BY12 - Between You and I with John Roderick

This show is hosted by Carrie Akre.

Carrie first got introduced to John through the Western State Hurricanes. They had a cassette that Carrie got from John or Stephanie and she loved it! Carrie was in Goodness at the time and she wanted The Western State Hurricanes to open for them. She was a big supporter of John’s band and helped them a lot and she loves everything John does. She was really excited to talk to him because she liked having been on John’s show at The Rendezvous.

Carrie coming back after a break from music (BY12)

Carrie is now 52 years old and she recently started trying to recreate her relationship to music after a long period in mom-mode. She wanted to be a mom and she had her son, but she didn’t know how to consciously tell herself that it was okay to have a break, not give a shit about music, and go be a mom. Instead she had a split torture when she neither wanted to nor could because she was tired. Her son is now 10, going on 11 and she is trying to cultivate her relationship to music again.

When Carrie started in music it happened fast and it happened luckily. She didn’t have to do much other than practice and do all the regular work and consequently she had never established a pattern of saying ”Hey Carrie, how is this working for you?” There is a hollow hole in her and she doesn’t want to live by this story, but it is a little bit of a disconnect between what music means to her privately, alone, when nothing else is there, and when everything else falls away. Does she know why she would do it? At times she does want to participate in music and other times she just doesn’t care. There are other things besides music going on in the world.

She wants to love music again and she is starting to really take knowledge about the things she likes. She loves recording, she likes collaborating, she likes compulsive and intuitive creating, she loves to gather players and give them something to do with, but she is not a control person other than saying that she doesn’t like a thing, but that doesn't happen too often. It has taken her a long time to get very comfortable to tell people ”No!”, like if she doesn't like a certain wah-wah pedal.

R.E.M., the person who edits the band (BY12)

When Bill Berry left R.E.M., everybody was worried that his distinctive drumming was going to go, but Bill Berry was also the one who said ”I don’t think that is good” and the day he left, some aspect of their editing process went away and everything by R.E.M. post Bill Berry feels slightly less edited. It might also be that they just went past a certain fame arc and started to think that everything they did was great. It is a similar situation to when Paul McCartney lost John Lennon: His mid-1970s music would have needed a person who would tell him that it was just not quite good enough and he should go back over those lyrics one more time.

Knowing good vocals when you hear them (BY12)

Carrie likes the capturing of time and would rather get to the doing than examining over and over. The emotional aspect is more important, at least for her solo stuff. She will examine the quality of vocal performance and she can tell if somebody who can sing well didn’t give a shit and was less present. When Goodness recorded Anthem, they had to do it twice.

The first record was with John Goodmanson and it was their first ever with lots of energy and everyone was like ”Whaaaa!”, when when they had done Anthem, they were like: ”No, not good enough! Do the whole thing over!" Ted Niceley had done a great job, but he was very tidy. Carrie can hear if the vocals have nothing big about them, she can tell if they were tired, if there was no scream, no edge, no breath, and no spit on it!

One of the great things John had at his disposal as a vocalist was Sean Nelson of Harvey Danger. He would just sit there in the studio reading a magazine while John was doing vocal takes, because engineers typically don’t fucking understand vocals and what is happening. They understand whether it is in pitch or that you did it through, and the ones who like to comp stuff will comp the pitch for performance, but you need a producer who really thinks about vocals or another vocalist.

Sean would sit in there and listen to John and he would just be looking at his magazine and when John would ask he would make a comment that only another vocalist would really understand. "You are in the meaning of it, but not in the spirit of it!", or "You should try and sing from the end of your nose!", or whatever. Then he would go back looking at his magazine, but it would always be really useful for John to get into the performance wherever he needed to be.

Hammerbox and Goodness (BY12)

For Carrie it takes three tries before she is in her body and in the voice she wants to portrait for a song. John was the first one on that first Goodness record saying ”Let’s not sing! Let’s talk sing! Let’s sing less!” because the Hammerbox stuff was growly. They decided specifically to do less singing and just talk-sing it. Smoking (from the first album) is that way and on a couple of them she tried to try less, while in Hammerbox there was no ”try less” They had peeled the panels off the walls every time, because Harris (Thurmond) is so internal and his performances are extremely intense, but that intensity is really a lightning in a bottle. Carrie is a lightning in a room!

