Interview date: 6/7/2010
During Amy’s interview, she referred to a series of journals she kept from 1995-2000.
TP: Do you remember when Kansas first started to be on your radar? When you first heard about it and when you first went there?
AD: Yes. It was, I believe it was 1995…
TP: I love that you have post it notes and sticky notes….
AD: I am a Virgo… but I graduated from JMU in May of 1995, so I moved to Arlington that summer. And we lived in a house… it’s so funny because two of the four houses I’ve lived in in Arlington don’t exist anymore. But the first house we moved into… it was me, and Bill Hunt, who had a job at AOL, who was one of the original people who made tons, who made a shitload of money, who retired when he was 30. And Greg Hawkins, and Dave Hogg. And we got this house that was right by Virginia Square Metro. It was this old white house at the corner of 9th and Oakland. And then it was torn down to make a parking lot for the church that’s right over there. But… I remember, I think it was Jeff Sprague and Derek Morton, and then Nicole Ardoin, who I can’t remember if she was dating Greg at that point but I remember she lived in that house. And, I’m trying to remember the first time that I mentioned it…
TP: And you know Bill and Greg from JMU.
AD: Yeah, we were in a band together, this band called Gefilte Fish. It was just like, you know, just one of those… I don’t know where that name came from. But… oh here it is, 1995. I think because we had known… Jeff had also gone to JMU…
TP: And Derek, too, right?
AD: Yeah. But see, I think that’s how we were like, oh, there’s other people in the neighborhood. Okay, so, New Year’s Eve 1995: (Amy reads from her journal): “I had a great time New Year’s Eve. I went to a party at Jeff Sprague’s with Bill and Greg and Dave Hogg. I knew most everyone there. Had a really good time talking with people. Talked to Mike Schmidt who I hadn’t seen since graduation…” I met this boy, I was wearing this dress, I drank a lot. Yeah… so they had a New Year’s Eve party, 1995. Oh, and then a couple days later I was thinking about that party again: “Yeah, it was a very adult party. I felt like one of the youngest people. Everyone was in their later 20s or early 30s.”
TP: So you were like, what, 22?
TP: Cause I’m trying to think… Derek is maybe a year older than me. So, he was probably like, 27, at the time.
AD: Yeah. It was totally like, very, older and sophisticated, but of course, I had just come from Harrisonburg. But anyway, so that’s… and then, what happened after that. I started playing music with Derek and Jeff. And we would practice… this was Ex-Atari Kid, and we would practice in the basement there. Yeah, I don’t really write so much about that. That was kind of a weird band. It wasn’t really my music, I didn’t really know a lot about playing music, or that kind of music.
TP: What was the difference between Gefilte Fish and Ex-Atari Kid?
AD: Oh, Gefilte Fish was really loud, and it was more like, kind of Emo Punk, because Dave Nesmith, who was in that band, he was also in Sleepytime Trio, and later Rah Bras and Men’s Recovery Project. It was just kind of like a boy band.
TP: You provided the necessary…
AD: Yeah, and I played bass and then I sang, so I kind of tempered the testosterone a little bit. Yeah, we put out one seven inch with Wifey, Elisa Nader’s band, which I still have a few copies somewhere. And we still kind of played some shows until about 1997. We went back to Harrisonburg to play some shows, and we played at our house, the next house after the 9th and Oakland house. After our lease was up, we moved to Fairfax Drive. Did you ever go to that house?
TP: Yeah… was Fairfax Drive the one that had the wrap-around porch?
AD: No… it was like a more, kind of a ‘60s, ‘70s architecture.
TP: There was one house where Dave, the other guy?
AD: Dave Hogg.
TP: Yeah… didn’t he wallpaper his entire room with aluminum foil?
AD: That was Oakland Street.
TP: So I was definitely there.
AD: Yeah, and we played, we did actually play there, and Sleepytime Trio played there. We did have one or two shows there. But yeah, that’s the house where Dave Hogg put aluminum foil over his whole room.
TP: And I think I was at the Fairfax Drive house.
AD: Yeah, we had shows in the basement at the Fairfax Drive.
TP: Is that house still there?
AD: I think so. It must be in really horrible shape. But, yeah, that house is still there. I remember we had a really big party when Bill left AOL, and he rented a moon bounce, and a margarita machine, and it was catered by Madhu Bahn.
