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Return to Olympia’s Underground

K Records’ Calvin Johnson and musician Lois Maffeo revisit the ‘80s and ‘90s.

On April 14, longtime fans and patrons of Olympia-based label K Records packed in to a small building behind the State Capitol Museum for a rare opportunity: An evening listening to the label’s founder, Calvin Johnson, and local musician Lois Maffeo tell stories about Olympia’s underground music scene in the ‘80s and ‘90s, followed by musical performances and questions from the audience. The event was part of Washington State Historical Society’s Living Legacy: the Spring 2011 Lecture Series.

1 With highly illustrative narration from Johnson and Maffeo, audience members were treated to a slideshow of captivating photos from Olympia’s burgeoning music scene in the early ‘90s.

2 “People like you made growing up a lot of fun,” one audience member told Johnson. Johnson was the main organizer for 1991’s International Pop Underground Convention, a six-day festival featuring legendary bands like Fugazi, Beat Happening and L7, among many others.

3 Johnson performs “Apple to the Core” before a duet with Maffeo in which they performed their own version of “Washington My Home,” dedicated to the museum and lobbied for by Johnson to become the state’s official song.

4 One of three banners crafted in 1991 by local artist Nikki McClure for the Convention.

5 Flyers from the Convention and K Records. A number of artists helped to design flyers for the Convention, with designs that ranged from basic and handwritten to clean and intricate.

See more in the May 2011 issue   →