Carrie’s thought on it was that a voice is like a beacon and she was very ”voices healing” She was at the front of a ship like a light and this was her way of being a light, even though there was all that growling and all the angry time. Recently they did a show at the Tractor, a retrospective, and they were doing the set chronological, but when they started practicing the Hammerbox stuff there was no way she was going to cold-start her voice on Hole (from the Hammerbox album Numb) because it would just kill her. They moved it because she needed to warm up. Hammerbox was the only time she ever got knots and lost her voice on tour.

The other day John was talking to somebody from the music community about Hammerbox. He had never though about it before, but Hammerbox came 2.5 years too early. Had they come in 1995 there would have been an existing universe for them to be the flag bearers of. As it was, Carrie came into a world of 10.000 Maniacs and they could not have gone that direction because they were just too angry. They didn’t have peers or a world they fit into and it didn’t fit into Grunge. 4 years later there was a universe of angry girls where Carrie would have been the ultimate leader of the pack. When Riot Grrrl came out she didn’t fit there because she was a singer.

Everybody who came after her was just screaming whereas she had all that vocal power, which made her feel that she was odd and not likable. There were times when she felt embarrassed because she was a singer. It was the problem in the Northwest: They all got addicted to the idea that you couldn’t have talent because that unauthenticated you, but getting out there and be the worst and was somehow genius. Carrie loved that none of Hammerbox were like that. They would be good or they would do nothing.

At least be good at what you are doing! You don't know if somebody is going to like it, but they were competitive without saying so and Carrie enjoyed that because she is competitive and it is fun to get stuff. She would never hurt anybody over it. She loves saying: ”Alright, you got 500 people, I got 500 people, let’s make it 1000 people, let’s pick up people and collaborate and build something! Let’s go, it is fun!"

Harris booked their first tour on a pay-phone with a little paper notebook, it was a good combo of people! Carrie still has the notebooks with all the addresses written in them. What baffles her about today is that having the Internet makes people complacent. They sit at home and are watching a show through their phone. But then thousands of people would come to a show just by word of mouth, a paper ad, or a mailer. All the mechanisms we have now make it harder to get people to come to a show. It is too easy and too accessible and you need to get off your ass. There is too much to look at. Back then you were driven to do something and go to a show.

Why John has a hard time writing new music (BY12)

When John first started writing songs he was not very good at it and he knew that he wasn’t, which was very inhibiting. He tried to be smart and good and inventive, but he could feel that he was forcing a kind of voice that wasn’t his. He worked really hard to get his writing voice and speaking voice to be the same because his writing voice was a put-on while his speaking voice was really who he was. He just needed to connect those two, but it took him several years. John wrote his best songs in a period when frustration was one of his main emotions. He didn’t understand the world, why he was not thriving in it, and why he couldn’t make it with other people in a way that he wanted to. Everywhere he went he felt like he was outside, which was super-frustrating. All that went into his songs.

When John got into his 40s he started to feel much more as a member of the community and he started to get things. Instead of ”Why did she treat me this way?”, it was ”I understand why she treated me this way!” and as that confusion drained out of him and was replaced with that sanguine partial understanding of why things are the way they are, John ran out of that energy and that dynamic songwriting impulse. He can’t write really narrative stuff, he can’t write political music, he is super-bad at it. All his music is emotional! When his dad got sick John tried to write a song about it, but it collapsed him because he failed to do what he thought his art should allow him to do: Commemorate his dad and think about him dying. He tried to do it, but it just sounded like Country music.

Now John is trying to reconnect to music and to what he is here to write about. He is not like Carrie and doesn’t thrive in a spontaneous, impulsive writing voice, but he is very meticulous and self-judging and self-editing, which is hard. You make something and think it is good, but your editing-voice tells you that it is not really good, and unless you are angry enough to push past that voice, it could be really inhibiting.