TP: And then after that house, you lived in the Simple Machine house.
AD: Yeah, I moved in there like around 1999. But, yeah, so I was going over to the Kansas house to practice for Ex-Atari Kid, and then I met Bob. Bob moved up from Richmond, and I think I wrote about the first… oh, okay, so 1996 New Year’s Eve there was another party at Kansas Street. And Suzanne was living there by then, too, because I wrote “Suzanne, Derek and Bob’s house. There were many people there, the tv was on, we watched the Ball Drop blah blah blah… different people… what I’m wearing.” Stayed there till 1:30, doesn’t say if dance occurred. But I think this is when I started… ’97 is when I started playing music with Bob. “Went to Kansas for dinner because it was Derek’s birthday and we were having a big supper, and then we played a bunch of music in the basement.” Sorry there’s not more….
TP: So, that was the beginning of Telegraph Melts. Or no, was that just with Derek?
AD: Um… I did write about the first time I played with Bob but I didn’t put a sticky on it because I didn’t really talk about the house, but it was… ’97. Oh, “practice with Bob tonight. Like what we’re doing but not sure it’s working. I don’t have perspective yet.” February 18th. So, yeah. I think that was…
TP: And did you know Bob before he moved in?
AD: I didn’t know him before… we had mutual friends in Richmond, because Dave Nesmith was playing in bands with people in Richmond. So we had kind of mutual friends. But yeah… I didn’t know him.
TP: And how did that… was he just like, I need a cello, or did you talk about music?
AD: I think we had talked about music and he was really into a lot of classical composers I was into at the time, like Arvo Pärt and more minimalist stuff. And, oh, here’s another… “November 28th: practice with Bob. I like some stuff we’ve written but sometimes it takes him too long to come up with the parts. I can hear it in my head what it should sound like but I have to bite my tongue to keep from being overbearing.” Okay… yeah, so we were playing, right at the beginning of ’97. Yeah, so I think, as I remember I didn’t write about it specifically, but we wanted to do something different, something that was just instrumental, and was more of a classical composition approach to writing music rather than writing a rock band… but it was, and I’m writing about it consistently, like all my entries about Telegraph Melts practice are all like “oh, I’m so frustrated ‘cause I feel like I’m doing all the work, and I’m, like, you know it takes Bob a long time to figure out to play with what I’ve written, blah blah blah” So anyway… And then, June 28th, Bob and I played at Hole in the Wall in Richmond, with Hurl, this band from Pittsburgh. Yeah, I remember Hurl, they were some friends, Bob was friends with one of those guys. “Suzanne, Train, Jon Rickman and Brent drove down with us in the van. Sue brought her video camera and took some crazy shots.” Okay, Friday night there’s a party at Kansas because Hurl was playing there. All the Arlington kids were there. I talked to Rob Christensen for a long time about Tsunami stuff… oh, this was when I had started playing with Tsunami. Okay, so there was a show… Hurl played on June 28th, 1997. Um… I don’t know, are you thinking about compiling a list of the shows that happened?
TP: I was thinking about that, but then… because Marc Nelson has a list of all the shows that Most Secret Method, that they played. But then I was thinking if that necessarily matters, if there’s a list of all the shows. Because it seems like that’s gonna be impossible. Because it’s all sort of relying on everyone’s collective memory. Unless somebody has a list of them…
AD: Well, I have dates!
TP: This is the closest I think… because the one thing that’s been really interesting is that no one remembers specific shows. They remember going there and seeing bands. And since we’re talking about these shows, there’s a couple that some people remember specifically and there’s a lot that’s hazy, so it made me start thinking if it necessarily matters if there’s a list because there’s no way to get it to be exact. It’s kind of crazy.
So did you ever play a show at Kansas?
AD: Um hmm… I don’t remember. I know Telegraph Melts played. And I talk about that in a later…
TP: Did you ever do any of the salons?
AD: Yes… that’s coming.
TP: I love that we’re doing this chronologically.
AD: Okay, I think that’s it for this book…
TP: That was what, ’97?
AD: Yeah… now it’s ’98. Um… I don’t mention anything till later. October 29th, 1998: I went to a party at Bob’s house. Well, I guess it was more of a show than a party. Oh, it was Most Secret Method.
