News for People Who Work Here

INCONSEQUENTIAL : FRI, JAN 15, 2016 at 10:30 AM

People Who Work Here: Garrett Kelly


Well, well, wellington. Here’s where we revive our extremely popular past series called People Who Work Here, which is a privacy invading series of questions that gets to the proverbial “heart of the matter.” The matter this time around just happens to be webguru (remember that term? HAHAHA, the worst!) Garrett Kelly, who also happens to be the co-founder of Hollow Earth Radio (soon to be KHUH, read more here!), a cool dad, an adventurous dresser, and all around essential asset to the local music scene. See for yourself:

Hey Garrett, whatcha wearing?

Is that a trick question? I wear the required uniform Derek. You will never see me in the office without at least my backwards LOSER trucker hat, Sub Pop slip-on shoes, a Hardly Art hoodie and/or my ‘S>U>P B<R<O’ t-shirt. That is not to say that I don’t also find time to curate my own personal fashion. I once ran a successful fashion blog called ”Sequins In Seattle“ and I even did my own runway show once. I like to say that “I can fashion men’s style from the maternity aisle.” The premise of the blog was on my unique ‘faux-pas forward’ fashion tips; I focused on advice like how, say, you should never pre-wash clothes from the thrift store (“it removes the ‘essence’ of former owners and robs the garment of its natural ‘patina’). I embrace stains and traditionally “inappropriate” rips and holes.   

This image above is when I went to this software developer conference a couple years ago and this famous Apple blogger walked up to me at a bar unprovoked and decided to tell me that I looked “fucking ridiculous” in front of a bunch of people. It was pretty humiliating even though I am well aware that uh…yeah, of course I look fucking ridiculous! I still can’t believe he thought it was okay to just say that to a stranger though. Dick. 

I’ve been consciously wearing controversial clothing since high school and hardly think twice about it now.  When chain wallets used to be big in the late 90’s, I made one out of a curly telephone cord; it reached down to my ankle and would always get caught on door handles and stuff.  I think I did shit like that mostly as a litmus test to weed out assholes. I remember one time I was wearing this long flowy skirt thing in Arcata and some prescription pink rhinestone glasses and some jerk drove by and yelled out “GET SOME LEVI’S.” But I just laughed when that happened.

Tell me a little about your childhood.

I grew up in California. Up until about third grade I lived in Lafayette in the Bay Area. We lived by this creek across the street from a junior high and I remember when I was a kid I was scared of punk rockers because they would always tromp through our yard and drink beer behind our fence and throw bottles into our pool late at night. I remember once my mom and my sister spent a day making booby traps. We dug this hole on the other side of the fence that the punk rockers would jump over and we filled it with blackberry brambles and dog shit. My mom was in on all of this. I guess she was fed up with them so she put us to work making dog shit traps.

Then in third grade my parents decided to move to a town called Knightsen, which proudly boasts that it has “‘more horses than people.” This place was truly in the middle of nowhere, just orchards and farms and nothing much to do. There weren’t like… sidewalks. During these years I got real into country music, line-dancing, shredded beef jerky that came in cans like chewing tobacco, and my local 4-H chapter. My sister and I worked with pygmy goats because I was too sensitive to raise a cow or pig and saw what happened at the end of the year when crying kids had to sell their animals at auction at the county fair. So we raised these miniature show goats and our family bottle fed one that lived in the house for a couple of months. It wore diapers, slept on the couch and watched Rush Limbaugh on TV. His name was Norman. My family is, and continues to be, real weird.

My favorite middle school experience was one time I got to be team captain in P.E. so I got to pick my team for kickball. I used the opportunity to pick those with the most underdeveloped athletic ability first (I was also of this persuasion). It was the most satisfying fucking experience of my entire life. I remember the look on people’s faces when I made that first pick. “WAIT, YOU PICKED HORACE?????” Oh man, it was so glorious, and I’m pretty sure Horace felt so awesome getting picked first. It soon became pretty obvious what I was doing as I continued to pick my team of losers, of which I was captain, and we were all stoked to be on that team anyway. We tried really hard… and of course we lost in epically pathetic ways. Bad News Bears style. But it was excellent, like some shit out of a movie.

For a visual, here is a funny video of me in 6th grade hamming it up, lip syncing to Garth Brooks at Epcot Center:

High school was a much more interesting experience. By that point I was starting to dig really deep into ‘weird’ music (you know, like GREEN DAY). I eventually found myself gravitating towards all the freaks and weirdos and I will now proceed to go on and on about how important that time in my life was for me. I think most people tend to feel they had really shitty high school experiences, but for me I definitely want to go back in time and relive it over and over again. It really started to take off in sophomore year, my friends and I decided that we needed to be in a school club in order to have some extracurricular activities for our college applications. We decided to form our own, which we called the Facial Hair / Rock N’ Roll Appreciation club. 

We really didn’t have any official business, but we did end up putting together a music festival on campus during lunch called Facial Hair Week. We even made a documentary about it. You can see me jumping around like an idiot while this guy Josh rubs expired jellies and jams all over his nipples.

High school was an opportunity to hang out with my friends and push limits. Here’s another great video of my friend Jake walking around campus skronking on a clarinet and annoying the lunch cooks. 

I am also featured in the main band in that video (the Perpetual Elvis Machine) playing my preferred musical instrument at the time: the Tupperware. You may also notice me at the end of that video, acting like a turd, talking to the Vice Principal about how he’s violating my constitutional rights to play a terrible rendition of “Silent Night” while people try to enjoy their lunch. I guess why I loved that time so much is that we were kids who were really in the middle of nowhere, there was absolutely NOTHING going on in our town, but we decided to just do our own thing to entertain each other. My parents had this unfinished addition to our house where my band the Amish Playboys would play, and every couple of months we would have shows there with all four or five local bands and the occasional performance art troupe. I remember this parent chaperon got really weirded out one time when he came in there and one of my friends had stripped down to tightie whities & wrapped himself in cellophane, rolling around in Twinkies performing a song called “Necrophiliac Blues.”

