Tag Archives: Nirvana

The Unlikely Record Label From A Damp, Cloudy Climate

Following on from our previous post, by coincidence, David Shields is based in Seattle, the more-often-than-not grey city that gave rise to a musical phenomenon from the late ’80s to early ’90s that musicologists continue to debate over. The debate is most often over who was first to wear the mantle of Grunge and what song will be remembered decades from now. But, there is usually no debate over the importance of the first record label to discover and promote the new genre of music. Sub Pop began as the dream of an avid music fan, then morphed into a fanzine/bog/cassette label to finally a rag-tag record label signing unlikely acts such as Tad, Green River, Soundgarden, Mudhoney and of course, Nirvana. The story from there merges into a world of myths and legends. Frequent Life Elsewhere guest and long-time music journalist, Gillian Gaar has set about trying to sort out the Sub Pop history in her latest book, World Domination – The Sub Pop Records Story. Gillian joins Norman B to recall the early days of Grunge and the record label that grew out of the damp, cloudy climate of Seattle.

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Show #300 V2

 

Next On Life Elsewhere

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Next on Life Elsewhere, a special feature on one of the most influential bands to emerge from the late 70’s music scene in London. A band Nirvana and  Soundgarden, amongst many others, cite as a major inspiration for their forays into rock ‘n’ roll. Those two Seattle bands, who emerged out of the Seattle’s “Grunge” scene, were regular listeners to Norman B’s early incarnations of Life Elsewhere, where he was the first DJ in America to play the formidable and extraordinary music of…Killing Joke.

Killing Joke, John Peel Sessions, 1979In the next edition of Life Elsewhere, we talk with Frank Jenkinson who in 1979, happened to be living in the same ramshackle house as Killing Joke and their original management team, in the then bedraggled area of Notting Hill Gate, London. “These were early days and I happened to have a camera.” Recounts Jenkinson“Things were kicking off for the band and I was there at all the early gigs, including the legendary John Peel Radio Show Sessions.” The photos Frank took, graphically document a moment in time, now long gone and shrouded in mystery. His extraordinary photographs lay dormant in a dusty box, under his stairs, until he recently noticed on Facebook, Killing Joke‘s ever-increasing and devoted following. Recently, Jenkinson self-published his unique photo-book, documenting a special period in 1979, and, if the response to this book is encouraging, he plans to publish a much larger volume of his historical pictures.

Frank Jenkinson will join the next edition of Life Elsewhere to talk about his historical photographs, the early days of Killing Joke and what life was like in London, circa 1979. To round out our focus on Killing Joke, we look to the future of music, as envisioned by Martin Youth Glover, with highlights from Norman B’s 2013 in-depth interview with Killing Joke‘s bass player.

The Killing Joke photographs are from the BBC John Peel Sessions, October, 17, 1979, by permission of Frank Jenkinson

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A Remarkable Voice – Carrie Akre

“It’s a bit different to the other stuff you’ve sent over.” Said the legendary and influential British DJ John Peel, during a telephone call to Norman B, circa 1990. Norman had been sending John boxes of records for a few years by that time. Most notably, was a package he shipped over to London, that included, Mudhoney,TadGreen River and Nirvana. Peel raved on about those releases, playing them often on his nightly BBC radio show. This caused the ever-alert British music press, always on the look out for the next flavor of the month to wax lyrically about the music scene in Seattle. The rest of that story, Norman promises, “I’ll include in my tell-all biography, which I hope to finish sometime in the next year or so.”

John Peel  continued, “It’s a bit different and I like that,” adding, “She has a remarkable voice, what’s her name again?”  Carrie Akre replied  Norman B. The band was Hammerbox, who put out some fine releases, but in retrospect, it could be reasonable to deduce that Hammerbox, despite their deliberately hard name, did not quite fit into the grunge identity. Mostly because of Carrie Akre‘s (as John Peel said), remarkable voice. While she could rock out with the best of ’em, her voice was perhaps too haunting and melodic? She went on to form Goodness and again released excellent records from the middle to late 90’s. Since Goodness disbanded in 1998, she has contributed vocals to the project band The Rockfords (which included Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready on guitar), and released three solo albums. Currently Carrie Akre is Crowdfunding to record new music.

On the next edition of Life Elsewhere, Norman B will sit down with Carrie to talk about, her career, the ups and downs of the music business and how a musician goes about raising money to record new material.

Make sure you don’t miss Life Elsewhere, Sunday, May 10, 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3 and Monday, May 11, 5.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio