7 bands you didn’t know were from Seattle


Heart got their start playing gigs at local high schools. | Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Table of Contents

Seattle’s pretty well-known for its music scene — and while it wasn’t always that way, it’s brought us some truly phenomenal talent.

Don’t worry — we’re not going to wrap you up into another Nirvana, Pearl Jam, or Soundgarden discussion. They’re all incredibly significant to the city, but we’d love to shine a spotlight on some other folks you may not realize got their start here.

Read up on their local roots, then check out our Spotify playlist with some samples for your educational — or bragging — purposes. We also made it collaborative, so you can add your own Seattle faves.

Kenny G 🎶

Not only was this jazz powerhouse born and raised right here in Seattle (he’s a UW + Franklin High School alum), but Kenny Gorelick still performs a series of homecoming shows every year at Dimitrou’s Jazz Alley. The next set is scheduled for April 21-24.

The Head and the Heart 🎶

While the members of this indie folk band weren’t born in the city, the group was formed at the Conor Byrne Pub in Ballard thanks to some open mic nights where the original members met each other. (Psst… the pub still hosts these if you’re looking for your own serendipitous magic). The band is also headed back to town on Sat., Aug. 13 at Marymoor Park.

Sir Mix-a-Lot 🎶

Born in Auburn, WA, the “Baby Got Back” rapper went to Roosevelt High School where Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan and actress Rose McGowan are also alums. He’s been an active supporter of local musicians and venues, especially during the pandemic when he started his Keep Music Live Washington movement.

Heart 🎶

Let us go crazy-crazy on you for a moment. This classic rock band originally started in Bothell as “The Army” in 1967 where they frequently played at Bothell High School, Inglemoor High School, Shorecrest Highschool, and a variety of other clubs and bars. They eventually moved up to Vancouver, BC in the early 70s.

Fleet Foxes 🎶

Band members Robin Pecknold and Skyler Skjelset both felt a little isolated in their Lake Washington High School, but bonded over their love for classic rock artists like Bob Dylan + Buffalo Springfield — a retro sound they carried over to the Fleet Foxes’ success. They’ll be playing a Marymoor show on Fri., July 15.

Modest Mouse 🎶

Members Isaac Brock and Eric Judy met for the first time at a local heavy metal show and decided they should make music together. Brock has reportedly always been insistent on noting the band is from Issaquah to avoid any mix-up with the Seattle scene — but they were too cool to leave out.

Band of Horses 🎶

While more than one band member was born in South Carolina, where they now all reside, the band was originally formed here. In fact, lead man Ben Bridwell said his walks from Belltown to Capitol Hill were the inspiration for the song “On My Way Back Home.”

More from SEAtoday