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Originally published Friday, November 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Night Watch

Slash's first memories of Seattle are hot n' hazy

In his new, warts-and-all — literally, I'm sorry to report — autobiography, Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash talks about arriving here for the band's inaugural show at a club called Gorilla Gardens.

Seattle Times staff reporter

In his new, warts-and-all — literally, I'm sorry to report — autobiography, Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash talks about arriving here for the band's inaugural show at a club called Gorilla Gardens. The guitarist actually spends more time describing a pre-show party hosted by a friend of Duff McKagan:

"The day we rolled in, they threw us a barbecue in our honor that, as far as I could tell, never seemed to end ... . There was an endless supply of pot, a ton of booze, and people sleeping, tripping or [having sex] in every corner. It was a fitting Guns N' Roses after-show party ... that started before our first show."

Not long after that 1985 debut, Guns N' Roses was a "buzz band" (in more ways than one), playing a Geffen Records showcase back in its native L.A. Slash boasts he was in great form: "I did a big hit of smack before we went on, which, mixed with the liquor I had already been drinking, made my stomach so rotten that I'd turn around and blow chunks over the back of my amps every five minutes."

Not long into this book ("Slash," released by Harper Entertainment on Oct. 20), one starts to ponder if there are a few better things to be — in terms of the entire package of the human experience — than a rock star.

Fortunately, the same Seattle that launched Guns N' Roses has a healthy roster of bands that don't aspire to stardom and mindless hedonism. Though most wouldn't mind making a living through their music, the ultimate goal seems to be artistic purity and a heightened state of awareness.

To be good, in other words.

And if you're on the prowl for that good music, you're in luck — seems like just about every high-quality act in Seattle has a show this crazy week.

• The weekend gets off to an excellent start, with the Kindness Kind playing a free happy-hour show at Fremont's Nectar Lounge today at 5 p.m. The Kindness Kind is an exotic pop band, with the luxurious voice of Alessandra Rose floating over Euro-electro grooves.

Fleet Foxes and Cave Singers, two of Seattle's breakout bands of 2007, share a bill at the Crocodile tonight (10, $10). With former members of Hint Hint and Pretty Girls Make Graves, the bluesy-roots trio Cave Singers went from zero to Matador Records in about a month. Many around Seattle are waiting to see who will sign Fleet Foxes, a Robin Pecknold-led psychedelic-folk band that oozes potential.

• For all your hip-hop needs, Kanye West-style rising star J. Pinder, the savvy Massliner Gabriel Teodros (you may know him from Abyssinian Creole), the GNR of Seattle rap (minus the drugs, of course), Dyme Def and mother-son duo Beyond Reality jam at the Vera Project tonight (7:30, $6).

The Hands rock it Rolling Stones style — well, just about everyone tries to, but the Hands actually succeed at this. After local hits like "Lies Lies Lies" and "So Sweet," the Hands have been recording new songs and should have a CD out in early '08. They'll be playing new and old material at the Funhouse tonight (9:30, $8).

Headlining the show is a new Portland band called Pierced Arrows ... well, "new" is a little misleading, as Fred and Toody Cole, who played together in Dead Moon for 20 years, pick up where they left off here, now with Kelly Halliburton on drums.

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• Fast-rising indie-pop band Throw Me the Statue, which maybe sounds a little too much like Aqueduct for Barsuk Records, recently made it Seattle-style by signing with Secretly Canadian — home of Nikki Sudden & the Jacobites and fellow Seattleite Damien Jurado. Catchy, well-crafted TMTS songs such as "Yucatan Gold" and "Lolita" have earned praise from Pitchfork and Stereogum, though Scott Reitherman's band is still somewhat under-the-radar in its hometown.

Reitherman, a California transplant, e-mailed that "at least part of why my friends and I ventured out here was that it seemed like music had been made and music had been accepted ... here as well, and this is music that was stripped of its pomp like the GNR road map to success. Humble, honest music seemed like it had been able to gain a foothold in the Seattle post-grunge scene ... "

The Statue band is on the opening end of a bill fronted by the Cops and BOAT at the Vera on Saturday (7:30 p.m., $6). After its set at the Vera, Throw Me the Statue heads over to the Crocodile as part of a free show with the Shaky Hands and Charlene (former Aveo members).

• It's not like your Earth, in most cases. The Earth of Dylan Carlson brings its serious drone game to Chop Suey on Saturday (9 p.m., $10). Carlson has never aspired to rock stardom, but he did have a Slash-like appetite for drugs that seriously hampered his career. After years of silence, Carlson says he has kicked his habit and recently released albums that — though certainly not for everyone's taste — push the boundaries of pop music, finding intelligence in wordless rock.

Carlson, by the way, could make a couple boatloads of money on an autobiography. But Kurt Cobain's good friend has what Slash didn't seem to pick up during his short stay in Seattle: dignity.

Tom Scanlon: 206-464-3891 or tscanlon@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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UPDATE - 12:19 PM
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