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Ryan Nelson
July 29, 2010
Petworth, Washington DC

TP: I have a list of questions, but I have a feeling we’re going to cover them all anyway. But, I always start by asking, do you remember the first time you ever heard about Kansas House and when you started going there?

RN: Yeah, I might get it a little wrong, but in my memory, the first time I ever heard of Kansas was at Go! Compact Discs, and I think my brother, I don’t know if we had just played at Go! when they had in-stores, and this was Most Secret Method. I don’t know if we had just played at Go! or not, but my brother said something about playing a house show, and he was telling me about it. And I didn’t know who lived there and I’d never heard of Kansas Street obviously, and I didn’t know there was a house to play at, because house shows are awesome. So I didn’t even know there was a house to even play. And it was like, right on the strip. It was kind of blowing my mind when we did actually end up playing there. But I feel like at Go!, somehow we met somebody who offered us a show, and Marc accepted like that night or something like that. Again, I might have that wrong, but that’s how it resides here. And at the time, I think maybe Derek, did he live there? So maybe. I remember hearing blips and bleeps about Ex-Atari Kid, if I’m even remembering that right. And I hadn’t seen those bands and I didn’t know. I knew there were random seven inches and demos floating around from people. It was like Laura and Jimmy’s posse. So that’s how I ended up hearing about it. And Most Secret Method got invited to play a show, and we quickly accepted, and then we played there, and it was life changing. Because a house show, although they are often awesome, could be terrible.

TP: Why was it life changing?

RN: Well, basically because of what I said. Life-changing may actually be extreme. But, it was on Wilson Blvd. Wilson Blvd. at the time was this kind of happenin’ strip. And it was just on that, right at the end of the road. You keep goin’ down and once it starts to look like the ‘burbs, you’re there. And yeah, I don’t know… it was just so close. And we had a house to play in on a regular basis. I don’t know when the regime changed, too. The constant coming and going of people in that house. After a while, we were very comfortable there. Me and my brother, probably because Ann lived there. But it was just like a home away from home. You always felt really comfortable in there.

TP: So, what bands that you were in played at Kansas House?

RN: Obviously Most Secret Method played there, Dead Teenagers, Oswego. That’s it for… do you know of any?

TP: I think that’s right.

RN: I was in many a failed band.

TP: But it’s funny because I think out of those three bands, definitely Most Secret Method, but Oswego and Dead Teenagers, those were sort of pivotal shows I think in that era.

RN: Yeah.

TP: Because Oswego played with Juno.

RN: Yeah, we played with Juno.

TP: Talk about what that show was like, because a lot of people that I’ve talked to have mentioned that show.

RN: Well, I mean… I don’t know. I’m actually kind of nervous now! It’s terrible. I can talk to the walls and get a camera on me and all of a sudden I don’t know how to speak! So Juno… I’ll take you back a little bit, right? We met Juno on tour in Seattle, and we were fast friends. No, actually we met them in Santa Cruz. And then the next tour we ended up playing with them in Seattle and doing a bunch of shows. And, I think my brother was maybe booking that stuff, or maybe working with Arlie. Maybe they collaborated, but I always feel like Marc booked the stuff and invited them. I might have that wrong. Maybe Arlie had contacts that he put Marc in touch with. Or something like that. But anyway, we felt taken care of, even if we had booked the shows, or they booked the shows, it didn’t matter, we were still in Washington State and we were on their turf. So we felt taken care of. So anytime Juno would tour, we would try to do the same for them. Most Secret Method played this show at Wilson Center, and it was the ultimate! Okay DC is legendary for being a difficult city to play for touring bands. It’s got a terrible reputation. If you’re not from DC, it’s hard to get a show. Unless you have somebody helping you, there’s a good chance you’re not gonna play the city. So, of course we met a lot of cool people and we couldn’t help everybody. We booked this show at Wilson Center and it was the idea was to have Juno play in the middle. So, Q and Not U plays first, and this was when they first started. They were young, hot, everybody liked them, everybody’s gonna be there for the first band. Juno plays second, no one’s ever heard of ‘em, and then Most Secret Method plays last and we sandwiched the touring band, we give them all the money and that’s it. So when Juno was coming back, Most Secret Method wasn’t playing, but they’re still in contact with me, Marc and Ann. And Ann probably organized it. I really don’t remember how it got started. But it was this thing that we had done for Juno before, and we wanted to give them a good show, and a house show was the perfect thing. Oswego was like… I was a strange member of Oswego.

TP: What did you do in Oswego?

RN: I played percussion, like random bits of percussion. I played like a giant kick drum that I would hit like twice in a song. And I was the emcee, so I would introduce the songs. I played guitar, I played like two cords in two different songs. But like, put on the guitar, “bwawwwww.” Take off the guitar. I was kind of a joke member of Oswego. Kind of is an understatement. I’m super close with Erik and Darren, and those guys start playing, they’re practicing with Chris Turko and Mike Markarian, and the way I heard the story, because obviously I wasn’t there, but they were writing songs, they were practicing in Silver Spring, and Erik says to Darren, “Man, I think Ryan’s in this band.” And Darren says, “yeah I think he is.” And then, like, next practice I was there, like “what do you want me to do?” “Who gives a shit?” You know, that sort of thing. And it was fun. We actually had a lot of fun, and we would dress the same. Not like the strict uniform, and it wasn’t aping Devo or anything like that. But, for that Kansas show, I think we all had flowers. We had dark jackets on and we had carnations or something. And I had terribly long hair and maybe a goatee or something hideous. But yeah, that was my role in the band. And my exit from the band is a whole other story but I’ll spare you. The Juno thing was great because it was a house show and it was live and god, the crowd was so nice to Juno for the Wilson Center show, and they were so nice to them at Kansas Street. And I think for Juno, I think they had a magical night, you know? And so for people who are behind the scenes of setting up the show, it’s thrilling for us. We got to pay the band money. We gave them a crowd.

TP: Talk about what it was like to play a show at Kansas.

RN: Okay, at Kansas Street, as a drummer, your first worry is: please have a carpet. Please, please, please have a carpet. Most of the bands I was in we would travel with a carpet anyway because you never wanted to run into that situation. But there was, at the forefront of my mind, the drummer needs a carpet. I was also always worried about cops. Super loud in that room, I think they just pushed mattresses against the windows. It was kind of a mess of noise. Those mattresses didn’t do anything. You might as well put speakers in the windows and broadcast into the street. It was crazy loud in there. My ears would ring like mad afterwards, regardless of earplugs or not. But it was great because it was really sweaty, and hot shows are better— Joan Jett would agree! But the sweatier you get the more into it— for me— the more I feel it. So, for me, playing drums, I would sweat through my clothes. But, it was good, though, because the wood floor— I know I’m making it sound like it didn’t sound good in there, but the wood floors, they resonate, you know, and for like a drummer, it’s like: BOOOOM PAHHHH— it’s like Bonham all of a sudden. It’s great.

