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Thursday, June 19, 2014

John Leighton Beezer Answers Twenty Questions~ The Man Who Brought You The Thrown Ups and Stomach Pump Plays Tonight at Seattle's Central Tavern: Expect the Unexpected

John at Jack Endino's Soundhouse 
Studios recently. I don't know if either 
of them knows how many times 
they have worked together, but it's a lot! 

In the early 19th century, Marcel Proust was given a questionnaire called "an album to record thoughts and feelings," also known as a "confession album." At the time, it was popular among English families to assure that the man or woman was marriage-worthy and bona fide.

Written in 1890, it was discovered in 1924, and in 2003 auctioned for over 100,000 euros. The TV show The Actors Studio had their own version that the host would use, asking the actors the questions while live in the studio. For many years it has been a favorite of Vanity Fair magazine readers, and they now have an online version that you can do and compare your answers to celebrities.

Their version is fairly basic, but a lot of fun to read, so when we were exploring creative ways to interview musicians, we realized with a little tweaking we could come up with an interview that was perfect. Where other publications fail, we will succeed by letting the monkey ask all the questions!

The Thrown Up's John Beezer has been very busy. In the studio with a slew of talented musicians from all over, he has been in the studio once again with Jack Endino, doing what he does best-creating under the strict guidelines he has always followed, which is NO rules. ( except that 4'33'' thing ) Tonight he takes his madness to the stage, who will jump on stage- nobody knows! But Xanaland is honored to be a part of it all and happy to provide a Free Live Stream provided by our non-profit Shine Music Project. We sat in on a studio session the other night with his old pal Jack Endino at Soundhouse Studio and witnesses the creative process first hand and I can say from my many years around musicians that this branch of the Grunge Family Tree's strong roots are evident and the growth is showing some fantastic results. Join us tonight at The Central Tavern where we will be filming them and make sure you see our news page tomorrow for the follow-up story and videos. And now, a glimpse into the mind of one of Seattle's most unique and gifted musicians.

1. What music makes you the happiest?

JLB: I like it when a live band plays like a whole band, not just a collection of individuals, and some kind of unique sound emerges. It's a cliché to say the whole is more than the sum of the parts, but great bands can be like that. I love it when it happens.

2. What musician do you identify with the most?  

JLB: Probably Holger Czukay, the bass player from 70's German band Can. We play a similar style of music and we use the same unusual kind of bass ... a Fender short scale.

3. What musical talent do you wish you had or were better at? 

JLB: I wish I had more of what I think of as "technical" guitar skills, like bluegrass finger picking, or Eddie Van Halen hammer-ons. I guess I consider them not quite worth the effort to learn, but I'd have them if wishing was all that's required. It's always fun to pull out stuff like that at parties and impress all your friends. I imagine.

4. What is your most treasured musical possession or memoribilia- autograph etc.

JLB: I don't get too sentimental about objects, but I've "retired" a few guitars when it occurred to me that the risk of losing or damaging them outweighed the usefulness of actually playing them. One is the first electric I bought when I was 16, which really started to suffer from wear and tear, and the other was a Fender short scale known as the "barf bass" which I played in the Thrown Ups. I plan to auction it.

5. What venue do you dream about playing at?    
JLB: Montreaux Jazz Festival

6. If you could bring back any musician from the dead, who would it be?

JLB: Todd Chandler, who was the drummer in my old high school band. He lived with a terminal illness all his life and was determined to spend his time rocking out. He kind of set a high bar for the rest of us. I wish he could come back in good health and join one of my bands.

7. What trait do you most deplore in other musicians?

JLB: Preciousness.

8. What about in yourself?

JLB: I get pretty stressed out before shows. Most people just avoid me, so it's OK. But it would be nice if that wasn't necessary.

9. You is your muse, the one or ones that inspire you?

JLB: I think that question has a typo. Nevertheless, I'll answer "yes."
 ( Thank you John! I see we have a 1st Class smarty pants on our hands ) 

10. Name one event in your life that made your decision to be a musician

JLB: I joined a band in high school that I thought was really cool. I remember thinking that my odds of becoming a big rock star had gone up significantly. From "no fucking way in hell" to "kind of a long shot, but maybe". So I decided I'd go for it until I reached a point where the odds stopped getting better. And I'm still going.

