Alaskan Ethics

Last night I went to my friend Mike’s dirty 30th birthday party at Seattle’s venerable Rendezvous bar and restaurant. (Editor’s note: It probably isn’t venerable at all, I just have a soft spot for the place since they let us throw a small festival there with little advance notice, and the sound guy brought us a case of Ranier for the backstage fridge, which I found touching. My friend Brady hates the place and would happily tell you why for the price of a Miller High Life and several minutes of what’s left of your twenties.)

This in itself is hardly newsworthy, but Mike is a man with an asterisk, and his asterisk says: “I grew up in Ketchikan.” To most people, this means nothing, but to the rest of us, this speaks volumes. Years ago, Misha and I first fell in with the Ketchikanian diaspora, and we haven’t been the same since. Our first album was nearly called “Alaskan Ethics” in their honor.

For readers of Raymond Feist, the Ketchikanians are essentially the Valheru, timeless dragon-backed conquerors of the stars, men who eat deserts, shit glass, and don’t even register this kind of behaviour as unusual. For the rest of us, they are simply Hard Men, a la Vinnie Jones, but with Carhartts and scars and tattoos in places the rest of us are hesitant to soap.

Mike is the man who first turned me on to The Alphabets, a progressive Seattle hip-hop duo that is both brilliant and absurd, a band that I believe every man, woman and child in America should experience at least once. Said Alphabets were, in fact, there at the party last night, and we got to talking, and one thing led to another, and suddenly I’m playing a show with them two weeks hence, where they’re going to debut their FIRST EVER MUSIC VIDEO, and the part of me that still gets excited about music independent of careerism is so excited it can barely think straight.

I’ve decided, on a whim, that I’m going to do a full-on iPod set, inspired in part by Alex Greenwald’s bringing down the house at this past year’s Gimme Shelter concert, thanks to nothing but an iPod and a totally ridiculous Hiawatha getup. I know this is a dangerous move, professionally; me developing solo material while the band is on vague geographical hiatus. But you have to understand: we as a band had thousands of dollars worth of gear stolen from us back in November, and we as men are individually scrambling to re-earn the income necessary to keep this band afloat. There are probably going to be a lot of “independent side projects” coming up in the next couple of months – THIS IS NO CAUSE FOR ALARM. We are all happy, healthy, and as in love with each other as four heterosexual men can be – we’re just really fucking far away from each other right now, and desperate times call for desperate measures. This is why I have written a song called “Sexual Professional.”

In any event, it’s going to be an insanely fun show, and I’d advise anyone who can come to do so, if only because the Alphabets are the greatest hip hop crew in America and you’ll be kicking yourself for the next 30 years if you live in Seattle and somehow miss them.



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