FRI, JUL 25, 2008 at 4:03 AM

Sasha Barr Won’t Give You a Straight Answer


Sasha Barr appeared in our lives mysteriously and with little fanfare, and since that day he’s spent much of his time sequestered in the back of the office, frighteningly near the bathrooms and the freight elevator. He doesn’t come out too much, unless there’s free pizza, and he only recently met the head honchos of Sub Pop at a top secret meeting in the conference room even though he’d been working here for months. Recently when we were fruitlessly tallying up the ‘people of color’ here at Sub Pop over lunch, Sasha came up as a possibility of being something other than white—Asian and Native American were the two most popular guesses. Turns out he’s neither. Sasha refuses to conform to grammar rules and often times goes off on stream of consciousness rants about eggs. Let’s meet Sasha!

L: Sasha, I just looked at your myspace page and I saw some things for sale, including placemats and pillowcases. I googled you and found a photo of you wearing a red apron. What the hell is going on here? I thought your medium was “computers”.

S: does that apron look good or what? i really look like i love screen-printing, huh? i’ve been screen-printing for a decade or so. my dad screen-prints on ceramics at home [Like ‘World’s Best Dad’ coffee mugs? –ed.], and my mom was a graduate student in printmaking. it runs in the family. i was a printmaking student in college, i started printing posters for bands in 2001. maybe some bands you’ve heard of. some you probably haven’t. i stopped printing posters when i moved to seattle, i outsourced the printing for a couple jobs [That’s what’s ruining this country, Sasha. –ed.] i turned in the poster making for just design and illustration. i do, however, have a screen-printing set up in my garage. but now it’s used for making other things. like the placemats. or napkins. or pillows. or ipod sleeves. or small art prints. my girlfriend, meagan, and i have a little company called Wonder Thunder, and we like to make things for people’s houses and lives. it’s something fun to do. we draw things with pencils and pens, put them on the computer, make neat images, screen-print them on fabric, then sew them into usable items. we want to try making lampshades, hard cover books, wallets, sheets, towels, baby shirts, and other things. hands on! martha stewart is way jealous. heard it on the radio. i also have a cat named fatty, but that’s neither here nor where. [I have a cat named Larry who is very fat. –ed.]

L: I heard from a reliable source that you used to be straight-edge. Were you straight-edge with Xs and shit or did you just not drink and do drugs? When did you quit being straight edge? This same source said that your nickname is ‘Cornbread’ and that you don’t wear shoes in the art department, by the way.

S: unfortunately, i never claimed the edge. i may of put x’s on my hands with a magnum 44, but that didn’t make me edge. shoot, that’s not true either. i dont think i ever put x’s on my hands. but i did listen to a smattering of straight edge hardcore as a teenager. i didn’t, however, drink or do drugs. i may have made bad grades in high school, but it wasn’t due to being wasted. [I made great grades being wasted! –ed.] i think i was bucking the system, or something. maybe i was lazy. maybe i was too busy learning sweet tricks on my yo-yo. i was vegan for a good number of years, and that’s like the straight edge of diets. from the summer of 99 til sometime in 03 or 04. it seemed like a good idea at the time. i think i was on an airplane to new york when i made the decision, and i think i was surrounded by pizza when i quit. i’m pretty sure there were pine nuts [Blech! –ed.] on the pizza. and goat cheese. eggs and dairy products made a triumphant return to my diet, i ate eggs everyday for a year. now i eat aquatic things as well. no dead mammals, though. or yardbirds. i might have tried a snail. i’ve never heard anyone call me cornbread. they must do that behind my back. i have taken my shoes off a couple times, that much is true. but at least i don’t stink the place up. not that i know of. my feet gotta breathe, you know? they got lungs too. [No, no they don’t, actually. –ed.]

L: You are still fairly new-ish to Seattle. What’s your favorite part of the Emerald City? What’s your least favorite part? Name 3 good reasons why Washington is better than Tennessee.

