Brooklyn, New York
August 10th, 2010
TP: This is the same batch of questions I ask everybody, so if you say something that I think needs clarification I will somehow interrupt you, but I will try not to do that. So, the first question that I always ask everyone is: do you remember the first time you’d ever heard about Kansas House?
JA: Do you want to go first, or should I?
TM: You go first.
JA: I think for me, the first time I went to Kansas, I had met Derek probably through Rocker Supernova and the Art of Rocketry compilation. And Derek frantically trying to sell me more copies of that when I was working at Go! And at some point, we went to his house. I don’t really know why we went there. I know I was there the night… the first really distinct memory I have was when we hucked computers out of the second story window onto Kansas Street. Which I think Derek probably talked about at length last night.
TP: Do you know what that night was?
JA: I don’t remember what particular night it was. It was summer.
TP: Do you remember why you were throwing computers out the window?
JA: Some art project Suzanne was doing. That’s all. Look, I was just throwing crap out the window… what do I care?
TP: What about you, Travis?
TM: I have a vague memory, and this may not line up time-wise, of having a conversation with someone when Go! moved up the hill, for that brief period of time. I seem to recall talking to Ben Adams, and he was like, “you know they’re doing shows over there, right?” And I said, no I didn’t. But that doesn’t seem likely because I knew so many people who lived there and… no. I just don’t at all.
TP: So, what were usually the reasons you would go there for?
TM: I would go for bands. I think I missed a certain level of classic hang situations. At that point in my life I was living in College Park, so it was a commitment to come down, which I gladly did, all the time, to go see bands. But, I get the sense it was also a kind of around the way hang out for a lot of Arlington types, but it was really never that for me so I wasn’t there when computers were being thrown out the window on a Tuesday night. Much to my regret.
TP: What about you?
JA: I would say I had the complete opposite experience. I lived in Arlington from ’96… yeah, ’96 to 2001. So in that five year period, like, I went there for shows but I went there for let’s hang out and just go see who’s at Kansas, let’s go to Punk-Not-Rock salons, let’s have a picnic, let’s have a New Year’s picnic, let’s do pretty much anything. It was kind of a what else are you doing, we can swing by and see if the lights are on and if Bob’s gonna be there or Jonathan, or Yukiko or Mary Chen, or any number of people, so you always had the option of swinging in and saying hey to a friend.
TM: You know, now that he tells you that story, I do have a couple of memories of being in Arlington, and if I was in Ballston, if I was in that area of Arlington, I would do a drive by to see if the light was on and the door was open and someone was watching TV, and then I would go in. And sometimes I would ride by and the lights were off and I would just go down 66 and went on my way.
JA: You took 66 to get back to College Park?
TM: Or whatever it was… well, actually yeah—if you go in towards the town, towards the city. I probably didn’t know how to get to 50, I was so clueless with navigation. I probably did a crazy spiral until “oh, look here’s the George Washington Parkway! How did I get here?”
JA: Herndon? Why are we in Herndon?
TP: Okay, so, talk about what it was like to go to shows at Kansas.
TM: I’m sure, yeah.
JA: Always hot. I feel like every picture I see from that era of time, and I’m wearing like a long-sleeved shirt and a leather jacket, I’m like: what the hell was I thinking? No wonder I was so skinny back then, I was just sweating it out every night.
TM: Were shows always in the summer? It’s weird I don’t really have a memory of cold-weather events there. It was a very seasonal thing.
JA: But the Aquarius Party that you guys played was in January. I remember that distinctly but I also remember it being hot as balls in there. You know, there was probably like a hundred, 125 kids jammed into that room.
TM: Yeah, that would make it hot.
JA: You guys were playing. Juno played, people coming in and out smoking, it’s still hot as balls, people are dancing in between sets when Ryan’s spinning records. It was just always fucking hot!
TM: You’re right. I remember some good dance parties! I remember rippin’ it up to Ice Cube. Ryan was djaying… what’s Ice Cube’s song about a white girl?
JA: I don’t know.
TM: He has this tribute to white women. I don’t remember the title, but I was into it. I just freaked… yeah. I can’t say who I danced with that night.
