It’s a new year and we’ve finally got a new People Who Work Here for 2008 and it features Gabe Carter, International Man of Mystery. When I first started here Gabe and I worked together for an hour or so during the day and we’d make fun of everyone and jam out a lot to Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/Love Below or the Misfits. When Alissa started working in the warehouse a little later we’d have a full-on delicious snack spread with cheese and crackers and all kinds of good stuff in the afternoons. Gabe is a stand up guy but now that we both have different duties at Sub Pop we rarely get to eat cheese together. Gabe always has the sharpest knife, though, so if you need to slice an apple he’s your man. Let’s meet Gabe!
L: You started at Sub Pop in the warehouse and worked there for a good long while. Please tell me about how you started working here and your subsequent rise to power in the International Department. What do you do now? Do you ever want to go back to working in the warehouse?
G: It’s a Cinderella story really. I started in April of 2002. I had been fired from my previous job of 7 years at a snowboard factory for touring too much with my band during the busy season. The irony here is the band I was in broke up shortly after. Kristin Meyer called me and asked if I’d be interested in the ‘warehouse manager’ position. It initially paid about the same as what I was making on unemployment but it was getting at the point where sitting around the house wasn’t as fun anymore. After you’ve been on unemployment for a while they start making you jump through lots of hoops: turning in your job search list, going to classes etc. Not working in itself starts to become a job. Warehouse manager title was a bit misleading as you weren’t in charge of anyone, just the warehouse. Kwab trained me for about a day and a half and then I was on my own. It was a bit different than what I was used to. I started trying to get to know my new co-workers I nicknamed myself “Talking Gabe” or occasionally “Shit Talking Gabe” and spent too much time yacking to people trying to work. People have that look though when you interrupt them while they’re trying to read an email or just get their work done. For sanity’s sake, the warehouse manager job became something I decided to/needed to take pride in. I tried to just be a reliable shipping engine in the back of the office. I got miracled [I like when Gabe uses these weird phrases. I mean, what does that even mean? –ed.] in to the International job when Shawn Rogers left. Shawn is still a very well regarded person both in the company and abroad. It’s taken a while to grow out from his shadow over the department. My only immediate qualification for the job was that I was well traveled. Carly and I split the job down the middle she does all the marketing and publicity, I do all the nuts and bolts stuff like logistics and production. I do still love the shipping room. I like the physical and social aspect of the work. I like the blasting music and loud talking. The warehouse is like the mafia—they never really let you go.
L: It’s a new year-did you make any resolutions? Even if you didn’t will please pretend that you did and then tell me what they are? Also, what did you do to celebrate?
G: I didn’t make any special resolutions for New Years. I make resolutions all the time but they are broad like “stop drinking so much” or “get to work on time” “get your shit together” [When do you plan to start working on these? –ed.] I’m a ‘watch the New Years on TV’ kind of guy now that I’m a father. I always make a pot of black-eyed peas for New Years Day. It’s supposed to be good luck, one pea for each day of the year. I’m not superstitious though I just like black-eyed peas. I usually end up eating all the leftovers for days afterwards. [Me too! I was sooooo farty. –ed.]
L: Fantasy Basketball-what gives? Is it really that fun? What about Real Basketball?
G: Yes, I’m totally into it. One year I even got several other Sub Pop employees to try it out. These days, players don’t stick with teams long enough for you to really develop any personal attachment to any specific team. You become fans of certain players as they migrate around the NBA. [Sports are so boring to me—wake me up when this is over. –ed.] Sport’s betting is one of the most addictive things around. Sports are unscripted drama. Fantasy sports is just a couple bets on the side. As for real basketball, I was a Sonics season ticket holder since the Key Arena inaugural season (‘95) up until a few years ago. It was a good time to be it to basketball in Seattle. Sonics were always playoff contenders and even went to the championship in 96. I let the tickets go when my wife got pregnant. I used to play actual real basketball but I hate playing pick up basketball, too many day pass thugs and all that running. I hate playing basketball with jerks. [You mean YOUNG jerks, don’t you? –ed.] I’d much rather play half court three on three with some friends. For one it’s easier to get back on defense.
L:You were born in Texas. Tell me three reasons why Texas is better than Washington. Would you ever in a million years consider moving to Texas?
G: Yes, I was born in Houston. The Republic of Texas is one of those places that has an almost indefensible amount of state pride. I have to say the three reasons why Texas is better is: real BBQ, Austin, people are friendly. It takes a while to get used to how unfriendly strangers are here. People just don’t say “hi” here. You walk down the street in Seattle and people pretend they don’t see you. It is really weird and takes quite a bit of getting used to. I would be the first to concede, I’m not a real Texan. [See you are a real Texan—you’re trying to concede! Oh wait…it’s secede, isn’t it? -ed.] I moved here when I was nine. I would never move back. It’s too beautiful here. There’s nothing on the horizon there both literally and figuratively. I get a wave of nostalgia when I go back to visit but that’s all it is. Seattle is my home now and probably forever.
L: You work very closely with Carly Starr, who was recently featured here in PWWH. Please tell me Carly’s three best qualities and one really annoying one.
G: It goes without saying that Carly is great. She and I used to carpool together and I would make her late most days. I’m going to take the high road and assume you’re not talking about Carly’s physical attributes. [Carly has nice jugs. –ed.] While she is clearly an attractive and stylish lady, three of her greatest qualities have got to be her generosity especially with sweets [You mean when she breaks into the ice cream before the party? –ed.], her heightened sense of cleanliness and organization [That’s clearly a neuroses. –ed.], and her ability to have fun [She does love mayonnaise! –ed.]. As far as annoying goes, while she can be fairly bratty at times, which she readily admits, I find her tabloid addiction much worse. Nevertheless, I usually hand the TV remote over to her in the lunch room so she can watch her shows on E.
L: You were in that band Juno and I remember reading about you guys in Punk Planet when Arlie broke his neck or whatever while doing snow sports. You were guys were fairly big, huh? Tell me what it was like being in Juno and tell me what you’ve been doing musically since.
G: I was in Juno from the beginning until its ultimate demise or rather, extended hiatus. It was and sometimes still is a large part of who I am. [Let it go, Big G. –ed.] Experience shapes perception and what not. We toured and toured, 14 or so Secret Santa [? –ed.] US tours and 2 European tours and a last hurrah Japanese tour. We released two full lengths on DeSoto Records and 7” singles with Sub Pop, Jade Tree, Magwheel, and BCore and a split with the Dismemberment Plan. Former Sub Pop employee Joan Hiller was our publicist for the last record. I loved being in the band. I’m sad that we couldn’t keep it together. Traveling to Europe and Japan as a band was very rewarding for me personally. Some people go to college, I went to rock school. I’m very proud of what we were able to accomplish as a band, most of which we had to do for ourselves. We had a tendency to burn bridges while we were still on them. Arlie’s broken and then healed neck was the 6th member of our band for a while. He was trooper though he got right back in the van and toured as soon as he could. After Juno I joined Hint Hint and managed to record a full length and do a little touring with them before the inevitable break up. Since then I had a personal musical project going for a while but right now I’m the only one in project and the music is all on a pile of practice tapes.
