Category Archives: City Heat

Breda 5-Song Demo (1990)

1990 Promo CardMight write more about this later, might not. This one goes out to Joe, in fact, this one is entirely owed to Joe. Find my full reviews of Breda and Fire Choir demo tapes in the 1990 book, up over there in the top right sidebar. Watch for a Fire Choir MP3 playlist here (featuring regular-ish member of Queensryche, Kelly Gray) in the weeks ahead.

For a true taste of late 80’s hair metal fame attempts from Seatown, I present in MP3 format, Breda (note that the E should have an accent above it). A Seattle band that is, by way of New York City (said with a Pace picante twang)!

Original TDK D60 cassette remains intact.

Breda 5-Song Demo Jacket


Dr. Unknown, Red Platinum: Hot Flashes [City Heat – May 1992]

dr. Unknown and Red Platinum

Tonight I saw a groovy, sparsely attended show, and I’m not too shit-faced so I guess I’ll tell you about it.

I must’ve gotten to Pike Place Market’s Colourbox just after the opening band finished ’cause the Pearl Jam CD was playing and it seemed almost over (read: ungodly long break) by the time dr. Unknown took the tiny stage. New guitarist Matt Fox (from Bitter End) and vocalist Jeff Carrell were riffin’ into some tasty breaks while bassist Derek Peace joined them for some hair flying frenzy. Cool songs I caught titles on were Misery and Come Down To Love. I didn’t catch the name of a jazzy little number that truly blew socks.

News from the front is that they’ve accepted an offer and the deal’s in that red tape stage before they can actually announce the signing. Congrats guys.

Next up was an electrified set by Red Platinum. Almost 1:00 by the time they kicked in, they apparently had some serious voltage surging through their equipment as guitarist Eric Wunderlich commented, “Nothing like a little 110 to liven up a performance!” And lively it was, by the time they started the second tune, Doug, his hair looked like someone had rubbed him with a balloon.

They played the best older stuff like Shovin’, and some nifty new ones, Don’t Take It Away and Mother Nature. They probably saved the best new material for last but it was well past my bedtime so I snuck my ass out of the Central/Satyricon shaped club.

Walking to my car I flashed a ‘peace’ to Matt Fox as he turned the corner in front of me, then silently wished him luck as one of Seattle’s finest filed into traffic behind him.


Van Halen at The Tacoma Dome: In Concert [City Heat – February 1992]

VAN HALEN at The Tacoma Dome

Well. first off, the miserable drive down to the Tacky Dome is always enough to get a rainy winter evening off to a foul start. This night was no exception. Couple that with typical TicketMaster annoyances and a mighty ensemble of over zealous south end security and you’ve got a fairly representational Tacoma Dome event.

Due to the distance, we completely missed Alice In Chain’s set, which, opening for Van Halen, was something we’d looked forward to. Due to the wet cattle run/reptilian maze that stood between the tickets and the entrance, we missed the first half of Poundcake. No biggee, but we still gotta find our seats. On the other side.

By the time Judgement Day had started we were set. Runaround completed the initial greet from For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge then they went into several Sammy tunes, One Way To Rock and the solo acoustic Give To Live.

For me, the highlight of the evening by far was when they spontaneously launched into Rock Candy (from Sammy’s early days in Montrose) after picking up a local [RKCNDY nightclub] flyer thrown onstage.

Hearing Rock Candy done live suddenly made it all worthwhile. After having witnessed the Van Hagar production three or four times now, and feeling they are rather uninteresting live by this point, I realized that they still can swing flashes of brilliance.

They touched on the last couple VH albums, OU812 and 5150, with Black And Blue, Finish What Ya Started, Best Of Both Worlds and Why Can’t This Be Love. After I Can’t Drive 55, Sammy went into some angry rant about the state of society as an intro to This Dream Is Over. Then they took their traditional unified bow and left the stage. But you knew the old guys were coming back at least once; just like by looking around you knew they hadn’t lost their ability to pack throngs of scantily clad teenyrockers into arenas.

And they did. Returning with a silly Jump during the chorus of which Eddie was only able to get one foot off the ground at a time. Top Of The World was supposed to be the last, but Sammy, feeling good the first night back from a rest that began when they cancelled the show scheduled here in December, just didn’t want to leave.