TP: Oh, so this was when?
AD: October 29th. It could have been the night before, it could have been the 28th, because I’m writing about it the next day. See… I usually wrote, when I was keeping this journal I would write before I went to bed. Depending on how drunk I am. Sometimes, ahhhhhhhh. I talked to Johanna, um… and Derek. Okay, so that’s pretty much what I mentioned there. Okay… here’s… 1999. We were doing, we were putting out the Telegraph Melts record. Bob came over to talk about artwork. At this point I was living at the Simple Machines House. And March 12th, Friday… Oh… Dave Nesmith was in town playing with Rah Bras at Kansas, but I didn’t go.
TP: Wait, what date was that?
AD: March 12th, 1999.
TP: I wonder if that was the show… because there was a Motorcycle Wars. No, that wouldn’t have been it. Because Motorcycle Wars played a show at the metro before a Rah Bras show at Kansas. But I think that may have… but they must’ve played there more than once. Because that was in the summer and this was in the spring.
AD: Um… Telegraph Melts played with Marc Nelson’s dance performance Mount Rainier… I remember that. That was at Joe’s Movement Emporium.
TP: Marc talked about that… at Joe’s Movement Emporium.
AD: Yeah. We played an opening set and there were several dance pieces. It made me want to quit my job so I would have time to take dance lessons again. I don’t remember that! Okay… anyway… that never happened. Why did I mark this page… Oh, “June 12th: there was a party at Kansas and I made myself go even though I was tired. I stopped at 7-11 and ran into Pat Graham and Morgan… and talked to Bill and Jocelyn and Mary. Oh… and then I was feeling social anxiety so I just left. I don’t think I like parties as much as I once did.” Oh yeah, this was at an interesting point. Anyway… So there was some party, I don’t think there were bands. June 12th. Um… I know the salon thing is coming up… September 27th, there was a party at Kansas. And, talking to Trevor about recording.
TP: Oh wow, Trevor…
AD: Trevor Kampmann. Yeah, he’s around now. “The party was fun, it was neat to see the DC crowd in Virginia.” So I guess there was a lot of… Pat Graham, Fred, Ian Spiv, DC people coming to Arlington. Juan. Blah blah blah… yeah. Okay. So there’s that. And I still have, it was like three in the morning, so I haven’t even gotten to my journals from 2000… like, this one’s 2000, so I still have a couple more to go through, but, um… oh, Salon! February 22nd, 2000. Salon at Bob’s house. I played a jazzy quartet and Shostakovitch’s 8th quartet with Jean Cook, Sueann and Nikky… Sueann and Nikky were friends with Jean Cook. A bunch of people were there… and then afterwards I went to Galaxy Hut… there’s a lot of Galaxy Hut…
TP: I bet!
AD: in these journals… Um okay, this was the salon, February 22nd. Oh… alright, this is the dramatic ending of Telegraph Melts.
TP: Oh no!
TP: And this is 2000.
AD: We were playing with Devin, and there was some weird chemistry between Bob and Devin. I mean, they’re both very, on the surface, very easy going guys, I think Devin maybe moreso. But, yeah… there had been some tension, and I think Devin was sort of provoking Bob… Bob was trying to say something, and then Devin was just playing, like, while Bob was talking. And that’s really annoying, you know? And then yeah… Bob kind of just lost it and kind of launched over the drum set. And, then I was just like you guys are crazy!
TP: So you guys practiced in the basement of Kansas?
AD: Yeah, this was in the basement of Kansas. And, um… yeah. And so, I mean, Bob was instantly horrified by the fact that he tried to, you know… assault Devin. And I remember we all went up to the porch, and I was just like “I can’t play music with you guys… there can’t be physical violence!” And I was just like “I just can’t do this!” And Devin came up, and Bob was in the basement for a while, just like, freaking out by what he did, and Devin and I were on the porch, and Devin was like “I didn’t do anything” And I was just like, ugh, but you were provoking him. And then finally Bob came up… and this is my recollection of the story. I’m sure it’s not a subject that Bob will even really want to talk about. Especially if it didn’t paint him in the best light possible. But this is what I recall. So he came out and he was like “I’m so sorry. I know I have anger issues,” from old family stuff, you know, he was just like, I can’t believe this, I’m so sorry.” And Devin was like okay, whatever. You know, Devin is so easy going. I mean, I think he was freaked out but he wasn’t like, totally pissed off or anything. But anyway, it was more like I was the one who was just like, and things at that point, it had always been a little frustrating for me in the creative process, and it just turned out to be, like, I was kind of looking for an out anyway. But then, we actually did play one more show after that. We played two more shows actually, because… we played in Richmond with Most Secret Method and Engine Down. At Chopsticks. A place called Chopsticks. April 16th. And then, we drove back to DC and played a house show at Kansas. And that would have been the 17th of April. And I was really excited because it was my spring break.
