CODY WYOMING (guitar / vocals)
Music has always been a part of me. I’m told that as soon as I could talk a little bit, I was singing. Apparently “Jolene” by Dolly Parton was one of my favorite numbers. Most everyone in my family plays the guitar at least a little bit. And everybody sings. So family gatherings were always filled with music. My parents moved to a small town in Oklahoma for a job just before I was born. And being away from our very close family, they took comfort from the Southern Baptist Church, an institution that brainwashed my family into believing that the actual Devil lived inside of Rock and Roll records. So I remember one day when we all gleefully gathered to set all their record collection out in the Oklahoma sun to warp. I can still remember some of those album covers, and the twisted memory of being glad that the Devil had been kicked out of our house. I remember the extra swelling of pride I felt when of my own accord, I threw my KISS 8-track in the trash. So for several years, not much secular music was allowed in the house, and from the age of 5 till about 10, I didn’t get to really hear anything more “out there” than Elvis, and a Beatles’ greatest hits record. Country music was somehow given a pass. Though looking back, the lyrics were frequently way more lascivious.
Around the age of 10, we moved back to Missouri. My family got to spend more time with their family and the cultic influence the church had over us began to wane. And one night, I spent the night at a friend’s house and we stayed up too late and saw Cheap Trick and Blondie on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, a late night TV show that featured live performances of the top bands of the day. I was galvanized. My life was irrevocably altered from that day forward. I immediately became a music freak. Even Star Wars took a back seat (in fairness I would act out rock concerts with my Star Wars figures, so it didn’t totally get left behind) to my new music addiction.
As a teen, music was everything to me. I had a very punchable face all the way through junior high and high school for some reason, so music was my solace, and my shelter. And soon it would become my superpower. I got a guitar, coerced some friends into picking up some instruments, and played our first gig when I was 14, and I’ve never looked back. Apart from a few brief “finding yourself” moments where I tried to be a pilot and a cowboy, being a musician has been the driving force for pretty much everything I do. I ask myself, “How does this affect me as a musician?” probably 30 times a day. And while I do wish I had a little more money in my life, I have no regrets regarding my chosen path. I lead a charmed life. And music is what charmed it.
KIMMIE QUEEN (vocals)
I knew from a young age that I was part of the music ilk.
Being raised only around country music, I started buying rock-n-roll 45s around 2nd grade. I couldn’t wait to get off school to dance and pretend I was the singer in my bedroom. I started going to underage dance clubs at 12 in 1983. The DJ played songs by Midnight Star and songs like “The Breaks” by Kurtis Blow, and “Showdown” by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 Vs. The Sugarhill Gang, which were already considered old at the time. Prince was an enormous influence on me and I spent hours listening to his LPs. Madonna’s first record was transformative to me as well. I also purchased and listened to lots of new wave records and that led me to punk and post-punk as I was reaching my mid-teens. In my mid-teens, I started going to record stores and buying UK and German Imports. I danced in underage clubs to New Order, Joy Division, The Sisters of Mercy and more UK and German dance club remixes. I started seeing live underground music shows at about 15. I saw bands like Wire, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Einstürzende Neubauten, Sonic Youth and more. In the ‘90s I worked in KC record stores like 7th Heaven, Pennylane and Streetside. I went dancing to DJ nights that specialized in various waves I was keen on… rare funk, soul, R&B, some hip-hop and trip-hop.
Today I’m still discovering recorded music and I am always finding something new to like.
I feel that connecting to music, connecting with other people over music, connecting while playing music is the path I have chosen because I’m driven to it. It whispers to me, shouts at me sometimes. I feel kin to music as a tribe thing and hope I can bring something of my own to it. I’d like to become more a part of it at an even greater scale and feel creating music and performing it onstage is the closest thing I can do in life to bringing the truest me out of the shadows and into the light.
STEVE GARDELS (drums)
I’m Midwestern as hell. My middle name is Earl. I had friends and family that would regularly work on farms or at least shuck corn in the summer. It is my firm belief, however that magic does happen, even in some unlikely places.
