Otis P. Otis-Guitar
Doug “Stringtie” Creason-Bass
“Lucky” Tony Mathews, Douglas-Guitar, Vocals
John “Moondog” Mooney-Drums
Robert “Big Beat Bob” Guiterez-Drums
“Naked Under Leather” – The F-Holes (1989)
Tits (Live at Geezerfest) – “That’s Dadastic” compilation (dadastic sounds 2011)
The F-Holes formed out of a jam session on Nov 21, 1984 at The Central Tavern near Seattle’s Pioneer Square. The original members were “Lucky” Tony Mathews, Douglas “Stringtie” Creson and John “Moondog” Mooney. The jam consisted of three songs. The booker was impressed enough to ask them to open for his band, The Alleged Perpetrators on Dec 14, 1984, and a band was born. Since that night The F-Holes have consistently been part of the Seattle music scene.
One night while Stringtie was playing pinball at a tavern with Kevin Heaven (a local musician and well-known scenester)’ Kevin said;“You gotta check out my new f-hole guitar!” Stringtie went home that night and made a poster. He brought it to rehearsal the next day. “We are the F-Holes” he told them. The newly-named outfit’s drummer, John “Moondog” Mooney asked;“What am I gonna tell my Mom?”
1985 brought a solid stream of bookings. The bookings continued. The first few years The F-holes played more shows than they rehearsed. Doug Creson recalls;
“We’d rehearse on Wednesdays and play shows Thursday , Friday and Saturday”.
Things changed in 1986 when the F=Holes added Otis P. Otis on lead guitar. He was a huge Johnny Thunders fan and brought a heavier sound that lead the band into the pre-grunge era. The original F-holes sound included generous heaps of Psychobilly, Cowpunk, Garage Rock, Punk, Acid Blues and 60s Psychedelia. They add they also play Country music, though they add
“we’re not sure which country“.
Along with Otis came a sound that brought the band to a new level and wider audience. They still played the same music as before-only heavier. Their look was still psychobilly with the big pompadours and cowboy boots and bolo ties. That would change in later years, but for the earlier part of their career the band was known for their appearance as much as their music. Both were fun, over the edge and a little bit retro as far as their dedication to punk.
“Promoters always had a hard time pegging our sound but we played with all kinds of bands. Punk, Alt Country, Grunge, Power Pop” says Creson.
The biggest misconception may be that the F-Holes are a rockabilly band. It’s a claim the band adamantly deny. Since the beginning they’ve always played a few rockabilly-tinged numbers, and they often dressed … Read more›
Lee Graham-Vocals, Bass, Flute
Dick Powell-Harmonica, Keyboards
Love Cycle (Command Records, 1968) also various re-issues.
“Lord in Black” b/w “Long Hard Road”(Piccadilly Records 1968/Jerden Records 1969)
By the mid-60’s Seattle’s once thriving R&B teen dance bands were on the wane. Members of outfits like the Dynamics, The Viceroys and the Frantics were eagerly tapping into the first stirrings of the underground psychedelic movement. Most of the bands making the transformation were not doing it for purely mercenary reasons. Many players had simply aged and evolved, while remaining true to their R&B and garage-like beginnings. Many of the psychedelic bands coming out of Seattle still held onto an insular, regional sound that favored hippie-ballads and gentle horns, reeds and the organ that had become a staple of Northwest rock since Dave Lewis. They favored a more tie-dyed approach rather than the aggressive guitars and overtly political or socially conscious lyrics of bands like The Jefferson Airplane, The Doors or Quicksilver Messenger Service.
They also lacked the lush production of bands coming out of New York City. If there is a word that describes the Northwest psychedelic sound it could very well be “comfortable”…not in the passive sense, but in the sense that gentler, more flower-powered sounds were being made. Perhaps the exception to this rule was The Frantics who’s remaining members moved to San Francisco, renamed themselves the hippiesque Luminous Marsh Gas, eventually to become one of the mightiest bands of the psychedelic era-Moby Grape.
