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":http://www.subpop.com/channel/blog/jeff_kleinsmith_metal_up_your_ass 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…..so 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.]
After a long, lazy hiatus People Who Work Here is back and this week we’d like to introduce you to Sub Pop’s one and only piece of international flair—Richard Laing from Scotland, Wales! He’s got this crazy Scottish accent and I am constantly asking him to repeat himself, partly for fun but mostly because I really have no idea what he’s saying. One day when we are all sending around lame jokey work emails with photos of infected dicks and links to other funny stuff, Richard replied with a youtube link to—get this—a Scottish stand up comedian telling jokes about blood sausage or how mean your lass is when you come home pissed after hanging out on the moors with the hounds of the Baskervilles. Needless to say, I didn’t get it. Anyhoo, up until recently Richard always had the best lunch in the office but he had an unfair advantage—his mom was making it. Click this and then let’s meet Richard!
L: You started off as an intern a long while back but now you do something in the sales department. Tell me what that is and how you got the job. Who do you like working for better, Carly or Andy?
R: I work in the Sales department with Dean and Andy mainly trying to ensure that Sub Pop records are available, visible and attractively priced in America’s fine and not so fine record stores. I got a job after spell interning and then temping at Sub Pop, then working for ADA (Sub Pop’s distributor). I’d like to think my incredible work ethic, effervescent personality and golden ears made me an irresistible choice, but the forces of convenience and pity were probably influential too. [That or the fact that “Scottish” was the only available minority in Seattle. –ed.] Carly and Andy have both been really great to me. I like working for Andy better though because it’s a real job, not an internship.
L: People give you a lot of shit about being from Scotland but I’m sure it’s really cool there what with the golf and all the delicious foods and town drunks and stuff. Name five ways that Scotland is better than the US.
R: To be honest, you are the only one who gives me shit about being from Scotland. [That’s what you think, bub. I just do it to your face. –ed.] I tend to avoid getting the gush about Scotland, mainly to preempt the inevitable “why don’t you fuck off back there then?” The funny thing is, after being born in Edinburgh, I spent the first 5 or so years of my life living in Nashua, NH. [Where the fuck is that? –ed.] When we moved back to the UK, I had an American accent and kids used to make fun of me and ask me to “speak American”. After developing an English accent, we moved up to Scotland where the only thing less desirable on your first day of school than ginger hair [Is this Scottish for pubes? –ed.] is an English accent, so I quickly got rid of that too. I’ve ended up with a pretty appropriate transatlantic accent. [If by transatlantic you mean even your own people can’t understand you then yes! –ed.] Anyway that’s not what you asked. Scotland is better that the US in the following categories: Castles, Drunks, Slang, Affordable Golf and Sausages. [Is Affordable Golf and Sausages a real place? –ed.]
L: I heard your dad has a killer record collection—is this true? Is this what got you into music? Did you always want to work in the biz?
R: My Dad had a pretty awesome collection of vinyl circa 1967-1973. There was a bunch of first pressings of classic records and 45s and then some weirder forgotten gems (and some garbage). I started digging in that stuff when Britpop was “happening”. A lot of bands were being referenced at that time that I remembered seeing in my Dad’s collection (Small Faces, the Who, the Kinks, Beatles etc.). I’d rummage through, stay up late and explore that stuff. Without that resource I probably wouldn’t care about music as much as I do. My friends’ idea of great music was the Stardust vs Madonna “Music Sounds Better on Holiday” mash up, so most the music I checked out was either through my Dad’s record collection, Mojo or late night Radio 1. From then I wanted to be involved in music, but it just didn’t seem possible. I didn’t know anyone who was in a band (except the Seamen [I am chuckling. I can’t help it. –ed.] who would cover the Red Hot Chili Peppers at school band nights) or anyone who had a job in music (except a friend of my Dad’s son who played guitar in the Exploited). [Crap! How did I forget to ask you about that!? –ed.] It wasn’t until I visited Seattle that working in music even seemed possible.
L: Did you graduate from college? Here or there? What kind of degree do you have?
R: I graduated from Manchester University in England, with a BA in Economics and Sociology. [Yep, that’s sales! –ed.]
L: You worked/work(?) with KEXP quite a bit. What did you do for them? Have you met John Richards? Do you like him?
R: I still work there once or twice a month on remote broadcasts (usually a live show from a club in town) as a “production lead”. I’ve been involved with KEXP for almost all the three and a half years I have lived in Seattle. I’ve answered phones, been a production intern, board operator, CD reviewer, made tea for moderately successful bands etc. I have met John Richards, but only a few times. He’s always been really friendly (I can recall him tolerating my anecdotes about the Mountain Goats and jobbies). He’ll be a legend if he calls his second kid Gabe though. [This is an obscure reference to the band Juno. Weird, Richard. –ed]
L: You are somewhat of a pun master. How did that happen and do you think you can stop?
R: I think to be a “master” you need better quality control. Here’s one last one, then I’m done, Lazy Swine. [Ugh. –ed]
L: I know you play soccer and that you’re a good golfer (Scotland, duh) but what else do you like to do for fun?
