Category Archives: Uncategorized

Episode 8: Alicia Rose

At 25, Alicia Rose owned San Francisco. Moving there on a film scholarship and finding her legs as a DJ at KUSF, talent buyer at The Chameleon bringing in iconic bands such as The Jesus Lizard, Neil Hamburger and Courtney Love and touring as an artist under the name Miss Murgatroid, she was living the rockstar life. But, the question remained: “Did I do this or fall into a funny zeitgeist?” Thus at 25, Rose left her California roots and moved to Oregon for a fresh start.

Now in her 20th year as a “Bornegonian”, Rose has proven herself to be the ultimate renaissance woman. From working as a founding partner for Nail Distribution, Doug Fir Lounge and Mississippi Studios to becoming an acclaimed music video director, she is just now finding her true voice as a film director with her upcoming web series “The Benefits of Gusbandry”, which is currently raising funds on Seed and Spark.

The Gritty Birds Podcast sat down with Rose, to hear the ultimate story of new beginnings, talk about her upcoming show and listen to a preview from her new band “Moon Tiger”.

Recorded and mixed at Open Roads Studios by Jeni Wren Stottrup
Produced by Jeni Wren Stottrup
Sponsored by Vortex Music Magazine
Underscore “Killer Hips” by Shadowland from the PDX Pop Now! 2015 compilation

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Episode 7: Jared Mees

In 2006, Jared Mees launched a record label with his wife Brianne to put out his first record, If You Wanna Swim With The Sharks…, by his band Jared Mees & The Grown Children.

The two fine arts majors originally met at Oxford, fell in love and dreamed of creating a space where they could help their artistic friends. After launching the label, shortly thereafter came a store under the same name, which today features goods and crafts made by local artists. Working in restaurants during the night and at the shop and label during the day, the couple learned as they went along, becoming one of the most recognizable labels and brands in the Northwest: Tender Loving Empire—now with two boutique storefronts and a third one announced last week.

Continuously innovative, Mees recently launched a new merchandising company, Generous, which connects a pay-what-you-want system to the sale of items like artisan goods and music, while giving a portion back to charity. (Vortex even uses the technology to collect subscriptions and gives 5 percent back to The Jeremy Wilson Foundation.)

The Gritty Birds sat down with Mees to talk about the ins and outs of running a label, his experiences as a musician, how the evolving industry has opened up new opportunities, and the joys of doing music for the art of it because “music enhances life.”

Recorded at Mountain Air Studios by Mike Woodman Johnson
Mixed at Open Roads Studios by Jeni Wren Stottrup
Produced by Jeni Wren Stottrup
Sponsored by Vortex Music Magazine
Underscore “It Came to Me” by The Domestics

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Episode 6: Brandon Nikola

2 1/2 years ago, Brandon Nikola, an underground house show promoter and musician, heard of an opportunity to run the bar and events at Habesha Lounge.

“I needed a spot for a show because we were having too many and our neighbors were gonna kill us”, Nikola said. Nikola became Habesha itself, the sole employee, producing hundreds of shows while acting as the bartender, booker, sound tech and janitor. A year and a half ago Anthony Lusk came on board as well, a role Brandon describes as “door guy/sound tech/savior”.

As other smaller underground venues in the SE and around the city started closing: Langano Lounge, Blue Monk, Slabtown and recently Alhambra, to name a few, Habesha’s small space took up the slack with a fury. On any given Friday night, you could catch some of the hippest bands in Portland playing to a very packed and sweaty room. Mascaras, Grammies, Old Light, Minden, Talkative, Ah God, Souvenir Driver, Grandparents, Johanna Warren, Consumer, Hollow Sidewalks, Havania Whaal, Sister Mamie Foreskin amongst hundreds of others.

The emotion of the room, which was named as one of the top bars in Portland by WW this spring, was always one of safety. You could see Holland Andrew’s Like a Villain to a packed room and hear a pin drop or dance with abandon to frantic light displays with Talkative and Ah God. Through it all, Brandon was always there, with a hug and a PBR, the dollar brushed aside.

I sat down with Brandon the Sunday after Habesha closed for an emotional interview to talk about his years at the venue, it’s highs and lows, favorite shows, what can be done to keep our small venues open and the incident the final night of Kareoke that closed the venue early.

Featuring music by some of Brandon’s favorite bands and voicemails from listeners telling their favorite Habesha memory.

Recorded and mixed at Open Roads Studios by Jeni Wren Stottrup
produced by Jeni Wren Stottrup
sponsored by Vortex Music Magazine
Photo by Todd Walberg
Underscore, in order:
“Work Better” by Consumer
“Follow” by Joanna Newsom
“What’s More Than Appropriate” by Minden
“Whiskey Shakes” by And And And
“Pink and Black” by Old Light
“RBK” by Grammies

Special thanks to Vortex Music Magazine
Follow us on ItunesTwitter, Soundcloud, Instagram and Facebook at @grittybirds

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Episode 5: Theo Craig

Talent buyer, artistic director, curator, bassist and radio DJ are just a few of the titles that Portland tastemaker and self-described “gatekeeper” Theo Craig claims to his name.

After a particularly spicy breakup, Craig set his bass down for years—until one fateful night at Pickathon when a washboard, a Pendleton blanket and a late-night jam session reconnected him to the passion he thought he’d lost as an artist.

Hardly keeping to himself when he’s not playing, Craig has made a name for himself as the man behind Rontoms Sunday Sessions,’s Take It To The Bridge!, and as the artistic director for PDX Pop Now!—all this after moving to Portland from Seattle, where he was the sponsorship director for KEXP.

Today, he continues to be a vital piece of the Portland music community, working to not only break new bands but also his own bands, like psych trio Máscaras while also backing psych-pop chanteuse Cat Hoch.

Craig sat down with The Gritty Birds to talk about his projects, finding lost things, our favorite festivals, and his advice for artists.

Recorded, Mixed and Produced by Jeni Wren Stottrup at Open Roads Studios at the Independent Print Resource Center

Featured song: “Desert Masks” by Mascaras

Special thanks to Vortex Music Magazine

Episode 4: Jeremy Wilson

With more than 30 years in the Portland music scene as a seminal artist, activist and, most recently, head of the healthcare nonprofit The Jeremy Wilson Foundation, Wilson’s experiences move from the mythic—like the first time he met Kurt Cobain after the release of Bleach—to the humbling, with the diagnosis of his congenital heart condition. His story and experiences are a testament to the artist’s journey, from past to present and moving onward.

After the mic was turned off, Wilson told the story of his band, Dharma Bums, in East Berlin. One of the first Western bands to ever play after the fall of the Berlin Wall, they performed to a packed, silent theater. Wilson said that he could hear a pin drop as the audience stood transfixed. As the night ended, the last sound was the buzzing of an amp, lethargically echoing through the room. A slow clap began, which swelled into a thunderous applause. The fervor of a world expanded, in a time of huge change.

Today, Wilson continues to move forward and create change in the music world with his foundation, one that provides support for musicians in times of medical emergencies.

Recorded and mixed at Mountain Air Studios by Mike Woodman Johnson
Produced by Jeni Wren Stottrup

Featured Music: “Rushing Out” by Jeremy Wilson

Special thanks to our sponsors at Vortex Music Magazine