Green Apple Quick Step. What does the name bring to mind?
Some remember the band fondly. Green Apple Quick Step harkens back to a simpler time in local music - not pre-grunge simple, but still a time when it was easy to know what was cool and what was exciting, and a time when possibility hadn't been thoroughly shit on by cold hard realities - yet. To many, Green Apple Quick Step defines a time in Seattle music history. More importantly, the band mastered a sound worth getting cultish about.
For others, it seems, Green Apple Quick Step doesn't hold such a cozy place in their musical heart. Maybe frontman Ty Willman once spit on them at a show, or threw a mic stand at them in the midst of one of his moderately legendary, reckless rock 'n' roll stage tirades. Or, maybe they just view the band as a mediocre one-off of the grunge explosion, only a few notches above Candlebox and trying to scrounge a few lines off the back of the record industry's Northwest infatuation of the early '90s.
Still others just wish the band wasn't named after diarrhea.
Whatever your viewpoint on Green Apple Quick Step, one fact is undeniable: The band struck a chord, and is still remembered. Aside from a handful of songs at a Caffé Vita employee party at the Showbox in December, Green Apple Quick Step - in any form - hasn't taken the stage in more than 12 years.
That all changes next week at Hell's Kitchen in Tacoma - Willman's hometown. Along with drummer Geoff Reading, guitarists Dana Turner and Mike Squires, and vocalist Christa Wells - none of whom are technically original members other than Willman - Green Apple Quick Step - at least for the evening - will be reborn in T-town.
The connection is no coincidence.
"I just wanted to play those songs again. It had been such a long time," says Willman of the decision to take the stage at the Caffé Vita employee party last year, and the momentum it created which spurred the upcoming Hell's Kitchen show as well as a show at the Crocodile Café coming up in May.
"It felt natural."
According to Willman, the seeds for Green Apple Quick Step's show next week were originally sewn sitting at the bar of the old Hell's Kitchen, chatting with Hell's Kitchen head honcho Ken "Flash" Connell.
"Even before I did (the Caffé Vita show) I mentioned the idea to Flash at the old Hell's Kitchen," recalls Willman. "He told me if I was ever serious to let him know, so I got in touch."
While Green Apple Quick Step is (rightfully) remembered as a Seattle band, Willman first rose to prominence with the group Inspector Luv and the Ride Me Babies - a band that still inspires wry smiles of knowing amongst Tacoma's old-schoolers and the Community World Theater crowd. Tacoma originals, Inspector Luv eventually gave way to Seattle's Green Apple Quick Step, but no one within the scene forgot where Willman came from.
"I grew up in Tacoma, went to high school in Tacoma. I still visit Tacoma frequently. It felt like a natural place to play a first show," says Willman. "Tacoma has grown up a lot."
In the same time span Tacoma has grown up, the same can be said for most of Green Apple Quick Step's fans - many of whom find themselves at least 12 years older than when they first discovered the band. That said, Willman isn't resting on old laurels and isn't adverse to the idea of attracting new ears - in fact, he seems to be welcoming it. In addition to hoping for a few fresh faces in the crowd in Tacoma, Willman seems more serious than ever about the possibility of finally releasing New Disaster, the much coveted, never released final record Green Apple Quick Step recorded for Columbia in ‘98.
"There's no reason it shouldn't (be available)," says Willman of New Disaster. "We'll see what happens."
Yes, I suppose we will - starting next week at Hell's Kitchen.
[Hell's Kitchen, Green Apple Quick Step with The Jet City Fix, Broken Cannon, Friday, March 26, 9 p.m., $10, 928 Pacific Ave., downtown Tacoma, 253.759.6003]