R: I’m pretty obsessed with soccer (or football [Why don’t you fuck off back there?! –ed.] as I used to call it). I play twice a week and watch games at the weekend and sometimes Champions League games at lunch during the week. [No lie—Richard was watching soccer on the clock today and we all heard him gasp like a woman from the other room! –ed.] I also play guitar in a band we call Weightless (we recently lost our rhythm section which makes the name even more fitting). [Does that qualify as a pun? I thought you were done. –ed.] We’re just finishing up a little EP (is it still extended play if it only takes up a third of a CD?). Beyond that I like the same things everyone else does fine foods, walks in the park, being held, sandwiches etc. [Is this a things white people like joke? –ed.]
L: Tell me something that people say that really drives you crazy. For instance, I hate it when people say “I love live music!” I mean, that just barely means anything….
R: “I’m going to design a garment that combines the utility belt and the kilt” and “My bad”.
L: Who is your favorite coworker?
R: That’s a hard one – I like almost all of the people that work here. [You better start naming names and quick. –ed.]
L: What’s the next step for Dick Laing in this crazy thing we call life?
R: The past few years have been pretty unsettled, so it’s been nice to have a routine of awesome things going on. My ambitions have been pretty modest (e.g. the other day I was thinking how rad it would be to be the first person on the express lane on I-5 after they switch directions). I’m not very good at making plans, so I mainly try and listen to my gut. My gut isn’t saying much more than “what’s for dinner bro?” so I’ll keep stepping in the same directions. [Woah man—what a long strange trip it’s been. –ed.]
Megan Jasper has a long and illustrious career here at Sub Pop Records. She started out as the receptionist, got fired and went to work for ADA (our distributor), and then came back and gave a million BJs all over the office in order to become GM and then VP of the Pacific Northwest’s premiere record label. After Megan had time to rest her jaw she sat down with me in her opulent, well-organized office to give me some insight into what makes her tick. Megan is a hilarious and generous lady, a consummate prankster, and a lover of huge rings who also makes wedding cakes in her spare time. I am proud to call her friend, boss lady, and cum dumpster. Let’s meet Megan!
L: You are most famous for your pulling the wool over the eyes of the New York Times and providing them with a totally bogus dictionary of grunge. Tell me a little about this—was it off the cuff? Did you giggle? Did you ever think it would haunt you for the rest of your life?
M: Actually they called Jonathan first but he re-directed them my way. [Yep, shirking responsibility—sounds like JP. –ed.] I wasn’t really expecting the call but it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was bored shitless and on my third pot of coffee. The kid asked me to tell him the lexicon, but I told him that it might be easier if he gave me a word and I provided the grunge translation. I wrote down a bunch of words that rhymed and mixed them up to come up with the answers but then I got bored and just started making up things that my friends and I used to say as jokes. I felt bad for him and tried to make each answer slightly more retarded than the last, but he never got it. I figured it would just be edited, but a few days later it was on the front page of the style section. At first I was trying not to laugh, but by the end of the phone call I was almost bummed that he just kept typing. Did I ever think it would haunt me for so long? God no!
L: You have a long, weird relationship with Dinosaur Jr. How did that begin? Tell me something strange about J. Mascis. Is he a practical joker? Why does he like purple?
M: I met J when I was in high school. J would show up at the same punk/hardcore shows that I went to. We used to call him, “Chemo Boy”, because he cut chunks out of his hair right to the scalp. Other strands were long and hung over the random, weird bald spots. He almost always wore the same shirt to every show, one with the Trix cereal rabbit holding up a box of the cereal saying, “Trix are for kids!” To be honest with you, we didn’t quite care for each other at first. I thought he was a freak and he thought that I was kind of gross. The first time he came to our house, he got in a screaming match with my mom. The visit ended with J standing at the front door yelling, “YOU’RE FUCKED!” to my mom and my mom then yelling to my dad, “JIMMY!!! DIDYOUHEARTHAT? HE SAIDTHAT WE’RE FUCKED!” I don’t quite remember my dad responding. However, in time he became close friends not only with my sister but with the whole family and now we refer to him as, the “third Jasper sister.” [I see who got all the looks… -ed.] Whenever he and my mom are together, my mom will say that if you’re looking for J he’ll be in one of two places—to her right or to her left. Purple? I guess he just likes to celebrate the look of his shaft engorged with blood. Just kidding. I have no idea, but he’s been into it since I’ve known him.
L: You’ve worked at Sub Pop for a very long time, but a lot of people might not know that you were actually fired at one point at time. How does it feel to get fired, rehired, and promoted straight to the top?
M: It makes me feel a little bit like David Lee Roth.
L: Do you think that working in the music biz for so long has helped or hurt your love of music? How do you combat musical burnout? You’ve worked with a lot of bands on the label—who surprised you the most?
M: Working with people who love music is a gift. It’s like being in a library and realizing that you’ll never get to all of it. Stuart M made me an amazing comp once with all oldies, [Oh, God! I drove back from Portland with him one time and he made us listen to every Billboard #1. Through his laptop speakers. From the back seat. –ed.] Andy turned me onto PP Arnold and Bobby Charles, and Tony has given me a bunch of stuff that I never knew about too. That’s one of the best things about working with people who appreciate music—you get turned onto great stuff that might otherwise go unnoticed. I can’t imagine getting tired of music in the same way that I can’t imagine getting tired of any art form. [I’m so over mixed media. –ed.]
