Welcome back to People Who Work Here where each week we meet a new Sub Pop employee. This week’s interview is with Jaimi C, our accountant lady. She pays the bills and the employees and she’s also the person who is responsible for setting up those terrible visits with the insurance lady who tells you how rude it is when you die without proper life insurance at the beginning of every year. Jaimi is really, really nice and I often try to goad her into talking shit about coworkers but she never ever does it. What’s with that? Let’s meet Jaimi.
L: What’s the first live show you ever attended? Did you flash your boobs?
J: The very first live show that I can remember was Barry Manilow with my best friend and both of our moms when I was about 8. I don’t think I had boobs to flash, but if I did, I would definitely have been grounded. [Your mom is such a prude. –ed.] My first rock show was either Van Halen or Def Leppard. My brother and I skipped school and stood in line for hours so that we could be right up in front!
L: You were a rocker chick/bad girl in high school, or so I’ve gathered from our lunchtime discussions. Please tell me what you wore to school on a typical day.
J: I think that you have me mixed up with someone else! I guess that you could have called me a rocker chick in middle school, but once I discovered Prince, Depeche Mode, and The Cure, my rocker days were over for a while. I wore black, black, and more black — and pointy Fluevog shoes.
L: Did you smoke cigarettes?
J: Yes, not many though.[Oh right you were goth. Cloves? –ed.]
L: Did you drink?
J: Of course.
L: How old were you when you lost your virginity?
J: 16 or 17 [Well which is it? Seventeen is reasonable but sixteen is just slutty. J/K -ed.]
L: Was your hair feathered?
J: Feathering was long gone by the time I was in high school! My hair was gigantic and teased and I probably used a bottle of Aqua-net every day. [Sick! –ed.]
L: Was your boyfriend’s hair feathered?
J: No! In my junior year, I had a 22 year-old boyfriend who looked like Robert Smith. My parents were horrified, but I thought he was SO hot. [This is the dude you were humping, I take it. –ed.]
L: Did you fight?
J: No – despite my weird hair, I still got along with most people.
L: Did you ever fail a class?
J: No. I had a hard time with geometry, but I passed somehow.
L: What was your favorite band in high school? What is your favorite band now?
J: My favorite band in high school was The Cure. Recently, I’ve been listening to Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, and Handsome Furs.
L: Do you play an instrument? If so tell me what it is and stuff and if not tell me what you’d play if you could.
J: No – I don’t play an instrument. I guess that I’d play keyboards if I did. I took piano lessons as a kid, and I know stuff like Chopsticks and the Jaws theme song…..I’m sure that I could easily catch up with real musicians. Kidding!!
L: How’s having a kid?
J: Amazing! I had a really, really fun pre-kid life, but I wouldn’t trade back to that old life now for anything in the world. My son Spencer is one of the coolest people I’ve ever known. I’m really lucky. [But what if he grows up to be a total butthole? -ed.]
L: Where did you work before you worked at Sub Pop? Tell me about it.
J: I worked at a place called Triton PCS. It is a wireless phone company that has a corporate office located near Philadelphia. I was a Revenue Assurance Manager, which is a confusing title even for people in the wireless industry. Basically, I did a lot of charts and graphs that showed the executive-types how they could make more money. It was the polar opposite of Sub Pop in so many ways. I really liked it a lot then, but now I think I’d have a hard time with it.
L: You get organic vegetables delivered to you door. What is your favorite vegetable and favorite fruit? Why? What’s your least favorite and why?
J: My favorite vegetable is broccoli and my favorite fruit is raspberries – because they are both delicious! My least favorites are brussels sprouts and papaya, just because I don’t like them. [That’s really mature, Jaimi. –ed] I started doing the organic and label-reading thing when I discovered that my son was allergic to MSG. Once I started reading labels I realized how much chemical junk we all eat every day.
L: What did you want to be when you were a kid?
J: In elementary school I wanted to be a gymnast. In high school I wanted to do international marketing, because I really love to travel. I’m not really sure how I ended up working with money.
L: How much money does Jonathan make per paycheck?
J: More than you or me. [Duh. –ed]
L: How much money does Sub Pop have in the bank?