TP: What was it like to see a band play in that space?

RN: It really depended. I, of course, have all this affection for going to see shows there. A lot of good memories, but if it was really crowded, there’s no stage and if it was really crowded, and you were in the middle or the back, you couldn’t see anything. Kinda crappy. I remember talking to Ian about this one time, and Ian was talking about how being up front is, that’s where the show is. So when the band’s playing, it’s actually important to be up front because then you’re part of the show. And I agree with him. I actually couldn’t agree more. I think some people try to position themselves in the rooms to get that sweet spot for sound, but when we’re talking about live entertainment, man, you’re gonna hear it, you’re gonna be fine. But being up front, that’s the connection. You know, this counters the horseshoe of people, like, backing up from the band. It’s a give and take. In a best case scenario, it’s a give and take between band and audience. And sadly, I couldn’t do that all the time at Kansas. I was always just like oh, the band’s starting? And I’d come in two songs later and hell, it’s lost. So I would try to get up on the steps, the staircase on the back. And there would always be like mad people huddled around the staircase. Every once in a while you could find a spot, sometimes you’d kind of feel it out and be like, oh man, I can’t see anything here. And then you’d just go outside.

TP: Where you could still hear!

RN: Where you could hear perfectly. And you could have a great conversation with somebody. No, but that’s shameful and terrible. I actually really liked watching from the steps because you could actually see the band. So, for Kansas Street shows, you had to be up front or on the steps, and that’s how it goes at a house show. There’s no stage to elevate anybody, so how are you going to see? Or, if you’re five-seven and a half, how are you gonna see?

TP: five-four maybe…

RN: On a good day. In the right shoes, you’re five-four.

TP: Talk about—how did you find out about shows that were happening there?

RN: You mean like fliering?

TP: Yeah.

RN: Well, I guess, I think I was in a position of privilege. Laura and I lived across the street from Kansas Street. Ann was right across the street, we were in constant contact with Ann and Mary and Bob. And that’s for my heyday of Kansas. That posse is, I don’t know, what would you compare it to, sort of, like, the popular class. I’m sure everybody has their own crew, but for me, that was the most sane posse of people. Thomas lived there, but I think it was pretty brief. Chris Richards lived there– he lived there for like a half hour. I think maybe he would say something else.

TP: I think it was about that.

RN: Jason Hammacher lived there, for a half hour and fifteen minutes. I don’t know… and you know, we got psyched when they moved in, like, Kansas is still awesome! And they were like, I’m outta here man! It was cool, though, even briefly.

TP: Chris brought you up— he did a very funny imitation of you…

RN: I’ve heard of imitations of me…

TP: Though not as good as your imitation of Denno just now… but, he talked about how one day he was studying, and you came up and asked him to do hand claps on a Dead Teenagers record.

RN: He was studying? I interrupted his class, like, “hey bro…” No, I did ask him. I asked him to sing on it. I thought.

TP: Maybe, that’s what it was. So what were you guys doing, were you recording?

RN: I’m not saying he’s wrong.

TP: I think I may have just made up handclaps.

RN: It was either handclaps or singing. I’m certain he sang on it.

TP: I think it was singing.

RN: We recorded the demo on my four track. Hey! Wow!

TP: Look, it’s Mary Chen.

RN: You said it’s from Mary Chen.

TP: No, it’s next to Mary Chen.

RN: That’s Denno’s handwriting.

TP: And I think it still has the lyrics sheet in there.

RN: Oh, we had lyrics?

TP: Doode, I think it’s still in there. I just opened it up.

RN: We were taping over these things. Me and Erik dubbing these things. I say me and Erik— Erik dubbed them on his thing, you know, and I’m sitting next to him talking all night.

TP: So is that what you recorded down there?

RN: Yeah. This is it. We did, I don’t know how many songs. It was every song we had. Dead Teenagers only had eight to ten songs ever. But, we recorded in the basement, and I recorded it on the four track. This thing I’ve been toting around since ’92, and I still love it.

TP: What kind of four track is it?

RN: It’s the, oh my god, I want to say the Tascam 424.

TP: That everyone had.

RN: Yeah. My particular machine, I’m so familiar with it, I know how to get pretty decent drum sounds. That is one of my favorite recordings I ever did on four track. That, and there’s another band that no one’s ever heard— Casino Action. I played with Joanne Gaul and Rob, and we would practice every week with Casino Action, and we did a four track recording that, it’s great.

TP: So, how did you set up in the basement?

RN: Man, I hated that basement! God I hated that basement so much. Thank god Kansas House shows, thank god they happened in the living room because that basement was the pits, man. There was like, god this is gonna sound terrible, like, real squalor. But there was a dead rodent smell, like when a rodent dies in the wall. I always imagined that they would be walking along and then just like, I’m dead now. Like a rodent dies in the wall and then it just goes through the entire house or something like that. And I remember the basement, every once in a while there would be a dead rodent smell down there. It was kind of rough. And the other thing is, you hang out down there for more than a half hour, and then you get used to it. You don’t smell it anymore. But we recorded, the three of us— me, Erik and Ann— and it was great. We were trying to get this chant going: “Dead Teenagers! Dead Teenagers!” Cause that was the whole thing about the band— we had to have a song with our band name in it. We asked Chris to sing, and he was great. If you listen to the demo, his voice, you can actually, at least I can hear Chris on it, and he sounds great. When we recorded the CD, which is the same songs, plus one, I think, with Chad, for Chris’ vocal part, we called Alec MacKaye, and he came in. And I hadn’t talked to him. I lived with Alec for four years, and I love him dearly. He’s one of my favorite people on earth. I really love Alec to death, but I hadn’t spoken to him since I’d moved out of the house, I hadn’t spoken to him in a while. And I called him and said: we’re at Inner Ear, recording Dead Teenagers, I know you haven’t heard this stuff, but I just wanted to know if you’d come over and do some back up vocals. Man, he was there, 20 minutes later, and it was awesome. And Erik and I talked about it, too. The whole reason to get Alec to do it was, you know, we grew up listening to Dischord records. Like, mad fans of Dischord. And we saw Alec’s presence on other records as like this, you know, these pivotal moments in music. Like, Alec is on the Beefeater record, the second Beefeater record, you know? Alec sings one of the songs. And I think it might be Circus Lupus, on Supergenius, Alec does some background vocals. And it’s just, you know, these moments, these little blips, like “Guest Appearance by Alec MacKaye.” You’d get, like, for me, it was like, let’s make Dead Teenagers totally legit: “guest appearance by Alec MacKaye!” And it was great, too. And having him in the studio was awesome, because he kind of riffed it at the end, we’re like “Dead Teenagers, Dead Teenagers,” and then Alec’s like “Dead Dead Dead Dead!” He’s like screaming!

