Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why My 2013 Is Starting Out Awesome, and Why the Walking Papers Have Everything To Do With It.

Xana's Love Letter to the Walking Papers

by Xana La Fuente
Valentine's Day 2013

Photo by Jeff Cook

It all started around 5:00 p.m. on a typical rainy night in Seattle outside The Paramount.
I had always gotten teased by Andy and sometimes Stoney for listening to The Cult. The "She Sells Sanctuary" video is the entire reason I moved to Seattle (if I have to explain to you why, then you have no business reading this -- you're an idiot)... So Andy, Stone, Jeff and I are hanging outside the theater talking. I was there to see The Cult, although if the others knew that Duff from 10 Minute Warning and his hot new band Guns and Roses was opening, they sure didn't show it. Ironically, they never saw a single song they played that night and pretty much laughed at me when I said "I just saw the most amazing band!"
  Photo by Jeff Cook
Now don't get me wrong -- I'm sure to this day they wish they had, and they probably have told people all these years that they were there, they just don't tell anyone they were standing outside, "Jukebox Hero-style" in the rain with no ticket to a sold out show (Stoney wasn't as criminally minded as the Bainbridge boys, who apparently would simply pop the door at the top of the fire escape -- Andy had this down to a fine art). 
So on to the show! When I think of my own personal music history and visualize the bands and songs that define me, I always remember that show and what I was focused on the entire time they played... Steven Adler and that beautiful happy smile as he played drums with that perfect '80s mop of golden hair flying around.... To this day, Appetite for Destruction is the only album I have ever bought the next day after seeing a band.
Fast forward to 2012. I admit, I have always had a warm place in my heart for Duff. We never met back then, but I love Kim from the Fastbacks and heard he was a good friend of hers and had bought her a new bass every year. Whether that story is true or not (I'm betting it's "mostly" true -- you know how these stories get embellished along the way!)  The story is one of my favorites either way. 
    Photos by Jeff Cook
"Grunge folklore" or not, I knew he was one of the good guys. Then there's the matter of "The Dream." Yeah, we all have a rock and roll fantasy, so don't act surprised! Mine just happened to take place at a Mexican restaurant with my old friends Lori and Evelyn. We came up with a 30-minute video idea that would finally showcase our beautiful city as well as be totally hilarious and was to be filmed on top of the EMP and around the Space Needle starring Duff, Jack Black, Dave G, and if he's lucky, Cameron Crowe (trust me, he needs Xanaland right now). We visualized having several bands live outside, and maybe Buzz from the Melvins playing a carny while Duff buys his kid a Courtney Love pinata -- you get the idea! Hey, it doesn't hurt to dream, it could happen!
Enter the Walking Papers.
Boy, did I learn this last 12 months that I knew nothing about the Seattle music scene and history. I only BOUGHT the Mad Season album 12 times so you'd think I'd no who Barrett Martin was! Now all I can do when I see him is fall on my knees and say "I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!" And to have never heard the sweet sad low moans of Jefferson Angell... or see his adorable mic stand dance? I know, "tisk tisk. "

photo by Jeff Cook
This is not an album review. I will let the music speak for itself. I was lucky to walk into The Paramount that night and I'm even luckier today to see Duff grow up to be an amazing person who continues to inspire us all. 
I would like to say Thank you to Duff, who probably saved my life 20 years ago, and unknowingly has done it again with his music and honest writing that made me take a hard look at myself and want to be a better person, too. Seeing this band has given me hope for the future and brought back memories and feelings that were perhaps wrongfully hidden. The storytelling behind the music is heartbreaking and yet leaves you wanting to hear more of the story. That Jefferson Angell, I'm tellin' you people, he's like soup, he's like nothing bad! I want to give away his albums to the dying in rest homes so they can tell the angels in heaven about "The Bee Charmer."

  If YOU are lucky enough to see them, you will see, hear, and feel what I am talking about. Collectively they are some of the best musicians and some of the most kind and genuine people I have ever met. Hey, I even gave my "Dennis Hopper/Blue Velvet" leather jacket to the pianist, the amazing Benjamin Anderson! Forget about it! (insert Benicio Del Toro voice)  Go see them and buy their album -- immediately!

Oh, by the way, I did embellish the story just a little -- I did buy one other album the day after seeing the band, 3 guesses but you will only need one...

The Walking Papers Live at The Crocodile