John is trying to rediscover what he has to write about. He doesn’t just want to make music that is like ”Squeeze his lemon!”, he doesn’t want to make music that is banal, but he wants it to have passion. John just turned 50 and he has a daughter who is almost 8 and he wonders where he can find passion that isn’t just ”I love my kid!”, because he isn’t a good enough songwriter to do ”Isn’t she lovely!” That is really nice, but you have to be a super-gifted songwriter and John is not quite at that level.

Carrie's songwriting (BY12)

Carrie likes writing, but she likes to get better on fall-through. She gets a lot of ideas and she will record them, but she will just stop with a bunch of verses and the choruses never come. Carrie doesn’t write intellectually at all, but she has always written very emotionally. She likes rhythm and if she just had a drummer she could write for days. With Hammerbox she didn’t write music, but she listened to them emotionally and looked what that made come out of her, which was the emotional muscle and she didn’t get in the way of the words.

John says that Carrie can do ”Heyyeahyeahyeahyeah!” and the room goes ”Yes!” and everybody feels it, but in the same number of bars John would have 14 stanzas with so many words in it. There is not a single Long Winters song where he goes ”Heyyeahyeahyeahyeah” and lets his voice and his body make sounds. It sounds great when Carrie is doing it because there is meaning in it and the audience feels that meaning. Emotion is the language and the words come out. John is much more about words. It feels great to just let his diaphragm do the talking, but he would be too inhibited to do that on stage.

Chris Cornell, the confidence to be on stage (BY12)

John is the first generation of Indie Rock, which originated as a result of feeling excluded from the last generation of Stadium Rock and all of his peers were leather-pants-ing it around. John worked at the Off-Ramp in 1991, he saw the Bad Motorfinger CD release parties and recognized that he is not Chris Cornell and he can never be Chris Cornell. John was 20 and he knew that was not him, but then what was he? He would have liked to be Chris Cornell in 1991 because it was better than what he was doing in 1991. John was sleeping under the bar of the Comet (Tavern) and people were pouring their cigarette butts on his head because he was a loser.

Carrie would never have wanted to be Chris Cornell! John liked his singing although he thought Chris was a little flat in his voice in those days, but it was his confidence that John didn’t have. One time Hammerbox played at the Off-Ramp when John was the assistant manager. The manager said that they were 200 people over capacity, but "Don’t say anything!" Those were the Wild West days in Seattle! It was one of the greatest shows John ever saw, the audience was firing out, and everybody was just mashed.

Somebody else walked by John and said ”You can’t top that!”, and it was true, because at that moment in Seattle they were the band. At the time John didn’t have the confidence to stand up there in front and believe in what he was doing enough to be front-of-the-band like that. He was too self-critical and he would have gotten up there in this Indie Rock style and would have apologized to have to inflict his music on them. John was on Barsuk, the ultimate ”I’m sorry!” label.

When John was in The Western State Hurricanes he was 29 years old and he realized that if you just pretend to not give a fuck, then no-one has any power over you and eventually you will actually not give a fuck, which did happen. John really didn’t care anymore, but he didn’t have that at 21.

There is one story about Chris Cornell that John included in the obituary he wrote about him in The Stranger: During that CD release party a beautiful girl in a baby-doll dress with combat boots ran up on stage and kissed him in between songs. He gently escorted her off the stage and said into the mic ”If I was a female singer and that had been a dude, this wouldn’t have been okay at all, and FYI: This is my work environment and that was intrusive!” It was very woke of him! It made John think because if that girl had kissed John under any circumstances, he would have been so grateful. For Chris to have so much power to say that he would prefer that you not shower me with love right now because I am doing my job, that was a level of confidence!

Carrie had tons of anxiety in Hammerbox at any show. She would much rather be at home taking a bath and reading comics, and she had a lot of nervousness, but once she got on stage, her mindset was ”You can’t get off, so you better look forward!” Also she is more comfortable once she is singing. Her shows were so crammed that it felt cozy and that helped, too. She was surrounded by a loud band and tons of people.