Crome Syrcus was no different than many other NW bands. The had arisen from the ashes of a teen R&B, jazz influenced outfit called The Mystics. The Mystics had an enthusiastic fan base and were able to tour regionally, but ultimately had a relatively short career. By 1962 drummer Jim Plano had joined the military. Dick Powell, the band’s vocalist and guitarist John Gaborit remained stateside, and eventually brought on bassist Lee Graham and keyboard player Ted Shreffler. Jim Plano’s position as drummer was filled by Rod Pilloud. Once assembled, the new band christened themselves Crome Syrcus.
Soon the band was finding regular gigs on the nascent psychedelic circuit in Seattle. Their distinctive sound often relied on two keyboards played by both Powell and Shreffler. John Chambless, the coordinator of the Berkeley Folk Festival had seen Crome Syrcus at The Eagles Auditorium (it’s unclear who the headliner was that night). He quickly booked them to his Folk Festival and on July 2nd 1968 Crome Syrcus played their first Bay Area gig. In fact Crome Syrcus would … Read more›
Bob Bogle-Bass and Guitar
Nokie Edwards-Guitar & Bass
Bob Spalding-Bass & Guitar
Ian Spalding – Bass
George T. Babbit Jr.-Drums
Leon Taylor – Drums
Walk Don’t Run-The Ventures (Dolton, 1960)
The Horse-The Ventures (Liberty, 1968)
The Ventures-The Legendary Masters Series-The Ventures (United Artists, 1974)
Walk Don’t Run: All Time Greatest Hits-The Ventures (EMI,2003)
Tacoma’s Ventures. They’ve lasted almost 60 years in one form or another. They’ve released over 250 albums. They’ve sold over 120 million records….more than any other instrumental band in history. Those records are unlikely to ever be topped by an instrumental band of any genre. During their career they’ve covered just about every kind of music there is. Most of their albums are largely covers of popular songs, but surprisingly they write about one third of their music. They helped develop the “surf sound” although they point out they didn’t invent it, and don’t consider themselves a “surf band” at all. In a 2015 interview with Forbes magazine co-founder Don Wilson told interviewer Jim Clash;
“One of our biggest sellers was a surfing album. I guess we got tagged with that – Pipeline and Wipe Out we are associated with – so suddenly we are a surf rock band! I see that written a lot. But I don’t care. I’m used to it. We’re not just surf”.
Band members have always denied their music being founded in the surf sound, but it’s certain The Ventures had a profound affect on it. It could be they’ve always refused to be labeled surf just as much out of deference to the artists who truly are surf bands as much as the facts. It’s also true that The Ventures went far beyond any one genre-expect being instrumental. They’ve also maintained keeping current with putting their sound to current music. Aside from their top-knotch playing it is these two other factors that have kept them in the world’ public eye for decades.
The story of The Ventures goes back to the day that Bob Bogle first met Don Wilson in 1958. Bogle was looking to buy a used car from a dealership in Seattle. The car lot was owned by Wilson’s father. Don was the salesman. During their conversation, they found out they both had an interest in music. They became fast friends, and soon Wilson began working with Bogle in the masonry field. Obviously carrying mortar and bricks was more lucrative than hawking used cars for small commissions. In 2009 Bob Bogle told The Seattle Times:
“And then we found out that we each knew a few chords on the guitar, you know, and we had a lot of free time on our hands. But neither of us … Read more›
Indian Puddin’ & Pipe
Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention
Rich Dangel and the Reputations
Geoff and Maria Muldaur (as Junior Turlock)
Flo and Eddie
Slender Woman/My Own Life/Easy Chair” (single sided 12″ EP)-Easy Chair (Vanco Records, 1968)
“Naked Angels (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)”-Jeff Simmons (Straight Records, 1969)
“Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up”-Jeff Simmons (Straight Records, 1969)
“Chunga’s Revenge”-Frank Zappa (Bizarre Records, 1970)
“Waka / Jawaka • Hot Rats”-Frank Zappa (Bizarre Records, 1972)
“Roxy and Elsewhere”-Frank Zappa and The Mothers (DiscReet, 1974)
“Blue Universe”-Jeff Simmons (Blue Fox Records, 2004)
By the time the mid-60s The Northwest Sound has pretty much wound down. Many former teen-dance bands were moving closer to rock and the new psychedelic sounds coming out of L.A. and San Francisco. In some ways many local artists had begun to see Seattle as a northern outpost of San Francisco.