TP: I didn’t realize that was Alec.

RN: Yeah, on the CD. Yeah, that’s Alec. And me and Erik are like [high five].

TP: So let’s go back to talking about fliers, because one of the things Chen talked about.

RN: I can answer really quickly—I found out about the shows through the people, but I don’t necessarily remember the Kansas fliers, unless I made them.

TP: Well, I was gonna say, she has, and I thought I had it somewhere because I remember it hanging up in my City Paper cube— the one for Juno.

RN: What was the flier?

TP: I don’t remember what it looked like, and she’s supposed to scan this, too… there was, “at the neighborhood hotspot known as Kansas.” And it was Kansas on fire.

RN: Oh yeah! You know what, I gotta see it because I can’t remember if I drew it or not.

TP: You definitely drew it.

RN: Okay.

TP: I don’t remember the rest of it except for that.

RN: It doesn’t look like Kansas. If you look at the house, because I just drew any old house and drew it on fire. But if you look at it, I don’t think it’s the shape of Kansas. I might have done Kansas’ roof went like that and I might have drawn it like that. It was a very poor rendition of Kansas. And was that the Juno show?

TP: Yeah, I think so. And I know that I had it somewhere. I may have had too much tape on it and I threw it away.

RN: That’s when fliers start to look the best! When they get kind of yellow and they got tape on ‘em! But, Oswego. We would always do these fliers. Seriously, Erik and I… obviously I did a lot of fliers on my own, for every band I was ever in. I’ve said this at other points in my life, but I mean it— over half the appeal of even playing in bands was, I want to do fliers. I had to start a band so I could do fliers! But Erik and I, with Oswego, we worked very, very collaboratively. We just, we always collaborated on things. I mean, the Dead Teenagers, the same thing. Erik and I were neck and neck for these projects. All the time. We would talk about ideas and laugh and laugh and laugh, and then we’d do it. There’s a ton of ideas we never got to. One of my favorites was the photo project we wanted to do. We wanted to take photos of us at jobs where we clearly did not work. Because I had this yellow van, and it looked like a construction road side van. My yellow van, I bought it from Mark Robinson. It was either the Unrest van or the Flin Flon van or something. But anyway, I had this yellow van, and we were going to get some orange cones and actually block traffic. And then open up a manhole and have one of us, get some like, I don’t know, some kind of work gear, and act like we were going into the sewers. And block traffic with this stuff. And Burrito Brothers. We ate at Burrito Brothers so much that we were kinda familiar with the employees. Not like we were hanging out with them, but we knew them enough to make jokes and stuff. So we were gonna, like, hey, can I borrow your uniform, and get behind the counter and take a picture of us working there. Like, me, rolling a burrito and Erik by the cash register or something. We had a whole list of jobs that we didn’t have. And we got Pat Graham, and Pat was like, yeah, I’ll take these photos! So we were like, yeah– “Photos by Pat Graham!” And Erik wanted to glue nickels, buy like a ton of, rolls and rolls of nickels and glue them all over the street and sidewalks all over DC. Spend an entire night just gluing nickels, like supergluing nickels everywhere, and then walking around DC and watching everybody try to pick nickels up.

TP: That so has to happen!

RN: There were all these ideas that we never did. But anyway, about the fliers… I’m sorry…

TP: That’s alright.

RN: My tangents… you’re just as guilty as me with the tangents. The fliers we worked together on and we would draw them. Sometimes I would draw them, sometimes Erik would draw them. If Erik did the actual illustration then I would do the handwriting and vice versa. So we had, you know, we would always have a thing that said what candy we would feature that night because Oswego always had candy. So it would be like, “Taffy Time.”

TP: Just sort of generally, too, talk about maybe, I’m going to say the importance of fliers.

RN: Well, my thing with fliers was that we’re fashioning an event. I grew up having fliers on my bedroom wall. And I had all these New York hardcore bands that would come play Safari, and all the Dischord bands, and listening to anything I could get my hands on. And my bedroom wall in Suitland was just covered with fliers. And it was crazy, my relationship with the fliers— “my relationship..” but you know what I mean. My relationship was like, that’s the show I’m going to, you know? And then I’d go to the show, and have a great time, and the flier would remain. And then the images, they’re all infused, and then suddenly the event, I don’t know how to explain it. There’s an event looming, and then you associate the art with the event. And then you go to it, and then afterwards, you have another tier of this thing affecting your memory with the visual presence of this flier and everything like that. I know it sounds too lofty and it sounds maybe I’m romanticizing it or whatever, but when I look at fliers, even for shows that I’d even gone to, the art was part of it. These things, they were married. Do you know what I mean? So my thing with doing fliers is, 1) fliering works. I went to a lot of shows because I found out about them through fliers. It works provided the fliers looked good. So, crafting a really amazing flier was a really important thing. Going to the Black Cat and handing out fliers at the end of the night— it’s not that much of a drag when you’re actually kind of proud of how it actually looks. Even though ultimately they’re all crumbled up on the floor by the end of the night. But still, I always felt kind of invasive, like, hey, come check out my band, that sort of thing. My brother was shameless. You know, hey! But, I felt good about it in that kind of Black Flag sense, where we were, we had a work aesthetic, and we promote our shows and you see a result. I think, actually, with Most Secret Method, I love that band. You know, I have an insane loyalty, where it exists in my memory is awesome. But I know that Most Secret Method’s music wasn’t for everybody. And some of our best shows, some of our most crowded shows had to do with people liking our music, the people that did. People liking us as individuals, just being personable, and fliers. I honestly think that people were interested— I keep seeing these damn fliers! And then we’d get lucky and pack a room or something. Which was always a surprise, because I can’t say I’ve ever been in any sort of popular band where we would consistently pack a room. But, there were some nights, like, the Metro. Man, I didn’t like the Metro. Do you remember that club?

TP: Yeah, I think I did not like that club either.

RN: It was great on paper, like, we’re gonna go play at Dante’s!

TP: The stage was really high, wasn’t it?

