Welcome back to People Who Work Here where each week we meet a new Sub Pop employee. This week’s interview is with Jaimi C, our accountant lady. She pays the bills and the employees and she’s also the person who is responsible for setting up those terrible visits with the insurance lady who tells you how rude it is when you die without proper life insurance at the beginning of every year. Jaimi is really, really nice and I often try to goad her into talking shit about coworkers but she never ever does it. What’s with that? Let’s meet Jaimi.
L: What’s the first live show you ever attended? Did you flash your boobs?
J: The very first live show that I can remember was Barry Manilow with my best friend and both of our moms when I was about 8. I don’t think I had boobs to flash, but if I did, I would definitely have been grounded. [Your mom is such a prude. –ed.] My first rock show was either Van Halen or Def Leppard. My brother and I skipped school and stood in line for hours so that we could be right up in front!
L: You were a rocker chick/bad girl in high school, or so I’ve gathered from our lunchtime discussions. Please tell me what you wore to school on a typical day.
J: I think that you have me mixed up with someone else! I guess that you could have called me a rocker chick in middle school, but once I discovered Prince, Depeche Mode, and The Cure, my rocker days were over for a while. I wore black, black, and more black — and pointy Fluevog shoes.
L: Did you smoke cigarettes?
J: Yes, not many though.[Oh right you were goth. Cloves? –ed.]
L: Did you drink?
J: Of course.
L: How old were you when you lost your virginity?
J: 16 or 17 [Well which is it? Seventeen is reasonable but sixteen is just slutty. J/K -ed.]
L: Was your hair feathered?
J: Feathering was long gone by the time I was in high school! My hair was gigantic and teased and I probably used a bottle of Aqua-net every day. [Sick! –ed.]
L: Was your boyfriend’s hair feathered?
J: No! In my junior year, I had a 22 year-old boyfriend who looked like Robert Smith. My parents were horrified, but I thought he was SO hot. [This is the dude you were humping, I take it. –ed.]
L: Did you fight?
J: No – despite my weird hair, I still got along with most people.
L: Did you ever fail a class?
J: No. I had a hard time with geometry, but I passed somehow.
L: What was your favorite band in high school? What is your favorite band now?
J: My favorite band in high school was The Cure. Recently, I’ve been listening to Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, and Handsome Furs.
L: Do you play an instrument? If so tell me what it is and stuff and if not tell me what you’d play if you could.
J: No – I don’t play an instrument. I guess that I’d play keyboards if I did. I took piano lessons as a kid, and I know stuff like Chopsticks and the Jaws theme song…..I’m sure that I could easily catch up with real musicians. Kidding!!
L: How’s having a kid?
J: Amazing! I had a really, really fun pre-kid life, but I wouldn’t trade back to that old life now for anything in the world. My son Spencer is one of the coolest people I’ve ever known. I’m really lucky. [But what if he grows up to be a total butthole? -ed.]
L: Where did you work before you worked at Sub Pop? Tell me about it.
J: I worked at a place called Triton PCS. It is a wireless phone company that has a corporate office located near Philadelphia. I was a Revenue Assurance Manager, which is a confusing title even for people in the wireless industry. Basically, I did a lot of charts and graphs that showed the executive-types how they could make more money. It was the polar opposite of Sub Pop in so many ways. I really liked it a lot then, but now I think I’d have a hard time with it.
L: You get organic vegetables delivered to you door. What is your favorite vegetable and favorite fruit? Why? What’s your least favorite and why?
J: My favorite vegetable is broccoli and my favorite fruit is raspberries – because they are both delicious! My least favorites are brussels sprouts and papaya, just because I don’t like them. [That’s really mature, Jaimi. –ed] I started doing the organic and label-reading thing when I discovered that my son was allergic to MSG. Once I started reading labels I realized how much chemical junk we all eat every day.
L: What did you want to be when you were a kid?