So getting back at him for throwing the rest of them into Rock Candy earlier, the three original VH members dove headlong into Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love, a song Sammy finished by apologizing with,

“We haven’t played that one in five years!”

Sounded okay to me.

Gruntruck – Inside Yours: Hot Flashes Local Tracks [City Heat – February 1992]

Inside Yours
eMpTy / RoadRacer

This is a re-release that a lot of people are glad to see given new life.

Feb 92 HF Gruntruck InsideYoursOriginally produced by Jack Endino and delivered by locals at eMpTy Records in fall 1990, Inside Yours, the debut of star-crossed Gruntruck, has been picked up by RoadRacer – who remixed a track and added two more before presentation.

Gruntruck is the thunderous culmination of Skin Yard’s voice, Ben McMullen, and The Accused’s guitar, Tommy Niemeyer (Tommy’s favorite is Flesh Fever and mine is the other new track on there, Crucifunkin’), joined by Tim Paul (Napalm Beach) and Norman Scott (Final Warning, Skin Yard) these grunge-crunchers create Seattle beauty at it’s heavy best.

Own it.

Nirvana: “Halloween” Cover [City Heat – Christmas 1991]

It was just about 7:30 and we were standing out back by load-in talking to the DGC rep just a few feet from where Kurdt was timidly socializing with a small group (of what from all indications was composed of riot grrls). The three girls surrounding wore a shroud of indifference to him that led one to believe they were definitely traveling with the band in the shabby travel van parked next to the Paramount load-in doors. Kurdt was casually explaining to an acquaintance how he probably wouldn’t have time to get together seeing as how they had only the next day off and then Saturday were flying to Europe to begin that leg of the tour.
Climbing the Paramount’s rear stairway we passed Chris and Kurdt on the thrid flight and once again I was amazed at how insignificant 6’2″ feels standing next to Novoselic. As we exchanged formalities I attempted to succinctly mention what a good album Bleach’s followup turned out to be. More pleasantries and the ascent continued. Fifth floor at the meet-n-greet, radio and retail crowded first around the beer and deli trays then Chris and Kurdt when they arrived. Numerous industry photo ops ensued, pix snapped. Our turn arrived so Karen broke out the Santa hats and both Nirvanites happily donned the soon-to-be legendary black Santa hats. Forming a quick attachment, Kurdt decided that he wanted to keep his black Santa hat as keepsake. Karen let him.
Knowing full well that they were being assaulted this very night by a media and mania trying to get a grasp of the reasons behind the fanatic acceptance, nay wanton embrace, of Nevermind, I held myself to a single, brief question. I asked Chris how the band felt about the deluge of interest and hype, to which he replied, “Well, I suppose it’s better us than Poison.”
After the chatter we ran into “Mrs. Cobain”, who had finally managed to make it inside the venue. Said Wendy, “I’ve never had so much trouble and had to jump thru so many hoops just to watch my kid!” Nevertheless, she was smiling parent proudly as she said it. We went back downstairs to watch Mudhoney’s set from stage left. Possibly (probably?) their first live set from the Paramount’s prodigious floorboards, they were as tight as I’ve ever seen them, fun and showy with their ritualistic beer trips to the drum riser on a speedier pace than usual. The set itself was dramatically punctuated by a rain of change that followed a Mark Arm comment concerning insufficient finances. He was, apparently, quite serious. I later noticed him selectively picking out quarters off the stage. Steve Turner had different (yet similarly sized) priorities as he picked up and placed possessively on his amp the scattering mini-Snickers that appeared, along with coinage, around their feet.
When Nirvana stepped up to the plate for their set, the shit really hit as we felt the noise levels throughout The Paramount bounce up several decibels. They put on their patently energetic/introverted with Chris pogoing about while Kurdt stayed fairly stationary, vocalizing thru his dirty blondish mop of hair. Behind them both, Dave kept the rhythm rollin’.
About this time Kurdt’s mom Wendy re-enters our world, crawling across equipment backstage and generally beaming. I asked her if, now that she had passed The Paramount’s initiation, was she having herself a good time? “I’m having the most fun I’ve had in years and the best Halloween, EVER!”
The Nirvana stage was flanked on either side by androgynous go-go dancers, one male, one female, wering identical blond bobs, shorts, tinted goggles and t-shirts emblazoned with “BOY” and “GIRL” (which inaccurately, judging by their chests, described the occupants. I learned that, at least in live settings, Chris owns the voice that sings the stolen intro to Territorial Pissings. By the time it was over, I was so drunkenly delerious on this particular concert experience, I couldn’t remember what song they played last. I think it was Love Buzz, but whatever it was, it was on.
As are they. Bear witness to this ride, Seattle.