A lot of bands have surprised me in many different ways, but the most surprised I ever was by a band was when I saw the Yo Yo’s play in Texas with the Backyard Babies. Danny, The Yo Yo’s lead singer, got mad at the Backyard Babies and pulled down his pants (mind you, they were leather and he didn’t bring any other pants on tour with him—and he shat those pants numerous times on tour, so they were black on the outside, brown on the inside), shook up a bottle of beer, shoved the bottle into his asshole (his crack looked like a chocolate smile), and gave himself a beer enema. Almost as good as a GG Allin show.
L: Sub Pop’s 20th anniversary is tomorrow (April 1). What are the three things you’re most proud of here at the Pop? What are the three things you wish could’ve gone down differently?
M: Isn’t that fucking crazy? 20 years is pretty amazing. I’m most proud that Jonathan kept the label going—there were many times during the 20 years when he could have easily walked and lost a lot of stress. I’m incredibly proud of the label’s roster over the past two decades. We’ve worked with and continue to work with some of the smartest and most talented people out there. I’ve said before that Sub Pop is like a history book. It’s the artistic reaction and reflection to what’s been happening in the world for the past 20 years. I think it’s cool to work with a team of people, who care that those expressions are heard. And, thirdly, I’m proud of the staff. The people who work here constantly blow my mind with their creativity, humor, and dedication.
There are some things that would have been nice if they’d gone down differently—probably too many to even mention but those are situations that you learn from by taking the lessons to heart and moving on so that all of the upcoming lessons are new ones. [Yes, but these are the most interesting! –ed.]
L: You like to garden and seem you seem to know a lot about plants. What’s your favorite plant and why? How and when did this interest begin? Do you and Brian garden naked?
M: I love to garden. I didn’t know how much I loved it until I lived in a house with a yard. The yard had a couple of plants and a lot of grass. I didn’t know what kind of garden I wanted, I just knew that I wanted one. I went to a bunch of nurseries to find things that I liked and that might work in my yard. I also started reading gardening books so that I could learn more. Now, I walk around nurseries like they’re record stores, looking at each plant and reading about them. Trying to pick a favorite plant is like trying to list a favorite band—there are too many good ones. But I will tell you this: my favorite evergreen tree is a hinoki cypress, my favorite deciduous tree is probably a paperbark maple, and my favorite flowers are tulips, ranunculus, and peonies. Gardening naked? Sick. I prefer to keep my secret garden indoors.
M: I was a little shit, crusty punk. I almost always carried a bottle of Aqua Net Super Extra Hold in my bag and I used to have to tilt my head sideways when I sat in a car so that the hawk could fit as well. Being a punk rock kid on the east coast was pretty great. There were a million bands that I got to see—X, The Circle Jerks, The Misfits, Negative Approach, SSD, The Bad Brains, Minor Threat, etc. They played all ages shows in Boston on Sundays. I became good friends with a bunch of those—J was one, Todd Cote was another, Crazy Adam, who drove an old pick up truck that had “Raw Power” on the front. Adam used to blast Johnny Cash songs, jump out of his truck and spin on his head. His favorite hobby was “scoopin’ tuna” on a Friday night. If he got some, he could hang with the guys on Saturday. [He sounds like a real catch. -ed.] Then there were the Meatgirls, a hilarious group of girls (with hair that that went to high hell and back) who decided that if the Meatmen could do it, so could they. One of them lives here in Seattle and books shows at The Comet. [Michelle? –ed] I was lucky to be around these people—they were a fucking blast and they were an escape from the douche bags, who were threatened by anyone (like me) who was abnormal. I don’t think kids have changed at all and I think I always knew that I’d at least run a couple of marathons. I used to go running when I was a kid (mohawk and all). I’m sure that it was quite a site.
L: Your mom once poisoned your dog Vito and Carly once pranked you in the Seattle Times by putting out an ad that said free Chihuahua puppies. Go ahead and tell everyone a dirty secret about your mom, Carly, and your dog.
M: Oh wow…this will be fun. Let’s start with my mom. You know that we were a dysfunctional Irish Catholic family. My parents made us go to catechism classes when we were kids. My mom was the principal and my dad was one of the teachers. After my class, I would go to the principal’s office to find my mom practically being man-handled by the priests. It’s not that they were digging for her lady-gold, they were drooling over her jewelry! I think she sniffed out every gay priest in Worcester and made each one her best friend. My mom told me that she believes that she has “fag hag” in her DNA. [Moms should not say fag hag. –ed.] She also claims to have passed it on to her two (and three if you count J) daughters.
And as far as Carly goes—her nickname for an entire summer was “Upchuck”. She was visiting Old Faithful and, feeling the spirit, started to projectile vomit in front of everyone. Also, her real last name isn’t Starr. That’s the name she took when she worked at the Lusty Lady. She’s got a bag full of nicknames! [I give you a golden opportunity and this is all the shit you give her? She half-heartedly tried to kidnap your dog the other day! -ed.]
L: Tell me why you hate these things: eggs, avocados, and squirrels.
