Interview date: 5/29/2010
TP: So, I have a bunch of things written down to talk about, but I’m not really worried. I guess we can start off by talking about how you sort of were involved with Kansas House, if you can remember, or how you found out about Kansas.
FH: I can’t remember the first time I went there, you know? Did I go for a party or for a show?
TP: Or, maybe let’s start with looking at your stuff…
CC: Well, let me, this is a book of Jim Hauser’s artwork, because… I’m totally blanking on her name right now.
TP: Mary Chen.
CC: Mary Chen, right! She had a stack of photos of Jim Hauser’s work, and she lived at Kansas Street. And so, I went over there to look at the photographs because they were for sale. She was like, “my friend makes this art and I want to sell it for him.” It’s in the dining room, that skateboard right there. That’s the one I bought, from a photograph of his artwork, having gone to Kansas Street and seeing Mary there. So that I think might have been the first time I went to Kansas Street.
FH: So, you already knew Mary?
CC: During the day, it wasn’t during a show, it was during the day, and somebody lived there. I went up the stairs, I remember walking up the stairs.
FH: Oh, so you knew Jim Hauser?
CC: No! I went there because I knew Mary Chen, and she was like, “there’s all these cool artists in Philly that I’m friends with, and they have all this cool artwork and you totally have to check it out, it’s for sale.” And I was actually intrigued about what she was talking about– what artwork is this? And I wanted to see it. So I go over to Kansas Street, where she is, and she has these photos of this artwork. So I bound it in a book eventually because I became friends with Jim Hauser and we started trading artwork. So the first one I bought, and after that we became friends, and I started going to Philly all the time, the first time with Mary Chen and after by myself or with Erik Denno.
TP: And you did shows at their space.
CC: Yeah, I did a show eventually…
TP: We went to that show!
FH: That’s right!
TP: We drove up. I went to a couple things at that space. I think there were two things there? There was one that we drove up to and came back the next day. Or no, we came back that night.
CC: Yeah, totally.
FH: Oh, right.
CC: We went over, and there were different groups of people, who went over and over, and I didn’t have a car. I had that ’63 Ford, so I couldn’t get to Philly. But Mary Chen had a car that could get to Philly. She had some automobile, so we all jammed into her car and the first time we ever went, it was with Mary. And I already, like, heard about Jim Hauser and she showed me these photos and we went to the First Friday at Space 1026. I don’t remember what [show was] there, they had just taken apart the skate ramp that was in the gallery made the gallery into a gallery. The skate ramp was painted by Jim Hauser. Huge paintings of the same stuff that’s in here… oh my god is this it? This is the skate ramp! This is the piece of the skate ramp with paintings…
TP: Oh wow!
CC: Do you see that?
CC: I can’t believe I just opened to that!
FH: Who was the girl who was in the middle of painting her giant wall?
CC: Oh, that was way later, that was Margaret Kilgallen. I went up there to take a picture of her for my show…
Okay, so this is a piece of the skate ramp, mounted on the wall of the gallery, hanging from the ceiling of the gallery, with this artwork on the skate ramp. So after the show, or during– maybe this is the show– he had pieces of the skate ramp he didn’t use and so you could just take it. And I really wanted a piece of the skate ramp, so I asked Mary: “can we get it in your car?” And she was like, “yeah!” I don’t know why she didn’t really want one. I still have it. It’s this huge piece of the skate ramp with a painting of a cowboy on it.
TP: Oh, wow.
FH: So, at Kansas House…
CC: But, this is about Mary Chen…
TP: She’s the connection.
FH: That’s the first time you ever went to Kansas Street.
CC: I’m nearly sure that’s the first time I ever went to Kansas Street. Maybe I’d gone to Kansas Street… maybe I felt like it was the first time I went to Kansas Street because it was the first time I went during the day, where I actually knew somebody living there, and went there for something more normal than going to a show, where you never really quite understand who lives there or what’s going on.
TP: And you talked about, in the thing that you did for Arlington County, in the ‘80s, it being an antique store?
CC: Yeah, totally.
TP: I’ve only heard about that.
CC: So, I don’t know… there were a lot more houses like that over there. Kansas Street was one of many. And so I think all those houses were commercial.
TP: Commercially zoned.
CC: Right. Ian went there too so you can ask Ian about the antique store. I think he said he bought all his Christmas presents there in the antique store for our house. So, I just remember going there and buying silver spoons and forks and stuff, with the letter K. I think they still might be around somewhere, with monograms on them.
FH: I just remember when Murky Coffee was an antique store…
CC: Well, that was more of a junk store, wasn’t it?
FH: So Kansas House was more like legitimate antiques?
CC: It was consignment antiques. Not high-endy but not like junk. It was nice old stuff that wasn’t totally expensive.
TP: And at that point in time, you were living at the Dischord House?
CC: Yeah, it was like the late ‘80s… ’86, ’87, ’88, ’89? And then I don’t know, that store had, like, antiques and stuff. Like books, some books. I don’t remember… it didn’t have clothes, and I remember that the stairway was blocked off and I think the person actually lived upstairs, so you couldn’t go upstairs. So the store was on the main floor and then upstairs, they lived in the upstairs, whoever had this antique store. And after that, it was something else. I heard it was a group house. Do you know?
