It was a typical Spokane moment: A superb band comes to offer the Lilac City its musical exploits and almost no one is present to hear it.
Such was the case when Seattle’s Goodness rolled into town in January 1995.
Goodness - fronted by ex-Hammerbox lead vocalist and singer-extraordinaire Carrie Akre - came to Spokane to play its maiden show here.
Blame it on the Superbowl, which had ended a couple of hours before, or blame it on a Sunday night. It didn’t matter who was playing because Spokane didn’t feel like showing up. Only about two-dozen brave night crawlers witnessed the band’s top-flight set.
“I hope there is more than that this time, damn it,” joked Akre by phone from a tour stop in Portland, Maine. She was referring to Goodness’ show with Quitters Inc. at the Northern Corner tonight.
Believe it or not, the meager attendance didn’t discourage Goodness, touring the U.S. supporting its eponymous major-label debut.
“We’ve definitely played other places where there was that many people, too,” Akre says. “And this tour is definitely like that. On the East Coast, nobody knows who we are.”
Akre formed Goodness after her previous band, Hammerbox, disintegrated. It’s unfortunate; Hammerbox had a bright future as indicated by its two stand-out albums - 1991’s self-titled and 1993’s “Numb” - and riveting live shows.
“For me, it had just gotten negative,” explains Akre. “It wasn’t worth all the stress and unhappiness in order to make records and go on tour.”
According to Akre, the band’s inner rumblings and ultimate implosion stemmed from communication breakdown.
“I think once you sign onto a major label, there’s a lot more decision making and sometimes, decision making off the fly. We just didn’t communicate. If someone got mad, we’d go off in our four corners. And I think we always had a problem with that and it got worse. The more demands on you, the worse it got. It got to be too much for me.”
Akre pursued Goodness, a rock combo that has enabled her more of an arena to better express herself, with her brother Eric (who had been drumming in the Treepeople), former Spokanite and bassist Mary Ellen Cooley and guitarists Danny Newcomb and Garth Reeves.
Both Eric and Cooley had other bands going at the time, Citizen’s Utilities (now on a major label) and the Vatican III, respectively. So they departed. Bassist, cellist and vocalist Fiia McGann and drummer Chris Friel (Give) were enlisted in their place.
“I’m a lot more comfortable and happy here than I was in Hammerbox,” Akre says. “It suits my vocals a lot more. I am writing half the songs with them. Obviously, I’ll automatically write more to vocals. In Hammerbox I never wrote the music; I wrote lyrics.”
Akre is pleased with her songwriting progress.
“It’s getting there. The cool thing is, once you keep going there’s so much more to learn, so much to try. I think that’s a little overwhelming.”
After recording an album’s worth of material, the band took the songs to A&M, which retained Akre as an artist following Hammerbox’s demise. However, A&M didn’t share the same enthusiasm for Akre’s new band.
“We mutually walked away. During that process, it got to be more obvious how cool and better it would be to take control over our destiny for a moment,” she says. “We have the record. We like it, and, most importantly, we want it out.”
Last summer, Goodness released its debut album on an upstart Seattle indie label, Y Records. The album immediately turned into a regional smash and by the summer’s end, the majors, again, came calling for Akre.
Goodness joined the Atlantic/Lava family and is locked in with a multi-album deal. In addition, the label took the debut album, re-mixed and reissued it in the spring. The Atlantic version includes one new song, the Schoolhouse Rock favorite, “Electricity, Electricity,” which also appears on the “Schoolhouse Rock Rocks” compilation disc.
Spokane’s Quitters Inc. open. Tickets are $5 and are available at G&B outlets and at the door.
No lounging on this Couch
Couch of Eureka, from, where else, Eureka, Calif., will play its quirky hits for adult kids at the Northern Corner Tuesday night.
Actually, the band doesn’t really have any hits, but it certainly sounds good, doesn’t it?
Couch of Eureka once went by the simpler moniker Couch. Then a defunct, no-name band from Ann Arbor, Mich., which had the name first, threw a tantrum and threatened to take legal action against the other Couch. Hence, Couch of Eureka was born.
Now, with its name finally decided, Couch of Eureka has released its debut LP, “Year of the Zombie,” on Lookout! Records.
Spokane’s Cringe and Olympia’s Noses open at 9:30 p.m. The cover is $2.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: NIGHTWATCH PICKS TONIGHT: Goodness, Quitters Inc. at the Northern Corner TUESDAY: Couch of Eureka, Cringe and the Noses at the Northern Corner
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