The Employee Interview Part XVI: Corrie

Posted by Miss Ess, February 29, 2008 01:09pm | Post a Comment
2.5 Years Employment
Register Mama

ME: What are you listening to these days?

CC: Neutral Milk Hotel, Vic Godard, Magnetic Fields, Iron Maiden and some Slayer have graced my headphones this week.

What's the best film you've seen this year?

CC: There Will Be Blood & Juno.

What song describes your life right now?

"Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want "-The Smiths

Is there a song you think is perfect, start to finish?  That every time you listen to you wish you'd written?

"Wave of Mutilation" -The Pixies

That's a good pick! What is your favorite music-related film?

It's a 3 way tie between Help, Don't Look Back and Krush Groove.

Two of those are two of my absolute faves too!  So, in the grand scheme of life, it's probably an over-discussed topic, but what the heck:  name the best Radiohead album.

I'm a sucker for OK Computer-- it changed my life -- I mean, that's the one as far as I'm concerned-- but The Bends is AMAZING,and In Rainbows does not disappoint.

I haven't really listened to In Rainbows yet.  I need to give it more of a shot.  So what brought you to Amoeba?

A resume that reads like a mall charter,and a lil' hope of something new and different.

What has been your best find here?

The Let's Shake Hands 7" by the White Stripes. I gave up on finding that long ago

Ooh I got that here too! That's my number one favorite White Stripes song too!  What White Stripes album is your favorite and why?

I really dig the self titled album (their debut)-- it's raw and simplistic, but it's their punkiest rockin' album.

This is important: what era of Jack White's fashion has been your favorite and why?

The early days with the white Hanes t shirt and the stay pressed jeans, the pinstriped look (circa Cold Mountain), and there should be a mention of the black and red pants from the Elephant tour.

Yes, I think you hit on all the key points with that answer, especially the red and black pants!  What White Stripes-related band is your fave?

The Greenhornes -- they play some great rock n'roll.  The Soledad Brothers -- check out anything by either of these bands and you won't be sorry.

What is your favorite White Stripes video?

That's a hard one.  There's all that Michel Gondry stuff that's just fun to look at.  The new one, "Conquest", is pretty amazing, but I'm gonna have to go with "Blue Orchid", it's dark and hooot!

I should watch "Blue Orchid" again-- that's how Jack met his wife Karen Elson
-- classic "artist-meets-wife-at-video-shoot "scenario!  They are no Jani Lane and Bobbie Brown from Warrant's "Cherry Pie"!  The Gondry stuff is ground into my brain.  I was so obsessed with that Michel Gondry Director's Series video when it came out.  I adore him and his aesthetic, his creativity.  I think I watched that DVD twenty times or so!  He's a very good match for the White Stripes.  I love "The Hardest Button to Button" but my absolute, number one fave is "Dead  Leaves and the Dirty Ground".  So, um, back to me asking you questions.  What local venue do you enjoy seeing shows at the most?

Bottom of the Hill, Cafe du Nord.

What music very quickly brings you back to your childhood?

The Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Billy Joel!!!  Madonna (True Blue and before).

So then who is your favorite Beatle and why?

George-- his humor, his guitar playing.  I really admire him as a human. I feel that he was true to himself and followed his path.

What song is guaranteed to get you on the dance floor?

"Common People" by Pulp...old school Madonna.

Wow, you hit upon another one of my less widely-known obsessions...Jarvis Cocker.  Favorite karaoke song to sing?

"Brand New Key" by Melanie, and "Magic Man" by Heart.

What's the best soundtrack to a film, ever?

Pump Up the Volume ... Pixies, Danzig, Slayer, Leonard Cohen .... I heard it at an impressionable age, just can't shake it. TALK HARD!!!

God, I still have never seen that movie.  What kind of child of the 80s/90s am I?!  What has been the most enjoyable instore for you and why?

