Back to Seattle After a Flight to Mars

So, I was starting to get back into the Seattle music after my wayward adventures in New Orleans. Now it was time to come totally home with another Flight to Mars!


Yes, that’s right! Time for the annual Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation fundraiser, with Pearl Jam’s  Mike McCready and friends and their UFO tribute band, Flight to Mars. Our Captain, Paul Passereli, above.

Seriously, they really should have a sci-fi series based on Paulie and his crew!

On with the Flight to Mars show, though!


As usual, we had some acoustic sets opening, including one by Mike McCready. One of the songs he did was Neil Young’s Too Far Gone. Here’s a clip (by stefferzz1970) from a previous show at Fuel Sports:

Jeff Rouse (from Duff McKagen’s Loaded) came out and joined Mike to sing River of Deceit, by Mad Season (a Seattle super-group that included Mike McCready and Alice in Chains Layne Staley on lead vocals) as he did for the Hootenanny for Haiti show. A clip, also by stefferzz1970, from the same Fuel Sports show:

Star Anna and Justin Davis, from her group the Laughing Dogs, also came out to do a set.


Devil Don’t Remember was an intense opener, but then again, when you’ve got a short acoustic in a totally packed Showbox at the Market. . .

Here’s Star Anna the full band with Devil Don’t Remember at the Mississippi Pizza’s Atlantis Lounge in Portland last year (video by humanclock):

More from Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs soon. I caught them at a totally packed Tractor Tavern show last week.

Sweet Water got things rocking, next.


Intensely rocking! They were all over the stage and they have the rock moves. . . Got to love their bio on their website:

Rising from the ashes of 80s Seattle punk bands SGM, Skank Puppies, and The Experience, Sweet Water (Adam, Cole, Paul, and Credo) shot to near-stardom in the early 90s Seattle explosion. Propelled by keen pop-punk sensibilities, spacey glam songwriting, and fueled by a roaring wall of guitar, Sweet Water delivered on the promises of rock and roll.

Sweet Water’s live performances back then were hot, sweaty, screaming, smoky, passionate, substance-fueled affairs that permanently burned memories into their fans’ brains.

Singer Adam Czeisler shined like the bastard child of Freddie Mercury and Mick Jagger – a real frontman in an era of shoegazers.

Here’s a clip of Head Down from a show at Neumos last year (video by BlackTemplar73):

Up next was the drawing for the raffle items ($5 a ticket, 5 for $20), with the evenings’ proceeds to benefit the CCFA’s Camp Oasis for kids with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis; and Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness, Inc.


Autographed posters, Pearl Jam cds, Mike & his wife’s tickets to the Mariners for a night. . . All kinds of good stuff, for a worthy cause!

Now it was time to blast off!


This is just an awesome band and show, with some of Seattle’s best rock musicians – Mike McCready, Gary Westlake, Paul Passereli, Kelly Van Camp, Ty Bailie and Tim DiJulio.

I got some video this time. Here they are with Natural Thing:

“Don’t you think the band’s real tight?. . .”

Mike’s solo at the end sounds like it’s from outerspace, too!

Got to love these club shows! Mike McCready up close and personal all night.


And the whole band playing so well off each other, sometimes literally. . .


My second video was too long for YouTube’s 10 minutes max rule, so I set up an account on Vimeo. You really can’t edit Rock Bottom! Especially with an extended Mike McCready solo in the middle of it. . .

Epic, and just when you think it’s over, they start in again!

“Where do we go from here?”

Well, they brought out the guy who won the charity bid to play with Mike and the band.

IMG_0779 (2)

Sweet! He isn’t going to forget that night. . .

This was on Iggy Pop’s  I Wanna Be Your Dog. This guy came out to sing:


. . . and I know I probably should know who it is. He came out and did this song for at least one other Flight to Mars show.


Let there be light! Someone else got video other than me! Here’s the start of their cover of Let There Be Rock by AC/DC, by rsavillo21. His memory card became full. I’ve been there (in fact, mine did that night, too; but I was just shooting photos and switched it out).

Are those the infamous Pearl Jam super balls Mike’s handing out at the other side of the stage? The ones with Tom Tomorrow’s artwork?  Hey, I wouldn’t have sold mine on e-Bay! Mike was throwing out guitar picks all night, too. Too bad Seattle crowds aren’t as jaded with Pearl Jam memorabilia as the New Orleans crowd is with Mardi-Gras beads. I didn’t find any just laying around.

OK! I’m back in Seattle. Safely landed with the Flight to Mars crew!