One of the bands that emerged in the mid-60s was Blues Interchange. David Lanz (future star of “new age” music) had been one of the band’s first members. The band began making the rounds of Seattle venues and became very popular with the tripped-out psychedelic crowd. Due to some of the members being drafted local boy Jeff Simmons signed on as bassist in 1967. Simmons was already an accomplished player with a gregarious, often comedic air about him Other members included Al Malosky on drums and guitarists Peter Larson (later replaced by Burke Wallace), and Danny Hoefer. Danny Hoefer would later go on to play in Tower of Power.
After the change of personnel, Blues Interchange found even more favor with Northwest audiences. One result of the changes was re-naming the band to Easy Chair. The transformation caught the eye of Seattle’s emerging rock scene as well as other pockets of psychedelic blues around the country
In 2014 the website Clear Spot would look back on Easy Chair, writing;
“Their epic West Coast blues features the unique chemistry of psychedelic guitar leads, fluid lines and hypnotic chording”.
Around this time the band was emerging they met up with notorious San Francisco manager Matthew Katz. Katz had been the first manager of Jefferson Airplane and had ben fired even before the release of their first album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. Seattle native Signe Anderson (September 15, 1941-January 28, 2016) did vocals, but soon left the band, handing over the task to Grace Slick. The firing of Katz would result in ongoing litigation over the release of original or licensed material by Jefferson Airplane. The litigation between Katz and Jefferson Airplane was not settled until 1987.
Katz was also involved in a dispute with Moby Grape beginning in 1968. Katz had sold the group members’ rights to their songs as well as their own name were signed away in 1973 to manager/producer David Rubinson without the band members knowing it. He retained rights to the name Moby Grape and a large part of their songs. … Read more›
Little Bill Englehart
The Night People
Anthony “Tiny Tony” Smith
“Danny”b/ w”Y-E-S” single (Rona Records , 1962)
“Little Baby” / “Cheatin’ On Me” (Rona Records, 1962)
“I’m Burnin’ My Diary” b/w “The Baby Blues” (World Pacific Records, 1962)
“Last Night” b/w “Charlie My Boy” (World Pacific Records, 1962)
“Death Of An Angel” b/w “Earth Angel.” with The Viceroys; (Imperial Records, 1964)
“Seattle Women; We Are Not Good Girls” compilation (Joe Records, 1999)
“Seattle Women; Backdoor Gossip” compilation (Joe Records, 1999)
Not surprisingly the bands of the 1950s and 60s that would define The Northwest Sound was mostly a boys game. There had been women who’d made it in their own right –Bonnie Guitar comes to mind- but even she was closer to country than the newer sounds. Bea Smith had made her name in rockabilly but The NorthwestSound relied on a hybrid of R&B and jazz. In fact most of the successful women performing were either coming out of rockabilly, hillbilly music or singing blues and early R&B among the many black venues surrounding Jackson St. Of course many of these clubs were avoided by whites, and those teenagers wanting to hear the real deal dare not venture into many of the mostly-black bottle clubs and dens of gambling and prostitution that some rightly were known as. Police raids were common along Jackson Street and door men were careful not to give entry to the kids that may be cause for even more raids. The musicians who had come to play R&B were the exception to the rule. Their fans may have been frightened off by what was collectively known as the (primarily black) Jackson St. Scene. The Birdland, The Ubangi Club, The House of Entertainment and especially The Black and Tan (which was largely integrated by the late 50s) were all clubs that attracted the young white practitioners of teen-dance R&B.
Very few of the early Northwest Sound bands ventured into vocals or women in general. This wasn’t a purposeful lock-out of women. It was out of popular demand. Audiences didn’t mind instrumentals, they simply wanted to dance. Girl Groups from across the nation were seen as a novelty acts. Very few bands had fully-fledged female members of their bands. There were exceptions, but this was mostly the face of the Northwest Sound during the mid-late 1950s. Enter The Fleetwoods.