L: Please tell me your favorite Sub Pop album from each year that you’ve worked here. What’s your favorite song from each record?
L: If you had to lose either both your feet or both your hands which would you choose and why?
G: Feet. No question. People can lose their feet and still run marathons with prosthetics. Showers would be weird though, right? Have to get one of those shower chairs to wash my nubs. I need my hands. I would hate to lose any part of either hand. How do you get dressed with no hands, or drive, or make a sandwich. [With your feet, ding dong! –ed.]
L: You have a kid—tell me what it’s like! Are you going to have another one? If so, can I pick the name?
G: Let me be the 10 millionth person to say how great it is. It is unbelievably great. I think I have a better perspective on it since we waited until we were older. I don’t feel robbed of my youth and ambitions. I feel I have a rich enough life and wealth of experience to share with him. All I want to do is hang out with him. I don’t know about a second one yet. My need to procreate is completely satiated by my son. I wonder though sometimes if his quality of life might be better with a sibling. [Sure, why not? He’ll have someone to pick on. –ed.] It’s still on the table. If we do, I would endure some suggestions from you for sure. The name Ulysses was a top contender last time Jimmy Carter 2. –ed.]
L: You are into Japan quite a bit-why?
G: I’ve heard that before. I’m not really so into Japan more than anything else. [Well why do people keep saying this to you? –ed.] I like a lot of Japanese film: Akira Kurosawa movies (Seven Samurai), Battle Royale, I even like my fair share of anime [Blech. –ed.] like Spirited Away. But to be honest, I like Sushi more than Japan. Last time I was in Japan I felt slightly unwelcome. They aren’t really so into foreigners. Gaijin is the Japanese word for “foreigner”. It also happens to be the word for “barbarian”, since that was what all foreigners were considered to be. Baka roughly translates into “smart, no”. Perhaps as close to “stupid” as they would want to call somebody. So Baka Gaijin roughly translates into “stupid foreigner”. [Yeah, sounds like you are not into Japan at all…. –ed.] Also if you see another gaijin on the street, they pretend to not notice that you are clearly not Japanese. It’s like you went to high school together and they are praying you don’t recognize them. Maybe I’m extra sensitive to that. As a general rule tourists and ex-pats are dorks it sucks to feel like one.
L: Tell me something that you’ve learned as you’ve gotten older. You know, something like “it’s OKAY to trust people over 30” or something like that.
G: I got a few, take your pick: Don’t judge your friends or you’ll lose them. Don’t buy a car at night. A good man can whistle and change a tire at the same time. [These are good. I’m going with the tire one, though, because I’d never buy a car in the dark and if I have to quit judging my friends I might as well stay home. –ed.]
This week People Who Work Here takes a look at Sub Pop’s newest all star publicist, Kate Jackson, but not that Kate Jackson. This one is 26 and married and has a dog and a home in West Seattle and is a very nice lady and she has not been on any TV shows, at least as far as I know. As Kate is pretty new here I don’t have a lot of interesting facts to lay on you right here, but I will vote her most likely to sunbathe topless and drunk in Hawaii. I’ll let you know how that goes when we get back. Let’s meet Kate!
L: Tell me how you came to be employed at Sub Pop.
K: I used to do a little work with Steve Manning’s wife, and met Steve through her a few years ago. Around the same time, I was introduced to Megan Jasper while working on a fundraiser for the Vera Project. I thought both were charming freaks and apparently they thought the same of me, so when there was an opening here they thought I would be a logical fit! [Knowing people is the only way, my friend! –ed.]
L: Are you enjoying yourself so far? Who is your surprise favorite coworker?
K: I am enjoying myself thoroughly. In my first week we got to ride the Duck with the whole funny clan and I had a massage in the office. How could I complain? I just rearranged my cubicle so I feel like the vibe just got a whole lot better in here. [She’s not kidding—I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen feng shuing in action. –ed.] My surprise favorite co-worker…Bessie, Vito and Dinky…although the humans are cool too.
L: You married your high school sweetheart—what’s up with that? Is it working out?
K: Yeah, the guitarist of his then band went to my high school and he set us up on a blind date at an all-ages Superdeluxe show at Green River Community College when I was 14 and he was 15. It just kinda stuck and we ended up getting married about 2.5 years ago after 10 years of hanging out. [So that means you two have only had sex with each other, huh? What? I’m just asking! –ed.]
L: What is the first Sub Pop record you ever owned? What is the last Sub Pop record you bought before becoming employed here?
K: That is a tough one…I think it may have been L7 that I first bought on my very own. I had others that I had gotten as gifts, but I saved for that one. The last Sub Pop record I bought before I started here…I believe it was Band of Horses Everything All the Time. [Oh c’mon—you know you got that for free! –ed.]
L: I heard you are into some weird personality analysis called enneagram. What is it and what can you tell me about myself using this witchcraft?
K: You’ve clearly been talking to Megan! Yes, I was raised with the Enneagram and love it to this day. Aside from sacrificing small animals and drinking their blood, the whole practice involves minimal witchcraft. It is disturbingly accurate although sometimes hard to admit that you have the characteristics spelled out in the personality descriptions. I am an “8”, so watch out. Lacey, hmmm…not sure I could peg you so easily. Maybe after a few drinks together I will have you all figured out. [I can’t wait for this! Please bring your witch tools to the island! –ed.]
L: You are super active with the VERA Project. Tell me a little bit about the project and what your roll is there. Why do you think it’s a worthwhile organization? Why should parents feel safe leaving their kids in the hands of punk rockers and other musical degenerates under the Space Needle?
K: Vera is an all-ages, not-for-profit music and arts venue that is run primarily by youth volunteers. It is a space for people of all-ages to engage in music performance and other related arts in an alcohol and drug free environment. They offer live shows, studio engineering classes, silkscreen classes, sound and light engineering classes, have an art gallery and do a million other wonderful things that empower youth and cultivate talent. I have been a board member of the Vera Project for a little over a year but involved with the organization in various capacities for about 4 years. I spent almost every weekend in high school commuting from Tacoma to go to RKCNDY or the handful of all-ages venues that existed. When the teen dance ordinance closed all of it down, I didn’t see a show for 3 years that wasn’t at a festival or arena sized rock. Being involved in the music community brought me to my current day profession. It is imperative, especially in a city like Seattle, that we have a place for the young musicians, fans and art lovers go to learn how to appreciate art in their own way and sustain the growth of that community. [See, I told you she’s a publicist! –ed.]
L: If I had to hazard a guess I’d say you drove a Volkswagen, probably something with a hatchback. Am I completely wrong? What kind of car would you drive if money were no object?
