A lone gunman, Ian Stawicki, walked into the University District artist haven Cafe Racer and opened fire, killing two prominent members of the Seattle music scene, Drew Kariakedes and Joseph Albanese (known to most by their stage names Shmootzi the Clod and Meshuguna Joe) as well as Donald Largen and Kimberly Layfield. An employee of the Cafe, Leonard Meuse, was also shot but, miraculously, survived. The shooter then shot and killed Gloria Leonidas, a mother of two, in the Downtown/First Hill neighborhood about 30 minutes later, while stealing her SUV. He then drove the stolen vehicle to West Seattle where he killed himself in front of Seattle Police officers. It was a day of terror and tragedy that many of us in Seattle will never forget.
Drew and Joe were good friends of mine as our bands had played together often over the last 15 years. In fact, the last show that their band, God’s Favorite Beefcake had played, had been with my band The Bad Things, the Saturday before the shootings. The loss of these incredible musical talents cast a dark shadow over our tight-knit musical community and six months later, their absence is still felt every day.
The shooting struck a chord with Brown Paper Tickets as well. I had first heard of Brown Paper Tickets from Drew and Joe’s previous project, the Circus Contraption and everyone here felt a strong kinship with the folks in the Circus, who had used Brown Paper Tickets when the company was just starting out. Many others in the company had known Drew and Joe, had spent time at the Racer or seen God’s Favorite Beefcake, so this tragedy was something we all felt deeply passionate about.