Sub Pop goes indie pop
Archie Moore interview by Pete Crigler
Velocity Girl, out of Maryland, were one of the first non-Pacific Northwest bands to sign with Sub Pop and immediately courted a lot of indie success. With the angelic voice of the girl next door, Sarah Shannon, out front, the band stood out from the grunge and angst that was coming out from the Sub Pop label and they used that to their advantage. With some of the poppiest hooks to come out of the era, the band made their impact known. Their music still sounds as fresh and original today and that's quite the amazing feat.
Around 2017 or so, I interviewed singer/guitarist Archie Moore for my book of alternative rock interviews that never came to pass. With the news of the band's first show in about 20 years happening in September, I brushed our chat off and updated with some newer questions as well as a bonus question from a co-worker who happens to be a massive fan. Oh and no small feat from the band either- they were responsible for helping to originate perhaps the greatest indie pop label of all time, Slumberland, which we'll hear about below.
PSF: How did you get interested in playing music?
AM: Music has been one of my primary interests since my next-door neighbor turned me on to KISS, when I was nine or ten. I listened to DC101, the local hard rock radio station, and got into Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Blondie and, later, David Bowie. Until I was in my teens, I never thought about making music, since I associated it with virtuosity, charisma, expensive equipment, and other aspects that made it seem like an abstract, inaccessible activity reserved exclusively for special people. When I started listening to stuff like Echo & the Bunnymen, New Order, the Smiths, and the Cure in high school, the live venues shifted from arenas to clubs and college ballrooms and other relatively small places, and the idea of making music became something to which I could at least vaguely relate. Finally, when I got to college and started hanging out at WMUC (the free-form radio station at the University of Maryland), I became obsessed with a bunch of tiny independent acts that had maybe one or two singles each in the station library. The performances and recordings and sleeve art were simultaneously amateurish, brilliant, and inspired. In particular, I fell in love with the bands on the Flying Nun, Creation, Subway, Postcard, K, Sarah, and 53rd & 3rd labels.
Some of my closest friends were in a noise band called Big Jesus Trashcan, and I'd go see them play at parties and at WMUC. A bunch of us went to see Beat Happening play at a tiny club called DC Space, right when their second album, Jamboree (1988), came out. That flipped a switch in me, and I decided I wanted to play in a band that same night. Literally. A few of us went to my friend Mike Schulman's apartment after the show, and played, unplugged and as quietly as we could manage, until an angry neighbor banged on the door.
PSF: How did Velocity Girl initially come together?
AM: After the decision was made to make some music, I started playing with my friend Kelly Riles, plus my housemate Berny and a guy named John Barnett, who we didn't know very well, but who seemed cool enough and had a guitar and amp. We played at a party within a week of our first practice, calling ourselves The Gotterdammacrats. We made extremely primitive noise rock, repeating whatever simple riff we could manage for three or four minutes, and then moving on to another one. We all switched between guitar, bass, and drums (mounted on cinder blocks). We covered "Shimmer" by the Flatmates, and "Suzuki" by Happy Go Licky (a DC band featuring all of the members of Rites of Spring, reunited to make ecstatic feedback-saturated post-punk). We were fairly terrible. John left after either the first or second show, and we continued as a trio for about a year.
PSF: What was it like with Bridget Cross on vocals?
AM: The Gotterdammacrats had been playing for a little while, and we met Bridget Cross through my housemates and WMUC. She was still in high school, or maybe it was the summer after she graduated, but she was 18 or so, and already fully entrenched in the little WMUC culture, hanging out with Mark Robinson [of Unrest and TeenBeat Records]. This was a couple of years before she was joined Unrest. In fact, she made an appearance, screaming or something, on a relatively early Unrest single, "Catchpellet," before she ever played in a rock band. She got her own show on the station, and invited the Gotterdammacrats to play.