Artist, label owner and producer Bonnie Guitar and her business partner Bob Reisdorff of Dolphin Records (soon to be re-christened as Dolton Records had taken note of the Olympia trio (Gary Troxel, Gretchen Christopher, and Barbara Ellis). The band did not fit into the girl group mold, nor was it the kind of rollicking R&B Northwest fans were used to… but Bonnie and Bob’s belief in The Fleetwoods and their signing them paid off in droves. The first two releases by The Fleetwoods rose … Read more›
Lift Him Up (Savoy Records, 1979)
Black Nativity (Intiman Theater, 2001)
Go To The Rock: Total Experience Sings Old School With Joy (TEGC)
Wheedle’s Groove Kearney Barton compilation (Light In The Attic Records, 2009)
Since it’s formation in 1973 the Total Experience Gospel Choir has travelled the nation and across the globe, from the Far East to Europe to Russia and a lot of places in between. Under the tutelage of Pastor Pat Wright, the Total Experience Gospel Choir has journeyed to Japan where they not only presented their ministry through song, but also delivered supplies to victims of the Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami who had taken refuge in Ishinomaki, Japan. In 2006 the Total Experience Gospel Choir also travelled to Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi to help victims of Hurricane Katrina and to rebuild and refurbish homes for hurricane victims in Gulfport, Mississippi.
Pat Wright was honored for her and the choir’s efforts by ABC News World News Tonight. In May of 2007 she was named one of that month’s Person of the Week, and later in a broadcast on December 27 2007, Pat was declared one of 2007’s “Persons of the Year”. It’s clear that the choir is not only one of the Northwest’s greatest musical assets, they spread their ministry through music, and actual, on-the-ground help.
Aside from performing for President Bill Clinton and President Obama, the Total Experience Gospel Choir have been featured at prestigious venues from the Sydney Opera House to The Mormon Tabernacle. Even though they’ve been ambassadors around the world, and won many prestigious awards, it’s clear the Pastor Wright’s greatest mission is to the uplifting of her own community, here in Seattle.
Pat Wright was born Patrinell Staten in Odessa Texas as one of eight children. Her father was a Baptist preacher and her mother taught school. Both parents urged her to pursue a career in gospel music. Having started to sing at an early age, Pat performed her first solo at the age of 3 and by the time she was 14 Pat had taught herself to play piano and was directing two choirs in her father’s church. Her parents saw to it Pat grew up in the church, but education also played an important part in her upbringing. Pat graduated as valedictorian of her high school class (Turner High School, 1961) and later attended Prairie View A&M College just north of Houston TX.
Pat first arrived in Seattle in October of 1964 to help her sister, who was then going through a divorce. Her intention was to be of assistance to … Read more›
Chris “Slats” Harvey-Guitar
Duff McKagen-Drums, Backing Vocals
10 Minute Warning
Knife Manual 7″ EP (No Threes Records, 1982)
Nothing To Say/Big Machine, “What Syndrome” (cassette compilation; Deux Ex Machina Records and Tapes, 1983)
The Silly Killers are one of early 80s Seattle punk bands that would probably be forgotten years ago if it wasn’t for the fact that former Guns N’Roses’ Michael “Duff” McKagen was a member for a short time. One has to wonder what rabid metal fans would have felt if Duff had continued playing in a multitude of punk bands before becoming famous in one of the all-time most successful metal bands in history; after all McKagen, from a very young age, was one of the most prolific members of early Seattle punk. Most likely all of his hard work might have been little more than a footnote were it not for relocating from Seattle to Los Angeles-being a footnote is a fate he obviously would not deserve. But in spite of McKagen’s short time with the Silly Killers, they had already become stars in their own right among Seattle’s punk community. The Silly Killers’ reputation in recent years has also has been heightened by new-found interest in their only 7” recording of what’s usually referred to as the Knife Manual EP, and two other hard to find tracks that have only been “officially” released on the excellent 1983 cassette “What Syndrome” put out by local label Deux Ex Machina Records And Tapes in 1983.
Then there’s Slats (born Chris Harvey) founding member of the Silly Killers who died in 2010 after years of being an iconic figure not only in the punk community, but in the city at large. Despite his ongoing addiction and alcoholism Slats made the rounds two and a half decades as a highly visible character in both Seattle’s University District and on Capitol Hill. Some worried about him. Others made bets on how long he would live. Aside from that Slats was a genial, kind and generous person who had simply found himself in the grips of addiction. Some friends have reported that he was clean his last few years, but there’s no doubt he was not sober. You could often find him drinking in one of Seattle’s many musicians’ hangouts-always ready to talk and (what the hell) accept a free drink. However addiction is in no way a character flaw and it’s clear that many were touched by his legacy…friends who had known him for years, and strangers who had only sighted him from afar. He was much more than a … Read more›
Byron Duff-Guitar and vocals.