K: I have a Subaru wagon. If I could drive any car it would be a Volvo wagon when they go hybrid and I also love the new prototype for the VW Minibus, so I guess you were kinda right about me. [It’s a gift, what can I say? –ed.]
L: Alright, let’s get to the juicy part…you used to work with Pearl Jam—what were your duties? Who is your favorite Pearl Jam? Do you still talk to them on the phone? Tell me a funny story about Pearl Jam that does not involve Ticket Master, mohawks, or Crohn’s Disease.
K: Ahh yes. Mostly I just picked out all of the brown M&Ms. nothing makes Mike McCready more angry than brown M&Ms… [Not even Crohn’s? –ed.] No, really I worked for a small publicity firm that handled a lot of music and non-profit related clients but was also Pearl Jam’s in-house PR in addition to handling the band’s philanthropic efforts. We did everything from set up a record to handle day-to-day appearance, donation, etc. requests for the band, to help strategize political involvement and activism. My favorite Pearl Jam…impossible to choose! Nicest people ever. The secret about the Pearl Jam organization [They sound like the grunge mob. –ed.] is that they have about three times as many dogs in office as Sub Pop does. When I was there we would have anywhere from seven to thirteen dogs on any given day. Scared the hell out of visitors when a pack of dogs – ranging in size from Jack Resells to Lab/Rodesian Ridgeback mix- would come tearing through the office.
L: You are a young go-getter of a gal—how’d you get to be like that? Do you have any tips for someone who might be in her early 30s, floundering around fairly aimlessly with no clue as to what she’d like to make of herself?
K: Good God, you overestimate me. I personally invest a good amount of time in wine drinking and reading thesuperficial.com and therefore am the last to be doling out advice to anyone. [Well then I must be on the right track…. –ed.]
L: What does Kate Jackson do on the weekends to relax? Tell me about it.
K: The best kind of weekend contains these ingredients – one night out for dinner and drinks/show, good Saturday morning greasy breakfast, a lot of On Demand, red wine, and a long walk on Alki beach with my dog. [Where’s the shame spiral? Or is that on Monday morning for you, too? –ed.]
L: When I was in high school I had a gay friend who told me that I looked like Kate Jackson but I don’t think you and I look anything alike. Say, who’s your favorite Charlie’s Angel?
K: You only get one guess…the smart one.
L: And finally, let’s do some quick word association:
Catholicism – my upbringing
Ireland – my homeland
West Seattle – the best neighborhood in Seattle
Grunge – my youth
Steve Manning – monkey
Publicist- dirty word
Balls – I wanna dip my…
People Who Work Here has really been taking its sweet time in between interviews, but this next one is a real page turner and well worth the wait. This week we’ll take an in depth look at Stuart Fletcher, the newest member of the Sub Pop Records Technical Team, Ltd., and also the last remaining interview from, as they like to refer to themselves, the Nerd Cave. Stuart “does computers” and as far as I can tell this means that he fixes broken things on the website and also provides you with new download codes when yours doesn’t work. I’m sure he does other stuff, but these are the only two things that I personally need him for. Stuart is wealth of weird information/superstition such as ‘you should never separate the salt and pepper—if someone asks for one you must pass both.’ As you might expect from someone with crazy ideas about spice movement, Stuart can often be found straightening his papers just so on his desk at work so that nothing is out of place. Stuart is also a founding member of the somewhat now defunct Monday Night Supper Club and a frequent lunch partner of mine. Let’s meet Stuart!
L: You are new-ish here. You worked at another computer job before and you left even though you made a million dollars an hour. Why? Do you think you made the right decision?
S: I am way more suited to working at Sub Pop than I was to working at my last job. So yes, even though I was paid $1,000,000/hr at my last gig it’s worth it to work for such a fine company as we do. No question I made the right decision. [Smart answer, Kid—I think the boss reads these. –ed.]
L: So, you have a really janky desk here and you are the only one who suffers from this type of treatment. How does that make you feel? Do you think that it will ever be okay?
S: When my desk was first installed it did seem to really not fit the space, but the Technical Staff here collaborated on some feng shui-esque maneuvers and managed to make the Technical Staff Office into, in my opinion, a much nicer space than when I was sitting at my card table (which I thought was pretty great at the time, to be honest). And honestly, most of my problem with my desk can probably be chalked up to me falling prey to the status quo bias. I’m very prone to it. (Meaning: I hate change.)
L: You and Dean Hudson went to high school together—tell me a good story about ‘the good old days’ at Issaquah High. What about James Bertram? Got any dirt on him?
S: Hmmmm. Truth be told, Dean Hudson and I went to elementary school, middle school, AND high school together. I have a funny story about 4th grade, but since you asked about high school I’ll stick with that. This might not be a “good story” but at minimum it is a story. Dean Hudson and I worked together in a public library in high school. Our main duty was shelving books. Toward the end of when I worked there we somehow got the idea that it would be fun to sort of sketch out the rough outline of a musical about serial killers. [Oh geez. This is classic. –ed.] I think the idea probably came about because all the books on serial killers would have the same Dewey Decimal classification and somebody probably returned a bunch of them at the same time and they were all waiting to be shelved. That or Greg Heino are the most likely reasons we were thinking about it. Keep in mind this is waaaay before there was that movie with Charlize Theron and all that. Punk hadn’t even broke at the time I’m talking about, if you know what I mean. I’m just trying to point out we were ahead of our time. So anyway, we came up with some song ideas, a rough plot outline and had a lot of fun with that. Kind of sick. James Bertram… let me think. Whenever I think of him being in high school he is wearing a Misfits t-shirt. [James is coming out 100% more cool than you and Dean combined here… -ed.] Because he really did wear a Misfits t-shirt sometimes. That’s not really “dirt” but that’s all I’ve got. James and Dean are two of my best friends. [That’s sweet. A little gay, but sweet. –ed.]
L: Did you go through a goth phase in high school? Did you smoke cloves? Did you cry a lot? Do you still have all your black clothes? Did you wear Doc Martens or those little karate slippers?
S: No. No. No. Never had an inordinate amount of black clothing, so it’s the same as ever. I’ve never owned Doc Martens and I don’t know what you mean by karate slippers, but I think that’s a “no” as well. Are Doc Martens comfortable? I heard they are. [Look, I’ll be asking the questions today, Stuart. –ed.]
L: Mayonnaise—for it or against it and why?
S: I am pro-mayonnaise because it is delicious & it can make the things it gets on more delicious than they otherwise would be. And the mayonnaise that the Dutch dip their french fries in is amazing. Anything in the same family as that special continental mayonnaise gets my vote. [There is a direct correlation between one’s enjoyment of mayonnaise and how much fun a person enjoys. Look it up. –ed.]
L: You are a real fan of Sub Pop recording artists Tiny Vipers and you have driven them to Portland more than once. What do you all talk about? Who has to stop and pee the most? What kind of road snacks do you guys get?