The Posies: “It’s Not All Glitz” [City Heat – July 1991]

Posies cover City Heat July 1991

Posies cover City Heat July 1991

Since they last graced the pages of City Heat (riding the wave of Failure‘s success, April 1989) the Posies have; “learned a lot of new songs, put out another record, played millions of shows,” and as Rick Roberts (bass) falls into Bon Jovi schtick, “Seen a million faces and rocked them all!”
While “millions” may be sightly exaggerated they have, in fact, been playing extensively. Kicking it off in California with Gene Loves Jezabel, then hooking up with The Replacements in the Midwest and bombarding both coasts with Redd Kross

They’ve been in town a couple of weeks to catch their breath, now it’s back to the East coast for some dates of their own. 

Right in the middle of catching that breath, we grabbed ’em for a chat about life on the road, life in the “Big Leagues” and just life in general. You’ll find that theirs, like most of ours, varies. 


It’s Not “All Glitz”

When we last spoke over two years ago it was the beginning of the glitz.

Demo tape, independently released does exceedingly well, major label contract follows quickly, record and release the [major label] debut. No sweat.



Time now to support it, sweat for it.

And that they have. Alternating between headlining clubs and playing larger venues with afforementioned friends.

They have a live reputation that varies depending on your alignment with the album (Dear 23). If you really like it just the way it is, you may agree with the L.A. Weekly who, “said we butchered our record live”.

“Literally, that’s what’s they said,” relates Jonathan Auer (guitar/vocals). “It was mentioned three times by three different writers.”

“They liked the beautiful pop record and we like to rock it up a bit more.”

Others maintain that live is the only way to experience them.

Personally, I’d seen them only twice, at last year’s Bumbershoot and then in March at The Backstage. Neither of which, ponders Auer, was a representational Posies show.

“Those were both weird occurrences. The Backstage was an acoustic thing for thirty minutes and the show with Soundgarden (in the Coliseum) was, how to say, out of our element.”

“Our music was not meant to be played in basketball stadiums.”

Having heard from people in the crowd who preferred one band over the other, I asked how they thought that double bill went.

Roberts replied, “Actually, that’s what we wanted, was to play with them over other bands (ostensibly offered as options by Bumbershoot schedulers).”

Stringfellow adds, “It all depends on who you talk to. There are a lot of people who thought it was weird that we were affected by the audience at all because they enjoyed the show and thought we played a great show.

“Also, our perspective was up front where the pit of people were screaminig for Soundgarden.”

“Our music isn’t really designed for pits,(although they have a song, “The Pit”, slated for the next record).”  explains Auer, continuing, “and sometimes it happens.”

“But definitely, it was weird being that far apart. It’s like, ‘How ya doin over there, Ken?’ Oohh, and back behind behind Ken there’s Rick. I can see him with binoculars for cryin’ out loud. It was so ridiculous.”

However, continuing, he speculates that after they’ve been touring, a coliseum is less intimidating to them now.



Another part of home that can be intimidating is dealing with hearsay and the misinformation that it creates.

Mike Musberger (drums) tells us not to believe the hype.

“There are always rumors about how much people get signed for and what not. I would tell people not to believe most of what they hear about getting signed.”

“We’ve heard things that people think we got signed for like, one million. Nirvana got the same exact record deal that we did and it was not a million dollars.”

To which Auer adds, “Anybody who doesn’t believe that can come take a look at our bank accounts… and buy us lunch.”

Musberger sez: “If you want to make money, immediate cash in pocket, don’t be a musician. Because it’s nly when you sell enough records or tour long enough that you can make money.”

“Or, if you can draw enough people you can go places whether or not you have sold records. We’ve got a lot of money to pay back, that’s for sure.”

“But any band in town that’s signed to a major label – whether it’s Alice In Chains, Soundgarden or any of them – will tell you the exact same story.”