J: It changes every day! [What a cop out! -ed.]
L: Can I have a loan?
J: I’m sure that the bank would be so psyched to give you one.
L: Am I annoying you?
J: No way! I’ll bet that these non-answers to your financial questions are annoying YOU though! [Yes.Yes they are. –ed.]
L: Okay, no really, how much money do you make?
J: Less than Jonathan. [You are driving me crazy!!!! -ed]
The Go! Team, whose really very excellent new album Proof of Youth we at Sub Pop just released last week here in the US of A, have put together a great documentary about their band and their new record. Directed by Bob Jarocs, this film really captures the exuberant cut-and-paste spirit of the band – it’s enthused, raucous, fun and occasionally funny. And, there is lots and lots of jumping; rampant jumping on a scale you might have previously, and not unreasonably, thought unattainable.
People Who Work Here is super proud to work with (al)most everyone on the Sub Pop staff, but Jeff Kleinsmith holds a special place in my heart, and not just because I can get him to do free design work for me from time to time. Jeff is the art director here at HQ, and he, along with partner in crime Dusty Summers, is responsible for all of the visual hoo-ha associated with everything we do here from album covers to advertisements. (I tried to think of a ‘z’ thing that they do to have that whole ‘a to z’ thing happening but I couldn’t think of one. Instead you get ‘a to a’ which makes them seem lazy somehow but I can assure you that’s not the case.) Jeff is married with two lovely daughters and he’s also a lover of animals, but not in the same way he loves his wife. He is a vegetarian that hates cooked vegetables, and the other day I caught him microwaving a bowl of, get this, canned kidney beans and chopped up raw tofu for lunch. Jeff collects shoes like a woman and he is very sensitive and also very funny. He’s also good for an old fashioned debate, so if you happen to end up at one of his many public speaking events please be sure to engage him in a lengthy conversation about art or why cats are better than dogs. Also, this mofo is right in the middle of having a book written about him! Let’s meet Jeff!
L: How did you get into graphic design? What is your main piece of advice for aspiring graphic designer?
J: It really started in about 1980 when my friend’s older brother, Dan, tried to scare us with Black Sabbath. He wore rock shirts, had long hair, and hung out with the stoners (and had a 4.0). I totally looked up to him. His bedroom was plastered with awesome rock posters (Iron Maiden, Pick Floyd, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, etc.) and he had a wall full of LPs – alphabetized and neatly stored in plastic sleeves. My friend and I were big AM radio fans and I think Dan just simply couldn’t take any more Hall and Oates mucking up his Thin Lizzy so he brought us into his room one day and cranked some metal at us. Though I was supposed to be frightened and repulsed, I was mesmerized and enchanted. We were hooked. After that he sorta took us under his wing, or more accurately, we put ourselves under his wing. He taught us the difference between Zeppelin and Deep Purple (I know!), told us what to buy, and made fun of us for listening to girl metal (Journey). I still have every LP I have ever bought. Oh right, sorry, graphic design: I found myself grounded a lot around this time and to pass the time I would become heavily involved with these LPs. I’d listen carefully, rock out, air jam, whatever, and after the visceral experience subsided I started noticing the art up close. I played with the packaging, redrew the logos, and tacked the inserts on my wall. Eventually this led to making my own posters, shirts, locker door art, tape cases, etc. Fast forward to college… I was flailing about with no real direction and just taking whatever classes sounded cool at the time until it became jarringly apparent that I had to focus on some particular area of study. My mom encouraged me to take some drawing classes, which I did, and additionally, took a beginning design class. [Your mom’s a fool—the money’s in computers. –ed.] I was blown away. I had never felt more comfortable, focused, and confident as I did in those classes. It became a passion. My advice to youngsters is to spend twice the time on typography as on the image.
L: You are in the middle of having a book written about you. How weird is that?
L: What is the best album cover of all time? What is the worst? Why?