S: It’s true I’m a big Tiny Vipers fan. On the rides to and from Portland we regale each other with tales of past times, ponder the nature of electricity and magnetism, examine questions of ethics and morality, and sometimes we just sit and think quietly while hurtling along I-5. Pretty much just the usual. We normally make one pit stop on the ride to/from Portland, and it’s equally likely to be me or Jesy that requests the stop. I don’t think Ben ever asks to stop, but whoever says the word I think everyone takes advantage of it. Snack-wise, rest stop cookies (found alongside the free rest stop coffee) [Cheap bastards. –ed.] are a favorite, as have been lozenges to ward off sickness. If I recall correctly, we’ve usually neglected to plan ahead enough to stock up on snacks for the road. Tiny Vipers and 5ive Style are my two favorite bands on the label. [I didn’t ask you this but thanks, I guess. –ed.]
L: You play bass in the Sea Navy. If Jay Cox, leader of the Sea Navy, were to suddenly disappear what Seattle band would you want to join and why?
S: (can you say here that I look “visibly shaken” or something like that?) [Sure. Stuart appears visibly shaken by the mere mention of Jay Cox’s hypothetical disappearance. –ed.] First of all, I would be really bummed if Jay Cox, leader of the Sea Navy, were to suddenly disappear. But if Jay Cox, leader of the Sea Navy, WERE to suddenly disappear, and I were somehow forced to join a Seattle band…I have no idea. I’ve never wanted to join a band so what I would do is this: I would get Jordan, drummer of the Sea Navy, to form a band called “I.S.O. Jay Cox” which I would then immediately join (thus answering your question?) and we would embark on a sort of “psychic journey” through a vast multi-dimensional landscape of good and evil trying to find Jay Cox, leader of the Sea Navy. Picture something which has the epicness of the Lord of the Rings movies [Exactly right here is where I quit reading…. –ed.] but looks more like a realistically rendered cartoon (like the J. Penry cover art on Love As Laughter’s “Laughter’s Fifth” LP) and where the kid who isn’t Frodo doesn’t cry quite as much. In fact, when we become “I.S.O. Jay Cox” we would actually TURNINTO cartoons so that we can go on this epic journey. There would be lots of sliding down rainbows and getting into all kinds of little side adventures, but don’t worry — there’s always a lot of jamming going on, too. We’d have to be changing costumes quite a lot, I imagine. If you’re wondering what “I.S.O. Jay Cox” sounds like, I would play bass with the attitude [He’s still talking, isn’t he? –ed.] of a young Geddy Lee mixed with the fretboard chops of “Diver Down”-era Michael Anthony (btw, that synth glitch never woulda happened had Michael been there — sorry Wolfgang!). Jordan would drum in the style of post-Spectrum Billy Cobham combined with the studio precision of Rick Marotta’s work on “Don’t Take Me Alive” and the “git down” vibe of Agharta-period Al Foster. [I’m sorry I asked. –ed.]
L: Do you own any pets? Why or why not? What is the most exotic family animal you’ve ever experienced? This can be yours or a buddy’s.
S: I do not own any pets. I like cats and have lived with lots of them, I’ve enjoyed living with dogs somewhat but right now is not the time for me + pets. My place is not very large (that’s an ambiguous statement, huh?) and honestly the cat and/or dog hair everywhere and on everything gets me down as a long term proposition. The most exotic family animal I’ve ever experienced is a house cat [Oooh, neat! –ed.], though not just any house cat. This one was raised by turtles on the coast of North Carolina (or on the islands maybe — I forget) and is the oddest cat I’ve ever known. Name of Taco, she’s still around (I think) in the DC area. She was not “mine” but I lived in a house with her for several years. I’ll point out now for the reader in the early 21th century where we in Seattle are currently graced with the presence of the band TacocaT that Taco the cat is well over ten years old & was named on another coast in another time by people who may not even “get” the thing about the bicyclists and the peeps and whatnot. Her “exoticesqueness” is mostly psychological in nature and is best experienced. You’ll have to take my word for it. She’s the longest haired cat I’ve ever seen: the volume of hair makes her seem approximately three times as big as she actually is. And she’s tiny, probably because she was raised by turtles and didn’t get the proper nutrients as a baby cat. What do turtles eat anyway? Lettuce?
L: Tell me the proudest moment in Stuart Fletcher’s life up to this point. What do you hope to achieve in the future? What color is Stuart’s balloon?
S: This is a tough one to answer (but haven’t they all been!). There are all sorts of kinds of ways to be proud. I was proud to own/ handle/manage that cat Taco I was talking about earlier, but I suppose you mean the thing I’ve done that I’m most proud of. Some moments I’ve felt quite a lot of pride in my own acheivements have been:
1. graduating from the University of Maryland (we have quite a few celebrity alumni, by the way), [I’m sure they are proud to add you to this distinguished list, especially since you misspelled achievements right off the bat. But then again, you weren’t an English major, so…00100101001. –ed.]
2. helping build the current Sub Pop website, and
3. having been a member of The Sorts, a band I played with for a long time in DC (that’s more than a moment, but isn’t life just a moment in time?).
Also, I am really good at folding laundry (especially t-shirts!) and I wash dishes (in the home, not professionally) pretty well, though not exceptionally quickly. Those are two of my skills I’m proud of. In the future… shoot, I thought I had already made it to the future. I just want to keep doing cool things and continue to have fun or whatever it’s called now. Mostly I want to keep thinking thoughts for awhile. My balloon… isn’t it what color your parachute is? [Godammit, Stuart, I said that I’M ASKINGTHEQUESTIONS! If I say it’s a balloon then it’s a goddamn balloon! But, I think you’re right…it really is parachute. –ed.] If it’s just a helium balloon or something, how is that going to float me? I guess it’s gray, though, if I have to answer. Either grey or dark blue, but definitely one of those. Don’t The Cure have a song called “All Cats Are Grey”? Taco wasn’t gray, but grey cats are fine with me and my balloon is gray with a 50% probability.
L: Around the office you are known as ‘the good Stuart’ and Stuart Meyer is ‘the bad Stuart’. Name three reasons why these nicknames are indisputably correct.
S: Oh boy. I don’t know how this got started, but it really has legs.
1. Stuart Meyer doesn’t like mayonnaise, if I recall from his Sub Pop PWWH interview. Liking mayonnaise = ‘good’. [Please see above. –ed.]
2. From what I can gather from what is said around here I watch much less television than Stuart, and that’s ‘good’, right? [I think that’s relative. –ed.]
3. If I were ‘the bad Stuart’ I would take it personally and not have a sense of humor about it. That would make me miserable and that’s the last reason why our nicknames are indisputably correct.
