Without spending on advertising…aside from a few days of testing out Google Adsense and realizing that clicks mean next to nothing in terms of connecting with actual people…some pretty awesome people found their way to my walking tours during the past handful of months. I’ve done a few tallies to illustrate the dynamism of who’s come along (here’s a brief snapshot). I’ve met visitors to Seattle from 18 countries. I’ve had along journalists from right here, a German “Rolling Stone” reporter, and a documentary TV film crew from France. I showed around as many as 15 people in one group (a hopeful mistake) and as few as just one woman visiting from South Korea (a total delight). There were boundlessly positive waves of Pearl Jam fans especially around the time of the Home Shows in August. So often there were tough questions asked that drew me obsessively deeper into the research of Seattle’s cultural history. We’ve experienced the sudden loss of Paul Allen, watched the unfolding debate over The Showbox, awaited the evolution of the former Galleria Potato Head/Black Dog Forge space into something new and exciting, appreciated MoPOP’s Pearl Jam exhibit and the unveiling of the Chris Cornell statue, celebrated with Sub Pop their first 30 years of going out of business, and prepared for places like Studio X/Bad Animals to leave behind their Belltown digs. The list of discussion worthy points along the way through Seattle’s landscape and history goes on.
And now it’s time for me to drop to mic.
I have one more tour scheduled for this week. Given the current warm and sunny weather, it should make for yet another lovely walkabout. I even have a few more fun details to share that I recently learned from both the Andrew Wood documentary (available from Seattle’s awesome Public Library) and the obsessed folks behind Northwest Passage’s reporting on the story behind the Deep Six compilation by C/Z Records back in 1986.
Whenever I finish a tour, I scrutinize what I forgot to mention. I don’t have a script…as might prove obvious to most…even though I have some reliably retold tales and a good memory for detail. Although I shouldn’t push the analogy too far, I’ve seen this little side project take on the elements of a live show. In that light, the thing that I’ve learned above all else from this particular performance is that I respect the power of nostalgic yearning. I often say that I don’t want to ever fall into any form of “your band sucks” criticism as we conversationally amble through music history. That’s not to say I’m without strong opinions on what music then or now matters. Either here in Seattle or beyond. I’ve simply tried to offer an entertaining mix of stories tied to the places from whence the stuff came.
If you’ve found your way to this humble post and want to reach out in hopes of still scheduling a tour, I’m always open to hearing your pitch. But I’m not planning to put up anymore regularly scheduled tours for the foreseeable future. Not that you asked, but the year ahead will be an extremely busy one for me and my family. I have a book project that demands my immediate and full attention. My family and I are planning for a sabbatical year starting next August in Ethiopia. I’m thinking about developing this material further for a self-guided podcast/audio tour. Yada yada yada. We all have our plans and dreams and day-to-day distractions. I’m nonetheless glad to have met all the people I did while trying to share a small slice of Seattle.
This isn’t the end. The conversation will continue. Thanks for checking in. Holler back if you have questions. And rock on.
The summer's been hot and the news has been steamy in Seattle. A brutal report about Dave Meinert's sexually abusive actions shocked many, and the backlash has been severe from all quarters (I will continue to mention his background, but with the essential update that came from that KUOW story last week). News of The Showbox's possible demise and/or pending landmark status may be stirring people into action (I strongly suggest signing the Change.org petition as I've done to do whatever's possible to protect this essential big room venue, and putting your words into action as I'm also doing).
And this all comes as Pearl Jam prepares to play their "Home Shows" in less than two weeks from when I write this. I've sold out my Grunge Redux tours for that week, and the far flung members of the "Jamily" arriving soon have reached out with much excitement and earnestness. MoPOP long ago tapped into that energy by organizing a new exhibit set to open on Saturday, August 11th.
Sub Pop's 30th Anniversary Weekend celebration adds an equally amazing river of energy to that week's festivities. KEXP has kept them fresh in everyone's mind as they've played something off the entirety of Sub Pop's 1200+ release catalog for months counting down to the parties themselves on 8/10 and 8/11.
It's a head-spinning mix of awesomeness. To show some of my priorities...and to give a hopefully helpful cheat sheet for that week...I'll offer the following list of activities that deserve to be on your schedule. In chronological but certainly not entirely complete order:
Wednesday, 8/1 on-air with KEXP - The Home Shows spotlight (from 6am to 6pm Best Coast Standard Time)
Thursday, 8/9 in Magnuson Park/NOAA Campus - Chris Cornell tribute
Thursday, 8/9 @ Nordic Museum - Danish music journalist Henrik Tuxen's book talk for his fascinating bio titled "Pearl Jam: The More You Need, The Less You Get"
Friday and Saturday's redonkulously interesting lineups of Sub Pop Concerts @ Seattle Center's Mural Amphitheatre and West Seattle's Alki Beach. Check the SP30th website for all the updates.
Saturday, 8/11 @ MoPOP - the opening of "Pearl Jam: Home + Away" exhibit. Expect that it will sell out incredibly fast.
Please note that I will be adding more details and/or suggested events for that whole week soon.
Plus, I've got just two more tours left before the end of the summer (Tuesday, 8/14 and Saturday, 9/1). Some other fascinating media outreach has cropped up. So there's much going on, and much to look forward to. Rock on y'all.