But none of that's why I'm talking to him.
I've been interested lately in older cats such as Hopewell. Maybe it's my generation's addiction to borrowed nostalgia. Guys like Hopewell seem to be part of some secret society that knows about cool cultural phenomena that came and went, unnoticed by the mainstream, when people my age were still playing in the sandbox and listening to Tiffany. (Maybe that was just me.) When I'm out on the scene, asking kids who was in what band when, they continually refer me to some member in a cultlike cast of veteran scenesters, each of whom is a repository of Kansas City rock history. And there's a lot of it out there.
Enter the Pat.
A self-described "white-trash kid" from Overland Park, Hopewell is probably best-known for hosting the free-form KKFI 90.1 show The Real Truth About UFOs from 1992 to 1997. He came of age during the second wave of Kansas City punk, circa 1984. The first wave, he says, hit between '78 and '82, driven like a cattle prod against the flank of a dozing steer by the likes of the Hitler Youth and the Embarrassment. The Foolkiller, a club at 39th Street and Main, was the place back then, and Hopewell rocked its rafters with his second-wave group, EMF, which stood for a lot of things (but mostly Eat My Fuck).
After barely making it through high school, Hopewell worked at the Record Bar (not that Record Bar), a chain music store with a location at Oak Park Mall. There, he got his hands on new-wave and indie albums that most kids in midtown today still haven't heard of. His first band was called the Sinclairs (which used the famous gas-station dinosaur as its logo), but it was EMF that launched him into the scene.
When EMF opened for the Meat Puppets in the Footkiller's flooded, muddy basement, it was the first punk show Roman Numerals member and Record Bar (that Record Bar) co-owner Steve Tulipana ever went to. And Hopewell's band once opened for Nick Cave at 1616 Central.
"I was intimidated because he was one of my heroes," Hopewell says. He had other reasons to be intimidated, too. "Back then, there were twice as many local bands, but they weren't as good as they are now not as musically proficient."
But in those days, a lack of musical acuity wouldn't stop a sloppy punk from getting to rub shoulders with today's rock icons. One night, Hopewell was having a beer outside the Outhouse (the former Lawrence music venue, now a strip joint) when someone poked him in the back and said, "Tetsuwan Atomu." Hopewell spun around to find Steve Albini (there with his band Rapeman), who was commenting on Astro Boy, the Japanese cartoon character, whom Hopewell had emblazoned on the back of his jacket.
And Hopewell says he nearly shit his pants when, working on the crew at Memorial Hall, Mick Jones popped his head in the van to make sure the local hands were doing all right as they geared up for a PiL-Big Audio Dynamite concert. He took the Jesus Lizard to dinner at Arthur Bryant's and provided the Necros with 50 cheeseburgers from McDonald's. "That's all I could afford," he says with a shrug. "And they appreciated it. "
Any indie historian would pop a wood upon learning that Hopewell was responsible for booking the only Kansas City appearance of the post-rock experimental band Slint, whose members drove all the way from Kentucky, shared a lousy PA with local group Dirtnap and drove home with about $150 to show for the journey.
"I felt really bad about that," he says.
But not as bad as he felt after his first punk show, which was the Dead Kennedys at the VFW on 31st Street.
"I was drunk and hyped up on the music, and I broke a mirror in the bathroom," he says. "It was very uncool. I'm embarrassed to this day about that." He sighs. "It was kind of a heady time."
But Hopewell isn't embarrassed in fact, he's proud to be, he says, "the only person who's been completely naked at the Hurricane and not been arrested." It was at a Sin City Disciples reunion show in '99 or 2000, and, to celebrate the band's playing his favorite cover tune, "Fairies Wear Boots," Hopewell took it upon himself to become one of the fey folk. He stripped down to his clod-hoppers and danced merrily during the entire song. "I said I liked that song!" he exclaims when I point out that he pulled that stunt at what, age 35?
These days, his wildness is relegated to getting his hands on all the free and obscure music he can. A devoted member of the file-sharing community Soulseek (www.slsknet.org), Hopewell carries a business card that proclaims him a practitioner of intellectual property procurement, which mostly means he's way ahead when it comes to pouncing on indie music trends.
He says his tastes often bend to the British Isles, home of his favorite magazine, Wire; his favorite music figure, the late John Peel; and his favorite new genres, grime and dubstep.
As for his love of the local scene, Pat's a family man and doesn't get out much. But if you're looking to reminisce about or discover for the first time great Kansas City bands such as the Catholic Abortions, the Orange Donuts and Mudhead (which brought together MoMO gallery owner Mott-Ly and Archer Prewitt of the Coctails and the Sea and Cake), then skip the Googling. Find some old dude like Pat and ask him.
'Swhat he's there for.