Carrie’s sister or her mother asked her one time how she had the patience to talk to everybody, but Carrie was very Princess Grace about it and said that these are the people who paid money to say hello. She wouldn’t let anybody harm her or be weird for too long, but she was very ”Yes, thank you!” People liked to hug her a lot and she was alright with that because people were excited and she probably has always been a mom.

Carrie finds it awesome if somebody loves something a lot and is really into something. It is different than being a fan of Marvel comics or being a fan of the Star Wars universe. They would go to a Jesus Lizard concert and if he spit on you or cut you with a knife, you would be like ”Thank you for giving me a permanent scar!”

John watching musicians in their daily environment (BY12)

John used to go to Parnassus, get a coffee and sit in the back of the room so Carrie wouldn’t notice him staring at her. He would watch her work and she was just a normal girl at work, a normal coffee girl doing normal coffee work. He was trying to square that with what he has seen her do on stage. John had access to see Carrie or Jason Finn, but he couldn’t go to where Kim Thayil worked and stare at him.

That was the thing about Seattle at the time: You could find Mark Arm at parties and see him and try to square him nodding off at this house party vs when he was on stage, which was weird. John was at the University of Washington and didn’t go to Parnassus that often, but he was studying. He didn’t have a band and he didn’t even own a guitar, but he was studying how Carrie could do both things, how she could have so much power on stage and then just walk around.

The first time John talked to Jason Finn was when Jason was waiting for a #43 bus. John walked up to him and said ”You are the drummer of Love Battery!” - ”Yeah!” - ”Well, you are really great, you are kind of the best thing about Love Battery because they are not very good, but you are good!” - ”Nah, whatever, leave me alone kid!” - ”You are one year older than me, I’m not a kid!” - ”Whatever, kid!” John was really trying to connect with musicians.

Ken Stringfellow (BY12)

The day before Carrie podcasted with Ken Stringfellow who was touring with Jon (Auer) right then and they had just been in Montana. Carrie was going to sing backups with them in Tacoma on a couple of songs. They had a great conversation about songwriting and she was: ”Me too!” on many things, like writing, the way they think about the 20s, unconscious synchronicity and trying to tap into that. Carrie would think that he super-over-intellectualizes his music, but he said he really doesn’t.

The first time John talked to Ken Stringfellow was immediately before he turned into a bat and went and hung upside down in the rafters. John asked: ”How are you just walking around?” Carrie knew who Ken was because The Posies were around at the same time. Then she was dating Mike Squires who lived with Ken and Ken said: ”We should do a record together!”, but at that time there was too much weird stuff going on around Carrie. Ken seemed controlled and she didn’t like that and didn’t want to get into that. They had friends who were all mischmasched together and she didn’t like that.

John asked Carrie if she had listened to Ken's solo album Soft Command in 2004, but she was not sure if that was the one she was thinking of, but it does have a couple of amazing songs. For his first record after The Posies he had recruited The Long Winters as his backing band and they did two big legs of his whole national tour and they learned that record. All of his songs are in alternate tunings and a lot of the time he will just tune the guitar to something and the open chord or whatever it is will inspire his songwriting. His guitar is suddenly a different instrument in his hands.

It makes it very difficult to be his band because this next song is in C- tuning that only exists in his imagination, and you don’t know what you are playing unless you are really musically gifted and can transport all those new notes. John was just making chord shapes that Ken taught him and John had no idea what he was doing. You could have just played those chords on a guitar in normal tuning, but because he had written them in this way, he also played it that way.

Ken also co-produced the second Long Winters record and he and John worked together quite intimately. As a producer, he was in some ways the best experience John ever had in a studio. He is a controlling guy and he controls social situations in a way so you are not sure you want to be in a bar with him, but in a recording situation, no-one ever said ”Yes!” with as much enthusiasm as Ken did about every idea.

”What if we put a melodica on this?” - ”Yes, let’s get one and let’s do it!” If it didn’t work, he was also the first one to say that it wasn’t working and why don’t we try something else. When working with him you were always moving. No one ever pissed on your idea! Most of the time if you follow a bad idea for long enough, everybody realizes it, but he never got down or make it feel like they had lost momentum, but he was always going. John loved working with him!

