Next month, I’ll celebrate five years of covering music for the Seattle Gay News and I must say it’s been a fantastic voyage. To mark the occasion, I’ve reflected on some interesting moments from the past sixty months, and they’re listed below. Plus, as promised, a preview of the Grammy nominations, which are being announced this week.
My most interesting moments of being a Seattle Gay News music writer
1. Listening to Jason Mraz take a piss – My friendship with Jason Mraz, which began behind the stage curtain at Easy Street Records in Queen Anne, hit an all-time first when he took a whiz during a phone conversation two years ago. I love Jason dearly because I never know what he’s going to do, and he proved it. And last year, Jason pissed in the bushes after we drank pints of beer at the Rock Bottom Brewery. By the way, he actually does pee like racehorse.
2. Meeting Beck, The Killers, Snow Patrol backstage – I shook Beck’s hand and gave him a copy of a CD review in the SGN, which he slipped into his back pocket. He was short and really adorable. Brandon Flowers (The Killers) had caked-on make-up when I met him backstage at the Moore Theatre. He was super friendly and damn gorgeous. And, all five members of Snow Patrol were very cool in-person, especially lead singer Gary Lightbody who wrapped his big arm around me to take a photo, which allowed me to verify that he does in fact wear underwear.
3. Injured at Green Day show – I paid a hefty price for moshing and making my way to the front row of Green Day’s concert at the Everett Events Center two winters ago. The next morning, I was incredibly sore and kept cramping. Turns out, I bruised my ribcage and came close to crushing it. Did that stop me from rushing the stage? Nope. I do it every chance I get.
4. Getting personal with Sarah McLachlan – Right before the release of Afterglow, Sarah McLachlan phoned into the SGN offices directly and we spoke about a number of things, the most memorable being a conversation about losing our moms. It was emotional, yet very comforting and uplifting. She was so down to earth, and gave me gardening tips.
5. Orally speaking with James Blunt – When I asked pop hottie James Blunt to recall a story he shared with a live audience involving a blowjob reference, he went into detail about people with auto-fellatio skills. Inspired by our oral chitchat, I bought him a dirty birdie T-shirt and gave it to him backstage at the Paramount Theatre. He thanked me with a devilish grin.
6. Doing shots with Secret Machines – Hard rock trio Secret Machines invited me for beers after their booming performance at the Moore Theatre in 2005. We partied at the Nitelite, drinking considerable amounts of booze. The best part was buying shots for brothers Ben and Brandon Curtis, and then they returned the favor. After that, I don’t remember a thing.
7. Eighth row seats for The Rolling Stones – A seat at any Rolling Stones show is priceless. But eight rows away from the stage is a rock and roll moment in history. To actually see Mick Jagger sing the lyrics to “Gimme Shelter” was a huge thrill. I’ll never forget it.
8. Big hug from Daniel Bedingfield – Dance-pop artist Daniel Bedingfield and I chatted briefly after he performed at the Tacoma Dome for KISS 106.1’s holiday show a few years ago. I asked him if he wanted me to give Seattle Gay News readers a message and at first he said no, and we said our goodbyes. Then, he ran up to me and said, “Tell them that I love them!” and he gave me this enormous hug. What a sincere, and extremely hot, man Daniel Bedingfield is.
9. Five feet away from The Strokes – Offered the chance to see any major rock band in private is a sweet deal, and the sweetest deal of all came in 2004 when I was invited to a VIP performance, courtesy of The End, with The Strokes at the Fenix Underground. I was so close to Julian Casablancas that I could see my reflection in his belt buckle. I gave him a Simpsons talking bottle opener via The Strokes tour manager, and I heard later that he had loads of fun with it.
10. Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos should wear tighter pants– I rode the Metro bus with Franz Ferdinand, hung out with them backstage, and attended a private recording session with them in Seattle last year. At the band’s hotel, lead singer Alex Kapranos asked me what I thought about his outfit, which he was intending to wear on stage. I looked him up and down and suggested tighter pants. He indeed went through a last-minute wardrobe change. Lesson learned: big jewels ought to be properly displayed.
Grammy nods: Blige, Dixie Chicks, Blunt, Timberlake, Underwood favored
Grammy nominations are being announced on Thursday, December 7. Here are the contenders and hopefuls going into this week’s announcement. As usual, Seattle Gay News will make congratulatory phone calls to nominated artists throughout the day.
Worthy longshots: “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor” – Arctic Monkeys, “Hold On, Hold On” – Neko Case, Hips Don’t Lie – Shakira and Wyclef, “Anna-Molly” – Incubus, “Ain’t No Other Man” – Christina Aguilera, “When We Were Young” – The Killers
Record of the Year contenders: “You’re Beautiful” – James Blunt, “Jesus Take the Wheel” – Carrie Underwood, “Be With You” – Mary J. Blige, “Waiting on the World to Change” – John Mayer, “Not Ready to Make Nice” – Dixie Chicks, “Over My Head (Cable Car)” – The Fray, “Put Your Records On” – Corinne Bailey Rae, “Ain’t No Other Man – Christina Aguilera, “Hung Up” or “Sorry” – Madonna, “Save Room” – John Legend, “Crazy” – Gnarls Barkley, “Chasing Cars” – Snow Patrol, “SexyBack” or “My Love” – Justin Timberlake
Album of the Year contenders: Modern Times – Bob Dylan, The Breakthrough – Mary J. Blige, Back to Bedlam – James Blunt, Confessions on a Dance Floor – Madonna, Continuum – John Mayer, Futuresex/Lovesounds – Justin Timberlake, Living With War – Neil Young, Taking the Long Way – Dixie Chicks, Surprise – Paul Simon, Back to Basics – Christina Aguilera, High School Musical soundtrack, Nashville – Solomon Burke
Worthy longshots: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not – Arctic Monkeys, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood – Neko Case, Wolfmother – Wolfmother, The Eraser – Thom Yorke, Broken Boy Soldiers – The Raconteurs, Black Holes and Revelations – Muse
Best New Artist contenders: James Blunt, Corinne Bailey Rae, Panic! At The Disco, The Fray, KT Tunstall, Chris Brown, Daniel Powter, Pussycat Dolls, Carrie Underwood, Hinder
Worthy longshots: Arctic Monkeys, We Are Scientists, Wolfmother, Joshua Radin
Best Female Pop Vocal contenders: “Hung Up” or “Sorry” – Madonna, “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” – KT Tunstall, “Put Your Records On” – Corinne Bailey Rae, “Ain’t No Other Man” – Christina Aguilera, “Because of You” – Kelly Clarkson, “Fill Me Up” – Shawn Colvin, “I Know Why” – Sheryl Crow, “Wind It Up” – Gwen Stefani, “Stupid Girls” – Pink
Best Male Pop Vocal contenders: “SexyBack” – Justin Timberlake, “You’re Beautiful” – James Blunt, “Upside Down” – Jack Johnson, “Waiting on the World to Change” – John Mayer, “The Bridge” – Elton John, “You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up)” – Josh Groban
Best Country Album contenders: Taking the Long Way – Dixie Chicks, Some Hearts – Carrie Underwood, American V: A Hundred Highways – Johnny Cash, Me and My Gang – Rascal Flatts, All the Roadrunning – Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris, Nashville – Solomon Burke, Modern Day Drifter – Dierks Bentley, The Little Willies – The Little Willies
Best Alternative Music Album contenders: The Eraser – Thom Yorke, Broken Boy Soldiers – The Raconteurs, Black Holes and Revelations – Muse, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not – Arctic Monkeys, Show Your Bones – Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wolfmother - Wolfmother