AngelaJossy's Blog

Mar. 3, 2009 at 1:06pm

"Tacoma's own" Neko Case

I really don't think so.

Everybody is talking about Neko Case and her new album. Ever notice how she never plays in Tacoma? But we are so quick to claim her. So quick to praise her.

I wonder, would Tacoma love Neko Case as much if she had never left?

If she played at Station 56, Jazzbones, Hells Kitchen, Mandolin Café, The Swiss, Dawson’s Tavern, Bob’s Java Jive, Cedarwood or any of the other live music venues around here would she be written up in the News Tribune? Would local radio stations play her music? Would you even know who she was?

Would she have even been able to get gigs here? Her style of music is not exactly what you would find at any of these places.

Don't misunderstand me - her music is awesome and she is super talented but Tacoma never nurtured her, never supported her and she had to leave in order to find her potential. This is what makes me sad.

Tomorrow's talent must seek acceptance elsewhere and only then will we know their names. I blame the low self esteem of the entire city. We never love ourselves until someone else loves us.

I wish I knew how to change this. I've been trying for the last 8 years.

comments [26]  |  posted under , music, Neko Case, Tacoma


by Shep on 3/9/2009 @ 1:20pm
I know what you mean about the city's low self esteem, and it should not be so! I lived in Seattle for 18 years and hated it. When finances turned south, so did I, and it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. Why? Because I discovered Tacoma (of the two cities, it's the one with the personality). I've heard band members who have played at blues festivals here say that Tacoma is the best place to play! It's because we dance and cheer and party on to their music. This is where I got friends, found fun and got a life. Tacoma Rules!

by dolly varden on 3/9/2009 @ 2:33pm
I think someone like her could do well starting a career here these days. The New Frontier and the Java Jive host all kinds of independent music, as do clubs in Seattle like the Sunset and the Tractor.

But you can tell from Neko's songs and interviews that she had to get out of Tacoma and ultimately the Northwest in general. That probably says more about her personal situation here than the place itself -- moving away from the hometown (any hometown) can make one feel freer to express oneself, especially when you have or had a difficult family situation.

I just wish she'd come back and play the Rialto or Pantages one of these days.

by Dave_L on 3/9/2009 @ 5:16pm
Huge topic; I expected more comments. But glad they started coming in. IMHO, I think it has less to do with the town’s self-esteem than with the industry itself, and real people getting away from their computers and other things and getting out and supporting (and purchasing) good, local music. And more places to hear music. The only reason the Jive is able to put on music is because bands want to play, volunteers do the booking, and the papers do the listings, frequent good press from the Volcano... But there is no real promotion, and most nights the place is empty, and the bands split a very small door take. It's as hard as ever to get airplay. There are some positive factors. Since the late 60’s Victory Music (.org) has always been a advocate for Acoustic Music, locally and nationally, and while it is not the organization it used to be, it is still managing to put out yet another musician submission compilation album. Long-running open mikes, camps and workshops add to the regional music scene. The Kitchen seems to do quite well, and the new Frontier seems to be gaining traction. The Arcadia Music in Washington gives some interesting perspective on the local scene, as does Maybe Neko will no longer play one of our smaller venues, but she did pay tribute to a local icon. The liner note booklet has different original artwork for each song, and for one song, it features a drawing of the long-gone sign that stood outside the Java Jive a place where she worked for a time . That’s just a few rambling thoughts. Anyone else? How about the changes in the industry re formats (downloading, youtube)? Good or bad?

by NineInchNachos on 3/9/2009 @ 6:40pm
cat fight!

by AngelaJossy on 3/9/2009 @ 10:34pm
Cat fight? Wha? Who? My complaint isn't with Neko its with Tacoma's lack of support for local musicians. Basically we lack the infrastructure to create a real buzz.

I actually have a whole theory on this which I have written about many times in my online forum Happy Friday Club (

Happy Friday Club is for musicians and music business people in Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia. I created HFC about 10 years ago so the music community can work together, share information, etc. There are currently 248 members.

If this is a topic you care about maybe you should join.

by Dave_L on 3/10/2009 @ 12:09pm
Happy Friday Club sounds like a great resource. Back in its heyday, VM used to hold free business seminars for musicians, and it's that type of sharing of info and pooling of knowledge like you are doing that has a chance of making a difference. Perhaps there needs to be a way to pull together the resources that are out there. But you're right, it's one hand clapping without the support (audience and dollars) of the community and media.

by AngelaJossy on 3/10/2009 @ 12:34pm
What is VM? A few years ago a friend of mine ran some terrific workshops for musicians at nightclub called Panamonica's. I've actually organized a couple of them myself in the last year or so. Funny thing is the musicians don't participate as much as you'd think. I think there is a perception that success just happens. People think that if you're good you'll be discovered so why bother educating yourself on how the business works. Those people usually last about a year and a half before they get pissed off and quit.