Bridget and I became very close friends shortly after that, even working together at the Accounts Payable department of the University of Maryland for a summer. We hung out every day, and played records by Revolving Paint Dream and Galaxie 500 in our bedrooms. Kelly Riles and I were mildly frustrated at the Chicago and Lower East Side-style noise direction that the band was headed. We liked that stuff a lot, but felt kinda ridiculous trying to make it ourselves. I was embarrassed during and immediately after shows. There was nothing aggro or angry about us, and we were too goofy to pull off that style. We invited Bridget to join the band, on bass and vocals, and immediately began readjusting our sound to something more melodic and psychedelic. Bridget, Kelly, and I were very much into the then-current "You Made Me Realise" record by My Bloody Valentine, and started pushing in that direction. We were all too new to our instruments to pull it off, but for the first time since we started, we knew what we wanted. The three of us told Berny we were changing the name of the band to Velocity Girl (after a Primal Scream song title). We thought it would be a great name, and the reference seemed fairly obscure to us, because we had no real concept of the British music press, and Primal Scream hadn't yet crossed over into the US with Screamadelica. We recorded on my four-track in the basement of the group house where I lived.
PSF: How did Slumberland Records come together?
AM: At some point in Velocity Girl's first year, Mike Schulman and I entertained the idea of putting out a compilation single. Between our core group of noise-making friends (Mike, Dan Searing, Brian Nelson, Rob Goldrick, Kelly Riles, and me) there were several bands: Velocity Girl, Big Jesus Trashcan (soon to change their name to Whorl), an inchoate version of Black Tambourine, and Powderburns. Mike and Kelly lived together in a group house, and I'd go over there to hang out and play records with them almost daily. Most of the music we were listening to was DIY and homemade, and we felt like our bands were doing something that didn't really resonate within the post-hardcore DC music scene, but that possibly made sense in the context of the international pop underground, so we were eager to reach out. Plus, the idea of our bands and songs on real vinyl records was extremely exciting. All of us were into the underground comics of the time, like the Flaming Carrot, Love and Rockets, and Yummy Fur, so we thought comics would be a great source for the name of our nascent "label." Mike and I eventually landed on "Slumberland," taken from Winsor McCay's sprawling, fantastic "Little Nemo In Slumberland" from eighty-some years earlier.
As I mentioned before, we recorded stuff in our basements, on my four-track (or in the case of Kelly and Mike's Powderburns, regular old cassette boombox). We got it into our heads that we had to make a record. I saved up whatever money I could for four months or so, then Mike and I took my four-track machine and our tapes to a nearby basement recording studio where we mixed down to a DAT. We had no idea what "mixing" was, but knew we had to send a DAT (instead of a cassette with raw instruments on four different tracks) to the pressing plant in order to make a record. I sent the DAT off to United Record Pressing in Nashville, along with a big (for me) check, and instructions ("Please put a cool locked groove of guitar feedback at the end of each side," etc.).
We never called United or anything, just waited for the check to clear, and an acetate to arrive in the mail six weeks later, followed by test pressings. We got sleeves printed at a local copy place (Kinko's, if I recall correctly), in simple black and white. We called the compilation What Kind Of Heaven Do You Want?, after the caption of a Winsor McCay political cartoon we found in a book, and used a visual detail grabbed from another one. We hand-colored that detail (a star) with red Sharpies. The compilation ultimately featured Velocity Girl, Powderburns, and a Pam Berry-less Black Tambourine. I can't remember how it was determined that Big Jesus Trashcan wouldn't be on the compilation, but it was a source of minor contention for a short while. They were, after all, the first of the bands to form, and the one to gig most frequently. I think the initial plan was to release a second compilation in short order, with them on it. In any case, that was remedied fairly quickly, when that band (as Whorl) released the first proper Slumberland single a few months later.
At that point, we all just started using "Slumberland Records" as a collective, putting the name on singles as our bands began recording more frequently. After the first compilation, the core bands (Whorl, Velocity Girl, Black Tambourine, Powderburns) financed their own records. The exceptions were bands outside of the core group of college friends, like Honeybunch and the Lilys, whose records (aside from the recording costs) were paid for by the label, which was quickly becoming Mike's [Schulman] project. Mike had begun reaching out to bands from other cities, to expand the label beyond our little Maryland scene.
