John Doe and Repealing Seattle’s Stoooopid Drinking-on-Stage Law

John Doe and Repealing Seattle’s Stoooopid Drinking-on-Stage Law

While flipping through the pages of this week’s Stranger I came across this story about the Washington State Liquor Control Board reviewing one of the all-time stupidest liquor laws in Seattle:  On stage performers are not allowed to drink alcohol on stage.

The story reminded me of a show John Doe did at the High Dive in December of 2009.  When he came on stage, he told the audience in a very raspy voice that he had a cold, but he would do his best to entertain us all.  His voice was pretty rough during the first few songs, so I went to the bar, ordered a shot of Makers and proceeded through the packed crowd to the stage and set the glass of whisky down next to his monitor.  He drank it after the song was over, and his singing got much better.  More whisky followed, and he drank a couple more shots.  He acknowledged he felt better and asked if we knew about the law of diminishing returns.

I am pretty sure the no-drinking-on-stage law was in place when John did that show, and I am pretty sure he didn’t give a shit.

Flash forward to July 2011 to a show with Jill Sobule at the Tractor Tavern.  He was drinking from a coffee cup on stage and made some jokes about how good the “coffee” was in in Seattle.  Jill asked for a taste of the coffee.  John handed her the cup, and she took a sip and agreed it was really good “coffee.” Everyone in the audience new there was no coffee in that cup.

Anyway, I go to a lot of shows and any performer who wants to drink on stage drinks in spite of our city’s ridiculous law.  Some disguise it and some don’t, but I’ve never seen any club manager or cop step in and stop a performer from drinking.

So, if you want to do your part to repeal the stupidest of many stupid laws governing the consumption of alcohol in Seattle and end the charade, go to the WSLCB meeting in Olympia on October 12th.  I assume most of you can’t make that, but you can express your opinion by emailing

UPDATE: Musicians are now allowed to drink on stage in Seattle.

Did I mention that John Doe has a really great new album out?  Well he does, and it’s titled Keeper.  He was on David Letterman last week performing “Never Enough.”  Watch it.

Now go buy his album.

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