Seattle is one of the best music cities in the world. But it was once a sleepy cultural backwater. Thanks to the DIY efforts of punk pioneers, the scene grew into a force that took the world by storm in the late 1980s and early 90s. KEXP presents the new hour-long radio documentary special “Stray Dogs from Every Village: Seattle Underground Music 1978-1988,” airing this Saturday, May 19th at 8:00 PM PT on Audioasis, KEXP's local music show. You can also listen to the documentary below. Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPop, has opened up their extensive vault of oral histories, allowing us unprecedented access to first-hand stories from the people who lived it.
There is something before '95 that happened in between '95 and, what was it... '84. From '84 to '95, there's this whole section of shit that came up here &emdash; I'm talking, and I'm just talking about Seattle: there's this whole fucking section of shit that made sure that this "Seattle Scene" actually existed. You know, because if it wasn't there, if we didn't have all this other stuff in between — it's like, this shit, it wasn't like God came down and went, Prang, there's Adam. There's Nirvana Nirvana knew everything. No it is everything in between. It's every — one thing always influences another influences another influences another. And if you don't have that shit in between, you don't know shit.
-- Alex Shumway, also know as Alex Vincent, was drummer for Seattle band Green River.
Hear first-hand stories of an infamous clash with police at Seattle’s first punk club, The Bird, in 1978, and wild shows at the legendary all-ages venue The Metropolis, which was a crucial melting pot for the fledgling scene in 1983. In 1988, Sub Pop records officially incorporated and helped to spread Seattle music far and wide.
These 10 years planted the seeds for the massive rock acts to come, but it took the dedicated efforts of many lesser-known artists and promoters to create something from nothing. Interviews include Mark Arm of Mudhoney, Bruce Pavitt of Sub Pop, rock photographer Charles Peterson, and many others who helped found Seattle’s sound.
Learn about the very first DIY punk rock show in 1976 and the time The Ramones were surreptitiously booked at one of the city’s fanciest hotel their first time in Seattle in 1977. For a short but glorious time in the early 80s, one ticket could get you into three Pioneer Square all-ages venues to see virtually every punk band in town. But 1985’s Teen Dance Ordinance brought that to a screeching halt. And find out the surprising role elevator Muzak played in the Sub Pop records story.
Stray Dogs Web Extra 1: The Bird, Kurt Bloch, and The Blackouts
Here are some extra stories from Seattle's 70s punk scene that surrounded the first venue The Bird, including punk fashions and DIY labels with Kurt Bloch of The Cheaters and The Fastbacks, Mark Arm feeling like an outsider among the U-District punks, and how The Telepaths and The Blackouts would go on to influence industrial music.
Stray Dogs Web Extra 2: The Metropolis, Mr. Epp, and Green River's Roots
Here are some extra stories of The Metropolis, which was home to The U-Men and many other great local underground bands in 1983 and 1984. Hear about Mr. Epp and The Calculations last show, and how they would go on to form Green River along with future members of Pearl Jam.
"Stray Dogs from Every Village: Seattle Underground Music 1978-1988" is part of the From the Vault documentary series, made possible thanks to a generous gift from Paul Allen, and in cooperation with MoPop. It was written and produced by KEXP’s Isaac Kaplan-Woolner, and is hosted by John Richards of the Morning Show.
Images below courtesy of the Museum of Pop Culture; many can be seen in person as part of their current exhibit Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses.
Stray Dogs from Every Village: Seattle Music 1978-1988 includes excerpts of music from:
|Nirvana - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"||The Trashmen - "The Surfin Bird"||The Butthole Surfers - "Bar-B-Q Pope"|
|The U-Men - "The Fumes"||The Enemy - "Bang Bang You're Dead"||Red Masque - "Stay Low"|
|Nirvana - "Love Buzz"||D.O.A. - "The Enemy"||Green River - "Come On Down"|
|The Fabulous Wailers - "Tall Cool One"||The Subhumans - "Urban Guerrillas"||Black Flag - "Nothing Left Inside"|
|The Ventures - "Walk Don't Run"||The Enemy - "Trendy Violence"||Green RIver - "Swallow My Pride"|
|Perry Como - "Seattle"||Gang of Four - "What We All Want"||Sonic Youth - "Society Is A Hole"|
|Mudhoney - "Touch Me I'm Sick"||The Ramones - "Needles and Pins"||The U-Men - "Trouble Under Water"|
|The Ramones - "Blitzkrieg Bop"||The Fastbacks - "It's Your Birthday"||Soundgarden - "Nothing to Say"|
|The Telepaths - "Sex Cult"||Student Nurse - "Discover Your Feet"||Skin Yard - "Throb"|
|The Meyce - "That's The Truth"||The U-Men - "Blight"||Green River - "Your Own Best Friend"|
|The Tupperwares live at the TMT Show 5/1/1976||The Fastbacks - "Someone Else's Room"||Green River - "Together We'll Never"|
|The Telepaths - "Must I Perform"||The Replacements - "Take Me Down to the Hospital"||Soundgarden - "Sub Pop Rock City"|
|The Lewd - "Kill Yourself"||Bad Brains - "Big Take Over"||Tad - "Daisy"|
|The Ramones - "Judy Is A Punk"||The U-Men - "Dig It A Hole"||Mudhoney - "Sweet Young Thing Ain't Sweet No More"|
|Mother Love Bone - "Stargazer"|