TP: So, were you back in school by this point?
AD: No, this was when I was teaching in Fairfax County. So I guess I had left City Paper. Yeah… cause I left City Paper to start teaching in August 1999. Yeah. So… I walked over to Kansas for the show and when I got there I ran into Alec and Pau… I called him Paul. I didn’t realize his name was really Pau. I’m sad because it was the last show. We had agreed we weren’t going to play anymore. And blah blah blah… Pharmacy Bar! Okay! Alright… the one thing from reading all these books I realized: I spent a lot of time in bars. If I had just been working on music that whole time… who knows. Okay… so yeah, that was April 16th 2000. And I know I played at another salon. Because I remembered doing piano pieces and talking about Eric Satie, but I guess it might be a later one…
TP: How did you pick what you played at the salon?
AD: I think at the time, I was just… I was just focusing on music that I was currently obsessed with. And at that point, when the salons were going on I was starting to… actually I was starting to write what was the beginning of Garland of Hours stuff. I think I was kind of burnt out on cello from Telegraph Melts and kind of had some bad vibes, I was like, I just want to start playing piano again. And I had bought this Wurlitzer, and was playing that and then, I had always really, even when I was in high school and playing piano I had always really liked Satie and got a book with all of his piano stuff and playing it all the time, and it was very therapeutic for me I think. So… yeah. So that’s how I picked. But I remember people, like Jean definitely used the salon as a forum for the stuff she was doing with Anti-Social Music. Like, she always had the coolest pieces that she was involved with or doing. Yeah, I wish I had… I know in some of the later journals, which I can go through and let you know if there’s anything useful in there, which I’m sure there is. It was just so late last night. And I just read, like, basically, ten years of my life.
TP: That’s so insane!
AD: I was just like: Oh my god! What was I thinking!
TP: What was it like to play shows there. Talk about the experience about what it was like to play a show at Kansas House.
AD: From what I remember, we always played… it was always in the living room. We would practice in the basement, but there was jut so much crap down there, yeah… the bands, you would never go in the basement. From what I recall, the bands were always in the living room. Um… I mean there was obviously space issues and stuff like that. But I also remember kind of hanging out, or, loading stuff from the basement, especially when we would go play shows out of town and we were moving stuff from the basement to the cars in the driveway, I remember being really freaked out because there was one time when there was a half of a rat. You know there was always rats in the driveway because of the Hallal place, there was always like, rats around there. And I remember one time that I saw a rat that had been chopped in half, and it was just like, there, and I was kind of wary of the drive way.
TP: Maybe that’s why there were never any shows in the basement…
AD: Maybe! Yeah.
TP: The basement… Cynthia Connolly had one in, sort of renegade style, and took like 20 minutes of video of the house before it was demolished. And she was totally freaked out by the basement. And I recall being in there a couple of times, either working on something with Derek, or doing Fort Reno tshirts. And Thomas Crawley couldn’t even remember there being a basement… I was like: you lived there! But it’s such a creepy space… but then, it seems like it’s the perfect place to practice.
AD: Well there was that main room and then there was that weird side room. But that was just, like, storage. And there was just a bunch of shit in there. Yeah… I just remember it was always kind of cramped.
TP: In the basement?
AD: Um hmm…
TP: And you lived in that neighborhood, for the most part.
TP: Talk about what the neighborhood was like during that era.