OK, here’s another thing that happened senior year. So, when homecoming came around I decided for some reason that I was going to campaign to get on the Top Ten Court. I thought it would just be really funny if I made it to the homecoming court because clearly I was not Top Ten material. I figured if I could get all the stoner kids, and all the band dorks and all the math club kids (who ate lunch on the far side of campus so no one would try to put them in a garbage can) to vote for me, I might have chance. I didn’t REALLY think it would work but IT TOTALLY DID.  It was a little awkward because when they called my name to go down to the football field at the rally in front of the entire school it was the 19 most popular people at school and then, me.

Anyway, when the actual homecoming election happened, I think there was this sort of rallying cry among certain sections of the school to elect me Homecoming King just because it was such a stupid idea. I was that guy who wore that bright orange polyester jacket with an obnoxious amount of over-sized buttons/pins on it and the phone cord chain wallet that always got caught on door hinges. And so it actually worked. They crowned me king. Overall, it was a glorious moment I think, not just for me, but just for all the weirdos at my school in general. I wore the rented tuxedo all weekend and walked around Berkeley in it with my homecoming crown. Definitely a major moment in my life.

Speaking of childhoods, you’re in the middle of molding a child right now! What is the best part of having a baby?

Actually our co-worker Gabe said something to me about having a kid that has stuck with me. He said, with kids, you get to live your life all over again but this time from the perspective of the adult. I guess I never knew I would care this much about the tiniest things - like seeing his teeth pop out, or like when he figured out how to turn on the mobile and the music in his crib by himself and it was this little moment of like - oh, he’s just now figured out that he wants that. Like he’s just become autonomous and figured out that he wants to listen to some jams now and just chill out. You know? That’s pretty cool. He told his first joke this week. After an especially large lunch I patted his belly and said how big it was and he said: “Ho Ho Ho”.

Here’s a knock knock joke he’s still work-shopping:

We have a band together too, that’s pretty cool. We played a show the other day. In the video below, the first song is an untitled drone piece. 

The second one is an ecstatic song about Uki’s blankets Blue and NoneNone.

How old is your new human? What is his name?

Our new human is two years old now. His name is Ukiah. Ukiah Cricket Song Kelly. He is going to either totally hate that name, or embrace it big time. I can really see him at the Evergreen State College just full embodying his name.

What does your baby like to eat most?

He’s really into blueberries. Some other things on his top ten are: broccoli, sweet potatoes, raspberries, corn, and peaches. Judging from today he’s also into eating dust bunnies and licking this weird hole that is in our hardwood floor.

You’re part of the excellent Hollow Earth Radio station here in Seattle. Did you start that radio station?

Yes, my wife Amber and I started the radio station in 2006. I was living in this punk house called the 414 House right next to I5 and we had all these bands come to our house to play for 30 or 40 people and I thought it would be cool to maybe figure out a way to record and/or broadcast them over the internet. Also, truth be told, I was just getting into that online world SECOND LIFE and I thought it would be funny to build a virtual version of my falling apart house, and stream what was going on there.  

Around this same time, my wife Amber was working on a project which she called Sound Friend. She had messaged a stranger on MySpace to be her Sound Friend with rules that they would never actually meet, but would exchange phone numbers. They would just call each other when a particularly interesting or strange sound was occurring and play it for the other person and then just hang up. We were trying to think of a way to turn that into a website but we decided to just start this radio station incorporating these sentiments instead. From the very beginning the radio has always been about playing sounds that are sorta unfamiliar and unknown, making amateur field recordings, and sharing underrepresented bits of audio. To this day there is a phone line that people can call: 206-588-KHER and leave a voicemail that we will download and put on air. And our overall focus is just on trying to create radio that you wouldn’t hear anywhere else, featuring regular people that don’t typically get access to the airwaves.

What has been the most rewarding thing about Hollow Earth Radio?

There’s a couple of things. It’s pretty awesome that it has grown up and out of my house. It was bonkers having it in our basement and then our attic for so long, with DJs coming over at all hours, waking me up at 10am with funk bands or tromping through my house while I was eating a bowl of cereal in my boxers. Now we’ve got a public space in the Central District on 20th & Union and people can just walk in off the street. And so many folks are involved now and taking over leadership positions that it has finally become less of Amber and Garrett’s thing and more of a public/community hangout space. I walk in sometimes now and brand new volunteers accidentally meet and greet me like I am a stranger. I think that’s a good thing. There are so many people involved with their own interests and tastes and wild ideas, it’s really cool to see what people are making happen on their own. Also, this year the station was granted a LPFM (Low-Power FM) frequency, so we’re about to broadcast on the airwaves as 100.3 KHUH. It’s kind of mind boggling that something that just started in our basement will now be out there competing and carving out a niche as a real radio station. We’re also right in the middle of trying to raise funds to get up and broadcasting on the Seattle FM airwaves. People can pledge to help us acquire a transmitter and an antenna and we’ve got a bunch of rad perks including rare Jesse LeDoux prints, a Somali music mixtape called Au Revoir, Mogadishu, some Jan Terri autographed head shots, and even an all-expense paid Sasquatch hunt Adventure!


Magma Festival is also a pretty amazing thing that emerged out of the radio project as well; originally it was just a series of benefit shows we held the second year we were around in order to raise some money to pay for the station costs and we put on weekend shows throughout the month in all-ages and alternative venues around town. After the first year though, it quickly took on another role as an excuse for figuring out a way to curate dream shows that I never thought would happen in a million years. For instance, one year we convinced the Thrown Ups to reunite. This was Mark Arm & Steve Turner’s 1980’s drunk punk band with Ed Fotheringham & Seighton Beezer where they just get hammered and improvise disgusting rock songs. At that same show, we got Al Larsen (Some Velvet Sidewalk) to come out from Buffalo, NY and play some songs too. Now, this is pretty embarrassing to bring up, but I’ve probably watched that movie Hype! like a jazillion times. When I used to play those shows in my garage in High School my band used to do this cover of that Some Velvet Sidewalk song “Mousetrap” and I would jump in the air and land on my knees and totally imitate that scene from the movie. 


