Again, I have Jason Milne from The Purrs to thank for introducing me to another great Seattle band. In this case, the band in question is the Tripwires, a no-nonsense power pop collective headed by singer/guitarist John Ramberg of The Minus Five. With the heroes and influences he claimed – personal favorites Badfinger, the Beatles and Cheap Trick among them – I knew we’d instantly have something over which to connect. But first, I had find him.

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The very first stop for the Parlour to Parlour crew of two, after being picked up at the airport by Half Light’s Jeff Baars, was a Seattle rock club called the Sunset Tavern. We arrived just in time to catch the closing set by the Tripwires, who were celebrating the release of their second album, House to House. The band was tight, talkative, and generally having a ball on stage, inspiring some factions of the audience to dance. In spite of an unfortunate incident where the clubStill 92 got busted over some ridiculous rule that prohibited alcohol from being present on the stage, just about everyone could walk away feeling good about the night’s events.

Once the band had finished, I was able to get a few words with drummer Mark Pickerel (you may know his name from the Screaming Trees, and he still has their name stenciled on one of his drum cases), and Jason then introduced me to Jim and Johnny Sangster (bass and guitars, respectively). John Ramberg, however, was nowhere to be found. And to add a small layer of  anxiety to the proceedings, none of the band were aware that I had been communicating with John and that we had set up an interview for two days after the show!

As I waited for a voicemail and text message to be returned, there was much to be done in the meantime – namely, collect the footage that became Episode 22, and do a little partying. Just when I was thinking that our last day in Seattle might turn into a sight-seeing excursion, a text message came in from John, about an hour before our scheduled interview – we were still on, and fortunately he lived just 10 minutes away from where we were staying. It would just be Still 93John, but as you’ll see in the video interview, he had plenty to cover all on his own.

When we arrived at his house, John too was recovering from a night of Halloween partying the night before, and even kept the hat from his costume on. The only one who made a near-critical blunder was me, as I had absent mindedly left my tripod behind before jumping into the car. And yet, we even found a way around that. Nothing was going to prevent this episode from happening, and knowing that there’s a sizeable base of appreciation for power pop at Popdose (gee, who knew?), I’m especially happy that John is here representing the Tripwires for you all.

What’s more, the solo interview gave us the rare opportunity to hear John play a Tripwires song alone on acoustic guitar.

John Ramberg, The Tripwires – “Look At It This Way”
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The Tripwires – Drawing a Blank
The Tripwires – Another Planet Now

Buy House To House

About the Author

Michael Fortes

Michael Fortes began writing for Popdose upon its launch in January of 2008, following a music writing journey that began with his high school newspaper and eventually led to print and web publications such as Performer Magazine and Born and raised in The Biggest Little State in the Union (otherwise known as Rhode Island), Michael relocated in 2004 to San Francisco, where he works as an office professional during the day, sings harmonies in Sugar Candy Mountain at night, and religiously supports the local San Francisco Bay Area music scene nearly every chance he gets.

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