Peter Blecha & Girl Trouble @ McMenamins Elks Temple

Reframing the narrative 🔎

📸: Courtesy Peter Blecha

Tuesday, May 23rd • 7 pm 

The Northwest sound. What first comes to mind may be Nirvana, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam and other grunge heavy hitters. But, with his new book Stomp and Shout R&B and the Origins of Northwest Rock and Roll, music historian Peter Blecha seeks to reframe this narrative to include the original groups that got Seattle rockin’. Jazz, rock, bebop, and R&B groups put the Seattle sound on the national stage in the late 1950s. Black musicians came together forming groups that appealed not just to Seattle’s growing Black community, but to other communities as well. From the band room at Garfield High School and the Seattle Tennis Club, to teen dances at the YMCA on Madison and the Elks Lodge on South Jackson, Seattle’s central district was making noise.

Challenged by police raids and our isolated location, Seattle’s R&B persisted. To tell this story Peter Blecha and collaborators have scoured over 300 interviews from the last 50 years. First-hand accounts tell the stories of Quincey Jones playing five clubs in one night and Ray Charles cutting his first record in Seattle, as well as how the biggest names in Black music sought out our city for its renowned scene and fans. Peter Blecha has written 10 previous books and is the director of Northwest Music Archives and was the founding curator for the EMP (now known as MoPop). His expertise in our region’s music coupled with his passion for history makes for an excellent read. You can check out an excerpt from the book in The Seattle Times.

With a performance from garage rock pioneers Girl Trouble and a presentation on the book from Blecha, it promises to be an insightful, informative, and all-around cool night!

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Miranda Hardy

Miranda is a Seattle-based writer, musician, and gal about town. You can find her at the library, your local bar’s karaoke night, and staring longingly at the Ballard Locks. Don’t ask her about AI, pop music, or why she loves Seattle because you’ll never get your ear back.