. . .and. . . still over two weeks behind!

A couple more shows and a couple human rights events coming!

Oh, yeah, and my birthday! It was a big one. Let’s just say I haven’t trusted myself in over 20 years. . . OK, I never trusted myself. That’s beside the point!


Another Flight to Mars with Mike McCready & Friends

I can’t get enough of Mike McCready’s guitar playing, as I continue being spoiled living in Seattle and getting to hear Mike and his rock star friends at ridiculously low prices in intimate nightclub settings for charity. Spoiled, except for the fact his main band never plays Seattle these days.  No, the Gorge isn’t Seattle, at least for those of us without cars.  Shouldn’t those of us who leave a small carbon footprint be rewarded? ; ) OK, so really I don’t have a car because I’m too broke to have one and would have to live in it if I did, but still. . .

On to the show!  After missing out on a reprise of Tom Morello playing the newly reopened Crocodile for $15 because a friend was in crisis, I jumped at the chance for tickets for Mike’s latest fundraiser at the Showbox  (at the Market) for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, even though I was in Boston for Amnesty International’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the time (yeah, I still need to blog about that one). Tickets only $20, except Ticketmaster tacked on almost $15 in “convenience” charges (still a bargain, but come on, a 75% profit on charity tickets?!!).

You really got to appreciate the guys in Pearl Jam for their attempt to fight Ticketmaster on fan rip offs, even though it cost them at the time. Mike’s my personal hero for being willing to go so public with his ordeal with Crohn’s disease, most recently pushing for public restroom access in Washington state for those who suffer from Crohn’s and similar diseases. Whatever I have is milder than Crohn’s, but on a bad day – you got to go, when you got to go! 

It was a dark and stormy night. . . No, really, it was rainy and very windy as we waited in line Saturday at the Showbox (at the Market), the original Showbox, across the street from Pike Place Market. It doesn’t get more Seattle than that!

What can you say with a show that opens with Shadow ‘86, Mike’s Hendrix tribute band?  Mike’s guitar playing is absolutely amazing, especially when he’s playing some Jimi!  Purple Haze, All Along the Watchtower, and of course, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) and many others.  Mike was having a great time with his band mates, Chris Friel and Rick Friel, who were also great, as always.  Kim Virant did come out again for this show, this time to sing the lead on Angel.

Here’s the full, official Pearl Jam video of Shadow ‘86 playing Voodoo Child (Slight Return) at the November 3 (night before the election) concert I went to at the Showbox (at the Market) last year.  I’ve previously posted a fan clip showing Mike playing the guitar behind his back. That man is incredible!

Oh, yeah – Stone Gossard came out and joined Mike with Shadow ‘86 to sing David Lee Roth’s Just Like Living in Paradise, a song choice that got a bit of flack from some of the fans and one of the guys in Duff McKagan’s band, but Stone was having so much fun with it!

Duff McKagan’s Loaded was up next.  McKagan (better known from Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver)   lives in Seattle these days, even writing for the Seattle Weekly’s blog, Reverb, not to mention a hilarious column on dating tips for men for the paper, just in time for Valentine’s Day this year. Now who would have thought a rocker like Duff would be a romantic? Of course, the last part, for future daters of his daughter is especially funny.  You thought the DeNiro character was scary. . .

It was great having an all rock and roll lineup this year, or at least what I call rock and roll.  I wasn’t that into the Feral Children that the younger crowd was into last year. What the heck, I’m pushing 50 (only one year from my AARP card as of tomorrow), so I don’t have to pretend I understand young people’s music these days.

Duff and the boys in the Loaded band have the in-your-face rock star attitude.  I’m sure this was the kind of rock show my father was always worried I was going to. . .

Mike McCready came out with Flight to Mars, his UFO tribute band, rocking us past 1 in the morning.  Great band and lead singer, Paul Passereli, they were all over the place and having the time of their lives.  All the bands were just having a blast.  I love club shows! 

Rock Bottom was just the ultimate.  Their version Saturday night was epic (the clip from a gig two years ago above isn’t epic, but will give you an idea). They went into the lengthy solos.  Kelly Van Camp did a terrific and epic solo on the drums. Then, just imagine this one, Mike McCready in another jaw dropping incredible guitar solo, with his shirt off and tattoos showing, bathed in blue spotlight, just a few feet away.

On the one hand, I wish I had brought my camera, because it would have been an incredible shot (then again, I’m not the greatest photographer).  On the other hand my thought for the evening, that I wanted to enjoy the evening and focusing on taking pictures does take some of the focus off the taking in the show, and maybe I wouldn’t have been as mesmerized by his playing, if I was trying to get the perfect shot.