TP: The first person that I knew whom ever lived there was Derek Morton.
CC: Who was that?
TP: Derek was organizing the Tropic of Metallotronic Festival, do you remember that?
TP: That was a weekend of Post-Rock at the Black Cat. And he was doing a label too. He had done, like, I think it was a 7-inch of Jonathan Richmond covers and Galaxie 500 or maybe it was Luna had done a song for it. Which was like, totally exciting to me. Like “I can’t believe that you got Luna to be on your label.” That was just completely mind boggling. But, I remember the first time that I went there was when there was this planning of the Tropic of Metallotronic Festival.
CC: That’s such a great name!
TP: Suzanne Clarke was throwing computers out of her window. Mary Richards and I think Suzanne was making a backdrop for the festival, which included parts of computers. So Suzanne Clarke was throwing electronic equipment, she had that front room…
CC: I didn’t know she lived in that house, how interesting!
FH: I didn’t know Derek lived in that house.
TP: Frank, I don’t think you were there, but Jimmy had organized a viewing party that took place there, and I know you had to be at that.
FH: Doing what?
TP: We watched Hardware Wars…
FH: I never watched Hardware Wars…
CC: When was the Punk-not-Rock salon?
TP: That was Bob.
FH: That was later.
CC: Okay, so that wasn’t the first time I went to see Kansas Street, it was when I went to see Mary Chen then.
FH: The Punk-Not-Rock salon was like ’99 because that’s when I was going to Gold’s Gym. And I started going to Gold’s Gym Christmas of ’98.
CC: Oh, so it was around the same time.
FH: So, it was in ’99.
CC: So the Punk-Not-Rock… Bob and I emailed and I suggested doing some salon that was about punk rockers, but things that influenced them as punks, and that’s what turned out to be the Punk-Not-Rock Salon. We had this sort of email brainstorm about it. And then that’s what it turned into. And it was so funny because the first one, it was like, you knew all the people who were there. And then eventually…
FH: word of mouth happened.
CC: Word of mouth happened, and then it became like, “what are you doing here? How did you know about this?”
TP: So… I’m wondering if you guys can talk about what you remember the inside of the house to look like.
CC: Well, I do remember!
TP: And actually, I like that idea of talking about it looked like when nothing was in it.
CC: When it was nothing? Yeah that was pretty crazy… how about the junk piles every week?
FH: Well, the only times I ever saw it, all the furniture was always moved, because it was either a dance party or a show. So I would only ever see it, like the living room with no furniture and the mattresses put up against the windows, for the sound baffling.
TP: Oh, I forgot about the mattresses!
CC: Oh my god, that’s right. That’s so insane!
FH: But I always loved those two windows on each side of the fireplace. Those bizarre little windows?
CC: Those two windows! That was pretty cute. Because it was like the fireplace, and they had those little nooks on either side of the fireplace, it was such a cozy… like a house that was a cool little bungalow house at one point. And now was sort of falling apart. And upstairs, when I did the film, it was like: these closets are so stupid! They were like these closets that were set in the eaves of the house, and you could tell with the bar… you could tell you couldn’t really hang much on it, because of the bar was in the way of the wall.
FH: Well the attic must’ve been converted at some point, into, like rooms.
CC: Well, I guess so, except for the stairway is like a formal stairway, whereas the Dischord stairway is not a formal stairway at all. It looks like you go to an attic whereas that does… I have a feeling it was always supposed to be rooms up there but maybe some of them were supposed to be storage rooms and some to be formal rooms. And there was a bathroom up there.
TP: When I was talking to Thomas, he couldn’t remember there even being a basement.
CC: Ohmygod that basement was super creepy when I went in there.
TP: It was so creepy!
CC: Oh my god! When I went in there… Well, because the front door was unlocked… So I went by. Every week I would go by the month it was closing. I wish I had taken photos of the junk pile, but I didn’t. I was kind of frustrated because every time I went by I was like gosh, what am I gonna do about it? And kept on wanting to go by, and I kept on knocking on the door so I could talk to somebody. But nobody was ever there. And it was the last week; you could tell it was the last week because there was the last bit of junk and in the living room there was some drum kit and some other stuff they were obviously saving for somebody to pick up. But everything else was out on the street and it was really gross trash. Like, egg cartons, cartons with eggs, with eggs spilled out. It was like, kind of gross stuff. So then I was like, god I can’t believe I never tracked anybody down and I walked around the side, and I was like, oh my god the basement door is completely wide open! It wasn’t even like, unlocked, it was open, which is super creepy, and I went “Hello?!” And I went in and was like “Hello! Hello, is anybody in here, Hello” And I just walked in, which was super scary because the door’s wide open. And you could have rats in there, there could be some guy sleeping in there…, how many days was the door open? Kinda creepy!
