Hi-energy Guitar-R-Us Rock
A few years ago this obscure Seattle band released some old recordings entitled Something Quick 1980-1986 (on Green Monkey) that was terrific. Well, a decade after those recordings the band released their sophomore effort, The Mire, on Vagrant Records (not the label out of L.A., this Vagrant Records is out of Seattle). After The Mire the band recorded another record, #3, that was going to be titled Revenge! ,but it got shelved for unknown reasons and sat dormant for nearly two decades. Well, here it is and I must say, it’s great! These guys had a real pop sensibility taking elements of 60’s British Invasion stuff plus mod, power pop, new wave and a touch of punk. There’s horns all over the record and the arrangements are spot on. Cuts like “Circus Train” and “It’s not My Life’ would make at least as big a splash as GBV did back in those mid 1990’s but more people need to hear ‘em. This has the original albums eleven cuts plus they tack on three covers at the end, a Beach Boys and two Bee Gees (both from Horizontal). If I haven’t made it clear yet Released! needs to be heard by all pop ears. Make that all ears period. www.greenmonkeyrecords.com
The Queen Annes: http://greenmonkeyrecords.com/artists/the-queen-annes/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/The-Queen-Annes-113833851980670/ Facebook: http://www.fa...
Two years ago we re-released the Queen Annes Something Quick 1980-1986 in its full splendor. There was rumor of an entire unreleased album titled Revenge! Well, here it is, with a new eight-letter title – RELEASED!
The scoop: shortly after releasing The Mire on Vagrant Records in 1997, the Queen Annes headed back into the studio with Eric 4-A to record their masterpiece, REVENGE! Squeezing in time when they could, they brought in horns and cellos as the spirits moved them. Upon completion, the album was sent out to master and then … nothing. A few CDR copies with a rubber stamp cover circulated around, but it never found a home beyond the dustbin of history. Nearly two decades later, we have recovered the 1997 master, restored the original front cover and presenting it to the public for the first time ever. Glorious!
RELEASED! contains not only eleven unheard and quite fine Q.A. songs – it has a Beach Boys and two(!) Bee Gees tunes, both from the 1968 Horizontal album.
Something Quick was originally released by GMR on cassette in 1986. This edition is remastered and restored to full glory, with 6 bonus tracks added. Why put out this old pre-grunge Seattle stuff now? Easy. It rocks like the devil himself.
James and Kip have been friends since they were wee lads growing up together in Bellevue, Washington, a Seattle ‘burb (some of the Queen Annes gear still bears the proud insignia of Bellevue School District, where all Q.A. members past and present are alums). A lifelong friendship based on appreciation of great music began. Young James devised a crude drum kit from a wastebasket and a stout cardboard box and practiced along to his favorite records by the Stones, Who and Zeppelin. Meanwhile, Kip had started taking up the guitar. They played together casually for the next several years while playing in other bands. James had become an impressively smashing drummer and cut his teeth gigging with The Cheaters, masterminded by Kurt and Al Bloch. Yes, Kurt of the Fastbacks and Fellows. Yes, Al of Concrete Blonde and Wool. No, James did not play on The Cheaters single. Kip played in bands with Paul Hood (Meyce/Toiling Midgets) and Greg Ragen.
Kip and James decided it was time at last to form The Queen Annes. They got Toby to play bass and a guy named Lance Taft to play guitar. Their first recording effort was the marvelous cassette single included here, “Secret Agent Kid” b/w “Mary” which they recorded with Doug Rayburn of Pavlov’s Dog somewhere or the other in West Seattle. Not many people heard it. They shared a rehearsal space with NW punk legends the Fartz, which was as unpleasant as one might imagine. The original line-up performed to a packed house at the Bellevue Community College Student Union, thus beginning a long reign of good luck with all-ages concert settings. It was time for a singer.
TO’C: Kip and I met in a class called instrumental workshop at Bellevue High School. James played in all the school bands and was already playing shows with various bands including the Cheaters. He was already sort of a rockstar to me. He wore leather and drove a Cutlass convertible. If someone streaked on campus he was the first one called into the principal’s office even if he was innocent. The first time I saw The Queen Annes, they played as a trio at a pool party before hiring my buddy Lance Taft as a guitarist. The second time I saw them was at Bellevue Community College at the Strawberry Jam Festival with Mr. Epp and the Calculations. Mr. Epp were awful (as intended! - td) but the Queen Annes were awesome until James fell through the plate glass window behind his drum kit. I had just got back from England where I witnessed punk rockers for the first time and the Queen Annes embraced a lot of that same energy. I was smitten. When Lance learned that the boys were considering hiring a singer he suggested I should audition which was fun, but I didn’t hear back from anyone until I was at the 1980 Rolling Stones concert at the Kingdome. I ran into Kip who informed me I got the job. I was thrilled to see the Stones and get into a cool band all in the same day. Kip and James wrote songs both collaboratively and separately and they were absolutely sure how they wanted the songs sung. They were taskmasters and I quickly grew to appreciate their perfectionism.