JA: Have you seen the trailer for that new movie that Ice Cube’s in?
JA: Doode, he’s old!
TM: He’s old! He’s gotta be what, mid-40s?
JA: He’s old as fuck. He’s got grey in his beard now. What the hell?
TP: So, talk about what it was like to play a show.
JA: Apparently very memorable for me.
TM: You don’t remember?
JA: I seriously have no recollection. Until Eric Gamelem told me “you totally played that show because I remember every minute of it” I was like, that puts you about two steps ahead of me, because I don’t remember it.
TP: You don’t remember Clark wrapping himself in Saran Wrap?
JA: I do now. I thought it was aluminum foil.
TP: Aluminum foil.
JA: I mean, I remember that now, but I remember it after people jogged my memory of it. It’s like, Clark did so much crazy shit that the sort of mediocre crazy shit like that kinda gets lost in the maelstrom of like, hey, let’s take a sedan chair on a litter across Clarendon Boulevard. Or me talking him down from his idea to ride a motorcycle through the crowd at Black Cat.
TM: Yeah… no it was like, baseline.
JA: At that point, it was sort of like, yeah, oh look, he’s wrapped in aluminum foil.
TM: I remember how crazy intimate it was, and how it was very much the brain trust of what was happening in music at that time. Because I remember, it was between our third and our fourth record, and this was at the first point at which the Plan meant anything to anybody. It was the first time we could actually play a little secret show that had fewer people than our regular shows. So, I remember, very clearly playing a new song from Change. And we finished, and then Katy Otto engaged us in thoughtful dialog about how the drum part reminded her of a Duran Duran song. This is between songs. So, we’re all there on the floor, there’s no stage, there’s no lights, and she’s like, “Oh, man! That is totally like Hungry Like the Wolf!” And Joe’s like, “yeah, right?” And this is in the middle of our show, right? We’re, like, discussing the fine points of Seven and the Ragged Tiger. So, that aspect, I really remember. It was the people who were really thinking seriously about music. Not like, DC, monastic, spaced-out kinda creepy why isn’t anybody talking responses. There’d be enthusiastic applause and you’d get notes. You would get notes after the song was over. I remember that it was cool! It was great… how often does that happen at a rock show? It was really enjoyable.
TP: Well, actually that is a good segue into talking about the Punk-Not-Rock, because that happened at every Punk-Not-Rock.
TM: Yeah, that’s true.
TP: So, talk about your involvement with that.
TM: Well, I always went, it was always very exciting to me. I had one piece of music played. I felt like it was a little divisive. I felt like there were some people who thought it was unspeakably corny. And…
JA: It was a little corny, but it was also good. I mean, it was…
TM: It was pretentious in a good way. If you wanted to stretch and try something.
JA: Yeah, exactly. I wouldn’t call it unspeakably corny but I’d leave it up to the imagination.
TM: Probably the worst thing to say about it is that I’m not sure if the musical dialog that happened there in person had any lasting effect or any farther lasting effect compared to just the music we were all playing in bands at the house. To a certain extent, it was everyone trying forms of music that they wouldn’t go anywhere near. I don’t know if I could analyze if that had any reach in terms of inspiring other bands. Maybe, now that I think about it. But, I wouldn’t say… when I did my little thing there it wasn’t nearly as intense as Katy Otto opening up a discourse about Duran Duran drumbeats in our song and we did it while we were standing there trying to tune our guitars.
JA: Did Anti-Social grow out of that?
TM: Oh. No…
JA: Or was that it’s own thing before that.
TM: No… that’s a Nicolay creation. That’s very much a Franz Nicolay creation, I think. I think… here I’m saying that Franz Nicolay invented Anti-Social Music.
JA: Yeah, I don’t think… not that Franz Nicolay sprung full formed from the head of Craig Finn, but…
TM: I mean you could argue that it solidified Jean Cook’s presence in all of our lives, which, in just in terms of a networking and kind of exchange of ideas angle is pretty major. Because she was really crucial in helping it come to fruition. So I think that’s something you could say.
TP: So Jimmy, you went to the Punk-Not-Rocks?
TP: What was your experience of being not involved in the musical creation part of it.