J: In elementary school I wanted to be a gymnast. In high school I wanted to do international marketing, because I really love to travel. I’m not really sure how I ended up working with money.
L: How much money does Jonathan make per paycheck?
J: More than you or me. [Duh. –ed]
L: How much money does Sub Pop have in the bank?
J: It changes every day! [What a cop out! -ed.]
L: Can I have a loan?
J: I’m sure that the bank would be so psyched to give you one.
L: Am I annoying you?
J: No way! I’ll bet that these non-answers to your financial questions are annoying YOU though! [Yes.Yes they are. –ed.]
L: Okay, no really, how much money do you make?
J: Less than Jonathan. [You are driving me crazy!!!! -ed]
People Who Work Here is finally back and this week we are meeting Dean Hudson, friend and coworker. Dean has been working at Sub Pop deep amongst the computers for about four years now doing many important things like setting up the free mp3s with vinyl program, making the website work (but only when he feels like it), and sending out mass links to ridiculous and funny stuff on the internet. As you may have guessed, Dean is the “web master” (do they still call them that?) here at Sub Pop and he built this new site which you are looking at currently. Dean likes gaming (both the dice and the video kinds), playing music, drinking sangria, Black Sabbath, traveling, gleep glopping on computers, and being outside. He has a really cool dog named Dinky who is at the office every day and who I’d like to interview if it weren’t for the language barrier. Let’s meet Dean!
L: You moved to Oakland on your bike with your dog in a trailer. What is the most exciting thing that happened on your trip?
D: I did! In the weird old days of being punk and hating the system (read: crusty) it seemed like a really good idea to put my dog and my stuff in a $25 kids’ trailer and ride away on my bike. Most of the trip was exciting—we camped in all sorts of places that we weren’t supposed to, hung out with a bunch of friends up and down the coast and did the redwoods on bike. [Ouch! Sorry I couldn’t help myself.) –ed] I also found out that cops love you when you’re on a bike tour. We had a policeman roll up to us one night with the clear intention of kicking us out of the yard we’d set up camp in, but when he found out we were on a bike trip he recommended routes for us instead. We weren’t even wearing spandex shorts.
L: You share an office with Andrew (featured in PPWH IV) – what does he do to irritate you?
D: He’s mostly just really tall. He also Porky Pigs it sometimes when his band plays, which makes me a bit uncomfortable. Other than that he’s great. [“Porky Pigging It” is when you, and I’m not clear exactly how this happens, are wearing a shirt but no bottoms. This is maybe the best visual ever – thank you Natalie of Sacramento, CA. –ed.]
L: Who do you like better - computers or guitars and why?
D: Playing guitar is never a bummer, so guitars, I guess. I have been programming computers since I was 8, though, so I must like it if I’m still at it. I mostly just like the awesome things that people do with guitars and computers. [What’s the deal? Your emphasis is confusing me. –ed.]
L: What is the deal with you and video games? What’s your favorite one? Is the Nintendo Wii the best video game system ever invented?
D: I love them. I can’t really explain why I love them so much, but I do. I read somewhere about a study which concluded that playing video games fulfills some sort of basic human need, so I’m going to go with that. [That is a crock of shit. –ed.] The Legend of Zelda games are my all-time favorites. The little elf-guy in a green suit with the boomerang is pretty hard to beat. The Wii is pretty darn great, but the original NES is probably right up there too (in terms of all-time greatness). I do think it’s really cool that people got so excited about the Wii that they were dislocating joints and putting the Wii-motes through their TVs.
L: You just recently joined the A&R staff here at work after you brought Tiny Vipers to Sub Pop. Tell me about what draws you to Jesy’s music and why you think everyone should like it.