That’s when I was like, I’m coming back tomorrow. And I got a camera and I went back. And I closed the door and the next day when I came back the door was open. But that basement, you go down a couple stairs to get into the basement, from the door in the driveway. And you go down, and there was just like, I always heard it was creepy in the basement but I never really went in there. But, most of the junk was out of there but there was still some stuff, but there were, like, weird notes on the wall. I just remember, I might have filmed it, like there was a line on the I-Beam, that, there was two rooms, there was a front room that might have been underneath the porch and a main room which was like the main part of the house. And there was like, an I-Beam or some kind of structural thing in the middle, and there was like a line down the middle and it said John on one side and like Mark or something on the other, like two people had lived there. I don’t know what the names were, like they were dividing the room in half and one person got this side of the basement and the other person got the other side. That was what it looked like to me, I don’t know if it was true. The other super creepy thing, because it was so gross in there, was the bathroom. There was a shower in the basement. It was just a shower, it wasn’t a bathroom. And the shower had all these multiple color tiles, like it was scrap tiles; it almost looked like somebody built it out of found tiles. It was kinda weird.
CC: But it was creepy.
TP: I remember, I only recall, I remember I went in there once when Derek and I were working on a project, and I remember we did Fort Reno t-shirts there.
CC: Did you do them in the basement?
TP: We did them in the living room, but then we had to wash them.
FH: The screens or the shirts?
TP: Both, maybe? I don’t know… but it’s funny because Thomas didn’t remember there was a basement, and he lived there for like, two or three years.
FH: He never went down there…
TP: I think that it’s just so creepy, that everybody blocks it out!
TP: I wonder, too, if you could talk about going to shows there, with the mattresses up on the walls…
FH: The Christmas lights, on the stairs…
TP: What was it like to see a show there that might be different than going to see a show in a more formal performance space?
CC: Well, it was really loud!
FH: Well, the most epic show there ever: when Juno played.
CC: That was good!
FH: You were practically rubbing noses with the band. Like, I think the mike stand was in front of my face. It was almost like you were just standing in the middle of the band, which made it so amazing and perfect.
TP: And loud…
CC: It was crazy loud. A lot of times I couldn’t deal with it and I had to go outside for a while, it was like: ohmygod!
FH: It was perfect.
CC: It was good outside on the porch.
FH: The porch that was almost going to collapse at any second and take everyone with it!
CC: I never questioned that.
TP: I know, I never questioned it either!
CC: Good observation, though!
FH: I remember somebody commented on it once. I mean, it never happened.
CC: It’s true! But, there’s like, posts holding it up so it might be the floor that would fall in. Do you guys remember… I might have written this up on the thing I wrote for the Arlington County website. About that moment when I used to love standing on the porch and looking out to the Highlander Motor Inn. And there was that moment when they built those homes across the street from Kansas Street… and I had thought, Oh god, Kansas Street is gonna be over after that ‘cause all those people are gonna complain. But, they still continued!
TP: Do you remember what year, around that time was? Was it pre-Millennium?
CC: Well, I think it has to be before… obviously it has to be before 2002 when I went to Alabama. I went to Alabama in 2002, and it seems like when I came back from Alabama in 2003, all of a sudden there were people…, I didn’t know the people who lived at Kansas Street. Like, it changed in that time period, so it has to be before 2002.
FH: Cause I don’t think I went there that much after that.
CC: I suppose you could find out from Arlington County records when it was built, just go to Arlington County records and look up the tax, everybody’s tax, everybody’s tax, like their lots, you can look up on the Arlington County website to see what year it was built.
TP: Cause I remember, there was, I know at one point there was either a house across the street or a house next door.
CC: There was a house next-door, for sure. The whole street were houses, I think.
TP: And they sort of all disappeared…
TP: Magically, over time.
FH: And suddenly it was a vacant lot in a fence.
TP: Yeah, that’s what made doing shows there a lot easier, because there wasn’t anybody to complain. So those houses that got built across the street were sort of like, the signifier for when Arlington started to get more developed. So, I wonder… how do you thnk the neighborhood has changed from then to now, sort of thinking about that kind of stuff?
CC: How has the neighborhood changed from then to now?
FH: Well, that was the days of the Sears Parking Lot, and just… it was so quiet.
CC: And the indie rock flea market.
FH: Well, Clarendon was just so quiet in the summer, it was like a small town.
CC: Yeah, that’s true, it was totally quiet.
FH: You could walk down the street and not see anybody.
CC: That’s totally true. Even in DC it was like that. I was just thinking about that last night, where summers in DC, there were so many people. I guess it was this morning, when I drove through 14th and Park, it was like, there’s so many people up at like, 8 in the morning. It was like a city. And the same with Clarendon. It’s like, there are so many people in Clarnedon now.
FH: It was deserted before, it was just so sleepy.
CC: Yeah, there were shops, like clothes shops and vacuum cleaner shops.
FH: Indian restaurants.
CC: Yeah, and Vietnamese… that only sold tofu, so not many people were in there.
FH: And, like, no buildings were over three stories high.
FH: It was all sleepy and quiet.
CC: Right, it was the same thing where Kansas Street was, and there was that Indian store that was there.
TP: Indian Spices and Appliances?
FH: The one right behind it?
CC: Right, and it was so cool that it was there for so long. But it was totally sleepy. And the Highlander Motor Inn never had anybody staying there. There was like, nothing happening.
FH: But everything was happening! It was just happening quietly.
TP: And it’s still kind of, ‘cause the Highlander’s still there. Mario’s Pizza is still there, and I don’t know if the gas station across the street is still there.