JA: I mean, very similar in just that it was something at once a very comfortable space to sort of explore kinds of music that I might not necessarily want to pay like 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 bucks to go see at WPAS. And it was a way to see people that I knew, again like you said, stretching and trying things they wouldn’t try out otherwise. Instead of saying let’s play another show that’s basically the same sort of Dischord sound or Simple Machines sound or whatever you want to call it. You know, people were, for better and sometimes for worse, experimenting with a lot of different things.
TM: I think also it derived from a certain moment in time anyway that was happening in Indie Rock which was the extent of the Post Rock moment. I mean, just in DC, you know, you had Smart Went Crazy with the cello…
JA: Telegraph Melts.
TM: Yeah, Telegraph Melts… I would imagine at that time the… what’s the bands that came after Hoover?
JA: Crownhate Ruin?
TP: The Sorts?
TM: The Sorts. I feel like the Sorts were probably getting their thing going. There was whatever Devin Ocampo was doing which was usually on the face of it guitar, bass and drums but somehow always sounded very elevated musically. It sounded like it should have a xylophone but didn’t. So I mean, I think it didn’t just come out of the blue, I think it was also things people were interested in at the time.
JA: But it was sort of like taking it all the way to the logical extreme of like, well, if you’re gonna throw a cello into Smart Went Crazy, why not just go all the way and write yourself a punk rock piece for cello. And then arrange it around cello, distorted guitar, viola and then everyone will sit politely and listen to it as you hear the trucks run down Wilson Boulevard.
TM: That’s a funny moment… there’s also Qui Vicino, which was Hilary and Johanna’s thing. There was Diestemata, which is funny… both bands had Patrick Mucklow, which is awesome. Diestemata was Patrick Mucklow and I can’t remember her name… she moved to Seattle. She did like John Fahey guitar picking stuff. That’s funny… that early-aughts moment in DC there was a lot of chamber music at the time.
JA: It was just a weird time for DC, basically. HarDCore, and then like, early 90s Dischord sound was just pretty much over. And everybody was just like, what are we gonna do next? And eventually like, 90% of them were like, I know what we’re gonna do: move to New York! Get jobs in the tech industry.
TM: I’m sorry.
TP: So wait, Travis—talk about… you wrote a piece.Talk about the piece you wrote. Do you remember?
TM: Oh, I’m sure it was primitively extreme! I had no idea what I was doing. It was just an instrumental thing for cello, violin and piano. I didn’t know what I was doing, and it wasn’t necessarily something I pursued any farther. It was melodic maybe?
TP: Doug Wolf gave me copies of the first couple…
TM: Oh that’s right he was recording them… I’m sure I’ve got a CD of it somewhere. For some reason the piece I remember most from going there was Vin Novara doing a solo snare piece. I always really liked that. That was great. That was really cool. I almost felt like it didn’t go far enough. Like I wish it had… I don’t know if Derek Morton or that scene every played, but I would have been interested in hearing flat out, electronic noise.
TP: You can do that without going to Punk-Not-Rock.
TM: That’s true, you can.
TP: Hearing Derek do flat out electronic noise?
JA: Just throw a few beers in him and go back to Sunnyside.
TM: Does he live in Sunnyside now?
JA: Yeah, he does.
TM: Oh wow.
TP: So talk about, and Jimmy kind of got into this… actually. Before we get into that, talk about, I mean, I know the answer to this question, but talk about what you were doing, both of you, what was your job at the time?
TM: Well, at that time, I was actually a professional musician. Dismemberment Plan was touring and getting paid to do so and we were in our road dog period of our lives. And that’s one thing that colors my memory of this time, and it’s something that touring musicians talk about that’s a little melancholy, but these home scenes are kind of a mystery to them when they’re doing this. They don’t really know what was going down. They’d come back, they’d be back for six weeks, and this thing called Kansas House has developed and everyone’s going and you’re like, what? It’s like you came out of a coma. So that’s what I was doing.