11. If you could change one thing about your appearance what would that be?

JLB: I should pay more attention to how I look on stage. I just wear whatever I'm wearing that day and stare at my feet the whole time. I'd like to get a stylist and come up with some kind of wild stage persona so there's something interesting to look at when I play.

12. Who in your life has stood by you supported your music the most / longest?

JLB: Probably my old friend John Conte, who I've known since pre-school. He's a talented singer and he's always been up for it when I ask him to collaborate. I feel like I can always rope him into my schemes and that goes all the way back to high school. He's pissed at me for some completely irrational reason right now. But in general, he's been a great friend and musical collaborator.

13. What is your current state of mind?

JLB: I'm a little anxious, but happy ... probably my default state.

14. What phrase or word do you overuse the most?

JLB: "Awesome". I think of it as a kid's word, but I still use it all the time. What's cool and unique about "awesome", is that it lets you gauge the reaction of people around you and actually change your meaning on the fly if you're about to say the wrong thing. You can say "That's awe ... ful!" Like, you were gonna call something awesome, but then you realize that everyone else thinks it's stupid, so you can change course and say "awful" at the last minute and save yourself.

15. What would you say your best moment as a musician was, on or off stage?

JLB: Probably a Thrown Ups recording session we did with Jack Endino on Valentine's Day 1988 at Reciprocal. That time and place was really exciting and ended up being ground zero for the big Seattle grunge explosion. But nobody knew that yet, so none of us had dates on Valentine's Day or anything. We played a great session and ended up recording a 4-song EP, plus most of our follow-up album, and one more track that landed on Sup Pop 200, becoming part of a classic album. Even though none of the band members had anyone special in their lives that day, Jack invited a date to the studio and eventually ended up marrying her. "Hey, I was wondering if maybe, um ... well, there's a Thrown Ups session coming up, and, um ... and I'm wondering you'd like to go with me?"

16. What band or musician can you absolutely not listen to?

Via WiKi: 4′33″ (pronounced "Four minutes, thirty-three seconds" or just "Four thirty-three"[1]) is a three-movement composition[2][3] by American experimental composer John Cage (1912–1992). It was composed in 1952, for any instrument or combination of instruments, and the score instructs the performer(s) not to play their instrument(s) during the entire duration of the piece throughout the three movements. The piece purports to consist of the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed,[4] although it is commonly perceived as "four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence".[5][6] The title of the piece refers to the total length in minutes and seconds of a given performance, 4′33″ being the total length of the first public performance.[7]
Conceived around 1947–1948, while the composer was working on Sonatas and Interludes,[2] 4′33″ became for Cage the epitome of his idea that any sounds may constitute music.[8] It was also a reflection of the influence ofZen Buddhism, which Cage studied since the late 1940s. In a 1982 interview, and on numerous other occasions, Cage stated that 4′33″ was, in his opinion, his most important work.[9] The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians describes 4′33″ as Cage's "most famous and controversial creation".[2]

 ( John answer's with the handy WiKi link-cute! 

17. What band or musician can you listen to over and over?

JLB: Early 70's Pink Floyd bootlegs. Amsterdam 1969 is actually the best of them all, even though it wasn't recorded in the 70s.

18. If you were not a musicain what trade/ career would you choose?

JLB: I'd probably be an Internet dork.

19. If you could be a fly on the wall at any moment in music history, where would that be?

JLB: Backstage at Newport when Dylan went electric. I'm fascinated by the extreme animosity that generated. I'd love to hear what the cognoscenti on the scene were all screaming at each other.

20. What song ( s ) will be played at your funeral?

JLB: Probably Eat My Dump by the Thrown Ups. That'll be written on my headstone, too. 

Photos courtesy of John and photographers are as followed: 
1. Greg Franco 
2. Daniel House 
3. Greg Reid 
4. Mike Iverson 
5. Mudhoney 
6. and 7. John's photos 

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