Sub Pop Records Will Have Their Revenge on Seattle: Looking Back on 25 Years, Part 2

Today, we continue to celebrate Sub Pop Records‘ 25th anniversary and eagerly await the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee this Saturday, July 13th, with more favorite memories by musicians, employees, and associates of this local institution. Check out Part 1 here and read on as we continue to ask, “What’s Your Favorite Memory of Sub Pop Records?”

THEESatisfaction at KEXP / photo by Dave Lichterman (view set)

When I was in middle school, I used to hang out with a lot of goth/anime/punk kids. We’d all just get along watching But I’m A Cheerleader and hanging out on Broadway like a bunch of bums. But I distinctly remember meeting up with my best friend every day before class and seeing the Nirvana Nevermind cover in their locker.

They hipped me to them and to Soundgarden because of their obsession with Dave Grohl (but who wouldn’t be!). When she also told me they were on Sub Pop and from Washington, my mind was blown. I was still pretty new to Seattle at this time so it helped me to adapt. Been loving the crew ever since.
-- Cat, THEESatisfaction

Sub Pop is trill, so is their logo. And the sign on the bathroom that says “Sub Poop.” And the fact that Mark Arm from Mudhoney is the warehouse manager. And Megan’s hair. And their taste in music. And their involvement in all things Seattle. And Sasha’s outfits.

I took my Mom up there. She’d never been inside a record label. It really made me feel good to be able to show her that I was being taken care of. They gave her a tour & let her tag the wall. She got to meet John and Megan. They gave her a t-shirt. The smile on her face was huge. I’ll never forget that moment. The moment I was able to say “Mama, I made it,” like all the other rappers.
-- Stas, THEESatisfaction

Some favorites...

- I used to collect the Sub Pop cassettes and loved to get them in the mail. They were super fun!

- Working in the office at the Terminal Sales Building in the very early days and trying to convince college radio that we were going to be a really big deal. It worked! ( I was also MD at KCMU at the time.) At that time I also loved the way Jon and Bruce would search for the exact right words to describe the music. There was a lot of wordsmithing going on from day one!

- Seeing Nirvana at Al’s Bar when I lived in LA as some folks from Sub Pop were nice enough to tell me that if I missed it I was an idiot. I didn’t miss it.

- Anything with Greg Dulli or Mark Lanegan

- Megan Jasper’s potty mouth is a force of nature and I feel blessed to have experienced it. Sorry, radio listeners, you are out of luck on this one!

- Seeing Sub Pop emerge out of dark days with grace, humor and an amazing generosity of spirit has to be my NUMBER ONE memory and current experience.

-- Faith Ventrello, Sub Pop Project Manager, former Music Director for KCMU 1982 – 1988

John Roderick at KEXP / photo by Victoria VanBruinisse (view set)

One of the first things I did when I moved to Seattle in 1990 was follow some other kids sneaking into a Mudhoney show through an unattended side door. It was pure mayhem. I thought surely people in the audience would be maimed or killed. It was in a theater with fixed seats but people were moshing OVER the seats. The band was laughing and everyone in the crowd seemed to be laughing too. It was like a “Twilight Zone” episode where all the adults disappeared and the teenagers took over the town and instantly descended into a state of Hobbesian mayhem. I thought, “Oh, so this is Seattle. I guess I’d better toughen up.”
-- John Roderick

My first encounter with Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt came in 1980 when he participated in an art show I organized at Rosco Louie gallery called “Famous Artists of the 80s,” which opened on New Year’s Eve at the dawn of the new decade. Bruce created a delightfully playful painting rendered on the headboard of a baby crib. Though still a student at Evergreen, he came closest to fulfilling the ironic premise of the exhibition. Over the ensuing years I’ve forgotten more of the mischief and magic of the era than I remember, but I immediately sensed Bruce was visionary.
-- Larry Reid, Fantagraphics

The Sub Pop Silver Jubilee is this Saturday, July 13th in Georgetown. Huge thanks to Sasha Morgan, Sub Pop’s Radio Friendly Unit Shifter, for her invaluable assistance on this piece! Stay tuned to the KEXP Blog for more stories and memories all week long.

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