After two months of grueling rehearsals, the new line-up emerged good friends and a tight, energy-packed unit.
Around that time Kip and James were evicted from their duplex for throwing television sets off the second story balcony. On that same day, Tom spotted a big old pink house in an alley on Capitol Hill with a “For Rent” sign in the window. He called James, who rushed over, took one look at the dilapidated mansion and called the number in the window. Everyone agrees Earl T. Ball must regret the day he picked up the phone and rented his house to The Queen Annes and their entourage of punks, hippies, girlfriends, groupies, bums, strangers, hanger-ons and ne’er do wells who inhabited it for most of the 1980s. The party never stopped. After a few months, the conventional living room was scrapped to make way for a bar that was built for easy keg access. When they were done with their set they would bring most of the audience home for a keg, leaving the headliners to fend for themselves without an audience. Every room at the pink house had a turntable; here is a cross section of what would be spinning; The Jam, The Clash, Bowie, Stiff Little Fingers, The Pretenders, Prince, Bebop Deluxe, Blondie, The Replacements, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, The Beatles, The Stones, The Beach Boys, Big Star, and tons more.
Through the pink house door (when it was on its hinges), piled throngs eager to party with The Queen Annes, including members of Seattle’s culty Love Family (a.k.a. Church of Jesus Christ at Armageddon), Duran Duran, Guns’n’Roses, and local punks the Bopo Boys, who were all sent home crying to mama with wicked hangovers (Bopo Boys? read about ’em in Stephan Tow’s “The Strangest Tribe: How A Group of Seattle Rock Bands Invented Grunge).
The lads secured shows with NW spawn like The Heats, Moberleys, Fastbacks, Silly Killers, Refuzors, Miracle Workers and touring dudes like the Three O’Clock. Venturing into the great Northwest, The Queen Annes had heavy pockets of fans in both Bellingham and Portland. They would often show up half an hour before they were scheduled to play at Lake Hills Skate Center battle of the bands. This would infuriate the roadies of quasi-metal bands including Rail, Kidskin, TKO, Myth and Hellion who had been at the venue all day loading in trucks of Marshall amps and quadruple bass drum sets. The boys would set up their gear in fifteen minutes, and at first their small amps and Ringo style drum kit seemed dwarfed by the stacks around them, but when they started to play, they were just as damn loud and powerful as the metal dudes.
Playing in bars was where it was at for the band. Although performances were arranged at all the clubs and taverns in the area, the band opted to concentrate its efforts on playing shows where the fans under 21 could attend. This led the group to produce twenty shows at the U.C.T. Hall in Seattle during the mid-eighties. This venue proved to be valuable to the band because they assumed complete control over every aspect of the productions, served beer to minors, turned them on to punk rock, and then could watch them destroy the place. The hall would always be secured for two days so the band could repair the evening’s damages.
KP: Craziest show number one might be the night we opened for Myth at the Showbox. Myth would later become Queensryche. The show was poorly attended, but after we played someone approached us and asked us if we would play at a party nearby. It turned out that the party was for a bunch of high-end escort girls, one of whom was a girl named Mary, coincidentally the girl who inspired the song Mary. I had met her some years earlier at a party - it was the first song I ever wrote. TO’C: The craziest -Polish Hall with the Fastbacks and the Fartz. There was a lot of blood everywhere.
GMR Prez Tom Dyer became interested in the group and started recording them in 1983. From the earliest of these sessions comes the single the single “I Thought of You/This Is That” which was named #65 on the NW All-Time Top 100 in The Rocket magazine in 1988 or so. (“I Thought of You” in included here, “This is That” is a bonus download track – why? We like the 4 track version better and used it!). The single was recorded at then-trendy Triangle Studios with The Enemy’s Peter Barnes engineering. The band felt much more comfortable when they started recording in the cozy confines of Tom’s basement studio where the Something Quick sessions were produced, with Dyer engineering. The first sessions were recorded on 4-track reel-to-reel - “I Could Tell You” was included on the first ever Green Monkey release a cassette comp called Local Product. The studio was upgraded to 8-tracks for the rest of the tunes featured here.
