Nate Jackson’s voice-mail message on his cell phone last week: “Hi, I’m going to Portland for the weekend to pretend to be a rock star. If you need to get a hold of me, call my agent [laughs].”
Sadly, due to the time-consuming monster that was this big fat SLAMMy issue in your hands, I wasn’t able to accompany The Street (bassist Jackson, singer Brad Arnold, guitarist Troy Haun and drummer Alex Krelo) to Portland’s MusicFestNW last weekend and pretend to be a rock journalist. Damn.
As you may recall, The Street won our MusicFestNW Showdown last month, City Weekly’s battle o’ the bands to sponsor a local group into Portland’s replacement for the defunct North by Northwest music festival. Did the foursome get stuck in a pizza-joint venue as Thirsty Alley was at NXNW 2000? How did the hipster audiences take to a slammin’ dose of heavy metal, SLC-style? Did the polygamy jokes fly fast and furious? These questions and some more were answered when Jackson arrived back on Salt Lake soil Monday and finally answered his cell.
City Weekly: I’m guessing there wasn’t much metal to be had at MusicFestNW, am I right?
Nate Jackson: Yeah, it was mostly punk bands—it helped us stand out more, for sure. We really lucked out with the venue, too: The Roseland. It’s all-ages and holds about 1,400 people. I didn’t see anything up there harder-edged than us, but we went over well; they got into it. We threw out a lot of CDs and T-shirts.
CW: See any bands that you liked?
NJ: The band who played after us, [long-time Oregon space-rock trio] Floater. They were phenomenal.
CW: MusicFestNW is supposed to be less industry-intense than NXNW was, but did you meet up with any people who were “in the music business”?
NJ: A few small-timers, local promoters and such. We did have some smart-ass come up and tell us he was from Epic Records, though. He said if we wanted his $30,000 deal, we’d have to sign with him that night! [Laughs] He asked, “Have you talked to any other A&R people tonight?” We said, “None as full of shit as you.”
CW: Any “You’re from Utah? What the hell?” stories to relate? They’re kind of a staple of these reports.
NJ: We were loading our gear into the Roseland, and the stage manager said, “Oh, you’re the Utah band.” We played up all the “Where are all the wives?” jokes ourselves before he could, though. As far as the people go, everyone was really nice. Usually, whenever you go to a new town [The Street tours outside of Utah occasionally], the scenes are kind of clique-y, you know? We’re all supposed to be in this together, but that’s how it goes. But everyone at the festival seemed to be going around and checking out all kinds of music.
CW: Did you check out the Acropolis? It’s a combination steakhouse and strip club on McLoughlin Street—high-class celebrity diners like Andy Dick and Marilyn Manson swear by it.
NJ: No! Oh, man …
CW: It’s a tragedy to miss out on cheap ribeyes and naked women—this is why I shoulda gone with you. Did The Street at least encounter any strangeness on the streets of Portland?
NJ: There was a guy outside of the club wearing a sign that said, “Kiss me, hug me or kick me for $1 or three cigarettes.” [Laughs] He kept demanding that we kick him. I told him I’d rather not, but Troy kicked him and I gave him a dollar. He said, “Is that all you got?” Alex is a soccer player, so I gave him a dollar to get a good one in. That was kind of a highlight. [Laughs]