Primal Screams

Flipping burgers and screaming into microphones doesn’t ever have to get old

Blaine Cook (on mic) does double duty in Toe Tag and Martha’s Revenge.
Blaine Cook (on mic) does double duty in Toe Tag and Martha’s Revenge.

It’s just what I like to do. When I was in my early 30s, I was thinking, ‘When am I going to grow up?’ But I dig what I do and it’s not like I’m in a rut.”

That’s 50-year-old Blaine Cook talking. His inhuman voice led innovative hardcore/metal legends, the Accused through the 1980s, parts of the ’90s and the early 2000s. All the while, he balanced his punk rock dervish persona with a day job as a teacher. You could bring him home to mom, and as long as mom never found out what he did on the side, everyone could live happily ever after.

Ahh, lifers. You gotta love ’em. Today Cook conjures the spirit of 100 Arthur Janov primal scream therapy sessions all in the name of his hobby as the frontman of Seattle hardcore thrashers, Toe Tag.

In his post-Accused life, Cook played with the Black Nasty, Denial Fiend and now Toe Tag, all while concurrently owning and operating award-winning Seattle burger spot, Zippy’s Giant Burgers. Toe Tag — which also features members of Midnight Idols and a couple of Cook’s old Accused buddies — still weekend-warrior throughout the Northwest and do at least one California run a year. And, after seven years of existence, Toe Tag has amassed a small handful of releases, including a forthcoming recording they completed with the legendary producer Jack Endino last April. Cook couldn’t stop rocking, even if he tried.

“Playing music now is like it was in the early ’80s because you just do it to do it. There are no expectations; sometimes you play for 10 people, sometimes 100, sometimes more,” he says.

If you were thinking “where’s the burger-flipping biz analogy?” Cook has already got it figured out.

“Having my own restaurant is what it was like playing hardcore in the ’80s,” he says. “There aren’t a lot of places, so if you do a good job, people will appreciate it. But now, in music, there are so many bands and so much going on, it’s hard to stand out.”

At this upcoming Spokane show, Cook will also front Martha’s Revenge: a band that bills itself as the Northwest’s premier Accused tribute band. The name is an homage to the Accused’s iconic mascot, Martha Splatterhead.

For Cook, continuing to play music and be in bands “is a priority and an intricate part of my life,” he says. “We rehearse at my house twice a week, crack open beers, take bong hits and play. It’s like our men’s club.”

Toe Tag and Martha’s Revenge play with Rutah and Autolycus • Sat, Jan. 12 at 9 pm • Mootsy’s • $5 • 21+ • 838-1570

  • or