Although I halfway (or quarterway) wish those names would disappear, I DO think they are funny and I have to admit that I’m happy that I got the ‘good’ one. Sorry Stuart. That’s kind of a boring answer. I know I should have said something more biting. Like claim that I am effortlessly able to maintain my trim waistline or something. But I don’t have it in me. I don’t want to add any kindling to this particular fire. (And to be perfectly honest, when I think hard about this good/bad thing, I end up concluding that Stuart Meyer is probably cooler and better than I am in just about every way.) [Nope, you’re wrong. –ed.]
L: And finally, what is the deal with carrying hot sauce in your pocket?
S: First of all I’d like to point out that the one time I’ve “carried hot sauce in my pocket” it was my jacket pocket, not a pants pocket. That is an important distinction. Secondly, that hot sauce was (and indeed is) El Yucateco Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero and their motto is “Much More Habanero!” When I lived in Washington, DC the El Yucateco was relatively easy to find, but since I’ve been back in Seattle I’ve had a hard time tracking it down. I found it at the so-called Mexican grocery in the Market, though, so I’ve been excited to use it ever since then. Hence the carrying it in the (jacket) pocket. Short answer: I like how it tastes when applied to a wide range of foods. How it tastes in my mouth. [Fair enough, weirdo. –ed.]
People Who Work Here is super proud to work with (al)most everyone on the Sub Pop staff, but Jeff Kleinsmith holds a special place in my heart, and not just because I can get him to do free design work for me from time to time. Jeff is the art director here at HQ, and he, along with partner in crime Dusty Summers, is responsible for all of the visual hoo-ha associated with everything we do here from album covers to advertisements. (I tried to think of a ‘z’ thing that they do to have that whole ‘a to z’ thing happening but I couldn’t think of one. Instead you get ‘a to a’ which makes them seem lazy somehow but I can assure you that’s not the case.) Jeff is married with two lovely daughters and he’s also a lover of animals, but not in the same way he loves his wife. He is a vegetarian that hates cooked vegetables, and the other day I caught him microwaving a bowl of, get this, canned kidney beans and chopped up raw tofu for lunch. Jeff collects shoes like a woman and he is very sensitive and also very funny. He’s also good for an old fashioned debate, so if you happen to end up at one of his many public speaking events please be sure to engage him in a lengthy conversation about art or why cats are better than dogs. Also, this mofo is right in the middle of having a book written about him! Let’s meet Jeff!
L: How did you get into graphic design? What is your main piece of advice for aspiring graphic designer?
J: It really started in about 1980 when my friend’s older brother, Dan, tried to scare us with Black Sabbath. He wore rock shirts, had long hair, and hung out with the stoners (and had a 4.0). I totally looked up to him. His bedroom was plastered with awesome rock posters (Iron Maiden, Pick Floyd, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, etc.) and he had a wall full of LPs – alphabetized and neatly stored in plastic sleeves. My friend and I were big AM radio fans and I think Dan just simply couldn’t take any more Hall and Oates mucking up his Thin Lizzy so he brought us into his room one day and cranked some metal at us. Though I was supposed to be frightened and repulsed, I was mesmerized and enchanted. We were hooked. After that he sorta took us under his wing, or more accurately, we put ourselves under his wing. He taught us the difference between Zeppelin and Deep Purple (I know!), told us what to buy, and made fun of us for listening to girl metal (Journey). I still have every LP I have ever bought. Oh right, sorry, graphic design: I found myself grounded a lot around this time and to pass the time I would become heavily involved with these LPs. I’d listen carefully, rock out, air jam, whatever, and after the visceral experience subsided I started noticing the art up close. I played with the packaging, redrew the logos, and tacked the inserts on my wall. Eventually this led to making my own posters, shirts, locker door art, tape cases, etc. Fast forward to college… I was flailing about with no real direction and just taking whatever classes sounded cool at the time until it became jarringly apparent that I had to focus on some particular area of study. My mom encouraged me to take some drawing classes, which I did, and additionally, took a beginning design class. [Your mom’s a fool—the money’s in computers. –ed.] I was blown away. I had never felt more comfortable, focused, and confident as I did in those classes. It became a passion. My advice to youngsters is to spend twice the time on typography as on the image.
L: You are in the middle of having a book written about you. How weird is that?
L: What is the best album cover of all time? What is the worst? Why?
J: First Black Sabbath album. Hands down. It creates a mood that is undeniable and uncontrived. It’s what I think of when I read Turn Of The Screw by Henry James (I know!). Still so scary. There are so many websites dedicated to obviously bad album covers so I can’t really think of one in particular. The one that I think I recognized as ‘bad’ early on was Cosmo’s Factory by Creedence Clearwater Revival. I actually think it’s awesome now but as a kid looking through my mom’s albums I always stopped to look at the weird dudes in the basement. “Where is that guy going on that bike?” [Stuart Fletcher has a shirt with that dude on it and he wore it this week. Coincidence? –ed.]
L: What new designers do you like and why?
J: The new designers usually aren’t very good. And even if they were I wouldn’t acknowledge it. [This is a lot of the reason why we get along so well. –ed.]
L: Tell me about Jeff’s ultimate best day ever. What would you do if you could do anything?
J: I’d have to do it as two days. One of those days would be spent with my awesome family. Katie, Juniper, and Frances and my two hound dogs. It wouldn’t really matter what we did. Coffee and scones. Trip somewhere. Camping. Whatever. I love more than anything to just hang out with them. The other day would be by myself. I love my alone time. I would go to a coffee shop and read a book until the first movie of the day started. That would be followed by a lunch date with myself and off to movie number two. Dinner break with me and then movie number three. [Jeff’s butt is made of the same material that astronaut’s use for their space waffles. –ed.] I only do this when the ladies go visit relatives in Portland.
L: Tell me why you no longer smoke weed or drink.
J: I had no issues with alcohol. I drank the normal amount (mornings, while driving, in class) until one night in 1988 when I went to see Scratch Acid with my friend Brian. There was a party already going on when we got home and I was totally sober. I took a couple of drinks of a beer and I couldn’t stop throwing up. That went on for eight hours until I had to go to the emergency room. I tried again a couple of weeks later (I know!) and I felt instantly horrible. My doctor said that while it was pretty rare, I was probably allergic to alcohol. [That guy is such a liar! When I lived in Mexico I told the people I was allergic to protein so I didn’t have to eat any more weird animals. –ed.] So, with that sound medical advice, I ramped up my pot smoking to epic proportions. I smoked a lot of pot for about 10 or 11 years until it started fighting against me. I would smoke it and instantly hate the fact that just smoked it. I felt abnormally paranoid and depressed so I quit. [But isn’t that what smoking pot is all about? –ed.] It’s coming up on 10 years since I’ve even SEEN any.
L: Tell me about your old bands. Do you miss playing music? Did you ever think you could be a full time musician?
