The Posies, namely Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer, Sehome High School classmates who shot to fame in the late ‘80s, return to their hometown on their 30th anniversary tour Friday, July 6, at the Wild Buffalo, 208 W. Holly St. Tickets are $20 in advance at https://wildbuffalo.net/event/the-posies/ $25 day of show. Guest is Briana Marela. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., the show starts at 8:30.
Ken was kind enough to conduct an email interview with me while he was on the road, and here’s our exchange.
Margaret: When you recorded “Dream All Day,” did you ever envision that you would still be playing Posies songs decades later?
Ken: I think we had a lot of optimism at that point … well, when we released it, anyway. Making the record that “Dream All Day” was on was a bit of a slog, but it paid off with a great album at the end of it. And when it was released, and we had all these great things — European festivals… joining BIG STAR of all things… I mean…. man…. the world truly was our oyster at that moment. So, yes, I think we saw our future as bright and potentially long.
M: what have been some of your very best and your very worst experiences as The Posies over the years?
K: I would say the worst experiences were the frequent falling outs we’d have in the ‘90s — conflicts over various issues that led to frequent lineup changes and ultimately disbanding for a couple years. We did not manage our communication or emotions well, so small conflicts tended to metastasize into bigger meltdowns. And then we’d have a lineup change; in other words, it would sidetrack our momentum.
As for the best experiences… you know, it just seems to get better and better with time. Much of that is simply the increased satisfaction and gratitude for what have managed to maintain with our audience, and repair with each other. I have to say, this week we had an incredible experience in Minneapolis — the Twin Cities always being a highlight of our tours — we had a packed house, nearly sold out on a Tuesday. And to top it off, we had Greg Norton, who was the bass player in Hüsker Dü, one of the biggest influences on our music (soaring melodies with searing guitars, anyone?) joined us for an encore set of four Hüsker Dü tunes and even our own song “Grant Hart,” itself a tribute to the band and their late drummer.
The Northwest, of course, is home (even if we don’t live there anymore, it’s still our ancestral home!). For example when we played the Kirkland Performance Center as a duo in February, the rush of acceptance and support from the audience when we step out on stage is so intense… I get tears every time.
M: How has the music industry changed over the years for you?
K: Well, the changes in how music is consumed and distributed are pretty well documented. For me, the years I’ve put in means that I have friends everywhere, and to be honest, I’d rather find a solution for what I need via a friend than by throwing money at it. There’s less money floating around in the business itself, but it’s also vastly more efficient, and I’m a fan of efficiency.
M: of what are you most proud? What do you regret?
K: I regret the falling out that Mike (Musburger( and I had that led him to leaving the band in 1994. Who knows what we could have accomplished without that derailment? As for what makes me the most proud, I think the reception I get from venues and other production folks all over the world is a great legacy. I mean, yes, the music, and the fans, of course. But, I love walking into a room we’re going to play and you can see in the faces of the people working that they know it’s going to be a great night, and that they’ll be treated with respect, and they’ll give that back to us. If the words ‘consummate professional’ are used in association with my work, I know I’ve done it right.
M: How has living and working abroad influenced you?
K: It’s good to be tuned into other things than the constant discord that seems to be the centerpiece of American life. It’s also good to be in a place where I’m not inhaling the same culture stream as everyone else. I’m less likely to copy the most successful models out there, and more likely to come up with something unique.
M: What am I not asking that you would like our readers to know?
K: Well, our 1990s albums are being reissued by Omnivore Recordings via a Pledge Music campaign where you can not only order or preorder the albums (“Dear 23” will be shipping soon; the rest in the coming months) as deluxe double CDs with some 90 minutes of bonus material each or double high fidelity LPs, but you can also order a wide variety of personal items from our collections and/or various experiences with us — from a personal tour of my Paris neighborhood to joining the band onstage for a song. The albums have been remastered and sound incredible.