So it was a big deal to me to have Al come out and I got to play drums on some songs with him. Tom Price’s band played that show, and the Human Skab (formerly this eight year old from Elma, WA who put out a tape in 1986), and Rich Jensen & Alex Kostelnik gave some irreverent grunge lectures. The Thrown Ups did their thing, Ed taped a bunch of Ziploc bags full of shaving cream all over his body, then popped the bags like zits and sprayed them on the audience. It was pure improv grunge mess.


After that I didn’t think we would be able to do anything bigger or better than that, but then the next year we did this really special show on the train called Light Rail / Dark Rail. We curated this whole free show on the train where different musicians would get on at each stop, and something like 400 people showed up. It was just totally packed. It was this really amazing experience, there was all this energy around it… like that it was possible to just take existing spaces and make something HAPPEN in them like they belong to everyone, you know? 

Have you ever seen a ghost?

Yes, kinda. I had this experience once where I was cooking at the stove and I felt like out of the corner of my eye there was someone staring at me. I turned really quick to look and had this flash of seeing someone there. The crazy thing though, is that what was looking at me was ME. It looked like me. This really happened!  It was so quick and it was just a flash but it really freaked me out. I’m writing a zine about it right now because I have a theory that it was me as a time traveler breaking into my past. I can go on and on about this subject - aliens, mothman, timehunters. Try me.

Ghost hunters came over to the Hollow Earth Radio house to look for ghosts once. They brought this thing called a Speakjet - it basically has a Speak n’ Spell chip in it and also picks up fluctuations in EMF. Apparently the Speak n’ Spell chip has all the human allophones in it and the idea is that if a ghost can somehow manipulate the electromagnetic field, perhaps over time it can figure out how to talk using the SpeakJet. It sounds really cool. 

What is your favorite movie?

My favorite movie is called I Don’t Hate Las Vegas Anymore and it’s by the director Caveh Zahedi. I randomly picked it up at the video store because the box said that it was “Directed By God.” How could I pass that up? I was a Religious Studies major in college and at the time I was really freaking out about stuff like the fact that we are REALLY, RIGHT NOW, ON A PLANET FLOATING IN SPACE. Just totally obsessed that ‘we are on a planet’ and that’s REALLY REAL. So I picked up this movie and I took it home and it plunged me even deeper into my navel gazing early-twenties existential crisis.

So the premise of this movie is that it’s a documentary by Caveh about taking his dad to Vegas to confront him about some issues he had with his childhood. He had written a script with dialog and even got a grant to make a specific kind of film, but while they are driving to Vegas he decides to completely throw the script out the window and instead let God direct the film. So he goes there blindly, with his dad and his little brother, with no script, and decides that the fate of the movie and what actually happens in it is totally in the hands of God/Fate/Reality whatever. No script, just film what happens as it happens and have faith that it will turn out. Caveh wrestles with how he is constantly trying to take on the director role himself instead of just surrendering to what happens in real life. Meanwhile, the movie is just totally flopping because there is like absolutely no plot. Right? And so Caveh decides to try to spice it up, so a good portion of the movie becomes Caveh trying to convince his family to take ecstasy with him. Anyway, I absolutely love it.

Caveh is definitely my favorite director. He’s also made movies where he takes an assload of mushrooms (I Was Possessed By God). In the Bathtub of the World is basically a documentary where he just films something in his life every day for a year. He managed to make something funny & profound using all these little life moments - great scenes of annoying his girlfriend while she’s upset with him and crying in the bathroom or a pigeon getting into his apartment and shitting all over the carpet, etc. etc. I can go on and on about his films, someone just put out a boxset of all his feature films and shorts and it’s excellent. He’s also doing this new online television show called The Show About The Show, where each episode is about the making of the previous episode.

You and I share a love for outsider performers. Can you tell me about one that you particularly like?

Jan Terri is one of my favorite artists. I don’t really like labeling it as outsider - but yes, I have always been drawn to people who are just doing their own thing and I suppose don’t fit within the mainstream. Folks that get picked last for the kickball team, so to speak. 

What I mean is that I found Jan when I was searching YouTube for “Worst Music Video Ever.” At first I was so perplexed by what I was watching, but I dug deeper and found all her music videos. I thought they were really funny.  I mean, they are supposed to make you laugh and feel good. She just wants to have fun! She does not give a shit what you think and she’s just going to do her thing and rock out. She’s hella DIY without the DIY uniform. I admire her. But the more I listened to the songs, the more I realized just how much I love each of them. If I was stranded on a desert island, these are the songs I would want to keep.

She’s another one of those people I was just dying to see perform and a couple of years ago I managed to track her down. She hadn’t played live in a really long time, (she had a brief stint opening for Marilyn Manson actually). She was happy to come out and and play and I asked a primo Seattle group (Heatwarmer) to be her backing band and learn all her songs. People went absolutely bananas - crowd surfing and catching Milky Ways that she was throwing out during Journey to Mars. She really is the best.

Jan’s music videos:


And here’s video of Jan playing with the local Seattle group Heatwarmer:

What music are you listening to lately?

Right now I’m digging hard on Lonnie Holley.  Have you heard this guy? 

It’s experimental R&B and he also makes all this beautiful art literally out of garbage. A true artist, constantly making things.


I first heard this set on WFMU and it was just so strange and beautiful!

I also still listen to Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die like once a week. It’s my go to album. I’m into this Forgotify thing:  It finds you songs on Spotify that no one has ever listened to. I love a million local bands: dreamdecay, HEALTH PROBLEMS, Chaostic Magic, The Color Out Of Space, DoNormaal, The Webs, some surprises, Tyler Potts, Briana Marela, My Parade, Sue Ann Harkey, SIC ILL, #tits, FANTASY A, Domesticates, Your Heart Breaks, Lori Goldston. It hurts, I probably could spend all afternoon typing out all the local bands I love.

I put together this Spotify playlist to go along with this blog post. It’s eight hours of music I’ve collected on Spotify (a lot of it using Forgotify). It’s meant to be enjoyed over the course of an entire 8 hour work day.

