Gazebos Carry on Seattle Music Culture

Gazebos got off the ground in 2014, but its members have been around the Seattle scene for nearly two decades. As in any big city with an active music scene, people come together organically from going to shows and working at similar jobs. The members of Gazebos found in each other a kindred spirit with an appreciation for the unusual. The band came together in an era of great activity in Seattle music — even amid the same challenges and opportunities faced by Denver's creative communities.

“Sometimes when you're surrounded by the Man, you have to band together to create something else,” says singer Shannon Perry. “There has been kind of a common thread in Seattle of people being in bands and trying to make creative stuff. I think being surrounded by other bands doing interesting stuff is definitely inspirational and keeps you motivated. I suppose it comes in waves, but I don't know that I think that the little renaissance going on in Seattle right now has much to do with the tech-industry input.”

Gazebos' 2016 full-length debut, Die Alone, bears none of the marks of the Seattle garage-rock scene. And to be fair, peers of Gazebos — bands like Chastity Belt, Tacocat, Pony Time, Boyfriends, Lisa Prank and Nail Polish — either outgrew any connection with the recent wave of garage rock or never really fit in there to begin with. Die Alone has a vibe akin to new-wave-era weirdos like Lene Lovich and B-52s.

Still the album owes much to the band's roots in Seattle's music and art scene. It was produced by Kurt Bloch of the Fastbacks and Young Fresh Fellows (now also Full Toilet), who also had recorded an EP of Gazebos bassist TV Coahran's previous band, Popular Shapes. The mind-altering video for “Just Get High” was made frame-by-frame, animation style, by Colin Dawson, aka Daisy Heroin, guitarist for psychedelic post-punk band Stickers.

“It reminds me of the segues in Monty Python's Flying Circus and the video for 'Sledgehammer' [by Peter Gabriel],” says Perry. “We just gave him complete freedom to do whatever he wanted. He had to shoot some of us for a couple of hours, and he took that and just went buck-wild.”

That Die Alone came out on Hardly Art, a subsidiary of Sub Pop, is just further evidence of Gazebos' being steeped in a music scene that has long left an imprint on the larger world through direct support of the immediate community.

Perry herself is leaving her mark on Seattle in a way that's not directly related to music — as a tattoo artist.

“Originally I was poor, and I wanted tattoos but didn't want to pay for them,” reveals Perry. “I bought a kit off of eBay, but I had no intention of becoming a tattoo artist professionally. But I did it for a while and opportunities opened up. It's just like anything: If you're surrounded by something long enough, it becomes what you do or what you are.”

On her own neck, Perry has a tattoo of the character Rizzo from the 1978 film version of Grease.

“In Gazebos we cover 'There Are Worse Things (I Could Do),' from Grease,” says Perry. “I think I liked covering that symbolically, because it seems like it has a sexual liberation vibe. Before I ever sang that in this band, I sang it at karaoke all the time. It made sense to me. I think I liked her because shewas unapologetically a slut, in a way. She was just down, and she was the most punk. It was like the polar opposites of Sandra Dee and Rizzo, and I just identified with her character even though I'm not really like her. It was the first time I saw a woman character who was promiscuous that wasn't depicted in a completely negative light.”

Gazebos with Shannon and the Clams and Hair Cult at 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.) Tuesday, March 29, at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 East Colfax Avenue, 303-377-1666, $15, 16+.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.