The Raconteurs was pretty magical; some of my favorite musicians filled the place out, rocked the roof off, and then afterwards they weren't too cool to say hello. I got to meet Jack White, Jack Lawrence, Brenden Benson, Patrick Keeler, and Dean Fertita.  They were sweet and very kind. I also met a dear friend at that instore, Miss Shelby, and we've attended a few fantastic shows together since. All in all a great time. Boris was a close second. They blew the roof off as well, only it sounded as if they brought the apocalypse with them...

Is your band Sexx still up and running?  Any shows coming up?

We're always up, and we do have a show, March 25th at Cafe du Nord, with Nero Nava and the Invitation to Love...

Thank you for your time!

The Employee Interview Part XV: Brad Schelden

Posted by Miss Ess, January 11, 2008 12:40pm | Post a Comment
7ish years of Employment
Rock Buyer

This is a special farewell installment of The Employee Interview.  Don't worry-- you are not going to lose Brad's insightful blogs, it's just that we, the SF store, are losing him to the LA store this week.  Just like in baseball, he's been recruited for their team and will be moving next week. It will be quite a loss for those of us up here in SF to suffer.  Brad, we salute you!  It won't be the same without you.  But at least we will probably still get to watch the Oscars together. (If they happen-- agh what an awards show season!)

ME: What was the first concert you remember going to?

BS: Depeche Mode...Even though my seats were so far away I could barely see them it was one of the highlights of my life. It was just exciting to see that all these other people actually liked the same band as me.

I loved that feeling when I first started going to shows.  I was thinking, "Who ARE all these people?"  I've actually met so many people who work here who were at shows I was also at in the late 90s/early 2000s!  I love it.  That's how I knew Amoeba was my home.  So who was the first artist that really got you into music and why?

I am sure it was probably Morrissey and The Smiths. He was for sure the first person I was obsessed with, other than maybe Michael Jackson or Cyndi Lauper. Morrissey was the first artist where I was actually reading all the liner notes and buying all the magazines with him in it. It was fantastic as a young kid to listen to music and lyrics that you could completely relate to even though they were coming out of a man from a totally different world and reality.

Tell me about the first Oscars you remember watching.

My family watched them every year and I would always make a ballot for us to fill out. I remember making a ballot on a typewriter with corrective tape to fix my mistakes. I was really excited when we got our first computer so I could type it up on there. I was really obsessed from the first time I watched them. I just always loved movies and even though I had not seen half the movies back when I was still 9 years old I still wanted to know who was going to win Best Art Direction and Best Screenplay.

God, that is so adorable! I was the same, but I never made the ballots for some reason-- I used ballots from the Pink Section of the Chronicle or wherever.  Why did we care who won best screenplay when we were 9?  All I know is that I was totally hooked too.  What is it about the Oscars that is so compelling to you? 

I don't even know why I became so obsessed with them. But I am for sure not alone. It is just fun to see the actors as themselves even though I guess they are still scripted and acting for the camera.

Yeah, I love watching the acceptance speeches and seeing who comes unglued.  Who is, in your opinion, the most enjoyable Oscar red carpet interviewer?  I still kinda miss Joan and Melissa, even though Joan's got a few screws loose.

I really love when people like Kathy Griffin or the cast of MadTV try to freak out the stars with weird questions. I absolutely hate most of the people they have on the red carpet these days. I did like it when Roger Ebert was talking to people before the show one year. It is nice when the stars actually like and respect the people asking the questions because then they sort of know what they are talking about.

What about Isaac Mizrahi grabbing Scarlett Johanssen's boob about 3 years ago?  That was cringeworthy!  I just like someone who knows what they are talking about and (important) who they are talking to.  I actually  think Guiliana DiPandi has a good combo of humorous and factoid type questions.  Now, another obsession we share:  How did your enjoyment of Love Boat  begin?

I have long been a big fan of the hour long episode of television. This show was great because it was sort of meaningless and completely unimportant but totally fascinating to me at the same time. I loved all the guests stars even though I didn't really know who half of them were when the show as originally on. It will be fun to go back once it comes out on DVD and to watch the shows with a different perspective. I really wanted to work on a cruise ship for a while because of this show.

Yes, I am waiting with baited breath for those DVDs!  What is your favorite season of Golden Girls and why?  Which girl is your favorite?