Between the two sessions, Toby Keil left the band to move to LA and join the Moberleys with Jim Basnight. John Carey(who is the brains behind Roslyn geniuses and current GMR artists, The OF) was brought on board to replace him and has been there ever since. KP: When Toby quit to join the Moberlys we were slowed down for a while. Pete Dempsey was our temporary bass player but we found a better fit with John who was playing with The World Outside. We had played a gig with them outside Swenson's ice cream in Bellevue. We saw him at a party we were playing and asked him to join the band. TO’C: I would see John walking around Bellevue with an acoustic guitar and I saw one of his bands at a party. Over a couple of beers in a park I convinced John we needed him as our permanent guy and he agreed.
It should also be noted that the harp player on these recordings is their longtime pal Lightning Joe. KP: We played at a party at Joe's house in Bellevue for his birthday, when his parents were out of town, and we did a blazing rendition of Jimi Hendrix' "Red House," the only blues number in our repertoire, and Joe being a big blues fan started playing with us. The harp was a nice addition in a band that was essentially a power trio with a singer. TO’C: Joe would do a lot for our band including play harp. He was always making whatever makeshift stage we had look good with lights, sirens and smoke.
Since the 80’s the Queen Annes have been an off and on proposition. In 1994 they to recorded tracks for what would become The Mire album in 1997 (available from Vagrant Records) in John Carey’s barn in Roslyn.
After a hiatus, in 2009 they “got the band back together” to play the record release party for The Green Monkey Records Anthology: It Crawled From The Basement. They were great. They still play occasionally, both as themselves and as their alter ego blues band, Last of the Steam Powered Trains. TO’C: The Steams are a blues band in the tradition of Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. I think it is an effort to keep the blues alive - Kip can actually sing these songs. KP: Last of the Steam Powered Trains started as my pet project - always wanted to start a blues, blues rock band. This type of music is a sort of obsession of mine. We are having a blast.
In 2013 they recorded a version of Roy Wood’s "I Wish It Was Christmas Every Day" for Green Monkey’s annual Christmas album.
A few years ago this obscure Seattle band released some old recordings entitled Something Quick 1980-1986 (on Green Monkey) that was terrific. Well, a decade after those recordings the band released their sophomore effort, The Mire, on Vagrant Records (not the label out of L.A., this Vagrant Records is out of Seattle). After The Mire the band recorded another record, #3, that was going to be titled Revenge! ,but it got shelved for unknown reasons and sat dormant for nearly two decades. Well, here it is and I must say, it’s great! These guys had a real pop sensibility taking elements of 60’s British Invasion stuff plus mod, power pop, new wave and a touch of punk. There’s horns all over the record and the arrangements are spot on. Cuts like “Circus Train” and “It’s not My Life’ would make at least as big a splash as GBV did back in those mid 1990’s but more people need to hear ‘em. This has the original albums eleven cuts plus they tack on three covers at the end, a Beach Boys and two Bee Gees (both from Horizontal). If I haven’t made it clear yet Released! needs to be heard by all pop ears. Make that all ears period. http://www.greenmonkeyrecords.com
Mod Pop CD Review: Queen Annes Released! From the late 70’s right through to the mid 90’s, some of the greatest bands in power pop history were from Seattle. Bands such as Exploding Hearts, Super Deluxe, Sparkler and the greatest Seattle power pop band of all time, The Heats. seattle power pop queen annesNot to be overlooked in the power pop craze at the time, Mod Pop counterparts The Queen Annes released a cassette in the early 80’s entitled Something Quick. I recall really enjoying their sound, one that had all the drive and unbridled energy of The Who. The way I understand it, they tried to follow up on the release in 1997 with a full length LP entitled Revenge. However, like so many worthwhile recordings of that time, the project was shelved. Until Now. Thanks to the folks at Green Monkey Records, Revenge has been unveiled in all its splendor… but re-titled as Released!. With Released!, The Queen Annes offer up a variety of styles and influences that prove to be broader in scope and so much more entertaining than their earliest work. It’s a shame that it didn’t find it’s way to the marketplace back in ’97. The Who influence is still there of course, as on “Circus Train”, the opening track. This song has jangle to spare and the horns in the beginning are a nice touch. “She Swims Sideways” is an interesting psych-pop number and sounds almost as if it could be a Jeff Kelly composition. “What’s It All About” is another favorite and has the lyrical feel and DIY treatment of a good dBs song. Other highlights include “It’s Not My Life” with its sideways Motown feel and well placed horns, “Kiss Me I’m Dead” (another psych-pop song that reminds me of The Green Pajamas a little bit – just a little bit). There’s a couple of great cover tunes too. The Bee Gees’ “Harry Braff” and the Brian Wilson composition “This Whole World” are great covers, the latter showing us that these guys could have been a really good harmony group if they had wanted to. Finally, “Lady of the Waves” is a very pleasant acoustic track that offers another new texture to a very diverse, engaging record. Whether you remember The Queen Annes or not, Released! should not be missed. Get your copy of Released! directly from Green Monkey Records or at Kool Kat Musik. And, if the history of Northwest rock interests you, pick up this one, also from Green Monkey Records.