FH: It is.
CC: It is… that guy held out. He was supposed to sell that land to the developer who built that building there, and he didn’t want to sell it. So actually, this is kind of an interesting story. That whole building was built, and he couldn’t actually operate as a gas station while they were building the building.
FH: And now I think it’s just auto repair. I don’t even know if he sells gas.
CC: No, he sells gas. He can now sell gas again. He couldn’t sell gas when they were building the building because of some safety thing.
CC: But the gas station is still there, cause I took photos of the gas station.
TP: So, in a way, almost, it hasn’t really changed, at least, physically. Everything that was around Kansas is still there, for the most part.
FH: Well, except that giant high-rise building next to the gas station.
CC: Next to the gas station, and the houses across the street. I don’t remember, well the only reason why I noticed them was that I was convinced that all those people would move in and go, oh, we can’t have this! What is that thing across the street with loud noise at night and scummy people and trash piles, you know? Like, I was waiting for multiple complaints and then it would all be over. But then it just never seemed to happen.
TP: And I think there was a period of time when there wasn’t as many shows, like when Bob moved out. Because I feel like Bob is sort of one of the keystones to everything. And when he moved to Silver Spring, I feel like know that’s when I stopped going there all the time, because I didn’t know anybody else that was there. But there were still shows that were sometimes happening, but not as much. And then the last couple years there started to be shows again.
FH: But they were like, all these younger kids.
TP: So there was sort of… Eric and Kim were talking about, how there was sort of a drop off, in a way, and he was sort of tying it to political administrations, and how when George W. Bush was elected, he was expecting a lot of the similar things that we all went through to happen again, and it kind of didn’t. But then, in a way, it was happening on a little bit smaller scale, and then they got notice that they had to move. So it was starting to come back. But, it would be interesting to find out how those folks who live across the street now sort of dealt with those guys who were there.
Another thing, too, I wonder if you can talk about, sort of just what was going on, like, not just necessarily at Kansas, but what was going on at that time?
CC: Well, let’s see, what time are we talking about exactly. I definitely know… lemme go look at that painting. But I think it says ’99 on it. So that would be the year that I bought the painting.
FH: Well, that was the whole era of Go! Compact Discs, too, which was right down the street.
CC: Oh, ’98!
TP: Oh, wow. Oh, and it says: this is for Cynthia. That’s awesome. November, ’98. I love that!
CC: Yeah, he wrote that on there because I bought it and was like, this one’s for Cynthia.
TP: And that kind of actually makes sense, because I feel like Derek’s thing was maybe like, ’96, ish?
CC: This is interesting… do you have any document of all these people moving in and out?
TP: It’s kind of an interesting time line…
FH: Well, Ann was living with Rene for a while.
TP: Above Galaxy Hut.
CC: Oh, remember that!
FH: So did she move to Kansas House after that?
TP: She may have done, it was definitely after that.
CC: Well, she lived on top of Galaxy Hut with Rene, probably in ’97 or ’98 because that was when I was taking pictures of people with their cars. And I remember Rene asked to have a picture of her with her car. I can look up what date that was.
FH: It does.
TP: Ann, I think, was responsible for a lot of the punk shows that were happening there, likw This Bike is a Pipe Bomb, and Oswego with Erik.
CC: I was gonna say, Erik Denno. Erik Denno fits into some of this too, somehow. Let’s call him.
TP: I remember they played some show there that also may have ended up being a party.
FH: Who was in that with him?
TP: Gosh… the only person I can remember is Darren.
CC: Ann? Was Ann?
TP: No… but, Dead Teenagers. The first time I ever saw Dead Teenagers was at Kansas.
CC: Oh yeah! Totally! I was at that show. And I think that was the loudest I’d ever heard Kansas Street. Maybe that was This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb…
FH: How many times did Most Secret Method play there? More than once?
CC: How many times did what? Most Secret Method? I wish we could just call Ryan and Erik right now, should I try?
TP: What time is it now in LA?
FH: What’s the question for Erik?
CC: …noon. He texted me at 2 in the morning last night…
TP: Something else that I want to talk about, which we started talking about on the phone, is sort of, like, so all of this was happening in Arlington, and you were talking about how there was this disconnect between the Arts Commission…
CC: Arlington Cultural Affairs, yeah.
TP: And how either knowing about it in hindsight…
CC: Erik! I got him on the phone! We have to put you on speaker. I’m sitting here with Frank and Tina Plottel and we’re doing an interview about Kansas Street, can we ask you some questions? All right, here we go, wait a minute… Speaker phone!
ED: Oh, I can’t remember anything about Kansas Street.
TP: Nothing at all?
FH: We had a specific question for him.
TP: Who was in Oswego with you?
ED: So many people talking… I’m at a flea market right now, it’s totally insane. And I’m drinking Mexican Coke.
CC: Okay great! Who was in Oswego with you?
ED: Ah, it was me, Darren, Chris Turko, Mike Markarian and Ryan.
TP: Didn’t Ryan just hit stuff? What did Ryan do? He didn’t play drums, right?
ED: Ryan was on percussion.
CC: You’re right, he was.
TP: I feel like Erik is doing “percussion.”
