#OTW Blog

#OTW Beatlemania – Day 2

Today in Seattle Music History = Today in Beatles HistoryBeatles PI paper

How cool!

On August 25, 1966, The Beatles made their final appearance in Seattle, playing two shows at what is now called KeyArena.  It was in the middle of their third North America tour, which, as history soon showed, was their final tour, period.

In fact, the band’s final performance in Seattle turned out to be its penultimate concert.  Sure, they went on with successful solo careers, but at the time, few knew the band was on the verge of breaking up.  Not even all the band members were convinced.

Flying in from Los Angeles the morning of August 25th, the Beatles stayed at the legendary Edgewater Inn, where there is now a Fab Four-themed suite. The band also roomed at the hotel when they first played Seattle, in August 1964, after a number of other hotels refused to book the foursome.

"The Beatles Suite", is room 272, a parlor room where the band originally stayed. It is now a 700-square foot shrine to all things Beatles, mostly in the form of photographs and Beatles CDs. For more than $1000/night, it's yours!

“The Beatles Suite,” is room 272, a parlor room where the band originally stayed. It is now a 700-square foot shrine to all things Beatles, mostly in the form of photographs and Beatles CDs. For more than $1000/night, it’s yours!

Because rock concerts didn’t last as long as they do these days, bands often scheduled two shows in a single day, which is exactly what The Beatles did in Seattle.  Shockingly, the afternoon concert was sparsely attended — only 8,000 of the 15,000 seats in the Coliseum were filled (aforementioned “Snub #2). On the other hand, the 8 P.M. show was packed (Seattle redeemed.)

The Beatles performed a total of 11 songs at each show.  And, even though rock concerts tended to be brief affairs — hardly lasting longer than an hour — The Beatles’ shows were sometimes even shorter than the typical length, often wrapping up within 30-40 minutes.

After opening with a cover of Chuck Berry’s classic “Rock and Roll Music,” The Beatles then concentrated on their recent hit singles, such as “She’s A Woman” and “Paperback Writer.”

“Yesterday,” the 1965 single of which featured only Paul McCartney and a string quartet, had been rearranged as a band number. When performed as such, the results were often mixed, at best.  See for yourself from this 1966 version, played in Japan.

Except for the closing song, the set list for both shows was the same. The afternoon show set list shows that they concluded with “I’m Down;” the evening show set list shows they finished up with a cover of Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally.”

As you can see from the set lists, the Beatles dared to perform songs from Rubber Soul, their 1965 album, such as “If I Needed Someone” and “Nowhere Man.” This was a daring move because several songs on Rubber Soul were a challenge to make work in concert. This was either due to new studio “production tricks” or because some of the cuts required instruments beyond guitars, bass and drums. So, when the songs were adapted for the concert stage, a little of the magic was lost.

$6! Those were the days!

$6! Those were the days!

Similarly, songs from the Beatles’ newest album, Revolver, released in 1966, were nearly impossible to recreate in concert with the technology available at the time.

No one at either Seattle concert could have guessed that it would be the last time they would see The Beatles play in Seattle. However, only four days later, on August 29, the band performed their final concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. (Hint: Click on that link, it’s a pretty good story, if you have a few minutes – and are a Beatles fan.)

The band did perform one last time, in 1969, in an unannounced rooftop concert in London that was featured in the 1970 documentary, Let it Be.

beatles rooftop

It’s Beatlemania Week at #OTW!

Here’s the scoop:  The Fab Four visited Seattle only a couple times and it so happens that both those times were during this week in August (’64 & ’66.)  Uncanny! I couldn’t have planned it better had I tried!

Check out this Beatles interview when the band first visited here on August 21, 1964.  Weren’t they adorable?

Well, don’t take my word for it… we will share throughout the week some pics of those silly mop tops doing what they did best:  which was, “Act Naturally.”  Speaking of which, why not take a gander at Ringo singing this little ditty.

Last Time Jimi Hendrix Played Seattle 1

Keeping with this week’s Jimi Hendrix theme, it is worthy of noting that 45 years ago this week — on July 26, 1970 — Hendrix performed what would be his last concert in his hometown of Seattle.  It was two months before his death.

Near the end of the American leg of his Cry Of LHendrixove tour, Hendrix spent time reconnecting with his SeHendrix story - sicks stadiumattle family and former Garfield High School friends before playing at the former Sick’s Stadium on Rainier Avenue.

