Psychedelic Seattle rockers Rose Windows might not be the rowdiest band on Sub Pop, but that didn’t stop the septet from draining the label’s vending machine of its entire stash of Rainier on the afternoon of our Jukebox Jury session. And why not? The band has plenty to celebrate, like the upcoming release of its debut, The Sun Dogs—one of the most buzzed-about local records of the year, a wide-ranging LP that spans genres and decades, from Eastern classical music to classic American folk, Pantera to Pink Floyd.
Fresh off a performance at this year’s Sasquatch!, the band members will head east for a run of dates in August, but not before an in-store at Ballard’s Sonic Boom Records on Tues., June 25, the day the album is released. We met with the band—Chris Cheveyo, David Davila, Veronica Dye, Nils Petersen, Richie Rekow, Rabia Shaheen Qazi, and Chris and Pat Schowe—to play some records and get some answers.
Queens of the Stone Age: “If I Had a Tail” from . . .
SW: Does anybody know it? It’s Queens of the Stone Age.
Nils Peterson: I had a summer in 2001 where me and my friends were obsessed with Rated R, and we actually sought out to have a “Feel Good Hit of the Summer,” like every drug mentioned in that song.
SW: Sounds like a fun summer. What are the drugs again?
Peterson: [Singing] Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, marijuana, Ecstasy, and alcohol. Ca-ca-ca-ca-ca-cocaine!
The Doors: “Crystal Ship” from
Chris Cheveyo: Ah, Las Puertas.
Rabia Shaheen Qazi: This is probably one of the best Doors songs, in my opinion.
Schowe: Good band. Rest in peace, Ray Manzarek. I don’t understand people who hate the Doors. There are people who just absolutely despise them.
Peterson: I remember studying Ray Manzarek’s playing when I was younger. I’d get sheet music and learn his lines. He definitely held a forefront in the band, which is what I really liked about it. You see so many bands that have keys, but they’re just kind of doing pads to fill in the sound, but he wrote lead parts.
Mahavishnu Orchestra: “Birds of Fire” from
Birds of Fire
Cheveyo: I know this tune.
Qazi: I wish I knew this tune; it’s fucking good.
SW: It’s Mahavishnu Orchestra.
Cheveyo: Ah, that’s right. It’s “Birds on Fire” or something? I found out about them years ago because it was Mars Volta’s favorite band. John McLaughlin used to do a bunch of stuff with Robert Fripp, King Crimson, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
David Davila: I used to listen to his records in my dad’s vinyl collection. He’s one of those guys that’s underappreciated. Not very well-known, but he’s a virtuoso.
SW: Do you guys have any songs in odd time signatures?
Cheveyo: I think the older bands I played in burned me out on that.
Richie Rekow: It’s fun to do crazy stuff just to blow people away, but if I want to use odd time signatures I don’t think about using them, I just come up with a groove, and if it’s in an odd time signature, I keep it. Like [Pink Floyd’s] “Money,” that sounds normal to the regular listener who doesn’t know anything about time signatures.
Davila: Pulling off a 7/8 or a 9/8 that has a groove to it, that’s an art.
Daft Punk feat. Panda Bear: “Doin’ It Right” from
Random Access Memories
(Daft Life/Columbia, 2013)
SW: This is from the #1 record in the country right now.
Peterson: Daft Punk?
SW: Yeah, Daft Punk featuring Panda Bear.
Qazi: You can’t deny that way back in the day, “Emotion,” that’s a good song. [Daft Punk] had some good tunes. I like Panda Bear too, but this is just . . .
SW: The fusion of the two isn’t working for you?
Veronica Dye: I feel like with a Daft Punk album, you have to listen to the whole thing to really get into it.
Rekow: I feel like it’s the opposite. One song at a time is all I can fucking take!
Black Sabbath: “Into the Void” from
Master of Reality
Schowe: There it is!
Qazi: We love Black Sabbath.