ED: Yeah, there were all sorts of Christmas lights and all kind of shit that we set up on his percussive items.
TP: How many times did Dead Teenagers play at Kansas?
ED: Well, we practiced therein the basement. We recorded the demo there, on the four track. And then we played there…well it may have only been one time. That was our first show ever
CC: With who? Frank’s making all this noise…
TP: With who?
ED: The Dishes. Yeah, cause the whole thing is our friend JJ was coming to town and so we were mad dashing to put the Dead Teenagers together, so it was all a free for all. And then, because of Motorcycle Wars… and I didn’t really know any of those people except for Jimmy, who I thought was an idiot. Awww, but I ended up having a soft spot for Jimmy. And I only knew Jason Hutto as that kid who tagged around after Laura Teeler. That’s all I knew.
CC: Well, that’s interesting. Wait, who was hanging around with Laura Teeler?
TP: Jason Hutto.
ED: No, I only knew Jason Hutto as somebody who kind of just followed Laura Teeler around but I didn’t really know him.
CC: Right, right. Hunh. What other bands do you remember playing at Kansas Street?
ED: Do I remember playing? Well, I mean, Oswego played, we played our show there with Juno, Arlie’s band.
ED: And, um, wait, are you guys compiling a list of who played at Kansas?
CC: Tina’s making sort of a history of Kansas that’s going to go into an archive at GW, and it could expand into a greater project… about group houses in Arlington and stuff like that.
ED : Allison’s band did.
CC: Oh, Allison’s there!
TP: Which one of Allison’s band play there? Did Allison’s band play there?
CC: Yeah, they totally played there
FH: Cold Cold Hearts?
TP: What was that other band she was in?
CC: They totally did.
ED: Partyline…. With who else (asking Allison)… they played with Miko Miko. I can’t remember who else played the Oswego show. I remember we gave away free t-shirts by asking trivia questions.
TP: I remember Darren’s crazy lights that came out of his bass drum. Didn’t he have lights that came out from under his drum?
ED: Speaker phone sounds like a cave!
FH: What about Rah Bras?
TP: Yeah, Rah Bras!
FH: The whole crazy Rah Bras thing!
CC: What about Rah Bras? Who were they?
FH: From Richmond… they were crazy!
TP: You know what? The Rah Bras show happened after… so the Motorcycle Wars played that show at Clarendon in the fountain, when Clark jumped in the fountain…
FH: Who discovered Rah Bras?
CC: Oh, right! Remember that, Erik? When he climbed up the elevator shaft thing.
TP: That was the first time that I think Motorcycle Wars played there. And then, directly after that was Rah Bras at Kansas.
FH: Who brought them? Who discovered Rah Bras and brought them to Kansas?
TP: They’re Richmond people.
FH: That somebody knew?
ED: I’m pretty sure that Dead Teenagers practiced at Kansas Street House. Ann lived at Kansas Street House, but she was the one who was always missing practice. And she would be upstairs at the time, you know, just having a weird Ann moment, like “oh, I can’t practice right now.” For some untold reason…
CC: Ohmygod that’s so funny!
ED: So Ryan and I would just be like “okay, well we’re just gonna write this stuff then.”
FH: Fun times!
CC: That sounds great!
TP: That is hilarious.
CC: Okay, so Erik, we also talked about how Mary Chen brought those photos of Jim Hauser’s artwork, and I bought a piece of artwork, but I realize now you must’ve bought a piece of artwork from that same collection because I have a photo. Do you remember when we looked at that book of Jim Hauser’s paintings? Your painting is in here.
TP: Were you at the Rah Bras show?
FH: I definitely was because it’s burned in my memory.
TP: Cause he had the G-string that lit up!
FH: He had so many G-Strings it’s hard to remember.
CC: This is the one I have!
TP: So, there’s John Skaritza, and Marie. And the other guy, Dave Nesmith, was in Gefilte Fish with Amy Domingues.
FH: From Rah Bras?
TP. Yes. So perhaps Amy Domingues can claim Rah Bras.
And I totally forgot that the Juno show and the Oswego show were the same day. Um, but, so let’s talk about, that idea of the disconnect that we were talking about on the phone, and how this was happening, but, like the sort of mainstream arts people had no idea.
CC: No idea… like Arlington Arts Center or whatever, they’re not even that mainstream, it’s like levels of art.
TP: And they were directly across the street, too.
CC: I know! That’s so weird.
TP: That’s totally ironic.
CC: Well, the interesting thing is, there’s a connection, though, which is Alberto Gaitan, who lived in Arlington for a really long time, and he was in one of the Punk-Not-Rock salons, but not the first. And he was in a group called Art Attack in the ‘80s, which did a lot of the installations in Arlington and worked with Arlington Cultural Affairs and did a lot of work to create those pieces. He was funded by them and he was probably on the board of the WPA probaby in the ‘80s as well. I suppose Art Attack installations in Arlington were in the 90s. Mid-90s. Like the one that’s at 10th and, what was the Meritt Gas Station, and 10th and Wilson.
TP: Didn’t they do one in a house, too?