At a show marked by particularly heavy rain, Hendrix played a total of 12 songs, opening with the old Experience classic “Fire.”  Hendrix even performed his incendiary take on “The Star-Spangled Banner” — just about three weeks before its more famous airing at Woodstock.  Here’s a rough bootleg copy of the Sick’s Stadium cut, which then segued into “Purple Haze.”  Sweet that this even exists!

Hendrix also played songs he was working on for his unfinished follow-up album to the 1968 classic Electric Ladyland. “Hey Baby [New Rising Sun]” was one such song, which closed the 7/26 show.

The longtime home of the Seattle Rainiers baseball team, Sick’s was primarily used for sporting events though it was frequently employed for the occasional rock concert.  In fact, Hendrix once attended an Elvis Presley show there as a teenager. The venue was demolished in 1979 and a sign commemorating Sick’s was erected outside the Lowe’s Home Improvement store which now stands there.

hendrix story - sicks stadium now

Hendrix would perform only three more times on American soil before he was found dead by friends in London.  He is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Renton, WA.

Thanks to OTW student Eric Andrews’s research and reporting for this article on a great piece of Seattle history.  And to our pal Lucas, the Hendrix fan and featured in our OTW Student Spotlight only a few days ago … I’d say the timing is uncanny!

#tbt Chris at the piano @Pianos in the Park 2014

A little piano #tbt! Some honky tonk Pianos in the Park for your Thursday afternoon pleasure!

How can you be this cool?

1) Wear your Off the Wall t-shirt!
2) Find a piano
3) Play the piano and … do any or all of the following things so we’ll get to share in the fun:
—  Snap a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #OTWRocks
—  Film a 15-sec video on Instagram with the hashtag #OTWRocks
—  Film a LONGER video and post on your YouTube account with the hashtag #OTWPianos2015.
—  Snap a photo or take a video and send it to Deidre at offthewallseattle.media@gmail.com and I’ll take care of it!
We want to see your awesomeness!  So try any and/or all of these things and we’ll be soooo happy!

Student Spotlight: Our guy Lucas!

Student Spotlight Lucas
We would like to introduce you to 12-year-old Lucas, who has been a student at OTW for about a year and a half.  Lucas is a guitar player and a singer and his future goals include becoming an actor!

His guitar teacher is Matt Williams and says that Lucas “…always comes in smiling and ready to play. Lessons with him are always a blast and he constantly impresses me as a guitarist.”  WOW!

Now, let’s hear from Lucas!  During our recent interview with Lucas we learned quite a bit of interesting things, such as….

… currently his favorite songs are “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix and “Carry On My Wayward” Son by Kansas.

… his favorite band is Jimi Hendrix Experience. Because Jimi Hendrix is the best guitar player of all time.
(Editor’s note:  That may be true, but maybe you should click on the above link and check out some of his hairstyles in the pictures from his early playing days – just sayin’)Are you Experienced Hendrix

… his dog is named Leo (we think he should have named him Jimi.)

… he attends Hamilton International Middle School

… if he could eat one thing for the rest of his life it’d be mint chip ice cream.

… his favorite subject is Japanese.

… his favorite thing about being a student at OTW is that “everyone’s friendly!”

Well, we probably seem so friendly because we like you and our other students so much!  Thank you so much for participating in our Student Spotlights Lucas.  We love having you take lessons here and really enjoyed being able to introduce you to some of our friends.

4 Things for this weekend’s to-do list…

So many parties, festivals, and soirees, but, seemingly so little summer…. Here are a couple music-related things to do! And you don’t even have to venture very far.

1) Wallingford Center Celebrates 30! They get top billing this weekend because we think Wallingford is awesome.  Saturday 1-6PM!  Food, Drinks and Prizes!


 Wallingford 30 party

2) Seattle’s First Waterfront Music Festival, July 18th, right down in Myrtle Edwards Park.  Portland isn’t the only NW city with an awesome waterfront park.  We’ve got one, too!  And in a couple weeks, you can go visit “their” park for the NW Music Fest, which is always a ton of fun.  But please go to ours, too!

3) Headed over the bridge?  Then head to the the Kirkland Uncorked Wine Festival!

kirkland uncorked

4) Why not check out the Timber Fest in Carnation, WA?  And, if you fancy yourself a real hearty NW soul, you might want to check out Timbrrr!  It is the winter music festival in Leavenworth, WA in mid-January.

And…wait!  If you go, snap a photo so we can share some of the fun!  You can either post it to Instagram with the hashtag #OTWRocks or you can send it directly to me at offthewallseattle.media@gmail.com and I’ll be glad to post it for you.  You’ll be on the school’s slideshow!  You’ll be ALMOST FAMOUS!  :)

Two Seattle-area arts and culture festivals this weekend!

dragon fest 2015

Every weekend in Seattle there is something fun to do.  Read on for this weekend’s good stuff!