RN: The stage was really high. I’ll spare you, because I could probably do some trash talking behind the scenes about the Metro. But, the Metro show was incredible. Probably one of the best Most Secret Method shows in DC ever. And it had nothing to do with the space itself. It had to do with our friends coming to the show and these… I don’t know. Anyway, the point is, and I know I sound like a broken record, but we fashioned an event on the strength of the flier. And I still believe in that. It doesn’t have to be with music or anything like that. The legacy of doing poster art, like my relationship with that stuff has everything to do with going to National Gallery from like sixth grade, till like right now. I would go to National Gallery on a regular basis. I think this is the only time I’ve come back to DC and not gone to National Gallery. I always go. They would always have what shows were happening with this giant poster for it, well banner for it. And suddenly it’s like: man, I gotta see that show. And it actually works. Seeing these things actually drew me in. But also, with the fine artists, like Toulouse Lautrec. We go to art galleries, we go to museums and see the Toulouse Lautrec posters for the French Can Can, and the silk screened posters. They’re massive and they’re beautiful, and all the design of it, like, composition. Where you’re gonna place text and things like that. These things had a mad influence on me. Toulouse Lautrec, even Klimpt. There’s a Klimpt book, a collection of Klimpt things, paintings, drawings, prints, and there’s a page of two fliers. And I’ve never seen the originals so I don’t know how big they are, they might be mammoth, but in books they’re just this big. But they look like show posters to me, very limited color. And Klimpt would have, you know, text up top, drawing down the side, and text down the bottom. And all this white space in the middle, and I was just like, oh my god, I wish I was that free, to actually design something like that. And it is, it was incredible— this was an event not to be missed, and this captivating imagery. The closest I ever got to it was with the Most Secret Method flier we did, when DCCD first opened, and I just drew Most Secret Method really big and just a hand. And I was actively trying not to fill, which is so hard not to fill every single thing.

TP: I think what you said, this idea of creating an event and it’s an event not to be missed, I wonder if that also ties in to the idea of what was really happening? If that ties into the idea of how a community was created around that space that exists, that music and art space.

RN: I’m not sure I’m following you.

TP: Well, “this is an event not to be missed.” You’re creating an event and you’re giving this… I don’t even know where I’m going with this, but you’re handing it out to people who are going to be drawn into it.

RN: Yeah, you could say this thing about collective art projects in general. That’s what you do, the community is a part of it. I don’t know. It’s hard to say because I’m nostalgic and I romanticize things, and you know, another side of me is a realist about stuff, too. But, I know how I see the art infusing these ideas, but I don’t know how other people see it. If I go to somebody’s, like a group house, and I see one of my fliers on a fridge, I’m really flattered and happy. That’s exactly what it’s for. Yeah. But I don’t know if they feel the same way about it, so I don’t know what the larger community, what their relationship. I can’t expect everybody to sweat Toulouse Lautrec like I do. So I don’t really know. But, we’d say that’s the same thing about theater. We’d say, you have this show, in a best case scenario, people come out to the show and everybody experiencing, it’s live entertainment. The audience and the people on stage, it’s the give and take, it’s the back and forth. I really like thinking that the fliers are a part of it, even if it’s on the periphery. For me, that’s part of it. Like photographs affect our memory. The flier also affects our memory. Don’t you look at a show poster, and it’s part of it somehow?

TP: Okay so let’s talk about, getting back to Kansas, talk about what the house looked like, from your memory, on the inside, what do you remember it, going in there on a regular day, what did it look like?

RN: I’d say for a group house, because I’ve seen crazy squalor in group houses, especially from tour. I’d say for a group house, it was fairly clean. It was by no means the cleanest place ever, but I didn’t feel like I was gonna get scabies there or something like that. Which is the case for other group houses. But there would be dirty times at Kansas and then there would be massive clean up. I always imagined Mary and Ann going “I can’t take it anymore!” And going on a cleaning frenzy. I could imagine Bob doing it too, really. The kitchen was kinda hell for me. And I apologize for anyone at Kansas, any former tenant. As much as I went there, and seriously, I spent the night there a lot, I was a pretty regular fixture there for a while. But I did not live at Kansas and I never felt that I had the right to go into the kitchen and help myself to a coke, or I’m gonna make eggs! I never did any of that kind of stuff. For me, it was, people lived there. That was their deal. That said, the kitchen, I never understood what was going on there. I didn’t know how the fridge was arranged, like whose crap was what. Whose turn it was to do dishes. The dishes thing was like, I don’t know, big plastic cups, The 7-11 plastic cups that would be like “don’t throw them away!” Hulking plastic things. I always hated drinking out of stuff like that. I’m saying it like I didn’t like Kansas House, but I loved it. You know, it was a group house. The living room was sparse, wood floor, comfortable couch. You know, I definitely know that. I spent some time on that couch. But it was just TV in the corner, couch, big open space.

TP: What did you do there on days if you just went there as a hang out?

RN: I feel like we watched– Mary and Ann and Bob– I feel like I watched movies with them sometimes but I can’t remember anything. And it’s not like they had some bitchin’ system or something like that you know, just a TV, VCR, I can’t remember. I think one of my fondest memories of hanging out at Kansas Street was hanging out with Bob, and everybody else, but for some reason, Bob had David Lee Roth’s autobiography and he throws it down at me and says: “open to any page, any page! It’s amazing! Open to any page!” And we’re like, opening to any page and it’s crazy. Seriously… and I haven’t read it yet but I’ve heard that Burt Reynolds has a similar autobiography. But the David Lee Roth thing was nuts. And we laughed for so long, like, we were crying. It’s amazing. And that was an afternoon, just a lazy, hot afternoon, just hangin’ out in the living room. We hung out on the porch a lot, the front porch was always a good hang out. We’d get into, you know, pretty serious conversations. And we were always goofing too. But, I remember talking to Joe Gross on the porch for a long time and Joe and I were always, we’d always get into it, theorize really heavily about something. Something about music that we really believe. And you know, Joe would drop some science on me about this thing and I’d counter it and say yeah… I don’t know. But I really enjoyed it. We had a good time.

TP: Another thing that has come up, Chen talked about this, and I think her exact words were “we had really awesome dance parties.” And I’m pretty sure you had a hand in that, so talk about that.

RN: Okay, so I djayed Kansas parties, and I can’t say I did them all, but I definitely did the ones I remember. I think I might have done it three times, and two of them were incredible. Probably the best parties I’ve been to. And one of them was kind of a dog. It was really hot, and nobody wanted to dance. Nobody. Everyone just hung out outside and I basically djayed to an empty dance floor. And that one came after the successful ones. You figured that everybody would, like, flock back to it. Like, we’re gonna get live again! But what I did was I djayed hiphop. I would pretty much play only hiphop. I did pretty much only vinyl and CDs. And I worked with Mary. I don’t know, but she would burn me copies of certain songs and I definitely rocked those things.