JA: Um… around the time that I was going to Kansas, I had a bunch of different jobs. I started out I was working at Go! the first time I went to Kansas, which was an independent record story in Arlington that eventually ended up in downtown DC before it finally flamed out in tragicomedy. But I worked at Borders for a year, and then I had a bunch of sort of office jobs. I was working for The International Sculpture Center. Then I worked after that for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and I was doing admin work, sales work, network administration work, like whatever they needed. I had a pretty easy 9 to 5 job I just wasn’t really that invested in, and what I was invested in at the time was being part of the scene; being part of Kansas House or things going on at Cold Rice, or Kaffa House– Kaffa House not being a house but a bar. That was my world at the time. I worked to live.
TP: A lot of people have brought up Go! Practically everybody talks about Go! I think Ben Adams called it the Axis of Arlington. Jason Barnett called it the Wilson Clarendon Corridor or whatever. But everybody mentioned how Go! factored into this. So maybe talk a little bit about that.
JA: Go! was a record store that started in 1993. It was Jimmy and Renee and Noah started it. I started working there… I got a job there basically because I spent a lot of money there my first year of college that I think Renee felt bad for me, and she was like, I should probably pay you and give you an employee discount at this point. And also I had the good fortune to be there the day that Heather really pissed her off by calling in sick and then showing up an hour later with hickeys running up and down her neck. And Renee was like: “I’m done with you!”
JA: That’s seriously how I got the job there.
TM: Heather Mills?
JA: No, Heather Horne.
TP: Now actually that’s starting to make sense.
JA: Had Heather not made out with a boy, then called in sick and showed up an hour with hickeys running up and down her neck…
TM: Why did she show up?
JA: She was like 15 and she probably just didn’t put two and two together that it was a bad idea. So anyway, I got the job there, and that’s how I met a lot of my friends. That’s how I met Jason, sort of, was through Go! I mean, I met him… the story’s out there, but I met him… how Jason and I reconnected was because he sent me a postcard at Go! And that’s how I met Laura because she also worked at Go! In terms of how it connects to Kansas. Again, for me, that’s how I met Derek. That’s how I met Derek who was sort of my point of entry into that world, into knowing that that house was there, knowing that they were doing interesting things. I forget… I think Derek was maybe still living at Kansas when he did Tropic of Metallotronic…
TP: Well I was gonna say, the computer tossing out the window was the first meeting…
JA: for Tropic?
TP: which I’m pretty sure… I know I met you at Go! Because you tried to sell me a Helium seven inch.
JA: It was probably a good seven inch. You should have bought it.
TP: Which I think I may have bought.
TM: Which one?
JA: Probably Pet’s Trick.
TP: I can’t remember, but I’ll go home and look. But I distinctly remember, you were like, “you should really like this.”
JA: I was probably trying to flirt with you.
TP: I’m pretty sure that’s what you trying to do and I was like, who’s this weird…. Just kidding! And the first time I went to Kansas was that meeting. And I know how I met Derek, but I don’t remember… and I remember you were there. That’s where I met Jason and Craig. Joe Gross was there, and then Suzanne Clarke goes up to her room and throws a computer out the window.
JA: Yeah, I guess that was the first time I ever went. So I guess Tropic of Metallotronic… yeah. I guess I was gonna help Derek out. I probably punked out on that. I don’t think I had anything… I don’t think I helped out much with that festival. But there wasn’t really a direct connection between that and Kansas more than just… I guess as somebody who worked at the record store, if I knew there was a good show coming to Kansas, I’d be like, hey guys, we should all go to this show tonight. Or hey, there’s this awesome show, check it out, there’s a band playing there. I mean… I almost feel like there was more of a connection between Now, which, for the non-punk rockers watching this in 20 years because I know it’s very important, Now was actually the store that came after GO! which was in a different part of Arlington a little further down the street. But there was definitely more of an axis between that.
TM: Oh, when I was talking about Go! moving up the street, that was Now?
JA: That was Now, the one that Ben ran.
TM: Same diff.
JA: Pretty much. Same basic bad business model.
TM: I feel like Now was more pertinent to Kansas than Go!
JA: Yeah, absolutely.
TM: Go! was definitely a place where I felt a lot of social connections, early social connections were made. But Now was like the commercial front where residents of Kansas worked.
JA: Nobody who lived at Kansas worked there.