CC: That was the one. It was a house, and they took, they removed the floor and filled the basement with water and made this crazy ramp so you could look into the house. The county bought that house and gave it to them to do this project, and they tore down the house and it’s a park now. They bought it to make it a new park. So, he’s kind of the only connection to Arlington Cultural Affairs, which is interesting since I work for Arlington Cultural Affairs, and they always talk about “why don’t we do something with Art Attack again? Those were great projects!” So it’s kind of interesting that they think these projects were really great, but that’s as far as it went. And I tried to tell people, like finally when I wrote about Kansas Street and I gave it to the woman to upload on the website and the woman was like “I had no idea any of this stuff was happening.” And I’m like, yeah! And when you think about it, it was probably happening not even within that group, but it’s probably happened before, ‘cause I started researching all these bands, I wanted to a do a show called Underground Arlington with all these bands from Arlington, ‘cause that heavy metal band Pentagram was from Arlington. Yeah, and they don’t say they’re from Arlington, they say they’re from Virginia, or like “somewhere in Virginia.” They don’t really specify. But yeah, the main guy, whose name I don’t remember is from Arlington.
FH: But would the Arlington Arts people be so much into music, rather than visual art?
CC: They were more visual art.
FH: Right, but I mean, that’s why…
TP: But there was still a crossover, too.
FH: Well, a lot of music people produce visual art, too.
TP; Cause that’s what I was thinking. I remember there being a crossover from the Art Attack folks, in some ways, or maybe it was just this guy? Or maybe it was just that I went to see stuff like that with Kansas people?
TP: Because… I have a theory about why it was able to happen in the way that it did: no one was really paying attention.
CC: Oh, so it allowed the space for it to grow.
TP: Yeah. But there were things that were supporting it, like Dischord being in Arlington, and sort of like, other local…
FH: the record store…
CC: Don’t you think it all happened because everything else was there?
TP: Yeah, Exactly.
CC: It’s so funny too because there was Dischord, there was Simple Machines, there was Kansas Street, and there was that house that David Holloway lived in, which, I don’t know what that was called. It’s in that article I wrote for Arlington County when I did all this research and listed all these houses…
TP: Shelby Cinca lived there, too, I think.
CC: He totally did. And it was near Columbia Pike. So there was that house. And then, going further back, there was the Dag house, where all of Dag Nasty lived.
FH: Was that Jason’s house?
TP: Jason’s house was Adams Street, where Eric Astor and Kim Stryker lived.
FH: Oh so that was a different house.
CC: Adams Street could be the one that’s near Columbia Pike, couldn’t it.
TP: But Holloway never lived there, or maybe he did for a little bit when he first came here.
CC: Maybe I’m confused… I definitely went to a party there the year I came back from Alabama in 2003 and Holloway was there I felt like he was living there, but I could be wrong.
TP: Maybe… he could have been living there for a spell. I can’t remember.
FH: And there were some shows in that basement, too. Well, one.
TP: Yes, there were. Which one are you thinking of?
FH: I don’t remember who played, but I remember talking to Dave Holloway.
CC: Weren’t you at that Halloween party, in 2003. Wasn’t there a band playing that day?
TP: Oh! I don’t know there might have been.
CC: I know I went to see Motorcycle Wars in some basement of some other house.
TP: Motorcycle Wars played in the Adams Street basement.
CC: Maybe that’s what it was.
TP: Maybe… but I wonder if that was the Halloween Party—Laura Teeler and I convinced Jason that they should have a Halloween party one year, and I wonder if that was the 2003 Halloween party.
CC: Maybe it was.
TP: It was a great party.
FH: It was super fun.
FH: I remember going to a party at the AOL House once.
CC: What’s the AOL House?
FH: Where those rich AOL people lived. Phil something or other…
TP: Yeah, talk about where that was…
FH: That was over by those weird streets where route 66 stops the streets from going across, like, over near Bon Air Park, off Wilson. You turn and the streets don’t go all the way through. It was on the North side of 66 ‘cause that’s where the road was.
TP: I like that you call it the AOL House.
FH: Cause that’s the only thing I know to call it.
TP: There were parties there.
FH: That was a Halloween party.
CC: So did Mary Chen know those people, since she started working for AOL?
TP: That was Bill Hunt.
FH: That guy Phil… Manley?
TP: No, Phil Manley was Trans Am. I know that guy you’re talking about.
CC: Oh yeah…
TP: But Bill Hunt, maybe, who was Richmond, cause Bill Hunt was in Amy Domingues’ band.
FH: oh, connections…
CC: But it’s just funny. I still think it’s funny ‘cause it was really underground, all these group houses. Like again, I’ll reiterate the fact that I really believe, that way before our sort of group, there were other ones. Like Edgewood, around the corner from Dischord. Apparently every house along Edgewood between Fourth and Pershing Drive were owned by these Hippies, and every basement had a shop that was like a hardware store, or a grocery store. And it was like a whole community that they sort of developed these homes in the 70s and by the early 80s it was somewhat going away.
FH: Is that how Jeff Nelson found his house? Since it was in that area?
CC: No, he just found it because it was around the corner and there was a for sale sign.
TP: But yeah, I think there were things that were happening. No one had “discovered” Arlington at that point, and it was an easy, you could find these great houses with basements that were affordable. And it sort of coupled with what was happening at the record store, and at Dischord… it just sort of allowed for this thing to cultivate. Maybe that’s why it was happening sort of outside of the radar, of sort of the official cultural people.