You didn’t ask this, but I am going to volunteer that I am currently in a band with Smitty from Mr. Epp & the Calculations and Eric from Noggin and Brittnie Fuller (she plays a saxophone, but never blows through it, just makes it feedback through distortion pedals and controls it through the keys. She kinda plays it like the bass. She’s great!) 

We are called Clearinghouse.

I play drums, timpani, and my iPhone. I was formerly in The Pica Beats, Beast Please Be Still, WaMu, Sexually Transmitted Rainbow, My Printer Broke, Kilboy Fuckbot, and many many other whatever bands. Here’s me playing in a band called Contact Mike in the parking lot of a local, highly respected Seattle burger joint. I am the one in a sequin gown dunking my head in a bucket of ice water with a under-water microphone in my mouth. Yes, someone is mic’ing a cheese grater attached to their face and grating some cheddar. This was for an amazing local guerrilla festival called Pizza Crawl where folks walk around eating slices in Capitol Hill and listen to experimental music in alleyways and street medians. A new favorite Seattle institution.

This past weekend you went on a naked nature retreat, please tell me about that.

Yes, we went to these really special hot springs where a bunch of new-agers go and just soak in the tubs and “find their center” and stuff. There is this really cool sauna that is built over a waterfall of hot steam that rises through the floor. It’s a wet sauna and it’s dank and super hot and I absolutely love it. But I only really go at 2am because I don’t particularly like going when there are other people in there. One time my wife Amber & I went to this same hot springs with her sister Sasha and her husband Alex and Amber’s mom. We all met up naked in some tubs. It was excruciatingly awkward.  

Just this past trip some dude bro with tribal tattoos all over his body came into the sauna while I was in there and started doing these weird naked Wrestlemania poses and grunting & hollering, so I booked it out of there.

You seem to know a thing or two about computers, what are your first computer memories?

My first computer memory may be bullshit, I don’t know. I feel like I have this vague memory that my mom somehow got the school to put a bunch of computers in our house so she could test out software on them or something. But I have no idea how that would have happened. But I have this memory of a ton of computers in our living room, all Commodore 64s, and instead of floppy disks you would use cassette tapes! That sounds totally fake doesn’t it?  But look it’s real.

We did have a computer growing up but I was never interested in programming. I do remember that somehow we had this strip poker game and I would try to play but I was REALLY bad at poker.

What do you like most about computers?

When the internet came I just lost my shit. I was SOOOOOOOOOOO into it. I wanted to talk to strangers so bad. I just remember at first going to people’s houses who had AOL and just being blown away. It was like that movie War Games with Mathew Broderick! The first thing that happened is that our family got an email address and we had this dial-up system so you could write some emails, dial up, send/download your email, and then log off. I didn’t know anyone else’s email address though, so I remember trying to just guess at email addresses like,, etc. and send a bunch of mail out hoping that someone would get it and write back to me. No one ever wrote back though. :( But, the mystery of that, just throwing that out into the aether was always really exciting to me. That old modem sound, my god, just the absolute best sound in the entire world.

Similarly, I was pretty into my dad’s CB radio he had in his car. I was always trying to get people to talk to me on that, like truckers. I would spend hours trying to make contact.

Do you sleep well at night?


Do you prefer baths or showers?


Have you ever been in a car accident? If so, please tell me about it.

When I was in 5th grade I drove a riding lawnmower into someone’s brand new truck. The girl I was in love with (her name was Desi), tried to prank me by putting the lawnmower into some mode where it was going really fast and I didn’t know how to put the brakes on and I wound up hitting the side of this dude’s car, and then scraping all down the side, just ripping it to shreds. It was like $1,700 worth of damage. My parents were not too happy & never taught me to drive. I didn’t get my license until I was 23.

I was just telling this story about Desi the other day and I then I remembered that I attended her birthday party in 5th grade; it was at a rollerrink and I told the DJ to dedicate a song from Garrett to Desi. The song was ‘I Love You’ by Vanilla Ice. A b-side. But the DJ screwed it up saying it backwards: ‘the next song is FROM Desi to Garrett, it’s Vanilla Ice’s ‘I Love You.’” She was mortified. I hid in the bathroom. This may have been why she was fucking with the riding lawnmower trying to get me to crash.

What are your favorite foods?

I’m pretty into sauerkraut. My wife got me a 3 gallon crock to make my own for XMAS. I like dark chocolate, anything over 85%. I sometimes dip it into almond butter. Mangoes. Seaweed. Sushi, especially fishy tasting things like mackerel. Sardines. I like food that is skunky. I like the taste of ganja food but I can’t do that shit or I start to freak out about the FACT THAT WE ARE ON THE PLANET EARTH RIGHT NOW. WE’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF SPACE FLOATING AROUND AND ONE DAY WE REALLY ARE GOING TO DIE AND THAT’S GOING TO BE IT OMG.

What is your favorite movie?

You already asked me that. Are you taking this seriously? I thought you were going to ask me about an early Halloween costume. That’s what you promised me when you asked if I agreed to this. And I then I got my mom to send me this picture of me when I was in kindergarten and I dressed up as a devil. But now I can’t find it. But anyway, my student 8th grade “buddy” was a punk rocker (this must have been before I was scared of them) and I remember he drew an anarchy symbol on my shoe and my mom thought it was like a gang symbol or something.

Thanks Garrett!

Posted by Derek Erdman

NEWS : MON, AUG 17, 2015 at 1:00 PM

No Fly List: Notes from Sub Pop’s Airport Store (August 2015)

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No Fly List: Notes from Sub Pop’s Airport Store (August 2015). 

People Who (Will Soon) Work Here: Sub Pop Airport Store Edition

The airport store has taken on some new employees recently, and following in the footsteps of Sub Pop’s “People Who Work Here” column, I figured I’d check-in with the newest and most-likely-least-jaded hire (because he won’t start until later this month), Benjamin O’Connor. I assumed Ben was Canadian when I first met him, because he loves hockey and is overly polite, but he is in fact an American from Vancouver, Washington, who has spent the last two years living in Kiel, Germany, and teaching English through the Fullbright program. Let’s meet Ben!

(Pictured: New airport store employee Ben O’Connor in a past interview.)