M: I think eggs are super fucking gross. It’s kind of like eating a bird’s period. Sick. [If my period tasted good scrambled or deviled I’d eat the shit out of it. –ed.] Avocados have a nasty texture that grosses me out. I know that they’re good for you so I wish I liked them. Squirrels scare the shit out of me. I think it’s strange that people think they’re cute and harmless. They have sharp teeth and they’re unpredictable little beasts. Once in Boston Common a squirrel jumped on my lap to steal my bagel. I nearly had a fucking heart attack.
L: I just heard that Mark Lanegan beat you up in an elevator. What the fuck? And then you re-sign his band?!
M: I was working for Dinosaur Jr, selling merch. This is post-fire, pre-rehire and promoted—I’m thinking early ’92. The band had just played in NY and I sold merch for them. The Screaming Trees were recording in the city so Mark came out and met up with us. I think I had a few thousand bucks in my pocket and I made the mistake of bragging about it when I was in the elevator with Mark. As a joke, he tried to grab it and not as a joke, I tried to make sure that it didn’t leave my pocket. It turned into a bit of struggle that bled into the hotel lobby when the elevator doors opened. People crowded around a bit not knowing if it was a fight or just fun and then Mark split pretty quickly. I’m sure that it didn’t look good to anyone not knowing us. Mark is someone I first met over 20 years ago. I’ve always been a fan of his music and he is undeniably gifted as well as being a very decent person. Nobody sings like Mark and I’m super proud to work with him. [Plus, Megan likes getting hit by dudes. It’s her “thing”. –ed.]
L: And finally, what is the weirdest thing that you and JP have ever done together?
M: Definitely the dolphin meditation. [I’m not even going to say anything about this one. -ed.]
One of the greatest joys of People Who Work Here is introducing you to our newest employees in a timely fashion. These interviews are — let’s face it — great reading for you, but they’re also a useful and powerful tool for Sub Pop staffers to get to know our new coworkers so that we can commence harassing them in better, more effective ways much more quickly than ever before. Mona D is our newest addition to the Sub Pop radio promo staff and she’s a nice little thing who is paying way too much for a studio apartment in Capitol Hill. Mona has only been in Seattle since January, and I think she’s a vegetarian and I know that she likes to drink vodka sodas. Let’s meet Mona!
L: Mona, welcome to Sub Pop! You have been here for about two months now—how do you like it? What is the most surprising thing about working here? (This can be anything from ‘I had no idea you guys worked in cubicles’ to ‘Who knew that people in Seattle were so racist!?’)
M: I think Seattle is actually hell of rad (you can take the girl out of California…). [I always thought it was ‘hella’. I guess you get to church it up a little if you have a Masters, though. –ed.] There are a ton of good record shops and bars here, and the weather is actually kinda nice these days. The most surprising thing about working here? To be honest, I wasn’t expecting such a high percentage of the staff to be married or own a house or have kids or all those adult things…I was more expecting to walk in on people doing hell of drugs in the bathrooms. I’m definitely not disappointed that it’s babies over blow here, just a bit surprised. [For the record, most of the staff does drugs with their babies at home, not at work. –ed.]
L: What have you been doing in your free time? How do you find Seattle? Do you pretend you live in England on account of the grey? That’s what I do….
M: I’ve pretty much been doing here what I do in every town…chain smoke, listen to records, and wander around town (Ballard and Capitol Hill both seem pretty awesome so far). I’d like to start DJing again soon, ‘cos that’s pretty fun too. Seattle reminds me a lot of San Francisco but without all the pretension. Sometimes I do pretend it’s England though, and I say ‘cor blimey’ and ‘bollocks’ a lot…until I get punched in the face, and then it’s not fun anymore. [You should lay some of that cockney shit on Richard the Scotsman—he looooves it. –ed.]
L: Please tell me about Mona D in high school. I see you have some Souxsie and the Bashees stuff at your desk—were you goth? Would you consider yourself goth presently? Wait, fuck it, what’s your favorite band?
M: Mona D in high school was pretty goth if you consider a Robert Smith hairdo, 20 eye docs, and black lipstick ‘goth.’ I never wore a cape thankfully, but I did used to recite poetry with my best friend at midnight on the weekends…it was some next level loserdom. I don’t think I’m still goth (do I still seem goth?), [Sure, a little. –ed.] but I still love all that music…Bauahaus, Christian Death, Virgin Prunes, Sisters of Mercy…so good! My favorite band? The Smiths…hands down. Best band of all time. Though I’ve been obsessing over Richard Hawley for a while now too. [He’s really great—you should check him out for sure. –ed.]
L: Tell me about the first show you ever saw—mine was Bob Dylan and Tom Petty at the Southern Star Amphitheater with my mom and dad, followed shortly thereafter by The Monkees reunion tour where Weird Al was opening for them. Do you think that your first musical experience shaped your life in any fundamental way or was it just blah?
M: My first show was Thompson Twins and Cyndi Lauper at the Lawler Events Center in Reno, NV. [It’s too hot to wear a cape in Reno! –ed.] I was in the 1st grade and my sisters dragged me out and made me wear INXS cycling shorts, that were in fact pants on me ‘cos I was so short. I don’t remember much of it, but I think it definitely shaped my musical tastes…I still love a good synth track any day, and I still wear cycling shorts all the time…especially when I go to shows.