Roberts is tired of the misconception that people think they [the major labels] give you money on a platter. It’s like a bank.”

“I mean, we never have been ‘given’ any money. It’s like you approach them with an idea, trying to get a loan.”

“So we owe them back all that money versus our record sales.”

“We’re frugal. We aren’t trying to be exorbitant about it or anything and probably if we just wanted money, we wouldn’t get it from them!”

“It’s all basically ‘pay as you go’ when you make an album.”

Auer continues, “When we bump into other bands, you kinda know what’s going on.  Because you all are going through kinda the same things.”

“You all had to tour in the van for a long time. You all had to not pay the rent, not pay the phone bill. Several times.”

“You’ve had to borrow money from Mom. And this is all within the last six months you’ve had to do this!”

Musberger nods in agreement, “We are pretty much the same band – finacially or whatever – that we were a year and a half ago. But being a ‘signed band’, we do have that profit potential.”

Stringfellow adds, “Being signed to a major label opens doors to certain industries or institutions that weren’t open before. Like, you can have access to a major booking agent as opposed to doing it yourself.”

Another door open to ‘signed’ acts is the availability of top-flight management. They’ve stepped through that door recently and went ‘national’ with Tim Neece Management.As some of you may know, they were formerly with local manager Terry Morgan. It was an amicable parting of ways as the rules of the game changed.

Stringfellow explains, “It’s easier just to say that it was a situation that deteriorated over time.  “It certainly wasn’t easier for us to not have Terry. It was a lot harder because Mike had to take over for about four months. So we grew up in a lot of ways too.”

“Terry is a super great person but he’d never managed a band on a major label before and I think all five of us were thrown for a loop by what that entailed. So we needed to find someone with the experience who had done that a couple of times.”

And so they did.

Other topics of current interest include Auer’s hand at the helm of what he calls the “Truly” project (including Mark Pickerill and Hiro Yamamoto) and the Posies soon-to-be released single for Popllama.

The single is a tribute to the band Bigstar (anyone hear of Alex Chilton? The Box Tops?) featuring the songs “Feel” and “I Am The Cosmos”.

Like the B side to the single for “Suddenly Mary”, they’ve produced these tracks themselves (at Robert Lange Studios in Richmond Beach). The guys – and their label – have taken a distinct liking to the “hands-on” approach and may just be the Producers of the follow up to Dear 23.

“The record company liked our B sides, that we mixed, better than the record (Dear 23). That was something we did entirely on our own.”

“They thought we caught more of the live energy,” Auer comments.

Do they think that “in-house” production will bring across that live energy better on the next record?

“Most definitely,” he affirms.

“We realized that this is something we are going to be doing for a long time.”

“Touring also made us figure out what works and what doesn’t.”

It can quite safely be stated that The Posies, themselves, work.

Pushing it live on the road, releasing inde singles, and keeping their hands in other projects should keep them busy for a bit.

But in an industry where you’re only as hip as your last album, there’s always more to do.

Heart: “Everything Is Connected” [City Heat – December 1990]

City Heat - Heart

“Like Chief Seattle said. ‘Everything is connected.’ If you think that you can just be a consumer inside your own little world and not affect the world outside you, you’re nuts. All the new people moving up who don’t have envi­ronmental consciousness are acting like flood waters eroding the area. I’m not trying to be anti-California or new people at all. What we are trying to do is just educate everybody that we have a great area. When you move into the area, slow down, take a look around, recycle and change your way of thinking.”

Many other Washingtonians share the sentiments of the Wil­son sisters and are actively involved in this education process. Even if you fancy your­self to be more of the ‘inactive’ type, you’re helping out just by attending Heart’s benefit concert on the 8th. Since we all know who Heart are, I’ll keep the history to a minimum.

Way back in the late 60′ s. Ann Wilson was in love with a draft evader named Michael Fisher. His brother Roger and Steve Fossen had a band called The Army (somewhat ironic, eh?). Ann joined and they called it Hocus Pocus. When they ran to Canada they re-named it Heart. Nancy had been playing coffee houses in college and when she came in the line-up included Howard Leese and Michael DeRosier circa ’75. Around the turn of the decade Ann, Nancy and Howard enlisted the talents of Mark Andes on bass and Denny Carmassi on drums, and that’s been Heart ever since.

CH: “Let’s talk about the benefit. Who came up with the idea?

