Monday, April 20, 2009

Up against it where Endino recorded Nirvana

This is me in front of what Jack Endino has described as a "triangular, wedge-shaped building with a door at the pointy end and an air conditioner above the door, on your left as you are driving down Leary Way" into Fremont from Ballard.

Endino thinks the building is now used by Death Cab for Cutie as rehearsal and storage space. For a number of busy years ending in the summer of 1991, Endino ran this space as Reciprocal Recording studio. It has a spot in rock music history, this oddly shaped little structure. As I just added to the Wikipedia entry for the Fremont neighborhood,

A wedge-shaped building on the diagonal street Leary Way that cuts across Fremont from the adjacent Ballard neighborhood was once home to legendary Seattle producer Jack Endino's Reciprocal Recording studio, where he recorded (among many other records) Nirvana's first demos and the band's debut on Sub Pop Records, Bleach.
I like Bleach just fine - considerably more than Nirvana's breakout record, Nevermind - but this building is hallowed ground to me because of something else Endino recorded here: The Afghan Whigs' record on Sub Pop, Up In It, which rates as one of my very favorite rock records, ever.

The photo was taken by my old friend and former colleague Ranee Ruble as we drove from a meeting with Endino at his current place in Ballard, Soundhouse Recording, to a local gig in Fremont at High Dive.

At the High Dive, a band up from Portland (where Ranee lives) had to endure an insult against his town by one of the local Seattle bands on the gig. I was so appalled that I gave the front man from the Portland band, New York Rifles, the only thing of value I had on me: the address to this historic little nook from rock history. I expect to see them posed up against this wedge one day on the band's Flickr site.

Videos of note

Three songs from Bleach at the bassist's mom's house.
"Negative Creep" live at a record store the year Bleach was released (1989).
The sublime "Retarded" from Up In It live in St. Louis (!) in 1992.
The equally sublime "Hated" (also on Up In It) from the same show.

First in a series of posts that shook out of my reconnecting this weekend with Endino, whose band Skin Yard slept on the couches and floors in the house I rented on The Hill in St. Louis, ca. 1989.

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