Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ondine (1994)

Guaranteed you will not find this anywhere else on the Web and it is something very few people have ever heard. Another exclusive to HTCIS and a pretty cool tale.

In 1994 I had quit a good paying job in the Midwest and, by living on the cheap, saved up a nice fat nest egg and hit the road. Stayed with friends, hit the Youth Hostel trail and camped both in National Parks and basically anywhere I found space out under the open skies.

Too many stories to tell, too many drugs and way too much existential angst (though I had the epiphany of all epiphanies at the top of Yosemite Falls, a true "before and after" moment that changed everything).

Anyhow, I ended up in Seattle. This was right at the apex of the grunge thing. Kurt  Cobain had just died (I was on I-5 on the way down to L.A. when I heard the news). I was over the grunge thing by this time. It had peaked and the word 'alternative' now meant 'popular', its meaning neutered, the sound of suburban kids thinking they were somehow underground. No longer could you count on $1 pants and $.50 shirts at the Goodwill and with grunge 'outfits' going for hundreds of dollars at the mall thrifting had gone brand name. I still blame grunge. 

I would soon stumble across Moby's Move EP and fell headlong into a love affair with electronic music, dove into the burgeoning rave scene, discovered Underworld's "Cowgirl", experienced my first Dead show (and my first acid drop) and a host of other memories emblazoned into my brain if only I could only retrieve the memories. I burst out of the confines of the obligatory rites of passage of youth and into an entirely new universe.

Met some truly great people, all trying to navigate life.  Lots of tales of experiences and discoveries but many such things are better left unspoken.  I have a journal of sorts from that period but it is a whole lot jibberish and cryptic writing that I have yet to interpret. A sign, perhaps, but out of an entire year I think I may have had two rolls of film documenting the journey. Experience doesn't leave much room for photos (which is probably a very good thing).

Enter Ondine. Music is a memory extractor for me and this one pulled some of those memories out. I lived with these guys for a while until I became a burden crashing on their floor pretty much baked all the time. But I got to see the 'inside' of the Seattle music scene and the making of a band with all its highs and lows and just how incredibly difficult it is to knit together four personalities, all with different motives, to create music. Saw them many times live which was pretty cool from rehearsal to the stage and the excitement surrounding this CD release.

It is definitely not grunge, don't worry. There is an 'artistic' flare to the music but it is really quite solid and they do have a sound that is their own. They attracted a small following during my stay in Seattle but, as often happens, they seem to have disappeared as a band a short time thereafter. 

I have had a cassette copy of this since that time and have periodically pulled it over the years and had lately been considering ripping it to digital just to preserve it. Imagine my surprise when I found a copy on an auction site. Snagged it immediately and it arrived today.

I've been checking out the names of those involved to see how they ended up once the music was over and smiled as I browsed the Web. No pangs of regret, no illusions of what that period of time was, just grateful for the experiences and the people I was so privileged to meet.

So, for your pleasure, check it out 


  1. thanks for sharing your story

  2. Thanks for the kind words. It was so long ago but this brought it all back. Fun to share.