July 12, 1996 in Seven

Lack Of Local Support Forces Washaway World To Phoenix

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Saturday, Washaway World will bid farewell to the Spokane music scene at Outback Jack’s.

No, the 4-year-old hard-rock unit isn’t calling it quits. Washaway World is bolting to Phoenix with the hope of making a name for itself there.

Its motives for leaving are ones we’ve heard before and the same ones that have provoked scores of other bands and musicians to move: Spokane doesn’t support the local music scene.

Attendance at shows is consistently inconsistent. Few venues book original bands regularly. And record labels rarely pay attention to bands here.

Furthermore, it’s almost impossible to sustain a liveable wage playing music in Spokane, unless you are in the Makers, Too Slim and the Taildraggers or Shoveljerk and commit to touring most of the year.

“There’s just not a lot of support,” says guitarist Alan Heitman. “I mean, you’ve got your close friends…”

“But you got to tell them you’re going to give them free beer,” finishes vocalist Jeff Kenley.

“Some of the club owners here aren’t too worried about the music,” adds bassist Mark Lesmeski.

“With the size of this place, there should be someone stepping up to the plate and doing something,” offers drummer Miguel Fierro.

The band smartly chose Phoenix over the likely suspects - Seattle, Portland or even Los Angeles.

Although the Southwest metropolis isn’t known for its fertile music scene, the scene is growing steadily.

“Compared to the few places to play here, there’s about 25 clubs you can play at,” says Heitman, who spent the last six months living and working in Phoenix as well as scouting out the city’s music scene.

Washaway World, rounded out by second vocalist Michael Ferde, will relocate to its new surroundings later this month. So far, only Heitman, a construction worker, has a job. But the rest of the band isn’t worried about finding employment.

“We’ve got the telemarketing behind us,” says Kenley. “We can go anywhere.”

“I’ve never been there,” Lesmeski says. “I’m just going to go with the little money I have in my pocket.”

Washaway World formed in 1992. During its run in Spokane, the rock combo became one of the town’s stronger draws.

The band has only played one other Spokane show this year, mainly because Alan has been living in Arizona since January, the same month Washaway World self-released its debut CD, a 10-song, groove-based effort called “Soaked.” Sales have been slow here, but that can be attributed to the band’s absence. Copies of “Soaked” are available at Hastings stores and 4,000 Holes. You can even buy one at the show.

Buy one - the band needs the money to rent a U-Haul.

Music starts at 9:30 p.m. Psycho Babble and Hazel Green open. The cover is $3.

Sibling rivalry

On his debut CD, “Unfinished,” Anchorage-based singer-songwriter Glenn Gano’s quirky voice is almost a complete match of the voice that drives the Violent Femmes. (Gano plays Espresso Delizioso on Saturday from 8:30-10:30 p.m.) That’s OK, because Glenn’s brother, Gordon Gano, is the lead singer and guitarist for the Violent Femmes.

Femmes fans should also take notice that Gano’s album was co-produced by his brother and features performances by both Gordon and Violent Femmes bassist-vocalist Brian Ritchie.

“I don’t care if people buy (the CD) because I sound like Gordon or just because Gordon’s on it,” says Glenn, speaking by phone from his parents home in Spokane. “If people buy it, I’ll be happy.

“If people buy it for whatever reason, I think once they get it and listen to it, then they’ll be glad they bought it.”

Fair enough.

“Unfinished” contains 15 finished songs. Throughout the album, Glenn bends the genres, lending his vocals and guitar to folks songs, gospel-tinged tunes, rockers and bluesy numbers.

Highlights abound on this release. It’s almost surprising that Glenn only started writing songs last year. Among the best selections are the aptly titled “Songwriter’s Dilemma” - a humorous look at the frustrations encountered writing songs - and “Working with an Idiot.”

So who picked up the guitar first? As Glenn puts it, he’s been playing “since before Gordon.”

The show is free, but please tip. Glenn Gano will also have CDs for sale. If you’re short on funds, you can order one via his web address: http:/ /www.alaska.net/cilee.

Reborn to be wild

John Kay and Steppenwolf, who play the Cotton Club in Hayden on Sunday, are stuck in a time warp.

Last I checked, it was 1996.

After spending some time with Steppenwolf’s latest CD, “Feed the Fire,” and perusing the disc’s booklet, it was obvious this band still thinks it’s the ‘80s.

This rock ain’t rocking according to today’s standards. Now, this might sound negative but it’s not meant to be.

Kay and Steppenwolf - known for their raw classics like “Born to Be Wild,” “Magic Carpet Ride” and “The Pusher” - obviously don’t care about what’s hip and cool; they’re just carving out a style of rock they know best.

Steppenwolf was born in 1968 and after a successful career disbanded in the mid-‘70s.

When classic rock radio began to take shape in the ‘80s, several of Steppenwolf’s songs became staples. That led to renewed interest in the band.

Kay has been performing with this re-formed version of Steppenwolf since 1980. Together they have recorded a fistful of albums, including “Feed the Fire.”

Music starts at 9 p.m. Tickets, $21, are available at G&B; outlets. You must be at least 21 to attend.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: NIGHTWATCH PICKS Best bets at area clubs: SATURDAY: Washaway World, Psycho Babble and Hazel Green at Outback Jack’s; Glenn Gano at Espresso Delizioso SUNDAY: John Kay and Steppenwolf at the Cotton Club

This sidebar appeared with the story: NIGHTWATCH PICKS Best bets at area clubs: SATURDAY: Washaway World, Psycho Babble and Hazel Green at Outback Jack’s; Glenn Gano at Espresso Delizioso SUNDAY: John Kay and Steppenwolf at the Cotton Club

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