J: You mean, tell you about The Funeral Party, Fireclown, and Stymie? Sure! As the name “The Funeral Party” suggests, we were into The Cure, Joy Division, Bauhaus, Echo and The Bunnymen. I played guitar save for the show-closer when we plugged the Casio into the bass amp and I sang a poem I wrote called “As I Watch You Die” in my best Nick Cave voice. Fireclown was metal/“grunge”. I sang. The name is from a Tygers of Pan Tang song of the same name. We loved Skin Yard, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney but sounded nothing like any of them.
Stymie was our most ‘together’ band. Most of the time we were a six-piece. [Featuring Steve Manning as “dancing honkey” on tom, stick banging, and tambourine! –ed.] We were influenced by the aforementioned bands but add in Treepeople, and Sonic Youth. We wrote a lot of songs and spent a lot of time in the studio. I miss all of the bands for different reasons, but mostly because I enjoyed hanging out with my friends [and thinking of bad band names… -ed.] I love playing music and still play guitar at home but I don’t miss ‘being in a band’. Frankly, I would have much rather been a pro basketball player.
L: When did you lose your virginity? Was it weird? Did you feel like you had become a man or was there some guilt/shame afterwards?
J: I had just turned 18 and I was in love. No guilt. No shame. She was also a virgin and we spent months planning our first time. Laugh at me, but I wanted to be in love for my first time. [Ha ha! -ed.]
L: You are a fan of both metal and Kate Bush. Tell me why these two things are not mutually exclusive? Did your metal friends accept your love of the Bush?
J: Generally speaking my friends have very wide ranging musical interests so it never really comes up. It’s only at work that I get made fun of. [I highly doubt that. –ed.] I secretly listen to her AND metal when Dusty’s not here since he’s so closed-minded to legends like Rush, Kate Bush, and Corrosion of Conformity. I love Kate Bush SO much that I a.) I don’t give a fuck what anyone has to say about her/me and b.) if they are making fun of me I am too busy basking in her awesomeness to notice.
L: Please tell me the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you this year so far.
J: There is this messageboard that I frequent called gigposters.com. It’s where a lot of the poster makers from the past and present go to show work and just generally say dumb stuff. I’m not a “blogger” or a message board guy AT ALL but I got sucked in to this one years a go. I have made a number of actual real live friends there so I keep going back. About four years ago there was a discussion going on about drive-ins: “Aren’t they great.” “Boy, do I miss them.” “That’s where I saw Kentucky Fried Movie!” Stuff like that. As many around the office already know, my past is rich with drive-in stories so I chime in. Here’s an excerpt:
ME: “Oh, man, I loved drive-ins as a kid. My family used to go every summer weekend in the ‘70s/’80s. There were several in a 30 mile radius of my hometown in Oregon. I saw my first R rated movie when I was eight (One Flew Over a Cuckoo’s Nest). I saw the only Star Wars movie I’ve ever seen (1976), and I felt my first real live boobie at a drive-in (Pxx Hxxxxx).”
Two weeks ago I get this:
So I google myself and guess what I find? something like this:
“Oh, man, I loved drive-ins as a kid. My family used to go every summer weekend in the ‘70s/’80s. There were several in a 30 mile radius of my hometown in Oregon. I saw my first R rated movie when I was eight (One Flew Over a Cuckoo’s Nest). I saw the only Star Wars movie I’ve ever seen (1976), and I felt my first real live boobie at a drive-in (Pxx Hxxxxxx).”
I never knew I was your first real live boobie… LOL!!! So yea I see your a rockstar designer, very cool.
So HELLO my old friend…. I hope all is well in your life.
Love to hear from ya sometime. I live in portland.
:) pxx "
Embarrassing? Yes. But the worst part is not the interaction between me and P** because, as you can see, it doesn’t seem to bother her all that much that I put her name out there like that. It’s when I tell others what I think is this “great story” as the now 40 year-old father of two that I am. I feel creepy and embarrassed for some reason. Like right now. [It’s okay. The more you say boobie the less creepy it gets, I swear. –ed.]
L: Would you prefer to drown or be burned alive?
J: Drowning, for sure.
L: Say you got gored by an elephant or something and you were about to die; what is the last piece of advice you’d give to your children?
J: Have fun. Do it because YOU want to do it not because you think it will make you cool. Trust your instincts. Go easy on your mom, she is about to lose an AWESOME guy to an elephant-goring!
People Who Work Here would like to apologize for the extreme delay between interviews, but this week’s guest was dragging his feet like mad because, apparently, he does not want “to be made fun of” and therefore said guest took an unprecedented amount of time to complete his interview. Again, I apologize, but now I’d like to introduce you to Chris Jacobs, General Manager of Sub Pop Records! Chris has two kids, one of whom has the best name ever: Owen Blackjack Jacobs, and a lovely wife, and a golden retriever named Gabe. Chris enjoys playing soccer, playing cards with his buds, and skateboarding. Chris does not like mayonnaise or beans of any kind. I often times go to Chris for advice or when I am feeling blue and he cheers me up by reminding me that he is older than me and therefore worse off. He is a sensitive and hilarious guy and I have learned a lot from him over the years and am proud to call him friend as well as boss. (He makes me call him boss.) Let’s meet Chris!
L: Tell me about your history at Sub Pop and how you moved through the ranks to become the general manager of such a fine establishment. Be sure to tell me a little about your duties at each stop along the way.
C: I started here in April of ’97, shortly after the attempted coup, as tour publicist. Duties there included lots of phone time with newspaper journalists who sometimes also wrote cooking or home improvement columns. “Yes, that’s right, we put out the first Nirvana record. No, right now, I’m hoping you’ll write something about Elevator to Hell, actually.” Later, in addition to that, I bought ads for the label, and wrote quite a few of those that were mostly misunderstood, when paid any attention at all. Highlights include our failed pseudo-revolutionary “campaign” (“Sub Pop: By Any Means Currently Available”), our high-larious and way before its time LP3 ad, the ZZ Mower ad we stole from Matador, and oh, so many more that likely no one but me and Jeff Kleinsmith care at all about. After the departure of my old boss Cece, I took over as Publicity Director, and oh man, did I ever get this label a lot of coverage in Pulse! Magazine. A few years after that, I was elected Marketing Director in a landslide, which job involved (among a great many other, high-level responsibilities) making stickers and buttons and helping to put together this. [Seriously, will you just let this thing die? Yes, ha ha. We get it. –ed.] After being relieved of those duties, I was Editor-in-Chief and then Sr. Director of Special Projects, and the main duties involved in both of those jobs seemed to be explaining what they were and also combating the derision of my co-workers. Recently, I was inexplicably promoted to General Manager and I’m still not altogether clear on what that means.
L: Comics—you love them. Why? Which ones are your favorites? Do you only like the dirty alternative comics or have you collected them since you were a kid?