D: I think that she’s really doing something unique and honest, and that she’s making music that could be really important to a lot of folks. Her voice is plain amazing. She’s a friend and very talented lady. If you’re reading this, you should all buy the record when it “drops” on July 24th (that’s A&R lingo, I think). She may be the Great White Hope for the dying record industry. [Oh sweet Jesus, Dean! Wanna bring it down a notch? How can you breathe with all that shit up your nose? –ed.]
L: Does it bother you that people like your dog better than you? He’s an Australian shepherd, right?
D: Very funny. (Lacey knows full well that he’s a Cocker Spaniel. I won’t be baited.) As for people liking him more than me, I’m fine with that. How else would I make friends? [I’ll tell you the secret of friend making when you come out from behind your Gameboy. –ed.]
L: Tell me some jive ass shit about why the internet is so cool.
D: It’s changed the way people interact with each other and discover information in fundamental ways, which is really empowering and pretty cool. I’ve been lucky to have been involved with it job-wise for the last ten or so years while the world’s changed around it- watching that happen has been pretty cool. Also, you can also find some really, really awesome videos on YouTube. (I’d recommend Cameo’s “Shake Your Pants” or the one where the one guy whacks the other guy with the shovel.) [What about the ottoman humpers? ed.]
L: If you were not working here what would you be doing?
D: Good question. Maybe playing more music and tooling about with my deadbeat band. Or maybe working for myself, figuring out ways to use all this technical gleep-glop to help artists. Or maybe I’d be back at some internet megacorp writing software and playing ping-pong with Indian programmers. Something fun, I hope, in any case.
L: Tell me a funny story about when we went to that party at Mark Arm’s house.
D: I think Lacey’s fishing for a particular story here. While I’m not going to get into specifics, it involves a former member of Soundgarden and a wayward dump that found its way onto the bathroom floor. In any case, I don’t think it’s actually true… [Please don’t crush my dreams. –ed.]
L: What is your favorite food and why?
D: Macaroni and cheese. Because nothing compares. [Seriously, Dean’s insides should be renamed Wisconsin. –ed.]
L: What is your favorite website and why?
D: This is going to sound funny, but I don’t really like websites all that much. I think that websites are going to be short and peculiar footnote in the history of the internet. Someone’s going to come up with a better user interface for the torrent of information that the network provides-I’d bet that it’s not going to involve sitting in a chair, staring at a backlit screen all day. [Okay, Nostradamus, what else you got? –ed.]
L: Will myspace go the way of friendster? What are your thoughts on social networking?
D: MySpace is janky, to be sure, but people love it. Friendster withered because they tried to exercise to much control on their users—they took down all the funny fake profiles that people were putting up and started censoring posts with “objectionable” words. But the only reason anyone cares about their social network is because it’s their social network; if they’re your friends, then you should be able to say whatever you want to them. It’s not Friendster’s business to determine the social contract of your community—that’s between you and your friends. [Woah! Angry nerd alert! ed.] MySpace, on the other hand, is a free-for-all and they have a whole lot more momentum than Friendster ever had. I’d say they’re going to be around for a while, for sure. As for social networking in general, I don’t think it’s ever going to go away. I mean, that’s pretty much all the internet is, one big social network. The important thing that the social networking sites (like MySpace) did was allow you to connect with people and communities on the internet in a way that’s much closer to how it happens in real life-through friends, by face and by first name. Sooner or later, though, someone’s going to come up with an easier and better way to connect to your friends and communities than sitting at a desk and clicking at websites with a pointer.
L: And finally, who is your favorite coworker?
D: You, of course. Everyone else ties for a close second.
This week’s edition of People Who Work Here brings us Dusty Summers, a Philadelphia native who has been working with Jeff Kleinsmith in the art department at Sub Pop for the past three years. Dusty is the guy who has brought you the fabulous artwork on Sub Pop titles such as Band of Horses ‘Everything All the Time’, The Album Leaf ‘Into the Blue Again’, Kinski ‘Alpine Static’, and more recently, Dntel ‘Dumb Luck’, and Pissed Jeans ‘Hope For Men’. He also has a design company with his buddy back in Philly called The Heads of State that does posters and album art as well and you should maybe hire them because the Duster is having a baby soon with his loverly wife Lauren. Babies having babies…. Let’s meet Dusty!
