Some Velvet Sidewalk

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Some Velvet Sidewalk
Background information
Origin Eugene, Oregon
Genres Love rock
Years active 1987–1997
Labels K Records
Past members Al Larsen
Robert Christie
Tobi Vail
Louise Olson
Don Blair
Martin Bernier
Paul Schuster<

Some Velvet Sidewalk was an experimental lo-fi rock band from Olympia, WA on the independent label K Records.


Some Velvet Sidewalk was formed in Eugene, Oregon in 1987 by Al Larsen (vocals/guitar) and Robert Christie (drums). Their first release was From Playground 'Til Now, and was independently released on cassette in 1988. Somewhere around this time, Jenny Olay joined on second guitar and went on the band's first American jaunt with The Go Team and Mecca Normal. In 1990, Al Larsen along with Tobi Vail (drums) and Louise Olsen (bass) recorded the album, Shipwreck. (The release of this album was heavily delayed, but it was eventually released in 1995.) Just before the 1990 release of their first full album, Appetite For Extinction, Robert Christie left the band and was replaced by Don Blair and bass player Martin Bernier, whom Al Larsen had found in a free musician's wanted ad.

A short tour of small Pacific NW towns quickly followed with D.C. band Scream, of which Dave Grohl was a member and it was Some Velvet Sidewalk that accompanied Scream when Kurt Cobain had first laid eyes on Dave at a small party at Slim Moon's home.[citation needed]

This new line-up soon recorded with Calvin Johnson in Yo Yo Studios along with Pat Maley what would become known as the "Pumpkin Patch" single.

They went back to the studio in 1991 with producer and musician Steve Fisk to record Avalanche, which released in 1992. They spent 1992 and 1993 touring and released a short EP called I Scream. Following suit, the next album, Whirlpool, showed up in 1994. Ryan Baldoz of Olympia joined on second guitar around this time.

SVS soon added keyboardist Paul Schuster to the lineup to record the 1997 album, Generate!. The final true SVS release, the EP The Lowdown, was released in late 1997.

The band broke up following an American tour, and the members went their separate ways. In 1999, Al compiled and released a posthumous SVS album called Original Love Rock Masters. This album is a compilation that contains live songs, garage demos, and various side projects.

Crayon and The Pastels have recorded and released cover versions of Some Velvet Sidewalk songs.[1]

Al Larsen continued his musical career with bands such as The Polar Bears, The Evil Tambourines and Melting Igloo. In 2005, he released a solo album titled The Hardline According to Danny & the Dinosaur on his own label, Property is Theft. Al is now an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Creative Media at Champlain College. Martin Bernier joined Seattle's The Heroic Trio, which featured Australian ex-pat and future Welcome bassist Jo Klaxton and drummer Lenni Rennals. They released one full-length album and one 3 song e.p. on La Push Records. Following Bernier's exit from that band he joined Olympia's Bunnyfoot Charm. Don Blair went onto play drums in Totfinder along with ex-Sleep Capsule member Russ Klatt. He now plays in the experimental Waves.

The original drummer and founding member, Robert Christie, was killed in a car accident January 2001 along with his wife, Denise and two sons, Ted and John.[2]

Band members[edit]

  • Al Larsen - Vocals & Guitar
  • Robert Christie - Drums (1987–1989)
  • Jenny Olay - Guitar 7 Vocals (1988-1990)
  • Tobi Vail - Drums (1990)
  • Don Blair - Drums (1990–1997)
  • Louise Olsen - Bass (1990)
  • Martin Bernier - Bass (1990–1997)
  • Ryan Baldoz - 2nd Guitar (1994–1995)
  • Paul Schuster - Keyboard (1996–1997)




  • I Know (single) (1988)
  • Land and Earthbound (single) (1989)
  • Pumpkin Patch (single) (1991)
  • Eyes Like Yours (single) (1992)
  • Free from It (single) (1994)
  • Valley of the Clock (single) (1997)

Compilation appearances


  1. ^ Strong, Martin Charles (2003). The Great Indie Discography. Canongate U.S. 
  2. ^,5046874

External links[edit]