C: I do love comics! Sadly, I have paid less attention to them recently than I once did. I mostly only like the dirty alternative comics [Who can resist a skillfully shaded boob on paper? –ed.] and then sometimes also the not-so-dirty alternative comics and am a great fan of many of the folks currently published through the Fantagraphics imprint – Dan Clowes, Pete Bagge, Jim Woodring, Chris Ware, Charles Burns, Richard Sala, Ivan Brunetti, Johnny Ryan, Al Columbia. I also really like Adrian Tomine. This is the same list from ten years ago though… I never really collected comics. I read ‘em as a kid, but only sporadically. I liked Ghost Rider a lot, Dr. Strange. I’m starting to bore even me here…
L: Tell me exactly how having a baby changes a person. Is the second one just gravy or do you have to go through all of it again with each new little dude?
C: Man, I think having a baby changes people in all sorts of different ways! Though I am very free with my complaints on the subject (little babies are big pains in the ass)[You should hear the way he talks about the new one! –ed.], I’ve also found that it’s made me just get over myself in what I hope are good ways. It’s good for you to care/worry about someone else more than you do yourself. I also have a heightened appreciation for sleep and, relatedly, far less motivation to leave the house at night. You do have to go through it all again with the second one, for sure, and there are complications in how you split your time between the two (the older one wants to play Power Rangers or whatever and the younger one just wants your full attention right goddamned now all the time), but the second one was easier because I think we were less uptight. We felt somewhat confident that we’d be able to keep the second one alive in those first few weeks/months. We were very worried about that with the first one.
L: You and your eldest son Owen just went on a father son roadtrip to Montana. What did you guys talk about? Would you consider hiring yourself out to people who might not have gotten to do this as children?
C: We did just go on a little trip to Western Montana, Owen and I! And, it was one of the best things I’ve done in recent memory. We didn’t really talk about anything super important or deep. [Yeah, he’s 4 so I didn’t think you would’ve. –ed.] We mostly talked about how he really likes Lunchables and how sleeping bags are pretty cool, stuff like that. And, no I wouldn’t consider hiring myself out for this kind of thing. I’m not at all convinced that I’m any good at it [See above for Chris’s technique. –ed.], I’m just all my kids have got (in the dad dept. – they have an excellent, highly-qualified mom), so I have to give it a shot.
L: You play(ed?) the drums. Did you ever have dreams of making it as a “professional musician”? Why or why not? If you could play drums for any band living or dead who would it be? Also, please tell me about your very first band.
C: I am indeed a mediocre drummer! I don’t play all that much anymore though. Before Owen was born I used to play once a week or so, with some friends. And, yep, in high school I had some dreams of “making it” in a band. Why? Just for the usual reasons, I think, it seemed to be an incomparably fun way to make a handsome living. Also, it held the promise of meeting and possibly impressing girls. I guess I probably would have liked to play drums for Kiss in the ‘70s. That was probably a pretty good time and I’m at least as good a drummer as Peter Criss now. [Wasn’t he impersonated by a hobo some years back? –ed.] I’d have a different answer to the question of who I’d most like to be able to play drums like (Rey Washam or Mac McNeilly, or the guy from RFTC, probably). My very first band was called The Floorshow (I came up with the name – based on my affection for The Sisters of Mercy in ’85 or so) and we played a handful of cover songs. The first song we learned together was AC/DC’s “Walk All Over You.” [Ah, that explains the AC/DC explosion coming from your cubicle last week while you were, presumably, answering these questions. –ed.]
L: You are Kinski’s A+R guy and you recently went down to Oklahoma and Texas to see them play in some big ass stadiums when they were opening for Tool. Tell me a good story about one of these shows.
C: Those Tool shows were really fun! And, those Tool guys and all their crew were incredibly good to Kinski. The singer from Tool has some sort of customized police car that he tows behind his bus and drives around in the different cities they play. [Yawn. This is not at all the kind of story I was looking for here. –ed.]
L: What was your first job? What was your last before Sub Pop? What did you imagine yourself doing when you were a kid?
C: I had paper routes as a kid, but my very first real job was as an usher at The Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. It’s this thing where people pose as works of art. They did a bit on it in Arrested Development. It was just for the summer – a couple summers in a row, actually. The guy who narrated it (Thurl Ravenscroft) was the voice of Tony the Tiger from TV commercials, and OJ Simpson came to at least one of the performances I worked [Was he wearing gloves? –ed.]. That was a really great job… Before Sub Pop I worked at Fantagraphics Books (the comic book [boob –ed.] publisher I mentioned above), doing marketing and promotions. When I was a kid I wanted to be an astronaut, or a professional soccer player, or skateboarder, or play drums in a band – that kind of thing. [Wow! You do almost all of those things, minus the space one! Congratulations! –ed.]
L: You are known around the office as “Rad Dad” because you still go skate boarding and stuff. Were you a bad teenager? Did you give your parents a hard time? Will you be disappointed if skate boarding and rock music is totally boring to your kids?
C: I was a pretty bad teenager, yeah. Or, rather, I was trying really hard to be bad when I was a teenager. All of that stuff embarrasses me pretty badly now. It was all really stupid stuff. And, I was for sure hard on my parents. They seem to have come through it okay, but there were a number of years there where we were battling fairly hard. Nah, I won’t be disappointed if Owen and Will don’t care about skateboarding and rock music. I kind of expect them to dislike that stuff since it’s what their dad is into. I mean, I’m going to try to share that stuff with them, but I think the impulse to differentiate yourself from your parents is good/healthy. Plus, I’m karmic-ly due some father/son friction, I think. [It’ll be okay—just remind them how much older you are and I’m sure they’ll fall right in line. –ed.]
L: Do you take dumps at the office? Are you afraid of germs or food from restaurants or anything like that?
C: Sure I do! [Please email me for a complete list of people who will NOT take dumps in the office. –ed.] Nope, I’m not really afraid of germs. Getting touched by strangers, like on the bus, is really uncomfortable for me, but that doesn’t have anything to do with germs.
L: When did you first make out with a girl? Was it totally weird? Tell me about your high school girlfriend.
C: I think my first real make-out was with Maura McHenry at a very typically booze-y OC high school party at some kid’s house whose parents were out of town. It was pretty weird and embarrassing, but at the time seemed to be about the best thing in the world. I kind of “dated” a few different people, but I didn’t really have a girlfriend until the very end of high school, right around when I graduated. And then I wrecked that by taking her to Disneyland with another couple and getting thrown into the Disneyland jail (it’s a long story and one that my long-suffering co-workers have heard ad nauseam). She was a year younger than me and was on the soccer team [Uh, Chris, I think that means she was a lesbian. Oh wait, is that softball? –ed.] . Neither of these old flames can hold a candle to my excellent, super-foxy wife Stephanie! [Indeed! –ed.]
L: And finally, tell me three TV shows and five records that you are really into right now.