L: You used to live in London—what were you doing there? Did you pretend to live in Seattle on account of the grey? I hear you have some hot shot British boyfriend—lay it on me, sister.
M: London is where I got my Masters and worked at a bunch of radio stations. [Well la ti da! Look at the big brain on Mona! -ed.] BBC 6 Music was my favorite station I worked at, ‘cos at the time it was super new and the DJs got to take a lot of risks…it seemed to kind of have this John Peel ethic where they’d play loads of stuff from all different genres old / new that weren’t heard on other stations…like you’d hear Lord Kitchener into Gang of Four into the new one from Futureheads into Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band into Half Man Half Biscuit. It ruled!
L: You are from Reno and I am going to Reno in the near future. What should I do for fun?
M: Dude…where to begin!? You must stop by Pneumatic Diner they have some really tasty vegan/vegetarian treats…try the Princess Erin Shake: it’s a ridiculously delicious drink with chocolate, coffee, espresso bean, and ice cream goodness). Um…Recycled Records is pretty cool and my favorite casino to gamble at is the Atlantis…might I recommend the Double Double Bonus Poker machines…play nickels, 5 credits at a time and play slowly so you keep getting free drinks before you lose all your money…if you are lucky you might even win and get paid to drink…pretty exciting stuff. (Note to editor: If you and your dude wanna skip the fancy wedding you have planned, you can do a quick one at the trashy chapel downtown called White Lace and Promises …you can call it White Lacey and Promises if you like.) [Oh, I like! –ed.]
L: Please tell everyone what the day to day life of a college radio promoter is like. Are you going to stay with radio or would you like to do something else?
M: My days are always different, but they usually include stuff like talking to music directors …setting up studio sessions…putting people on ‘the list’ for shows…mailing out records…bringing joy to people’s lives one day at a time. I’m basically a pusher, but my product isn’t gonna cause anyone to lose their day job, or their teeth. I’ll probably stay with radio for a while…I wouldn’t mind being an astronaut either. [Is that what your Masters is in? Astronautism? –ed.]
L: What is the worst injury you’ve ever had? Do you do drugs?
M: I’ve been pretty lucky and haven’t had any crazy inuries…I did land on a rock once when I jumped into a lake and had to get stitches in my knee. But that wasn’t too bad. Why would ask if you I do drugs? I don’t. Do you? Is that the right answer? [You seem a little paranoid, Mona. –ed.]
L: Can you tell me a good joke? If you had to sum up Mona D in one word what would it be?
M: Here’s a joke: Why are indie boys so bad in bed? They’re always lying about their 7 inches. [I don’t get it. –ed.] Mona in one word? Razzmatazz.
L: And finally, is there anything you’d like to ask me?
M: Can I have a lollipop now? [No, but there are a TON of Wonka products in the kitchen if you want some! –ed.]
Well, this is it, folks. I am pulling out all the stops and bringing you what you’ve all been waiting for, and it can only go down hill from here. Ladies and Germs, it is with much pleasure that I bring you People Who Work Here’s exclusive interview with the man, the myth, Mark Arm! (wait for applause) Mark Arm is the Warehouse Manager here at Sub Pop Records, and that means that if you order anything from our store, especially a big package that has to be sent via UPS, Mark will have, most likely, put those golden hands of his upon your box. I mean, package. Whatever. Some things I’ve learned about Mark since working with him are: he is super into politics, he has to listen to NPR really loud because his ears are not what they used to be, he can stand fully upright on a yoga ball, his wife cuts his hair, and he’s a funny/fun dude. Let’s meet Mark!
L: Contrary to popular belief your real last name is not Arm. Please discuss how you got this name and how you feel about having a “punk name” at 40+.
M: My friend Smitty and I were deep into a fake argument using non-offensive body parts as swear words. The argument culminated with him yelling “arm arm” at me. I had no response to this attack and we both broke down laughing. Then when Mr. Epp became a real band, complete with instruments, we adopted non-sequitur punk names. Jeff Smith became Jo Smitty and I became Mark Arm. I never thought it’d stick. Luckily, I’m more comfortable with my “punk name” than the easily garbled Scottish name I was born into. [This version seems a lot more tame than what I was led to believe. –ed.]
M: Of all these bands, the MC5 is my favorite. It’s not my band, so it’s much easier for me to embrace. The MC5 is one of the best bands ever and they helped lay the foundation for what would become punk rock. Getting to play with the DKT/MC5 was such a fantastic mindfuck. That said Bloodloss was most satisfying musically. After playing together for a few months I realized that we were able to effortlessly pull cool shit out of thin air with everyone playing around each other instead of following the same riff (and no, we weren’t “jamming”). The downside was going on tour with a dude who was in a constant state of withdrawl. The rest of us felt like we were dragging around a whiny corpse and propping it up for shows. [Weekend at Bernie’s! –ed.] Monkeywrench is a total hoot and getting to play with Tim Kerr, Tom Price and Martin Bland is a total treat that happens way too rarely. Shameless plug: our third album (Gabriel’s Horn) in 17 years comes out in February on the Birdman record label.
L: When Mudhoney was getting going you were relatively old (26-ish, right?). How do you think that being more, ahem, mature helped your band achieve the dizzying success that it did?
