“(Do Not Feed the) Oysters,” Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
I got a little celebrity obsessed approaching Oregon, knowing it’s a musical mecca. The first guy I e-mailed was Malkmus, late of Pavement, now solo and one of my great writing heroes. Malkmus wrote to tell me he had moved away, needing a break from Portland. I appreciated the polite tone and the sign off as “Steve.”
“The Sides of Monsieur Valentine,” Spoon
I then wrote Britt Daniel to see if he’d be part of our episode, but he told me he had moved to Los Angeles. On the bright side, he recommended Stumptown, which had the best coffee in town, and I e-mailed him a picture of the bacon-maple donut I half ate from Voodoo Donuts.
“Down by the Water,” The Decemberists
This didn’t go as well. Colin Meloy, singer, author, all-around genius, ignored my e-mail, forwarding it to his publicist, who wrote a generally pissy note asking me how I got his e-mail. Well, I told her, I’m a reporter. Gotta protect my sources.
“Black Sheep Boy,” Tim Hardin
This has to be one of my favorite songs, a cult folk classic I first discovered on a compilation created by Joe Strummer. Hardin was born in Eugene and wrote “If I Were a Carpenter,” but this song, about his ultimately failed battle against heroin, is the keeper.
“Modern Girl,” Sleater-Kinney
Continuing my trend of failing to connect with my rock heroes who live in (or I think live in) Portland … I reached out to Carrie Brownstein, of Sleater-Kinney past and now Portlandia, and didn’t get an angry reply or any reply at all. But I still love her band.