L: When did you know you were going to do art for a living?
D: Not until the middle of college. I went to art school not knowing what I wanted to major in but after taking a few classes I found that you get a lot less dirty in design class than you do in painting or sculpture. It’s a little disconcerting coughing up black spit after a life drawing class.
L: Who do you think is better, you or Jeff?
D: You’re trying to get me fired huh? Jeff’s got 12 years on me—he’s got the leg up. Who do you think is better? [I think you are both great. Really. –ed.]
L: What is Jeff’s most annoying habit?
D: Jeff gets in about an hour earlier than I do, so strolling in at 9:30 and hearing him blast UFO, Monster Magnet, Iron Maiden, Blue Oyster Cult (the list goes on) at a loud volume can be a tad tedious. His desk is far tidier than mine and that’s annoying. He’s got a no whistling rule, too, and that’s hard to control—sometimes you just want to whistle. [Woah, buddy—I said HABIT, singular. Do you even like this job? ed]
L: Are you shitting your pants that you are having a baby? Do you want a girl or a boy? (Please none of that ‘I don’t care as long as it’s healthy crap’, either.)
D: Holy fuck shit yes. I’m psyched but I’m not sure I’m ready for a fleet of strollers. Or the vomit. Or the Huggies. We got a sonogram the other day and saw that thing jumping around in there like it was at a jamboree. We didn’t see a beard on it (yet) but I’m pretty sure its gonna be a boy. We both want a boy. Unless it turns out to be a girl. Then we want one of those. It’s coming in the middle of football season, cant wait to gear him up in a mini Donovan McNabb jersey, I’m not sure you can do that with girl babies. [Who is Donovan McNabb? -ed]
L: Please tell me why ‘Dances With Wolves’ is your favorite film. You’ve really not seen another movie that is better than that?
D: Well, first off I think that the readers should know that on your Netflix you have rated ‘Dances With Wolves’ as a 1 star movie and ‘Twins’ [starring the hilarious duo of Arnold Shwarzenegger and Danny DeVito! –ed] as a 5 star movie and this might be an early sign of dementia. Anyway, it’s a classic, a modern epic. I first saw it when I was 10 or so. A 4 hour movie – trapped in a theater – totally sucked, but I picked it up again a few years ago. Man, 1 star really? They used some of Neil Young’s buffalo as extras, does that get you an extra star? [Okay, I did not know that Neil Young had any buffalo, but I don’t think having ‘famous’ buffalo a five star movie makes. Plus, I was never a very svelte kid and my first experiences with the film were asshole dudes in junior high calling all the fat girls ‘tatonka’. Maybe I have a mental block. –ed.] I mean you know how I feel about Netflix rating system, you have to at least give it two stars.
L: Describe a typical weekend for Dusty Summers.
D: Well on Friday nights we usually plan to go out and then don’t, greatly disappointing whomever we had planned to go out with. Instead we watch ‘Intervention’ on A&E and then a movie, or sometimes we play Boggle. Then on Saturday…actually, we repeat Fridays on Saturday and Sunday as well. [Intervention is the jam! I like the shopaholics and the kids that shoot meth the best. –ed.]
L: What is your favorite band of all time? Favorite record of this year? Favorite band on Sub Pop?
D: Favorite band of all time: The Band. Record this year is either the Panda Bear album or the Lil Wayne’s Da Drought 3 that he’s been leaking for the last couple of months. Favorite on Sub Pop ever? Hazel, I think. [Oh man, Mark is going to be pissed! –ed.] On the roster right now? I really love Kelley Stoltz.
L: Do you use your beard as a means to keep people from getting too close to you?
D: How close are you trying to get? [Zing! –ed.]
