It's not all that uncommon for the artists, writers, and musicians of a community to band together for a worthy local cause. But when the community is the fabled '90s rock mecca of Seattle, a local benefit is bound to assume national interest. Such is the case with Home Alive: The Art of Self Defense
, a double-CD of music and spoken word poetry whose proceeds go to Home Alive, a Seattle-area non-profit organization dedicated to providing self-defense training and resources to combat violence. Home Alive's primary inspiration is Mia Zapata, singer of the Seattle band the Gits who was raped and murdered in 1993. Memories of Zapata run throughout Home Alive
: Her music (with the Gits and solo), her former bandmates (as Evil Stig and Dancing French Liberals of '48), and her tragedy (violence and abuse). Brutal words from Lydia Lunch ("Why We Murder"), Natalie Jacobson ("Got What Was Coming"), and Bobby Miller ("Keep You Mouth Off My Sisters") make it clear Home Alive
's response is not one of antiviolence but rather counterviolence--and that often requires fighting back forcefully.
With a few honorable exceptions (Jello Biafra, Jim Carroll, Joan Jett), Home Alive draws its talent pool entirely from the Seattle music scene, including the big guys (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Heart), the mid-sized (7 Year Bitch, Presidents of the U.S.A., Fastbacks, Supersuckers), and the little ones (Los Hornets, North American Bison, Catfood, Christdriver). The range of emotions and responses presented sends a tremendous message of solidarity to victims everywhere. And given all the grunge hype thrown Seattle's way, it's both disarming and touching to find that true substance and community actually exist there. --Roni Sarig