M: Maturity had nothing to do with Mudhoney. It still doesn’t. [Whatever you say, old man. -ed.] The dizziness was usually bedspins. We were old enough that we had a pretty firm idea of what we wanted Mudhoney to be when we started. I was well aware of the glass ceiling we’d encounter with our brand of entertainment. I just figured it would be lower. We weren’t dazzled by the brass ring and we never bothered to reach for it. [I smell lyrics a brewin’. –ed.] We achieved more than I ever anticipated and I feel incredibly lucky that I still get to muck around in this shit.
L: Major label vs. Sub Pop. Pros and cons of each, please.
M: Major Labels have giant warehouses all over the country. I don’t think I’d be able to wrap my head around their inventory, but I would probably get to drive a forklift. Sub Pop is blessed with a pretty swank warehouse, but since T-shirts have become a major part of our inventory, I wish it was bigger. [Touche, Mr. Arm. -ed.] Perhaps I can expand into the Art and Hardly Art departments. One of the odd side effects of working in the warehouse and getting to know our inventory is that item numbers are seared into my brain. So when the clock strikes 6:47 or 7:04 I flash on Comets On Fire.
L: You have remarkable posture. How do you do that?
M: Why thank you Lacey, how nice of you to notice! Emily & I invested in a matching set of gravity boots nine years ago. We have a wall mounted TV that rotates so we can watch it when we’re upside down. We try to do this at least 3 hours every evening. That’s why I don’t go out that much. The first time I tried this I nearly choked on popcorn and mountain dew poured out my nose. After years of dedicated practice I’ve gotten pretty good at snacking upside down.
L: Who in Mudhoney do you spend the most time with? Who in Mudhoney knows your deepest, darkest secrets? What is your favorite Mudhoney record?
M: I probably see Guy [Male Nurse! –ed.] more than anyone else these days, Dan is a close second. I don’t see Steve that much since he moved to Portland. Steve & I started hanging out in 1983 so I guess he knows more about me than the others, but he doesn’t know much. I refuse to let anyone past these walls, no one get’s in…Get Out! As far as favorite record goes, I don’t have one. I don’t listen to our records unless we’re putting together a comp or trying to relearn a forgotten song. At this point I’m most familiar with The Lucky Ones since that’s the one we’ve been working on and you know what that means, it’s the best one yet. [Available May 20th on Sub Pop brand Records. –ed.]
L: I heard there will be a Green River reunion this summer, true? Tell me how the whole thing went down and how you think your performance will be.
M:True, we are slated to play Sub Pop’s 20th Anniversary this July. I’m not sure how it went down since nothing’s happened yet. Everyone is psyched to get together again so I think it’ll be great (for us at least).
L: Please name your five top rock performers, in order, and let me know why you like them.
M: This is tough, Lacey. Since you asked about performers and not musicians, I’ll talk about folks who”make good show”.
I’ve been going to Nick Cave shows since the first time the Bad Seeds came to the Northwest (’86 in Vancouver) and I’ve seen them in Europe, the UK and Australia. After all of these performances I’ve concluded that Nick is always on fire and will stop at nothing to put on a good show. I would have loved to have seen the Birthday Party in LA & SF in ’83, but I didn’t have money or a car. John Brannon is super sweet in real life, but on stage he exudes more heartfelt distain, hatred and contempt than anyone I can think of. I’ve seen Negative Approach play to 3000 people, Easy Action play to less than 20 as well as a bunch of Laughing Hyenas shows and despite the audience, he’s always super intense. The Butthole Surfers were brilliant performers. No one could touch these guys in the mid 80s. They hung out in Seattle for about 3 weeks in December of ’83 and their special effects amounted to little more than a couple of Radio Shack strobes and flying safety pins. They were mind-blowing. They kept adding to their shows, lights, films, naked dancers, etc. When they played Reading in ’89 they opened by smashing their gear (no, I didn’t see that). It all went south when they started hanging around Ministry though. Iggy Pop puts everything into each performance, even if he’s touring on a crappy record and is backed by a bunch of hacks. I wish he had a better sense of who to play with. I’m glad the Stooges got back together. That’s something I never thought I’d see. I wish I could have seen them in the late 60s/early 70s when no one understood what they were doing or how to react to them. I would love to watch them confront a crowd of indignant Crosby Stills and Nash fans in some Midwestern college auditorium. I hope I can still hop around like Iggy in 15 years, well not exactly like that, I hope my back and hips don’t get as fucked up. That shit looks painful. Jimi Hendrix died well before I was going to rock shows, but I’ve seen him preserved on film and no one plays guitar like that. He’s astounding to watch, he makes the craziest shit fluid and effortless. He didn’t just play guitar, he played electricity. He’s even amazing when he’s sleepwalking, like the first part of the set at the Isle of Wight Festival. He wakes up mid-set after going behind the amps to get a boost and blows doors. Sadly, he died a week later.
L: Please tell me a funny story about when Mudhoney was in that Chris Farley movie! Also, your wikipedia entry says you were in Velvet Goldmine which I did not know. What was that like? (PS Dean Hudson HATES that movie!)
