My Seattle: John Richards

My Seattle: John Richards
[KEXP Associate Program Director and Morning Show Host/Producer]

Known as John in the Morning, hear John Richards weekday mornings at 90.3 KEXP. The station recently moved into brand-new studios at Seattle Center, and on April 16, is celebrating the grand opening. Where spoke with Richards about his favorite Seattle bands, his best memory from KEXP and what he can’t fly without.

What are you looking forward to most in the new studios?

For the public, I’m most excited that they get to come in and see in-studio sessions live. I’m so psyched about the La Marzocco spot opening up. They’re putting in a beautiful showroom for their machines. People can come in and get coffee at this location while the show is going on. Selfishly, I’m hoping to get an emergency button I can hit to get coffee into the booth. So that, to me, is really exciting.

What is planned for the grand opening?

April 16 is going to be record store day, and it’s going to be our grand opening. We’re going to have tons of events. Very big bands will be performing in the open space and in the courtyard next to KEXP. That’s going to be open to the public. Saturday [the 16th] is the big public grand opening, the Thursday and Friday before that are events for our donors. We’re going to be having three solid days of events. Saturday we’re asking the entire city to come down.

Do you have a favorite memory from KEXP?

There are two, and they’re both iconic locations. The first one was when we did Raw Power, and it was on top of the Pike Place Market, we had Mike McCready, Duff McKagan, Barrett Martin, Mark Arm: All music royalty, covering The Stooges on this iconic location I’ve been going to for years. Nine thousand people showed up and I got to stand on top of the Market and talk to the people and introduce the band. It was the most Seattle experience I’ve ever had. The other was on top of the Space Needle, introducing Mudhoney. You just can’t get more Seattle than that unless a Boeing jet lands right there and Russell Wilson runs by.

What is your favorite restaurant?

I’m vegan so my favorite straight up vegan place is by far the Wayward [Vegan Café], up in the Green Lake area. I’ve probably eaten there four times this last week. It’s run by great people, it always has good music, it has the best grub. It’s so refreshing to be able to order anything. It’s great breakfast—it’s an all-day breakfast menu. The dinner menu is good. Joule, down in the Fremont area—plenty of options for me and plenty of options for meat-eaters as well. The smoked tofu at Joule; if I could eat anything, it would be that. It’s amazing food. If I am going out on a date night with my wife, Joule is the first place we look to.

Best place to see a band?

My favorite’s Neumos. I know the owners really well, they’re great guys. The staff is great. They book KEXP-friendly bands all the time. Barboza is down below, Moe Bar is part of it next door. Two options for bands, many options for drinking.

What are your favorite Seattle bands right now?

There’s two. The first is Grace Love & the True Loves. To me this band, if there’s any justice in the world, the whole world will know this band. They’re a mix of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and Fitz and The Tantrums. You can not not have a good time at their shows. The other one, this came out of nowhere. They’re somewhere between Modest Mouse and Nirvana; they’re called Low Cut High Tops. This is a 23-year-old kid who just put this out, and it’s phenomenal beginning to end.

Favorite Seattle landmark?

It might be the Space Needle to be honest with you. It’s such a cliché answer almost … I’ve been at festivals (under the Needle), I’ve been on top … and now we broadcast right at the shadow of the Space Needle. Nothing jumps out more in this city than the Space Needle. That to me is the most iconic landmark in the city.

What is your fondest Seattle memory?

It was Benaroya Hall, which is a good Seattle place to mention, and it was the Sigor Rós show. That show was the moment where [my wife and I] knew we were going to be together the rest of our lives. It was at a music show, it was my favorite band. It was the most exhilarating, emotional show of my life. We went to Wild Ginger, which I love, and then we went to the show. We ran out of the theater before it was done, before anyone else left. We grabbed a handful of confetti they shot off, and to this day I still have that confetti.

Any must-pack items when traveling?

Headphones. Multiple headphones. I probably own two-dozen pairs.

Published in WHERE Seattle, April 2016

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