Bobby Bare Jr. and the Exposed-Package Incident

A bunch of music dorks with an online forum pretty much encapsulates what’s behind most Web sites that cover music. But a bunch of dorks who don’t take themselves too seriously and also put on shows? That’s Seattle’s own webzine This month they celebrate 10 years of turning folks on to new music. Co-founder Matt Ashworth lets us in on the insanity.

What exactly is is a loose collective of sweaty music dorks. We launched a volunteer, community-based online music and culture magazine in March 1997 as a way to share our musings on pop culture and connect with people who are passionate about similar things. In approximately 2001, we started booking and promoting live music showcases in Seattle as well.

What inspired you to start it?

My best friend, Gabe Baker, and I had been compulsively trading and seeking out new music since the fifth grade. In late 1996, he was in law school in Philadelphia and I was at my first desk job out of college, and we spent most of our time e-mailing with a small group of friends throughout the country about the albums, bands, and movies we were into. We were sick of the increasingly pretentious music press and thought we’d try our hand at a more unaffected approach. The original idea was that it would be like the making of Rolling Stone if Rolling Stone were still cool. Also, since we didn’t know how to play any instruments, we thought this might be a way to get some chicks. We were wrong about that part.

Do you have another job to keep the flow going?

Yeah, I work in corporate communications doing writing/editing/message development, etc. I have worked in P.R. and media relations as well. I am gone every day from 8 to 6 for my day job, and Nada is my hobby. We don’t generate any profit from the site.

What’s the most hilarious or disastrous thing that’s happened during a Nada Mucho show?

We did a monthly showcase at Neumo’s called “See It First” a few years back where we highlighted emerging local bands. The lead singer for one of the bands was known for stripping down to his skivvies throughout the performance. This night he took it a step further and flopped out his package. I remember standing there next to my sister and asking her, “Can I get in trouble for that since I’m the promoter?” and her responding, “I don’t think so.” Before the song was over, security had casually moved to the stage. They cut their sound and escorted him out.

Top three Nada Mucho shows and why:

Bobby Bare Jr. at the Tractor. He signed us on to help promote and book local support after I interviewed him, and he was just the coolest, nicest guy. His songs are so descriptive and unique, and that night he had this amazing live band and just tore ass. He’s one of my favorite artists. The first Henry Hanks show I did at the Rendezvous was amazing just because I couldn’t believe no one had heard of this band before. They did this very eerie, dusty alt-country thing that would have scored a David Lynch movie well, and they were just gripping live in that tiny setting….They sadly disbanded before putting out a proper album. And my first “big” show at Chop Suey, with I Can Lick Any SOB in the House, was very memorable. They covered Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone”—which I worship—and put “Nada Mucho” into the chorus.

Best interview you’ve ever done:

Eddie Spaghetti was my personal favorite. I had known about him and his music for years and had him up on this pedestal like you do with all of your rock idols, and he turned out to be everything I expected—cool, smart, funny, cocky, and just a badass.

Where do you see the future of music media going?

It’s heading in the same direction as music itself—both are getting broader. Technology has enabled more people to write about music and photograph bands, just like it has enabled more people to create and record music. Already you are seeing folks looking more to “blogs” than to traditional publications to find “the next big thing” because they are closer to the source—the real people who are experiencing and enjoying art. Nada has sort of operated that way all along just because we didn’t have a budget—anyone in the community who is passionate about music or culture and wants to share their honest opinions with others is encouraged to submit content.

Top five local records to listen to while . . . 

1. Riding the bus to work: Robert Roth, Someone, Somewhere.

2. Entertaining dinner guests: Neko Case, live bootleg (2003).

3. Trying to impress my hip-hop friends: Grayskul, Deadlivers.

4. Playing air guitar: The Whore Moans, Watch Out for this Thing.

5. Playing my other air guitar: The Lights, Beautiful Bird.

A weekly peek behind the curtain of the Emerald City music world, Behind the Scene sheds light on folks you won’t see onstage, but who make it all happen.