A Blast from the Past

Pictures sure do have a way of coming back around, for better and for worse. Sometimes they flaunt you, and sometimes they come back to HAUNT you.

Here’s an example – my father was in the Navy back in the 70’s and while in Italy he “got it on” with two chicks, and someone happened to snap a quick pic (for posterity, I guess?). Decades later an old Navy buddy of his reached out and informed him that he was featured on an Italian porn site. Consequently, his nickname became Poppa Georgio, henceforth… 😉 True story. Did I mention that he went onto become a Pastor? You can’t make this shit up! Sorry to spill your beans, Dad, errrr, Poppa G… 😉

While you will not find me on any porn sites (foreign or domestic), I DO have one such picture, one that has resurfaced in one form or another over the years. Back in 1998 my Missus and I made our way to the Pacific Northwest when we were 18, essentially traveling 3,600 miles to be homeless, not knowing anyone (or anything, if your were to ask our parents at the time). When we first rolled into Seattle we stayed at Tent City II, an organized encampment on Beacon Hill, adjacent to downtown. (What a view!)

Alice Wheeler, a renown photographer responsible for MANY of the pictures you’ve seen of the Pacific Northwest music scene over the years, especially late 80’s/early 90’s, happened upon us while doing a story on Tent City. Admittedly, I was a walking Kurt Cobain emulation at the time, which caught her eye, and we ended up striking up a conversation. We talked about music, her works, which I had seen all over the place, we talked about my music, why we traveled so far from home, what our plans were, etc. During the conversation she snapped up a couple shots of me amongst the tents, with glorious downtown Seattle in the background (is that the King Dome back there!?). According to us, we had reached the Promised Land and we were gearing up to hit the Stratosphere. I’ve been doing this Marytree thing a long time, and yes, my delusions of grandeur are still quite intact… 😉 I digress…

I did not realize at the time how many times this picture would come back around in one form or another, immortalizing such an pivotal time in our lives. Since then, this photo has been in the Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Museum of Pop Culture (formerly known as the Experience Music Project, aka the Jimi Hendrix Memorial Museum), a book called Outcasts and Innocents and various articles and publications over the years. Every time I see it, every time it comes back around, I’m reminded of that moment in time, and I am reminded of just how powerful determination and drive can be, no matter your age or situation.

A couple weeks ago the Seattle Times reached out to follow up, recap the story and find out what I’ve been up to lately. In short, as the line in Shun says, “The fire is burning white like never before…” Marytree lives and breathes still, out of drive and determination, yes, but also out of stubbornness, and lots of piss and vinegar. 😉

My undying thanks to Alice for capturing this moment in time, a picture that evokes the flashing of our lives before my eyes (in a good way!), one that reminds me where we’ve been, what we’ve done, the experiences we’ve had,.  Also, my thanks to Erik Lacitis for reaching out to me, being interested in the story and taking a walk down Memory Lane with me.

Here’s the link to the Seattle Times article; be sure to read through the whole thing, I am but a brick in the wall on this one, there’s LOTS of great works with their backstories.  I am amongst good company, indeed…

https://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/6-northwest-photographers-expose-the-stories-behind-their-iconic-rock-n-roll-images/

Love,

James

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Marytree News – Summer 2021 Edition

How goes it, Marytree peoples?  Here’s hoping that all is well with you and yours.  On this end, been better, been worse…

Insane that it’s been nearly 18 months since our last show in FRONT of people (aside from a private party last Halloween)!!!  Well, we fidd’n to remedy that come Saturday, Aug 7th @ the Trolley Pub (formerly known as Shooters) in Summerville, SC, with Reaking Havoc and Skarred Lot!

Without going into a lot of detail (those of you who have followed us for a while know that we don’t kiss and tell), we have parted ways with Kevin, our illustrious keyboard-playing drummer.   However, you’ve NOT heard the last of him here, though – we will be putting out some material in which he is very present, including an album called “Less Plugged In,” laden with lovely keys and acousticky goodness… (more on that soon)  We genuinely wish Kevin the best in all that he does moving forward, in music or otherwise.

Speaking of Reaking Havoc, Marytree’s gonna be kicking it up a notch in terms of heavy – somehow the universe saw fit to send Gary Blume our way, and dude’s hit the ground running, man!  Can’t WAIT for you to hear the new incarnation!  Hope you’ll come show ’em some love on Sat, 8-7, his first show with Marytree…Garytree, anyone?  <TAP> <TAP> Is this thing on?  😉

Maestro Blume has several play-through videos up on his YouTube channel, go check ’em out!  Here’s Gary doing what I consider to be our ‘anthem’, a little ditty called “Don’t Ask Me How:

Much love!

-James
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Marytree performing Helmet’s “Unsung”

 

Sup y’all?  Hope all’s well with you and yours.  Here’s us performing “Unsung” by Dwayne’s all-time favorite bands, HELMET!

Our thanks to the Hometown Hodges Show and Greenwood Community Theatre for having us, man!

Marytree – Less Plugged in: “Trigger Happy”

What’s up, Marytree family?  We have another installment for you from our Less Plugged In series!  But first, a little backstory…

This band has been around in some shape or form since the mid-to-late 90’s.  Starting in highschool as a two-piece + any drummer who would grace us with their skills, Marytree has gone through many changes over the years.

From a name that can’t decide whether or not to include that extra ‘e’ (which was dropped for some reason early on, until we got tired of being called Martyr, that is), to all the musicians that have come and gone, each leaving behind a little piece of their soul within the music, to everything we have experienced on and off the road, for better and for worse.  And now, a group of guys who not only make the music better, but make me a better musician.

Marytree TRIED doing “acoustic” sets in years past when we were a 3-peice, but those were mainly comprised of me plugging my raggedy ole’ acoustic guitar into my 6×12 stack and playing exactly as if we were full-on electric, complete with that dirty little (ProCo) Rat!  In a word (or two) it sucked…I was there, I know…  But now…

Now I am a different musician.  Not because of me, but because of my people.  My team.  My brothers from other mothers.  My fellow lefty, who happens to be a record-producing sound guy, he showed me how to bring the power without all that volume (though I reserve the right! 😉 ), our keyboard-playing drummer who brings all the math to the yard, in the studio as well as the stage, and a guitar-wielding bass player who brings fresh perspective to the table.  I credit them with our being able to bring you Less Plugged In.  I credit them with taking these songs, some of which are now old enough to buy alcohol, and making them fresh and new.

“Trigger Happy” is a fine example of this.  All that being said, I dedicate this video to my guys, with my sincere thanks for all that you do for, with and because of this band, this bond, this love.  THIS is Marytree.

I also dedicate it to BobbyJo Sanchez, a good friend to me and Marytree, who was there in ’98 when this song was written, allowing me bounce ideas off of her, helping to shape it into what it became.  See, I DO remember… 😉

Love,

James
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