Idiot Culture-dadastic! sounds (2010)
The band that became known as Idiot Culture was the last project by reclusive Seattle guitarist Byron Duff. Byron began to make his mark in the 1980’s with the trio The Spectators. The Spectators were known for jaw-dropping, tight performances in the underground clubs that spawned the emergence of what would later be the 1990’s Seattle Scene. Bob Mould (Husker Du, Sugar) once called The Spectators “the best unreleased band in America”. Although the band lasted no more than a year they saw opening and touring spots with the Husker Du, The Dead Kennedys and The Stranglers among others. Although Mould’s comment was prescient, the band never landed a major record deal. They’re now one of the almost-lost treasures of early 80s Seattle rock.
In 1986 Byron Duff formed ’Dive’, the band that would later be called Idiot Culture, with bassist TJ West and drummer Steve Dodge. Duff had met TJ West in high school had played with him in the late 70s/early 80s band Klappenstompp, along with Randy Berry on drums, and Gary Bauder on lead vocals. Later Duff would play with The Envy which was comprised of Byron Duff on guitar and backing vocals, Rick Hill on bass, Gary Bauder on lead vocals and the late great Dave Drewry on drums.
Unfortunately Dive would be an unheralded band that helped define the new”grunge”sound and the more intense attitude coming out of the Northwest. Dive continued in the mid-80s, recorded an impressive set to be released as an album in 1986, but never got the attention they deserved. Eventually the three disbanded and spent several years out of the limelight due to Duff’s ongoing health problems. It was during these years that Duff first showed the signs of Multiple Sclerosis that would later end his career as a performer. It’s been noted that Byron Duff, at the height of his powers, was the best Seattle guitarist of his generation. It’s not hyperbole. Listening to Duff’s playing on their live-recorded debut it’s a difficult point to argue. Unfortunately his trying to shop his demo, Duff faced indifference. He even recalls approaching the local label Sub Pop (who would later popularize the kind of music Duff was playing) and being turned down.
Because Byron Duff had been missing from the Seattle music scene for a number of years, his reemergence and his last album was highly anticipated. Though … Read more›
Revolving membership including:
Dean Warrti-Vocals, Washboard, Accordion
George Hackett-Twelve String Guitar, Vocals, Waders
Ben McMillan-Vocals, Cowbell
Tamara Jones-Double bass, Vocals
Bob Maguire-Vocals, Guitar
Gary Heffern-Vocals, Stage Presence
Chris Cornell-Drums, Vocals, Grunts, Overalls
Orville Johnson-Fiddle, Mandolin
Artie Palm-Mouth Harp, Saxophone, and Guitar
Tim Bowman Accordion, Saw
Debra June Connor-Cowgirl
And a host of others.
The Brides of Frankenstein
The Center for Disease Control Boys was a loose-knit satirical Country, Western and Folk band formed in Seattle in 1986. Their performances included a mixture of original compositions and older songs written by such artists as Bob Wills, Asleep at the Wheel, and Woody Guthrie. Their stage show used an extensive array of props and costumes such as bales of hay, stuffed roosters, rubber trout, and wads of self printed ‘country currency’. Although the band was only in existence for six months, they are noteworthy for their ever changing lineup of musicians and performers which included Chris Cornell of Soundgarden Jonathan Poneman, co-founder of Sub Pop Records, and Ben McMillan, lead singer for Skin Yard and Gruntruck.