TP: What songs did you play?

RN: Um, Mary gave me a CD with a song by Blackalicious on it. I don’t remember the name of it, but I actually still have the CD, where it starts really slow and it gets faster and then it kind of evens out. It’s incredible. I definitely played that there. I played Kool Keith, Public Enemy. But the hits, god Tina, I’m losin’ it! I forgot, like, a million things goin’ through my head here. When I djayed, I learned that you gotta give the crowd what they want. You know, you gotta play the hits. So I would play these obscure hiphop things that were so awesome. I thought they were the best songs in the world. Kool Keith, I’d play something from Sex Style,so killer! And the dance floor– I would clear the dance floor. Everyone would be like: never heard of it. But then, you’d play Humpty Dance and everybody’s like: Yeah! I’m back! So I learned very quickly: play the hits, play the hits, play the hits, then maybe sneak in something that I like. And everybody’s still goin’ and then worked in some of the hits again. But the really popular songs, De La Soul’s Rollerskatin’ Jam, I don’t know the actual title, that was really good. Black Sheep— “you can get with this, or you can get with that.” Man, I remember playing that and the floor almost caving in. Thomas Crawley, man, he was goin’ for it! Like, arms up, jumping, incredible. And for me, I always liked dancing, so in a way I didn’t even want to dj because I wanted to be a part of the party. And this is another thing— djaying was a thrill. Watching everyone else dance, and then being responsible for that. God, it was the most flattering thing in the world. Like, I would get goosebumps about it. Like, it’s working! It’s working! You know, it was such a killer rush. I totally saw djaying in another way after that. And it was great to play there was a Jungle Brothers song. Propellerheads did this song by Jungle Brothers, and that was a really faced past song, and it was really hard to follow. It was so fast and people would dance so hard to it, it was crazy to follow it. And I only had one song. And I remember I did this both nights that I djayed, because I never had planned what I was gonna dj, but for those two songs I had them back to back. After the Propellerheads would be Public Enemy, “Night of the Living Baseheads.” “Have you forgotten, once we were brought here…” The way that song slams in, I probably skipped the intro, or faded in probably, but once that thing slams in— man! The dance floor wouldn’t stop. And after Public Enemy, it’s a little bit slower, but it’s still super brutal, you can play anything after that, get back to our regular program of hiphop. It was great though. And, there were people who would come to these parties that we didn’t know, who were outside of the punk scene. Friends of friends, weirdos, I mean, people I just straight up didn’t like. Not that you had to be in the punk scene for me to like you. I don’t know… all of a sudden some dude-bros come in, these douchey weirdos, I don’t know. And somebody would come in— suburban nightmare would come in with his hat on sideways, scraggly beard, chains and shit, and he’d come up, and— this really happened! I have no idea who this dude is, but man, the place is going crazy! It’s going crazy! Everybody’s dancing. And he pulls some CD out of his car and he goes, and he comes up to me and he goes, “man, you gotta play this.” And I said, “no, alright man, thanks.” And he says, “no man, this is gonna bring it!” And I was just like, “It’s already brought!” What are you doing, man? That’s the other thing about djaying that sucked. People would come up and, it’s kind of awesome in a way, because it’s this tradition of, “I’ll make a request from the dj. They’ll play what I want.” But, I didn’t see that comin’, so people would make requests and I’d be like, no we’re gonna listen to my music tonight. I know what you want to hear, it’s what I want to hear! And I’d have these weird requests for stuff. Stuff I didn’t like. Sometimes people would say, “man you gotta play Cyprus Hill!” And I’d be like, man that’s weak! I know people love Cyprus Hill, but I never got into them, you know? Or you gotta play that real jokey song on that Dre record. And I’m like, no! I won’t play that! I don’t want to play the skit! You know, whatever. There was one night we were djaying… this is terrible, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. I was djaying, party’s live, everybody’s dancing, I have no idea which party this was, but it’s great. It’s a great night! It’s incredible! And, they guys from Trans Am asked me to play something that was just so goofball. And I’m playing, and everybody’s dancing and having a good time and they’re like, you know… I don’t know who it was in the band, I think it was a couple of different requests from a bunch of different people,you gotta do this for them. Maybe somebody not even in the band. But it was like, “play Duran Duran!” And I love Duran Duran. Seriously. Man, I’m not into Seven and the Ragged Tiger but I love Rio. And the first record– Planet Earth, man, killer! But I’m not gonna play Duran Duran when I’m playing hiphop! Or, play Devo. You couldn’t like Devo any more than me! I love Devo! I’m not gonna play Devo! You know? Wait for another night. You know, this is crazy! And I think I pissed some people off because I was like, making the fart face. Eventually I was forced to do it, and I can’t remember which song it was. It was either Duran Duran. Maybe it was the Reflex. It was either Duran Duran or it was ZZ Top or something. But whatever it was, it cleared the dance floor. The Trans Am people came out of the back room, and when I say the Trans Am people, there was like a certain posse of friends. And they came out and they danced for the entire song, and then they went back in the room and the hiphop resumed. It was a very strange occurrence. It broke my heart a little bit.

TP: I’m glad you told that story.

RN: Did somebody else say something different.

TP: No… but I knew the person who told this story did not want it to be on tape.

RN: It wasn’t anything scandalous necessarily. Everyone was having a good time. It was just that there was another party happening elsewhere in the house that had little to do with…

TP: I remember her… I remember this happening.

RN: Are you saying that Laura was pissed for me?

TP: Yeah.

RN: That’s sweet.

RN: Yeah.

TP: Yeah.

RN: I mean, the point is that at the time I was actually strong-armed into doing it. I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t want to play this song. It’s not gonna work. Please, trust me, it’s not gonna work. And it was kind of like, “well, it’s our party, so you got to.” Not that somebody said it like that. Nobody said it that mean, but that was the impression that I got.

TP: Because that was the first Aquarius Party. When it was not Trans Am but it was a Trans Am band. It was Trans Am with somebody else.

RN: Yeah, it was their side project: Nuts Deep.

RN: Yes!

TP: And they did ‘80s covers. Which was probably why the request was for Duran Duran.

RN: It’s funny because with Trans Am I associate ZZ Top, Duran Duran, Devo, and I have no idea. ZZ Top has something to do with Golden.

TP: Maybe.

