by Clark Humphrey
[text and scans on this page by Deborah Baker]
Loser: The Real Seattle Music Story celebrates the city's contribution to the world of popular music, from Bing Crosby to Sir Mix-A-Lot, with everyone in between. Yet, not surprisingly, the main focus of the book is the period from the early eighties onwards.
The U Men, Green River, Malfunkshun, MLB, Tad, Nirvana... Lubricated Goat! They're all here, and more bands besides. And not just bands. Loser is packed with stories, quotes and information on clubs, record labels and anyone who is anyone in Seattle.
Of course no real Seattle music story would be complete without Soundgarden. While the dedicated fan may not learn anything new about the band from Loser, there are quotes, photos and repros of posters for early shows (on which the band is often erroneously referred to as Sound Garden). And, as an influential figure on the scene - first as a promoter, then as a manager - Susan Silver merits several mentions. Refreshingly, the fact that she happens to be married to Chris Cornell is barely touched upon.
Loser has a distinct fanzine feel to it - all the pictures (including posters, fanzine covers and record sleeves) are black and white; many of them thumbnails - and look like they were photocopied several times before they reached the printer. But that all adds to the book's charm.
Loser is published by Feral House (1995), 227 fascinating pages long and retails in the UK for about twelve pounds.