Afterwards it broke John’s heart, like ”Shit, Ken, you and I, we just made a great record, let’s just keep making records!” - ”Yes, well, I have other projects in mind and I am going to move there now!” - ”No, don’t leave me!” Soft Commands was his record and the record he had worked on with John was When I Pretend to Fall, the one that put The Long Winters on the map. Chris Walla also worked on it, but never at the same time. Ken lives in France now.

Being driven to do music when being a parent (BY12)

Right now Carrie is wondering what she likes about music, and she just wants adventures. She doesn’t want to get in a band and start touring all over the place, but she speaks French fluently and she can come to France for a week and a half, record an EP with Ken Stringfellow, do some shows, meet her family and go home. Those are her fantasies. She wants to play with Martha Wainwright in Montreal, she wants to play interesting shows, and she likes to collaborate with people.

She could do something with John, some on-off: Just make it, play it, see what happens, and don’t worry about what it is, because it is about the collaborating and communing and she doesn’t have preconceptions. They are both smart and talented and something is going to happen, she is not worried about it.

When Carrie is not in music, she is very distanced from it. Especially when being a parent it is easy to be ”Oh, yeah”, but once she is in the studio she realizes how much she loves it and enjoys it. Talking to Ken, hearing his process of writing, not overthinking things, and his way of keeping doing things, was really interesting. He has played music in 300 countries or so, he does want to be in a band, he is driven to tour, keep moving and play.

Ken posted some pictures of himself playing in Azerbaijan and Georgia and Armenia and stuff. He has rolled into enough towns where no-one has ever heard of him and he goes into the pub somewhere with an audience of 30 people and he plays a show for them with the same amount of energy that he would play for the sold-out Showbox. John is not driven that way and whatever that is, it is not worth all the trouble.

Carrie realized a long time ago, after she was a musician for enough time and was into her solo stuff, although she didn’t want to admit it, that she is not the girl alone on the road in a hotel. It is too lonely and will crush her soul. As a woman it is either one or the other: You can’t have a family and a child and do music, which is such a hard conversation for her. As a mother she would feel guilty and she is deeply attached to her kid, so it is hard to leave him somewhere.

When John was going to have his kid, he had a lot of conversations with people in the music business who said ”Oh, I guess your touring days are over! You can’t do that with a kid!” - ”How do you know?” People do it with a kid, but there was so much negging energy and John felt he had to fight people that who said it was wrong. If you lose something important in your life and feel that the kid is the reason, then the kid is always going to know that and is going to feel the pain that you resent them. They know that they are depriving you of something you love.

When John had his kid, all of a sudden that Tuesday night show at the Crocodile just wasn't important anymore. It was not that he was being kept away from that, but he couldn't believe he ever wanted to do that because his kid was so much more interesting. As time has gone on, John has gone back to traveling quite a bit and he travels a lot for his job.

SF Sketchfest 2019 (BY12)

Podcasting has opened up a whole new world for John’s music because people in show business often cannot do is play music. Everybody thinks they are a comedian, everybody can be a podcaster, but not everybody can get up and sing a song. John just got back from Sketchfest, which is a big comedy and podcasting festival in San Francisco that goes for a whole month. John had been there for the last 8 years and he does his podcasts, but then he gets invited to be on everybody else’s show.

This time he got an email from Busy Philips ”You want to be on my show?”, but he couldn’t because he was on someone else’s show at the same time. Each night John would do his podcast and then guest on three other shows, where you just sit down, do an interview, hang out, goof around and then ”Why don't you play us a song?”

The phrase ”Do a couple of songs” has become a joke now, because for other people that is the content that they can’t get elsewhere. Most of those guys don’t know John’s music, but it doesn’t matter. John did a show with the guys from The Kids in the Hall (Canadian TV show). They had never heard of The Long Winters, but they have heard that John was great. It was a total ”Do a couple songs!”

