It is March and the moment you have all been waiting for so patiently has arrived. The Queen Annes – Something Quick 1980-1985 is here. Now I know that some of you actually had the red-Xerox cover cassette you can see below, but not many of you. In all cases, this is better. I cleaned it up just enough to make things hang together, while maintaining the essential purity. Added six even more unheard tunes. Plus there’s two more on the download at the our Bandcamp page. This is a collection of mostly basement recordings from the 80’s that capture a band that totally rocked and is rather obscure at this point. Well, hell, isn’t that just what you want? The glorious discovery of a great unknown relic from the misty vaults of time? Now you have. Dig it. Be happy. Spread the joyous word far and wide.
The lad’s are going to get a record release party or two together. I think. Details to follow.
What else is new? Well, you know we have done the X-mas album thing for 5 years. This year we are going to do an actual X-mas show Saturday, December 13 at Darryl’s in Shoreline. It’s in the books. No plans beyond that, but rest assured, it will be a happening mess.
Our release schedule for the year continues to become less vague. 1. Jeff Kelly – Coffee In Nepal II (I’ve heard most of it now – really great); 2. The OF – Scapegoat (oh my!); 3. Jim of Seattle – Title TBA (Jim wants to release 2 CDs this year – see what we started!); 4. Tom Dyer – History of NW Rock Vol. 1 (yup) ; 5. The Green Pajamas – Happy Halloween (more pre-Book of Hours old stuff); 6. Gary Minkler & Bill Bagley – Title TBA; 7. Red Dress – Title TBA (who don’t dig that?). As it is March and we only have one release so far this year, this may be optimistic, but hell, we have more than that hidden on the back burner.
If there are any arty types out there interested in making some very low budget videos for some of these, drop a line.
Now go rock out.
PS - Howie wants to remind you that you can always sign up for the mailing list to keep on top of all the happenings at GMR.
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The Queen Annes - Something Quick
1. Something Quick (Phillips)
2. You Got Me Running (Gascoigne)
3. Give ‘Em The Right Look (Gascoigne)
4. Up Her Nose (Gascoigne)
5. It’s Cool With Me (Gascoigne)
6. If You Could Only See Me Now (Phillips)
7. You Will Cry (Phillips)
8. I Thought Of You (Phillips/O’Connell)
9. Secret Agent Kid (Gascoigne)
10. Mary (Phillips)
11. Don’t Take Cindy Away (Gascoigne)
12. Zipper Man (Phillips/Gascoigne)
13. Lucille (Collins/Penniman)
14. White Suit Man (Gascoigne)
15. Queen Anne Jam (Phillips/Gascoigne)
16. Wish I Could See You Tonight (Phillips)
17. Decisions Decisions (Gascoigne)
18. This Is That (Gascoigne/O’Connell)
19. Little Johnny Rocker (Phillips)
20. I Could Tell You (Phillips)
James Gascoigne - Drums, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocal 9, Guitar 9, 11
Tom O’Connell - Lead Vocals
Kip Phillips - Guitar, Backing Vocal, Lead Vocal 7, 10, 13
John Carey - Bass 1–7
Toby Keil - Bass 8-20
Joe Meyering - Harmonica 2, 8
Recorded at TDS Productions by Tom Dyer except:
I Thought Of You recorded at Triangle Recording by Peter Barnes, Produced by Tom Dyer
Secret Agent Kid, Mary recorded by Doug Rayburn
Don’t Take Cindy Away, Zipper Man, Lucille, White Suit Man recorded by John Rubato
Mastered by Tom Dyer 2013
All songs © by whoever wrote them except: Lucille: Al Collins/ Richard Penniman © Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Photography by Tracy Consolo
Cover design by Tom Dyer
Mastering Notes: I took the recordings from the best sources available and cleaned them up as much as I could while maintaining their essential character. You may hear a few weird dropout kinda things. It’s not your stereo or the CD, it’s just the way it is, so rock out and dig it. td
The Queen Annes: we thank Mark Naficy, Curly Stabler, and Martin (for all the pizzas) and everyone for their support over the years; just for being there. Especially the people who helped make it happen.
We had a wonderful time.
PLAY THIS LOUD
Queen Annes Facebook page
Something Quick was originally released by GMR on cassette in 1986. This edition is remastered and restored to full glory, with six bonus tracks added. Why put out this old pre-grunge Seattle stuff now? Easy. It rocks like the devil himself.