JA: Not a one. Ben never lived at Kansas.
TM: Hunh. How about that.
JA: No, but there’s definitely a connection between Ben booking things at Now. I remember very distinctly when Motorcycle Wars played our first Now Music and Fashion night in the park, and it was October 13, 2000. And right after that there was a Rapture show that night and I remember Ben very distinctly wanting us to be done so he could get the PA into the store. OR, actually, I think he had to get it into his car to take it down to Kansas in order for the Rapture to have a PA for that show. We had to finish up and help him load the crap and get down to Kansas and we were all just like, by the way everybody, party’s moving down the street, corner of Wilson and Kansas, come ask us if you need directions. So we played a show, loaded everything up, took it home, hoped right back out, went down to Kansas and hung out and saw the Rapture and I want to say it was the Rapture and Q and Not U.
TP: Was it the Rapture or was it the Rah Bras?
JA: No, it was the Rapture. That night it was the Rapture. It was 100% the Rapture.
TM: I seem to recall a legendary Rah Bras show at Kansas House.
JA: Yeah, there was definitely… I had, I might have lost them in a hard drive crash but I had pictures of that Rah Bras show.
TM: Every Rah Bras show became legendary. Are they still playing?
JA: They put out a record a few years ago but I don’t know if they’re still playing.
TP: One of the other reasons why I was sort of wondering about the Go! thing… I mean, granted, a lot of people that I’ve talked to are of our era. But when I asked, how would you normally find out about things that were happening there, like 80% of the people say you.
JA: Well, I think that when they say me, that probably had a lot more to do with the show list than me personally. I don’t know… whatever. I’ve been accused of being the kind of person who helps people make connections, like I’m this focal point that draws people in. Like, more than one person has said this about me. I make people meet each other. So I don’t know. I’m not trying to take any credit for anything.
TP: Well, you’re being given the credit. So whether you like it or not.
TM: You’ve helped me meet myself.
JA: I know. You’ve never been to paradise…
TP: And sort of on Go! tip, and the Now tip, and the park in Clarendon… talk about what the neighborhood was like at the time that you were living there and the time that you were going there.
TM: Well, the thing that was freaky was that it wasn’t really a neighborhood. It was like this crazy… I don’t even remember if it was like a Victorian house… it was just a big house. My mental picture, and this may not be accurate, was that it was surrounded by nothing. And I don’t think this is accurate, I think there was stuff around it. But my mental picture is a big house with a plane, like stuff got mowed down with empty lots surrounding it.
JA: That’s not too far from the truth. What it was was it was on the corner of Wilson and Kansas, so if you think about it… it was on that corner, and all over here was an empty field. Like the footprint almost of a skyscraper. A good 14-story condominium could easily fit in there. Across the street was the gas station and tire place which I’ve never seen to be open but never seem to go anywhere.
TM: There seemed to be evidence of business.
JA: And across the street was a low two-story housing was across Wilson Boulevard. Like, two-story brick houses.
TM: Yeah like Boston-style, World War II.
JA: Some sort of skuzzy, like World War II looking like really run down, and then caddy corner from that is Marios.
TM: Was Mario’s caddy corner?
JA: It was pretty close to caddy corner.
TM: Crazy. I never ate at Marios.
JA: Neither did I.
TM: I feel like it was never actually open. Or something…
JA: No, it was always open.
TM: I thought it was a couple blocks down the street.
JA: It might have been… it might have been the Highlander Motel that was caddy corner…
TM: The Highlander Motel… I wasn’t trying to go over there. But I think that was key that there was no one around to complain. Not even to complain, to have an opinion. Because on either side of the blocks you had these pretty industrial, suburban local highways. So anyone on the other side of the street, it’s not going to be as loud as the cars going by their house. So, it had a weird pocket. It was in a bubble. A suburban bubble. And you felt like you could do anything there, even though Arlington was right there, it was visible from the porch.
