Beyond Nirvana

Maktub aims to prove that there's more to the Seattle sound than grunge.

"It's an interesting dichotomy, because, on the one hand, it's great being an independent entity. And I have to give it up to the rest of the band. I serve more as the PR guy, but they work really hard updating our Web site [], designing posters, making sure orders are fulfilled and all of those things a label would normally do. But on the other hand, it takes a lot out of you and can get tiring. At a certain point, you have to ask, 'Is it working, or is it not?'"

In Watts's opinion, a definitive answer to that query is a ways off. Maktub's first significant performances in the Northeast, which took place late last year, went well, and several tours slated for the next couple of months will help the band inform more of the populace that it exists. "Good things are happening," Watts says. "I think this year will tell a lot about the future of Maktub."

The same can be said about the Seattle scene as a whole. At present, mention of the city's music sounds more like a historical reference than a contemporary one. But Watts hopes to reverse that equation.

"I love Seattle, and I'm very proud of everyone there from whom I've learned," he says. "People's perceptions pose a challenge for us. But my dream is to see some new Seattle bands emerge and put the city back on the map in a new way."

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