L: Please respond to this statement: Dusty is the oldest young man I know.
D: You feel like this even after you found out I play boggle on Friday nights?! I dunno, I’m pretty comfortable with it. I’d take my wife, our couch, and a movie over band and bar any day of the week. [Until I edited this, that last sentence read ‘I’d take my wife on our couch any day.’ I blushed a little at first. –ed.]
L: What did you want to be when you were a kid?
D: I wanted to be a pilot. I had this world book dictionary set that included a big section on every major US city with big maps and all that. I used to scout out the airports, memorize all their names. My grandmother came to town one time and asked me where I wanted to go: Movies? Amusement park? Toy store? I picked the airport. That must have sucked for her. I got a few flying lessons for my birthday once, scared the shit out of me. Actually, one of the coolest things to do in Seattle if you have friends in town is go up to the Boeing Factory tour up in Mukilteo or something-have you ever been? [Not really my jam, but I’m glad you like it. May I suggest the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Grandpa? Sounds right up your alley…. –ed.]
L: Philly or Seattle? Why?
D: Philly: Walkable. Urban. Dirty. [I’ll say! -ed.] Tony Luke’s. Wawa. Tastycake. Schooly D. Hot pretzels. muggers. Da Iggles. Jersey Shore. Yuengling. Beanie Segil. Ben Franklin look-a-likes & ye olde flute players. Mike Schmidt. Broad Street Bullies. Hall & Oates. Better art museum. Racial diversity. Rocky balboa. Snow. No utilikilts. Septa. Hoagies. Cheese fries. Amish dudes. Real pizza. The Roots. Wudder. Yo. Jaywalking. Doctor J. The Constitution. [I can’t really argue with that list—especially the cheese fries and Rocky Balboa part. Racial diversity and The Constitution are overrated, though. –ed.]
L: Please give me one really good piece of advice for life.
D: Don’t take advice for life from old young men.
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]
This week’s ‘People Who Work Here’ gives us Steve Manning, Publicity Director at Sub Pop, and the man responsible for getting our bands on TV shows like Letterman, SNL, Conan, Leno, etc. Steve has also recommended a lot of my current physicians, all of whom are gay. Coincidence? Maybe. Steve is getting married in Mexico very soon and he is somewhat of a world traveler. Let’s learn more about Steve!
L: What kind of a person were you in high school? You were the mascot, correct?
S: I was the mascot, the first male mascot in the history of the school! The best part was cheerleading camp where there were 300 girls and 8 guys. Good odds! High Five!
I was also in the High School Yearbook under the moniker “Punk Rock/New Wave Comes to Olympia High School” which meant my hair was cut above my ears and I dyed the back blond. In 1983 that was rebellious (my parents didn’t talk to me for a while when I did that). I listened to some crazy stuff in high school like The Clash and The Sex Pistols. How punk is that! [That’s pretty punk, but I bet Mark Arm has you beat. –ed]
L: How old were you when you first kissed a girl?
S: I was probably 12 or 13 and I kissed Corrine Wilson under the band stage at the roller skating rink. The first kiss she jammed her tongue in my mouth and I was pretty freaked out. After the first kiss I said “let’s just kiss regular this time”
L: You told me once that the most exotic food you ever had growing up in Olympia was pizza—what’s wrong with that place?
S: I don’t know if it was Olympia or just my family. Pizza was even exotic at our house. There was no such thing as hot sauce or garlic in the Manning household, only meat and potatoes. I do remember being in Spanish Club in High School and going to my first Mexican restaurant and ordering a cheeseburger because “I don’t like Mexican food” (although, I’d never had it).
L: What is your favorite part about your job?
S: Working with so many smart and talented people, including my coworkers (but excluding Stuart). Stuart, I kid because I love!
L: Who do you like better Jay Leno, Conan Obrien, or Dave Letterman?
