People Who Work Here is proud to present Dean Whitmore, the mom and pop/direct sales guy here at Sub Pop, and one of the people that I certainly thought would say “No way, dude” when I asked for an interview. Dean W plays drums in The Unnatural Helpers, a local band that also currently features Chris Martin from Kinski, and used to feature several ex-Sub Pop employees such as Matt Olsen, Jed Maheu, and Sean Kelly. Dean likes to eat lunch alone whilst reading the paper but at night he likes to grab a few beers and listen to records and talk shit with his friends. Dean is an obsessive cardboard box collector and it is nearly impossible to walk right up to his desk because he has built a giant cardboard fortress around his entire area and he refuses to take it down or clean it up. Dean W Factoid—A few things you can often find on Dean’s desk are a Pabst tall boy, an empty yogurt container, an unopened bottle of Wellness Formula, and a shitload of 7”s. Let’s meet Dean!
L: Tell me about being kid in South Seattle. Your family is pretty religious, right? Did you have to go to church all the time? And Bible camp and all that? Do you believe in God?
D: I don’t remember all that much about my childhood. My dad was a wrestling & football coach so I played lots of sports & stuff. Yeah, I went to church a lot until I got into jr. high or so then I decided I’d rather listen to Cheap Trick or watch football on Sundays & opted out. I don’t remember my mom being pissed about that or anything. Just to cover my ass I consider myself agnostic so if God shows up I can say “yeah, but I always wanted you to be real”. [The guy is not Santa Claus—I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work that way. –ed.]
L: You were kind of a jock in high school what with the football and all—when did you realize that you were really more of a punker than a footballer? Did the guys on the team take it well?
D: My senior year I sort of checked out & I remember making myself decide whether I was gonna be a rocker or a straight dude. [So like, you had both a Mohawk and a letterman’s jacket? –ed.] It was all internal drama. There were no interventions. I’ve since come to grips w/ the idea that I can dig both. You just have to watch the game w/ the sound down most of the time.
L: Why do you think that “Magic Bus” is a less offensive song than “Boris the Spider”? What’s your favorite Who song? Do you like the Who because of Keith Moon or is it the whole package?
D: Yes it is less offensive. Was that a dig? How come everybody gotta be cracking on the Who? Nobody talks about Harlem Shuffle when the Stones come up & if you sing Eminence Front to me I will try to spit in your mouth. I couldn’t choose one song. Not that they’re all great but I never think about the individual songs I think about the whole album. I like everybody in the Who, yes even Daltrey & almost everything they did until about 1970 & then it gets a little spotty & then it gets real spotty. [What about the porn? Any thoughts about the porn? -ed]
L: How long have you been playing drums? What drummers do you think totally suck and why?
D: I’ve been playing a good while. I don’t really care that much about drummers really. I like real crap drummers sometimes & hate really good ones sometimes. Mostly it depends on the song they’re playing & what sort of spirit they’re putting into it. [Just say you love John Bonham and get it over with. –ed.]
L: Please tell me how you spent your 4th of July. Did you blow anything up? What’s your most memorable 4th of July? Do you really even give a shit?
D: Neither me or my wife gives a shit about holidays of any kind but we are starting to have to cause our daughter is getting to the age where she wants to “have fun” & “celebrate” these occasions. It’s actually pretty fun to do that stuff now. I remember hating these types of things even as a kid because I felt pressure to have to act / react a certain way when you get the present or give the present or whatever but she’s into it so we are too. I still get diarrhea every time I go to a family event though.
L: You have a young daughter—in what ways do you hope she takes after her mother and not you, especially when she’s an adult?
D: Her mom is more even keel than I am so if she could have a more even disposition I’d like that. [I was fully expecting something like “I hope she doesn’t have a penis.” -ed.]
L: Remember when we went down to see if there was a big anti-Bush protest at Westlake Center after the last election and there was no one there? That sucked and I don’t think I’ve recovered, you? I mean, do you ever get the feeling that it just doesn’t fucking matter?
D: Yeah, that was a bummer. I was ready to take some rubber bullets! We’ll have to face up to what we’ve done & are doing at some point. I’m hopeful that things will turn around. [Aw, that’s cute! –ed.] It’s just really sad that we could do so much w/ all our power & wealth but don’t.