PSF: Tell me a bit about how Black Tambourine came together and what that project was like?
AM: Black Tambourine started around the same time that the Gotterdammacrats transformed into Velocity Girl, in 1989. Mike Schulman and Brian Nelson were in Big Jesus Trashcan together and Mike, out of the blue, told Brian and me that we were going to be in a proper indie pop band with him, that it was going to be called Black Tambourine, and that my girlfriend at the time, Pam Berry, was going to be our singer. This seemed hilarious and crazy to me (still does, honestly) because none of us had any idea how to make that kind of music, and Mike and Brian didn't know Pam at all at that point. Mike had somehow decided that Brian and I were the "pop"-apable guys in our noise band gang.
Pam Berry and I had been dating for about a year at the time. We were both completely obsessed with the UK and New Zealand noisy, pop-oriented stuff that I'd been exposed to through the WMUC folks, specifically Mike and my housemate and closest friend Dan Searing. I turned Pam on to a bunch of it, and then she dove into it deeper than me, and quickly amassed a record collection that put mine to shame. Pam knew Dan a little bit, but despite shared musical interests, didn't hang out with Mike or Brian at all. Mike had intuited that Pam would be a great bandmate, based simply on secondary knowledge of her musical tastes, and anecdotes about playing my guitar at home. The oddest part was that at the time that Mike made his grand proposal about Black Tambourine, Pam was in London, living there for six months after graduating college. So for the first months of the band, they still didn't know one another at all. Pam and I kept in touch through letters, and in one I told her she was to be the singer in a band called Black Tambourine, with two guys she didn't know, and I'd shortly be sending her tapes of songs for which she'd have to write lyrics.
Mike, Brian, and I started practicing regularly, and we were excited about the sound from the very first time we plugged in. We didn't really have songs, but practiced chord progressions and simple sections (and feedbacking) over and over, going for a noisy, distorted "pop" vibe, which was novel particularly for Mike and Brian, who had strictly made ugly aggro noise in Big Jesus Trashcan. Because we didn't know any sympathetic drummers, we switched instruments from song to song, with each of us taking turns on guitar, bass, and our kick/snare/cymbal drum set (which we played standing up). Eventually, Mike ended up playing guitar the most, and Brian and I split up drum and bass duties. We could kinda imagine what the songs were going to sound like with Pam, even though we'd never heard her sing, and she hadn't heard what we were up to yet. We recorded acoustic demo versions of the simple, repeating parts we'd been working on, and sent a cassette to Pam in London. She wrote back that she liked what she heard, and was coming up with ideas. We waited for her to come back, practicing instrumentally whenever possible. During this time, we decided that Black Tambourine should be one of the bands on the proposed compilation for the as yet unnamed label, so we picked one of our instrumental jams and recorded it on my four track. We named it "Pam's Tan" to include her on the record, if only in spirit. Again, I am puzzled as to how we decided to release a singer-less Black Tambourine song on the first Slumberland record, instead of something by the relatively "established" Big Jesus Trashcan/Whorl.
When Pam came back from London, the full Black Tambourine sound came together pretty quickly. It worked out better than any of us could've hoped and, if I'm being honest, I think we were all shocked when this band that had existed mostly in our imaginations for six months didn't immediately fizzle out. Pam quickly became good friends with Dan, Brian, Mike, and the rest of the gang. We played our first Black Tambourine show at WMUC a few months later, on my housemate Don Smith's show. Dan Searing shot 8mm footage of the performance, which formed the basis for the "For Ex-Lovers Only" video twenty years later.