C: Easy! TV: Top Chef, Entourage, Flight of the Conchords… You know? I’m actually sort of more waiting for stuff I’m really crazy about on TV to come back. I can’t wait for more of The Wire, The Office, 30 Rock, and Battlestar Galactica. Records (not nec. new, but stuff I’ve been listening to lately): Parts and Labor – Mapmaker; The National – Boxer; that Wipers box set; Welcome – Sirs; and the Coconut Coolouts – Party Time Machine! [So, if everyone here likes the goddamn Coconut Coolouts so much how come we don’t have a record deal?! -ed.]
This week’s People Who Work Here is proud to introduce Susan Busch, Director of Radio Promotion and one of two female members of the A&R staff—she’s the lady who brought Oxford Collapse and The Go! Team to Sub Pop Records! Sue is from Texas and we both lived in Austin at the same time but we didn’t meet until we both started working here. When we became friends we would go out after work and get totally wasted and then drunk drive all over Seattle while cruising for dudes before passing out in each other’s vomit just before the sun came up. We’ve both settled down quite a bit since then, but Sue still enjoys punching babies and a nice glass of wine in the evenings. Fun Sue facts—she hates mayonnaise, she used to play volleyball, and she was once featured in Jane Magazine. Let’s meet Sue!
L: How did you get into the radio business? What did you study in college?
S: I decided to volunteer at the college radio station KVRX mostly because I realized I hated the idea of joining a club but still wanted to be involved in something other than being a student. [So basically college radio is like a fraternity for nerds? -ed.] Plus, I heard that you got into shows for free and got to hear records before they came out which seemed super cool. I went from having a show that was online only to eventually being the music director at the station. I studied magazine journalism. When I told my professors that I wanted to be a music journalist they usually made some sort of disapproving face and gave up on trying to actually improve my skills as a writer. [Little did they know that “blogging” was just around the corner and that it requires no skill, taste, or brains. –ed.] I decided to scrap the journalism thing and started interning at record labels. Clearly a wise move on my part.
L: Austin or Seattle, why? What’s your favorite thing about Seattle? Least favorite?
S: No offense to Seattle but I’m going to have to go with Austin. I like sunshine and Mexican food a whole lot and they are both pretty absent in this town.[Maybe if you got a hankering for Canadian food you’d be a lot happier…. –ed.] Austin also has fantastic BBQ, Emo’s, Mexican Martinis @ Trudy’s, Casino El Camino, Barton Springs, lots of super well maintained public swimming pools, dance parties, Waterloo Records, Mi Madres and you can still afford to buy a nice house in a nice neighborhood for less than 500K. My favorite thing about Seattle is how pretty it is during the three weeks of summer. There are also tons of great restaurants here too which is huge plus. My least favorite is the 9 months of rain and darkness. That shit messes with your constitution.
L: What’s your favorite thing about doing A+R? Could you do it for the rest of your life?
S: My favorite thing about doing A&R is finding bands that I’m super excited about and turning other people on to their music. There are so many parts of jobs, even “cool” jobs, that are a total drag but you can’t really beat the feeling of finding something new and getting totally stoked on it. It’s even better when things work out and you’re able to watch bands/people realize their potential. I could totally do A&R for the rest of my career. As long as I’m still able to go out at night and see new bands I’ll hopefully be doing this. [I’ll set you up with my coke dealer. –ed.]
L: Where do you see yourself at 35?
S: I try not to think that far in advance. Plans are for suckers. Hopefully I’ll be working on a family by then though. [Families are for suckers. –ed.]
L: What’s the best show you’ve seen this year?
S: This isn’t really a specific show but the ATP festival in Minehead, England was the best musical experience I had. Those Brits really know how to pull off a festival. It was like being at indie rock camp or something. Some of the highlights where the Notwist, Les Savy Fav and The Go! Team. There was plenty of debauchery going on but nothing got out of control. People just wanted to go see amazing shows, meet new people and have a great time. I can’t see anything like that happening in the states without someone doing something really stupid and ruining everyone’s good time.
L: Who’s your favorite local band? Would you sign them to Sub Pop if it were all up to you?
S: Right now I really like the Coconut Coolouts [I swear I don’t tell people to say this—it’s just that we’re really good. –ed.] and Fleet Foxes. Two totally different bands but both, I think, doing cool stuff. I’d sign a lot of stuff it was all up to me but I’ve got some folks to answer to so….
L: Do you believe in God? Why or why not?
S: I believe in A God but not necessarily THE God. [You do believe he’s black though, right? –ed.] I’d like to believe it all happens for a reason but I don’t necessarily buy into any one specific school of thought.
L: Who do you like better, your mom or your dad?
S: If you knew my parents you’d know that they are probably reading this so I am totally not choosing one over the other. They’re both rad in their own special ways. I will say that my mom did far less embarrassing things to me as a child though. [Cop out! Who bought you your first box of maxi pads? That’s who you should like the best! -ed.]
L: Who is your favorite coworker?
S: I have known all of you on the marketing staff for way too long to play favorites so I’m gonna say our lawyer Eric Brown. Eric is secretly hilarious [That’s right, Eric—no one actually knows you’re funny! –ed.] and was by far the safest driver when we went to NZ. Plus he said chilly bin like nine thousand times and laughed every single time he said it. He’s also the only dude here who can help you out of any serious trouble you get into. [He was no help when I flushed my deodorant down the toilet at my old apartment…. –ed.]
L: What do you do after work generally?
S: I go to the gym, take the dog for a walk and cook dinner. I KNOW! Pretty crazy right?!
L: Do you like “Everybody Loves Raymond”?
S: I am assuming you asked me this only because you’ve heard me say how much I hate this show. There is nothing funny about that show. Not Ray. Not his annoying wife. Not his wacky parents. I’d rather watch King of Queens. [I actually asked because I hate that show, too. I don’t like King of Queens either, though, but you should still buy Patton Oswalt’s new record, out now on Sub Pop Records. –ed.]
L: If you had to be one age for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
S: 22 was a good year. I was living in Austin, going to school, working, seeing a ton of bands and going out almost every night but still taking care of business. It was just a really fun time.
L: Tell me a good slumber party story from when you were a kid.
S: When I was maybe 7 or 8 a friend of mind had a slumber party and we decided it would be fun to sleep outside on her giant trampoline. I’m from El Paso, TX and she lived on the side of the mountain so the backyard didn’t face other houses but a really dark ravine that led up to the mountain. Now, I don’t know if you people are familiar with the Chupacabra but it was like a Mexican version of the boogie man. It literally means goat sucker. Anyway, her mom gathered us all around and started to tell us ghost stories which eventually led to a Chupacabra story. We were all huddled together hanging on her every word when something started howling in the distance. Then there was a rustling in the bushes. Then her older brother, dressed up in a wolf man suit/the Chupacabra, jumped over the wall and scared the shit out of all of us. I jumped about 10 ft in the air, ran into their house bawling and locked myself in the bathroom. People are dicks. [Well, at least it wasn’t one of those super scary illegal immigrants that I’ve been hearing so much about—one of ‘em could’ve stolen your job! –ed]