Here’s one I found on Flickr, from Bridget Christian’s photo set of Flight to Mars playing at El Corazon back in August:

Mike McCready

Both Duff McKagan’s Loaded and Flight to Mars did their versions of Iggy Pop’s I Wanna Be Your Dog, which the guys in the crowd (and it was mostly guys in the thick of it up front where I was) were really into.  There’s a lot about guys I still don’t understand. . .

Loaded’s version from Osaka, Japan in2001:

The winner of the auction to play with Mike and Flight to Mars, Jeremy (no kidding), came up and was trading riffs with Mike and the band on their version of I Wanna Be Your Dog.  That’s got to be a Guitar Hero fantasy moment!  Jeremy was pretty good, and no, I don’t think Jeremy was wicked ; ) .  Although, I did see the band was treating him with a lot of respect.  I think that had to do with the size of his bid, though.

Another great evening.  I love living in Seattle!  Still, I may have to move to Boston or Chicago to hear Mike’s other band. . .  It really sucks when one of your favorite bands doesn’t play in your city, especially when they live in your city.  It’d be like Springsteen not playing Jersey (and he even still plays Asbury Park, where he started out).  Come on, Seattle audiences aren’t that bad!  We were really rocking Saturday night! 

I always feel silly asking a band to play your city, but then again, this is silly. 

Please, Pearl Jam, play Seattle!

Paul Newman – through the Hole in the Wall

Paul Newman died yesterday of cancer in Westport, Connecticut at 83, leaving behind his wife, his daughters, and to all of us a legacy of a wonderful career on film and in charitable work that will live on.

I’ve been a fan ever since I was a kid, watching movies like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, Hud and The Sting, no doubt mangled, err, edited, for television, on my families’ old black & white console.  Paul has,er had, blue eyes?!  OK, I have seen most of these movies plenty of times in color since, as well as his most recent ones.  Still, blue eyes run in my dad’s family (wait a second, that doesn’t sound right. . .), so they wouldn’t be what impressed me.

Actually one of the things that most impressed me about him (and probably precisely why he was such a good actor) was that Mr. Newman wasn’t full of himself, and wanted to stay as far away from the Hollywood madness as possible, living in Westport, Connecticut, racing cars, and staying married to Joanne Woodward, his wife of 50 years, who’s also academy award winning career he supported.  About his faithfulness to Joanne, Paul once said (in a Playboy interview, not less): “I have steak at home; why go out for hamburger?”. 

That’s not all though.  There was Paul’s generosity and the charities he set up.  The Newman’s Own packages always made me smile. Here’s a major movie star going around being photographed with a much younger woman, young enough to be his daughter; and she really is his daughter!  Pa and Nell Newman.  My favorites are the Fig Newmans.

All the profits go to charity, so I always feel good about it.  I never really looked into what charities they went to, until yesterday, and I was really impressed.

I was especially impressed by his Hole in the Wall Camps to let children with serious illnesses get outdoors to play and laugh and be children again.

What a legacy to leave behind! 

So, now Paul, too, has gone through that “hole in the wall,” as one boy described it to his mother. Raising some more hell (though hopefully not enough to get in any real trouble)!

Rocking out with Mike McCready

So, last weekend at The Showbox (the original, near Pike Place Market) I got to rock out to Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and a number of other incredible local musicians as a fundraiser for the Chrohn’s & Colitis Foundation (Northwest Chapter).  I knew Mike’s Hendrix tribute alone would be worth the price of admission.  Great music for a great cause!

I’ve always appreciated Mike speaking out about Chrohn’s Disease (which he suffers from), like he did before the show in the Seattle PI, even before I started having troubles with something similar (though, fortunately, not as serious).  I went to Portland a couple summers ago for a Pearl Jam benefit for Chrohn’s and marveled about Mike being able to play through the pain.  Then about a half year later, towards the start of December, my own guts got hit. 

At it’s worst (from Dec. to Feb. last year), whatever I had (Group Health never diagnosed it, but I think it’s IBS) was definitely as bad as Mike describes in the article.  While it got better with medicine and watching what I eat,  I was still on shaky ground though most of last summer, and still have to be careful.  Eating out or at friends can still be a landmine (especially as all of the veggie sources of protein are problematic with me, which means eating more meat and being a bad girl; as most of my friends are vegetarians or vegans). I’m pretty much a wimp when it hits at it’s worse, no matter how many times I play Inside Job, the incredibly beautiful song Mike wrote about dealing with Chrohn’s.