RN: Speaking of posters, Nuts Deep had a really good poster. It was just a squirrel with a word balloon going “Nuts Deep!” It was really funny.

TP: But, I think it’s interesting that they were like “what are you doing? This is our party.” And then next year, I know it was an amazing party, that party, people still talk about it.

RN: The best thing about it was that everybody got sweaty.

TP: Yeah.

RN: And everybody danced.

TP: And it was cold outside.

RN: It was all good.

TP: Yeah, but then, the year after was the Dismemberment Plan one, and there was no “well, it’s our party.” It was “this is our– collective our– party.” And I think you sort of came up with the main difference. They were both two of the most incredible dance parties I’ve ever been to.

RN: Likewise, I just wish I was dancing.

TP: And it’s interesting, that’s like the thing that was sort of the difference is that one was, there were two different parties going on and the other was…

RN: everybody was there together. You know, you’re right. You sent me the link to whatever it was, or I saw some list, where it said Dismemberment Plan plus DJ Ryan Nelson. And I was thinking, man, I never solidified a DJ name. What a crime! I always had DJ names, but I didn’t nail it. I think most of the time I was DJ Milk Duds, or Milk Dud. But there was all this talk about other things. I think one night I was DJ Esus, so you know, I had a tag, so clearly it just said DJesus. You know, hello my name is.

TP: Chen talked about that, how at the first party there were name tags and everybody had to write down their dj name, so that may have been DJ Esus.

RN: And I promise you, I didn’t come up with that, I’m just not that witty. But I sure did like it. And I djayed at Galaxy Hut a couple times. This is related so bear with me. Like I was saying you gotta play the hits, you gotta give the crowd what they want at some point. Just you cannot be, you’re at a party, you can’t be antagonizing. That’s insane behavior. But I was gonna dj at Galaxy Hut. Somebody said are you gonna play any hiphop and I said, no, it’s gonna be classic rock. It’s gonna be like listening to the classic rock station with no commercials. It’s gonna be great. And seriously, it’s like we were talking about earlier: Foreigner, Queen— this is gonna be awesome! Van Halen! So, I’m gonna dj at this thing and Chris Farrell, he got excited when I told him I was gonna play classic rock. There was a moment of interest. And he was like, are you gonna play all the b-sides, all the rare cuts. He was like, that’s a really great idea, are you gonna find out all these moments on the records that aren’t celebrated. And I said: no way! I’m just playing the hits. And he was like oh my god, that’s awful. Like I had offended him to the core or something. And I said, you’ll see, it’s gonna work, to the point where he was like, man I might not come out, like that sort of thing. Like I was bumming him out. Anyway, he did come out, which is fine, you know, Chris and I were always friends, and we laughed. We laughed a lot. And I djayed at the thing, just playing the hits. The corniest songs you’ve heard on the radio a million times over, and I’m playing them all night, I’m like a pig in filth, like, this is awesome! And I looked around the room and at any point in the night, there’d be five people, three to five people, mouthing the words. And if they weren’t mouthing the words, they were goin’ like this, not conscious of it. Cause you love it! Cause you love “Jukebox Hero.” Don’t act like you don’t turn that song up when you hear it on the and you’re by yourself! You know?

TP: So, okay, so let’s talk about… there’s some more Kansas questions that I have for you. And the first one is, talk about the neighborhood. And you already sort of talked about how it was on Wilson… talk about what was going on in the neighborhood, like, around our heyday.

RN: Okay so for the Kansas era, there was Go! Compact discs. Obviously there was Dischord. And there was Go!, and there was Whitlow’s, not that Whitlow’s was a happen’ spot for the scene, but I feel like at some point we all worked at Whitlow’s. Ann definitely did. There was, I mean, I did, too. Because you know, Galaxy Hut, we could walk down the block. There was Galaxy Hut, and Whitlow’s, and Iota, and all the stuff on the strip. Eventually, oh my god I can’t remember the name of the other CD place.

TP: Now?

RN: Now. Thank you. Yeah, eventually there was Now, and those shows around the park area up there. Motorcycle Wars played a show up there, when Clark threw himself in the fountain. Unreal. And Clark doing that wasn’t even the best part, it was that I don’t think it was ending the show. I think it was like mid-show, when he threw himself in the fountain. It was awesome. Everybody toting him across the street and stuff. That was incredible. I remember watching Motorcycle Wars, consistently, every time I watch Motorcycle Wars, I loved it on a level that wasn’t even right. And I’m not saying this because, like, Clark died and I’m embellishing. I’m saying it, like, I knew at the time, this is awesome. And I remember talking to Ian, at some point, because Ian was into it, the Dead Teenagers and Motorcycle wars trip. And to feel the support from him, even though it had this joke quality to it. But to still feel like, no, this is actually important. Somehow, we made this important. Motorcycle Wars… man, that band, it’s just the ultimate. I mean, seriously… I booked a tour for them, you know? The whole reason to do that tour was not to get Dead Teenagers on the road, but the world has to experience Motorcycle Wars. Talk about living vicariously, you know, we had this fake rivalry, we’re giving them shit on the side of the stage, Erik and I were rolling pieces of my drum set into Bonnie while she’s playing, like, we’re bowling and knocking stuff over. Total sabotage at all points. I love them. Jason, just holdin’ it down. His hair, his legs. His legs were kinda spread, you know. And Jason– mild mannered, soft spoken, beautiful guy, but in Motorcycle Wars— devastating! You know, gnarly! What kind of riffs is he playing? He’s not shredding! He’s playing slow tough riffs. KILLER! That song Haulin’ Ass is like the greatest thing ever, it’s like: dun dun dun dun dun! It’s so slow! And awesome. I remember me, Erik and Ann, every night on tour. We’re heckling, you know, we’re doing the whole thing. But seriously, they were so into it. And by the end of the tour, I think we played Ann Arbor, or Cleveland or something like that last. It must’ve been Cleveland. And the heckling was on the back burner by that point. When Motorcycle Wars played, the Dead Teenagers were on stage, you couldn’t stop us. We loved it so much that suddenly… we’re in the band! We got into it! It was great, man. It got so crazy. I got these crazy memories of Erik on the side of the stage playing drums with Bonnie. Like real bad, like the beat is going elsewhere completely. You know? It was great. Actually jumping around on the stage with them, it was fantastic. There’s polaroids of it. I have a Polaroid with no heads in it. It’s just bodies and limbs, and us holding the drums and Jimmy on the ground, and all that kind of stuff. I’m sorry… what a tangent!

TP: Well, that wasn’t really a tangent, because I think that’s exactly what Clarendon was like at the time.

