Cody Wyoming -- actor, musician and scene stalwart -- is putting together a slew of local shows at the Living Room, an intimate theater space downtown. Recently, the venue held the debut CD release of The Oil Boiler collective. Now, it's hosting the Vi Tran Band this Thursday. We caught up with Wyoming about hosting shows at the Living Room and what he's hoping to accomplish (other than just pay the space's heating bill, that is).
First off, how would you describe your role in KC's music scene?
I'm really not sure how to answer that any more. I've been playing in bands and solo in town since the mid-'90s. I've probably been in over two dozen bands in that time, like the Golden Hearted Whores, the Afterparty, the Monitor, the Von Hodads Western Surf Outfit, Miss America, Rex Hobart and the Honky Tonk Standards, Big Tobacco, and a number of one-offs, novelty acts and tribute projects.
This February, I am staging a performance of the Rolling Stones masterpiece, Exile on Main Street, with a 12-piece band and over a dozen of KC's best frontmen and women.
Lately I've been more interested in doing things a little bigger and a little different. Don't get me wrong -- I still love to play rock and roll to a rowdy Davey's Uptown. But I've done an awful lot of that, and I've been trying to think of other ways to make rock and roll a viable entertainment form in this town. Hopefully, this Living Room series will give people a place to go listen to live music without the usual distractions accompanied by watching bands in bars.
Why did you decide that a quieter, more intimate space would be better?
A band -- whose name escapes me -- came from out of town. They were friends with Shawnna Journagen, and she had them play and asked if I would do a solo set to open. That night, I was struck by the intimacy of the room. Acoustic artists frequently get to play to quiet crowds, but bands almost never do.
How'd you get the space?
Through being friends with the proprietors, Rusty Sneary and Shawnna Journagen. I had been in a few productions there, both as an actor and a musician, and had played solo sets during the intermissions of some of the plays. It just kind of came up organically like, "Hey Cody, what if you ... ?"
I love the place and just like to hang out there, and I suppose I was looking for a way to hang out there more. So I tried to come up with something that would be fun, different, and hopefully help pay the heating bill while they had a few months between plays.
What's the Living Room's history in Kansas City?
The Living Room has been presenting plays and other theatrical events since May of 2010, with a few other type of events as well -- burlesque shows, private parties.
How'd you choose the artists you wanted to have play there?
So far I've been selfishly picking my favorites and people whose music I think would go over well in such an environment.
What's been your favorite moment in the shows you've had so far?
Well, I've only done two so far, so I'm certain that more favorites are on their way, but the Grisly Hands' Lauren Krum joining Dead Voices' Dave Regnier for a duet was pretty bitchin'.
What's the future of this concert series?
I'll do it at the Living Room as long as they let me. As of yet, we haven't set a timeline or an expiration date, so if it keeps going well and everybody's happy, I'll keep doing it. I don't really have my sights set on other venues. I like the Living Room. I want to hang out there and watch bands and plays, and I want to support a place that has been so thoroughly supportive of me.Vi Tran Band. Thursday, January 13, at the Living Room. 1818 McGee. 9 p.m., $5.