James and Kip have been friends since they were wee lads growing up together in Bellevue, Washington, a Seattle ‘burb (some of the Queen Annes’ gear still bears the proud insignia of Bellevue School District, where all Q.A. members past and present are alums). A lifelong friendship based on the love of great music began. Young James devised a crude drum kit from a wastebasket and a stout cardboard box, practicing along to his favorite records by the Stones, Who and Zeppelin. Meanwhile, Kip had taken up electric guitar. They played together casually for the next several years while playing in other bands. James had become an impressively smashing drummer, cutting his teeth with The Cheaters, masterminded by Kurt and Al Bloch. Yes, Kurt of the Fastbacks and Fellows. Yes, Al of Concrete Blonde and Wool. No, James did not play on The Cheaters single. Kip played in bands with Paul Hood (Meyce/Toiling Midgets) and Greg Ragen.
Kip and James decided it was time at last to form The Queen Annes. They got Toby to play bass and a guy named Lance Taft to play guitar. Their first recording effort was the marvelous cassette single included here, “Secret Agent Kid” b/w “Mary” which they recorded with Doug Rayburn of Pavlov’s Dog somewhere or the other in West Seattle. Not many people heard it. It was time for a singer.
TO’C: Kip and I met in a class called instrumental workshop at Bellevue High School. James played in all the school bands and was already playing shows with various bands including The Cheaters. He was already sort of a rockstar to me. He wore leather and drove a Cutlass convertible. If someone streaked on campus he was the first one called into the principal’s office, even if he was innocent. The first time I saw The Queen Annes, they played as a trio at a pool party before hiring my buddy Lance Taft as a guitarist. The second time I saw them was at Bellevue Community College at the Strawberry Jam Festival with Mr. Epp and the Calculations. Mr. Epp was awful (as intended! - td) but the Queen Annes were awesome until James fell through the plate glass window behind his drum kit. I had just got back from England where I witnessed punk rockers for the first time and The Queen Annes embraced a lot of that same energy. I was smitten. When Lance learned that the boys were considering hiring a singer he suggested I should audition which was fun, but I didn’t hear back from anyone until I was at the 1980 Rolling Stones concert at the Kingdome. I ran into Kip who informed me I got the job. I was thrilled to see the Stones and get into a cool band all in the same day. Kip and James wrote songs both collaboratively and separately and they were absolutely sure how they wanted the songs sung. They were taskmasters and I quickly grew to appreciate their perfectionism.
After two months of grueling rehearsals, the new line-up emerged good friends and a tight, energy-packed unit.
Around that time Kip and James were evicted from their duplex for throwing television sets off the second story balcony. The same day, Tom spotted a big old pink house in an alley on Capitol Hill with a “For Rent” sign in the window. He called James, who rushed over, took one look at the dilapidated mansion and called the number in the window. Everyone agrees Earl T. Ball must regret the day he picked up the phone and rented his house to The Queen Annes and their entourage of punks, hippies, girlfriends, groupies, bums, strangers, hanger-ons and ne’er do wells who inhabited it for most of the 1980s. The party never stopped. After a few months, the conventional living room was scrapped to make way for a bar that was built for easy keg access. When they were done with their set they would bring most of the audience home for a keg, leaving the headliners to fend for themselves without an audience. Every room at the pink house had a turntable - a cross section of what would be spinning: The Jam, The Clash, Bowie, Stiff Little Fingers, The Pretenders, Prince, Bebop Deluxe, Blondie, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, The Beatles, The Stones, The Beach Boys, and tons more.
Through the pink house door (when it was on its hinges), piled throngs eager to party with The Queen Annes, including members of Seattle’s culty Love Family (a.k.a. Church of Jesus Christ at Armageddon), Duran Duran, Guns’n’Roses, and local punks the Bopo Boys, whowere all sent home crying to mama with wicked hangovers (Bopo Boys? read about ’em in Stephan Tow’s The Strangest Tribe: How A Group of Seattle Rock Bands Invented Grunge).
The lads secured shows with NW spawn like The Heats, Moberlys, Fastbacks, Silly Killers, Refuzors, Miracle Workers and touring bands like the Three O’Clock. Venturing into the great Northwest, The Queen Annes had heavy pockets of fans in both Bellingham and Portland. When the Eastside metal thing got going at Lake Hills Skate Center in Bellevue, they would show up half an hour before they were scheduled to play in a battle of the bands. This would infuriate the roadies of quasi-metal bands including Rail, Kidskin, TKO, Myth and Hellion who had been at the venue all day loading in trucks of Marshall amps and quadruple bass drum sets. The boys would set up their gear in fifteen minutes, and at first their small amps and Ringo-style drum kit seemed dwarfed by the stacks around them, but when they started to play, they were as damn loud and powerful as the metal dudes.
