Seattle, WA

Seattle! A city deserving of our respect because it has a bajillion names: “Emerald City,” “Jet City,” “Queen City,” “Gateway to Alaska,” and of course “Rain City.” Its actual name comes from a local tribal chief named Sealth. Way to go, Sealth. It is my dream to also have a city named after me someday. In honor of that dream I will refer to Seattle as Sealth in this entire post. Perhaps for my entire life after this post as well.

If I were to give Sealth a few more nicknames, they would be: “Old Friend City” and “Best Restaurant Menu Ever City.”

“Why would you name it Old Friend City, Zach?” asks Attractive Girl dutifully.

Why, because Sealth contains all sorts of old friends of mine! Former college roommate? Yep. Former college floormate, suitemate, and TA? Yep. Former middle school BFF? Yep. Former elementary school BFF? Yep. Former Korean girl whose wedding I played piano for? Yep.

“What is a BFF?” asks the ugly passerby.

I think it stands for Best Friend Forever, but its origin is steeped in valley-girl-esque OMG-ism, so the “forever” is usually understood as being an intensifier rather than an indicator of commitment.

“Wow, where did you learn how to talk like that?”

I dated a really intelligent girl for a while. You should try it, you become really good at diplomacy.

First, the former college roommate, and also my host, a stellar bloke by the name of Timothy Towns Chang-Miller. I am putting his middle name on here because I happen to know it and it is awesome. When I met him I considered also changing my middle name to Towns. Then I thought, nah, I don’t want to directly copy him… how about Cities? But I wouldn’t want to show him up either. So I just kept my previous middle name (which is, of course, Metropoli).

What would be cool is if you played Settlers of Catan with him and you could be like guys, look at Timothy's Towns!

Tim and his awesome wife Young very kindly hosted me during my stay in Sealth. It was super great to reconnect with Tim, and also super great to get to know Young, since the last time I saw her she was a wee bit preoccupied (something about a wedding…).

Did I record any happening peeps in Sealth? Why yes. I recorded several happening peeps. First was a fellow who told me his name was Brendan Littlefield. He is a talented songwriter who thought up some really great ideas for some of my songs.

The man at his station.

He put down some tasty piano (pictured above) as well as some delicious mandolin (pictured below).

MANDO MAN

Then I was off to rendezvous with one of his amigos. This amigo (not pictured either above or below) was named Jacob Weaver, and he is a bassist with several groups around Sealth. Jacob put down some nice bass for one of my songs (which is increasingly drawing comparisons to Zappa, which makes me happy).

After a delightful dinner with Tim and Young at a restaurant with the COOLEST MENU EVER I was off to meet up with more of the aforementioned Old Friends. These friends include such friends as: Joshua Hays and David Hrivnak.

It’s totally amazing that I met Josh Hays, considering that we were something akin to BFF’s since fifth grade. We kind of went our separate ways in high school, then suddenly we ran into each other on campus. We happened to be attending the same university in St. Louis! Amazing! Our friendship was rekindled. … Not that anyone kindles friendships… I certainly don’t! Kindling is for fires. But our friendship was renewed.

(Writing tip: don’t use “rekindled” when describing friendships. It would mean your friendship is burning!)

Even more amazing is that I reconnected with a middle school friend, David Hrivnak. He and Josh had gone to the same high school, and were also BFF’s for quite a while, so it’s pretty awesome that they both ended up in Sealth. I always remember David with fondness because he was a great source of creative signature ideas, but mostly because he asked a girl out for me in sixth grade. (I left the classroom to “get a drink,” he popped the question, and then I came back to find out the result. She said yes, so then we were a couple for two days, at which point one of her friends gave me the “I think we should just be friends” note. I’m sure some of this ill-fated passion shows up in my songs.)

Anyway, Josh is quite a competant musician on the keyboards, and both Josh and David have plunged into electronic music with gusto. So, it was only natural that we would record a gigantic analog synth.

David working the analog synth.  And probably also his mojo.

If you don’t think this is amazing, you are a fool and should be quartered by cement mixers. It’s MUSICAL SCIENCE! This space-age machine was capable of delivering all kinds of crazy great sounds. I had them add some cool noises to several of the songs. David added some nice atmospheric sounds to one of the songs, and Josh added a nice synthy melody to one of the tunes.

On one of the songs, they were tag-teaming, adjusting modulators and tremulorrheogulators to perfuse the arpeggicator and things like that.

Josh modulating the perfidulus, Jacques oscillating the rhombulus using a sine pattern, and David transducing the oscillomorphonimbus.

Basically, it sounded like R2-D2. Also, I should mention that we went out to find mojitos and went to this awesome place. They had mojitos on the menu but they were out of limes. With bitterness in my heart, I ordered something else and went to the bathroom. Where I saw this:

Coolest bathroom graffiti ever.

The wall was covered with a wide variety of writings, including philosophical discussions, with quotes from various philosophers limning their arguments. And of course some people just write stuff like “Sarte sucks!” but it was still one of the most enjoyable bathrooms I have ever been in. (Another nickname! Enjoyable Bathroom City.)

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, this is as close as I got:

The infamous SPACE needle.

It’s actually a ways away from the tall downtown buildings, and some of those buildings are taller. The pictures you always see of Seattle are taken from angles where it usually looks like the needle is right in there, towering over everything, but it’s just simply not the case.

One morning while I was there, I had a recording session at 5:00am (which is why I don’t remember which morning it was). She was a violinist by the name of Jenny Rose Wilson, and she worked nights and it was the only time she had available, so I dragged myself over to her church where her friend let her in and we recorded some great violin and viola parts.

Jenny Rose playing her amazing tranparent violin!

Jenny turned out to be a multitalented and friendly person. After recording with her, I went back to Tim’s for a nap to catch up on the sleep I lost. I thought later I had just dreamed about recording with her until I saw the pictures and heard the tracks.

Before leaving Sealth, I headed out for some lunch with Tim. We passed through a farmer’s market,

Evidently some farmer had grown these great musicians, but for some reason no one was buying them.

enjoyed some fine Mexican food, and then I was on my way.

MORAL: I will wake up early for music, but little else.

NEXT: Portanlth! I mean Portland!

One thought on “Seattle, WA

  1. “MORAL: I will wake up early for music, but little else.”

    In this, you have expressed one of my own most deeply held, foundational truths!

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