RN: Yeah, it was something to see. And, I said this at the time, It’s not like, 20/20 hindsight. I knew it at the time. When I watched Motorcycle Wars. And you know, Dead Teenagers… I’m not trying to say anything disparaging about us, cause you know, we ruled it. And we won! Technically, I mean, the last show. At the time– I knew at the time– this is actually somehow important. I wanted everyone to see it. Which is actually what legitimately sparked the tour, like, we gotta take this on the road. And, on the road, I was worried because Clark would say anything. Like, he would get on stage and say crazy stuff. And I was worried because I booked these shows and I was worried that he would say something, and we’re staying with these people. You know, they’re promoters, but their kids. We’re staying with them. And I didn’t want him to say anything offensive because we’re staying with them that night. I remember we played Ohio first, and Clark said something like, oh, what did he say? There’s two girls up front, and he said “we got a lot of nice young tail in the audience tonight” or something like that. The most craziest sexist thing ever. Of course Clark didn’t really feel like that, he didn’t really believe that, but he’s in character, being this rock and roll guy. And those two girls were like, Oh! He’s talking about us! So when he said it, I was nervous, I was totally nervous. I was like, this is gonna bomb! Nobody’s gonna get it. We love Clark. We know the gag, we know the whole thing. But oh my god we’re gonna offend some people. And I started to panic inside. And when I saw those girls smile, in the front row, he had charmed them, completely. Saying we got a lot of nice young tail in the audience. Like: “yeah you do!” And then, that was the moment… thank god it was the first show. That was the moment where I stopped worrying. It was like, okay, everybody gets it. And by the time we played in Bloomington, we played some anarchist bookstore in Bloomington. And the promoter after the show, she comes up to me and says, you know, when you sent me the tape, I liked the Dead Teenagers stuff, but I didn’t know how I felt about Motorcycle Wars. I just booked them because I know you wanted me to. And then she says, after seeing them, I know why they headlined, and I get it now. And then she started spazzing out a little bit. She says, I felt like I was watching the Stooges. And you know, of course, we’re too young to have ever seen the Stooges, the majesty of the Stooges, you know, but goddamnit that was what it was like. It was the real deal. It was like Flipper and the Stooges. And, in the van, we get in the van, and me and Erik tell Clark this story– “you got the greatest complement tonight. Somebody compared you to Iggy.” And Clark wen, man that’s awesome… I’ve never listened to the Stooges. We’re like… what the hell! You don’t have a shirt on, you’re going crazy… how could you not? What? We thought, “of course you’ve listened to the Stooges!” And you know, I think on tour he bought Funhouse, and he was like, yeah I don’t know, it wasn’t really my thing. It was crazy. We were dying. It was awesome. It was completely awesome.

TP: I think a lot of people I interview, when I ask what the neighborhood was like will say, well, there was Mario’s pizza, and there was the 7-11. But I think the way that you looked at that, was that the neighborhood was like, Clark coming in with people carrying him. It was sort of just as like everything was turning. So there was this crazy punk stuff that was happening, and no one was paying attention and we could do whatever we wanted. And then all of a sudden, people started looking over their shoulder, like what was that? Derek has video of the Carrying of the King arrival. And I know there is video of the show where he threw himself in the fountain.

RN: No, that’s the same show I think.

TP: They were two different shows.

RN: Oh okay where he got carried in. There is also footage, I don’t know who has it, for some reason I think it was Eric Astor. But I’ve always wanted this footage. It was a blip… it was a blip at the Galaxy Hut.

TP: It was Eric Astor… he posted it.

RN: Where? Man I gotta see it again. I used to watch it over and over again. You know, Clark makes this entrance from the apartment above. He’s against the glass. We did that in Kalamazoo, too. We hoisted Clark up on a rope by his belt loops, and they broke. But there is footage of me and Erik. There’s footage of me and Erik in Missouri, at David Wilson’s show, Erik and I were bowling stuff into Bonnie’s drums and also flicking the lights, supporting them. Actually we weren’t flicking the lights, we were unplugging and plugging them back in. That’s how we did it. But Clark came in with fire on his head at that show, and it was this close to the ceiling. And he walked in as slow as can be with his arms out like this, and kind of went through the crowd, through the back, just like this. And then he got on stage and sang the song. And when he douced the flame with the towel, that flame went all over his face. And Erik and I both like, almost leaping to the stage to help him. Like, you know, he’s on fire! But that Eric Astor show, he makes his entrance, and when he finally gets in, the band playing one note: doon du do doon do do doon doo doo doon over and over again… so awesome. It never got old. So killer. The anxiety, the tension of the whole thing. And then Clark comes in, and he sings. Check out the footage, it’s his best performance. He didn’t do it on record that good. You know, like on the recordings. That was the moment. He was feelin’ it. And he’s like “Last time was the best time I was right below you!” And he made up new lyrics. He never had lyrics. He never had lyrics! It was all rock and roll and then he says something else and brings that last note in and like “Ahhhhhhooooooooooo.” That’s when they change to note number two in the song. And seriously… goosebumps! When Eric Astor posted this, this is like pre-insane Internet stuff but for whatever reason I had it on my computer at Dischord. Or maybe it was at Magnet, when I worked at Magnet. I watched it over and over again. And when I recorded Clark, with my friend Tommy, we were recording Motorcycle Wars, Clark had no lyrics. And I kept trying because I had memorized this thing, I could try to get him to sing that. But he couldn’t do it again because it was different all the time. I mean I should have just let it go, and let him be amazing in some other way. But I heard that thing every time: “Last time was the best time!” This, you know, rock and roll delivery. It was killer, man.

Wait, I wanted to say this one thing, about the neighborhood. I know you probably want me to shut up…

TP: No I don’t!

RN: There’s other people. The importance of Go! can’t be stressed enough. Jimmy and Laura were pivotal to this whole thing. Even though they weren’t setting up shows at Kansas, the support network, Jimmy and Laura were huge. They were side by side, neck and neck for all these sort of things, for all these events and super supportive. They were a wealth of information about all the bands. Somehow they kept tabs on all the bands, through the record store. But I can’t give them enough credit. As annoying as Jimmy is…. I know. And I know Jimmy’s gonna hear that, and I want him to. But they were instrumental figures and also like really important people. And obviously Jimmy who owned Go!, the other Jimmy. And Renee. Like, even though Renee wasn’t a fixture at Kansas by any means, my memory of that time and that era had everything to do with Wilson Blvd., Clarendon Blvd., and skipping down the block, up and down the block, constantly. And in my mind, Renee and Ann on roller skates, going door to door, being the mayor of the town. Do you know what I mean? Renee was like this, she had this allure that drew people in, people loved talking to her. She was interesting, she was fascinating, she was beautiful. People were drawn to Renee. And she was this Strange Queen of Clarendon.

