Vanessa Veselka

Bell (L to R: Andy Miller, Vanessa Veselka, Susan Larsen, Damon Romero)

Bell (L to R: Andy Miller, Vanessa Veselka, Susan Larsen, Damon Romero)

Vanessa Veselka began playing guitar and writing songs in her early teens while hitchhiking around the US, Europe, and Turkey. In Austria, the avant-garde electronica artist Christian Fennesz heard her music and introduced her to a drummer friend of his with whom she formed her first band, The Remnant, a barrage of experimental noise blues with dissonant chords and crushing volume that ended when Veselka returned to the States. In the early 1990s Veselka founded the Seattle band, Bell. The band, Veselka’s exploration of pop, recorded two LPs (A Clear Sense of Beauty and A New Kind of Rome), an EP (Perfect Math), and a 7inch (Already There). In 2000, Veselka formed The Pinkos with Steve Moriarty from The Gits. They signed to the iconic Empty Records and toured behind their self-titled LP until 2002. Over the course of her musical career Veselka recorded 6 LPs and sang on over 11 albums, including Mark Pickerel’s Dark Fantastic. She founded a label, booked tours, and got to share bills with great artists like The Ramones, Faith No More, The White Stripes, John Doe, Sleater-Kinney, Modest Mouse, Calexico, Giant Sand, Jolie Holland, and Jesse Sykes.

In 2006, Veselka set aside the guitar and started writing. Since then her fiction has appeared in Tin House, Zyzzyva, and SWINK and her nonfiction in GQ, The Atlantic, and The American Reader. She has been nominated for a National Magazine Award and the Ken Kesey Prize. Her debut novel, Zazen, won the 2012 PEN / Bingham award. She is a mother and lives in Portland, Oregon.

These Streets Interview


Band Title Released
Bell Already There 7″ 1995
Bell A Clear Sense of Beauty 1996
Bell Perfect Math EP 1998
Bell A New Kind of Rome 1999
Pinkos Pinkos  2001

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