Hello and Good Monday to you!
Well, here we are, Monday again. I learned some things this weekend, friends. I learned that there is a man here in Portland, a man verily LIVING AMONG US whose last name is Wormwood and he dresses like Henry Kane from Poltergeist and he drinks cognac at dive bars and collects human teeth. I learned that the fact that I didn’t own a real can opener until two weeks ago and had been using the “can opener” on my Leatherman to open cans for pretty much the past year is, in fact, not the deep and shameful secret I thought it was, and that QUALITY PEOPLE APPRECIATE THAT ABOUT ME THANKYOUVERYMUCH. I have a can opener now, though. It’s fine, but I miss the pure tenacity and elbow grease it took to get a can of tuna open with my Leatherman. I learned that right now, I’m super into paper mache and Billy Ocean (that voice!). Sometimes - and don’t judge me here - but sometimes I like them at the same time. And, courtesy of my Benefactor at the Greater Portland Wayward Home For Girls, I learned that it IS, in fact, almost always the lettuce in a salad that gives you food poisoning and not the seafood or whatever else you ate.
What did you learn this weekend? Open your ears, man, it’s a wide wide world out there with things for you to like, KNOW and shit. I love it! Though I do wish I knew less about how a million little tiny snickers bars in lieu of dinner on Friday night made my tummy feel. Bad. It made it feel bad. Also, heads up, the green twizzlers taste like fresh cut grass.
Anyway, I’m skipping the normal format of doing a daily listing of things to do and going right for the jugular this week: let’s talk about Grimefest on Thursday, October 8th. What is Grimefest, you ask? WELL, I WILL TELL YOU, PERSON WHO WANTS TO KNOW.
Grimefest is a multi-band concert taking place this Thursday night at Portland House of Music and Events. The bands playing this show are MOME, Five of the Eyes, Superorder, Capture the Sun, Haunted Cities, KOROVYOV, the Nuclear Bootz, Phallus Uber Alles, the Wicked Woods and SAFE/WORD. These bands all rehearse at Grime Studios, but they’re not the only bands that rehearse at Grime. But the lineup isn’t really why you want to be going to this show, though there are some pretty incredible bands on this lineup (Five of the Eyes and the incredible Capture the Sun are worth the ticket price alone - it's only fucking $8). No, you’re going because you give a fucking shit about art and music and the people of Portland having a place to make art and music. Grime Studios is one of those places. This concert is raising money for their survival. Therefore you will go. Feeling lazy and don’t feel like going out? Well fuck you, man, get up, put on a pair of sweats or some shit, walk through the door, pay the cover, walk around for five minutes and say hello to the people you know and then leave, who cares. But come and give your money at the door. That’s what counts here. Do you understand that, you nincompoop?
So what’s going on with Grime Studios, you ask? Let’s find out.
Woah, hold on, let’s back up. Grime Studios is a rehearsal space for bands and musical artists. If you don’t know, now you know: it is very, very difficult to find a place to rehearse as a band, because the nature of a band is that it is loud enough to be heard by other people at the very least, and in the case of say, Doom Metal, it is loud enough to shake the floor. If you live in an apartment or a house with any neighbors within a mile, you probably can’t rehearse in your home. Maybe you live out in a farmhouse somewhere with no neighbors, but what if you have a baby daughter trying to sleep upstairs or your husband just doesn’t like that your bandmates leave behind all of the beer cans they crush between their boobs while you’re rehearsing. I mean it’s just disrespectful.