The CDC Boys was a design and musical collaboration between Dean Warrti and George Hackett. Warrti was manager and booking agent for the Ditto Tavern, which filled a void in the local music scene by providing a venue for folk, punk, art rock, and emerging grunge bands from the Northwest. Hackett was an accomplished guitarist who worked at Boeing and shared Wartti’s interest in cultural satire, diverse musical tastes, and leftist politics. Warrti had a background in theatrical performance and design. As they wrote the songs and assembled the props and graphics, the two realized that a diverse cast of band members could be found within the roster of Ditto performers. Rehearsals were held at the artists collective SCUD (Subterranean Co-operative of Urban Dreams). The building had previously been the very neglected Sound View Apartments, and before that an SRO hotel. SCUD became an incorporated collective and leased the building in Belltown where a plethora of bohemian artists that included Ashleigh Talbot, Art Chantry, Cam Garret, Arthur Aubrey,Steven Fisk and Willum Hopfrog Pugmire. All had at one time or another been residents. It’s been reported that Jack Kerouac stayed at The Sound View Hotel a short time during his stop in Seattle in September of 1956. He had spent the earlier summer at a fire watch look-out in the North Cascades. He later wrote about the underbelly of Seattle and it’s downtrodden waterfront in a short story called Alone On A Mountaintop.
The building was at one time referred to Seattle residents as The Jello Building since the entire north side of the building was decorated with a multitude of Jello molds. It was a natural place for the … Read more›
Mark H. Smith-Guitar, Synthesizer, Vocals
MacKenzie Smith-Synthesizer, Vocals
Colin McDonnell-Guitar, Synthesizer,
Jane Whistler- Background Vocals
American Technology, EP (Engram Records, 1982)
The Worker Works To Live, EP (Engram Records, 1982)
Bar 2000. Seattle Syndrome Volume 2 compilation (Engram Records, 1983)
The band that would become 3 Swimmers rose out of the ashes of The Beakers-probably the first Olympia WA band that made the town the musical gravitational force it has become today. Other contributors to the early Olympia scene-and later contributors to the overall NW music scene- included DJ/editor/musician John Foster and the alarmingly underappreciated producer Steve Fisk. Both were early champions of the local scene, and had been students at The Evergreen State College just outside Olympia. TESC, as it’s often known was at the time a free-wheeling liberal arts college that pushed students to express their social and artistic endeavors to the maximum.
As well as Fisk and Foster, the college produced well-known graduates like Bruce Pavitt (Sub Pop) Matt Groening (The Simpsons) artist/cartoonist Lynda Barry (Ernie Pook’s Comeek, the illustrated novel The Good Times are Killing Me as well as the iconic image “Poodle with a Mohawk“). Later alum include Bill Hagerty (aka Macklemore of Ryan Lewis and Macklemore) and the pro-Palestinian advocate and martyr Rachel Corrie. A cadre of musicians, filmmakers, early video artists, writers, activists, idealists and excessively talented and motivated individuals emerged from the college. Many of them collaborate off and on up til this day.
The Beakers had had some great underground success based on the strength of only one single, the Bill Reiflin produced Red Towel b/w Football Season Is In Full Swing. Bill was the drummer for the near-mythic Seattle band, The Blackouts, and later worked with Ministry, Revolting Cocks, KMFDM, REM, Minus 5 as well as a myriad of other projects. He would also become a couple with-and marry Frankie Sundsten during the late 1980s. As of August, 2017 Bill is a member of the reconstituted King Crimson.
The Beakers label, Mr. Brown Records was a project of the Lost Music Network headed by the aforementioned DJ, chronicaller of underground music and founder of the influential OP magazine, John Foster A couple of inclusions (Figure 21 and I’m Crawling (on The Floor) appeard on Foster’s 1980 “Life Elsewhere EP and in 1981 The Beakers song What’s Important was incluced Pavitt’s Sub Pop 5 cassette release. A rather dull (for The Beakers) rendition of Lipps Inc. Funky Town is out there in the internet ether, but ultimately it doesn’t represent the sound of the motif of … Read more›
Charles “Upchuck” Gerra-Vocals
Paul Solger- Guitar
Barbara Ireland-Bass, Vocals
10 Minute Warning
Sky Cries Mary
Upchuck: Gone But Not Forgiven, compilation (dadastic! sounds, 2008)
The Fags might be the most fun Seattle bands to play ‘six degrees of separation’ with…except you’d only have to play with one or two degrees. Direct ties lead everywhere from 70’s Omni-sexual performers Ze Whiz Kidz, to neo-hippies Sky Cries Mary; from The Lewd to showgirl Julie Miller and The Casino de Monte Carlo and from John Holbrook, Bearsville engineer/designer and the man who mastered classic albums like ‘Tommy’ and Hendrix’s ‘Axis: Bold as Love, to Gordon Raphael-producer of The Strokes and Regina Spektor among others. From the skillfully written and recorded duo Such to the grimy recording of ‘Raping Dead Nuns by the band Solger, Seattle’s first hard-core band…and those connections barely scratch the surface.
