Duff McKagan Joins Rallying Cry to Save Historic Rock Venue
Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan, who played in the Seattle hardcore bands The Fartz and 10 Minute Warning before moving to Los Angeles and becoming a rock star, hasn't forgotten his roots. That explains why the 54-year-old musician has joined in the fight to save the historic Seattle venue The Showbox, which was being threatened with demolition so that developers could construct a 44-story, 442-unit apartment tower in its location.
"Stand up for history, #Seattle!," tweeted McKagan. "Call your city councilor and let them know you want to #savetheshowbox." McKagan's message was accompanied by a 40-second, professionally shot ad. "My formative years of watching real bands was here," McKagan says in a voiceover. "The Showbox was the most legendary club in Seattle. Punk rock had sort of grown and got its own place. You'd see the Buzzcocks and you'd see X and you'd see the Dead Kennedys and Iggy. I mean, it was all here. Imagination just kind of ran wild."
McKagan isn't the only one fighting to save the 79-year-old venue. Last week, Seattle City Coucilmember Kshama Sawant introduced an ordinance that might just suspend the destruction of The Showbox venue, buying supporters time to figure out how to permanently save the venue.
The proposal involves "temporarily expanding the Pike Place Market Historic District for two years to include the Showbox location," reports the Seattle Times. “This is a question of whether the people in Seattle will have any democratic say in what is saved and what will be demolished," Sawant said.
However, the process isn't so simple. Including The Showbox in the Market’s historic district requires the approval of the Pike Place Market Historical Commission, and the preservation committee is up against the clock. The Vancouver-based Onni Group, which has is planning the new construction could “vest” the project in about three weeks. At that point, the company would have a completed application and any ordinances passed after that time would not apply to the $100 million development.
“If you do support this, I hope you understand the urgency that we’re up against,” Sawant said at a meeting of Showbox supporters.
At press time, members of the Pike Place Market Historical Commission had not been formally briefed on the proposal, reports The Seattle Times. A spokesman said they were "working to understand the specifics of the draft ordinance and the role of the commission.”
At this point, Sawant's proposed ordinance is in the hands of the Finance and Neighborhoods committee and is scheduled to receive a hearing during the committee’s meeting next Wednesday at 2PM. It's possible that the council will vote on the ordinance by Aug. 13, before its two-week August recess. If not, they might miss the deadline to vote on the ordinance. Sawant pointed out to the Times that if the ordinance is passed it wouldn't be the first time the Pike Place Market’s historic district has been expanded; That happened once in 1986 and again three years later.
A petition has also been launched by Change.org to save The Showbox. Those interested in signing and joining the fight can find more information here.
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