by AngelaJossy on 3/10/2009 @ 2:53pm
OK, I realize of course VM is Victory Music.

by AngelaJossy on 4/27/2009 @ 5:03pm
Though I still don't think we deserve her, I'm super excited that Neko is coming to Tacoma!

by dolly varden on 4/27/2009 @ 10:28pm
She's coming because of some requests to the Broadway Center to bring her here -- ask and ye shall receive. I can't think of a more deserving town, personally.

by FunkomaVintage on 4/28/2009 @ 11:21am Tacoma now officially over Chihuly as "our" favorite artiste that left to find fame and now throws Tacoma a bone......or what? Just trying to keep up. ;-) Or is Chihuly and Case our Homecoming King and Queen...and Bing Crosby our Overlord Visigoth?
Are the youngens claiming Cam Gigandet....born 16 August 1982, Tacoma, Washington, USA...which is weird because I was visiting Tacoma, deciding to move here or not, when he was being born at TG or St. Joes.....or whatever........and to be famous and from Tacoma does one of your names have to start with a C ?? Like Jim Carrey?

by dolly varden on 4/28/2009 @ 9:39pm
Whoa, Funkoma. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. I happen to like Neko's music, and did long before I moved here or had any connection to this town.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 4/28/2009 @ 9:56pm
Why can't we claim Leonard Cohen, he did a song called Tacoma Trailer on his The Future album, though personally I think we should claim him for Closing Time. Yikes, another "C" person.

by AngelaJossy on 4/28/2009 @ 10:49pm
Don't forget Bing Crosby (another C). I heard he's from Tacoma too.
Kurt Cobain has some Tacoma ties too.

by Dave_L on 4/29/2009 @ 1:10am
Corky Corcoran. (No kidding.)
(Recorded with Red Kelly and another Tacoma legend, Art Mineo.)

by Dave_L on 6/2/2009 @ 1:14am
So, anyone else out there going to the Pantages show tonight? (@5:25)

by tacomachickadee on 6/2/2009 @ 9:10am
DL: Of course! I think you'll see lots of friendly faces tonight. :)

by Dave_L on 6/2/2009 @ 10:14am
That's great - I was beginning to wonder! (Especially when a lot of people had already committed to the Thursday Paramount show.) Throw something at me; I'll be near the front of the 2nd section of the main-floor. Keep your powder dry.

by tacomachickadee on 6/2/2009 @ 10:17am
If you're sitting next to us, I will laugh.

by dolly varden on 6/2/2009 @ 10:35am
Looks like it's getting close to a sellout -- seats are only left in the top balcony.

by dolly varden on 6/3/2009 @ 12:58am
What a great show. To get a little psychobabbly, I think both Neko and the audience confronted some demons about what Neko means to Tacoma and vice versa -- and came out the better for it. Here's to more indie rock at the Pantages!

by NineInchNachos on 6/3/2009 @ 8:08am
I saw everybody sept dave L. Maybe he sat upstairs? anyhow Neko was FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love her with every part of my body. When she did her last song (thrice all american) the place exploded... chairs few away and the earth stood still in rapture.

Eat your heart out Jossy!

by Dave_L on 6/3/2009 @ 9:44am
TC was right, I saw a LOT of friendly faces at the show. On the other hand, I looked for some of you, but didn't see you. I knew my seat was good, but I didn't realize it was second-row, left-of-center. Close enough to see a glistening tear run down Neko's cheek as she ended the extended encore with Thrice All-American, joined in song by half the audience, as little toddler Opal danced on stage. My life is a complete now. Besides running into a lot of people I know, it was also good going with a friend who was in the scene back then and was able to point out a lot of people I didn't know. (Sadly, by the time I purchased my house two blocks from the Community World Theater at the time, it was no longer a venue.) Great musicians, including Kelly's additional vocals. Incredible crafting of lyrics, rhythm, and hooks. Every song was a favorite. Great stage banter, and I was surprised when she admitted being nervous. I always get post-concert blues, and it's hitting hard this time. I guess the only remedy is listening to more music. It's good reading your feedback here.

by tacomachickadee on 6/3/2009 @ 1:53pm
Spotted you DL! (Way up front.)

And yes ... amazing show. A reunion for many, and a fabulous experience for all.

by AngelaJossy on 6/4/2009 @ 11:09am
Wait, wha? Eat your heart out Jossy? Do people still think this blog was dissing Neko? WTF? I would have been there myself cheering if I wasn't flat broke.

by Dave_L on 6/11/2009 @ 6:21pm
Sorry to bump this thread again. It's not like I'm a fan or anything. But Neko's scheduled to be on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien tonight (6/11). Let's see if she has a chance to give Tacoma a plug again. I hear at the Paramount show someone shouted out for "Thrice All-American," but she said she only does that song in Tacoma. Cool.