I came here from New York in 1989, and I still feel like I just got here. I lived there and in D.C. for years, but I’d always had my eye on the Pacific Northwest. I had backpacked and hitchhiked through years before, to Mount Rainier and the Olympics, so I thought of it more as an outdoorsy place. But as soon as I got here I fell in love with the music and the musicians I met through Cornish College—Reggie Watts, Eyvind Kang, Tim Young. I was the “old guy” at age 32. Bill Frisell, who I knew from New York, visited me, then moved here a year after I did.
My favorite Seattle music venue is the Tractor Tavern—it’s just the right amount of together and loose. At The Royal Room, I’ve tried to create a version of that, but one where you can sit down while you listen. Café Racer is known for “out” music and experimental jazz improvisation, with its Sunday Racer sessions. The Seamonster is also a really important place, particularly for jam sessions. I’ve recently played Nectar Lounge, which I think is comfortable and not too slick. And the Sunset Tavern is also great for rock and indie bands.
I don’t stray from The Royal Room much because I can eat and drink here for free! But the movie theater here, Ark Lodge Cinemas, is awesome. And even though it’s a pizza place, I think Tutta Bella has the best coffee in Seattle. We’re all excited about the new music venue, The Black and Tan. You’d think we might not be happy about the competition, but there’s a strong community feeling here. There are so many great places in a just a few blocks, and it’s all less than a 5-minute walk from the Light Rail station. I love it here.
Interview by Brangien Davis. Photo taken outside The Royal Room.