The International District’s Dragon Fest is always lots of good fun but here’s a BONUS: the Seahawks’ Blue Thunder Drumline will be showcased on Saturday at 3PM (OKOK, this will be thier 12th year — but it’s still a bonus!)

And if you find yourself on the other side of the West Seattle Bridge, then check out the fun at the Junction!  It is the 2015 West Seattle Summerfest.

Whether you are here, there, or elsewhere…HAVE FUN!

west seattle summerfest 2015

Who Loves Music Lessons? Xea Annecka Kruger!

XEA circleSince we think that Off The Wall offers the best, funnest, most awesome music lessons, we wanted to take a minute to introduce you to another one of our fantastic students!

Nine-year-old Xéa Annecka Kruger has been a student at Off The Wall School of Music for almost four years.  She takes both voice and piano lessons with Sarah Angel and aspires to learn even more instruments!  We did a little question and answer session with her recently and here are some of her responses.

What is/are your favorite song(s) right now? “Dear Future Husband”, “Feel the Light” and “Blank Space”

What is your favorite band?  Can you say why? “Maroon 5” because I like dancing to their music.

Do you have any pets?  How many, what kind, and what are their names? 1 cat named Moco

What do you want to be when you grow up? Wildlife Veterinarian

We love having you take lessons here. What is your favorite thing about Off The Wall School of Music? Recitals

Thank you Xéa for giving us the opportunity to get to know you a little better.  We can’t wait to hear you perform again at our next recital!

3 Lists Telling us what’s Happening this Weekend — music and beyond…

Are pirates your thing?  Maybe Legos?

seafair pirates

A couple cool lists of local weekend summertime happenings:

1) Here’s a good list from Seattle’s Child, which includes things like a Seafair Pirate Landing and an edible garden tour at West Woodland Elementary school, which is a few minutes northwest of our school.

2) The Stranger Music calendar is awesome.  You can sort by type of music, select specific days, venues.  Has free shows, all-ages shows…a little something for everyone!

3) Who didn’t love their little red tricycle?  Well, now you can have it all the time!  Well, Red Tricycle grew up and now provides news as well as this handy, dandy and fairly comprehensive list of things that are happening for area families.  From music and plays, to camps and LEGOS!  (We love legos.)  And you can look ahead to other weekends, too!

Student Spotlight: Madison Herbst

Hi Everyone!

We wanted to introduce you to 15-year-old Madison Herbst, who has been a student with us for two years.  Madison participated in an interview with us and we learned that she can play drums, bass (upright & electric), as well as the alto saxophone!  What an amazing accomplishment!

Even more amazing are some of the answers to our Off The Wall questions.

OTW: What are your favorite songs right now?
Madison: Dream a Little Dream of Me performed by The Mamas & the Papas (check out Mama Cass in this video!)

OTW: What are your favorite bands and why?
Madison: Miles Davis Quintet because I look up to the musicians and I love jazz.  Also, Chon & Tricot because I’ve been getting into Math Rock which uses weird time signatures & intricate rhythms.  It’s really fun to listen to….you have to have an ear for it.

OTW: Do you have any pets?
Madison: No pets right now but I have a lot plants…an orchid and a succulent.  If I could have a pet right now I’d like to have a bearded dragon.  You can take them for walks….they’re AWESOME!

Simple pan fried rice noodles with Chinese broccoli and pork.

Pad See Ew: Simple pan fried rice noodles with Chinese broccoli and pork. YUM!

OTW: If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Madison: Pad See Ew…yummmm (We agree! Click here for recipe!)

OTW: We love having you take lessons here. What is your favorite thing about Off The Wall School of Music?Madison: All the teachers are really nice.  They care about you learning and really getting to know the music.  They are fun to talk to & they have a lot of experience they pass along.  They each have they have their own unique teaching style that makes learning fun and it’s not boring.

Fantastic answers, Madison!  Thank you so much for sharing.

(And, if she ever gets that bearded dragon…they seem pretty tolerant of affectionate cats, too!)

Songs For The “Good Old Summertime”

Recognize this?  It looks a lot like an early summer in Seattle…



Indeed, the heat wave has come early to Seattle this year. As we settle in for what looks to be quite a warm summer, let’s get in the mood with a virtual journey through some classic hot-weather hits.

First, a little background….

In the very early days of recorded music, it was thought that when a song referred to a specific time of year, sales would drop once that season was over.  “In the Good Old Summertime,” recorded in 1902, broke the mold and we are glad it did.  The song was adapted by different musicians for decades – even more than a century later by this modern barbershop “quartet.”