Please state your name for the record.

Benjamin O’Connor.

Are you excited to work at the Sub Pop airport store?

Yes, it’s exciting to get to be in maybe the most international place in a city, and to talk about music all day. 

What do you think you can bring to the Sub Pop team?

Hopefully some puns. 

You were in Germany for the last two years. Did you see any concerts over there?

Hospitality came to Kiel, where I lived. I got to see Alvvays in Hamburg. I saw Cloud Nothings and Youth Lagoon in Berlin. I also saw a German metal band called Kadaver. 

Who are some of your favorite Sub Pop artists?

I’m a big fan of Father John Misty, Beach House, and Washed Out, but my favorite all-time is Wolf Parade.

Who are some of your favorite Germans? 

Like German bands?

Just overall. Who are some Germans we should know about? You know, besides Angela Merkel. 

Everyone should probably know Helene Fischer. Germans have this thing called Schlager music, which is like, really heavy beats with accordion, and Fischer is the Britney Spears of Schlager music. She has a variety show and is really popular.

What’s her biggest hit?

Probably this one song called “Atemlos,” or “Breathless.”

Is David Hasselhoff still the most beloved American in Germany?

No, I think if you asked most Germans, they would say they’ve gotten over the Hoff. They really like Maroon 5 now. 

I took you to Capitol Hill Block Party last month, as part of your re-introduction to American culture. What were some of your favorite things about it? 

I was happy to see Father John Misty, I missed him when he came through Berlin this year. I’d wanted to see DIIV and Lower Dens for a long time. I hadn’t seen Chastity Belt in over two years, so it was really neat to see them play for a hometown crowd. Summer Cannibals put on a great show. 

You’re about to start work in a sleek retail shop. Tell me, what’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever purchased?

I bought an inflatable Stanley Cup.  

How expensive was it?

35 dollars. 

If you didn’t get your dream job at the airport store, what other profession would you most want to pursue?

Professional baseball player. 

What would be your walk-up song to home plate?

“Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” by Father John Misty. That intro is so good. 

What’s your favorite song to sing karaoke?

I feel pretty confident singing “Runaround Sue.” I also like songs by British singers where I can do accents. 

What’s your favorite song ever?

“This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” by the Talking Heads.

Do you remember the first CD you ever bought?

Ricky Martin’s self-titled album. 

What about the second CD?

The ‘Bailamos’ single by Enrique Iglesias.

We were all livin’ la vida loca back in 1999. Are there any shows in Seattle you’re looking forward to this year?

Mac DeMarco is coming in October.

You lived in Kiel, which is close to Hamburg, where the Beatles first started playing shows. Are there any Beatles tourist traps over there?

Yeah, it’s pretty weird. Hamburg has this section called the Reeperbahn, where prostitution is legal. And so in the middle of this raunchy area with strip clubs and cheap bars, there are some metallic cut-out statues that are supposed to be the Beatles. [I looked this up, and it’s a real place called the Bealtes-platz. -ed.]

That about wraps things up. How did this interview go? Where do you rank it amongst your other interviews?

I’ve been interviewed a couple of times, actually. I got on a sports radio station when I was like fourteen and did a dumb Sean Connery impersonation. Last year I was interviewed in the local newspaper in Kiel about being a Fullbright student. But I don’t know if I can rank them. It’s just an honor when someone is curious enough about you to ask you questions. 

Posted by Jackson Hathorn

THU, AUG 29, 2013 at 3:59 AM

People! It’s The Return of “People Who Work Here” Starring Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler


When it comes to listening to the public, we here at Sub Pop like to stick our fingers into our ears and make a really loud humming noise, both literally and metaphorically. But, the recent hue and cry to resurrect our old “People Who Work Here” column has finally become too much for even us to ignore. “People Who Work Here” is, of course, the long-running and even longer-dormant column in which we crawl inside the heads of the weirdos who call Sub Pop HQ home for something like forty hours (give or take—usually take) each week. As the column’s original author is now too busy running our Licensing Department (way to go, Lacey Swain!) to be bothered with this sort of thing, we’ve drafted our new (and former) receptionist to take over as staff interviewer. His name is Derek Erdman and he claims to have a degree in English. You be the judge!

The first subject of the new “People Who Work Here” is, naturally, the newest (and, arguably, most famous) addition to the Sub Pop family, Ishmael Butler. Ish was no stranger to Sub Pop when he accepted the job; he’s also 1/2 of Shabazz Palaces! So far, a number of the ladies (and most likely some dudes, too) in the office have described Ish as “hunky,” and his commanding demeanor has office meetings running much more smoothly. We could go on and on, or you could just read more below.

Derek: Hello, Ish! Wait… I guess I should ask if it’s okay to call you Ish… Is it? Also, do you have any other nicknames? Anything from your childhood, or anything that you didn’t like to be called?
Ish: My friends call me Ish, you can call me Pookie or Carmine until friendship.

D: Did you have a favorite toy as a child? If so, what was it?
I: My favorite toy as a child: cigarettes.

D: What about cartoons, did you watch them as a kid? What did you like? What was your TV like? Mine was a giant wooden thing, it must have weighed 500 lbs.
I: Cartoons, of course, I’m normal. My favorites: all Looney Tunes; Sylvester, Yosemite, Daffy, Bugs, Foghorn. These beings laid the foundation for my philosophical outlook and also of course how I relate to women.

D: What about your first bike? What was it like?
I: I’d love to talk about my first bike but I’m under a sponsorship contract with Alex at 20/20 and I can’t mention any other bike or say the word bicycle.

D: One of my favorite things to know about a person: what is your favorite thing to eat? I’m really particular to Triscuits with cottage cheese on top. Do you have any food combinations that you’re fond of? Are there foods that you really don’t like at all?
I: I like to combine food with hunger, it’s a little something I do.

D: What about pet peeves about other people eating? I don’t mind when people chew with their mouth open, but I’m aware that it bothers some people. I floss my teeth while working at the front desk, does that bother you?
I: I don’t like when people say “sorry” for shit that there is no need to be sorry about. And yes, your flossing bothers us all, bro.