SW: Is this a band that everybody in Rose Windows likes?
Cheveyo: I saw them in ’99 with Pantera and Morbid Angel. I still have the confetti that rained down when they started.
SW: You kept the confetti?
Cheveyo: It said “Black Sabbath” on it. It was black confetti with their emblem printed in silver.
Qazi: My parents were Muslim so I didn’t hear them until I was 13, but Paranoid and Vol. 4 were the first real rock-and-roll records that I got in secret.
Cheveyo: My first memory of my entire life is Black Sabbath, the harmonica opening to “The Wizard.” I was walking to the record player that had these glass doors—it was my dad’s, and that was his favorite band—I was walking up to put my hands on the glass, but he stopped me. All I remember was the harmonica part.
Procol Harum: “Whiter Shade of Pale” from
Peterson: Fuck yeah, it’s so good!
Cheveyo: It’s at the end of a movie, too. What’s that movie? It’s really cool.
SW: Do you know the name of the band?
Schowe: It reminds me of the Band.
SW: It’s Procol Harum.
Peterson: This song has been ripped off, like, a hundred times.
Cheveyo: Pretty sure “Lady in Red” is the same exact progression.
Peterson: This is another one where the keys are like a forefront part. You hear those keys, and you’re like, “Hey, I know that!”
Cheveyo: You put this on at the end of a party.
Earth: “Crooked Axis for a String Quartet” from
Pentastar: In the Style of Demons
(Sub Pop, 1996)
Cheveyo: Coolest name ever, Pentastar: In the Style of Demons.
Qazi: I love Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull.
Cheveyo: I feel like Dylan Carlson was really good at naming things. I still don’t know if this is a cover of a tune, but it’s a string quartet in the style of La Monte Young or Steve Reich, a counterpoint kind of thing. All of the words I wrote for [our] record, I wrote listening to this tune. It was in a mix of this, La Monte Young, and Tim Hecker.
SW: You can listen to other music while you write lyrics for your own?
Cheveyo: Only drone. And I can’t write things without listening to drone because I have really bad tinnitus, so I have to counter that.
Andrew W.K.: “The Sundogs,” unreleased (2006)
SW: This was written for a minor league hockey team in Arizona called the Sundogs, which is why I selected it.
Schowe: They have hockey in Arizona? It’s the fucking desert.
Rekow: I saw a video of Andrew W.K. at the Gathering of the Juggalos just getting shit hurled at him constantly.
Dye: This is fucking hilarious.
Cheveyo: I’m pretty sure that all of his songs are this backing track, and he just does karaoke over the same song.
Schowe: His first drummer was the drummer for Obituary.
SW: So this song wasn’t the inspiration for the title of your record?
Davila: Definitely not!
Peterson: We should make this our entrance music every time we take the stage.
SW: Where does your album title come from?
Cheveyo: It’s a phenomenon that happens when clouds become icy high up in the sky. It’s when the sunlight reflects off of it and looks like there’s multiple suns. And also the record that made me want to write songs—because up until then I didn’t really care about songs, I just wanted to rip super-hard—was Rain Dogs from Tom Waits.
Fleetwood Mac: “Go Your Own Way” from
(Warner Bros., 1976)
Davila: Turn it up, let’s have a Mac attack!
Peterson: One of the coolest covers I ever saw live was seeing Seaweed do this. It’s straightforward, but it has that ’90s grunge feel to it.
SW: Like Fleetwood Mac, you guys are a co-ed band, which created plenty of added tensions for them . . .
Schowe: I think that was immediately mentioned as a rule of law . . .
Peterson: We keep our dicks outside each other’s assholes.
Qazi: I thought you were going to stop after “We keep our dicks outside.”
ROSE WINDOWS Sonic Boom, 2209 N.W. Market St., 297-2666, sonicboomrecords.com. Free. All ages. 7 p.m. Tues., June 25.