JA: Which is interesting because at the time, Virginia Square was also, I mean it literally was kind of a no man’s land between this huge commercial development in Ballston and this huge commercial development between Clarendon and Courthouse. And even at the time, what felt like huge commercial developments were nothing compared to what they are now. But in that period of time, you would get past the intersection of Washington and Wilson, there was no Silver Diner, there was almost nothing along after that until you got to Ballston Commons Mall. So, you’re kind of right in a way that it felt like this abandoned, desolate stretch. I mean, I know people lived there. The Positive Force house was right around the corner and actually, that’s my first memory of the neighborhood was going to a meeting at Positive Force before going to see Fugazi at Pulaski Park.
TM: Around the corner, really?
JA: Yeah, it was on 8th Street around the corner from there. It was in walking distance.
TM: How about that. That’s funny.
JA: I was gonna say, one of my strongest, first memories of that neighborhood was being like, 17 years old, not really knowing where the hell I was, still having that “I was raised in the suburbs in the late-80s during the crack epidemic, oh, if you go into the city you’re gonna get shot,” and going into that part of Arlington which at the time was a little bit rougher but nowhere near as rough as I expected it to be at all. That neighborhood definitely felt rougher a little bit. A little bit more working class than you can imagine now.
TP: So talk about, and Jimmy kind of, in his non-memory memory of playing a show at Kansas, talk about what it was like to play a show there. Like the difference between playing a show and attending a show.
TM: Well, again, it was very much like, the brain trust was there observing your music, they were very supportive but they were very vocal. It was kind of like you’d invited some friends over to see you rehearse. I think we tried out for our five new songs there. We had all these new songs and we were like, oh this would be a good place to kick the tires, see how they work. So, I think that added to the feeling, but it was very, like it felt very engaged on a mental level. It didn’t feel like some crazy basement show with people hanging off stairs and sweating and uncomfortable and people cramming right up to you. It was just kind of dignified, actually. But you know, it was technically rudimentary. There was a practice PA for vocals and you did not need anything more, as it was a very small room. And there was also an aspect of you were part of the evening, and perhaps the biggest part of the evening, but everyone was there to enjoy the time before, and everyone was definitely there to enjoy the time after. So, it wasn’t like, most of the party filtered out and then there would be a couple of people on the couch. The band would end, and then everyone would dance to Ryan’s djaying. So, it was cool in that way. It was nice to be… musicians always kind of like to play in situations where it’s not like this Apollonian Spotlight on you. They like to be in situations where they fit into an overall social environment. And it was definitely, definitely loud. It’s too bad you don’t remember because it was pretty cool!
JA: Did I? I want an Apollonian Spotlight on me at all times!
TM: Yeah, you’re like, where’s my Apollonian Spotlight?
JA: I wanna know where the gold at!
TP: And that party that you’re talking about is the Aquarius Party, too. Which I think is a very unique thing that happened.
TM: I don’t remember the uniqueness… I had no idea that this Aquarius… I mean, I had an incredible knack for being like, “what is it? What is tonight?” And people being like, “don’t you know? It’s International Moose Hunting Day! We’re celebrating Moose Hunting!” And everyone comes in in Moose hats and there’s a whole theme to the party and I’m like, duh! I was pretty slow on the uptake with stuff like that so I’m sure that just completely went by me. I don’t remember that.
JA: That Aquarius Party was definitely, that and… was that the same night as Juno played?
TM: Yeah… no?
TM: Who did we play with?
TP: You just played by yourself. The Juno show was Juno and Oswego.
JA: That’s right. That… or that Rah Brahs show you were talking about, those were similar experiences. I just feel like that particular Aquarius Party, for a lot of different reasons, sort of a high water mark for that scene in a way. Like, let’s have this really great band play at this show, and play a show here, let’s have a friend play music, everyone will dance, you know, we’ll run to 7-11 to get more beer when we run out of beer. That was sort of the high water mark of like Kansas as sort of a social scene I feel like. Although what do I know? Kansas also existed for a good like… it existed for six years after I left DC.
TM: It did. It went on for a long time. That’s true.
JA: And it existed for at least two years after anybody I knew moved out. I did the show list until 2003 and I kept getting listings for Kansas, and I was like, really? This place is still going? Good for them!
TM: Didn’t it veer back to a more, I don’t want to say more ideological but back towards a more… yeah, maybe the word is ideological punk rock bed? I feel like it got more severe.
