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Friday, November 4, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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A New Label For New Bands: Gossard Helps Make It Happen

----------------------------------------------------------------- Concert preview

Loosegroove Records presents Devilhead, Weapon of Choice, Critters Buggin' and Prose & Concepts, in a benefit for the Seattle Center Peace Academy, 7 p.m. tomorrow, Seattle Center Exhibition Hall; $7 at the door. -----------------------------------------------------------------

If you want to start a new record label, it helps to be a member of a major rock band.

Stone Gossard is in Pearl Jam, so he has the contacts and the money to do the job right. Along with fellow musician Regan Hagar (Brad, Satchel, Molasses) and producer Dennis Herring, he's formed Loosegroove Records, which he calls "a label a bunch of little bands can be on."

Epic, Pearl Jam's label, is a partner in the deal. Loosegroove releases are being distributed by 550 Music, an Epic subdivision devoted to promising new bands. Epic is handling the business aspects, everything from the pressings to the publicity. Gossard and partners are the artistic, creative end of the project.

"I don't want to run a label myself," Gossard admitted. He said he has invested $100,000 in the label.

Loosegroove/550 Music's first releases, which came out last week, are Devilhead's "Your Ice Cream's Dirty" and Weapon of Choice's self-titled debut.

Devilhead is in the Northwest tradition of slightly cracked rock bands, which goes back to the '50s and such groups as the Wailers and the Kingsmen. There's a loose, amateurish quality to its rough-edged songs, which range from high-energy romps to slow, sludgy dirges.

The band is made up of John McBain (guitar), John Waterman (bass), Luke Kimble (drums) and the Wood brothers, Kevin (guitar) and Brian (vocals.) The Woods are brothers of the late Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone, of which Gossard was a member.

Weapon of Choice is a Los Angeles band in the Parliament/Funkadelic tradition of provocative, fun-loving funk. Led by singer-bassist Lonnie Marshall, the eight-member group calls its style "Nutmeg," i.e. nuttiness on a mega scale.

Critters Buggin' includes Matt Chamberlain, who was Pearl Jam's drummer before the band became famous. He quit to play in the G.E. Smith Band of "Saturday Night Live" fame.

Critters Buggin' is distinctive in that it has no singer or guitarist, just two percussionists (the other is John Bush), a bassist (Brad Houser) and a saxophonist (known only as Skerik). Their wailing, buzzing, clanking, all-instrumental music is augmented by tapes with snippets of old songs and TV sound bites.

Prose & Concepts is a Seattle rap group, formerly known as Six in the Clip.

All proceeds from the show are going to the Seattle Center Peace Academy, a six-day intensive training program for high school students, intended to decrease violence in schools. Pearl Jam has been a major supporter of the program.

Gossard says he will not be performing tomorrow night, squashing rumors that Pearl Jam would make a surprise appearance. "I'll be watching from the wings," he said.

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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