Employment History

Goldmine in Arctic Circle Hot Springs (RW119)

During the summer before 9th grade in 1982, John worked as an errant boy at the Arctic Circle Hot Springs goldmine. It was the time he got his first glasses and he lost them when he took them off to take ice cream out of a freezer.

Radio DJ (RL238, RL240)

In the early 80:s at the age of 16 John aspired to be a Radio DJ, because those people were well-known local personalities. He applied for a job at every single radio station in Anchorage, but this was apparently not the right way to become a DJ, so he did not succeed at first. There was a new UHF 24-hour music television station called Catch 22 where he eventually managed to get a job by using his moxy. He was persistent enough to show up at their office, even creating a demo tape, until the manager Richard Hadley could no longer avoid seeing him. He would never put him on the air, but gave him a job anyway if he promised to never skip school, which John gladly accepted. His shows were overnight (RL238) and he even had to work at the night of his senior prom. He usually ran the whole station on his own through the night. John kept this job during his junior and senior years in High school. (RL240)

John's brother's orchard (RW101)

When John left Alaska in the summer of 1986, his brother Bart offered him a job harvesting apples and pears at his orchard in Yakima. Down at the bottom of the orchard there was an old little one-room shack with a kitchen and a bathroom and John's brother offered him to live there.

Gay Bar (RL229)

John’s first job when he came to Seattle was in a gay bar.

Security Guard (RW64)

John once worked as a security person where his job was to watch the back door. People were loading in and out where he was stationed. The owner of the store once screamed at John for not having clocked out while eating his shift meal although he was doing the job, watching the back door. John was making $6 an hour.

The Red Robin (RL238)

At age 20, after returning from Europe in winter of 1989, John got a job at The Red Robin.

Ralph Nader (RL48)

In the summer of 1990, John worked in Washington DC working for political activist Ralph Nader.

The Off Ramp (OM42, RL287, AR22618, FF46)

In 1991, John was the assistant manager at a bar called The Off Ramp, before sold to a new owner who wanted her son to occupy John’s job. He didn’t care that he didn’t have a job because he was very Grunge, but at a certain point he ran out of money and a friend got him a job at a warehouse in Bellevue (see next section) (OM42)

They filmed the movie Singles in The Off Ramp while John was working there. They completely rebuilt it into a much cooler Rock club full of 50-gallon (190 l) drums with fire in them while John and his colleagues got an involuntary week’s vacation. Afterwards they ripped it all out and returned it to the shitty Rock Club it was before. (FF46)

Clothing warehouse in Bellevue (RW53, OM42)

In the summer of 1991, John was working in a clothing warehouse with shipping orders from companies like Generra and Unionbay who had a garment that changed color based on body heat called Hypercolor. It was a thing coming out of Seattle (RW53) and lasted from January-July 1991 before it disappeared again (OM42). At the time he was a young drunk, not a Hobo, but looked presentable. It was a shite job and he didn't even want to do anything that required more effort. He packed these boxes and had to initial the packing slip. (RW53)

Pagliacci Pizza Parlor (OM42, RL60)

Around 1992 John worked in a Pagliacci Pizza parlor where they would make the sauce in a 50 gallon garbage can with a kanoo paddle. This was where he introduced a guy to the Filson brand who would later become the institutional knowledge about Filson. (RL60)

The Offbeat Café, a Jazz Hip Hop Rave Art Gallery Café in an old bus station (RL119, RL253)

see full story in RL119

Particularly from the time when John was young, between the ages of 16 and 26, there are maybe 5 photographs of him in someone's shoe-box. Then there are probably 15 other photographs of him where he is in the background in a photo of two other people, which is in someone else's shoe-box. If John wants to see how he looked at age 24, he does not have many options. He looked awful at 24 in 1000 different ways, but there is no way to see drunk and high John in September of 1993. John remembers very well that he was dating a bike messenger at the time and there was this guy that came around the Comet Tavern for about a week, talking about how they would open a jazz café that was going to transform the world, because: Hip-hop and Jazz and Freedom and Art! They opened their jazz café in the bus station. If that had happened today, there would be 50.000 photos of John working the door at the bus station jazz hip-hop café. If there is a photograph of him from that time, then John is only in the background and it is in somebody else's shoe-box. (RL253)

Emerald City Guitars (RW84)

John used to work at a guitar store called Emerald City Guitars in Seattle (Picture from July 2015), a place opened by his good friend Jay Boon during the heyday of guitar times in the mid-1990s. Jay was a member of the ”no-longer-does-drugs” community and liked to hire the same kind of people for his store. That isn’t the most dependable workforce in terms of waking up in the morning and sticking around, because a lot of ”recently-don’t-do-drugs-people” are often also the ”recently-started-doing-drugs-again-people”. John didn’t have a real job at the time and he would help out Jay last minute to work at the store for a week whenever Jay had to find a new permanent employee.

Used Car Salesman (RL238)

At age 24, during his time as an investment banker John was trying to work downtown and wanted to use it as a jumping-off-point in becoming a professional alcoholic. He was also looking forward to wearing a Cookie blazer. He was already applying at used car lots when he was at age 16, but at age 24 it struck him again and he went down to the Honda dealership to give it another shot. His expectations did not quite match reality when it comes to work hours and he quickly discovered that this was not the job for him. He realized that this is one of the jobs that requires you to actually want to do this job or feel a calling for it. He is actually not a sales person and "never sold a damn thing" and staying late with your customers would have interfered with his band practice.

Investment Banker (RL238)

At age 24 John worked as an investment banker at Piper Jaffray. They had all their files in the top floor. John was sitting with a manual typewriter and typed out million-and-half dollar cheques to the Gateses, wearing combat boots. Many employers were professional alcoholics because that was a byproduct of selling stocks. (RL238)

After High school (OJR)

At age 26, John was a pretty washed up guy and had never really put the ability to work a job to any good use. He saw a lot of his friends already being MDs, PhDs, working in government, having families with kids, while John had not achieved any of this and had no marketable skills.

Steve's Broadway News (RW60, OJR, RW93)

Before John went on The Big Walk, he made $900 per month at his job at Steve’s Broadway News. Although he only worked 20 hours a week, working from as long as 10:00 to 16:00 every day felt like being a slave! (OJR) He didn't drink anymore at the time, which left him with quite a bit of money. He was paying $350 in rent and was able to eat in restaurants, but he did certainly not have the resources that a real job would have provided. He lived comfortably in the coolest neighborhood in Seattle and still had money for a separate band practice space (RW60). He had no alcohol bills and half of the restaurant meals were free because he knew the owner or the server through the shows with his band. The largest expenses were cigarettes and coffee, and even the coffee was mostly free. He went to 5 shows a week and also they were free. That was the year 2000 an that was above the poverty line. (OJR) Dan was at the same time living like a king on $700 a month. (RW60)

Info from Google: Steve's Broadway News. 204 Broadway Ave. E. Seattle, WA 98102. Phone: 206-324-7323. Hours: 8 a.m. to midnight daily. Parking: Street parking, Paid parking. Disabled access: No information

Harvey Danger (OJR)

John was in Harvey Danger for the last full year of touring of that band and they were paying him an extraordinary amount of money. Singer Sean Nelson was very open, said "we give you $500 per week plus per-diems, you and Mike (Squires) don't have any ownership in the band, but it's gonna go like this, it's really clear" and that was so different and so wonderful! $500 dollars per week was more than he had ever been paid before and he made a pretty comfortable living, because $20 a day plus the weekly salary was more than $2000 a month and if they ever went out to a restaurant, it was always paid by the label or someone.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License