John’s song is the theme song of MBMBaM because when that podcast started, they asked him: ”We are three brothers from West Virginia and we are starting a podcast where we give relationship advice, we are big fans of The Long Winters, can we use your song as our theme song?” - ”Sure, kid, whatever! Don’t bother me! Go ahead!” and not their show has a million downloads an episode. They are big stars, they sold out two nights at the Paramount, they got a deal with Marvel to write a comic book series and they use John’s song as their theme. They give him a shout-out every single episode, it is part of their fan-community.

You get invited to Sketchfest, just like with ComicCon. John had a podcast and they reached out to him and asked if he would do his podcast live at their festival. You show up, there is a little stage and an audience and you sit there with your microphones and do your podcast and people love it. It was popular and so the next year they did it again. John's entrée is that people have heard of his band, whether they liked it or not, but they have heard it, and once he was there, even that first year, John did five weird comedy shows right away.

This year he did a show called ”Worst first chapter” where every person wrote the first chapter of a terrible book. You went up on stage and read the first chapter of this really bad book that you just wrote, the theme was ”Fantasy / Science Fiction” and John wrote the first chapter of The Hobbit if it was being written by a guy at a collection agency who was following them because Gandalf’s staff was going to get repossessed. Repo Man and The Hobbit. John was just having the best time!

Once you get into weird-podcast-land as a pre-existing creative person, then there will always be places you can populate with your imagination because you are an unknown quantity. People all know and can all judge comedians, but musicians are this mysterious magic being. John does have a lot of fun at these festivals.

Carrie wonders if anyone there would know Hammerbox or Goodness. She would love to do that! She has a fascination around comedians, and she loves their work ethic and the tribalism. She loves being around that experience of failure that is unparalleled. As a musician when you start to bomb on stage, you always have the guitar right there: ”You didn’t like that joke? Whaaaaaammm” and it just shoves them all back.

Getting serious after having been a musician (BY12)

About the time when Goodness and The Western State Hurricanes were happening John and Carrie were both right around 30 years old and the whole generation of Seattle musicians that John came up with, starting in 1992 and going to 1998/99, were all turning 30. None of the bands on that list of bands that made up the Seattle scene at the time continued.

The year 2000 was a line in the sand between pre Death Cab / Modest Mouse and post Death Cab / Modest Mouse. All these bands stopped because a lot of musicians said that if they hadn’t ”made it” by 30, they were going to quit music and get serious. When you are 28, nothing seems like a bigger deal than being 30, but when you are 50, you are like ”30? I wouldn’t even date a 30-year old if they gave me $400 because they are so fucking stupid and boring!”

Many people quit when they were 30 and didn’t make it out of the Sit & Spin and they got a job at Amazon or Microsoft. When John was about 40, he started hearing from a lot of people who had been working a software job for the last 10 years and realized that music was actually what they ever wanted to do and now they got a house and money, but music was missing from their life and they want to get back into it.

They showed up with their Telecasters and asked John how to get a show at the High Dive because John was still active and still had a band and was still playing live. They could get a show at the High Dive the same way everybody else does: Just make a demo and try to get some people out to your show! They had a really hard time with that because they had quit and you can’t just start where you left off, nobody now remembers you!

John learned a lot in that moment 10 years ago when he was hearing from all these people who had artificially closed the door on music because they thought it was a youthful, frivolous hobby thing. Either you made it or if you didn’t and then you needed to get serious. This is the same family of "You can’t do this now that you are a mom!" because you have to get serious at a certain point.

There is "serious" and music isn’t that, but the fact is fucking music is the most serious! If it is in you, then it is in you! It is hard work and people who don't do it don't understand that. Practice alone is a part-time job and you have shows every weekend. There were at least a few decades where Carrie never got to anybody’s barbecue because she was playing a show every weekend or she was gone. Her family was doing something? "Oh, not there, on the road!" She loved the immersion and she liked what she did, but there were some things she felt she was missing.

