, I got home, Dom was in bed reading, so we could say goodnight again, then I slept for a couple of hours, and in the silent dark of the morning, got dressed and got my gear and luggage out the door. Cabbed to the airport, flew to Seattle. By midday I was there and Kim Voynar, who is a producer on a short (30 Minute) film, and a good friend, picked me up at the airport. I’d arrived, and so did my luggage, which was good. My trajectory had been to fly to Amsterdam, where high winds threatened to flip the plane over on approach (it was one of the scarier ones I’d been on). Then, the passport control in the Schiphol was…out of control. It was mobbed, I’d never seen it like that. But we all got thru, and then the flight to Seattle was uneventful (good movies tho, I watched 4 of them). Kim picked me up, my stuff made it, and we went straight to my usual accommodations, the basement lair at the home of my friend Brian, who also releases my albums on Spark & Shine, his label. Kim & I went over the film and started to make notes about score. Then, I had to go to Posies rehearsal, at Mike Musburger’s space in SODO. Jon didn’t make it, the windy weather caused disruptions that delayed his (later than my) flight from Paris. So, he landed about the time we were finished. But I ran Mike & Dave thru the songs, and it was fine. On to the important stuff: dinner! At Palace Kitchen, with Kim, Brian, Mike, Minky Starshine and my dear friend Rochelle, with whom I attended high school in Bellingham–she manages Palace Kitchen. We had a lovely time, and then around midnight, my eyes started to flutter shut, and that was that.


Up at like, 5.45. That’s jet lag for you. Magic! I had a phone interview scheduled for 7, because I knew I’d be up. I was already showered and dressed by then. Out the door at 8.15 and Brian dropped me off at KEXP, where Jon & I did an interview and performed 4 songs, two from Blood/Candy and two from Frosting on the Beater. I needed to print the words to “Plastic Paperbacks”, we hadn’t done that song in a couple of years…maybe at the Neptune in 2011?? After the performance, Kim picked me up and we worked on the film score at Brian’s for a couple of hours, then headed to Lively. Lively is a new company who offers an App, thru which you can watch and hear live shows, some things are free, some are for purchase. They do the recording and shooting, and thus…you have an instant live recording of a great show you were just at, for example. Today, Jon & I did a performance (and BBQ lunch, yes) in their incredible space in SODO, the Lively Lounge. With about 50 invited guests, including Dave Dederer from the Presidents of the USA, and Wanz whose vocals feature in Macklemore’s hits, Jon & I played a 45 minute set, that went incredibly well. It’s a great room to sing in, and we felt very comfortable. I made some seriously bad taste jokes about: porn involving the characters from breakfast serial brands–from Cap’n Crunch to Count Chocula, even the Quaker Oats quaker wearing only his buckled had, finding out that a (now of legal age) Mikey REALLY likes it. And my porn-remake Star Trek: “Star Trick SEX: The un-dick-covered- c*nt-try. And by the way…rabbit…tricks..are not for kids. Anyway, get the Lively app and this show is offered for free.

Then, the big show. Which by the way is available on audio and video via Lively. So check it. Here’s a link.

Folks, this show was perhaps the best thing that I have experienced in Seattle with the Posies, ever. The audience was phenomenal. The band played extremely well. The vibe was just so good. Even a very drunken and impish Rusty Willoughby, who kept walking onstage and trying to play drums along with Mike…anyway, let’s forget all that. When we walked onstage, the audience…I mean, GOD DAMN. That was some serious affection. The venue was packed more than I’d ever seen it..every square inch of floor, the balcony, the stairs…and it was on. We were *expected* to be good, so we had to be. Now, let’s go back to soundcheck. I loaded in my stuff, and ran over to High Voltage Music, just around the corner, very friendly place. I wanted to see if they could fix my distortion pedal, which British Airways had customized for me by destroying the switch and one of the dials. Ten minutes later, boom. Then, I set up my amp, which I hadn’t used since Doe Bay, and it was making some messed up noises. I had spare tubes and one of Neumo’s techs switched them all for me– valiant, but no avail. So, Brian, and my best friend from all the way back in Junior High, with whom I started my first band, Chip, who was helping tech for us, carted it over to High Voltage. It took about 20 minutes–with the other bands getting nervous about their soundcheck time–and me keeping cool– to get the amp back. I have to really give props to High Voltage for saving my ass twice. And for a very decent price. Recommend.

So, we had a big gathering at Via Tribunali before the show, with none other than Matt from the Posies! And Ian Moore, and the Maldives, and more. I ate light, and drank very little. So I was ready to crush it. Lean and mean. So, I stepped out onstage with the guys…and we felt that rush, of an audience treating us like family…it went by very fast. It was surreal and wonderful. I kept looking around at all the people, so many friends but also people I *didn’t* know. We did the album, came back for an encore, and did quite a few songs that we never played together with Mike & Dave, including songs from Blood/Candy–the wonderful Shelby Earl joined us for “Licenses to Hide”. We did “Mrs. Green” which I can’t even imagine the last time we played that one was. We closed out the night with “Any Other Way” which I dedicated so Scott Jefferson. And done. The merch table was really for hugging my friends. I was stone cold sober by the time the show was done, my 2 glasses of wine and two cm of limoncello a distant memory by about “Burn & Shine”. The Posies guys really rocked it. I was proud to be up there with ’em. I pushed my tired, old, out of practice, jet-lagged body as hard as I could. I couldn’t do everything I might be able to do on a mid-tour night, but that’s probably good–sometimes a little restraint gives you no choice but to focus on the essentials.

After the show, we found that somebody had trashed our dressing room. I have my suspicions. Broken glass and a knocked over candle (uh…super wise move, assh*le…wooden club, 700+ patrons…). Then it was all over. The club was empty. I packed up my stuff, Kim the film producer gave me and Brian a lift in her big truck (everybody who got in my guest list had to do something for it!).

The next morning I was up early with jet lag, and knowing that I would be, I had arranged for another interview to be done at 8. I woke up thinking…I don’t feel so bad, really. But, as the day wore on, working with Kim on the film score again, my body woke up to its pain. By 8.30 that night I was unable to work. My mind couldn’t concentrate and body ached. I mean, we got in a ten hour day, don’t get me wrong. But it was time to quite. So, Brian & I did the natural thing and drank a bottle of Chateau Petrus 1970. And thus, with little complaint, I was in bed by 9.30. Up this morning at 6-6.30. And I rode the bus up to Bellingham, and spent the day with my mom & stepdad, including lunch with my aunt & uncle. The winds blew in off the lake.

Well. I’m very happy for this time. Thank you Seattle!