S: -um. this is oz? there’s a pentagram in the sidewalk outside my house, but i guess that doesn’t constitute as a yellow brick road. well, first things first. seattle has very little crime. after being in memphis for some 7 odd years, a city that manages to be one of the most dangerous cities in america year after year…seattle is very very calm. [You live in Ballard, don’t you? –ed.] i don’t know about the rest of the state, but i imagine not much goes on in that desert between here and spokane. i did go to a bitchin demolition derby in Lind a month or so back, though. i guess that’s a different kind of violence. i miss memphis something crazy, don’t get me wrong, but i don’t miss the homicides, break ins, and muggings. the milder weather here is another plus, for at least a couple months. the 100+ degree heat in the summers back home can be a bit of a drag, but the winter here in seattle was equally lame. you guys got to fix that 9 months of winter thing. cut down a mountain or something. it’s july, i shouldn’t be wearing a sweatshirt as i type this. the nature here is also quite nice. east tennessee is incredibly beautiful, and even the mississippi has it’s moments, but i like having a couple lakes some blocks from my house. and them mountains. and the islands. pretty cool. they’re all way nicer when the sun’s out, though. is that 3 things? i don’t think i answered that correctly. where are the dancing bears and trick chickens? i’m moving to new zealand after this interrogation is over.

L: Who do you like better—"Jeff Kleinsmith": or Dusty Summers? If you are not comfortable answering this question please take a stab at these: Who is taller, JK or DS? Who has a male offspring, JK or DS? Who is best known for his beard, JK or DS? Who likes better music, JK or DS? Who is funnier most of the time, JK or DS?

S: i’ve known dusty for some years, and jeff and i have hit if off pretty well in a short amount of time. we’re all friends! yay! dusty’s got the height. it’s his icy white nikes. [Wrong. –ed.] i think jeff has a boy dog. or maybe it’s a hamster. he’s got one wicked beard, too. [Wrong again. –ed.] like zz top, but trashier. i think i’m a good middle man on the music in the office. i like most things both of them play. i don’t get any choice in the matter since my computer doesn’t have speakers, so i kinda have to deal with whatever they put on. fortunately, jeff and i see eye to eye on metal and stoner rock, and dusty and i can agree on hip hop and the band. they both like to play bum out music though. sometimes they cry. when they’re not busy crying, jeff and dusty spit out gallons of coffee a week, all over the keyboards and monitors, due to insane laughter. no lie. they crack themselves up. i’m glad the democratic primaries are over, though. them’s fightin words.

L: You like to skateboard. How long have you been skating? Do you go skating with the dudes here in the office? Did you ever have skater bangs? Do you like the wind in your hair or what?

S: i do like to skateboard. true fact! i think i started when i was fourteen, and i’m twenty six now… that makes like twenty years or something. too long for how good i’m not. sam and i go skating sometimes, but he likes to go at sunrise, and i like to go anytime that’s not right after i wake up. sam rips bowls something gnarly, brosis, and i’m more of a street park person. but we work it out sometimes. knife-fights and brass knuckles. sick moves. 80 percent cobras. what are bangs? like the bangles? susanna hoffs? i went to school with her nephew. at least, that’s what he said. i could of been gullible. seems like a funny thing to lie about. i typically wear a hat when i’m gleaming the concrete waves, so i don’t get too much wind in my hair. i saw chris jacobs on a shred sled once. he rocks the full pads. probably a smart move. [Don’t mess with Rad Dad. –ed.]

L: We just had our big 20th Anniversary Fest this weekend—what was your favorite band of the weekend? Why?

S: i have to admit, i only actually watched fleet foxes and sam beam, but i heard most everyone in some proximity. you could hear from pretty much anywhere, and standing is, you know, hard. everyone sounded pretty spot on, i think mark turned mudhoney up extra loud, though. the vaselines sounded great. that patton oswalt guy friday night was pretty hilarious. does he count as a band? i like to imagine hawks eating giant rats. who knew it could be so funny? the wolf parade and foals show monday night was probably my favorite part of the weekend. wolf parade rarely plays, and when they do, they seem to do it pretty well. same goes with foals. the audience at neumo’s that night was equally as entertaining. i really enjoy seeing what white people mosh to. [As opposed to…? –ed.] i would of never imagined crowd surfing and heavy thrashing to wolf parade. where did that moshing garbage come from anyway? “hey, i really really love this band, i’m going to slam myself into people all over the place! i don’t even care! i’m so punk! feelin it!” it really ruins some people’s days. i’m glad wolf parade played for 2 hours, though. the new songs sounded great live.

L: Batman 56—The Dark Knight: What are your feelings on this? Also, who will you vote for in the upcoming presidential election?

S: saw it last night. had to sit way close to the screen because the theatre was stupid packed. even at 10pm on a tuesday. i forget how many people live in seattle. in my opinion, it’s hands down one of the best action/ suspense movies to come out in a long while. really good job all around. [I found it a little boring—kept checking my watch. –ed.] it’s too bad ledger had to go and die after the best performance of his career. i’ll vote for that obama fellow. is that a real question? i have to register to vote in the state of washington first.