JA: Jason definitely, I mean, Jason Barnett was in bands with Allison… was he in a band with Allison? Yeah, he was in a band with Allison and whatserface… Angela Melkisethain, whose name I can never pronounce, who was in Savage Boys and Girls Club. So he was in a band with them and he definitely liked to book a lot of bands. Basically,he booked a lot of bands who wanted to play with them. Which, you know, good for him. I mean, it’s his place, you should book what you want to book. You should support the things you love. What was fun about when Ann was booking stuff there was that she booked what she wanted to book. And if she didn’t want to book it, she didn’t have to. And similarly, Jason did the same thing and Collin did the same thing.
TM: I feel like it leaned back towards… do you guys remember that band 1919? It was in the mid-oughts. It seemed to me a small movement back towards Revolution Summer style sensibilities, and 1919 seemed to be one of those bands. I don’t think they did a lot of recording. There wasn’t a lot of footprint for those bands. But I got the sense that it went towards that angle. What was the last show? Have you talked to whoever was responsible for the last show?
TP: Yeah… I think it was Collin Crowe, and he’s in that band Buildings. He’s been in a bunch of other bands… I can’t remember the name… Sentai? He was in that band. And he wanted to do a last show and a lot of people were like, you gotta have a last show, you have to have a last big party, a big blow out. And the landlord, I guess… and the landlord… it got to the point where the Post was talking about shows that were happening there and putting the address in the paper. And Brightest Young Things were doing the same thing, and Collin was like, you can’t put our address in the paper. And the Post did a story and the City Paper did a story on the end of Kansas. And the landlord saw it and was really freaked out about it, so he was like, we’re not doing anything.
JA: In a way, that’s really the most punk rock way that could have ended. Just them getting so big…
TM: But is that getting up into 2007.
JA: That was 2009.
TP: It just got torn down in December. They were out of there in December, I don’t know when it got torn down. It may have gotten torn down after that. They left… I had gone by and seen it and it was boarded up and that was all that I could really take.
TP: And then somebody said it had gotten torn down. Like, people were trying to have… there was all this talk of we should go when they tear it down and watch them tear it down.
TM: That would be rough.
TP: Somebody said they should do a Burn to Shine.
JA: Yeah, that would have been cool.
TP: But it would have been the same bands… it would have been meaningful.
JA: It should have been Burn to Shine: Fugazi.
TM: No, but they never played there.
JA: No, but that could have been their one moment, and they could have burned it down around Fugazi, and then all the worries about are they ever gonna reunite…
TM: They actually could have killed Fugazi… That’s crazy. You know I’m reading the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire right now, and you always think… this is a strange connection.
TP: Is that the Apollonian Spotlight?
TM: You always think of the Roman Empire of being Caesar, and around the time of Jesus, and that it maybe ended around 90BC or AD. But the Roman Empire, in some way or another existed until 1440 AD, it went on for like 2000 years. So I’m kind of having that same shocking sense of scope… Kansas house kept doing shows until 18 months ago? That’s crazy!
TP: Less than 18 months ago!
JA: Less than a year ago.
TM: Were there pockets when it wasn’t so much doing shows and then it would start up again?
JA: Yeah. Have you found anybody… I feel like I heard, maybe Julie and I were talking about this, that there were people doing shows there in the 70s and the 80s?
TM: This is now totally like the Roman Empire.
JA: Yeah seriously…
TP: So that… the house is actually the childhood home of the landlord. And they were Greek immigrants. And she lived there as a kid and I don’t know when this part happened, but it was in the late-80s, it was a thrift store, and she ran and I think she lived upstairs. Which is what Nicole Ardoin said… she’s married to Greg Hawkins, who was in Gefilte Fish. And she was in the group of people who moved in with the JMU people, she moved in with Derek and Jeff Sprague, and some guy named Antonio. And they found the house in the Post, according to Nicole. And she said before that it wasn’t anybody significant, it was just some frat boys. And she said before that, it was the thrift store, which would put the timing pretty correct. And Ian apparently got all of his Christmas presents there one year. And that puts the timing…
JA: I got you some soiled underwear!