L: How is the 2007 Dean different from what the 1997 Dean thought he’d be like? Are you okay with these differences?
D: I’m happier now. I have my wife & daughter & whole shit load more bitchin’ records!
L: What is your favorite Dean W band? Who do you like to play music with the most? What is in the musical future for Dean W?
D: The Helpers duhhhh. I like playing w/ my friend Mike the most. He’s the right combination of good/shitty/rocking/smart/dumb for me. We’re going to keep recording more stuff & have a 7” & a new record right around the corner. [They’re awesome—check them out! -ed.]
L: You seem to be fighting a constant battle between getting your shit together/getting in shape, etc and saying fuck it. How do you think this is going to play out in the long run? I do this too and I still haven’t figured out which side of the fence is more comfortable—right now I still think I have a few more fuck it years left….
D: I don’t know! I’ll probably end up fat, with a bad liver & cancer but I hope not. The problem is I’m really good at all the things that make you end up that way. I love sitting in a bar drinking beer w/ friends watching / listening / participating in saying & doing stupid things. Last night we were sitting outside of our space drinking beer & this super drunk dude started coming up to us so we were trying to beat feet inside & the dude yells to us “Don’t worry I ain’t got no pepsi. You can drink your 7-UP”. I have no idea either but I love that shit & it don’t come to you on a treadmill. I am doing a good amount of running & stuff right now & it feels good & has it’s benefits too. I hope to continue but if not… well fuck it then.
L: You quit going to A+R meetings—can you tell me why?
D: I didn’t like the group dynamics. I also wasn’t very good at it. You don’t really want your livelihood very dependant on what I think is cool right? Although shitting out a bunch of garage/weird/punk shit on the nosedive down would be a kind of cool way to go. I decided I can still bring stuff up when I want & I won’t have to suffer the indignation of being told “no way dude” to my face. [Stick it to the man! -ed]
L: And finally, please tell me your favorite lyric from a Who song.
D: I tried to write a song here about how much you talk about pooping & your poops consistency etc. but it kinda started making me sick out too much thinking about what might be in your poop so I bailed out. Sorry about that. [That wasn’t even the question, Dean. –ed.]
L: Thanks for playing.
This week People Who Work Here travels to the far away lands of the cubicle right next door to bring you Angelina Saez, Sub Pop’s resident accounting/ticket buy lady. If you are a vendor she is the lady who types up your invoices and if you work at a venue where Sub Pop bands play, she’s the one who hands over our credit card info to purchase the tickets that we give to our contacts. Angelina talks on the phone a lot and I sometimes hear her arguing with her Greek boyfriend about whether or not they are going to happy hour. Okay, this really only happened once but it sticks out in my mind for some reason. Let’s meet Angelina!
L: Where did you work before Sub Pop? What was the best thing about it? What was the worst?
A: I worked at Hurley International as the Northern California merchandiser and freelance fashion stylist. It was good because I was able to travel all over the country to locations I probably wouldn’t have otherwise for free working on photo shoots and work out of home (by home I mean 400 sq ft studio) in San Francisco. The worst part was that I did styling for Eddie Bauer a bunch and it was really hard to make the frumpy clothes look like fashion pieces. Then with Hurley I had to drive to Modesto and Sacramento from my San Francisco apartment. It sucked to be in my 87 Integra on the open road for hours at a time and the scenery was less than thrilling.
L: How would you describe your personality?
A: It’s almost like I have a split personality. At Sub Pop I am pretty reserved and try to exhibit good behavior. In my personal life I’m a crazy mess and my friends love me and hate me all at the same time. I’m very opinionated and love to give advice (often not warranted) [I’ll say! –ed] and have a need for organization, cleanliness, and for things to be pretty. [She put wrapping paper on her cubicle walls b/c they were too green. –ed.] So, I am probably a high maintenance beeaaach to say the least.
L: If you could change one thing about who you are what would it be?
A: To not be so uptight. I’m not sure when it happened, but all of a sudden I became a cross between Martha Stuart and Madonna (the current one, not the one who wrote the sex book.) [I’m glad we’re not dating. –ed.]