I know, I’m digressing (if not digesting) too much.  On with the show!

There was a long line waiting to get in when I got there, held back about 20 feet from The Showbox, with a scenic view of the historic Pike Place Market while we waited, a captive audience for the panhandlers working the crowd.  They let us in a few at a time, to split up between ticket holders and those of us on will call or buying (a much slower line).  I liked how the security guy taking tickets was asking everyone to smile before he let them in.

Kristen Ward (who the Seattle Times is predicting as Seattle’s next big star) opened, and proved her mettle.  Kristin (and her band) really rocked out a lot more, and had more of an edge, than the few clips I had checked out on her MySpace page (which I enjoyed) let on.  She has a sultry voice and her songs tend toward folk rock and Americana.  I was especially impressed she was able to hold a crowd bent on hearing Mike McCready’s tributes to Jimi Hendrix and UFO, even when she had to pause to tune her guitar.

During the break, the young man who was mc’ing (well, young to me, maybe late 20’s, early 30’s) talked about his own experience with Crohn’s and the camp for young sufferers where he volunteered as a counselor, which the concert proceeds would help.  I bought 5 raffle tickets for $20, and a chance to win autographed cds,  an autographed Ames Brother’s poster book, boxing gloves (autographed by famous boxers, who I’m absolutely clueless about) and 4 seats to a Mariners/Boston Red Sox game.

(Photo from CCFA website)

Next up, Shadow ’86, a reunion of Mike McCready’s first band, with Mike playing an incredible tribute to Jimi. Killing Floor, Voodoo Chile (someone YouTubed this one, which I’ll try to post below, but here’s the link), Star Spangled Banner (which Mike often tag’s off the end of Yellow Ledbetter at the end of Pearl Jam shows, sometimes with), Little Wing (Kim Virant joined them to sing lead vocal on this one), ending the Hendrix tribute with Watchtower.  Next Duff (formerly of Guns N’ Roses) joined them for The RamonesChinese Rocks and Iggy Pop & The StoogesI Wanna Be Your Dog.

Mike seemed to me to be playing through the pain during the Hendrix set.  I couldn’t help but notice the young man mc’ing watching from the wings in awe at Mike’s playing (as were we all).

After that Feral Children took over the stage.  No, really, that’s the band’s name; and how they played!  I was waaaay too old for this music.  Then again, a fundraiser should have a band waaay too young for someone approaching her birthday which is only 2 years from the official AARP invite (which happens waaay too young; still I will be 30 years older than the average freshman at UW this fall -ouch!).

Just before Mike came back on stage, his wife came out, introduced as the one who got Mike to do something about his disease.  She helped sell a lot more raffle tickets (and said the Mariners’ tickets were choice seats – her’s and Mike’s) and there was a drawing . . . Nope, I didn’t win anything (but a great evening).

Then it was time for a Flight to Mars (Mike’s UFO tribute band).  No, I don’t think they have anything to do with the Pluto is a Planet protest I blogged about and took photos of.  Mike played another fantastic set with Flight to Mars.  Just incredible guitar playing.  He was the star the whole night and took over the show, even when he wasn’t the lead singer.  You know how good Eddie has to be to really take the lead and why Pearl Jam is such a great band.  Mike was obviously feeling better when he came back out, too.  He was even mugging for the crowd and all their digital cameras they had out (I kind of regret not bringing mine).

I was exhausted and properly rocked by the end of the show; and I almost lost my hat.  Yeah, my goofy hippie hat.  I had tucked it into the pocket of my jacket, which I had tied around my waist, along with my sweatshirt (too cheap to pay for the coat check).  Someone found it and asked at the end of the show.  I say I’m tired of it, but I quickly reclaimed it (and there was a young woman more than willing to take it if no one else did).  Ahh, well, the Hatterdashery booth will be back again, I’m sure, starting with the University District Street Fair next weekend.


Oh, and I was just a few people away from the stage for both of Mike’s sets (and on his side of the stage for the second set).  How lucky I am to live in Seattle, you may say (especially if you’re a Pearl Jam fan).  Indeed, I could have caught Stone doing a Hank Williams tribute this week, and Stone and Jeff will be playing as part of the reunited Green River band for the Sub Pop anniversary event this summer.  However, . . . Pearl Jam doesn’t seem to ever play here!  Indeed, Eddie didn’t even play here for his solo April Fools’ tour.  No, the Gorge isn’t Seattle (not for those of us without cars, anyways).  It’s in the middle of nowhere and there are no concert buses.  I’m half seriously thinking of moving to Boston or Chicago so I can see Pearl Jam!  They always play there (and, indeed, are playing Boston once again this summer).