J: First Black Sabbath album. Hands down. It creates a mood that is undeniable and uncontrived. It’s what I think of when I read Turn Of The Screw by Henry James (I know!). Still so scary. There are so many websites dedicated to obviously bad album covers so I can’t really think of one in particular. The one that I think I recognized as ‘bad’ early on was Cosmo’s Factory by Creedence Clearwater Revival. I actually think it’s awesome now but as a kid looking through my mom’s albums I always stopped to look at the weird dudes in the basement. “Where is that guy going on that bike?” [Stuart Fletcher has a shirt with that dude on it and he wore it this week. Coincidence? –ed.]
L: What new designers do you like and why?
J: The new designers usually aren’t very good. And even if they were I wouldn’t acknowledge it. [This is a lot of the reason why we get along so well. –ed.]
L: Tell me about Jeff’s ultimate best day ever. What would you do if you could do anything?
J: I’d have to do it as two days. One of those days would be spent with my awesome family. Katie, Juniper, and Frances and my two hound dogs. It wouldn’t really matter what we did. Coffee and scones. Trip somewhere. Camping. Whatever. I love more than anything to just hang out with them. The other day would be by myself. I love my alone time. I would go to a coffee shop and read a book until the first movie of the day started. That would be followed by a lunch date with myself and off to movie number two. Dinner break with me and then movie number three. [Jeff’s butt is made of the same material that astronaut’s use for their space waffles. –ed.] I only do this when the ladies go visit relatives in Portland.
L: Tell me why you no longer smoke weed or drink.
J: I had no issues with alcohol. I drank the normal amount (mornings, while driving, in class) until one night in 1988 when I went to see Scratch Acid with my friend Brian. There was a party already going on when we got home and I was totally sober. I took a couple of drinks of a beer and I couldn’t stop throwing up. That went on for eight hours until I had to go to the emergency room. I tried again a couple of weeks later (I know!) and I felt instantly horrible. My doctor said that while it was pretty rare, I was probably allergic to alcohol. [That guy is such a liar! When I lived in Mexico I told the people I was allergic to protein so I didn’t have to eat any more weird animals. –ed.] So, with that sound medical advice, I ramped up my pot smoking to epic proportions. I smoked a lot of pot for about 10 or 11 years until it started fighting against me. I would smoke it and instantly hate the fact that just smoked it. I felt abnormally paranoid and depressed so I quit. [But isn’t that what smoking pot is all about? –ed.] It’s coming up on 10 years since I’ve even SEEN any.
L: Tell me about your old bands. Do you miss playing music? Did you ever think you could be a full time musician?
J: You mean, tell you about The Funeral Party, Fireclown, and Stymie? Sure! As the name “The Funeral Party” suggests, we were into The Cure, Joy Division, Bauhaus, Echo and The Bunnymen. I played guitar save for the show-closer when we plugged the Casio into the bass amp and I sang a poem I wrote called “As I Watch You Die” in my best Nick Cave voice. Fireclown was metal/“grunge”. I sang. The name is from a Tygers of Pan Tang song of the same name. We loved Skin Yard, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney but sounded nothing like any of them.
Stymie was our most ‘together’ band. Most of the time we were a six-piece. [Featuring Steve Manning as “dancing honkey” on tom, stick banging, and tambourine! –ed.] We were influenced by the aforementioned bands but add in Treepeople, and Sonic Youth. We wrote a lot of songs and spent a lot of time in the studio. I miss all of the bands for different reasons, but mostly because I enjoyed hanging out with my friends [and thinking of bad band names… -ed.] I love playing music and still play guitar at home but I don’t miss ‘being in a band’. Frankly, I would have much rather been a pro basketball player.
L: When did you lose your virginity? Was it weird? Did you feel like you had become a man or was there some guilt/shame afterwards?
J: I had just turned 18 and I was in love. No guilt. No shame. She was also a virgin and we spent months planning our first time. Laugh at me, but I wanted to be in love for my first time. [Ha ha! -ed.]
L: You are a fan of both metal and Kate Bush. Tell me why these two things are not mutually exclusive? Did your metal friends accept your love of the Bush?
J: Generally speaking my friends have very wide ranging musical interests so it never really comes up. It’s only at work that I get made fun of. [I highly doubt that. –ed.] I secretly listen to her AND metal when Dusty’s not here since he’s so closed-minded to legends like Rush, Kate Bush, and Corrosion of Conformity. I love Kate Bush SO much that I a.) I don’t give a fuck what anyone has to say about her/me and b.) if they are making fun of me I am too busy basking in her awesomeness to notice.
