april jams

April 5 in Seattle Music History

April 5 is an unbelievably sad day in the history of Seattle alt-rock music. 

On April 5, 1994, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain died at the age of 27. There have been conspiracy theories that he was murdered, but his death was deemed a suicide. He was found on April 8 and the coroner’s report said he had died on April 5. When the news broke, I listened to WFNX all night. Nirvana was my favorite band (still are!) and this was a tremendous loss. 

EW’s 1994 cover story

On April 5, 2002, Alice In Chains’ Layne Staley died at the age of 34. Even sadder is that he was not found until 2 weeks later. He had struggled with drugs many times over the years and had been on hiatus from music for a few years when this happened, but there was a great deal of respect for AIC. 

CNN’s 2002 coverage

Both AIC and Nirvana caused countless record labels to flock to Seattle in the early 90s because of the success of both bands. It sucks that both bands are forever linked by their singer’s dying on the same day eight years apart. 

McCready in concert

On a far happier note, Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready was born on April 5, 1966. He turns 51 today. In addition to Pearl Jam, he has done some soundtrack work, taken part in supergroups (Temple of the Dog, Mad Season with Layne Staley, Walking Papers, Levee Walkers) and he has a photo book coming in May. Happy Birthday Mike!

So let’s recap: Nirvana and Alice In Chains both have a founding member who died on April 5 AND one of Pearl Jam’s founders was born on April 5. Three of the biggest Seattle bands of all time, all connected to this day in history. (I checked to see if Soundgarden had any connection to April 5, but they don’t). 

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Ringo & Barbara’s wedding reception party at Rags Nightclub, Mayfair, London, on 27th April 1981. 

An impromptu jam session took place with George on guitar, Paul and Harry Nilsson taking turns on piano and Ringo and Ray Cooper playing percussion with spoons. (Top photo - Ringo’s playing the spoons on the table while George plays guitar behind him. Behind them are Ringo’s manager, Hilary Gerard (left) and Neil Aspinall (right))

Photos 1&2, and possibly 3: Terry O’Neill.

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by melbourneflower

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Artists to Jam With: Melanie Martinez

Melanie Martinez is one-of-a-kind. She can be compared to Marina & the Diamonds, but what she does is her own. That shines through on her full-length debut. She isn’t really happy on the album. On “Dollhouse,” she tells the tale of a family (Cry Baby’s) torn apart by addiction and infidelity. On “Mrs. Potato Head,” she tears apart society’s beauty stereotypes (“little girls are learning to… pucker up their lips until they suffocate”). And on “Pity Party” (the highlight for me), she samples Leslie Gore’s breakout hit and sings about a birthday party for herself at which she is the only guest.

The instruments aren’t the highlight (most of the songs are stripped-down instrument-wise, possible exceptions being percussion and sound samples) – it’s her voice and lyrics. And with this much talent, there’s no need to “cry.”

Admirably ambitious, refreshingly original, highly conceptual, deeply personal and irresistibly catchy, “Cry Baby” blends infections beats, beautiful melodies, catchy hooks and razor-sharp lyrics layered underneath Martinez’s signature sweetly haunting femme-fatale vocals. The result? A dark, whimsical, seductive, melancholic and highly addictive collection of songs, amounting to one of the most impressive debut pop albums in recent memory.

Her wretched desire to emote her wretched pain is a colorful strife for love and acceptance. She has a real sense of belonging in a world that does not see her as a genuine fit. Her struggles for love and acceptance surrounded by the thud of chaos marries the trials and tribulations. She longs to be your love, whether it’s by the force of a childlike persona or by the realness of her womanly presence. Martinez brings forth her cinematic darkness in tones and colors it with a lightness and openness that is both frank and honest in its melodies.

Artists the Muses Want to Jam with: Melanie Martinez