Seattle’s Greenwood Walrus Tavern
One of our mainstays for live music in the early 70s was the Walrus Tavern about 85th NE and Greenwood Ave in Seattle. A bunch of us would go to school all day at the University of Washington and put in several hours at KCMU FM Radio which we helped to found in 1971-72. Of course, KCMU FM later morphed into the now internationally famous, KEXP FM in Seattle. But that’s another story and article on this website you can find under The Birth of KCMU FM, or “Congratulations, It’s A Radio Station”!
The Walrus always had great music – both local bands and name acts. I remember hearing Albert Collins (the incredible blues artist), the Hoodoo Rhythm Devils and about others like John Lee Hooker who I didn’t get to hear. You can actually hear one of John Lee Hooker’s performances at the Walrus if you go to Youtube. We also loved the local group “Lance Romance” and many others. The Walrus just rocked with a good sized dance floor which allowed us all to get out there and circle dance together or whatever else we wanted to do. Shows were often kicked off by some of the local more folk type acts. Many times we were entertained by Jim Page who would end his couple of songs and then get down in the crowd to pass the hat and earn a few dollars.
I listened to Albert Collins at The Walrus in about 1972 with my friend, John Duff. For some reason, we decided to enjoy the show in the balcony. Every show was always accompanied with a little good beer and lots of other live music enthusiasts. A highlight for me was when Albert came up with the lyric “I got up this morning and poured coffee all over my Head”. I’m sure he was just trying to see if there was anyone listening out in the audience.
The Walrus burned down and an open space was created at the original location next to Naked City Brewery and Taphouse where people can go outside and enjoy their beer and food. The open space is simply called The Walrus Beer Garden. Cheers to a wonderful venue and some great memories.