"Last year was the first one," Nord says. "My band, Main Street Saints, had played some festivals that I thought were really shoddily put together, and I didn't like any of the other festivals that were coming through Kansas City. No bands that I like come through here, so I figured the only way to get them here would be to pay them all and bring them in for one big show."
And the people came too. "We had about 400 people at the show, and about only 25 percent of those were locals. Everybody else came from out of state, and it was just a big thing."
Among this year's local attractions will be Sister Mary Rotten Crotch, the Klammy winners for Best Punk/Ska Band; veteran Oi! outfit Kelly's Heroes; and the Main Street Saints, natch. Those three are the only returning bands from Streetpunk's inaugural year. Making the journey to KC from across the nation will be Forced Reality, The Booked, The Youthful Offenders, The Brassknuckle Boys, Crosshair, Anti-Heros, Hudson Falcons, The Staggers, The Oi!Strs, and The Subversives. Shows start at 6 p.m., tickets for each day are $12, and more information can be found at www.americanupstart.com.
If initial response to the Streetpunk page at that Web site is any indication, quite a few people will drop in again from places far and wide. "In three months we've gotten 6,000 hits on it, but I don't think 6,000 people are going to show up, because probably about 2,000 of those hits are mine, but you know how that is," Nord says. "All the out-of-towners will have Friday to drive in and Monday to drive home." Nord also has another promotional device at his disposal. "We recorded last year's show, and the CD came out about a month ago. That was kind of like a flyer in itself, because it went to all the bands that played last year. The CD's already distributed across this great nation, and people are calling in about that." This year's Oi! Fest won't be recorded, because of technical complications, but give Nord a break -- two days of fitting seven bands into six-and-a-half-hour slots is difficult enough without having to play with the infernal DAT machine.
Jeter loves me, this I know ...
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Big Jeter, purveyors of hillbilly funk who have a constant hankering for Captain D's. "Captain D's is a big popular hangout with us," explains titular member Big Jeter. "We like those brown balls."
"Hush puppies," says DJ Clem, volunteering the proper name for the snack in question.
Jeter picks up where he left off: "We're into hush puppies. They put together a pretty good basket down there."
Doubtless, Big Jeter will down many the basket when it heads out on the road. The pair boasts that the Fight the Urge tour will introduce all the big markets, such as Paola and Chanute, to their hillbilly funk. "It's like Barry White in Junior Sample's overalls, I guess," offers Jeter when asked for a definition. "There's sort of a mix of the expected ecstasy that one feels when opening up a fresh box of Fiddle Faddle, combined with the displeasure and disillusionment one finds when they reach the bottom of it. A queasy feeling inevitably ensues."
Clem has his own idea, saying, "It's like the funk in your trunk when it mixes with the stank in your tank. That's when you have hillbilly funk."
Big Jeter's inspiration for that hillbilly funk comes from a unique source. "Our primary musical inspiration was the 1951 flood of Argentine, Kan.," Jeter says. "You ever heard a flood? Oh man, it's quite a sound, especially when it's going through Argentine. There's a whole gamut of emotions. You've got your anguished cries for rescue, you've got your jolly little kids with their little Weebles and their little Weeble boats that they're sending out on the waves. You've got the animals who are confused and looking for guidance, you've got your traffic lights floating and shorting out."
Eventually, Jeter says, it all dissolves into a beautiful rhapsody. "There's just the ebbing and the flow of the gentle waves, laughing at it all and bringing cleansing closure to a town that never should have existed."
The band got its start long after those events, when Jeter and Clem met at a dubious social function. "We bumped into each other at an S&M square dance at the Udder House. That's where the hedonistic society used to meet." Since that fateful day, Big Jeter has steadily picked up new members to round out the band. "There's Gladiola Ditchwater -- she's the female component in the band. I met her when she sold me a frydaddy one night. If you don't know what that is, it's a marijuana cigarette laced with PCP. She did a real number on me, and she was cool enough to give me my money back -- but cold enough to sell me another one later on."
Luckily, Jeter had enough money left to purchase Bo, the band's sax player and Jeter's cousin. "He's the quasi-Norwegian, quasi-retarded one," Jeter explains. "He had sort of a deprived upbringing. His pa sold him to the Knights of Columbus for martini money at the age of 5, and I think I purchased him at a bake sale one day down there in Overland Park. He was hiding in a pie; I believe it was mince and strawberry. It was really delicious, and I ended up having to lick most of the filling off Bo, and it was like when a pup is born. Anyway, he revealed a sax talent unlike any other at that time."
Sadly, Bo has already fallen victim to rock star excess. "He goes through a box of Cocoa Puffs a day, the poor boy. He's got that Cocoa Puff monkey pretty firmly ensconced on his back."
The band also must deal with drummer Mr. Fix-It's medical condition. "He's got retinitis pigmentitis," Jeter confides, though that seems to be pretty much the extent of what he knows about the affliction. "He has to wear goggles."