M: We were only on the set of Black Sheep for one day, but we did hang out a bit with Chris Farley. Steve was totally star-struck and offered him some blow, which took us all by surprise since the rest of us had never seen Steve near the white lady. Anyway, Chris had only been clean for two months or so. Apparently he never got clean again. Steve still feels guilty about it, but we tell him it’s not really his fault because Chris Farley would have been offered drugs from some other sycophant. I’m not in Velvet Goldmine. My name is on the soundtrack recording, but my voice got erased in favor of Ewan McGregor’s. I did get a chance to write two songs with Ron Asheton (another happy mindfuck) and record them with Ron, Mike Watt (this is how he ended up in the Stooges), Thurston Moore and Steve Shelly as the Wylde Ratttz. Due to the Ewan McGregor crap, it’s hard for me to be objective about the movie. What’s Dean’s problem, is it too gay for him? I like Todd Haynes stuff, especially Safe and Far From Heaven. I just saw I’m Not There and really liked the Fellini homage in the Cate Blanchett part. The Christian Bale segment was straight out of hack biopic 101 though.
L: Tell me how your met your lovely wife Emily, Pet Photographer. What do you guys do in your free time?
M: We met in ’85 probably at a party or a show. I don’t remember the exact circumstance, but there was a lot of beer and MDA around at the time. We went out for about three weeks. She moved to NY for awhile, came back to town for a summer and we hung out as friends. Then she moved to L.A. Mudhoney would stay at her place. I had a girlfriend so Emily wouldn’t make out with me. [What a prick tease! –ed.] She moved back to Seattle in ’91 with a boyfriend in tow. Then in ’93 they broke up, I stopped with the opiates and we started going out. We got hitched a year later. By the way, I hear Ruben finally proposed to you,congratulations! [Why thank you! –ed.]When we have enough free time, we like to travel. Our last two big trips were to Brazil and Burma. We’re going to Costa Rica when the rest of Sub Pop goes to SxSW.
L: If you were to have kids what would you tell them about drugs?
M: That’s another reason to not have children, it’s a conversation I’d rather not have. I like drugs. I just don’t like people on drugs. [But what about kids on drugs? That’s fun, right? –ed.]
L: And finally, what is Mark Arm’s favorite place to eat in Seattle and why?
M: Except for lunch, which is usually just sandwiches, I don’t go out to eat that much. I always enjoy the Boat Street Café, Matt’s in the Market, Machiavelli, The Tamarind Tree and a place right next to it that’s simply called Schezwanese Cuisine. A couple of default places in West Seattle I enjoy are Taqueria Guaymas and the West 5. That didn’t really answer your question, did it? [That’ll do, I suppose. –ed.]
PS Mark, don’t try to get all clever in the photo booth. I won’t allow it.
Hello and welcome to People Who Work Here Part VI where we reveal the secret lives of Sub Pop employees by asking the hard questions. Today’s interviewee is Andrew Sullivan, Junior Computer Guy here at Sub Pop. (That’s not really his title per se, but he does computers and he’s 22 years old. Plus, I asked our new GM what his title really was and he said he didn’t know.) Andrew started here as an intern while he was still in college, moved into part time while he finished up his studies, and is now here full time unless he is on tour with his band the Trashies. Andrew is 6’6”+ — he’s not really sure exactly how tall he is because rulers don’t go higher than that, or at least that’s what he told me, and many of his clothes seem a little too small for him in an endearing way. Andrew likes swimming, having house shows at the dump where he lives, being a human garbage disposal, playing music, and boobs. Let’s meet Andrew!
L: You’re pretty young—when I was your age I was just about to finish college while really ramping up my various drug addictions, but you’ve seemed to stay away from all that. How’d you do it?
A: I graduated high school when I was 17, moved straight out of Longview and farted my way through college with ease on a tough regiment of hating my school . I was never that interested in smoking weed, my mom is a smoker so I hate smoke and also I am already a pretty stupid, hungry, and tired guy, why would I want to throw more shit on that already sizable heap, you know? Drugs have rarely ever appealed to me so I have always stuck to my maybe a few times a year plan and never looked back, it’s always been a non-issue with me.
L: Okay,okay—but what’s your FAVORITE drug?
A: Fun & Goofballs
L: If you were going to make a mix tape for your girl what would be the first song and why? What if I asked this same question to the 15 year-old Andrew?
A: Hmm, this is a tough one, my initial stock response (if this was a girl I wanted to see in the nude) would probably be The Replacements “I will Dare.” However, some friends of mine think it is illegal to start off a tape with a song that already appears as Song 1 Side A on an album, so if I decided not to flaut that convention I might go with “’til the morning comes” by Neil Young. When I was 15 it probably would have been Screeching Weasel’s “Totally” or The Beach Boys “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” In fact I think I made mixes for my first high school girlfriend with those songs starting out the the A and B sides of a tape. [Who knew you were such a weird, giant romantic? –ed]
L: Tell me a little bit about your record label 24-7. Who runs it? Who’s on it? What are your plans? (Remember, don’t get too long winded—I bore easily.)
A: It’s just me and my roommates and a few of our friends, we’ve got about 20 bands between 7 people so we have released a ton of cd-r stuff in really small runs just to friends and stuff. I put out an LP recently of the trashies new album and we may be doing a White Nights 7” soon as well as some stuff by Love Machine, Land Action, The Singulars, and more. It’s mostly an art collective for dudes who like beer, jamming, and the arts. We run it out of my house with our friends so it is mostly just about being creative and having good times all around while producing things that interest all of us. [You should’ve called the label Sausage Party. –ed]
L: What’s your favorite place to place on tour and why?
