Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's a Wonderful Life in Seattle Now That The Mothership Has Landed

The nice thing about gaining respect for your writing and music taste over a 25-year period is that you have freedom to say what you want without being confined or second-guessed. I am no spring chicken and I am no Rolling Stone apprentice. I'm Xana La Fuente. And if I could rewrite my life, after hearing the voice of Johndus Beckman and the music of The Mothership, I would not change a single thing in my past. My past brought me to today. And today I get to see and hear the amazing voice of Johndus and hear the amazing music he writes, and when I'm lucky, rock out to his band The Mothership.

In the movie It's a Wonderful Life, there is a famous line that reminds me of the love, tolerance, and commitment that one has for their friends, and in this case, band members...

It is so true... no man is a failure who has friends, and I think any person can gain their wings by standing by someone or something they believe in. Listen to this and you will get an idea of the camaraderie that these talented musicians have...

The best way for me to tell the story is from the beginning. It was a cold and wintry night, much like tonight.... I was there to see and film The Missionary Position. As the club grew full, I realized I had to somehow lift my laptop above the crowd to live stream them. I looked around and before I had a chance to ask anyone, this adorable red head came up and offered to help, even carrying one of their drum cases and lifting it up to put my laptop on. He did not leave until he knew I was set up. He had no idea who I was; he was just being himself -- genuinely kind and helpful. 

A recent photo of Will Andrews, taken by our good friends at Seattle Sound Live

 His name is Will Andrews and he is the drummer of The Mothership as well as several side projects. When The Mothership went on stage, I filmed the first song. The camera I had was new to me -- actually the whole process of filming -- so I ignorantly thought, "They're too loud for my camera speaker" and stopped filming -- a decision I regret daily! The next thing I knew, this seemingly small and monkey looking creature jumped on stage and, well... you can see for yourself. He pretty much owned the moment. His name is Johndus Beckman.

The other thing that struck me as unusual that night was all the other musicians who came out to see them. One by one they told me, this is the guy, this is the band to be watching. It reminded me of how Layne and Andrew would be at shows, they spent all their time talking about other local bands.  Once you see them you love them; once you hear John's voice, it does not matter if he's singing in the car or on a huge stage... you listen. And you'll see why it comes naturally for other musicians to talk about him. What's the most fascinating about their shows is watching the crowd. The looks on their faces are priceless. They are like children at the gates of the Willy Wonka Factory, just waiting for the sweet goods.

A recent photo of The Mothership at The Showbox by our friends at
Seattle Sound Live - Please check out their website and page for
more great photos and live videos.

As I mentioned, The Missionary Position was also playing, and since Jeff Angell and Ben Anderson are also in Walking Papers, needless to say there were all sorts of industry people and some other very important people in the music scene whose opinions are valued, and several of them noticed I was filming and live streaming and told me "It's good you're here -- these guys are the next big thing." I was thinking, "Really!" , Jeeze they won't stop talking about this guy! I took a closer look and listen over the next few months. Then someone sent me this video -- Someone from another local band -- one of those almost famous folks I was speaking of, and again they said, "These are the guys you should be keeping your eye on." 

As the long winter of 2012 proceeded, I saw little of The Mothership boys, except this one night when they showed up at a solo Jefferson Angell show. We had, by then, become friends on social media, and had been trying to set some dates for smaller shows. We got to know each other by sharing music and events online and looked forward to hanging out, so this was a rare night that we finally got to meet up. They were genuinely excited and in awe of the simplicity of Jeff's performance, and I felt that they took away a lot more with them that night than the crowd that was just there to hear some nice acoustic music. They were thinking hard about the future. Then, in early spring, they played an amazing show at The Sunset Tavern with Drew Shreve, Travis James, and Shane Cassidy of Lady Justice as well as some lovely string players backing them up.  You can see all the videos of this on our youtube channel. Sometimes videos do not upload easily on blogger -- here is the link to one and it will lead you to the rest. I will dig through my archives and re-upload them here as soon as I can...

youtube link to more awesomness:

As Seattle opened its eyes to summer, it was evident immediately that it was going to be a hot one, so we all headed to the beaches. I remember another local musician friend of ours, Jonny, saying to me one day when we were on our way to meet all of them at the beach -- Johndus, Will, and their roommates and good friends, Drew Shreve and friends, from other bands like Lady Justice, Travis James and Shane Cassidy,  Rane Stone, another amazing local singer...he said, "You know, I think it's really cool that these guys reach out to you to hang out."  His way of complimenting me, I laughed too -- it is funny because they could be my kids, but that's what's great about music: It creates a bond that is not measured by time, space, distance, or even race and age. Take me and my friend The Mustache. I know he loves me. He's just too far away to care like he used to. Our daily trips to Lake Washington and running around like wild children at Discovery at 3 a.m. are long gone days. Thankfully, a grunge cupid has wished us a bonded life through music, so I don't need to actually see him ever again. 