“Their 60’s-inspired music consists of a winning combination of jangle-pop, power pop, guitar-heavy mod stuff and neo-psycheldelia, all marked by very appealing, early Who-style vocals. This is the kind of catchy, hook-filled pop that is bound grow on one even more with repeated listens.” Jeff Bale
Ok, it’s just honorable mention, but it’s still pretty cool. Charlie Doherty’s Top 30 Releases of 2014 (Starring Judas Priest, Ryan Adams, Run the Jewels, Smashing Pumpkins, Sun Kil Moon, and More) BUY IT HERE!
June 9th, 2014
“WOW!! We never thought we’d see the day! Some of you (but not many) may actually have the red-Xerox cover, 14 song cassette the band released back in 1986. In all cases, this official CD release from the fine folks at Green Monkey Records is better.” Kool Kat Music
The Queen Annes: You Got Me Running (1985) Amazing, isn't it, how far a sound can travel? Like the sound of Mod England as epitmised by the Who reaching right into the heartland of Washington state in the US where, in the early Eighties, this band took it (belatedly) to heart. It would be an exaggeration to say the Queen Annes were one of the great undiscovered pre-grunge bands from Seattle, but on the evidence of a recent compilation from Green Monkey Records, they certainly deserved more than a fate of obscurity. Recently Tom Dyer of Green Monkey -- who was there in the Eighties to record much of the QA recordings -- pulled together a compilation of their work, Something Quick 1980-1985 . . . . and it's terrific. With harmonica by a pal Lightinin' Joe, bristling guitars, tough and economic songs, and an enthusiasm which is almost palpable, the Queen Annes fly off the disc. Which is remarkable in itself given most of the songs were lifted from a cassette released in '85. Adding in their sole single I Thought of You (released '82) and a bunch of other songs, the collection punches up to a tidy 20 songs and 75 minutes. And given their snappy sound -- just a nudge above garage and into pure pop-rock -- you do wonder why they didn't get bigger than just their home state. The clue might be in the extensive liner notes which tell of outrageous parties and the demolition of rooms, under-age shows rather than high-profile bar gigs, and a line-up change. They actually recorded an album released in '97 (The Mire) but in the absence of that we can only acclaim the youthful energy and highly focused songs on the collection. This song is typical for its energy, Who-like tautness, a bit of wig-out Hendrix and pop smarts.
Fueled by overdriven guitar and harmonica, “Running” is a vintage wrecking ball. – Jonathan Zwickel
The Queen Annes represent the kind of rock’n’roll I was introduced to as a new resident of the Pacific Northwest 30 years ago this year. Moving to the mainland was an opportunity to hear and know more about my surroundings and while Seattle would end up being 200 miles away for me, I regarded it as the distant local music scene. They were a band who one could read about in The Rocket back then, and 30+ years later we’re able to hear what they left behind with a great compilation called Something Quick: 1980-1985 (Green Monkey). The title itself may refer to the song of the same name, which opens this compilation, but seeing as this collection is also being promoted as a reflection of what was the pre-grunge scene and sound of Seattle, it is a timepiece but one that deserves to be examined and heard again. The music is incredibly tight for a group who called Bellevue, Washington their home, and some of this sounds like a band who immersed themselves in hours of listening to Tho Who, very loud and raunchy when they want to be. What I also hear in songs like “It’s Cool With Me”, “If You Could Only See Me Now”, and “Lucille” is the kind of songwriting and craftsmanship in the music that came from Arthur Lee and Love, where things are playful but were sculpted in a way for listeners to listen, think, then listen many times over. Those who only know Seattle for grunge may be pleasantly surprised by the beauty and power of these songs, and perhaps Seattleites will be surprised too, for The Queen Annes were always on “the other side” of music back when almost everything that came from the city was considered “the other side”. At least with time and perspective, we’re now able to hear how moving these songs were and are, and be dumbfounded at how they didn’t get a chance to break through nationally or internationally, like so many bands from the early 80’s did in the dawn of MTV. Maybe back then, this was considered too collegiate, too unpolished, too “add whatever word that fits” but now it’s what we miss, what we long for, but what we’re able to put on repeat through the Something Quick comp. Perhaps people will look to them as an inspiration.