At 38 years old Carrie freaked out about ”I didn’t have a band, I didn’t have a relationship” and she hit this wall of ”I’m not married, I don’t have a kid, I don’t even have a boyfriend, I’m not doing music” and she got a job at Nordstrom, which is ”I’m not a naughty girl”, but she wanted structure because she didn’t have any, she wanted to be a part of something where it was ”If I do this I get this and i get that!”

She bought a house and a car and she went into massive debt, the house went upside down, she got married, she had a kid, all in the span of two years. One day she woke up and went ”I used to be a Rock star, but now I am getting yelled at by some skinny girl in a pencil skirt, I feel like the fat girl in High School, I’m a mom, and I’m cleaning up after a grown man. What the hell happened?” But you get addicted to money and security and the ”I can go get things!”

Carrie used to feel this depressive schism in her because she was doing well over here at the same time when she also felt extremely lonely. She had forgotten her authentic self, she used to feel powerful, and now she just felt depressed, disconnected and overweight. In the last year and a half she got a job at the Gates foundation, which is big, and she went into that. It is a culmination of learning, fully going: ”You are going to be 100% authentic whatever that means. We need to be us, whatever that means"

She went into that interview, she enjoyed the conversation, and she had no fear: "You either like me or you don’t!" Workplaces have cultures and they can be all friendly and say ”We want to hire you to shake things up”, but she didn’t think she would be able to change this culture. She would be consumed by it and demolished. This was the first job where she had been radically herself, trying to discover the moments when she was not. She laughs loud, she says weird things, her hair is purple and she is willing to get fired when she doesn’t believe that she wants to work that way.

In the past when she was at work she would shy away from talking about her music, but now she embraces who she is because everywhere she goes in the Northwest there is somebody who recognizes her, and weird things happen. She gets into an elevator and nothing is said, but why are you looking at me that way? She went down to IT service at the Gates foundation because there was something wrong with her phone and when she told the guy her name, he knew who she was.

Singing songs for her husband’s family has been her most vulnerable spot because she would never play music for her family. Those two worlds were very different and sadly enough she wished she had talked more about it so she didn’t have to feel so alone in it because when the shit hit the fan, that loneliness was deep.

Not being allowed to have ambition, dreading to go on stage (BY12)

One year around her 30th Carrie hit a wall of depression unlike ever. She is a very sunshiny person, but this was ”Wow, what is happening?” She was drinking although she had never sought alcohol ever on tour, and even in the worst break-ups it had never even crossed her mind to go to a bar, but something happened cumulative where she hit a wall of loneliness and despair that was unlike anything she ever felt. She didn’t know whom to call who would know what she has been through.

It was not okay at the time to talk about having ambitions and to suffer the pain of having ambitions thwarted is already two layers into some taboos. It was impossible to talk about being depressed about unfulfilled ambition because you shouldn’t have had ambition in the first place. There were a lot of mines in the ground and people didn't know how to navigate and it inhibited their ability to come together and talk honestly with each other.

Some people were open about what they wanted, like the guys in Manray who said: ”We are going to be the biggest Rock stars, we are going to be huge!”, but that was not what you could normally do. Goodness never said ”We are going to be the biggest band in the world!”, but self-effacement was a big part of it. For there to be that many rules around how you are allowed to express yourself is isolating.

As the band-leader John was very controlling because he was trying to manage and master all these expectations, not just other people’s, but also his own. He could have asked some of the people around him for help, but that would have been the last thing he would have done, because why would he show his vulnerability to that person? They were trying to eat his face! No, they wouldn’t, they would have been happy!

Today John is able to talk about then and now in terms of depression, anxiety, sadness and fear. He is the same as Carrie: When he is standing on the side of the stage two minutes before he takes the stage, he is like ”Please let this venue burn down! Please let a tidal wave come! Please let there be an earthquake!”, but as soon as he steps on stage, he is in it and ”Let’s go big time! Rock show!” He doesn’t know how he walks across that threshold, but he steps into the light and is alive.

Carrie loves the feeling of power on stage, she loves expressing herself! Once she gets on there she does feel good, but when you are booking a show it is months out and when the day comes you go: ”OMG, that is the last thing I want to do!”