A: Milwaukee Wisconsin, hands down, that city not only knows how to party but they also know how to treat bands like kings. Last time we were there we got a BBQ thrown in our honor and our friend home brewed a special batch of beers just for us, the time before that I blacked out and when I woke up our keyboard player was missing a tooth from the show. Milwaukee is a truly great place with lots of great people doing really killer shit. [And super fucking cheap happy hour! Picture this—3 cocktails, 1 beer, 5 dollars. –ed]
L: Which one of our coworkers do you see as a future version of you? If I have to choose just one I’d say I could see myself growing up to be a lot like Mark Arm, just a chill rock loving dude with lots of stories who tries to travel as much as possible, that sounds alright to me. [I think you might need to increase the goofball usage exponentially for a few years (and these are the prime ones!) to get to the place he’s at today. Also, have you noticed that Mark is mentioned in almost every one of these interviews? –ed]
L: What about me? Why don’t you want to be like me?
A: I’d say Mark is a little bit more stable than you are, plus he’s already twice as old as me and travels internationally a lot more than you and I’m totally into traveling, I work so that I can travel. [Can’t argue with that… -ed.]
L: Why do you get naked all the time? What would your mother say?
A: I would say that there’s a bit of a misconception about this idea that I get naked all the time, I’ve played two shows naked and go skinny dipping at Madison Park a lot during the summer but aside from that I would say I’m generally rather clothed. My mom is pretty proud of me it seems and supportive of most of my endeavors so when she saw a picture of me playing naked from the first tour I went on she just said “if that’s what you like to do great, just don’t get arrested or hurt yourself”. [This is almost the exact same advice my mother gave me but she also added ‘don’t get pregnant’ and ‘don’t let the neighbors see you’. –ed]
L: Hey! Tell me again about that time you got so drunk at my Christmas party that you ran out of the house and got hit by a car on your bike? What were you, 19 at the time?
A: I was 20 at the time, I drank beer and did drugs for the first time when I was 15 and then didn’t do it much again until I was 19, also my family is littered with alcoholism so when I drink it tends to sneak up on me and blackout sometimes (as was the case that night). I’d only been drinking (again) for about a year probably, got carried away, rode my bike when I shouldn’t have and got lucky that I didn’t kill myself. It was definitely an eye opening experience that made me take a step back and realize some profound shit about my life and my relationship with booze.
L: Go on, I’m curious.
A: I just realized that I’m young and love fun so I probably should lay back off the juice for a bit and get my act together, it actually ended up being a pretty positive experience for me.
L: I want to get serious here for a minute, Andrew. You seem to be a pretty happy guy and I’ve never seen you get mad—what is your secret and what is the meaning of life?
A: I generally think I’m a happy dude too, I don’t know how/when that happened because I used to raise a lot of hell and had to take a bunch of anger management classes in Junior High because teacher’s thought I was too disruptive, my parents even had an intervention with me in high school after I got in trouble with the cops a few times, they thought I was in a downward spiral toward an angry life. It was funny because they were really wrong, I was super happy and doing really well in school as well as life in general, that may have been a turning point. I kind of just realized somewhere along the way that a lot of the minutiae of daily life is trivial and that so long as I can be creative, productive, and have a good time with friends I’m pretty content. I hope that’s not to zen/hippy bullshit granolaheadcore for this interview.
L: Oh wow! Now this is the good stuff! I had no idea that you used to be like this? Would you beat kids up and stuff? What did you do to get in trouble with the cops?
A: I was never into fighting, I’ve only been in one fight ever, I used to get kicked out of classes everyday though for telling teacher’s no and just generally defying authority figures. Longview is a real small town so we got in trouble with the cops for egging people, vandalizing shit, breaking stuff, trespassing, shoplifting and shit like that. Me and my buddies basically caused a bunch of trouble and were real assholes (these are the same dudes who were in anger management with me) while our other friends went and got their girlfriends pregnant and took up meth so it all worked out.
L: What’s the best record you’ve heard this year? Do you still like Andrew WK now that he’s doing motivational speaking?
A: I haven’t really been blown away by any full length albums this year, the combination of a bunch of boring shit coming out and me taking my ear away from the ground a bit may have something to do with that but I really liked the two 7”s by Thomas Function and the Cafeteria Brutalia EP triclops put out. As for Andrew WK I do still dig him, his new album, which I believe is only out in Europe, is totally weird and his motivational speaking stuff is really great. I got some mom’s I know in my hometown to go see his speeches in Portland and they apparently really took a lot of it to heart.
L: Please tell us all about that gross concoction that you often eat for lunch. Is it because you are frugal or because you are a growing boy or what?
A: I am pretty frugal so I’ve been told, but I also have a deep burning love for Mexican food, the concoction that you are speaking of is probably either Migas, Rice and Beans with eggs, or a Chorizo & Potato omelet shoved into a Ziploc Tupperware deal. I’m a big eater. [No, it is none of those things. It is macaroni and cheese, beans, rice, and maybe egg as well in the biggest Tupperware I have ever seen in my life and it’s fucking SICK. –ed]