Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sound Check: Chris Jury of the Bismarck Vents About the Seattle Music Industry

Posted by on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM

THE BISMARCK Big in North Dakota.
  • George Jury
  • THE BISMARCK Big in North Dakota.

Chris Jury is a guitarist/vocalist from Seattle rock band the Bismarck. In the 20 years he's been playing and working within the business of music, he's formulated some opinions about our music scene—a scene that hasn't necessarily bought what he's been selling. The Bismarck do everything themselves. They make straight-up rock that's of and for volume. Overdriven guitars and screamed vocals fire through a sloppy turret. Originally from North Dakota, the Bismarck are instilled with a workmanlike Midwestern ethic. They record, engineer, produce, and release their own music (three full-lengths since 2002, the latest being Great Plains in May 2010). They book their own shows and tours, silk-screen their own shirts, build their own instruments, drive their own van, and do all their own promotion. Through trial and error, they've learned where to tour and what spots to play. Now, music is something the Bismarck does more for fun. They aren't trying to "make it" anymore.

Jury and bandmates have grown frustrated with a scene that hasn't accepted their brand of rock music. They gave up caring about playing Seattle shows years ago, instead opting to tour and play where they are better received. In the Bismarck song "Not If You Were the Last Team Gina Fan on Earth," Jury sings, "Everyone was wearing girl pants... Everyone was on the cocaine... Everyone had an awkward haircut/And everyone was sucking everyone else's dick." Jury and I spoke. No fellatio or girl pants were involved.

Why don't you care about playing Seattle shows anymore?
Because the Bismarck and our music aren't fashionable. It's not for scenesters or buzz-feeding press. We're fine with it at this point. There's plenty of other places we love to play.

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