AD: Oh yeah… well, it was interesting because it was before that Juley Condo place went up, but there were a bunch of smaller businesses and restaurants. There was this place, I can’t remember when it was torn down but it was a Vietnamese, it was like, a boat, it was a restaurant that was shaped like a boat, and I remember it being there when I lived at 9th and Oakland because we would go over there a lot, and it was right on Wilson Blvd. between like Monroe and Oakland, there’s a high rise condo there now. But it was this crazy restaurant because it was a small building and it was shaped like a boat. So there was that place. And… I remember a bunch of times going over to, a couple times when I went over to Mark Robinson’s. And he lived over, kind of past Ballston, kind of that direction on Wilson Blvd. and that was, I can’t remember what street that was, that was like Abingdon or something like that. Yeah, there were a couple times I went over there. I remember there was one time, I guess they were looking for someone to play bass for Air Miami. And Evelyn was like: oh, I told Mark he should call you. So I went over there and it was like, the weirdest thing. And I didn’t really know Mark at all and I was really nervous and everything. And he was like, let’s just play, and I felt like it was an audition. And it was really weird. And then this was when… yeah I was working at the paper and I had just met Bridget and I knew they were playing music together but I didn’t know what was going on, if she was just singing or what she was playing… I don’t know, but anyway that’s a tangent! What else about the neighborhood. Um…
TP: I think it’s funny that in your journal you were talking about the 7-11, because I feel like whenever there was some kind of thing, especially when you guys were living at Simple Machines, there were so many memories of…
AD: Going to the 7-11.
TP: Or, like going over and hanging out with Laura first and then walking and then going into the 7-11 first to either get water or something…
AD: Cause it was just right there.
TP: And there’ something like, I don’t know if anyone else had this experience with this, but I just remember, like, in middle school, hanging out with my friends in the summer or whatever, and walking around and ending up at the 7-11 and getting Slurpees and reading magazines. There was something… there was always this thing, not necessarily this comfort factor, but walking from house to house, and the 7-11 was there, and you talk about “oh, I ran into Pat and Morgan, I guess that was probably Morgan Daniels.” And how, like, you would see somebody that you would know there.
AD: Yeah, it was cool.
TP: I don’t know, how, like Arlington was the land of 7-11s. Now it’s the land of Starbucks. The latte has replaced the Slurpee.
AD: What other places… Well, I guess that coffee shop. That coffee shop was a thrift store still, where Murky Coffee was. Cause I remember… I bought a bike there. Yeah, that was still this weird thrift store that had lots of appliances and things. And then Arlington Center for Dance was still there right on Wilson and Oakland, and I was taking Flamenco classes there but later it turned into a Staples. Um… and, I don’t know, it was pretty much like, from reading my journals, it’s always like, I went to Kansas for practice or whatever and went to Galaxy Hut. That was also on the trail. And then I think I talked about Go! A couple times, early on. So yeah, when Go! was… it was in that place above Deli Dhaba, but it was somewhere before that. Where was it before that?
TP: Before that it was… I don’t know what’s there now. But it’s sort of off of Wilson, I’m not sure what the street is…
AD: Oh, yeah, it’s like Java something.
TP: Yeah, there’s a coffee shop where the Sugar Shack was.
AD: Oh, and there was a music store, I think, cause it was upstairs.
TP: Yeah, I think there’s something else there now.
AD: Yeah, it’s kind of over by the Whole Foods. Yeah, what street is that?
TP: I want to say it’s Highland, but it might be Edgewood. One of those…
AD: I also remember the indie rock flea market. And I think Derek… I remember Derek doing something with the indie rock flea market. Like I think he had his tapes. Remember when he used to put out stuff on tape? I think.. don’t remember, I still have a seven inch from that.
TP: Was this in the park, or the parking lot?
AD: The parking lot. The old Sears parking lot. And Low, the seven inch… Low and Edsel, and Heartworms.
TP: Oh goodness!
AD: I still have that.
TP: I think I have the same exact seven inches.
AD: It’s like a clear vinyl.
TP: Yep… so, what might be, and there’s like a million ways to answer this question. But, what’s the main difference between what the neighborhood was like then and what it’s like now.