TP: And that puts the timing pretty correctly, it was the thrift store, late 80s, which is what Cynthia said. He may remember the Christmas… I haven’t talked to him yet. Then frat boys contingent, then Derek, then it was ours for the duration.
JA: Well, it was ours when it was Derek’s.
TP: That’s what I’m saying.
TM: So probably not.
TP: So my guess is no.
JA: Okay, I heard that rumor.
TP: But, there was the Pietasters house across the street.
TM: Oh, so they were probably… because they were probably there in the 80s. Those guys went way back.
TP: So this is a question I’m asking everyone, and I’m saying that you can define the question however you want to define it, to leave it as open as possible. And that is: what do you think is your most significant moment that happened at Kansas, or through Kansas?
JA: I don’t think that I have one. I mean, I really don’t. Kansas was, and this is something I sort of talked about with Morgan when I was in Ann Arbor recently. You know Morgan Daniels? You know, Morgan lived in Mount Pleasant, and they had their own world there. And they had their own house parties and house shows and house scenes. And something she and I talked about, because she’s seen Kansas House Project, and she’s actually getting her PhD in Library Science now.
TP: Oh, she is?
JA: And we were talking about the project and Kansas House and it’s importance to the scene and one of the things that she and I were talking about was that DC at the time, and I don’t know about it now, but DC at the time was a weirdly fractured scene, where you’d have the kids who knew each other from Pirate House, and the kids who knew each other from Go!, and the kids who knew each other from Simple Machines. And we obviously interacted and made connections with each other, but at the same time we all had our own little locuses. And so I personally feel like I moved through so many of those locuses, because I worked at Go!, and because I worked at Black Cat, and did Galaxy Hut’s website. There was never one moment where I felt like I was more a part of anything I guess than Go!. So for me, I don’t have a super strong overwhelming this is a quintessential Kansas moment, more than just any number of parties or shows when I was drenched in sweat dancing with my friends. And that’s any night. That’s the Aquarius Party. That’s Juno and Oswego. That’s seeing Black Man White Man Dead Man. That’s the night I went to see Q and Not U. That’s the night I went to see the Rapture after we played at Clarendon Park. That’s any number of moments that I have that are quintessential Kansas moments so it’s hard to just say that there was one uniquely perfect moment. I mean, aside from peeing in the sink.
TM: Sorry… it’s hard to move past that.
JA: Sorry Kansas, I totally peed in your sink.
TM: Um… I have a couple of very vivid memories that I can’t quite nail down to times and places. I remember I definitely remember one summer night, being in Arlington on errands and taking a detour and driving down Kansas and… was there a screen door?
JA: I think so.
TM: I feel like there was a way to tell if people were sitting on the couch from the street. You could detect.
JA: Yeah, there was definitely a screen door, at least at some point.
TM: And going in and Bob was chilling and watching Mtv, and I just sat my ass down and watched Mtv with him and made fun of the bands for two hours and had a laugh riot.
JA: Which one was Bevis and which one was Butthead?
TM: Yeah, right… I think we both shared the roles. I don’t know… that was kind of crystallization of the kind of thing that happened in a house like that, you’re at that stage in your life, and I mean… it’s a tough thing to describe. In a way you can say that people are waiting for their lives to start a little bit, it’s very symbolic, like, oh, they’re sitting on the couch, right there. You also are so hungry to see each other that you go driving by their houses to see if they’re like, in there. And then there’s the Ice Cube memory. I think I might have made out with Adrianne Lipscomb to that song. I’m pretty sure…
JA: So wait, which one of you is the white girl in that story?
TM: Oh, I’m definitely the white girl in the story! I’m pretty sure we were dancing. I think there might have been some light petting. But either way, that’s a really intense memory, just because it was such a great dance night. So, those two memories. I’m glad I committed that to the archives.
TP: I’m glad you did, too. As soon as I get out of here I’m gonna text Adrianne and be like, Travis said you made out.
TM: She’ll be like, no, what is he talking about!
TP: Do you have any other things that you want to add to what we already talked about.
JA: No, I can’t think of anything.
TM: No, I can’t believe I was able to remember that much.