Lesson in Survival

Seattle's Posies go their own soft way, no matter who likes it

For whatever reason, long breaks between releases have become part of the Posies' natural creative cycle. Dear 23 came out two years after Failure, the promising homemade indie release that landed Auer and Stringfellow their deal with DGC; Frosting on the Beater came three years after Dear 23; and the new CD was preceded by yet another three-year break. All that downtime between releases could be considered an asset, if you're of the belief that anticipation breeds fondness. Then again, some would argue that the Posies aren't famous enough to expect anyone to wait around so long -- even if the delay isn't on purpose.

"Our intention is never to take such a long time," says Stringfellow. "We don't write on the road, and we tour a lot. So we pretty much have to build from the ground up after a tour, and we don't feel comfortable until we have a lot of songs to choose from."

Breaking in new band members also takes time, and Auer and Stringfellow have had to do a lot of that over the years. Following the Frosting on the Beater tour, a frustrated Musburger, whose Keith Moon-ish flailing away behind the set had been an on-stage asset, left. Soon after that, Fox quit. For anyone familiar with the band, there's never been any doubt that the Posies is Auer and Stringfellow's project. But that fact hasn't always been easy for other band members to accept.

"A lot of times, they didn't like the fact that John and I got all the attention as the songwriters," Stringfellow says. "But that's just normal. If Rick or Mike wrote songs that we thought were great, we would have used them. Rick was always pressuring us to do more and more of his songs, but, unfortunately, they weren't that great, and they didn't fit with what we were doing at the time."

Fortunately, new members Joe Bass (bass) and Brian Young (drums) seem to know their place in the Posies' chain of command. "To be quite honest, we didn't take Rick's and Mike's ideas seriously because we had our own master plan," Stringfellow confesses. "[Joe and Brian] have got a really good sense of what's appropriate musically [in this band] and what's not."

Various roster issues and personal problems laid to rest for the time being, the Posies are now primed for a breakthrough. Stringfellow's mental and physical state seems to have benefited from his marriage to Kim Warnick, bassist for Seattle's Fastbacks, and with grunge on the outs and power pop back in vogue, 1996 could very well be the year the band's persistence pays off. But would the Posies be comfortable leading a trend instead of bucking it? Stringfellow says he hasn't really thought about it.

"Already, we've gotten to do all these cool things that you'd think only a bigger band would be able to do, and we're not even that popular," says Stringfellow. "We won't do just anything to be liked, and I don't even know what those things would be. But I'm always curious about what will become of it all."

The Posies perform at 9 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at the Fabulous Satellite Lounge, 3616 Washington Avenue. Velocity Girl and Fuzzy open. Tickets are $8. For info, call 869-

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