CC: Well, also the other reason why I think people lived here was because it was safer than DC. I mean for a while, people, I think in the 80s, it was cheaper but it was also, like, kind of safer.
FH: You could have yards and keep your windows open.
CC: I just remember Jenny Toomey talking about that. She said she used to leave her windows open all the time at Simple Machines.
TP: And safer compared to the neighborhoods where people were living, like where?
CC: That’s a really good question because, definitely Mount Pleasant. Because at the same time Kansas Street and Dischord were happening, there were group houses that were starting in Mount Pleasant at the same time.
CC: The first one was the one that Gordon Ornelas who was the chef at DC Space who worked with me started on Irving Street.
TP: Pirate House?
CC: No, it was pre-Pirate. It was before Pirate and before the other house on Irving…
TP: The Tuscadero House?
CC: It was before the Tuscadero house, way before any of them. It was Gordon, um… somebody named Tanya Cinto who worked at DC Space… I’m trying to think… This guy Dan Snoke who now works at the Smithsonian who was a huge comic book fan. This was like 1985. She was friends with Diane somebody who was friends with Jennifer Ballard. They all lived there, and other people started moving… and the reason why Gordon lived there was that he could take the bus down 16th Street, walk up to 16th Street, to DC Space, and he was like “this is a great neighborhood!” And he moved in and then that became the house down the street, I can’t even believe I can’t remember the name, but it was the one down at the bottom of the hill on Irving. Where Guy lived…
TP: Yeah, that was Pirate.
CC: That was Pirate? Yeah, I guess that was Pirate House. And then there’s the one where Ian Svenonious lived, that’s on the end of 19th.
TP: Oh, the Embassy.
CC: The Embassy, right. And so those were all happening at the same time. One of the features were that there were basements.
TP: And because they were row houses, even though there were basements, the stuff that was happening on either side could have been completely illicit, the folks weren’t gonna call the cops to be like, these bands are practicing! Or there’s stuff going on here. Which then contributed then to the safety level of the neighborhood. But, if you still wanted the ability to have a practice space, then moving to Arlington, where the houses were not connected, but still affordable, but the safer aspect of that I think definitely came into play.
FH: What about the JMU connection…weren’t there a lot of people who knew each other from JMU?
TP: Yeah, Derek and Suzanne, that’s a good point to bring up.
FH: Cause I know Richard Chartier knew all them from JMU.
CC: Wow, I didn’t know that, and you…
FH: No, I didn’t go there at the same time, so I didn’t know anybody from JMU.
TP: That’s actually how I always sort of imagined it at that time, that was that it was a JMU community of people. A lot of those people, the Gefilte Fish people, Amy Domingues… they’re all JMU. So that’s another connection.
Anything else that you can think of that you want to talk about?
CC: I mean, it was amazing that there were so many insanely loud shows at that house.
FH: Well, the DJ dance parties were loud too.
CC: And actually one of the first DJ dance parties was at that house on Irving Street, that my friends had, and that was the year DC Space closed. So that was 1992. So no, December 31st 1991 was when DC Space closed, and they had this huge dance party in that house and it totally fucked up that house. Like, it actually structurally damaged the house. It did something, you know in all the houses there’s that transition from the dining to the living room? This thing, I don’t remember but the floor in the dining and the living room, it made the lentil of the doorway somehow like break or shift, which was pretty amazing. So maybe that was the beginning of that dance thing, which continued, because there was like, drum and bass by like ’96, ’97. Do you remember Steve Gamboa started djaying, and Ian Svenonious, but he was… Steve Gamboa sort of did the drum and bass thing and Ian Svenonious kind of did…
FH: The loungy thing, like, retro, French, 60s…
CC: But there was like, a lot of that stuff… but I don’t remember it as much at Kansas Street.
FH: It was a reason to have a party and dance.
TP: There were definitely two that I remember, I think Ryan Nelson djayed.. the two that I can remember Ryan djayed them. And there was one that maybe, did Dismemberment Plan play? There was one that had a band… do you remember that? There was one in a snowstorm…
CC: Really? At Kansas Street? Oh, cool! There was that snow storm, there was that really monumental one, I remember going to Simple Machnes after and there was snow badminton in the back yard. That was really fun.
TP: Oh that sounds super fun.
CC: It was fun, so maybe it was that same one. There are not that many snowstorms.
TP: Do you remember going there for anything that was not sort of music related, at all?
FH: There were the salons, and there were the shows, and there were the dance parties.
CC: And the one time I went to go see Jim Houser’s artwork at Mary Chen’s. And… no. It’s almost like, I felt like if you went there during the day nobody was there.
FH: Or somebody would just be sitting on the porch. And you know, it was just hanging out, talking.
TP: How did you find out if something was happening?
FH: Jimmy told me.
CC: I don’t remember. I guess it was just email? Or somebody would just tell you. Ian would probably just tell me or somebody else would just tell me. But like…
FH: Or Ann Jaeger would invite you. It was just word of mouth.
TP: And people made flyers, too.
CC: Totally, they did make flyers.