The first season is really weird. Sort of like on Roseanne, you can tell that the cast is just getting to know each other and really still getting to know their character. You can actually tell that they are reading jokes. I think Season 2 is really where it all starts to work. Dorothy (Bea Arthur) is of course my favorite.They really gave her some great lines. My favorite episode is hard to figure out...but  maybe the episode where they get mistaken for prostitutes and put into jail and when Blanche gives Rose's stuffed animal away to a girl scout played by Jenny Lewis from Rilo Kiley.

That Jenny Lewis popped up everywhere in the 80s.  I always liked Rose.  When I would watch when I was little I felt sorry for her because everyone made fun of her and I thought she was pretty.  Please tell me about when/how you got into Twin Peaks and your viewing experience when it originally aired.

I really liked this show when it was first on when I was in High School. I watched it whenever I got the chance but my full obsession did not start until College when Bravo showed an episode every night. I watched it almost every night and then had the VHS Box Set and watched it about once a year. I just got the fantastic new DVD set but I am waiting until I move back to Hollywood to break into it. The show really is amazing and I am not sure there will ever be anything like it ever again.

Tell me about how you found Amoeba and how you got hired and what you did here initially.

Everybody knew about Amoeba and I had wanted to work here since the Haight St. store first opened. But my boyfriend at the time got a job here so we didn't really want to work together. I had heard rumors about a Hollywood store but when I knew for sure it was opening up I got in contact with Karen and applied for that store. I was friends with Kara [another LA employee] and I think maybe she helped me get the job or at least talked me into it. I have been up at the Haight St. store for almost 5 years now but now I am going back to Hollywood again. I guess I just like to move every 5 years or so.

Now let's have some San Fran nostalgia questions:

What is your favorite place to see a live show?

So many...but Bimbo's is at the top of the list along with the Great American Music Hall. I do like the Palace of Fine Arts a lot as well. But mostly just because of where it is. The venue itself is just sort or boring like a lecture hall on the inside. But I did meet my boyfriend at a Magnetic Fields show there, so it is pretty special. And I did see Paul Reubens there.

What is your favorite theater to see a movie at?

I do love the Castro and have seen some great movies there. Love the Bridge as well, mostly because of Midnight Mass memories. I like the Lumiere because it is right by my house and it is so small and cute and they show great movies there. I did like the Regency Theater that is now where the Regency Ballroom is. That theater was really amazing looking inside. The Clay is also great and The Vogue. I am also a bit in love with the new Sundance Kabuki that they just redid. I love The Grand Lake in Oakland but don't get out there much. And the Embarcadero is sort of special in my heart as well. I have spent a lot of time there and sort of love that is all dead and quiet around there at night.

You are quite the theater connoisseur.  I knew that would be a good question for you, although I think you named every single theater in the near vicinity!  What has been the best show you have seen while living here in SF?

Probably Sigur Ros at the Paramount in Oakland. I also saw some really great shows at Bottom of the Hill over the years. At the Drive-In was pretty awesome at the Bottom of the Hill. Murder City Devils at Cafe Du Nord. The Cure at the Fillmore.

And finally, how could live so close to Bob's but not like donuts!?

It is weird but I just don't like donuts.

That is completely beyond me.  I'm sure it helped keep you skinny though!  What are you looking forward to about LA/LA Amoeba? (Pinkberry/More star sightings!)

I am looking forward to the warm nights in L.A.  I am a bit sick of the cold weather right now but I will not be looking forward to the summer. I may have to come back to San Francisco during the summer. I do love that store down there a bunch. I love both stores for different reasons. But it will be nice to see all the people that I worked with down there when the store first opened.

What will you miss about SF Amoeba/SF in general? You are such a fixture here.

I will miss the weirdos of San Francisco. But Hollywood for sure has its share of weirdos. I will miss living in a city that does not revolve around cars. I am going to miss my friends in the city and at the store but L.A. is really not that far away. San Francisco is really fun to visit as well.

I doubt you will miss the weirdos once you are off Haight St! Care to talk a little about your own personal Oscar picks for this year?  What has been your favorite movie so far this year?  Favorite acting performances?