D: Do you remember your very first introduction to music? What was the setting? Who else was involved? Do you still re-visit that music today?
I: My first introduction to music: I was in the 9th grade and my girlfriend was in the 12th grade. She told me to walk her to her friend’s house during lunch. When we got there she had the key and we were the only ones there. She played a song for me that I had not heard until that day. Yes, I revisit that music. I’m going to listen to it when I get home.

D: What about your first introduction to Sub Pop—do you remember that?
I: The first time I came to the offices I chilled in Andy’s [Kotowicz] cube for Hella. He was playing cut after ridiculous cut. His eyes sparkling behind his glasses, talking about songs like I would talk about a girl I love.

D: What did you expect working at Sub Pop to be like?
I: I thought it would be like I had seen Tony K. doing it around town, you know, getting in free to shows, getting twisted backstage, throwing drinks in bouncers’ faces, making a fool of myself and it being ok because “I work at the Sub, bitch.” But there’re all kinds of meetings and shit.

D: How is being an employee at Sub Pop compared to being an artist on the label?
I: I expected working here to be serious and fun.

D: What advice would you give other new employees of Sub Pop? What about the ones that have been here FOREVER?
I: New employees: try to use the bathroom before lunch. Old employees: form a band called Power Trip but spell it PWr tRYp and whisper to the new employees how you should be “singin’ lead, man.”

D: Any advice you have for musicians who’d like to be signed by Sub Pop? How about for people who want to get a job here?
I: If you want to get a job here don’t try sleeping your way to the top. IT DOESNT WORK. You just get a few t-shirts and when they say you’re on the all access list, you’re not.

D: Do you have any ideas for new Sub Pop merchandise? I’ve been thinking Sub Pop shower curtains would be a good idea.
I: Sup Pop stem cell samples from bands!

D: Thanks, Ish! And welcome aboard this sinking (since 1988) ship!

Posted by Sam Sawyer

WED, AUG 19, 2009 at 6:01 AM

Rosie Torrance Knows My Name


Holy shit, look who’s back from the grave! That’s right, PWWH has come off hiatus, and out of hiding, to bring you an insider’s look into the secret life of Rosie T, our receptionist at Sub Pop HQ. I was super frustrated with Rosie for a long while, at least a year even, because she didn’t know the difference between me and Carly and she would always call us by the wrong name. She put a labeled picture of me up at her desk, though, and now she knows the difference, so we’re all cool. Let’s see…Rosie eats garden burgers for breakfast and pretends they’re hashbrowns, she has a super cool dog named Willie who bit the mailman, she bought a house recently, and she always adds extra condiments to her sandwiches at lunch. Let’s meet Rosie!

L: So, your dad owns a lot of stuff, including, at one point, Muzak. Did you have to listen to a lot of elevator music when you were growing up? Tell me about how the whole Muzak process works. Also, since Jonathan Poneman used to work there and your dad used to be his boss, can you please find out some good stories about him and his time there? Mark and Bruce, too! Tell him to spill the beans!

R: You’re right, he does. He owns two dogs, Toba and Pheobe. A parrot named Buzz. Lots of socks and sandals and belts. He also owns a lot of window squeegees for some reason… he really like those. [Don’t be shy…he also owns an ISLAND! AN ISLAND!! –Ed.] As for Muzak, I was really young, but I’ll tell you what I know. It’s funny how everything’s come full circle. My dad ran a company called Yesco Foreground Music, [I see what he’s doing there with the “foreground” thing—nice strategy, Mr. Torrance. –ed.] that’s where JP worked in the tape duplication department. Yesco pioneered licensing and programming of original artist pop music for commercial establishments. Before Yesco the only “Rock and Roll” available in a store or bar (well, legally, I guess) was from a Juke Box playing 45’s. I’m told most the tapes JP duplicated at Yesco went into bars, nightclubs and retails stores. As far as I know he didn’t touch any “elevator music” let alone listen to it. I guess when Muzak wanted to get more “rock” in their catalog they contracted that work with Yesco. And later Yesco (my dad and his partners) bought Muzak with some other investors. As for bean spillage… I asked Mark for some dirt on Bruce from when he worked at Muzak. He told me Bruce used to mail out Sub Pop 100 LPs and Green River promo from the warehouse on Muzak’s dime, which I think is pretty ironic and awesome. [Super ironic, considering Mark is a mail nazi now. –ed] I also heard JP wore the same pair of underwear every day. I guess he was superstitious in those days and didn’t want to lose his touch. He never once went to the bathroom in that office either, which I find kind of suspect…. [Hmmm, so he’s been like that for years, huh? Now I don’t have to take him going home to pee so personally. –ed] There definitely wasn’t any “elevator music” happening during my formative years. There was a period in the late 80’s when there was too much Phil Collins happening for my taste, but luckily that was temporary. My parents came of age in the 60’s, and both listened to what you would expect. I remember a lot of Beatles, Stones, Pink Floyd and Joni Mitchell growing up. Stories of Dad setting up light shows for the Grateful Dead, Jimmy Hendrix shows at Seattle Center, and Altamont. [You mean “who’s fighting and what for” Altamont?! –ed.] Not what you would expect coming from Muzak Man.

L: You went to boarding school—what was that like? I’ve seen a lot of movies…is there really that much making out?

R: I didn’t go to boarding school. [Fuck. –ed.] My sister did, and she says, “Yes there really is that much making out.” [Yes! –ed.]

L: I heard you ran a marathon once without ever training. Why? How’d that work out for you?

R: Ya, that was really stupid of me. Let’s just say it was about 5 hours of pure hell. I guess I signed up for it because I was sort of in a rut and wanted to do something positive. I went through with the run having not trained because I had raised a bunch of money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society through Team in Training. I had to hold up my end of the bargain. My sister mailed me a Percocet from New York which I popped at about mile 17, maybe that’s why I was able to finish. [Give your sister my address, please. –ed.] Altruistically saving face for 26.2 miles. I don’t recommend it. I walked like a penguin for a full week and a half after that bright idea.