When Carrie started to work in corporate, she was really depressed as a combination of too much sugar and alcohol, no sleep, and she was starting to get panic attacks. The very first one was terrifying and eventually they got chronic and she couldn’t control them without Citalopram. Especially on tour you have to grind it out and there is no stopping. Carrie got into a mode of enduring and working hard.

Some people can’t wait to get on stage! You don’t get the feeling that David Lee Roth is like ”Oh, why did I say Yes to this?”, but a lot of them have the same dread and neither John nor Carrie know what to do to get rid of it. It makes the job harder and they are just playing songs! Why does it have to be more bitter than it is? It doesn’t have to be perfect! Telling herself that afterwards she can have a pizza or watch movies or go home will literally calm her down. The thing sustaining her is not the great show ahead of her, but that she can snuggle in bed afterwards.

Podcasting (BY12)

After everything Carrie has described it is amazing that she is really doing this podcast. A lot of people say that they should do a podcast, but not many of them have showed up at John’s house on a Saturday afternoon and done their podcast. It has taken her a long time, but this year she is ready to say: ”It is in the doing!”, which had taken her a long time after her mom died. She has always had great ideas, but she wasn’t able to do it because of anxiety and all sorts of stuff, but this year she feels ready. It is not going to get done unless she will get it done, regardless of her mood!

When they were making music in the early days all you had was your voice in your songs. It was the only way you could communicate with people besides standing up on stage and say: ”Stop marching for 2 seconds while I have this smart thought”. You would get an interview in Rocket and you had a chance where they would call before times to get something out of you that you needed say, but with podcasts you can express everything you know and people are psyched to hear you talk about your life. People want to commune the same way.

John and Sean Nelson bantering (BY12)

There was a time when John and Sean Nelson were doing banter during shows and one time when KEXP did something in the Green Room Carrie told John that she loved it so much and she would pay money just to watch John and Sean talk. It was really pleasurable and she needed more of that. Sean Nelson is really smart and for 7 years John has been telling him to do a podcast together or he should do a podcast, but he always felt like ”Well, no, nobody cares!", or "What would I say?” John still thinks he will be one of the great podcasters.

When he hired John to be in Harvey Danger, John was a terrible keyboard player, and he was not hiring John to play keyboards in the band, but he was playing keyboards in the band to justify him being on tour with them because Sean felt so alone on tour and he had the money, so John was going to be in the band just to hang. It ended up that Sean would take John to all his radio interviews.

The band would go back to the hotel and Sean and John would go to the radio stations and the morning-time DJs would be like ”Sean Nelson, big Rock star, what do you say? Number one countdown!” and Sean would just turn to John and the two of them would start talking, making each other laugh and having a good time. Sean brought John on tour just as banter partner. When they were out on tour as The Long Winters, John realized that John had the power to say that tonight’s concert was going to be 3 hours long and half of it was going to be John and Sean talking to each other. "If you don’t like it, we don’t care!" The ticket had only two words on it: Long Winters, and there was a paragraph under it that said that you were going to just chill and enjoy the show and lean back.

People loved it, but every once in a while somebody went to the show with a lot of expectations of what they thought a show was supposed to be and John was saying: "What is in the show is in the show!" They were going to play 12 songs, but they were also going to talk about whatever they wanted to talk about. Other bands like Unwound don’t even look at the audience, but they only look at the back wall and that is cool, too!

One time when John saw Unwound the singer went out on stage, lit a cigarette, stood there, and smoked an entire 6-minute cigarette, just staring out at the audience. It was the most hostile thing John had ever seen, but the audience was wrapped by casualness. The band was just standing there waiting. It was the most powerful Rock star move John had ever seen! When he was done with the cigarette he was like ”Alright, I’ll play the songs now” - ”Fuck!” It was a powerful moment and 20 years later John is still thinking about that cigarette.

Carrie’s husband is 12 years younger and she always likes to calculate, like ”When you were 10 I was in a van” He doesn’t love that. He didn’t know anything about her when they met, which was invaluable, because he liked her for her and she needed that instead of just things she does.

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