Anyway, we kept practicing for a year and a half or so, occasionally playing gigs. In the meantime, Velocity Girl released our first proper single ("I Don't Care If You Go," 1990), which was in a very similar vein to what Black Tambourine was doing. Whorl had released a single a few months before that, so Pam (the only member of Black Tambourine not in either Velocity Girl or Whorl) was becoming frustrated that we hadn't put out a record of our own, especially since Velocity Girl was adopting a similar sound. And it really didn't make any sense, since Black Tambourine had a bunch of songs we loved, ready for recording. We had tried recording once, with Kurt Heasley of the Lilys guiding us, at one of his friend's parents' house. We got four songs recorded, but the friend's parents complained about all the noise coming from the basement, and kicked us out. We managed to get rough mixes on cassette before we left, and hoped that we'd be able to do overdubs and mixing at some later date. That never happened, but we eventually went into Barrett Jones' Upland studio (in his basement) and recorded eight songs in an afternoon. Velocity Girl had recorded "I Don't Care If You Go" there, choosing Barrett because he'd recorded early Pussy Galore records. We mixed the Black Tambourine songs at Don Zientara's Inner Ear Studio a little while later, and then released four of them as the By TomorrowEP (1991) on Slumberland. The master DAT of the mixes was later stolen from one of our cars, so the other four songs had to be mixed again by Mike and me, at another basement studio called the Station. We didn't know what we were doing, but the mixes came out okay. We released three of those remixed songs on the Audrey's Diary label as the "Throw Aggi Off The Bridge" single. And, aside from a gig at the Spiral in NYC shortly after that, Black Tambourine was done, with only one real day of recording behind us. Nobody really remembers exactly why we called it quits.
PSF: How did Sarah Shannon come into the picture?
AM: Before Sarah Shannon came into the picture, Jim Spellman did. After What Kind of Heaven Do You Want? compilation (1989) came out, Jim approached me while I was waiting in line at the University of Maryland's Food Co-Op. He told me he dug the compilation, and offered to sit in on drums with Velocity Girl some time. I was astonished, because that was the first time I'd ever gotten any acknowledgment of the existence of the record from anybody outside of my circle of friends, much less positive acknowledgment. And he was a cool-looking dude; he looked like he was in the Replacements or something. So we invited him to a practice, and immediately sounded more like a "real" band. We had still been switching instruments up to that point, with stand-up drumming considered the least desirable duty, so it was great to be able to just play guitar or bass. We had a new song we were very excited about called "I Don't Care If You Go" (which borrowed quite a bit from Galaxie 500's "Tugboat" and a Revolving Paint Dream song called "It Happens All The Time"), and Jim came up with a great drum part during that first practice.
So Jim stayed on, and almost immediately our activity increased drastically. He was friends with a lot of the Dischord people, and the DC punk community in general. Jim was aggressive about contacting booking people at the local clubs, he got talented photographer friends to photograph us, and convinced us to finally go into a recording studio, after a year of only recording on my four-track. That's how we ended up at Upland with Barrett for the "I Don't Care If You Go" session.
Shortly after that, Berny quietly left the band for grad school in Ohio, and we were left as a four piece. Then, Bridget started losing interest, and drifted away, joining Unrest a few months later, resulting in what is generally regarded as their classic lineup. Jim knew Sarah Shannon from the University of Maryland, and Kelly and I knew her vaguely from when she worked at the Record Co-Op at the Stamp Student Union, and Jim approached her about singing for us. She had studied singing at school. I don't even remember if Jim consulted Kelly and me; he was just naturally inclined to keep our little bit of momentum going, so he acted. Sarah rehearsed with us a few times, and became our new singer. At first, I wasn't sure how it was going to work out, because I had really loved Bridget's voice and playing style, and Sarah really wasn't into the same stuff as Kelly and me, and had a more "rock" style of melody and singing than we were used to. We'd play My Bloody Valentine and Lush and Popguns and Charlottes records for her, to show her where we were coming from. I don't think she was too impressed by a lot of it, and she stuck with her own thing, closer to Blondie or the Pretenders, which ultimately ended up working out better for us.
But at first, I kinda felt like I was playing in a band that had the same name as my previous band, but otherwise wasn't connected to it. I was really proud of the "I Don't Care If You Go" single, and wanted to go from there. We played as a four-piece for a few months, recording a song ("What You Say") for a Simple Machines compilation (Screw, 1991). It was our first experience in a real, non-basement, 16-track studio, and it sounded more pro, but the tune wasn't so great.