If you want my opinion, Green Monkey Records deserves some kind of reward. Virtually unnoticed outside of Seattle during their existence in the eighties, they somehow amassed an astounding catalog of bands and albums which they are just now getting to and boy am I pumped! First, they reactivated the label a handful of years ago, releasing an excellent collection of tracks from their vaults and liner notes which allowed those not in the know to understand. It Crawled From the Basement is a double-disc of note, covering the label's output from 1983 to 1991. Known bands and virtual unknowns are highlighted, from The Green Pajamas to Swelter Cacklebush, and one listen serves to give credibility to pre-grunge Seattle. And, yes, The Queen Annes are included, If You Could Only See Me Now sandwiched between Danger Bunny's For This and Prudence Dredge's Botherin' You. Perfect sequencing, but you would only know that by listening to or even buying that essential collection. Thing is, it is only the very tip of the iceberg Green Monkey has/had. Of course, we had our chance. Green Monkey, it seems, operating on a shoestring, was forced to pretty much limit themselves to 45s and cassettes during the period of The Queen Anne's album and, sure enough, released The Queen Annes on cassette, but who the hell was buying cassettes back then? It wasn't me, that's for sure. But had I known..... Here are the words from the liner notes of It Crawled From the Basement which might help explain. We continued to put out cassette releases all along the way, though it was not so much a matter of trendy undergroundness...as economics. However, if I thought it was worthy (“I” being GM prexy Tom Dyer), we would put it out as far and wide as we could. We put out five more cassette releases that year (1986?). Something Quick by The Queen Annes collected their previous couple years of recordings and showed what a powerful band they truly were. This re-release of Something Quick proves that last statement true. Somehow, the guys captured the attitude of a lot of the fringe bands of the mid- to late-sixties and wrapped them up in their own sound. It is a time capsule, if you will, ranging from garage-band-Northwest to psychedelic freakout to the crunch that drove grunge a few years later. The QAs occasionally toss in the obligatory pop tune (hey, just because they rock doesn't mean they don't appreciate melody and harmony), but they mainly live on the edge. My favorite tracks, and please understand that I lived the sixties and even at that time scoured 45 racks for the odd gems tossed aside by regional radio, are the brash and in-your-face and over-amped Queen Anne Jam, which if not for the excellent guitar work could easily have been part of the garage scene of the sixties (it would take a few years for Pac NW bands to catch up, guitar-wise, to bands like The Yardbirds and even The Liverpool Five); You Will Cry, seven-and-a-half minutes of psych-and-jam (I wish it could have gone on for seven-and-a-half hours); Lucille, which while a cover was one of the standards Pac NW garage bands played on the '60s armory circuit with regularity (hey, you could dance to it!); and You Got Me Running, straight out of sixties' UK and embellished beautifully with brassy guitar. Hell, I don't even know why I'm pointing those out. Truth is, I am enamored with this album, if enamored be the proper term. I have been playing it every day since I received it a few weeks ago and am not even close to putting it aside. Of course, I grew up in the fifties and sixties and have a lot invested in the music of that period. Naturally, I would love this. Music like this is in my genes. Thing is, anybody with an iota of love for that period of music will find this essential for their collection. Chalk up another win for Green Monkey and their seemingly bottomless catalog. You can put The Queen Annes right next to the various Green Pajamas reissues as well as those of The Life and The Icons. Something Quick is an album to be listened to closely and danced to wildly. You hear me talk of “gems” when it comes to albums? This is one. By the way, you can listen to The Queen Annes by logging on to Green Monkey's Album of the Month page. See how easy they have made it for you? Frank O. Gutch Jr.
The Rocket – Northwest Top 100 of All-Time (1988 version) #65 This Is That 45. “At its peak this pile driving foursome put on awe-inspiring live shows and this 1983 seven-inch captured the group’s early Who-meets-Zeppelin approach in fine fashion … grab the terrific Something Quick cassette…” The Rocket - Scott McCaughey