TP: Yeah, totally.

RN: And I always liked her. It wasn’t like she was some sort of scenester. Some sort of untouchable or something like that. Man, she was down to earth. Awesome. But yeah, so my memory is very linked to Go! For me, I worked at Dischord, and I had a moped and I would go to order records on my way home, because I lived in Georgetown, I lived in Glover Park. I would drop off records for Dischord. And that’s how I ended up meeting Jimmy and Laura and hanging out all the time. And eventually, Laura and I started dating. It was.. you know it got to this, god I hope Go! orders… it was actually pretty cute. But yeah.

TP: So this is the last question.

RN: I haven’t been doing very well.

TP: No, you’ve been doing awesome! You have forty minutes left. This is the last question that I ask everyone. And the way that I sort of preface it is that you can define the question however you want. What do you think your most significant moment at Kansas was?

RN: Wow. Tina that’s hard!

TP: I know!

RN: What a difficult question. I’d say my most significant… I don’t know, my most significant… I don’t know… I mean, it sounds corny but just like, being a witness to it, or something like that. Being a witness, being a part of it. I never set up a show,but I always felt like I was helping to set up shows, you know what I mean? And I wasn’t saying, you know, give me props, man, that I don’t deserve. I felt legitimately a part of it. Like, we’re all doing this. And Ann sets up a show, we were all a part of it. We were all included, there was no secret, and there was not necessarily a power play going on. It was all for the greater good of the show. And I think the thing that Ann, and you’d have to ask Ann this, too, but I think if anything, the way that the Most Secret Method’s work aesthetic may have rubbed off on Ann, because she roadied for us all the time. If she adopted anything from Mark and me, if she adopted anything from the Nelson Brothers, it was just that we were really passionate about how a show should be run. Bands have to start at a certain time, they have to load, somebody has to run the show. A band can’t come up and arrive, and say, well, what do we do and somebody’s like, dude, whatever. Or like, “who’s going first? Doesn’t matter, you guys pick,” or something like that. Those are the things that we would see on tour and Ann with us, that would drive me, Ann, Mark and Johanna crazy. And we would always try, and after a while it was like, what, am I running the show? I just got to town! I gotta fight with these bands on who goes first and who goes last? I don’t know these guys. Make a decision. Have a backbone, run the show. So when Ann did a show, or Mary or Bob or anybody, that was, seeing our aesthetic, not that they learned it from me, but to see that, translated and actually working was great. And it kind of fortified what we already did as instinct, we were able to define it after that. Like, yeah, you need 15 minutes to set up, 15 minutes to tear down. After that, this bands going on at this time, this band’s going on at this time, this band’s going on at this time. And Ann ran a tight ship, which was awesome. You need that. I did a lot of tours, and I saw people fail at it all the time. I saw people in clubs fail at it. Like, man, just do whatever. People just so burnt out. And I didn’t feel that way about Kansas. Eventually, anybody that sets up shows gets burnt out, which is true of Kansas as well. And I just, I’d say, I don’t know what the question was… what did I gain from it? What was most important… I don’t remember what it was.

TP: What was your most significant moment?

RN: I think for me, it was just I would say, helping define this sort of work aesthetic about how to set up a show, how to do that sort of thing. We knew how to do that stuff before Kansas existed, but it wasn’t until Kansas that we were a part of it. We were a part of the action, that chiseled it and cemented it into my brain.

There’s also, I’d say, one other thing. The later generation of Kansas, when I didn’t know people that lived there, I felt very very awkward in that house. I don’t know if awkward is the right way to put it, but my Kansas was something different. And eventually, there were people that were setting up shows, I never met them, and I didn’t know who they were, and I would go to a show and it could have been, like, just the bias, like something uncontrollable. I don’t know, but the vibe wasn’t the same. And I remember one show in particular, Jimmy and I and a bunch of other friends, and anybody who sees this, and I’m not putting you in, I apologize. But I know that Jimmy and I were both in very dark places in our lives, separately. It had nothing to do with each other, it could have been a break up, it could have been whatever, but we were both particularly bitter. Which was I’d say the two of us being biter is the worst, you know? And there was a show happening at Kansas downstairs and we were up in somebody’s room in the upstairs while the band was playing downstairs. And the negativity I felt in my own life at the time, and then feeling this sort of, like, I don’t feel comfortable at Kansas and Kansas is practically my home, it was crushing. It was devastating. And I didn’t lash out or go crazy or anything like that. I just remember my heart being broken. Feeling the big change coming on or whatever. You know? It’s a very strange thing to have such beautiful moments, beautiful memories, and then to be somewhere else in the exact same spot. When Kansas was closing I had been getting all these emails, while I was in Kalamazoo. Getting emails from my friends talking about [it], people forwarding me the City Paper article, and I was like, totally sad about the house being torn down, mainly because Arlington now exists– all Arlington does now is they make new shadows. It’s like giant buildings when you drive through there, to me. It just exists as we want everything in shadow. And then, for me, Kansas had died a long time ago. And people that lived there, that I didn’t know, they probably did awesome shows. They probably had a whole other scene… man, I have no idea. And it’s awesome if they had a great time. I really do, I hope that Kansas provided that for another generation or something. But for me, after that moment of that weird show, whatever crazy funk I was in, Kansas was never the same after that. I felt, I don’t know… I just felt something else. So I had already said goodbye to Kansas before it had been taken down. Plus, I had no faith in Arlington actually saving the house. I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did. I expected it to go when Mary, Bob and Ann were there.

TP: We all did.

RN: I think they did. Did you interview Bob yet?

TP: No.

RN: Ask Bob, when you interview him, about the mailman. I’ve always wondered this because… they got a letter one time that was to Kansas. It was supposed to go to Kansas. Not Kansas, It was going to Kansas.

TP: The state?

RN: Yeah, it was going to Kansas. And this random letter, nothing on it had anything to do with their house, it just said Kansas. And it went in their mailbox. And Bob said, like he showed me, he was like, look at this! And he circled it, like, he circled the return to sender or something like that, and wrote in red sharpie: to the mailman— “nice going genius!” Or it was something… whatever he said was something genius. I mean, it was dripping with sarcasm. It was so funny, and again, I felt like, man, I wish I were that free. I could never say that to somebody. But yeah, ask Bob about that, because I want to know: did I make that up or did that really happen.

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