L: You’ve often referenced your old partying ways—tell me more about this. What does partying mean to you?
A: I grew up in Auburn, WA and small towns are crazy. I wasn’t much of a drinker, but my friends were into experimenting. We spent a good deal of time picking mushrooms and tripping around town. Whoever thinks raising kids in a small town is a good idea has obviously never been to Auburn. Then I turned 21 and it was like this crazy lady, I named her Shelia, popped out of nowhere and apparently had to make up for lost time. Shelia watched the sun rise way too many times and it started to take a toll on my youthful glow. Luckily vanity took over and the bags under the eyes lost out to eye cream and the cigarettes had to go because they age your skin and can give you fine lines around the mouth. I don’t think there’s been any permanent damage [Are you sure? –ed.] because I can think clearly and often make complete sentences. All and all I wouldn’t change any of it, well except for one incident, but I’m not about to delve into that. I’m grateful that my own experiences have made me more open to and less likely to judge others for what they decide to partake in because I’ve probably done it myself.
L: You just bought a house—is this the craziest thing you’ve ever done? Did you save up a ton of money? Is it scary?
A: I think it’s the sanest thing I’ve ever done, because I didn’t really do anything but find it. My boyfriend, Minos (yes, he’s Greek and no we don’t do it in the butt, Lacey) [Then he’s not really Greek… -ed.] is the one who actually purchased the house I am just going to decorate it. I love to make things look pretty and can’t wait to start beautifying. [Here’s a small piece of advice—do not put wrapping paper on all your walls. –ed.] I’m not crazy like having special sets of dishes for every occasion, but I almost get a rush when putting together a room. It’s crazy. [Yes, I’ve seen this on that show Intervention—the ladies who are shopaholics look crazier than your run of the mill crackheads. You might want to get this checked out… -ed.]
L: You also teach yoga—tell me how you got into yoga and how one becomes a yoga instructor. Do you yell at people when they’re doing it wrong?
A: I was in SF working for Hurley and I decided that California just wasn’t my thing. I immediately quit my job, started packing and returned to good old Seattle. Once back I had an anxiety attack and the reality of what I’d done started setting in. Realizing I’d quit a great job without another one lined up and had zero health insurance the obvious thing to do was teach yoga. [Obviously. –ed.] I found a teachers training program and signed up. You have to complete 250 hours of training on the various postures, pranayamas, and history of yoga that is determined by the Yoga Alliance. I don’t teach Bikrim, that is the more aggressive yoga that can have yelling. I’m not really into that. I mainly teach flow which allows me to combine a bunch of different methods and I love my students to much to yell at them. You should come to my Saturday class at 11, you’ll love it. [It’s not really my thing—I like yelling. –ed.]
L: What’s your favorite band ever?
A: I am a total sucker for the one hit wonders. I’ve purchased several albums based on the one hit and have been fooled time and time again. [What’s that saying about crazy is repeating the same thing and expecting different resuts? –ed.] I’m the friend that plays the same album over and over again without ever getting sick of it (even if you do). [I would kill you. –ed.] I love Gish from the Smashing Pumpkins, but I can’t say there my all time favorite band. [So, you’re not stoked for Zeitgeist? –ed.]
L: What’s your favorite band on Sub Pop?
A: Postal Service (I’ve had it in the car CD player since it came out and still love it)
L: What rockstar would you show your jugs to?
A: Who hasn’t seen them? Kidding. I’m not really a breast flasher. Until my 30’s I didn’t really have breasts then out of know where I had to start wearing a bra. What the crap? [That’s totally bogus. Did you finally get your period, too? –ed.]
L: Please tell me about your very first day of high school. What were you like then?
A: I was just looking at my senior annual [ie. Yearbook. -ed.] and I have apparently gone into denial about what my eyebrows used to look like and that the 90’s were way cooler than the 80’s. I could’ve (and probably still can) give Brooke Shields a run for the money and the fashion wasn’t as cute as I made it in my head. My first day of high school was easy since I had friends already attending (never date boys in your grade, always go for the older) [Friends, eh? –ed.]. Auburn High had about 3000 students so there were friends for everyone and lots of parties and kegs in the woods. I have a fondness for high school, but skipped the reunion in 2003. Maybe 2013 I’ll check it out.
