Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Endino nears a decimal anniversary for "Bleach"

When I stopped by to see Jack Endino at his Soundhouse Recording studio in Seattle on Saturday night, he was fresh off the road.

More properly, traveling at his current level, he was just off the plane, having performed the night before at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. That was the last gig of the tour for his band Kandi Coded, which had been out for three weeks in support of Turbonegro.

Endino had been out on tour in Europe on April 5, which marked the 15th anniversary of the death of perhaps the most influential musician he has yet produced: Kurt Cobain.

"Fifteen years doesn't mean as much as a decimal," Endino said, when I asked if any reporters had tracked him down for a reaction. "I didn't hear a peep."

He expects and is almost certain to get a different response on June 15, which will mark a decimal for Cobain's band, Nirvana: the 20th anniversary of the release of Bleach, their debut album. Sub Pop is readying an archival reissue with bonus tracks, which Endino has been laboring over.

"The bonus material has some live tracks I mixed down a few weeks ago, some stuff that people haven't heard, the Bleach lineup with Chad (Channing) on drums," Endino said. "It's surprisingly good. Chad was a better drummer than people realize. It's actually pretty tight."

I picked his brain about Bleach a bit. He didn't want to retell any oft-told tales. "It took me thirty hours to make the record," he said. "I hardly remember any of it." But he did brighten at one memory.

"When I met Iggy Pop, he said, 'Oh yeah, you made the good Nirvana record,'" Endino said with the big, bright smile that alternates, on his face, with his deep thinking listening scowl.

"I met him backstage at a show here in Seattle. I had been introduced to Iggy as 'the guy who made the first Nirvana record'. Iggy was effusive, he was thrilled to pieces. He went on about how much he loved that Bleach album - 'except that one pop song'!"

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

Also in this series:

Up against it where Endino recorded Nirvana


Photo of Endino with his listening scowl by my friend Ranee Ruble, who accomanied me to his studio.

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