L: Tell me your personal feelings about these bands:

S: Red Hot Chili Peppers: my neighbor has played the rhcp pretty loudly before. that one california cd, i believe. in the movie thrashin they make a sweet appearance at a rockin skate party. per welinder and rodney mullen get their freestyle on. other than that, they’re not for me. flea was in that suburbia movie, though. the one from 84. i guess that counts for something. i think a baby gets eaten by some dogs on the side of the highway. [I thought skateboarders HAD to like RHCP. Maybe that was when I was in 7th grade, though. –ed]

Jane’s Addiction: neither. i remember a beavis and butthead episode where they watch the been caught stealin video. that’s about all i can think of. [Ruben just made me listen to Ritual de lo Habitual on the way home from Anacortes. I felt embarrassed. –ed.]

Led Zeppelin: sometimes, but not really. stairway to heaven came on the radio as i was leaving the great wall outside of beijing some years ago, and it was at that moment i think i realized i kinda liked that song. funny that it came on in china. never been a huge fan. i guess most people would call that blasphemy. or stupidity. i thought it was funny on freaks and geeks when nick got so bummed out on john bonham’s death. he really liked rush, too. like kleinsmith. [Guilty pleasure for me is that ‘Oh oh oh oh oh you don’t have to go’ song. I know that it stinks but it makes me want to drive to the beach in one of those shitty fake Jeeps. –ed]

Def Leppard: i like my classic rock that rocks, not my classic rock that sucks. playing drums with one arm is pretty awesome, though. [Leppard is classic rock?! I am old. –ed.]

John Denver: apparently he’s mother nature’s son and was born a half space alien. i’m not sure how that works out. seems like he was a pretty nice dude. [He was actually a racist and a wife beater. I made that up but it could be true. –ed]

Mudhoney: i think i was either too young, or too on the other side of the country when mudhoney was gathering attention. i think i was like 8. i did, for whatever reason, have bleach on tape when i was in elementary school. i have no idea where it came from. but i guess that’s a different band. i have a hard time getting into rock these days, but i’m trying. i took home some mudhoney cd’s a couple weeks ago. [Give it a shot—you’ll like it. –ed.]

Vampire Weekend: not feeling it. [Correct answer. –ed.]

The Go Gos: who? [WRONG! My first albums on cassette were Beauty and the Beat and Pyromania. –ed.]

Meatloaf: his name is robert paulson, i think. had a trick shoulder. [I had to google this to figure out what you are talking about. Are you on drugs? –ed.]

Green River: same as mudhoney, but i was like 2. [Acceptable. –ed.]

INXS: related to XTC, right? [I’m starting to hate you. –ed.]

Cannibal Corpse: i like zombies, and movies where zombies eat people. chicken and the egg. i’m glad i eat eggs now._

you should of asked me about bands i like. now i sound like a jerk.

L: You always wear a hat. What’s the deal?

S: yea, the hat. does anyone else in the office even wear a hat? i’m either in hat always on mode, or hat always off. i usually wear the hat when i feel i need a haircut, or when i’m skating. it keeps my glasses from falling off. i strongly dislike going to get a haircut, so the hat keeps me out of the barber’s chair. i really need a haircut. [So you are not secretly balding? –ed.]

L: Who do you like better your mom or your dad? Also, which one of them do you think loves you more?

S: we’re a happy family unit. ma, pa, and opie. there’s also their four cats, max, sheba, cat, and dixie. the love is spread pretty evenly. did i tell you i had a cat? his name is fatty. he likes my roommate better than he likes me. [Maybe your roommate makes more sense and isn’t afraid to capitalize things. JK. –ed]

L: Lastly, tell me a funny story about working here.

S: well, shoot. did i mention jeff and dusty spit out coffee all the time? that’s pretty funny. i think me working here is pretty funny. does that count? before moving here i would always joke with dusty about “if you guys ever need any part-time help….” but they never did. plus i was across the country, in memphis. then, for no good reason, i decided it was time to move. dusty and lauren offered their basement til i found an apartment, so i packed up and drove. i had no good reason for moving, nor anything waiting for me. kinda dumb. but, thankfully enough, lauren was pregnant and dusty needed to take his paternity leave! so i filled in! then i got to stay even after he came back! sweet! hilarious, right? oof. [Oh I see, you are going for funny-strange. –ed.]

Posted by Lacey Swain