Unknown eighties SeattleJune 19, 2007
In the summer of 1986, 5440 (wikipedia) was supposed to be the next big thing, and a completely unknown Soundgarden (fan site, wikipedia) and my band opened for them at an empty Pine Street Theater (which became La Luna). Our Seattle-bred drummer had previously played in two of the least successful bands ever to exist in Seattle, both great, and each member of Soundgarden individually recognized him from both of them. Tuneage below.
The Probes were Yorck and his high school buddies, led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Jon Woolverton. Briefly I’d say his closest creative cousin that you might have heard of is Andy Partridge, but whereas AP had a weakness for biting dissonance JW couldn’t stay away from sweeping operatic grandeur, in a teenage un-punk/para-punk kinda way. Best just to listen for yourself, here’s their album Act of Faith. Metadata:
Yorck Franken- percussion
Jon Woolverton- guitar, vocals
Charles Comstock- sixtrings
Lloyd Ericson- bass guitar
Written and performed by The Probes, 1980-1984
Recorded live and mixed, January 1985, Triad Studios, Redmond, Washington.
Engineered by Greg Unterseher
Thankyoutwo engineers Tom Hall, Larry Nefzger
Mastered at 45 RPM for higher audio fidelity bu Ron Luder, The Mastering Lab, Los Angeles, CA
Fred (oftenspelled with a backwards e or a 3- pr3-7334) was led by trombonist Greg Powers and guitarist (trumpeter in the real world) Jeff McGrath. Words fail me, this was simply the most beautiful band that’s ever existed. Here’s a couple of tunes from a record they recorded a few years later that never came out. A couple of the tunes came out in the nineties on the Fot Records Passed Normal compilations. Personnell:
Greg Powers- trombone, vocals,
Jeff Mcgrath- guitar, bass, vocals,
David Stern- woodwinds, keyboards, vocals
Amy Denio- bass, sax, vocals
Jeff Markham- drums
Another funny Soundgarden story. Once they became famous, there was a hot local band on the STP/Alice in Chains tip called Love on Ice that signed to Interscope (or something). Soundgarden were being interviewed on the corporate rock station in Portland, and the DJ said “you know, we have a pretty good music scene down here in Portland too…” Soundgarden responds ” oh sure, the Wipers are from Portland, and the Hellcows, and the Obituaries, and Napalm Beach, and Dead Moon…” The poor DJ kept trying to interject “and Love on Ice is from Portland,” but Soundgarden was unstoppable, it was like the goddamn catalog of the ships from the Illead, “The Oily Bloodmen are from Portland, Pell Mell, Smegma, Poison Idea, Sno Bud and the Flower People…”
And by the way, the only people who saw that 5440 show were the members of GBH, who had played there the night before.