S: Well, I have met them all exactly once in passing and they were very nice. Mostly the people who book and support the shows are really great; they make the bands feel like actual guests.
Nicest Dressing Room: Jay Leno
Best Food: Craig Ferguson
Best Studio: David Letterman
Wildest Backstage: Jimmy Kimmel [all I picture here is tits and cocaine…am I right? –ed.]
Best Gift Bag: Carson Daly [seriously? Well, I guess he did date Tara Reid… -ed.]
Best T-Shirts: David Letterman
L: Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met? Tell me the story.
S: That’s a hard question! I have actually got to meet lots of famous people over the last few years including Jake Gyllenhaal, Scarlet Johansen, The Men of Queer Eye, Isiah Thomas, Forest Whittaker (the day he was nominated for the Academy Award), most of the cast of SNL, Meg Ryan, the list goes on and on. I also met and had a conversation with Bill Clinton while he was on the campaign trail and still a long shot as the Democratic candidate. I asked him about the US drug policy and the “war on drugs” in America. I don’t remember the answer but that moment catapulted him to the Presidency, I am sure of it. [Hey, Steve—I think you dropped something there, buddy. –ed.]
L: You are training for a triathalon—which is the best leg of such an event?
S: Besides the finish (where you get to eat and eat!) the best part is the bike ride because it’s usually very beautiful and because the swim is over where I always feel like I am about to drown.
L: Tell me something about you that most people don’t know.
S: Some people do know this but I accidentally killed my girlfriend’s cat when I started the dryer and the cat was in it. She forgave me. [I still have not gotten over it, though. –ed.]
L: People used to call you Steve Weed. Why?
S: My first year at SXSW (2000), I mentioned wanting to have a nickname and suggested, jokingly, “Steve Weed”. It just stuck! It’s because I like to garden. [Now you are just lying straight to my face! -ed.] A couple people still call me that to this day. I want my new nickname to be “Scuba Steve.” [Unfortunately The Official Nickname Rulebook prevents you from picking your own nickname. It’s a fact. –ed.]
L: Tell me about your dream day with Mark Arm.
S: Every day is my dream day with Mark Arm. We sleep in late and get up and shower (we share a towel) and then go for coffee and a long walk in the park. Then he tells me about the day he came up with the word “Grunge” and we hug and hug. It’s lovely.
Joan H is one of the publicists here at Sub Pop and she’s a real nice lady who is talented in many ways. She paints, she plays bass, she puts together a mean outfit, and she can eat tons and tons of garbage food without getting fat. I have a secret theory that Joan is partially deaf and that she doesn’t want anyone to know because sometimes I’ll ask her a question and she responds with a completely inappropriate answer. I’ll be like: Joan I think I may have contracted a horrible disease and she’ll be like: Ha Ha I know, sweet!! She does not know that I think this. Well, she does now. Let’s meet Joan:
L: Tell me about Club Safe Parking in Houston. What were some memorable shows?
J: CSP! Club Safe Parking was fucking amazing. Gram LeBron (now in Rogue Wave, then in Jessica Six and Schrasj) had rented an old restaurant that had been converted into a house; it was in Houston’s Fourth Ward, home of the Geto Boys. Myself, my buddy Lance Walker, my pals Stephanie and Bronwyn, Gram and a few other folks painted the inside and had regular shows there…the most memorable was the last mismatched and quintessentially (for the time) Houston-style bill: Rainer Maria and the Fatal Flyin’ Guilloteens. The Guilloteens yelled out “PUSSIES!!” and threw an entire trash can full of beer bottles at Rainer Maria right at their beginning of the set, and everyone started fighting…my friend John fully ninja-kicked their drummer, Bill, in the head and everything. We trashed the place. It was great.
L: Oh those guys. They are so like that…. How long did you do it? Did any skinheads come and make things all bummery?
