Jack Endino: Permanent Fatal Error

Many know Endino as “the guy” who produced the first Nirvana album Bleach. However, Endino is more then just a producer. He is one talented musician. After 13 long years, Endino has released a new album… more specifically, a Jack Endino solo album.

Permanent Fatal Error ((Wondermaker Records) is 15 tracks of in-your-face, “fuck you” punk rock delivered the way it should be – raw and dirty. But, why did it take over a decade for the former Skin Yard guitarist to get this rocker out to the public?

“Well from 1997 to 2001 I had to put my parents in a nursing home and they passed away. So that took every bit of my time caring for them and getting everything taken care of after they passed,” Endino said.

“I am an only child so I didn’t have any help taking care of their things and that is a lot of work to get done. During that time, I had a failed marriage so that was a lot of work too, and I also had a nephew commit suicide, so all that combined to a great deal of time out of my life.

“Making records for myself just didn’t seem important during those times. And add on the whole Nirvana-grunge-Cobain-and-other-friends-dying part and who would want to make a record anyway.”

Ever since he was in the famed Seattle band Skin Yard, Endino always had material he never got around to using. So he would make recordings, riffs or jam sessions with friends and store them away until it was time. But that time got put on the back burner after the 1990s “grunge” movement took over and every band this side of the Far East was soliciting his production services.

“I was going everywhere really,” Endino said with a chuckle. “I went to ten other countries or something like that to record bands. I was going to Brazil, where I still go often and work with one of the biggest rock bands in Brazil. I also recorded bands in the UK, Portugal, and many other places. It is pretty funny if you think about it. Punk rock allowed me to travel the whole world.”

The ’90s became mostly a production decade for Endino, so his own music took a backseat to everything else. On occasions, as rare as they may have been, Endino did find the time to jam with his friends in the legendary punk band The Accused, as well as with long time friend and drummer Barrett Martin (formerly of the Screaming Trees, Mad Season and Skin Yard.)

Once things slowed down for Endino and the jam sessions became more frequent, he would record everything they had written toward his future solo work. But, the schedule of completion was still unknown.

“After Skin Yard fell apart and the whole ‘grunge’ thing died down I finally had time to breathe,” Endino said. “I could start to focus on my own music and I recorded on 4-8-16 tracks. I feel I am at the top of my game studio wise, so I know what I wanted and how I wanted that to sound.

“But, it’s tough being a producer trying to engineer your own music,” he said. “Sometimes you over produce and you start to think too much. So, the time it took to make this was good because I got to step away from my own music and let it breathe on its own. But, I knew I couldn’t do anything half-assed. This isn’t a producer record.”

While writing and producing his own record, Endino had to wear two hats. It’s something he is accustomed to, but it was difficult at times. For example, who would produce the producer? Endino explained it as “left brain versus right brain,” and sometimes he would be done with the album, scrap it and start all over. However, in the end, the mastermind behind it all knew what he wanted.

“This album needed to be raw, it’s just rock! I’m not making a Radiohead record or The Wall for Christ’s sake. It just needed to be a rock record. So brain, get the hell out of the way.”

The final product is a collection of 15 punk rockers reminiscent of early ‘90s Seattle rock. But, being better known as a producer, rather than a songwriter, Endino questions the reception it will receive.

“I don’t know if they (critics/fans) will give it a fair shake honestly. There are old timers from the Skin Yard days that will eat it up, and the grunge kiddies who do their research might pick up the album, but I figure that’s about it. The thing is, this doesn’t sound like a producer record. I have no sampling skills. I haven’t plugged in a midi cable in decades. I wanted to pick up where I left off years ago. I think that is a good time for rock music, and it is all I know how to play.

“If people say it sounds ‘Seattle’ well, hell yah, it does. To be honest I had a major part in creating that sound. That is my aesthetic – take it or leave it. I’m not too worried anyway. It’s a rock record, na record producer’s record.”