During the Fight the Urge tour, Big Jeter will also make stops at El Torreon with Midge and Sucking Strange Divine on Friday, June 2; at Pauly's on Broadway the following night with Snake Bite Orphans; and at the Grand Emporium on Monday, June 5, opening for Jonathan Richman. The band hopes to soon afterward release its first, and perhaps final, record, Jeter Christ Superstud. "That's going to be three or four discs," Jeter predicts. "We believe in shooting our wad all at one time, so every song we've ever written is going to be on the CD, and then we're going to call it quits."
Sometimes bad things happen to badass people. As mentioned in this space last week, after Boot Hill played KY 102's Battle of the Bands at the Flamingo Casino on Thursday, May 11, it returned to its van to discover that some fools had made off with all its regrettably uninsured gear.
"When we left, we went out to the parking garage, and I saw all this glass all over," recounts bassist Allegra Cloud. "It's like a very bad dream when all that happens. From there, I don't remember a whole lot. I was hysterical. I had all this black eye makeup on, and it was just streaming down my face mixing with glitter and lipstick. I think I cried all the way home and all the next morning."
Like most bands' gear, the stolen goods had sentimental as well as monetary value. "The blue Dee Armond guitar that was stolen from Gary (Cloud, guitarist and husband) was his Christmas present," Allegra explains. "We couldn't afford it at the time, but it was something that I had to do for him. It was the first guitar I ever bought him, and that just hurt like hell when that was taken."
Some of the goods stolen weren't even Boot Hill's, Gary adds. "A week before, her bass amp started cutting out, so I took it, threw it in my truck, and dropped it off at Midwestern (Musical Company)," he recounts. "That was right when (the store's late owner) Jim (Strahm) took a turn for the worse, and they just weren't able to get to the stuff, so we borrowed an amp from a punk band called Out of Step, and it was their Ampeg bass amp that got stolen." The newest addition to Boot Hill also lost an instrument to the thieves, Gary says. "That night at the Battle of the Bands was the first gig with our new guitar player, Rock and Roll Dave, and he had a metal-flake-blue Fender Sonic that was just gorgeous. They don't even make those anymore, Fender doesn't, and they stole that too. His first gig and his guitar gets stolen."
It won't be his last gig with Boot Hill, though. Ever the troopers, on Saturday, May 27, Boot Hill will play The Waldo Bar, with proceeds going to The Fund to Replace Out of Step's Pilfered Amp. "We're working on a little song about this, so if anybody wants to come out and see us be miserable and cry a bunch and reminisce, they're more than welcome to," invites Allegra. The band will play on borrowed gear, and Allegra says the amount of support Boot Hill's gotten from big-hearted people has been amazing, including but not limited to Chris Meck from The Kristie Stremel Band, Johnny Black and the Assassins, The Zippo Moment, Howard Iceberg, and Mars Music.
"The Kansas City scene has been incredible," she says. "People we don't even know have been offering up equipment. The outpouring has been incredible."
Gary agrees, saying, "This really showed us that even with all the genre backbiting going on that it doesn't really matter when you really get down to it. The emo bands, the cowpunk bands, the punk bands, the grunge bands that still exist, we all pull together in times of need." If you have information about the theft, contact Gary and Allegra Cloud at firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-677-0678. If you call the KCPD, refer to case #00046226.
You only get one sesquicentennial
One-hundred-fifty years? Kansas City can't have been around that long. Well, apparently it has, and to celebrate this anniversary, the Kansas City Symphony will perform outside Union Station on Friday, May 26, to unveil the world premiere of "Union Station," a piece composed and conducted by Robert Kapilow, the same New York-based composer who was commissioned to pay tribute to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art's most recognizable lawn decorations with "Citypiece: Shuttlecocks." Kapilow's latest effort features sound effects, an 80-voice chorus, and narration from such esteemed figures as Walter Cronkite. If all that isn't enough, this free event, which kicks off at 6:45 p.m. and is known as Celebration at the Station, also offers fireworks, jugglers, and balloon artists. For more information, call 816-471-0400 or pop onto either www.artslink.org or www.kc150.org.
Now everyone can be Irish three days a year
St. Patrick's Day has already come and gone this year, but those crazy Irish, they're a proud sort, so get ready for the Second Annual Westport Irish Fest. Taking place on Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28, between Pennsylvania and Mill streets on Westport Road, this outdoor festival will be chock-full of Irish bands, with Shenanigans, Eddie Delahunt, and The Elders representing the locals, and Seven Nations and The Michael Collins AOH Pipes and Drums Band coming in from out of town. There also will be Michael Flatley-free dancing and exhibits suitable for the kids. Proceeds will go toward establishing an Irish Community Center, and the fest is a great way to celebrate your Irish heritage -- that is, if you actually have Irish heritage. Otherwise, it's a great way to celebrate whatever reason you have for always ending up with a massive headache the day after St. Patrick's Day. For more information, call 816-756-2789.
Send local music information to Robert Bishop or J.J. Hensley at email@example.com.