Here are some of the summertime, seasonal hits that followed:

Though Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” was not a theatrical success, its songs received attention right after the show’s opening in 1935.  “Summertime” has become one of the show’s most famous, as there have been an estimated 33,000 recordings covers over the years. Often sung or played at an easygoing pace, here you will hear Billy Stewart swing it furiously, unleashing some of the fastest, most animated scatting you have ever heard. A Top 10 single in 1966, it was one of Stewart’s biggest hits before his tragic death in 1970.


“Hot Fun In The Summertime”
The year after show-stealing performance at Woodstock, Sly and the Family Stone released this laidback 1969 single, which reached #2 on the pop charts.  It has become a classic summertime hit.

Summer Breeze”
Originally recorded in 1972 by Seals and Croft as a wistful folk-pop number, the Isley Brothers offer their twist with a pronounced funk beet that still sounded bright and summery.  Ron Isley’s shimmering falsetto lead vocal and younger brother Ernie’s fiery guitar solo complete the package.


Another song that salutes the carefree, relaxing nature of the season , this number was recorded as for War’s 1976 Greatest Hits compilation.  It had climbed as high as #7 on the pop charts by September.  Like most of War’s songs, which often evolved gradually from jam sessions, the writing on “Summer” was credited to every member in the group.


Check with your teacher about learning these songs as well as other great summer songs.

— Eric Andrews

It feels like summer!

The weather has heated up and Headshot - Chris circlesummer is upon us! Soon school will be out and everyone will be heading out to enjoy the sunshine and explore the world. AWESOME!

It has been an exciting year so far at Off the Wall. We’ve added new staff members, increased our social media presence, and are doing our best to capture and share all of the awesomeness that is our school. Who wouldn’t want to brag about the best students in the world?!

Have you seen our new waiting room décor? There are new posters and even staff pics. We are always looking to change and improve so if you have any ideas for us, please drop us a line! We love receiving your input.

I’m really excited about how totally awesome our May Rock-cital went! Everyone had great performances. If you have a moment, check out some of the pics and clips on our Facebook album (public for everyone!) And, while you are there, “LIKE” us so that you can keep up with all the things we are doing.

Even though you’ll be basking in the sunshine, don’t forget to keep those instruments going. Joining up with one of our Rock Band Camps is a great way to do just that. We start June 22nd and there is room in several camps so, if you are interested in joining a band, we’d love to have you! Or, if you just hang out, jam a bit, eat ice cream…that’s cool too.

With all of the awesome things you will be doing this summer, we realize summer lesson scheduling can be chaotic. Please let us know if you want to make any schedule changes. We will gladly switch you to ad hoc lessons. If you want to move your recurring lesson to a new time, we can do that!

It is wonderful watching our students improve! If we don’t see you at one of our camps, we hope that you continue to practice this summer and prep for our next recital in the fall!

We look forward to spending the most rockin’ summer ever with our OTW family!


— Chris

Hello … Is this thing on?

Headshot - Chris

Since I don’t get to talk with everyone as much as I’d like I’m going to trot out this idea of posting a little something here every month.  And maybe you’ll read it and just get the warm and fuzzy feeling that we are having a really awesome conversation.  Maybe not, but I do wish we all had more time to connect.

So, if you have the inclination…by all means, read on!


The Future of Jazz. Here in Seattle?

Fa La La! ‘Tis the (Jazz) Season!

Essentially ellington photo

Like Jazz?  Like kids?  Like kids playing jazz?  Well, then this is the time of year for you to pay close attention.  That’s because the country’s youth jazz community is in the throes of of its annual jazz concert competition calendar.

Lionel Hampton Jazz Competition was last month.  The Reno Jazz Competition was last weekend.  The Essentially Ellington Competition — the granddaddy of them all! — is in two weeks in NYC.

And, once again, the country is watching…Seattle.

Sure, the jazz programs of Roosevelt High School and Garfield High School are national perennial favorites.  But check out this list of last week’s winners at Reno and you’ll see there are lots lots of schools from the Seattle-area — middle schools, high schools, private schools.  We are jazz happy here!

And, please don’t forget to cheer on Roosevelt, Garfield and Mount Si high schools May 7-9 at Ellington.  And, win or lose (they both can’t win, afterall!) when they return to Seattle…they’ll be putting on some BIG shows for those of us who didn’t make the trek to NYC.

Here’s a nice write-up from KOMO News about our high schools produce the best jazz bands.  Coincidence?