I’m a less-than-normal, feely punk rock kid in Omaha, Nebraska. My 8th grade English teacher had given me some Ramones records during a detention, so naturally I started learning guitar and playing with my friends. Fast forward to 2002 and I’m digging into The Clash, The Dead Boys, Rancid and pretty much nothing else, playing along in my basement, working on moves for the next show; whenever I finally got a band together. Somewhere along the line, a few of the guys I’d jam with started telling me about Saddle Creek records, this dude Bright Eyes and how they were finally putting Omaha on the map. I hated it. It was whiny, soft shit with pianos and hardly a guitar solo in the bunch: not for me, at the time. “This is all we got?” I thought to myself. I could get the emotion and feeling, but where were the riffs? Where were the teeth? WHERE WAS THE RAGE?
And then Tom put on Cursive’s “Domestica.” Everything changed.
The opening crunch of the first track grabbed me instantly and then set me down gently into the verse where Tim Kasher’s voice and a minimal guitar line told a sweet, sad story. I was almost out, but the verse erupted into a wall of noise and Kasher’s vocals screaming with the same sadness, but the energy, the hook and the rage were there. Each track had me glued to the speakers. Each song revealed complex rhythms, juicy guitar tones and these feelings that were resonating with me just as hard as the anger and energy of what I was used to.
That record got me out of my box. I got Built to Spill, Dinosaur Jr., Radiohead and other juicy, complex stuff that I’d never heard before. Cursive was different. They were our band. From right down the street. Hell, they went on to write a record called “Happy Hollow” named after a road in (and largely about) my neighborhood. But for us, and certainly for me, there was proof that you could be from next-to-nowhere and have an amazing career.
Their follow-up record “The Ugly Organ” went on to great critical acclaim and had a permanent spot in my CD player. Every time I’d strike out with a pretty girl or got bummed out about some dumb shit that happened at school or just wanted to relax, Cursive was there for me. Turns out you could have feelings without being a lame, whiny dude with an acoustic guitar (sorry Connor, I came around eventually), or some tattooed up lanklet with drop-tuned guitars and a cool haircut (remember Taking Back Sunday?). You could pick up your guitar, crank up the volume and yell until you feel better without sacrificing complexity or good writing. You could get loud without sounding like a Hot Topic. They were and still are beautiful and unique.
I’ve carried my love of that band with me ever since. Each record in the 16 years following the release of “Domestica” has something to love, and each one changes the band’s sound just enough to give a new experience. 2006’s “Happy Hollow” saw the departure of Greta Cohn’s cello and added a 4-piece horn section. 2009’s “Mama I’m Swollen” stripped the band down to a basic 4- to 5-piece band that had a floaty, folk rock troubadour feeling; while their latest, “I Am Gemini” has a simmering ferocity that’s accented with distorted guitars, a manic drummer with a double kick pedal (it actually works!), and time signature changes that can give you whiplash if you’re not careful. I picked up “Gemini” at a local record store not too long ago. Instead of a typical lyric sheet and insert, I was presented with a Broadway-style playbill that contained the lyrics in the form of a script for live theater, complete with stage directions. Instead of saying what the album was about, they showed you the cast of characters and let you read how the story played out, right to its explosive ending.
Later that night, we eventually got to our friend Dan’s basement. A house party broke out, so everyone got together and called around to some bands. Rob, Eric and myself became a improvisational grindcore trio called It Should Have Been Lars. Ryan did his joke songs on a cheap electric keyboard that we later sacrificed to the driveway. We were followed by Tom’s band and local legends Gnome Slaughterhouse 2002 Omega. After the show, we all saw Tim Kasher walking down the street. To this day, I still wonder if he’d popped in for a few songs.
Magic can happen.
Favorite Record Store
Cody: Currently Mills Record Company, formerly Recycled Sounds, and might I also add that I think it’s amazing that it’s tough to pick your favorite record store.
Steve: Mills Record Company, Drastic Plastic (Omaha), End of an Ear (Austin).
Kimmie: Records with Merritt is very impressive as well as Mills Record Company.
Favorite Concert Venue
Cody: recordBar, First Ave (Minneapolis) The Continental Club (Austin)
Steve: recordBar, Replay Lounge, Reggie’s (Chicago), The Continental Club (Austin)
Kansas City, Mo
There’s no hiding it: The Philistines will flat knock you on your ass. With their rock-roots, hypnotizing psychedelia, and proud fat lip of punk, the Philistines have one of the biggest sounds of 2016. Be sure to check out their debut album The Backbone Of Night, which came out in earlier 2016.