Bumbershoot Preview: Local Band Interviews

Bumbershoot’s Ultimate CD Design Competition winner
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As we’re all undoubtedly excited for this year’s Bumbershoot, chock full of local bands, great indie films, and tons of greasy fest food, what are the local bands themselves looking forward to? How has their summers treated them? And which of the overly pop headliners would they suffer through? (I’ll give you a hint: the one with the most “humps”.)

To indulge me with their Bumber-opinions, I gathered together quite a list of local rockers, including members of Saturna, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, Mono in VCF, Seaweed, Das Llamas, Shake Some Action, Fleet Foxes, and Sneaky Thieves.

The first question I had to know was what fellow Bumbershoot acts are they hoping to catch? Fellow local bands were hot on their lists, with votes for Dyme Def, the Whore Moans, Siberian, the Cave Singers, and the Lashes. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club made it to three of the bands lists, with Jordan of Mono in VCF proclaiming, “They’re the baddest rock band in all the land.” Crowded House also garnered three votes. The Fucking Eagles were greatly advertised by Wade Neal of Seaweed, who told me, “They are said to command a stage–actually, I have seen them about 22 times, and they exhibit massive wild abandon in the best sense.” [edit. coincidentally, John Atkins, also of Seaweed, plays in The Fucking Eagles] Who else was greatly popular among these musicians? Well, each other! Seaweed, Fleet Foxes, and twice mentioned Mono in VCF, were on their lists. Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head’s Luke is one who rooted for Fleet Foxes, with this great preview: “I’m really excited to see Fleet Foxes. I caught them at the Capitol Hill Block Party and they were so sweet on the ears. Seeing them in the Sky Church is going to be a double trip.” Besides music, comedy will be caught; Seaweed’s Wade will be laughing at Geoff Brousseau and Owen Straw’s jokes. A festival must-see for Shake Some Action’s Chris is the film festival (yours truly must agree, I love the film section.)

After hearing what they’re looking forward to, I asked about their fondest memory of past Bumbershoots. I know which food booth Fleet Foxes like to hit up, with their excited, “Elephant ears, elephant ears, elephant ears!” Kerry of Das Llamas had having a bit of a phonetic issue as a kid…”When I realized that it’s called Bumbershoot and not “bumpershoot”. I guess I thought it was a festival dedicated to the braking devices on the back of drag racers. Seemed like an event where you’d go to see some monster trucks and buy a gun. I think I was about ten when the name thing was brought to my attention.” But the most memorable experience seems to be had by Ryan Carroll of Saturna, who reminisced, “I think the most memorable would have to be Mudhoney and The Ramones. Mudhoney opened up with a home crowd and so many people were throwing lemons and screaming for the Ramones that they got a bit frustrated and talked shit to the crowd. Then the Ramones came on and played back-to-back songs for two and a half hours. Joey Ramone, looking like death, left the stage for a few songs and the rest of the band didn’t miss a beat. If you didn’t look on stage, you wouldn’t even have known he was missing. Crazy show!”

Sadly, Labor Day Weekend is the last big weekend of the summer before us Seattlites head into eight+ months of gray. Those three months of summer just aren’t enough time to do everything you want; not even for the bands. Seems everyone regrets not getting to the outdoors enough–dreams of camping, laying on the beach, and car trips were all woefully not fulfilled. All is not lost though, as Jordan and Hunter of Mono in VCF reports they have no complaints to give, “We had the best summer ever. We made our debut album and I we’re all really happy with it. I can’t say I regret anything about summer 2007. It’s been our best summer ever although it’s been a bit of a blur. We did pretty much what we set out to do. We also went to Mexico and British Columbia. It was great.”

Alright, so this year’s headliners seem mismatched for the discerning ear of Seattle, as echoed by Dylan of Mono in VCF who answered, “D. None of the above.” But who is the bands’ (tongue in cheek) choice out of Fergie, Sean Paul, or Panic! at the Disco? Almost unanimously Fergie was voted; Saturna: “Fergie for sure! Especially if she has one of those accidents on stage like last summer.” NPSH: “Hands down: Fergie. She’s like the most popular and most glamorous female singer in the game today. She is our collective guilty pleasure. I can’t wait to be lining down the block just to watch what she’s got.” Mono in VCF: “All I know is that Fergie has always reminded me of Michelle Pfieffer in Scarface. But I’m sure that’s been said before.” Seaweed: “We are playing against Fergie, but I think we can make it over if she wants us to join her as a backup unit.” David of Shake Some Action: “Fergie! humps!”

Well, who would they book as the headliner if they were in charge of the MainStage? I also gave the leeway of picking anyone alive or dead. The list included some great acts, including Bauhaus, My Bloody Valentine, Johnny Cash, 1960s Rolling Stones and the Beatles, the Poppy Family, X, Mark Hollis, Cold Crush Brothers, Charles Mingus, Cheap Trick, and the Stone Roses. However…some were a bit imaginative….Gary of Shake Some Action provided a full line-up, “That’s the kind of power people would regret giving me! But, if I were in charge, the Friday headliner would be Little Richard, Saturday’s headliner would be Elvis Costello and the Attractions, and Monday’s would be Flamin’ Groovies.” Luke of NPSH envisioned a Unicorns reunion, “I would have to choose a reunited Unicorns to headline. They would play for 3 hours and there would be sword fights, pyrotechnics, campfires, costume changes, getting naked, backup dancers, and all your favorite Unicorns greatest hitz. It’d be so magical.”

The strangest goes to Fleet Foxes: “Martin Luther King on bass, Abraham Lincoln on drums, Mahatma Gandhi on lead guitar, King Midas on rhythm guitar, with Harry Nilsson singing, playing Randy Newman songs. If we have godly powers might as well put them to good use.”

But the ultimate answer of all goes to Kerry of Das Llamas, who provided this gem: “I guess if I’m bringing people back from the dead it would have to be really, really good. Like the Superjam to end all Superjams. Keith Moon, John Bonham, Neil Pert and Buddy Rich on drums. On guitars, Django Reinhardt, Dimebag Daryl, Kerry King, Steve Vai (we’d have to kill him first for popular approval), Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads. Oh, and Bo Diddley, Mississippi John Hurt and Buckethead (sans bucket). Bass would be Flea, Les Claypool and Cliff Burton (They’d have their own section of the stage with a flashing sign that read “Bass Camp”). On keys I’d throw in Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, that dude from Styx with the ego problem and Yanni. I don’t know a whole lot about strings, so I’d have to get Yo-Yo Ma to put something together. We’d also have to wake up Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, Joe Strummer, The Ramones, Otis Redding and Buddy Holly. Up front with the conductors wands would be Ennio Morricone and Philip Glass. We’d have to use the stage set up that Iron Maiden used in their heyday but with the addition of that giant bong from Cyprus Hill’s ’97 tour and two or three of those “drum orb” things that Tommy Lee used. Everyone would be harnessed with elastic straps like in the Thunder Dome… Tina Turner could come too.” Organizers of Bumbershoot…take note.

Catch a slough of in-person interviews posted all weekend long over at Three Imaginary Girls, including interviews from Tiny Vipers, The Fucking Eagles, The Trucks, and many, many more!

Interviews conducted and written by Rachel LeBlanc

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