11 Questions: Carey Ross

interview by Brent Cole

Wowza, I don’t even know what to say about Carey Ross, this month’s 11 questions. She is a dear friend, one of the smartest and hardest working people I’ve ever met, and someone who has spent years working for the local music scene. I had a fear that as I wrote the introduction to this column, I might get sappy about how good of a friend Carey has been over the 13 years I’ve known her (she worked on What’s Up! from 2001 to 2004), but, no. All I want to talk about is our mutual love of bacon and Fred Meyer. Half of the interview are inside jokes between us that just might not be so funny to you all. Talk about crazy stories and fun times from years gone by. And here she is.

 Who are you? Can you tell us about yourself?
Carey Ross. Music/film editor for Cascadia Weekly. Projectionist for life at Pickford Film Center. Copy editor for frequency: The Snowboarder’s Journal, the Ski Journal, and the Flyfish Journal. Music lover. Pancake aficionado. Chicken enthusiast. From Everett and not ashamed of it. Scared of sand.

What is your favorite part of being an editor?
The obvious answer to that question is that my job is the conduit through which I have met many of the people who are now part of my big, weird, delightful Bellingham family. My job also gives me the opportunity to speak on behalf of and as an advocate for the music community, which is a privilege and something I take seriously. I’ve been known to screw up in that capacity from time to time, but occasionally I manage to say the right thing in the right way, and that’s a good day at the office. My job is also a whole lot of fun. I get to see a lot of shows, and that never gets old.

What is your favorite childhood memory and what makes it stand out?
The only memories I have of childhood involve my older sister using me as a guinea pig for her many experiments and then blowing on my wounds while begging me not to tell our mother that she’d made me bleed (again). The scars on my body have faded, but the ones on my psyche will likely take years of therapy to properly eradicate.

What is your all-time favorite Bellingham show and why does it stand out?
Like a mother who claims to love her children equally, I don’t play favorites. I can tell you what my favorite kind of shows are, however. Simply put, I favor those of shows that remind me why I’ve been writing about music in this area for 15 or so years. The ones where I come away with the feeling that we are not just a music scene, we are truly a community in the best sense of that word. The joint covers shows that we used to throw when I worked for What’s Up! are a good example. The Jinx band lotteries come to mind. Yellingham. The What’s Up! awards shows. Various benefit shows. But the occasion doesn’t necessarily need to be special for this phenomenon to happen. A rowdy rock show at the Shakedown or a Songwriter’s Circle at the Honey Moon can have the same effect on me.

If you weren’t living in Bellingham, where would you be living and why?
Well, since I’m young(ish) and mobile and don’t have any children or other dependents to take into account, presumably, if I wanted to live anywhere other than Bellingham, I would move there. But to humor the question while I look out my window at eight inches of snow, at this moment, I wouldn’t mind living someplace tropical. I’ve got jorts and I’m not afraid to wear them.

What is your all-time favorite movie and why?
If pressed, I’d say The Big Sleep. Based on a book by Raymond Chandler, screenplay by William Faulkner, directed by Howard Hawks, starring Bogey and Bacall–pretty tough to find fault with any of that.

Having been involved with the music scene for over 13 years, what’s your take on the town’s scene? How it’s changed and evolved and how 2014 compares to 2001 (when you first started working with What’s Up!)?
Truthfully, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the music scene in comparative terms. I think history is important, not least because it provides context, but with so much happening in the here and now (whenever “now” might be), I find that when I spend too much time looking back, I miss what’s right in front of me. That said, there’s more ladies ruling it in the music community these days than ever before, and I’m way into that.

If you could have a drink with anyone (living), who would it be and why?
President Bill Clinton. He may not be the smartest man alive, but he’s probably close. Plus, all I’d have to do is introduce myself and then for the next six hours or so, I could just listen to him tell me how to save the world. Although I don’t think he drinks anymore, so we’d have to go for mocktails.

If you could change one thing about the Bellingham music scene, what would it be?
I’m not touching that one. Wait. Yes, I am. I would change our tendency to tear down the very things in the music scene we should be supporting, whether that be a band that’s trying to have a greater reach and bigger draw than what Bellingham can offer, a venue or organization that exists for the greater good or someone who devotes their time or energy to the music community in a capacity that makes them vulnerable to public judgment. I’ve occasionally joked that it’s a good thing the Bellingham music scene can’t have children because I’m afraid we would eat our young.

It’s a Saturday morning in Bellingham, what are you doing?
If the Saturday in question falls during the Farmers Market season, that’s where you’ll find me. I’ll either be in search of fresh eggs from happy chickens or hand pies from Alice’s Pies. I also procure my vegetables at the market, but those are secondary to my egg-and-hand-pie needs. If it’s the third Saturday of the month, I’ll hit up the Swedish Pancake Breakfast at the Norway Hall where I will stuff myself with all-you-can-eat pancakes before hitting up the market.

Who is your all time favorite local band that doesn’t include sexy Josh Holland in it?
This one’s going to come as no surprise to anyone: Federation X. I believe my love for them is well established at this point. But if I got to choose runners up (since I’ve noticed that there’s more than 11 questions here, I assume I have some latitude), I’d go with Lands Farther East, and I’ve got a real soft spot for Beau Boyd’s Zorbatron band as well (although Josh Holland is in that band, so I guess they’re disqualified).

You and I have a mutual love of Fred Meyer. Why do you love it so?
Because it’s the only place in town where you can get a rotisserie chicken, a fishing license, an end table, a pair of running shoes and the morning-after pill. Fred Meyer is a miracle of modern commerce.

Your thoughts on a) bacon and b) pudding?
Bacon, as we all know, makes everything better. I’ve never dipped it into pudding, which seems like a bucket-list omission on my part. Pudding is best enjoyed while playing Xbox or lying on the floor.

Why am I, really, one of the most important people you’ve ever met?
Because you’ve been responsible for some of the very best things that have happened in my life and only one of the very worst. That’s a stellar average, as things go.

Any last thoughts?
You’re not going to print any of this, right?