J: Never any skinheads at CSP, just mostly our friends, dipshit rock kids, art school kids, etc. CSP was fully around between about ‘97 and ’99. Before that, in high school, I put on shows at places like the APV, (Allen Parkway Village, a housing project community center that has since been shut down by the HPHA) and there were skinheads there sometimes. I had a zine and was straight edge and was involved with PETA and Food Not Bombs and had record fairs and Houston Anti Racist Action events and did all that wonderfully idealistic stuff you’re supposed to do when you’re 16. Aside from currently being on the board at 826 Seattle, I’m much lazier now. Plus, now, I drink a lot and eat as much bacon as possible.
L: So in other words you were living a lie? Hmmm. You lived in Chicago for a while and did press with Hopper PR. Which do you like better, putting on shows or doing press?
J: Press, definitely. Putting on shows is extremely stressful and a constant crapshoot, although it’s sometimes more rewarding. I like writing about music more than either of those things, though.
L: If you had one piece of advice for an aspiring booker or press person what would it be? Wait, how about one piece of advice for each.
For both: do everything yourself for as long as you can, and start small and local, so as not to fuck someone else’s shit up when you’re learning and don’t know what you’re doing yet. Don’t wait until you’re out of college to start. That’s too late.
L: Tell me one dark secret.
L: You are such a fucking pussy, Joan. What is your favorite Seattle band?
J: Tie between the Coconut Coolouts and the Cave Singers. [I did not pay her to say this. –ed]
L: What is your least favorite Seattle band?
J: I can’t say that I have one, really. If I don’t care for something, I never really force myself to sit through it or try and “get it”. So there’s not one band that I’m like, “God, I HATE this! Why I am I continuing to watch them play when I HATETHEM SO MUCH!?!?” [Again with being a puss! –ed]
L: Chicago or Seattle? Why?
J: Chicago, because it’s a real city. Sorry, but you know what I mean.
L: Ben Gibbard is your boyfriend. Please tell me how you met.
J: I put on DCFC’s first Houston show in 2000 in this speakeasy place called Notsuoh following an all-nude production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which I did not put on, and which I was not aware was going to be happening that night when I booked the show. Everyone had to wait for these hippy nudists to tear down their set before we could hook up the PA. Ben and I were pals for a long time, then started dating years later.
L: What is your favorite song by Mudhoney? By ZZ Top? By Steve Albini (in any incarnation)?
J: “It Is Us”, anything off Fandango, and no Albini favorite, although I do enjoy me some Shellac.
L: If you could do anything in the whole world for work what would it be? Outside of working at Sub Pop, of course.
J: Easy—-be able to pay my rent writing. It’s such a hustle; it’s tough. Or, being a hairdresser! Or painting!
L: You have really bad allergies—name the 5 worst things to which you allergic.
J: 1. Cats! I hate cats. Not all cats, but about 98% of all cats. 2. Other furry animals, whether they’re dogs, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits or ferrets seem to set me off equally. 3. Anything with feathers, whether it’s a pet bird or a feather pillow, screws me up. 4. Ragweed and outdoor allergens. 5. Lameness.
L: Do you use up all your sick days every year?
J: Dude, they’re gone by like May.
L: What is the best thing you can cook? Gimme a simple recipe to make this culinary delight.
J: GREENBEANCASSEROLE! IT IS DELICIOUS! STEPONE: Purchase two cans of French-cut green beans, one can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, and one large can of those dried onion things. STEPTWO: Mix the beans and the soup in a casserole dish until creamy and microwave it for about three minutes. STEPTHREE: Put the dried onion things on top and toast in the toaster oven until golden brown. STEPFOUR: Eat the shit out of that shit!!!! IT IS DELICIOUS!
L: Oh, um, who looks better naked, you or Ben?
J: I feel like my ass looks like a wet bag of clothes right now, so this month, it ain’t me. Maybe I should cut down on the green bean casserole. [You have a sweet ass, Joan. Don’t worry. –ed]