AD: I think the housing, the real estate market totally destroyed everything. Because all of a sudden, you know, on Kansas Street, there were all these other houses of the same kind of vintage, and those just got torn down. It was prime real estate, the land was worth so much money, all these smaller businesses and quaint old houses just got razed in order for these huge high rise condos. And you know, with that, the people… I sound really bitter! But you know, the people who can afford these expensive, you know this was when the bubble was happening, and condos for 400,000 dollars, so it’s like, the people who can afford that are not necessarily artists and musicians and weren’t really, I think, interested in a lot of, keeping punk rock alive in Arlington. Not to say that Arlington doesn’t have a great arts… I think there’s a lot of support for the arts in Arlington. But it’s definitely the right, it has to be the right kind of art, too.
TP: I think there is a lot of… cause it’s… Cynthia also talked about how she went away to Alabama…
AD: She has a good perspective on that, I’m sure.
TP: And then how she was like, standing on the porch and there were those new construction… and I think there’s also houses over there, and how she sort of looked at it…
AD: Oh, those townhouse things.
TP: Yeah, and how she looked at it and was like, this is the beginning of the end. And that was like, 2003. And there were still shows that were happening after that. I think that there… I feel like, especially for our era, a soon as people that we knew moved out, we might still know about shows, but then, we stopped going there.
TP: And it’s also interesting… talk about how you might have known that there was a show that was happening at Kansas House.
AD: Ah… yeah, it’s interesting because this was before a lot of, like email, and listservs and stuff like that. You know, it was usually flyers… like, Ryan’s flyers or you know you’d be at a show at the Black Cat or something and someone would give you a flyer. And that was how you knew. And it seems so old fashioned now. I remember that was… once you had a show booked to remember that people knew about it and came, you had to go out and give people flyers.
TP: And, it’s interesting, too, because some people still make flyers, but they’ll send it as an email attachment.
AD: Exactly…we were doing that. We’re playing a really cool show… I’ve been playing music with Anna, Cynthia’s sister… Yeah, cause she just lives down here and we started going to the same Bikram studio. Yeah, she writes really good songs, and we just… you know, started playing music together so Stefan and I are just backing her up, basically, but we’re doing a show at Galaxy Hut on July 5th, and then my band’s going to play after that.
TP: Cause you just sent around a thing about the shows you’re playing. And it’s a totally different thing now, cause it’s like, you send an email.
AD: Oh yeah, we’re doing a show in Baltimore on Sunday. And I definitely read the Runnykine thing, every once in a while, but I don’t really post on it that much, and I don’t know if anyone who reads it is in Baltimore, but I was just like, oh…
TP: Well, people might go… but I think there was a definite… like we had email for work.
AD: Yeah. Like a lot of people didn’t even have personal email accounts or whatever. So yeah, going back to how I knew there was a show… it was either word of mouth… and I kind of had, since I was practicing there a couple times a week, I would generally stay abreast of what was going on. But other than that it was flyers, basically.
TP: And some people had their own personal email account, but you really couldn’t do that…
AD: It cost money!
TP: Yeah, it cost money. And if you had a computer at home, you might get one from your internet service provider or whatever. But if you didn’t have a computer at home, and you only had a computer at work, you only used that… cause I remember.
AD: You could only use that for work.
TP: But I remember using my City Paper email, like that’s how I got all of my personal email, coming through there. But then, there was no option to have your own. And then, no one called you. I mean, people might call you to tell you there was a show, but there was no cell phones. The only people who had cell phones were like, important, business… like Derek.
TP: Like either important people or technology people. Like, I remember, I feel like, especially sort of like, going back and thinking about all this, I feel like Derek was the first person who had his own cell phone.
AD: Or pagers! Some people had pagers. I remember Devin had a pager. It was so weird.
TP: Oh, I remember that, yeah. It just seemed so… and in thinking about how did I know that there was going to be a show, and talking to people… like Frank said: “well, Jimmy told me there was going to be a show.” And somebody told you “this is going to be happening here.” And there wasn’t like the stress of not knowing… like, ohmy god, I’m going to miss something because nobody told me, it was just… there.
AD: But you also had to be somewhat connected to know that things were happening. Like, you had to be out and about so that you would run into people who would tell you, or, you know… I think that people can be a lot more anti-social in this day in age because everything’s on the Internet. It’s like, oh, all the shows are listed, what’s going on, oh let’s see, let’s look up whatever… you know? But yeah, so I think that’s another difference. In some ways, you had to be in the know. Or be going out to shows where you’d get a flyer or see a flyer, or see a poster.