I still have not seen There Will Be Blood yet, but I am pretty sure I am going to love it. No Country For Old Men was amazing and still might be my favorite of the year. But I was blown away by I'm Not There. I really did love the Grindhouse movies a lot as well. Both Planet Terror and Death Proof were some of my favorites. Anything with Josh Brolin in it this year was my favorite. But I did also really like Goonies when I was younger. So maybe there is a pattern here.

What is your favorite movie of all time?

I have many but Silence of the Lambs is still close to the top. The ExorcistAlien. Carrie. Escape from New York. The Muppet Movie! Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. My two favorite movies are actually probably Heathers and Tootsie. I don't really know why but I love Tootsie. I seriously watch it whenever I am a bit sad and it really cheers me up.

My mom is obsessed with Tootsie and it's one of the few movies (besides The Muppet Movie!) I was allowed to watch as a kid.  Who is your favorite director?

John Waters of course. Also John Carpenter, David Lynch, Todd Haynes, David Cronenberg.

John Waters is brilliant. I think Todd Haynes is one of the best of the younger generation for sure.  Maybe someday he will be named at the Oscars!  I doubt John ever will though.  Well, actually, with his career who knows!  I guess I would never count him out.  That would rule. What is your favorite thing about working at Amoeba?

I love being surrounded by a bunch of music nerds that love music and movies as much as I do. I really learn something new here every single day.

Thank you for your time!  I'll miss you.

The Employee Interview Part XIV: Jimmy

Posted by Miss Ess, January 9, 2008 10:51pm | Post a Comment
2 years Employment
Cashier/Behind the Scenes/All Around Rad Dude

ME: What music was playing around your house when you were a kid?

Jimmy: My parents weren't really into music, but I do remember listening to and watching The Wiz a lot. A LOT! I loved it. In my mom's car, it was the Pointer Sisters. In my dad's car it was talk radio, or Metallica's Black Album, which is really psychotic because my dad is hella Catholic, and it was one of the only albums he owned!

Do you remember the moment when you suddenly really really got into music?  What was it that made you GET IT?

As soon as I discovered punk, my life totally changed forever. It wasn't just the music: I began a love affair with extreme politics and aesthetics. It was the high of using art (music, zines) and politics to go somewhere unknown. It's super weird how important music is when you're a teen. Recently, I listened to Patti Smith's Horses again, which I hadn't heard since I was a freshman in high school. I kinda freaked in my head! I remembered listening to this album, thinking I might die like Johnny in the song at any moment and that seemed really normal. Basically everything was so literal then: the music was the same as real life. Anything could happen. ('Cause I was crazy and wasted and only fifteen!)

Yeah, when that intensity of youth starts to die out, it's such a strange feeling because by then you've lived with it for so long. You grew up in Alaska. What was the music scene like in Alaska when you were growing up?  What were people into? Did they form bands? What style of music did they play?  Were there any venues in Anchorage?

The music scene was very small, only a couple punk bands that would sound like either The Ramones or Crass. (There was an all ages club in Anchorage called, stupidly enough, "Gigs." Bands would sometimes come to Alaska to play and when they did it was a big deal! I mean a total fucking hootenanny!) In high school, I was reading Maximum Rock and Roll religiously so I knew we were way behind the times.

BUT! We were way ahead in terms of personality, and we were punk without being self conscious about it. I thought when I moved away I would meet all these weird people into alternative lifestyles, but the weirdest and craziest kids I grew up with in Alaska. We did some cool things, like zines and music, but we also did a lot of really bad things! I think you just learn creative ways to entertain yourself, and no, they don't all involve drugs and drinking, but those were very popular activities with us bored Alaskan kids!

How and when did you develop your current (and amazing!) project, 100s of Dismembered Handbags?

I have been super into zines since the moment I laid my hands on one. I did a zine I started in high school, called Hairaffair, which was like the written form of what I do now. But sadly the zine scene died cause of the internet. I'm not a computer nerd so I stopped that shit. A few electronic noise bands were starting in Portland, and I started doing weird little plays to a very simple beat.

