I kinda hate year the end round-ups and trite “best of” lists that will make up the rest of the journalistic year, but I think it’s a practice steeped in deep tradition and I guess it’s somewhat helpful, so here’s a little bit about what went down at Sub Pop in the past months. 2007 brought us follow up records from old faves The Shins, Low, Jennifer Gentle, Iron and Wine, Band of Horses, Kinski, and Mudhoney as well as a whole bunch of new or new-to-us bands such as Loney Dear, Dntel, Patton Oswalt, Handsome Furs, Pissed Jeans, Tiny Vipers, flight of the conchords, and The Go! Team. We put out some seven inch singles, too, from bands like Wooden Shjips, Kelley Stoltz, and The Thermals. Our little buds at Hardly Art have successfully made it through their first year with releases from Arthur & Yu and Le Loup and we couldn’t be prouder. More proud. Whatever.
You know what, though? Next year is going to be totally insane as it will be Sub Pop’s Twentieth Anniversary(!) and we’re going to go totally nuts celebrating. Keep your eyes peeled for special releases, collector junk, and worldwide partying in the streets.
I’ve met many of the Sub Pop Megamart customers in this crazy virtual world through e-mail, but I’ve only developed a friendship with one of them. His name was Kenny. Kenny had been a long-time customer at subpop.com when he had an issue with one of his orders and he sent me an email; that’s how we met. After we got to talking, we found out that we had a lot in common and we kept emailing for the past year and a half.
I regularly check Patagonia’s blog, The Cleanest Line. Yesterday, while making my routine blog rounds, I got some really bad news, Kenny passed away. It was the first time I had ever seen a picture of him and it hit me much harder than I expected it would.
Though Kenny and I never actually met face-to-face, I really felt like we were friends, it seems like he had that affect on everyone he met. He had such a positive energy about him that came through in all of his emails. He’d tease me with stories about the surf sessions or the bike rides they’d have during lunch at the Patagonia headquarters or the BMX races he and his son would have. Kenny was a big fan of Kelly Stoltz, The Shins, Handsome Furs and many other non-Sub Pop bands as well. We’d often trade emails with reviews of new records or shows I should check out.
Kenny had a young son and daughter who were really big fans of The Shins and The Postal Service. When very young children are into great music, it generally means that they have really great parents; that definitely seems to be the case here. Some of Kenny’s friends and co-workers have set up a fund for Kenny’s family that you can read about here.
When I told my co-workers about Kenny, one of them said that it just goes to show you how many people one person can affect in their life. I was really lucky to have met Kenny, even if it was only via the internet.
With the holidays very much upon us, we are taking a little break. Friday, December 21st will be the last shipping day until January 2nd. You can still give us your money by purchasing our wares, but we won’t be able to get them out to you until after the New Year. You’ll probably be way too stoked on your new toys to notice! Thanks for your patience and have a super happy whatever it is you celebrate!
This week People Who Work Here takes a look at Sub Pop’s newest all star publicist, Kate Jackson, but not that Kate Jackson. This one is 26 and married and has a dog and a home in West Seattle and is a very nice lady and she has not been on any TV shows, at least as far as I know. As Kate is pretty new here I don’t have a lot of interesting facts to lay on you right here, but I will vote her most likely to sunbathe topless and drunk in Hawaii. I’ll let you know how that goes when we get back. Let’s meet Kate!
L: Tell me how you came to be employed at Sub Pop.
K: I used to do a little work with Steve Manning’s wife, and met Steve through her a few years ago. Around the same time, I was introduced to Megan Jasper while working on a fundraiser for the Vera Project. I thought both were charming freaks and apparently they thought the same of me, so when there was an opening here they thought I would be a logical fit! [Knowing people is the only way, my friend! –ed.]
L: Are you enjoying yourself so far? Who is your surprise favorite coworker?
K: I am enjoying myself thoroughly. In my first week we got to ride the Duck with the whole funny clan and I had a massage in the office. How could I complain? I just rearranged my cubicle so I feel like the vibe just got a whole lot better in here. [She’s not kidding—I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen feng shuing in action. –ed.] My surprise favorite co-worker…Bessie, Vito and Dinky…although the humans are cool too.
L: You married your high school sweetheart—what’s up with that? Is it working out?
K: Yeah, the guitarist of his then band went to my high school and he set us up on a blind date at an all-ages Superdeluxe show at Green River Community College when I was 14 and he was 15. It just kinda stuck and we ended up getting married about 2.5 years ago after 10 years of hanging out. [So that means you two have only had sex with each other, huh? What? I’m just asking! –ed.]
L: What is the first Sub Pop record you ever owned? What is the last Sub Pop record you bought before becoming employed here?