Ann: “Actually we’ve been trying to do this for a few years. We got to thinking what could we possibly do for our area. We have been all over the world and we always come back to Seattle. There is something about it that is so different and so sweet, fresh, and special to us that we wanted to make a gesture and so we thought what we can do is just not blow through town like usual and take the money and run. How about if we give our services. Do what we do best. Make the money and turn around and put it back into the hands of the city, but for a certain purpose which is clean­ing the water, cleaning the air. the wetlands especially. Puget Sound is only the front yard. The mountains and the forests are the backyards so what we’re do­ing is trying to get the whole area, keeping it stable by putting all this money into various groups that know what to do with it. Nancy and 1 first came up with the idea about four years ago and tried to get it together in Seattle then and we couldn’t even make anyone bat an eyelash then be­cause it wasn’t hip.”

CH: “And probably the need hadn’t been realized.”

Ann: “Right. It was before the big influx of people from Cali­fornia and all that kind of stuff. And so now we just kept on push­ing and we finally were able to get some business people around town to put in some money and get the whole thing moving and also our other sister Lynn is mar­ried to Ted Pankosky, who is the president of the Washington En­vironmental Council and so all of a sudden it is like a family thrust, you know. So it’s also about now that it’s sold out in the round and it’s going to be quite an exciting night.”

CH: “So who will this benefit and in what ways?”

Ann: “It’s a push to make money for local environmental groups, especially the Washington Council and at the concert there is going to be literature ga­lore specifying exactly where all the money is going.  We plan to raise probably $50,000 that night, purely for the environment. If people are curious as to where it is going, they can read this from Nancy and I saying how people, what they do inside their own home. Not a big scary govern­mental finger shaking thing. Just like, tips that normal people can do in normal ways in their homes, to make a difference. It’s just like a very middle class kind of idea. It’s not aimed at anything except every man.”

CH: “Almost at the grass roots level. OK, how about the show itself?”

Ann: “what people can ex­pect to see, really is Heart at its peak, at it’s stride in 1990. What began in the Moore Theatre way back in March is now like a big monster. We took the Moore for two weeks to get the show to­gether and like rehearsed every­thing and get used to being on stage and stuff. So what you are going to see is the latest genera­tion of lighting technology that is not technology any more. It’s more like art. It’s just like the* colors we are using in the air right now are rich, thick jewel colors and it’s -almost like the music is only half of the beauty. It’s something to see and it’s something to hear. Nancy is back playing acoustic guitars along with electric gui­tars. We are doing a couple of songs that aren’t even on a record.”

CH: “Cool Covers? Or are they unreleased originals?”

Ann: “One of them is called You’re the Voice, which we have released in Russia only so far. The rest I want to be a surprise. I don’t want to wreck the whole thing.”

CH: “After the benefit you only have a couple of stops left on the tour, right?”

Ann: “Then we are going to come home and be people and have Christmas with our fami­lies. After that, we’re going to just be people for a while and then start writing songs. Nancy and I are going to write, songs for the next Heart record. We’re also very excited about doing a dual solo album. Only Ann and Nancy. I mean not to the break up of the band or anything but just two of us doing what we like to do that’s not appropriate for Heart. Which is more acoustic stuff, more deeper lyrical content, bluesy stuff.”

CH: “As though there were room for anymore, what else ya got going?”

Ann: “When we get back to Seattle after Christmas, we’ll be way into that. We are going to build a world class studio in Se­attle at last.”

CH: “Now, will that be some­thing that’s in your homes or is it going to be available to local mu­sicians that have money to rent it?”

Ann: It will be for everybody to use but it will be to our speci­fications. Seattle so far has been very backward when it comes to state of the art, up to the minute, recording studios. We are so sick of having to always go away to L.A. to record and living in that place down there. We feel like it actually infringes on our edges as musicians. So that’s why we are making the studio in Seattle fi­nally.”

CH: “Best city ever.”

Ann: “”Capital Hill is really an amazing area. It’s full of art­ists and full of rock people. That’s where I live when I’m not on the road. Our drummer lives in San Francisco and our bass player lives in L.A. but the core of the band Howard, Nancy and I still live in Seattle. People in Seattle have always coexisted with us and let us just be ourselves and not made our lives miserable. Like, there is always a few kids hanging around my gate but they are loving people, they are not nutso or weirdos. necessarily. It’s where we were raised and where we intend to be with our fami­lies.”