L: Let’s talk about music. What was your favorite band in high school? College? Now? What’s the first show you ever saw? What’s the last show you saw?

R: I was a skater chick for the first couple years of high school (the poser kind). I listened to a lot of Sublime and Beastie Boys. Then I started listening to older stuff—Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, The Beach Boys (I love their stuff from when it seems like they were taking a little too much acid. Think “Feel Flows”). I was in Europe the first year of college and embraced the euro-dance top 40 somehow, and then wound up obsessing over String Cheese Incident. [Holy hell. Is that really even a band? Is there some sort of element of performance art involved or am I making that up? –ed.] Go figure. I’m bad at “favorites”, but lately I’ve been listening to Metric, The Dirty Projectors, and Miike Snow. I heard some of the new The Dutchess and The Duke record that’s being released in October, which I’m really looking forward to. [Nice plug—that’s almost as good as “foreground music”! –ed.] The first show I ever saw was Willie Nelson with my sister Allie and my Grandpa Kirby. I can’t remember if the last show I saw was Handsome Furs or Beach House @ Sasquatch.

L: You travel a lot. Where all have you been? Is there anywhere you’d like to go that you’ve not been yet?

R: I do love to travel. Living in Switzerland (see below) allowed me to go all over Europe—Italy, France, Luxemburg (quickly), Austria, Turkey, Spain. I just got back from Croatia, Montenegro and Greece. I’ve been really lucky. I love South America. Chile’s one of my favorite places. [Do you say chili or chee-lay? –ed.] I love traveling to places during times of local celebration; like watching the oldest horse race in the world (Il Palio) amidst crazed sweaty Italians in Sienna. I really enjoy being around salt of the earth [you mean poor, don’t you? –ed.] people in another country, watching them celebrate something completely foreign to me. Those are my favorite times abroad. There are so many places I hope to see some day—Paris, Prague, Salzburg, any of Norway, Russia, Thailand, I could go on forever.

L: What’s in store for 40 year old Rosie Torrance? What are your plans for the future?

R: Hmm… I’ll either be crazy aunt Rosie wearing neon spandex inappropriately yelling profanities during one of my sister’s kids’ soccer games while holding one of my many cats, or, I guess I’ve always wanted a couple little tater tots of my own. [It’s been recently proven that tater tots make lousy children. Mold, decomposition, you know, the usual. –ed.] Ideally I’d love to work for myself, make enough money to travel and feed my kids whatever they want, and eat dinner with my family on Sunday nights.

L: Were you ever in therapy? What’d you talk about?

R: Can you call a lobotomy therapy? [Yes, I think that’s exactly what they call it. –ed.]

L: What are your feelings about working here at Sub Pop? How do you find your co-workers? Tell me a crazy story about something that has happened during your time here.

R: Sub Pop’s a great company to work for, but I’d probably quit if Alissa took the beer out of the vending machine. No, really, everyone I work with is really quite amazing. The two people I work with the most closely are JP and Megan. I kid you not; they’re probably the two nicest people I’ve ever met. [You should get out more. –ed.] They also have seriously sick senses of humor. When Megan first asked me if I wanted to be her assistant she said, “Rosie, I just want you to know that there’s a lot of crude humor that goes around. We say “fuck” and “shit” and stuff like that around the office. I just want to make sure that’s okay with you.” The first thing that came out of my mouth was, “Megan, I will “fuck” and “shit” right next to you!” I didn’t know what I was saying at the time, but it was clear that we were going to get along. There have been a few crazy things that have happened. The phone calls up front are pretty consistently wacky. Like when this really creepy dude called and told me he needed Courtney Love’s number because he’s Kurt reincarnate. [Hey, speaking of, buy this! –ed.] Stuff like that happens a lot. David Cross almost got me in some trouble during the SP20 festival. He stole my walkie-talkie and started saying the grossest shit on the “official channel” I was supposed to be using to communicate with Will Call and back stage. That was funny. [Funnier than his set at the comedy show, I hope. Zing. –ed.]

L: Have you lived other places besides Seattle? How were they? Where would you move if you could?

R: I lived in Lugano, Switzerland for a little while during college. What I remember of it was amazing. Certain things [Weed. –ed] are legal in Switzerland if sold as “potpourri” [Weed. –ed], and I had two lovely little potpourri [Weed. –ed] shops very close to my apartment. Luckily my roommate, Kirsten was super organized and she would just tell me what [Weed. –ed] train to get on after class on Fridays and we would go [Smoke weed. –ed] explore. Then I lived in San Francisco for a year before moving back to Seattle. I like living in Seattle [Weed. –ed].

Posted by Lacey Swain

WED, SEP 3, 2008 at 9:36 AM

Teal Garrels is a Poor Storyteller


People Who Work Here has been too busy to keep up its strenuous interview schedule what with SP20, buying a house, and planning a wedding (That’s right! Someone wants to marry me!), but the list of new hires keeps growing and growing. This week we’re catching up with the newest of the new, Teal Garrels, regional publicist here at Sub Pop Records. Teal is tall. She has red hair. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in a skirt or a dress, but she’s a well put together broad. Teal will eat whatever you have that you don’t want anymore. For instance, once I carried a stupid, free macaroon all the way back from Whole Foods, in my dirty hand mind you, and instantly accidentally threw the thing down the hall when I got back to the office. Teal didn’t care. She ate it. Wait a minute—that was Andrew. Teal just ate some candy off the floor which is no big deal, really. Aw fuck it, let’s meet Teal!

L: Tell me, Teal, how you started in Indiana and moved your way through Chicago and LA before winding up in Seattle? How did you break into the publicity biz?

T: I actually popped out in Michigan, but didn’t stay there long…I was 8 when my family moved to Indiana. Turns out Indiana’s too flat, Chicago’s too cold, LA’s too smoggy…Seattle’s aaaalmost perfect (a little on the damp side, but I try to keep my mouth shut about that to avoid being called a pansy…AND I knew what I was getting into). [You have NO IDEA. –ed.] Publicity came out of nowhere. I was working at a record store in Chicago, looking for a way to support my record habit (and supplement my 5 dollar an hour income), when my friend Rob [Rob Lowe, of 90 Day Men/Lichens fame. –ed.] asked if I’d cover for him while he toured the country w/ his band. So I did…and ended up working at Biz3 Publicity for about 6 years (3 of which I spent as the LA “office”). Biz3’s a good crew…I owe Kathryn a big high five for breaking me into this crazy little industry. [Regional publicists are always high fiving! What gives?. –ed.]

