Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Take a Flight to Mars with Mike McCready

On this 12th year of Flight to Mars benefits, they 
raised a record $35,000.00 for Crohn's and Colitis
Foundation of America (CCFA), Camp Oasis
 and The Jenifer Jar Center

In reading this remember I am no spring monkey, so in recalling memories of Mike from the '80s and '90s, the exact places and dates may be slightly off!  My first memory of Mike is of seeing him in Pioneer Square at this restaurant where he worked. I want to say it was a pizza stand, but it may have been a restaurant. In any case, I remember seeing him, and Andy pointing him out as a local guitar player. I remember he always wore this snappy little hat so this is how I would recognize him from then on.  Also, Mother Love Bone's office was in Pioneer Square, so as those trips frequented so would our run-ins with Mike. It wasn't a great time for us; Andy was already on his second trip to rehab, and Mike seemed like a cool but serious kid who had his mind on his own life. So we'd never chat long, sort of a "Hey there," and "Bye, see you later dude" thing. I always loved his little hats though. 

Mike in one of his adorable '80s hats.
Photographer and date unknown

After Andy died, I don't think he and I ever spoke.  It was a sad time for everyone, and all I remember is seeing him and him looking sad even if he was kicking ass on stage.

Everyone in Seattle was bummed out. Even people who were not close to me and Andy or even knew who the band was were devastated. I remember walking on the street in Pioneer Square -- it was an ugly winter day and I was alone walking to my gym in the Smith Tower, and as I walked by a newspaper machine I saw the Seattle Times cover had Andy's face on it. Then some total stranger bought one in front of me and burst out in tears. I'm sure it would have made her even more sad if she knew who I was, so I said nothing. So I realized right away back then that I made people even more sad, which is probably why I left Seattle the next year. I never saw Mike again over the next 20 years.

The '90s can best be described as a long
mad season on a dark desert highway.
My dark passenger always had one hand on
the wheel steering me the wrong way.
His name... is " Sancho " 

Fast forward to 2013. Well, I'm back! From the dead! Literally. If I have to explain this to you, you're an idiot, you have no business reading this, and I should fire my publicist. But he's a monkey and despite a few minor character flaws, Sancho can be pretty damn adorable at times, especially now that he's sober. 

I first saw Mike again at the mural amphitheatre watching BRAD. I walked up to him and said "Mike, I'm sorry about my affairs with Evel Knievel and Mickey Rourke, and I'm sorry I threatened to take out Eddie with a crossbow easily borrowed from Ted Nugent." ( by the way, this incident occurred on a gallon of tequila I was carrying around that my mom bought me- on the advice of Demri's mom, who said it would get me into rehab from the hospital; well she was wrong, but luckily, no one was killed by a crossbow or any other weapon  borrowed from Ted Nugent, and my friend survived her bite on the arm.) When I explained this to Mike, he laughed and said, "Xana, I was so messed up for so long."

The next time I saw him was backstage at the Walking Papers first show at Slim's Last Chance. He ran up to me all cute and hugged me -- it kind of surprised me -- he said he had just been listening to Mother Love Bone on the way over. What's really cool about that day is I had no idea who the Walking Papers were or that Mike was going to be there. I had no idea what to expect. Needless to say, me and the rest of the world were and continue to be blown away by them and all their various projects and are keenly aware of the fact that the Mad Season family has turned out to be some of the best and most influential musicians around.

Me, Charo the Chihuahua, Duff, and Lori 
at the Walking Papers show at Slim's. 
Proof Seattle's musicians are not only the 
best, but the most down to Earth. 

Nowadays, I get to see Mike pretty often. I see him at cool galley openings. Fun and historic shows like Shadow's triumphant comeback at Easy Street Records. I've been able to support mutual friends' bands by filming and live streaming for over two years now. Mike is very approachable and, like Duff and the Walking Papers guys, always accommodating to his fans and seems to feel comfortable in public. This means a lot to music fans and it's great fun seeing the kids of all our friends get excited about the music we grew up with and get to meet them. 

My good friend Cheryl's son Blake Wilcox on the left
His friend Will is next to him, and that big chode
behind them is Joe Dredd ha ha ha 
Blake's been playing guitar since he could
pick one up and in the past 4 years has also learned
to play the trumpet, bass, drums and even 
a little keyboard. His family supports and has
participated in Seattle School of Rock.

Blake Wilcox kicking it at Easy Street
with Mike McCready at The Shadow show.

This last weekend's Flight to Mars show at The Showbox brought that circle to near completion. We still approach each other and part the way we always have -- with ease, and no expectations or needs for a long conversation.  When I was filming the show I looked up at him, His eyes wide open and clear, to his audience he gives-his heartshine. 

All I ever wanted to know was why Andy had to die so young and to see something amazing come out of it. I have to say after this show, I think I can finally accept that Andy could have never done alone what Mike, Pearl Jam, and Team McCready have accomplished in how they give so much to so many. In a strange way, it feels like he was sacrificed for the greater good. So for that moment of clarity- Mike, I thank you -- you are truly a Stardog Champion. 

Siempre Contigo
Xana 'Stargazer' La Fuente

For Mike 

For more information on Team McCready:

Team McCready is a division of the Wishlist Foundation, a Pearl Jam fan non-profit organization. Team McCready is specifically dedicated to supporting the philanthropic goals and celebrating the achievements of Pearl Jam lead guitarist, Mike McCready.


For more information on Flight to Mars projects: 


1 comment:

  1. damn it you made me cry ,, I love you and thank you for this wonderful story <3


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