Could it be, the Seattle audiences?  I don’t know, but I think I finally understood after getting to slip in to see the Los Lobos show I tabled at Benaroya; and finding no one, or almost no one, was dancing!!!  Seriously, everyone sitting, like it was the symphony, at a rock concert!!!  The two (or three, counting me) people dancing had to move to the back of the room to not disturb anyone!!!

Excuse my language, but WTF?!!  OK, I was tabling that one for Amnesty International, so really excuse my language.  I’m not projecting a good image here.  It’s just, what has happened to rock and roll?  At least in Seattle.  You know, I do have some cousins in Boston. . .

Photos from the show: Lizardkings1 on Photobucket

Voodoo Chile by Shadow ’86, featuring Mike McCready:

Danny Federici & Melanoma

The Danny Federici Melanoma Fund, mentioned on the official Bruce Springsteen site, is now up and running. They’ve included a link to make a donation to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Danny’s memory.

There’s a statement by Danny about the melanoma and the danger of too much sun (especially for those of us with fair skin); which is something a lot of people still don’t give a lot of thought to. 

“What people take for granted on a daily basis, among so many other things, is their skin. I spent my life, like many others, catching some rays, surfing, hanging out in the sun and it never bothered me until now. Who knew that something as simple as a proper sunscreen or keeping yourself covered up on a sunny day could one day save your life? Our culture looks at a nice tan as a sign of luxury. We spend time in tanning booths when we can’t go to the beach or lay by the pool. It’s time to think again. Especially if you’re fair skinned, have freckles, or light eyes. Be aware of the dangers, take precaution, and have yourself checked out regularly by a dermatologist from head to toe. It could absolutely make the difference in your life.” – Danny Federici

Also included is a wonderful account by his son, Jason Federici, about his father’s now legendary last show with the E Street Band in Indianapolis.  How Bruce and Max talked him into it, while he was under treatment at Sloan-Kettering, transported Danny, his family, and doctor to the show, and the love given Danny by Bruce and the rest of the band on that magical night.


I was hoping Danny would make it to Seattle, and when that didn’t happen, a little “further on up the road”.  A lot of great memories and music.  We’ll miss you, Danny.  Maybe they needed your organ playing skills in heaven (especially these days). . .



Danny is Gone – A Sad Day on E Street

Danny Federici, whose organ and accordion playing was the backbone for so much of the music of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band died earlier today.  Even though I knew he was sick for a while with melanoma, it hit me hard and I’m still in shock.    I always thought he’d be back with the band someday and the E Street Band, in it’s full glory would go on forever.

It’s bittersweet to find out the members of your favorite band are mortal (as someone said on a post on the Backstreets message board tonight).  Bittersweet, especially, because with most bands we would have learned that lesson far sooner; as one or more members self-destructed to booze or drugs or other self destructive behavior.  No big egos and fights and the band splitting up and tolerating each other for reunion tours rehashing their greatest hits, either.  Sadly, Bruce did set them all free for a few years, but once they came back together again the sheer joy of each others company just shines through.

No, thankfully, Bruce, Danny and the rest of the band never quite seem to have gotten how to live as rock stars!

Oh, but to be missing Danny’s signature organ,  and that accordion on Sandy (which I was just listening to on the way home from work tonight, ironically).  Danny was one of the E Streeters that got taken for granted.  As someone noted tonight, he wasn’t up front, playing off Bruce, like Clarence, or Little Steven, or Nils; but his organ set the mood, and helped make the magic, the good magic that is the E Street Band.

Official news, from the Springsteen website:


“Danny and I worked together for 40 years – he was the most wonderfully fluid keyboard player and a pure natural musician. I loved him very much…we grew up together.”
—Bruce Springsteen

Danny Federici, for 40 years the E Street Band’s organist and keyboard player, died this afternoon, April 17, 2008 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City after a three year battle with melanoma.

The Federici family and the E Street family request that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Danny Federici Melanoma Fund. A web site for the Fund is being established and we’ll post its link when it is on line.

Bruce Springsteen’s concerts scheduled for Friday in Ft. Lauderdale and Saturday in Orlando performance are being postponed. Replacement dates will be announced shortly.

Video from Danny’s last show with the band in Indianapolis:

We’ll miss you Danny!  Rest in peace.