Playing in bars was never where it was at for the band. Although performances were arranged at all the clubs and taverns in the area, the band opted to concentrate its efforts on playing shows where the under-21 fans could attend. The QA’s produced twenty shows at the U.C.T. Hall in Seattle during the mid-eighties. U.C.T. was kind of like an in-town grange hall with a kitchen and bad wood paneling. It was great for the band because they assumed complete control over every aspect of the productions, served beer to minors, turned them on to punk rock, and then watched them destroy the place. The hall would always be secured for two days so the band could repair the evening’s damages.
KP: Craziest show number one might be the night we opened for Myth at the Showbox. Myth would later become Queensryche. The show was poorly attended, but after we played someone approached us and asked us if we would play at a party nearby. It turned out that the party was for a bunch of high-end escort girls, one of whom was a girl named Mary, coincidentally the girl who inspired the song “Mary”. I had met her some years earlier at a party - it was the first song I ever wrote. TO’C: The craziest -Polish Hall with the Fastbacks and the Fartz. There was a lot of blood everywhere. (At one point, the QA’s shared a rehearsal space with NW punk legends the Fartz, which was as unpleasant as one might imagine.)
GMR Prez Tom Dyer started recording the group in 1983. From the earliest of these sessions came the single “I Thought of You”/”This Is That” which was named #65 on the NW All-Time Top 100 in The Rocket magazine in 1988 or so. (“I Thought of You” in included here, “This is That” is a bonus download track - why? We liked the 4-track version better and used it!). The single was recorded at then-trendy Triangle Studios (later Reciprocal) with The Enemy’s Peter Barnes engineering. The band felt much more comfortable when they moved to recording in the cozy confines of Dyer’s basement studio where the Something Quick sessions were produced, with Dyer engineering. The first sessions were recorded on 4-track reel-to-reel - “I Could Tell You” was included on the first ever Green Monkey release, a cassette comp called Local Product (with a genric beer UPC code on the front). The studio was upgraded to 8-tracks for the rest of the tunes featured here.
Between the two sessions, Toby left the band to move to LA and join the Moberlys with Jim Basnight. John Carey (who is the brains behind Roslyn geniuses and current GMR artists The OF) was brought on board to replace him and has been there ever since. KP: When Toby quit to join the Moberlys, we were slowed down for a while. Pete Dempsey was our temporary bass player but we found a better fit with John who was playing with The World Outside. We had played a gig with them outside Swenson’s ice cream in Bellevue. We saw him at a party we wereplaying and asked him to join the band. TO’C: I would see John walking around
Bellevue with an acoustic guitar and I saw one of his bands at a party. Over a couple of beers in a park I convinced John we needed him as our permanent guy and he agreed.
It should also be noted that the harp player on these recordings is their longtime pal Lightnin’ Joe. KP: We played at a party at Joe’s house in Bellevue for his birthday, when his parents were out of town, and we did a blazing rendition of Jimi Hendrix’ Red House, the only blues number in our repertoire, and Joe being a big blues fan started playing with us. The harp was a nice addition in a band that was essentially a power trio with a singer. TO’C: Joe would do a lot for our band including play harp. He was always making whatever makeshift stage we had look good with lights, sirens and smoke.
Since the 80’s The Queen Annes have been an off and on proposition. In 1994, they recorded tracks in John Carey’s barn in Thrashers Corner for what would become The Mire album, released in 1997 (mixed at Mr. Toad’s in San Francisco and available at www.VagrantRecords.com). Later in ’97, they recorded a new album Revenge with Erik 4-A, which still awaits a proper release.
After a hiatus, in 2009 they “got the band back together” to play the record release party for The Green Monkey Records Anthology: It Crawled From The Basement. They were great. Total rock stars. They still play occasionally, both as themselves and as their alter ego blues band, Last of the Steam Powered Trains (Yes, named after The Kinks song. They’ve probably covered twenty Kinks songs live over the years.) TO’C: The Steams are a blues band in the tradition of Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. I think it is an effort to keep the blues alive - Kip can actually sing these songs. KP: Last of the Steam Powered Trains started as my pet project - always wanted to start a blues, blues rock band. This type of music is a sort of obsession of mine. We are having a blast.
In 2013 they recorded a rocking version of Roy Wood’s “I Wish It Was Christmas Every Day” for Green Monkey’s annual Christmas album. They are considering finally releasing Revenge in the not distant future.