huge thanks to Kory Grow and the entire PaperThinWalls staff!
So, Harvey Milk, tell us a story...
Athens, Georgia, avant-sludgers Harvey Milk play knuckle-dragging footsloggers that make you feel like you’ve been through a meat grinder on their latest, Life… The Best Game In Town (Hydra Head). Kind of like doing a phoner with them.
Steve Tanner, bass: Well, this one time we were on tour, we were playing in Lawrence, Kansas, and as we approached the… Actually, [laughs] all right. Steve didn’t want to tell a story. This is actually Joe [Preston] from Harvey Milk. I’m acting like I’m Steve. Trying to give you a real Steve story, but he’s sitting in the back of the van, refusing to talk, shaking his head and unbuttoning his shirt… This happened to me when I was in the Melvins… [Pause] Actually, Creston [Spiers] is here; he’s got a good story.
So you have a story?
Creston Spiers, vocals/guitar: I’ll tell you the story of how me and Steven met. I was putting up fliers for musicians for a band, and I walked into the record store where he was working to ask if I could put up a flier. And he said, “Yeah, sure.” So I taped the flier up in the window and I asked if they had a restroom. It was actually in a club, too, so the restroom was big with a lot of stalls. So I went to the bathroom to take a pee, and Steve, whom I didn’t know yet, walked into the bathroom and started taking a pee right next to me at the neighboring stall. And then I noticed he was kind of looking over the wall that divides the stall, trying to see my penis. [Rest of band laughs] So I thought that was kind of weird. And then he started talking to me, right in the middle of peeing, like, “What’s your name? Are you from around here?” That sort of thing. I felt really uncomfortable about it. And I kind of answered, like, one-word answers. And I zipped up and got the hell out of there and left, because I felt weird, like the guy was hitting on me. Anyway, as I was walking down the sidewalk, he comes running out of the store, down the sidewalk, he goes, “Hey! Hey! Hey!” And I thought, Oh, Jesus, this gay person has really got it on for me. But then he said, “Is this your flier? You really like Kiss, too?” And I said, “Yeah.” And so we sort of made arrangements to play together. [Rest of band continues to laugh.] That’s a good story.
It is a good story. From the way the others are laughing, it must be totally true.
Spiers: That’s almost totally true. Here, Steven’s gonna tell you one now.
Joe Preston, vocals/guitar: It’s not Steven, it’s Joe. Steve’s wussing out again.
OK. You were gonna tell a story about the Melvins.
Preston: All right. In Lawrence, Kansas, we were playing at this place called the Outhouse, which I don’t think exists anymore, kind of out in a cornfield. Anyway, when we got there, there was some cops in the parking lot, and we thought, Oh, shit. We saw this little dude in handcuffs in his underwear out there. And as we got all the way into the parking lot, there was a pickup truck sticking through the front of the building, and the guys there told us they were just opening up the club, cleaning things up, getting ready for the show that day. And this guy pulls up in his pickup in his underwear [craggily voice], “Which one of you faggots is gonna kick my ass?!” They were like, “Whatever, dude. Just go away.” Apparently, he left and then he drives back about 10 minutes later and starts chasing them around the parking lot in his truck, trying to run them down. They just ran into the front building and he followed them in, right through the front. So we got to see the immediate aftermath.
OK, those are both good stories.
Preston: Steve’s got all kinds of stuff that he’s refusing to pass on. Actually, I’m gonna hand the phone over to Steven. He can’t think of anything, so just prod him a little bit.
Tanner (for real): Hello.
So, tell us a story...
Tanner: When I was in ninth grade, I played baseball. [Everyone laughs] The game that we had was a double-header outside of Albany, Georgia, which is where I’m from. It was the day that everybody got out of school to go to the beach for spring break. And me and my two buddies had to go play baseball. But the plan was my dad was gonna come pick us up at the game and drive us to Panama City, Florida. He was supposed to be there for both games, but at the end of the second game, he still wasn’t there. We heard a ruckus. My dad had crashed his car, a Datsun 210, into the back of the bleachers of the baseball game. He was shitfaced. And I think the oldest person in the group was 15, he had a learner’s permit, and my dad’s car was a stick shift. So after yelling at my dad, I just put him in the backseat, my friend Brian tried his best to drive a stick shift. And my mom still doesn’t know this story.
Why is that?
Tanner: Two years before that, I was an all-star, like, after the season’s over. And me and my friend used to go to K-Mart and steal metal cassettes and stuff and we got busted. And they called my dad, but my dad never told my mom, because he knew she wouldn’t let me play baseball. So I never told her about putting the lives of 14- and 15-year-olds in danger.
So, driving stick shift worked out for your friend?
Tanner: Yeah. He had, like, four hours of driving to figure it out.