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Pure Pop and Proud: He’ll Get His Hooks in You – 1999

By Kathleen Wilson, The Stranger, 1999

It’s a sad Seattle fact that the Posies are no more. But you can’t say they weren’t appreciated while they were around. In a city best known for its heavier sounds, the Posies and co-frontmen Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow did their best to keep pure pop, in all its hook-laden, harmonized glory, alive and sweet-smelling in an era when rage and disgust reined. And we loved them for it.

While Stringfellow has remained in the limelight by touring with R.E.M. and forming a new band called Saltine, Auer has been less visible, especially since Lucky Me — in which Auer plays guitar — was dropped from its label. Recently he’s been performing solo, appearing on the bottom of some pretty impressive bills. A tireless devotee of all things pop, Auer doesn’t stray far from what he knows best, and his backup band — Tube Top’s Gavin Guss on bass, Super Deluxe’s John Kirsh on guitar, and drummer Darius Minwalla — are nothing if not like-minded.

As for the future, Auer’s thinking about relocating. “I’ve got some ideas about leaving the country,” he says, “but doing something about it is another thing. As any pop-oriented band will testify, it’s hard to make it in the States unless you’re a pin-up model with a posse of dancers or someone who calls themselves a rapper or hiphop artist. Mainly I’m thinking about going to Europe or Japan, where pop is more accepted. Nowadays pop has a retro connotation, which I hate. Everything is retro these days. It’s all just put together in different combinations.” Burned by labels in the past, Auer has completed a CD, Songs From the Year of Our Demise, and he’s going about distribution differently this time. “I want to just take it to a label and say, ‘Here it is.'” To keep the record companies from fucking with it? “God, yes. I could make my own Blair Witch Project with all the stuff I’ve been through with labels. Take a film crew down to Sub Pop and start it there.”