L: Please tell me the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you this year so far.
J: There is this messageboard that I frequent called gigposters.com. It’s where a lot of the poster makers from the past and present go to show work and just generally say dumb stuff. I’m not a “blogger” or a message board guy AT ALL but I got sucked in to this one years a go. I have made a number of actual real live friends there so I keep going back. About four years ago there was a discussion going on about drive-ins: “Aren’t they great.” “Boy, do I miss them.” “That’s where I saw Kentucky Fried Movie!” Stuff like that. As many around the office already know, my past is rich with drive-in stories so I chime in. Here’s an excerpt:
ME: “Oh, man, I loved drive-ins as a kid. My family used to go every summer weekend in the ‘70s/’80s. There were several in a 30 mile radius of my hometown in Oregon. I saw my first R rated movie when I was eight (One Flew Over a Cuckoo’s Nest). I saw the only Star Wars movie I’ve ever seen (1976), and I felt my first real live boobie at a drive-in (Pxx Hxxxxx).”
Two weeks ago I get this:
So I google myself and guess what I find? something like this:
“Oh, man, I loved drive-ins as a kid. My family used to go every summer weekend in the ‘70s/’80s. There were several in a 30 mile radius of my hometown in Oregon. I saw my first R rated movie when I was eight (One Flew Over a Cuckoo’s Nest). I saw the only Star Wars movie I’ve ever seen (1976), and I felt my first real live boobie at a drive-in (Pxx Hxxxxxx).”
I never knew I was your first real live boobie… LOL!!! So yea I see your a rockstar designer, very cool.
So HELLO my old friend…. I hope all is well in your life.
Love to hear from ya sometime. I live in portland.
:) pxx "
Embarrassing? Yes. But the worst part is not the interaction between me and P** because, as you can see, it doesn’t seem to bother her all that much that I put her name out there like that. It’s when I tell others what I think is this “great story” as the now 40 year-old father of two that I am. I feel creepy and embarrassed for some reason. Like right now. [It’s okay. The more you say boobie the less creepy it gets, I swear. –ed.]
L: Would you prefer to drown or be burned alive?
J: Drowning, for sure.
L: Say you got gored by an elephant or something and you were about to die; what is the last piece of advice you’d give to your children?
J: Have fun. Do it because YOU want to do it not because you think it will make you cool. Trust your instincts. Go easy on your mom, she is about to lose an AWESOME guy to an elephant-goring!
We here at World HQ are using a combination of Guinness, Jameson, espresso (together, known as The Trifecta) and the new Dntel record to get us through this month’s schizophrenic weather, as we’re all actually, medically sick of it being rainy and shitty. Dumb Luck is out April 24th, and as you likely know, Dntel is the moniker of our buddy Jimmy Tamborello who you may know from The Postal Service! The album’s full of Jimmy’s genius beat placement, and features members of Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes, Grizzly Bear, Fog, Mystic Chords of Memory, and more, and you can buy it here.
If you think you’re a better mixmaster than Jimmy, you are wrong. However, we will entertain your remixing ideas via the DNTELREMIXCONTEST. You’ll either win $500 or feel ashamed for being a loser. And since that’s already the case, may as well enter, right? Right!
There are two chances to win this month on Sub Pop Dot Com, actually. Enter the BESTWORSTBANDNAMESCONTEST to win sampler CDs, stickers, buttons and more!
Whether you win or lose or are too apathetic to even enter anything, you can look smashing in one of our brand new Sub Pop Sweatshirts, which are finally here just in time to be largely weather-inappropriate. Except, as noted above, if you live here…
Oh! And also! We have a tremendous new video from the upcoming Handsome Furs record! Said record is called Plague Park, comes out on May 22nd, and the video is for the track “Dumb Animals." Dan Boeckner from Wolf Parade and Alexei Perry (together, aka Handsome Furs) both totally die in it, and it’s Lynch-style creepy. Watch it here!