Speaking of families, you may have heard something a while back about Ann pursuing an adoption. Seems the rumor’s true and she may be a mother as soon as February. Yet another good reason to make Seattle home. We’re glad that they’re proud of their home and we’d like to thank them for their efforts that will benefit everyone. We’d also like to wish Heart (and everyone else) a happy holiday season and a rippin’ nineteen ninety-one.

CH: “How long do you see Heart going on? You’ve just re­newed your Capitol contract for five more albums.”

Ann: “That’s impossible to say. Heart will exist as long as it’s meaningful to do it. As long as it’s appropriate. If it turns into a nightmare, we’ll knock it on the head. But, if it keeps on being cool, then…”

CH: “Is that Nancy laughing in the background?”

Ann: “Yeah, Nancy’s laugh­ing. She thought that was a funny way to put it. Like Nancy says, ‘we’ll knock it on the head, we’ll clean it, cook it and eat it.'”

CH: “Alright some fisher woman.”

Ann: “Yeah, fisher woman, fisher folk. Fish wives. But any­way, so I think we’ve got a few more years left in us, you know?”

CH: “We agree.”

City Heat - Heart Continued...


Billy Idol & Faith No More at Seattle Center Coliseum [City Heat – December 1990]

Hot Flashes – In ConcertDec 1990 City Heat InConcert: Billy Idol Faith No More
Billy Idol
Faith No More

This was  a Halloween not soon forgotten and a concert equally memorable. 18,000 crazed goblins, pregnant nuns, ghoulish beings and just plain night owls gathered to spend All Hallow’s Eve with kindred spirits. Pre-show I asked Faith No More’s Jim Martin if his festive self was dressing up for the occasion. An enthused, “Of course!” was followed by, “I’m planning to change my t-shirt.”

Tho visibly road-weary, FNM smashed open pumpkin night with “From Out Of Nowhere”, marshaling all the tenacity and power that makes their stage show a must-see. Center stage, sporting gorilla fur pants, red flannel shirt (no doubt an ode to our fair city) and a Doris Day wig, Michael Patton went immediately into his flinging, flailing, stomping routine that I overheard one truly un-PC mother describe as a “good imitation of a retarded person”.

Next up was their most current cool cut, “Falling To Pieces”. They crammed “Underwater Love”, “Surprise, You’re Dead”, (my favorite) “The Real Thing” and (the only number from a previous album) “We Care A Lot” into their formidable opening set – highlighted by joyously cheeky renditions of the Nestle’s Alpine White jingle and “The Edge Of The World”.

This being the dangerous combination of both Halloween and the last date of FNM’s stint on the Charmed Life tour, we were in for some surprises. In the midst of thumping out their “Epic” hit, Mr. Idol’s road crew thumped the band with a huge amount of smelt from the lighting rig in an overkill MTV reprise of their iconic video star. After flinging fish into the crowd and taking their bows, FNM returned to the stage for a cover of The Commodores’ “Easy (Like Sunday Morning)” with the help of three bath-robed housewives singing backup and opening their robes to flash mammoth false breasts. An un-false mooning from the girls accompanied the curtain call and there was still more fun in store.

As soon as Idol hit the stage with “Cradle Of Love”, it began. A gorilla (looking suspiciously similar in stature to Patton) came dancing around stage right, surprising the beautiful duo singing backups. Then it joined along with their choreographed dance steps, all the while Billy Idol rocking the chuckling crowd, oblivious to the show stealing going on behind him.

Mr. Idol gave an energetic performance that seemed little affected by his recent lameness. A slight limp barely noticeable, he posed and sneered and swaggered as if in top form.

He rattled off his long list of hits, from the latest back to Gen X days for “The Untouchables”. Songs from an MTV generation: “Eyes Without A Face”, “White Wedding”, “Rebel Yell” and “Flesh For Fantasy” which featured a pretty neat-o robotic, chest-baring dance move from the Idol one.

The real kicker, however, came in the midst of his encore, “To Be A Lover”. Heads covered with masks, paper bags and towels, five guys (quite rightly assumed to be FNM) circled Idol, dancing around him butt-naked. Pretty damn scary!