Sub Pop Records Will Have Their Revenge on Seattle: Looking Back on 25 Years, Part 3

Hey, Sub Pop Records, you blushin’ yet? All week long, KEXP has been asking their roster, their minions, and the Seattle music community to share their memories of this legendary label as we help celebrate their 25th anniversary and eagerly await the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee this Saturday, July 13th.

Alan Sparhawk of Low / photo by Dave Estep (view set)

In 1988, my new friend Zak Sally, brought over a record he had just bought – it was Mudhoney’s ‘super-fuzz/big-muff’
“We wanna be free…..and we wanna get LOADED!” We had discovered the new generation of badass and it felt like home.
‘Louder than Love’ by Soundgarden came next – so brave and heavy. Beat Happening(!?!) We should start a band…
– Alan Sparhawk, Low

Late ’80’s, SP HQs on 1st ave, downtown… The Vogue was a hangout back then… I’d drop by the offices every now-and-then, just to see what was going on, you know, check in… one night watching bands at the Vogue, and a perhaps penniless Jon P. comes up and says “buy me a coffee now, and come by tomorrow and I’ll give you a 45 that will change your life! I did, he did, and I still have that 1st Nirvana 7″, prob been played 500 times! It’s one with the red marker where the “___of 1,000″ would be… that record is SICK. My roommates hated me, I’d play it over and over and over…
– Kurt Bloch

I interned at Sub Pop back in 1996 under the reigns of the almighty radio gods Kristen Meyer and Susie Tennant. The following semester I was going to do a study abroad in Spain and intern at a national radio station until… Susie pulled out a copy of a Fastbacks 7″ on the Spanish label Munster Records and said ‘call these guys and ask for an internship’. I dialed the number on the back of the 7″ and immediately offered my free services (the line went quiet as they didn’t understand the word ‘internship’ nor free work). The response: ‘you’re hired!’ Munster introduced me to the world of the Small Faces, Spacemen 3, and the Monks. There’d be no Light In The Attic if it weren’t for Susie, Kristen, Sub Pop, Munster, and that Fastbacks 7″. Can’t thank them enough.
– Matt Sullivan, Light In The Attic Records

Joe Pernice / photo by Brittney Bush Bollay (view set)

Sub Pop had something to do with me meeting two very significant people in my life: first, my wife (and bass player for the band Jale) Laura Stein. And second, my mother, Joyce Linehan.
– Joe Pernice

It was 1993, and Velocity Girl was on tour with Belly, playing at the Knitting Factory in NYC. Between sets, VG and Sub Pop’s Dave Rosencrans cruised over to CBGB to catch Versus. On the way back, as we crossed Houston on the Bowery, some jackass in a Dodge Dart plowed into our guitar player Brian Nelson. There’s a Whole Foods there now, but it was somewhat sketchy then at that hour of night. Without missing a beat, Rosencrans — presumably Sub Pop’s guy there to keep us out of trouble — is pounding on the dude’s window, then hauls him out of the car, and a fist fight ensues. I joined in for a while, then dude jumps in the car and, tires squealing, bolts east on Houston. Fist fighting with your Sub Pop guy…hell yeah!
– Jim Spellman, Velocity Girl

One funny thing is that my poor wife would have to go down to the offices late each month, banging on doors looking for “Pone-man,” as she called him, looking for our rent check while we were out on tour. But at least they were paying our rent! This seemed like stardom itself at the time — not having to worry about the rent for the first time.
– Kevin Whitworth, Love Battery

I got to know Jonathan Poneman around 1989, when I was a barista on Queen Anne. He drank Americanos and always tipped, sometimes in the form of hot info on upcoming shows and bands. Four years later, he and Bruce Pavitt hired me to work at the Sub Pop Mega Mart. It wasn’t open yet, so I answered the phone for a couple of weeks. On like my third day, Courtney Love called and was SO RUDE. Those guys always promoted from within, and I got to do lots of fun jobs over the course of 5 years. Always thankful for what they’ve taught me, and everything they’ve done for the world. Plus, we got to have a party on the roof with Cheap Trick!
– Kerri Harrop, former Sub Pop Mega Mart employee, current Music Community Fundraising Manager for KEXP

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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