L: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
A: Back in my Diesel jeans from age 25, I can barely get them over my thighs, but I will by Christmas, come hell or high water! (I don’t think Diesels are even in fashion anymore, but I am very serious.) [I couldn’t tell you either. My jeans have a tummy tuck panel sewn into them. No shit. –ed.]
L: Please tell me if you plan on having babies and why or why not?
A: No babies, no babies, no babies! Well, not in the immediate future. Kids are great, but the whole growing inside you like a parasite really freaks me out. I like the idea of being a foster parent and giving some of the kids in there teens a chance to have a safe home and get them into a good college. Plus if I’m going to work hard to get back into my damn Diesel jeans, I don’t need any extra pounds and you can’t drink for nine months and that is too committal for me right now.
L: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: Never assume anything. I try not to, but the damn Western mind (learned about this in yoga school) just starts racing through a ton of scenarios and then I’m totally worked over and hiding in a closet in the fetal position. I am really working on this and hope to find serenity. Serenity now!! [Your adoption plans just went down the tubes, lady! -ed.]
L:Guess a number between 1 and 10.
A: 11 is my lucky number, but since it’s not an option how about 2? [Nope. –ed.]
A galloping exploration through vocal beauty and continuously looming guitar work, Tiny Vipers’ On This Side is a wonderful tune for your late night summer drives over dark mountain roads.
For those of you “lucky” enough to live in or around Los Angeles, this evening at 7pm you will be able to hear and hopefully even see Patton Oswalt perform live at the Amoeba Records in Hollywood (located at 6400 Sunset Blvd.)! Or, you can watch a stream of this event live via computer networking technology!
You should really go if you can. Patton is very funny. If, for whatever misguided reasons of your own, you don’t take us at our word on this fact, just BUY HIS NEW RECORD and judge for yourself! If you are not at least somewhat amused by the new PATTON OSWALT RECORD, WEREWOLVES AND LOLLIPOPS, you are free to give it away to someone as a gift and we will refund NONE of your money!
Plus, and also, and courtesy of the wonders of the World Wide Web (or, “WWW”), even if you don’t live in or around Los Angeles, you can enjoy Mr. Oswalt’s performance at Amoeba Records this evening from the comfort of the place where you sit in front of your computer (or other web streaming-enabled viewing device – although watching it on your BlackBerry or iPhone or whatever while driving in your car is something we’re legally and morally obligated to strongly advise against)!
Simply program the internet for here at 7pm (Pacfic!) this evening and treat yourself to a webcast of Patton Oswalt (he’s the voice of Rataouille!), live from Amoeba LA.
And then also, you can still BUY THE NEW PATTON OSWALT RECORD, WEREWOLVES AND LOLLIPOPS.
We just flew back from the Pitchfork Music Fest in Chicago and boy are our arms tired! Alissa, Sam, and I spent three days in the Chicago heat to bring you all the best in/some of Sub Pop’s wares and we’d like to extend a hearty THANK YOU! to all that came by the booth to chat and, more importantly, buy some stuff from us. We’ve recently added the limited edition t-shirts we had for sale (Note: we will NOT be making more of these so get yours now!) as well as the killer vinyl sized tote bags that were seen hanging from the arms of kids in the know all over Union Park last weekend.
You may have been smart enough to pick up a Sub Pop sticker with a coupon for $5 off orders of $20 or more, but chances are that the directions are a tad confusing so let me explain how you’ll get your deal. Because we don’t have our coupon code area all set up on our new site we will be manually refunding your card the $5 when we see the secret code written in the comments section of your order. This may take an extra day or so, but be assured that your refund will show up! We apologize for any inconvenience but later’s better than never, especially when it comes to money.
Again, nice to see you all, and thanks for stopping by!
Got a question? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh, and yes, that’s a green Sub Pop pin in that guy’s chest.
Punching Goodbye out Front is the first download we’re offering off the new Kinski record, Down Below It’s Chaos (which is out August 21st). It’s also one of three tracks on the new record that features vocals courtesy of guitarist Chris Martin. We’re pretty fond of it and hope you are too.