K: That is a tough one…I think it may have been L7 that I first bought on my very own. I had others that I had gotten as gifts, but I saved for that one. The last Sub Pop record I bought before I started here…I believe it was Band of Horses Everything All the Time. [Oh c’mon—you know you got that for free! –ed.]
L: I heard you are into some weird personality analysis called enneagram. What is it and what can you tell me about myself using this witchcraft?
K: You’ve clearly been talking to Megan! Yes, I was raised with the Enneagram and love it to this day. Aside from sacrificing small animals and drinking their blood, the whole practice involves minimal witchcraft. It is disturbingly accurate although sometimes hard to admit that you have the characteristics spelled out in the personality descriptions. I am an “8”, so watch out. Lacey, hmmm…not sure I could peg you so easily. Maybe after a few drinks together I will have you all figured out. [I can’t wait for this! Please bring your witch tools to the island! –ed.]
L: You are super active with the VERA Project. Tell me a little bit about the project and what your roll is there. Why do you think it’s a worthwhile organization? Why should parents feel safe leaving their kids in the hands of punk rockers and other musical degenerates under the Space Needle?
K: Vera is an all-ages, not-for-profit music and arts venue that is run primarily by youth volunteers. It is a space for people of all-ages to engage in music performance and other related arts in an alcohol and drug free environment. They offer live shows, studio engineering classes, silkscreen classes, sound and light engineering classes, have an art gallery and do a million other wonderful things that empower youth and cultivate talent. I have been a board member of the Vera Project for a little over a year but involved with the organization in various capacities for about 4 years. I spent almost every weekend in high school commuting from Tacoma to go to RKCNDY or the handful of all-ages venues that existed. When the teen dance ordinance closed all of it down, I didn’t see a show for 3 years that wasn’t at a festival or arena sized rock. Being involved in the music community brought me to my current day profession. It is imperative, especially in a city like Seattle, that we have a place for the young musicians, fans and art lovers go to learn how to appreciate art in their own way and sustain the growth of that community. [See, I told you she’s a publicist! –ed.]
L: If I had to hazard a guess I’d say you drove a Volkswagen, probably something with a hatchback. Am I completely wrong? What kind of car would you drive if money were no object?
K: I have a Subaru wagon. If I could drive any car it would be a Volvo wagon when they go hybrid and I also love the new prototype for the VW Minibus, so I guess you were kinda right about me. [It’s a gift, what can I say? –ed.]
L: Alright, let’s get to the juicy part…you used to work with Pearl Jam—what were your duties? Who is your favorite Pearl Jam? Do you still talk to them on the phone? Tell me a funny story about Pearl Jam that does not involve Ticket Master, mohawks, or Crohn’s Disease.
K: Ahh yes. Mostly I just picked out all of the brown M&Ms. nothing makes Mike McCready more angry than brown M&Ms… [Not even Crohn’s? –ed.] No, really I worked for a small publicity firm that handled a lot of music and non-profit related clients but was also Pearl Jam’s in-house PR in addition to handling the band’s philanthropic efforts. We did everything from set up a record to handle day-to-day appearance, donation, etc. requests for the band, to help strategize political involvement and activism. My favorite Pearl Jam…impossible to choose! Nicest people ever. The secret about the Pearl Jam organization [They sound like the grunge mob. –ed.] is that they have about three times as many dogs in office as Sub Pop does. When I was there we would have anywhere from seven to thirteen dogs on any given day. Scared the hell out of visitors when a pack of dogs – ranging in size from Jack Resells to Lab/Rodesian Ridgeback mix- would come tearing through the office.
L: You are a young go-getter of a gal—how’d you get to be like that? Do you have any tips for someone who might be in her early 30s, floundering around fairly aimlessly with no clue as to what she’d like to make of herself?
K: Good God, you overestimate me. I personally invest a good amount of time in wine drinking and reading thesuperficial.com and therefore am the last to be doling out advice to anyone. [Well then I must be on the right track…. –ed.]
L: What does Kate Jackson do on the weekends to relax? Tell me about it.
K: The best kind of weekend contains these ingredients – one night out for dinner and drinks/show, good Saturday morning greasy breakfast, a lot of On Demand, red wine, and a long walk on Alki beach with my dog. [Where’s the shame spiral? Or is that on Monday morning for you, too? –ed.]
L: When I was in high school I had a gay friend who told me that I looked like Kate Jackson but I don’t think you and I look anything alike. Say, who’s your favorite Charlie’s Angel?
K: You only get one guess…the smart one.
L: And finally, let’s do some quick word association:
Catholicism – my upbringing
Ireland – my homeland
West Seattle – the best neighborhood in Seattle
Grunge – my youth
Steve Manning – monkey
Publicist- dirty word
Balls – I wanna dip my…
L: Thanks for playing!