King Jeff: A Q&A with One of Seattle’s Summer Babes
NadaMucho.com Interview – Summer Babes
Q&A with Jeff Albertson
Interview by Matt Ashworth
Photos by Greg Stonebraker
Known originally to Seattle music fans as a member of the fantastic post-punk band The Lights (one of my favorite local acts of all time), Jeff Albertson traded in his discordant bass lines for fuzzy guitar melodies, 60s style harmonizing, and big choruses when he formed the Summer Babes a few years ago.
As the band prepares for their CD release show on Friday, October 11 at the Sunset in Ballard, I polled Jeff for the latest on his band and the local music scene.
NadaMucho.com: Who are Summer Babes and why should anyone care?
JA: Summer Babes are Jeff Albertson, Matt Stegner, Jessica Stegner, Henry Rose and Ryan Creason. People interested in pop songs about Summer, the sun, beaches, BBQs, camping, cold beers and good friends might care. People who have negative thoughts about those things should not care.
NM: Give us a bit of the back story that brought you to this point. Doesn’t Stegner like teach classical drums at a university or something? What’s he doing in a power pop band?
JA: After playing bass in the Lights for nearly fourteen years I was ready to start a new band. I met Henry riding bikes with Point83 (a drinking club with biking problem) and it was actually his idea to form the band. I’ve known Matt since Jr. High, so I knew he could play the shit out of every instrument (he’s also a beast on the drums) so it was a no brainer to ask him. I knew that if I could convince Matt to be in a band with me that I’d also get his wife Jessica, who I knew could play keyboards and sing. So it was a “two for one” type deal. Ryan was kind of random; he was a friend of a friend who my roommate knew. We needed a drummer and Ryan said he’d played in a band in high school and wanted to start playing drums again.
NM: How’d you arrive at the all-white attire you typically wear on stage?
JA: You’ve seen that scene in DIG where Anton from the Brian Jonestown Massacre says: “Tell ’em to wear white and come when I call?” That’s where I got the idea, but more importantly it was just a way of being unified and looking like a band rather than looking like five random people on stage together. Who doesn’t look good in all white suit and tie?
NM: I think I may have to take that as a challenge. Where do I buy a giant white suit? What other local bands are you excited about right now?
JA: I consider the Redwood Plan and Lazy Animals two of my favorites just because they rock hard and are such fun people to be around. My favorite band in in Seattle (and the world) is Les Sang Song. I love what Craig Chambers (Jeff’s former band member in the Lights – Ed) is singing about. It’s real gritty stuff and he has a voice as a serious songwriter that people need to know about.
NM: That definitely sounds more interesting than all of these earthy alt-folk bands in Seattle right now. How annoying is that?
JA: I guess its fun to poke fun of all the beardos in floppy hats walking around Ballard, but everyone should do their thing no matter what’s popular at the moment. Music is fun and people should focus on that first. Styles change about every three years in this town; I don’t worry too much about it
NM: What’s gonna be the next big three-year cycle? Any guesses?
JA:I went to see Love Battery recently. It was a really fun show. People rocking out, crowd was all sweaty, drunk and smelling like pot smoke. We’ve already mined the 80s synth pop sound to death, why not a full on Grunge revival?
NM: What can people expect from your show October 11 at the Sunset?
JA: They can expect to hear a bunch of really good songs from our new album, King Tides. We’ve broadened our sound a bit and have a few more straight up rock songs now, which makes for a bit livelier set. People should also expect Matt to make some funny guitar faces while he rocks out.
(Summer Babes’ CD release show is October 11 at the Sunset with The Valley, Sleep Capsule, and the Springboards. King Tides is available on the bands’ Bandcamp page; physical copies are available at their live shows.)