The band rose out of a loose-knit community of musician-friends and punks that came and left Seattle’s infamous Fag House during the 1980’s. Before that many had been friends living off a sugar-daddy Charles Upchuck Gerra while he performed in his first band, Clone. In 1980 former drummer for the glamorous Julie Miller wunderkid drummer Ben Ireland, his filmmaking, multi-talented sister, Barbara Ireland. legendary guitarist Paul Solger (taking the name of his band) joined with poet/painter Dahny Reed to work as a unit. The band would be dubbed “The Fags” by local promoter Steve Pritchard when the band went onstatge one night at the Lincoln Arts Center. Pritchard did not know the name the band had planned to perform under that night-and neither did the band, apparently. So in announcing them Pritchard simply walked onstage and yelled out “Ladies and Gentlemen-The FAGS! The name stuck and together they created some of the most outrageous stage performances ever seen in Seattle….and later in downtown New York where the band re-located in the mid 1980’s. During the time that Barb Ireland spent at NYU’s film school the band’s bass was held on by Jane Playtex-then the wife of Steve Hoffman of one of the most hardcore bands of the day, The Fartz.
Studio recordings of the band are rare, but The Fags were good at getting friends to catch video and audio of many of their performances. Most were done on the fly and not up to the standard we are used to in the digital age…but they are certainly well-loved documents made by devoted fans and co-conspirators. Of their recorded output the song Lock You Up (recorded … Read more›
And a cast of many more
The Complete Frantics on Dolton-The Frantics (Collector’s Choice Music, 2004)
Human Monkey b/w Someday- The Frantics , 7″ single (Action Records, 1966)
Moby Grape-Moby Grape (Columbia Records, 1967)
Moby Grape ’69-Moby Grape (Columbia Records, 1969)
More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album-Compilation (Birdman Records 1999)
The Four Frantics
Luminous Marsh Gas
The Daily Flash
The story of The Frantics covers alot of NW music history. It’s also a tale of two bands…at least. The birth of what would become The Frantics goes back to 1955 when schoolmates Ron Petersen and Chuck Schoning formed a duo in 7th grade. They initially named themselves The Hi-Fi’s. Ron played guitar and Chuck playing accordian. Soon Chuck was loaned a keyboard and the band would expand with new recruits Joel Goodman (drums), Dean Tonkins (bass), and Gary Gerke (piano). After paring this line-up down to Ron Petersen, Joel Goodman, Chuck Schoning and Jim Manolides the band would become known as The Four Frantics. All members of The Four Frantics at this time were underage, so they hit the mighty teen dance circuit that was then at its height in the Northwest. Later Bob Hosko would sit in as sax player so the band shortened its name to The Frantics. By 1958 the band had gone through a few more personnel changes, heralding in the first classic line-up of the band. It was solidified with Ron Petersen (guitar), Joel Goodman (later, Don Fulton then, Jon Keliehor) on drums, Chuck Schoning (keyboards), Bob Hosko (saxophone), and Jim Manolides (bass). The band continued to play teen dances in the Puget Sound region, and by 1958 had become a local sensation. They’d also attracted the attention of local label Dolton Records.
The Frantics sound was simple. An incredibly tight rhythm section, highly proficient guitar playing and an up-front raunchy, R&B and Jazz influenced saxophone. The result was both fun, danceable and a bit dangerous. It was the sound of NW garage rock played with a little more finesse. The band was all-instrumental except for occassional appearances by locally in-demand vocalist Nancy Claire. Nancy made the rounds of the NW scene, both before and after her tenure with The Frantics, She played with the most iconic players of her era. Nancy Claire had such a high profile in the 60s that she will be covered in her own future post.
By 1959 The Frantics were slated to record for Dolton Records with prominent engineer Joe Boles in the basement studio of his West Seattle home. Boles was working with Dolton Records at the time and had done recordings and demos with soon-to-be-famous acts like The Fleetwoods, The Ventures and The Wailers. It was Boles himself that recorded The Ventures … Read more›