We were still figuring out how to make the new lineup work, and trying to come up with songs that accommodated the various forces within the band. We decided we wanted a second guitar player. Black Tambourine and Whorl had both recently broken up, so Brian Nelson was free. Brian is one of my best friends, and I suggested we bring him on. I remember doing this partially because I was trying to at least partially control the rapidly changing sound of Velocity Girl, and I knew Brian's sensibilities were closely aligned with mine, and I was excited by the prospect of hanging out during our weekend tours, which we were doing with more frequency. He agreed to rehearse with us, but didn't commit at first to joining the band. He said he didn't want to put any money into a new band, for recording sessions, etc.
Shortly before this, we had been working up a song called "Forgotten Favorite," and when Brian started practicing with us it sounded great, so we (Jim, Kelly, Sarah, and I) decided to record it as soon as possible, which ended up being about a week later. We booked studio time at Inner Ear, and Brian reluctantly pitched in and joined us for the session. I don't think Jim, Sarah, Kelly, and I realized he felt obligated to come, but Brian still jokes about forking out money for a studio session a week after he specifically warned us he didn't want to do that. In any case, we released "My Forgotten Favorite" on Slumberland (1992), and it ended up being a fluke semi-hit on college radio. It was the only 7" on the CMJ charts for a short time. Brian was still on the fence about committing to the band, but a few months after "Forgotten Favorite" came out, we got an offer to do a Sub Pop Single of the Month, with our friends Tsunami. I think that's when Brian decided to stick with us. So at that point, the final lineup of Velocity Girl was cemented.
PSF: How did Sub Pop come around and what was it like being a D.C. band on Sub Pop?
AM: We assumed the Sub Pop split single was another happy fluke, and pressed on. We were beginning to get a bit of a following in DC, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and a few other places, enough that we could at least get shows booked there. When we played in Boston or Providence, our new friend Joyce Linehan from Sub Pop let us stay at her house, which doubled as the East Coast office of Sub Pop.
Our immediate plan was to self-finance an album for Slumberland, on the cheap. At that time, I was also playing guitar in the Lilys, who I was convinced were going to break out and become big, in the indie scheme of things, anyway. I thought I might be doing that for a while. I don't think anybody in Velocity Girl at the time envisioned the band as something that would last too much longer, but we all wanted to make a full-length. We kept writing songs and playing out as much as possible. We played this weekend event called the Providence Indie Rock Explosion in March 1992 and, after our set, Joyce came up to us and told us to sign with Sub Pop. We thought about it for a few days. At that time, the label was still very much associated with Seattle and grunge, which we weren't really keen on, but they also put out Beat Happening and Codeine and a few other things we loved. We accepted the offer, and I quit the Lilys, knowing I wouldn't be able to give them the time and dedication they deserved. Shortly thereafter, we recorded our first proper Sub Pop single, "Crazy Town," (1992) at Catbox, a 16-track basement studio in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with our friend Bob Weston as engineer. We'd met him on tour, when he'd recorded us for a WMBR radio session. He'd been in Volcano Suns, a band I love. We chose Catbox because the Lilys had recorded their first album there, and I knew it had a good vibe.
PSF: Tell me a bit about recording Copacetic (1993) and Simpatico (1994).
AM: We decided we wanted to get away from DC to record our first album. I don't recall how we heard about Easley Studio in Memphis; maybe somebody at Sub Pop suggested it. We had a budget of $6000 to record and mix. That was plenty for us, since we'd previously only done basement studios or the budget overnight rate at Inner Ear. We spent five days tracking at Easley, with Bob Weston at the helm again. It was a fun, laid-back environment. While we were there, Alex Chilton dropped by; I think he was visiting Doug Easley, the owner. He told Jim the history of the kettle drum we had rented for an overdub. It had been on some Stax records or something. Jonathan Poneman from Sub Pop flew in to hang out one day. Bob surreptitiously recorded him chatting, and put the recording throughout the background of our instrumental, "Candy Apples." I almost immediately regretted letting that stay in the mix.