But even if you do find some kind of rehearsal space at which you won’t get any noise complaints (and that isn’t infested with WOLF SPIDERS which - ask me about that in person some time and I’ll tell you all about which former SeepersoN has the shrillest, girliest scream when confronted with a pack of giant spiders), which is a thing that is nearly impossible, there’s no sense of community. Unless you want to rent out your grandma’s garage or whatever, but then you have to be responsible for all the stupid shit other bands do in the space AND you have to somehow ensure the safety of everyone’s equipment and unlock doors whenever anyone wants in or out. It’s a headache, is what I’m saying. But it is also SO IMPORTANT for artists to be able to be in contact with other artists - for the sake of inspiration and the art itself, sure - what if you’re an electronic act and you hear some prog rock shit next door that BLOWS YOUR MIND and now all of a sudden you make progtronica and you’re the premiere progtronica act in North America and you invented your own genre and Rolling Stone put you on the cover and you got to smoke weed with Miley and you sat on Jay Z’s lap next to Blue Ivy and shared a sandwich baggie of cheerios with her at the VMAs and how would that have happened if you hadn’t had the benefit of the initial inspirado from just being surrounded by some kickass band next door. But it’s also important for artists to be surrounded by other artists so that they can cultivate a community together. Ask any band how they got their first gig, met their all-too-important producer, secured studio space at a discount or got their song played on the radio - they probably met someone hanging around at a gig or at their rehearsal space and they bumped into each other outside while smoking or someone introduced them or WHATEVER my point is that these kinds of spaces facilitate communication and collaboration among bands and that is incredibly important to keep the scene going.
Every day in Seattle I’d take the bus home from work and as we came over the Ballard Bridge into my neighborhood, I’d see this vacant lot filled with a foot or two of water right behind where a new Trader Joe’s and an LA Fitness had been recently opened.
One day I happened to be riding the bus on the same route with a friend and remarked about how odd it was that Ballard, a neighborhood whose real estate was at a premium (as evidenced by my rapidly rising rent) still had this vacant lot sitting there that nobody seemed to want to touch or build anything upon. My friend just said, “just wait… it used to be a rehearsal space for all those 90’s bands you love (ed note: that I love? Ok, Jan!)... for a while it used to just have the front facade of the building standing and nothing behind it. They’ve finally gotten to tearing that down, so condos are probably right around the corner!” He was talking about the Music Bank, which was a rehearsal space and makeshift apartment building for bands including Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Temple of the Dog and Mother Love Bone, among others. I’m not going to bother asking the question, “what would American pop/rock music look like today if it were not for the Music Bank?” because you already get my drift.
Although we probably would have been spared Nickleback. I blame the Music Bank for being indirectly responsible for Nickleback.
So anyway, back to Grime Studios. They used to be out at Thompson’s Point, but they have recently secured a ten year lease on space at 299 Presumpscot Street, just past Maine Academy of Modern Music and what we refer to as The Decarbonization Zone (the group of solar and clean energy companies located just past MAMM - I work at one of them so that’s kind of an inside joke, but I like the idea of working in a “zone” of some kind so I’m sharing it with you because it makes me feel very futuristic and space age). The renovation of the spot has cost them a lot of money, and to keep the space affordable for the 30+ bands that rehearse at Grime - and make room for more bands to secure space - they are having Grimefest to raise money for the final portion of the renovations and take them down that home stretch.
I tried to set something up with Grime, like an interview or whatever, but the guy who runs it was kind of like, “oh great, another interview that will help me raise NO MONEY AT ALL,” and so I just backed off because he seems super busy I mean he’s building a brand new rehearsal space for us assholes, get off his jock already, jesus H, man. But I wanted to just make a case for coming to this show and donating your money at the door - you get a sick show with 9 bands and your dollars go to a great cause that will help keep the arts scene in Portland thriving. Plus, who knows, if you take my advice about sleeping with your favorite local musician, it could very easily be your future girl- or boyfriend who gets those tickets to the VMAs and haven’t you always wanted an excuse to get matching denim outfits with your significant other?
Look, life is short do what you want. But if what you want is to stay fucking home on Thursday night and not come to this show, then you are really a jerk. I mean really, a class A stinkwreck. Just do it already, you'll have fun I promise. I have a great joke to tell you. Two of them maybe! Here's one to get you enticed, an amusebouche, if you will:
Have you heard about corduroy pillows?
wait for it...
They're really making headlines!
Ok, see ya there.