This week’s ‘People Who Work Here’ gives us Steve Manning, Publicity Director at Sub Pop, and the man responsible for getting our bands on TV shows like Letterman, SNL, Conan, Leno, etc. Steve has also recommended a lot of my current physicians, all of whom are gay. Coincidence? Maybe. Steve is getting married in Mexico very soon and he is somewhat of a world traveler. Let’s learn more about Steve!
L: What kind of a person were you in high school? You were the mascot, correct?
S: I was the mascot, the first male mascot in the history of the school! The best part was cheerleading camp where there were 300 girls and 8 guys. Good odds! High Five!
I was also in the High School Yearbook under the moniker “Punk Rock/New Wave Comes to Olympia High School” which meant my hair was cut above my ears and I dyed the back blond. In 1983 that was rebellious (my parents didn’t talk to me for a while when I did that). I listened to some crazy stuff in high school like The Clash and The Sex Pistols. How punk is that! [That’s pretty punk, but I bet Mark Arm has you beat. –ed]
L: How old were you when you first kissed a girl?
S: I was probably 12 or 13 and I kissed Corrine Wilson under the band stage at the roller skating rink. The first kiss she jammed her tongue in my mouth and I was pretty freaked out. After the first kiss I said “let’s just kiss regular this time”
L: You told me once that the most exotic food you ever had growing up in Olympia was pizza—what’s wrong with that place?
S: I don’t know if it was Olympia or just my family. Pizza was even exotic at our house. There was no such thing as hot sauce or garlic in the Manning household, only meat and potatoes. I do remember being in Spanish Club in High School and going to my first Mexican restaurant and ordering a cheeseburger because “I don’t like Mexican food” (although, I’d never had it).
L: What is your favorite part about your job?
S: Working with so many smart and talented people, including my coworkers (but excluding Stuart). Stuart, I kid because I love!
L: Who do you like better Jay Leno, Conan Obrien, or Dave Letterman?
S: Well, I have met them all exactly once in passing and they were very nice. Mostly the people who book and support the shows are really great; they make the bands feel like actual guests.
Nicest Dressing Room: Jay Leno
Best Food: Craig Ferguson
Best Studio: David Letterman
Wildest Backstage: Jimmy Kimmel [all I picture here is tits and cocaine…am I right? –ed.]
Best Gift Bag: Carson Daly [seriously? Well, I guess he did date Tara Reid… -ed.]
Best T-Shirts: David Letterman
L: Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met? Tell me the story.
S: That’s a hard question! I have actually got to meet lots of famous people over the last few years including Jake Gyllenhaal, Scarlet Johansen, The Men of Queer Eye, Isiah Thomas, Forest Whittaker (the day he was nominated for the Academy Award), most of the cast of SNL, Meg Ryan, the list goes on and on. I also met and had a conversation with Bill Clinton while he was on the campaign trail and still a long shot as the Democratic candidate. I asked him about the US drug policy and the “war on drugs” in America. I don’t remember the answer but that moment catapulted him to the Presidency, I am sure of it. [Hey, Steve—I think you dropped something there, buddy. –ed.]
L: You are training for a triathalon—which is the best leg of such an event?
S: Besides the finish (where you get to eat and eat!) the best part is the bike ride because it’s usually very beautiful and because the swim is over where I always feel like I am about to drown.
L: Tell me something about you that most people don’t know.
S: Some people do know this but I accidentally killed my girlfriend’s cat when I started the dryer and the cat was in it. She forgave me. [I still have not gotten over it, though. –ed.]
L: People used to call you Steve Weed. Why?
S: My first year at SXSW (2000), I mentioned wanting to have a nickname and suggested, jokingly, “Steve Weed”. It just stuck! It’s because I like to garden. [Now you are just lying straight to my face! -ed.] A couple people still call me that to this day. I want my new nickname to be “Scuba Steve.” [Unfortunately The Official Nickname Rulebook prevents you from picking your own nickname. It’s a fact. –ed.]
L: Tell me about your dream day with Mark Arm.
S: Every day is my dream day with Mark Arm. We sleep in late and get up and shower (we share a towel) and then go for coffee and a long walk in the park. Then he tells me about the day he came up with the word “Grunge” and we hug and hug. It’s lovely.