After tracking in Memphis, we drove home and took about ten days off, then headed to Chicago for mixdown. The mix was done by Bob in the attic studio of Steve Albini's house. Mr. Albini was out for the week, doubtless recording some great record, maybe P.J. Harvey. He graciously allowed us to stay in his house, despite having never met us (and I'm sure he would've hated our music), because he and Bob were close (their band Shellac was in its early stages). I've always thought that was a really cool gesture. Once, during the five days of mixing, Corey Rusk from Touch and Go stopped by to visit Bob. Bob played him the freshly-mixed "Pop Loser." Corey politely declined to comment.
A few months later, the album [Copacetic] came out, and we toured a bunch, opening for Belly. It was an amazing time. We couldn't believe we had an album out on a famous label. The first couple of shows were at relatively small rock clubs, but then Belly's single "Feed the Tree" became an MTV Buzz Bin-type hit, and the remaining shows were re-booked into bigger venues, and sold out. Our record did relatively well on the college charts, and our local alternative radio station, WHFS, played "Audrey's Eyes" enough for it to end up in their Top 100 of the year. By the time our tour with Belly made it to LA, Sub Pop was asking us if we wanted to extend and upgrade our contract. Hell yeah we did. Outside of the Whiskey A Go-Go on that tour, possibly the same night we signed our new contract, I accidentally backed the band's van into 4AD impresario Ivo Watts-Russell's car, breaking one of his headlights. My brush with indie royalty.
When it was time to record a second album, we decided to spend a little more time on it (three weeks instead of two) and to do it locally. The time away from home, recording and (especially) touring, was taking a toll on our personal relationships. We also decided to use a producer for the first time. Somebody at Sub Pop connected us with John Porter, who had done records by the Smiths, Billy Bragg, the Alarm, and others. He had also played bass for Roxy Music for a bit. We arranged a lunch meeting with him at a Hamburger Hamlet in LA, while we were on tour. He regaled us with stories of the Smiths, the Jam, Roxy Music, and Billy Bragg. We were won over, and hired him to produce the album. We sent him and his favored engineer, Joe McGrath, information about the studios in the DC area, and they chose Cue, in Falls Church, VA.
We never worked as hard, before or after, as we did making Simpatico. We didn't know what we were in for when we chose to work with a seasoned producer, and we were shocked when he and Joe made us do take after take, to a click track. Then, after a bunch of takes for any given song, we would sit around for hours while Joe spliced the best sections from different takes to make the best full take. But this still being the analog tape era, and Velocity Girl being a very sloppy band, the "best full take" meant that the drums were edited to create an ideal performance, but the guitars and bass-- unless they had been perfectly locked in with the drums (which usually wasn't the case)- would need to be re-recorded from scratch. The control room walls were hung with dozens of long, carefully labeled ribbons of tape.
For Copacetic, we had been inspired and influenced mostly by recent-ish stuff like the Wedding Present's Sea Monsters album, Th' Faith Healers, Ride, and similarly noisy records. In the year that followed, we ended up listening, for whatever reason, to a lot of the classic New Wave-type stuff we grew up with, like the Smiths, New Order, and the Bunnymen. As a result, the textures we were going for on Simpatico ended up being a lot cleaner and more controlled. Also, having a producer meant having a judicious editorial voice. No more six minute songs with long instrumental intros or breaks. We stripped down everything to its essence as best we could. There are a few places where I intended for my guitar to be noisy and crunchy, but they ended up clean. "The All-Consumer" is the one that still hurts, because it was one of the songs I was most proud of, but the guitar sound ended up all wrong, and sounded better every time we played it live. For years, I was freaked out by the smooth sound of the record, but now I think it's by far the best.
PSF: What caused the band's breakup and how do you feel about it now?
AM: Our third album, Gilded Stars and Zealous Hearts (1996), on which we spent the most studio time and money, ended up being a bit of a dud, relatively speaking. After several months of touring, we took a break, and during that time, Brian decided he wanted to quit. Nobody wanted to go on (as Velocity Girl, at least) with a change in lineup, Sarah had gotten married and moved to Seattle, and we just decided it was a good time to break up.