You know your friends love you when they let you choke them out.

What Jonny was thinking but was careful in how he said it , is that yeah, being the widow of Andrew Wood may just give me a certain edge as far as music taste, I've certainly seen my share of live music. I may have scars from head to toe, I may have a long rap sheet, and  99 problems including felonies I'd rather not talk about , but I still have great taste in music and young local musicians are noticing this and all I do to keep the scene lively, and as I open myself up to new friendships with new bands I can have the same if not more of an influence as I always have. 

Influenced by and an influence on, the wonderful and talented Intisaar Jurban
seen here singing with Johndus. Another member of the  " Post Grunge Brat Pack "
The Mothership clearly surrounds themselves with strong and talented women.

This is becoming pretty evident in the success of this very website. 2012 and 2013 can only be beaten by 2014! That one year we all got tricked into listening to Dave Matthews was brutal (joking -- super nice and talented guys). But let's not forget that  "grunge was dead." These guys give me a reason to limp around carrying a tripod. They give me a reason to write, share local music, and most importantly, my midnight park friends that deserted me have been replaced by new, fresh-faced half ass monkey boys! It's a win-win for all of us!

 Our creative ideas,  jokes and shenanigans are endless. The stuff we do for each other has no limit. It's obviously reminiscent of the '80s and '90s for me in Seattle. If I have to explain this, you're an idiot, you have no business reading this, and I should fire my publicist... but he's a monkey and currently homeless so I'm pretty much stuck with him. 

Matt Strutynski , singer of the killer new band Van Ep's monkeying
around with Johndus, they are always at each others shows to show support


Chilling at Lake Washington live streaming an interview with Johndus
which I will upload soon as well -- it's part of an ongoing series of 
interviews and comedy sketches with him we have planned. As a 
Capricorn and entertainer, he is always down for a shenanigan, even if it means 
pretending to get our chihuahua Charo to smoke a joint.

As we settle into winter again, we have seen many changes and we have all grown up just a bit. I think some of the band -- luckily for the mischievous ones -- have taken their careers to a new level.

 The guitarist, Paul Fraser, writes a lot of the band's material as well as singing it, so as the guitarist his job is cut out for him, yet he is a pillar in the band and for sure keeps up the team morale with all his hard work. 

Just another beautiful day in Seattle with The Mothership

The Mothership's bass player, Ryan Thornes, is one of the nicest guys, not to mention a great performer, and trust me -- it's not easy being in a band with Johndus.  He's as unpredictable as he is talented -- almost anything could happen, yet at every show I've been to, this guy is calm, with a huge smile on his face and a joy to watch play. They may not all be perfectly behaved, but musically are perfect for each other. 

Don't bother asking me which one is the mischievous one.
I'll give you 3 guesses but you only need one!

So on this beautiful day in Seattle a few weeks before Christmas, I send to you all this message from the classic holiday movie It's a Wonderful Life. No man is a failure who has friends. So no band can fail that sticks together. Keep being good to each other, boys -- the whole world's watching us all in Seattle! 

In the movie It's a Wonderful Life, Clarence is motivated to save George's life in order to get his wings. Isn't life like that, though? Many people that come into our lives can, with small gestures, make huge differences in the way we look at our lives. You might even say if that person was not there at that moment-your life may be completely different.So with this story reference in mind,  get your wings early this year -- how you do it is up to you, but one's sanity is tied to what they do for others, so if someone needs help, you should help them. Be that one person that made a difference in someone's life enough to change everything. 

Have a wonderful and safe holiday, my friends. The new music coming out of Seattle and the friends I have made this year are all priceless to me, and I look forward to many years to come. 
Your music is my gift this year! 

Happy Holidays from The Mothership

Please go to their page for up-to-the-minute news on upcoming shows and CD releases and to buy their latest album!

And get in the holiday spirit with this classic movie!