L: I have it on good authority that you are allergic to fish, strawberries, and bananas. Wait a sec, I suddenly feel like I’ve been had. Are you actually allergic to these things? Is it a deadly allergy or just an uncomfortable allergy?

T: I wish it was a lie! I love all of these things (especially seafood), but they all bring on different, gross, uncomfortable reactions (not fatal). Seafood makes me break out in hives, bananas make me feel like my lungs are being crushed (and then I wind up w/ a painful underground zit on my chin…or cheek…wherever it happens to land), and strawberries make my lymph nodes swell to the size of golf balls. There’s a photo of that last one in my friend Julie’s phone…it’s a doozy. [Okay, I was not going to bring it up, but Joan Hiller, ex-regional publicist at Sub Pop, is also allergic to everything and she high fives all over the place. Have you two met? –ed.]

L: This same source has also revealed some other things that I’d like to ask you about: Dude from Ministry hacked your email? You paint paintings? You are having trouble sleeping in Seattle? (WAIT A MINUTE! Am I falling prey to another lie? ‘Sleepless in Seattle’? Is my leg being pulled?)

T: Who is this source?! Ritter? I know it’s you. [Yes, he’s the rat. I sold him out so easily, too! –ed.] So, yeah…right when I started working at the record store mentioned in question # 1, I would often leave my screen open after a sale or item inquiry. Every time that happened, anyone could jump on my computer and send a mass e-mail to the entire staff as me. Chris Connelly would revel in sending e-mails telling everyone that if they didn’t shape up, I’d kick their asses and give them all cauliflower ear. [Wouldn’t it have been extra rad if it were Al Jourgensen?! And he typed those emails with his dreadlocks? Just a thought.–ed.] It really helped my reputation as a badass… Paintings? I love to get real arty when I can. [Hiller paints, too. This is getting creepy. –ed.] Sleeplessness in Seattle? True…but it happened more often when I first moved up here. I blame it on my brain trying to adjust to so much newness… [Ambien. –ed.]

L: Are you going to Bumbershoot? Who do you want to see? What’s your dream line-up for Teal Fest? (You don’t really have to answer that—it’s a pretty stupid question.)

T: Two of my favorite people were getting married down in California that same weekend, so I missed every last bit of Bumbershoot! [No big—Steve Miller Band played LAST year. –ed.] The reception at the wedding kicked out the jams though…A-Ha, B52’s, Outkast, Kylie Minogue, Men w/out Hats…I mean, you can’t argue with a line-up like that.

L: I googled you, Teal Garrels. I googled you real good and I found that you recorded some Nordic band that was on some comp. Tell me about your audio engineering days.

T: I spent 3 years studying Audio Technology at IU, Bloomington. [Sisters doin’ it for themselves! Take that, Phil Ek! –ed.] That band (Panoply Academy Glee Club…sometimes Panoply Academy Corps of Engineers…sometimes Panapoly Adademy Legionnaires) was made up of a bunch of native Bloomingtonians. I would bring them down to the recording studio and practice my new audio tricks. They were awesome to work with and didn’t complain when I used them as guinea pigs. The Audio kids were kind of low on the Music School totem pole, so we’d get the hand-me-down gear from the performance majors. This meant that our old, temperamental board would crap out often, and the best thing you could do was smack it around until it started working again. That’s what I learned in college…money well spent.

L: You have an iPhone—tell me about it. Are you 100% for it?

T: I’m not 100% for it. [You are the first person to say this, T-Bag. –ed.] I’d say I’m at about 80…the GPS part I like…and the built in camera/ipod. I’m just not so into giving AT&T my money. Plus that screen gets smudged up with my big sweaty fingers (and it’s hard to hit those tiny letters).

L: Teal, you told me once that what you were going to do that Friday night was hang out in a hot tub with your parents and sister. Are you still doing this sort of stuff? My family and I are decidedly against hot-tubbing together, is why I ask.

T: Sadly, those days are over…starting this week, actually. [No, not sad! It was weird! That’s what I was trying to tell you! –ed.] But yeah, my parents moved out to the PNW from Indiana (something they’ve been aching to do for eons…not necessarily to Seattle, but out of Indiana) and rented a spot that was fully loaded with a Jacuzzi overlooking Lake Washington. For the past year, all of our holidays have been spent in swimming costumes. Now they’re across the lake…and hot tub-less.

L: Tell me about your nicknames, Teal.

T: Well, they’ve tripled since I started working here. Some of the new ones are T-Bag (courtesy of you, Lacey Swain), Wheel Barrels, Teal-mobile, Tiny Teal [Is that like Curly or is it a Tiny Tim reference? –ed.]…

L: You work closely with Alissa and Kate in the Publicity Department. Tell me a good story about each of these girls, please.

T: Kate doesn’t have one, but a shit load of crazy Seattle apartment stories…I won’t go into too much detail, but they involved caving ceilings, peeping toms, cockroaches, curb side campers…I know I’m missing some good ones. Thankfully, she and her husband have settled into a sweet spot in West Seattle and those stories have come to an end (at least for now!). Alissa also just moved to West Seattle and is on the hunt for the best route from her house to work. I think she’s honing in…I don’t have too much dirt on these ladies yet, since I’m new and all. But we’ll all be going to CMJ, so I’m hoping to get some good stories then. [These are terrible stories, Teal! Terrible! You should’ve made something up.

L: Teal—tell me your favorite band of all time. GO!

T: WHAM! [Acceptable, although “of all time” might be a stretch. –ed.]

L: Is there anything you’d like to ask me?

T: How’d you get your name, Lacey? I know the story, but I think our readers might be curious. [I’ll be the one asking questions around here, thank you very much! –ed.]

Posted by Lacey Swain

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