Episode 10 marks a couple of big firsts for me. This was the occasion of my first visit to Seattle, which was surprisingly sunny and blue-sky laden in spite of its grey cloudy reputation. It was also the first time I met the members of the Purrs in person, after having continuously enjoyed the band’s 2007 album, The Chemistry That Keeps Us Together, ever since it was sent my way by my Performer Magazine editor.
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When I arrived in Seattle, I got a good impression right from stepping off the plane into the airport. It was 9-ish in the morning, and much to my delight, I was able to score a cup of delicious shrimp cocktail without having to wait till the lunch hour. It’s the little things, you know?
Despite having accidentally taken the bus in the wrong direction from the airport, I still had plenty of time to get acquainted with downtown Seattle, which at 11:30am was still pretty dead, particularly around the U.S. Bank shopping mall at 5th and Pike. I lunched on a bread bowl filled with lobster bisque from Soup’s On, and then proceeded to gorge on a toffee almond bar, a slice of pumpkin loaf and a cup of chai from one of the two Starbucks’ inside the mall. It seemed like there was a Starbucks on nearly every block of the city.
I was to meet the Purrs’ lead guitarist and founding member, Jason Milne, at Pike’s Place. Jason and I had been corresponding via MySpace, and his instant enthusiasm for the P2P project was very reassuring. The dude was just as easy to get along with in person as he was online, and when he picked me up, he immediately got down to showing me around the city after we dropped off my stuff at the house he shares with his girlfriend, Dayna Loeffler of the band Half Light.
First up on the agenda were a couple of record stores. Jason knew exactly where the good ones were, and if it weren’t for the fact that I was traveling extra light (as I do on all P2P shoots), I probably would have bought 10 times my body weight in vinyl and CDs from Easy Street Records and Sonic Boom Records. After another cup of chai at VÃ©ritÃ© (which was selling some truly awesome looking cupcakes), Jason then drove us over to Fremont for a mouth watering Caribbean dinner at Paseo. Alas, the portion was so huge I couldn’t finish, but it made for a nice treat the next day.
We gathered the rest of the Purrs for our shoot not long after dinner, and it was during this shoot that I decided, for future shoots, that I would definitely refuse offers of alcohol until after we finished (as I had done with Le Switch’s Aaron Kyle in the previous episode). The guys – Jason, vocalist/bassist Jima (Jim-uh, like Jim plus the letter A), drummer Craig Keller, and the band’s newest member, guitarist Bob Silverstein – were all ready for a beverage, and the one I was offered was a band favorite, Maker’s Mark bourbon. It was delicious, don’t get me wrong, but when the drunkest band member starts telling me I should be careful with my camera after I clumsily drop it, well, it’s kind of a sobering feeling.
Fortunately nothing broke, and best of all, the song the band performed in Jason’s basement practice space, “Fear of Flying,” was so insanely catchy that I couldn’t get it out of my head for months afterward.
From here, we closed the evening with a trip to see the Brian Jonestown Massacre perform at Neumos. It was a fitting conclusion, being that the band is not only fans of BJM, but also I tend to describe the Purrs as what BJM would sound like if they had a solid pop songwriter on the level of a Noel Gallagher to assist Anton Newcomb.
The Purrs “Fear of Flying”
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