TP: And especially with house shows because they wouldn’t get listed anywhere. So it was truly the underground.
AD: Yeah, and they couldn’t.. cause you couldn’t put up a poster at Black Cat or Galaxy Hut for a house show. Cause it wasn’t at either of those places, so it was kind of a very intangible way of finding out.
TP: I guess… so, if you think about, and I’ve been asking this question to everybody, and it usually comes up by this point, but this usually is sort of the last thing… what do you think was your most significant experience at Kansas?
AD: Um… I think for me it was playing music over there. Practicing. I think definitely… Kansas and doing Telegraph Melts are kind of intertwined. And after we stopped doing Telegraph Melts I would still go there for parties and shows and stuff. But I spent a lot of time there, in the basement, trying to hash out, you know, writing music… um… and all of the angsty feelings and certainly the way the band ended, you know, that was like a very dramatic time. But yeah, I think all of those hours playing music over there, that was definitely a very important place to me, because I don’t know where… I mean I guess we could have practiced at my house, but at the time I was living at the Simple Machines house and we had an asshole neighbor so we couldn’t really play much music in that house.
TP: And, did that time period sort of effect your trajectory? Because now you play music and you teach music.
AD: Yeah, it did, because I was teaching school from.. I did the 1999 to 2000 school year and then I did the 2000 to 2001 school year. Yeah… that was kind of a pivotal point for me because that was my first real, like salaried job, and I was also playing all this music. And on the one hand, I was like, well, I could keep teaching and it’s really good money and I’ll get benefits and all this stuff, but not that I hated teaching. I kind of hated teaching in the public schools, and teaching large groups, I mean, I totally love working with kids and teaching music but on a smaller scale. But I think being a member of the music community and definitely doing that band and practicing and playing shows whether it was at the Kansas House or in Richmond or wherever, I kind of struggled of having that fit into my more kind of straight laced teaching job. And I felt really isolated when I was teaching school, cause I was teaching in Fairfax, out in the suburbs, and all the teachers my age were like married and having kids and it was very conservative and everything. And I was working at, like, three different schools, too. So at that point, it was the summer of 2001 I decided, okay, I’m just gonna play music and freelance and see what happens, and yeah… I never regretted it.
TP: So, it’s also interesting… because I was talking about this with Marc, too, like I feel like it was a place where you could sort of work all that stuff out. Cause he practiced for his audition for grad school, and he invited a bunch of people over and did that, and Bob did a lot of thinking about the opera there, and Mary Chen did her stuff…
AD: Oh yeah, the opera! Yeah, that’s later, I didn’t get to that, it’s in my books.
TP: But it seems like it was a place for all that stuff to be worked out. Like you would pass through there and figure out… it was a safe space.
AD: Yeah, it was definitely a place where you felt like you could do a lot of creative thinking and that there were definitely a lot of… yeah, it was like a safe place to try out new ideas. Definitely at like, the salons, you knew that people would show up who were interested and like-minded. And um, I think they were free… I don’t remember… I think maybe once in a while if people came from out of town for the salon maybe they would pass the bucket or whatever, but I think I remember they were free.
TP: Yeah, I think I remember sometimes paying money, but it was only when there was an out of town band helping them to get to their next station… Do you remember any shows that you remember going to there that were just, sort of like, mind blowing?
AD: Yeah, Most Secret Method. I think it was the first time I had seen them. I remember being really excited about that show. And then I think when I was reading… the last Telegraph Melts show, it was really emotional for me, just playing, cause it was our last show… so I think those are the two that stand out for me. I’m sure there were other shows, I just don’t remember.
TP: Any other last thoughts that you can think of?
AD: I just remember Bob’s room, I remember he slept in the closet because his room was so small. Do you remember?
TP: Yeah, Marc and I talked about that, too, because we were like…
AD: Where’s his bed?
TP: Yeah, and I remember being in there once, and he had painted the room, like this dark blue, and also maybe this green color, because he was showing the paint job, and I remember being there and being like…
AD: Where’s the bed?
TP: Yeah, and it was, like, lofted in the closet somehow. It was like a secret compartment.
AD: And I remember thinking, like, god, don’t you get claustrophobic?
TP: But that’s funny… Marc was like: where does Bob stay?
AD: Yeah, I guess that’s my closing thought.