PSF: Tell me a bit about the 2002 reunion show.
AM: My old roommate Don Smith contacted me in 2002 to see if there was any way I could participate in some sort of fund-raising effort for Bridget Cross, who had gotten into trouble with the law in Alaska, and had big legal bills. I told him I'd get back to him. I half-heartedly asked everybody else from Velocity Girl, via email, if they'd want to do a reunion show to help out Bridget. We all called one another's bluff, and pretty soon Jim, Kelly, Brian, and I were rehearsing instrumentally at the music recording studio where I worked. Then, a few days before the benefit show, Sarah flew in from Seattle to rehearse with us. The show was a blast, lacking the interpersonal tensions and general fatigue that plagued us a few years earlier. We enjoyed it enough to record a few songs and do another show in D.C. a few months later. Then it sorta fizzled out.
PSF: What are you currently up to and what about everyone else?
AM: I work for a small company, doing audio work for television, mostly mixing. Black Tambourine reunited for three shows in 2012, which were our biggest shows ever, and the first shows we'd played where people knew our songs. We also recorded new songs, for a 2010 anthology, and a 2012 EP of Ramones covers (OneTwoThreeFour). In 2008, I mixed the first album by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and in 2015, the eponymous debut album by Expert Alterations. In 2013, I put a free album (under the fake band name Bye!) on Bandcamp, compiling my own music I'd recorded since 1999.
Jim is currently a journalist for CCTV, after working for CNN for years. Kelly and Brian both work at schools in DC. Sarah was the lead singer for the Not-Its, a Seattle band that plays kid-oriented rock music. They've made like five albums, and toured a bunch. I'm not sure if they're currently on a long hiatus or if they formally called it quits.
INTERVIEW Part II- UPDATE
PSF: What have you been up to since we last talked in 2017?
AM: I stopped playing music for a few years, but then the lockdown in 2020 happened, and my job sent a recording workstation home with me so we could keep working. So, I was bored and depressed like many millions of people at the time, but now I had recording equipment in my basement. I started recording cover versions of songs I love, just for fun, and sharing them on social media. Then my basement flooded, and dealing with that put me off making music for about a year. I've recently jumped back in, and am recording original music at home all the time. Not sure what will come of it, but I really, really love doing it.
PSF: How did the idea of the reunion come up and are you excited about it?
AM: I was contacted by a friend about the possibility of reuniting for a DC Punk Reunion event this summer. We occasionally get requests for shows, but have traditionally declined, for logistical and maybe legacy reasons. But I reached out to the band about this one, because the event seemed cool, and also I realized our kids had never seen us play, and we are *not quite* too old yet. Brian immediately told us he was going to be out of the country at the time, so we had to decline. But, everybody was otherwise open to the idea and, by coincidence, Sarah was coming into town just a few days after our email discussion. The five of us met up for the first time since 2015 or so, and we surprised ourselves by all agreeing to do a Black Cat [club in DC] anniversary show in the fall. Since then, we've spontaneous reverted to our old band roles and dynamics, but softened by the years and low stakes.
PSF: Any chance we'd get some reissued recordings or official video uploads?
AM: We have found a trove of old analog multi-track and mixdown tapes from our earliest studio sessions, and we are making our way through it. Very exciting for me. There are no details yet, but at the very least we'll almost certainly be getting our early material on streaming for the first time, but from master audio sources that are much better than the DATs we used for the original releases. It's very likely that there will be physical releases of one or more things. Not trying to be mysterious or oversell anything, haha. We just haven't figured out exactly what we want to do with it all.
Question from Krysti Albus: Would the reunion mean new music, I feel like the music was just starting to evolve into a different sound right before the break up.
AM: We won't be playing or recording any new music. I think everybody in the band is enjoying the reunion and hanging out, but I don't think any of us are interested in new Velocity Girl music. Even more than before, I think we have conflicting ideas about the band's identity and the music we play.
|MAIN PAGE||ARTICLES||STAFF/FAVORITE MUSIC||LINKS|