TP: That’s something that’s an interesting thing to sort of think about, because now, when you hear about something, somebody sends you an email, or a text, or Facebook. But the way you would find out about something happening was that somebody would hand you a flyer.
FH: Or so-and-so, you know, what are you doing Saturday night? Or they would tell you what you’re doing Saturday Night. Like, I heard about this party at Kansas… we’re going. Or even Wednesday night, or whatever.
CC: But email, totally, because the Punk-Not-Rock was totally by email.
TP: Yeah, that was by email.
FH: Was that through Runnykine, or Hipfux?
TP: It was through one of those
TP: It was through Hipfux.
CC: But there was an email list.
TP: Bob maintained that.
CC: Yeah he did…
TP: Cause one of the things Kim was talking about was that she didn’t work at a job that was a desk-based, computer job, so she was late to the email communication thing. Whereas Eric Astor had email, and only people who had a desk job would have an email or would communicate…
FH: Or read their emails, Because maybe if you had a Hotmail, you didn’t read it regularly, but if you’re at work, you’re reading it all day long.
TP: The fact that we had desk jobs, and had email.
FH: And Derek was so technologically savvy, he started Hipfux.
TP: And that’s something that’s interesting too, to think about. Derek was the first person that I knew to run a listserv. He was the first person I definitely knew that had a digital camera, and a computer and knew how to use it. Now, it’s like… I use my phone to take pictures. It’s like, totally different.
TP: What else do you think… anything?
CC: That’s kind of the fun of Kansas Street, I thought, in retrospect, was the word of mouth thing. It made it even more, kind of important or accentuated, when you heard about something, it was really special. And I don’t know why… why is that different than now? Maybe it’s because email is so cluttery and everybody uses it so there’s so much of it? And everything becomes the same? But when there was like a show at Kansas Street, it was like, oh, there’s something happening at Kansas Street. You wanted to know what it was and why it would be there. Like, there was obviously importance and significance to it because it was at Kansas Street.
FH: Well if the band was there, it was because somebody knew them; their hometown was significant in some way.
CC: Right, that’s totally true and that’s like, kind of why you want to go.
FH: If you told me about a band I would never say: where are they from. And now, that’s like the first question I ask.
TP: It was part of like, a bigger network of other places and other towns. Like, that’s something too– bands would come by there, or they would know about it because bands would go on tour and play in their basement, or in their house. And if you couldn’t get a show at a club, you sort of went to your…
FH: Alternative venues.
TP: Right, your outlying networks to sort of set up your tour and play shows in somebody’s house.
CC: I feel like there’s something else about Kansas Street. That would be interesting to see, if we could look it up on the county website to see when it became a rental property, or like when it became from a shop to rental, so you can see when it became a group house. Well I looked it up once, because I wanted to see the owner. There was something significant about the owner when I was doing research.
TP: I think her name was Marguerite.
CC: Yeah, and I looked her up and I did all this research and found her and I think she lived in Silver Spring… why did I do that? Oh, to see if I could get permission to go into the house, but I just gave up on that. It was totally…
TP: She seemed a little bit, I don’t necessarily know if she was absentee, but Bob dealt with her. Or Jonathan dealt with her, like one person…
FH: Jonathan! We didn’t talk about Jonathan.
TP: No, we didn’t talk about Jonathan.
FH: We certainly didn’t! How many bands did Jonathan bring there?
TP: Well, Thomas talked about that. Jonathan brought The Make*Up and Trans Am for sure. I’m sure there was more.
FH: Jonny K, right?
CC: Jonny K?
FH: Jonathan Kreinik.
CC: I don’t know who Jonathan Kreinik is.
FH: He was always with Ann Jaeger.
TP: He was Les Trois Malheurs, with Ann.
FH: Oh yes! Les Trois Malheurs. I was like, what is she saying? That’s right, see, that’s another band that played at Kansas.
TP: That I’m sure we all saw at some point.
CC: Too bad Low never played there.
FH: Yeah because when they played at Black Cat you couldn’t hear anything.
CC: You couldn’t?
FH: Because nobody shut up and stop clinking and blabbering.
CC: And talking! Yeah, the 9:30 Club was so good. It was loud enough that you didn’t hear the clanking clattering.
FH: Which 9:30 Club?
CC: The new one.
FH: Oh, I hate the new one. I don’t like the high ceiling. I can’t see a band in an airplane hanger.
TP: It’s like seeing a band in someone’s living room!
CC: There you go! How interesting! What about the Black Cat?
FH: The Black Cat’s fine, ‘cause the ceiling is a normal height and it’s not like, you know, all this air above you where the sound disappears, and the mood disappears. And the last band that I saw there, the second the band started a thousand cell phones went up in the air to take pictures and I couldn’t even see the band! So I took my old cell phone, which didn’t even take pictures, and the guy in front of me had his cell phone up, and I took mine which clearly couldn’t’ take a picture if it wanted to, and stuck my arm out in front of the guy’s face, just to be obnoxious.
CC: Are you serious?
FH: I’m gonna hold my cell phone out even though it doesn’t take a picture, asshole.
CC: That’s really funny.
FH: It was so annoying! It was so awful!
TP: Alright… so I think that covers it. Thanks you guys so much!
CC: Thank you!