Local rockers Harvey Danger have decided to call it a career according to a post on the band’s official Web site. The decision was “totally mutual and utterly amicable.”
The band formed in the offices of The Daily of the University of Washington. Sean Nelson, the group’s vocalist, guitarist Jeff Lin, bassist Aaron Huffman and drummer Evan Sult all met in the mid-1990s while working on The Daily staff. When they decided to form a band, the group’s namesake came from a comic strip that used to appear in The Daily during the 1980s. In fact, on the graffiti-filled orange walls of The Daily’s office a portrait of Harvey Danger — the comic strip character, not the band — is highly visible next to the clock.
The band’s debut album, 1998’s “Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone?,” sold more than 500,000 copies and opened doors for the group including landing opening slots at shows for Green Day, Metallica, Barenaked Ladies and other big-name groups. From there the band’s sophomore record, “King James Version,” didn’t sell well due to record label issues and after the touring cycle behind that record the band members decided to go their separate ways. The group played a few reunion shows in 2004 which lead to the 2004 album “Little By Little” and remained a part of the local scene playing the occasional show around town before the announcement of the band’s break up was made last week.
Like many music fans, Ear Candy has fond memories of the band best known for “Flagpole Sitta.” Back in 2004 I was lucky enough to sit down over the course of two evenings with Nelson while he talked about what was then Harvey Danger’s comeback, which celebrated the group’s 10-year anniversary. I ended up writing this story for the P-I and this story for the University of Washington Daily.
I also once reviewed Harvey Danger for the P-I. The review was of a benefit show for Hurricane Katrina victims at the Showbox and Harvey Danger opened up for Death Cab For Cutie. I will likely forever remember Harvey Danger’s cover of Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927,” which is the song they opened their set with that night. Hearing such a meaningful, beautiful cover of that song under the show’s circumstances is something that always stand out in my mind when I think of Harvey Danger. It was a somber and emotional moment where music meant more than just notes and instruments.
Death Cab and Harvey Danger are two somewhat intertwined local indie rock bands. Harvey Danger gave Death Cab its first exposure in Seattle by picking the band to open for them during a show at the Crocodile in 1998.
It’s fitting the band will play its final show at the Crocodile Aug. 29 (ticket prices TBA) not just because of the club’s previously mentioned Death Cab connection but also because back in 2004 Nelson told me this:
“To think, when we first started out our dream was to play a show at the Crocodile. Looking back at all we’ve accomplished is amazing.”
Yes Harvey Danger you did accomplish some amazing things. Thanks for the musical memories.