At that point in my life, I was really into fashion, and my shows involved extreme costumes that I would make out of weird crap I'd pin together or glue to my face. (Man, I spent so much time on every  single costume!) I'd also find the harshest noises on my synthesizer and choreograph dance moves to every single sound. Looking back on it, it was like Wolfeyes meets the Cockettes! I stopped performing when I moved to San Francisco. (It's so hard to survive here!) But now I've been playing again. Right now it's about the story and the people I become. You can't fuck with the narrative! ('Cause it's already fucking with itself.)

What, if anything, is running through your mind as you are performing?

I think about this question a lot because I have really bad stage fright, but I think the answer to this question is changing. Often I experience complete panic that makes me wanna concentrate on not puking. But lately, I've been able to live with the characters a little more. I've been trying to forget myself, which works if I don't make eye contact with anyone who knows me. Sometimes, it just feels so good to be someone else!

I think I would have to just concentrate on not puking too. There's a reason I've never been able to get up and play in my fantasy Fleetwood Mac cover band at Amoebapalooza!  So now, what song is guaranteed to get you dancing, every time?

"The Monster Mash!" Sadly, I've only danced to it once in public. It's tragic isn't it? I think Justin Timberlake could learn a thing or two from Bobby Pickett.

Why? Because monsters are SEXY!!!

What is your pick for best release of 2007? (Reissues count!)

Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep totally rocked my world this year. It's weird because a lot of critics were comparing it Italian Neorealism, and true, there is a gritty feeling to it, but to me it was so delicate. It was more of an American Stalker because the camera and the location both become characters in the film. It seems so out of place as an American film, and I really like that about it. I'm glad it made it out of the vaults finally!

What is your favorite thing about working here at Amoeba?

I actually like the registers because of the amazing people that come in from time to time. My first week on the job, this very old woman walks up to my register, and with her hands shaking, passes me a Village People Greatest Hits CD. After I rang her up for it, I asked her if she wanted a bag, and she answered, "Yes, to protect it!" I instantly made like five movies in my head about this old lady in two seconds flat. It was like magic information. It's like you hand people their bag, and then they go into their own special universe that we can only try and imagine.

I love that feeling! Fantastic! Thanks for your time!

The Employee Interview XIII: Kaitlin

Posted by Miss Ess, December 18, 2007 03:56pm | Post a Comment

4 years employment
Photographer Extraordinaire

ME:  What was the first thing (band/song/moment) that got you into music-- like, really into music? 

KL: The Beatles and The Beach Boys are my earliest music memories.  Actually, I still have a Shirley Temple record that was the one record I would beg my dad to play for me.  “The Good Ship Lollipop” was my song!

ME:  Seeing as you are one of the biggest Beatles fans currently working here, I think this is a really important question for you:  Who is your favorite Beatle and why?

KL:  George.  I wept the day he died.  I think I always identified with him.  John was wonderful, but in a more outspoken way, whereas George was always thoughtful and understated.  He lived his live quietly and peacefully.  I once cut a quote out of a magazine where George tells what he said to the intruder who stabbed him at home: “I just shouted 'Hare krishna, hare krishna!'”  Oh, George.

ME: Yeah he really was the Dark Horse.  Which Beatles track is your favorite?

KL:  Well, there is a different answer every day, but “For You Blue” on Let It Be is one of my favorite George tracks.  “Cry Baby Cry” on the White Album.  “I’m Only Sleeping” on Revolver-- I dig the backwards guitar.

ME:  One of the more underrated George songs in my opinion is "Long Long Long."  I think it gets lost on the White Album cause there's so much else that commands attention on there.  Do you have a favorite ex- Beatle solo album?

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The Employee Interview XII: Naomi

Posted by Miss Ess, November 3, 2007 11:47am | Post a Comment

9 years employment
Promotions Diva

ME:  I love learning about what has formed people's musical taste.  What kind of music were your parents listening to when you were growing up?

NS: I can't tell you how many Santana concerts I've been to. During my toddler years we listened to the good stuff. My mom was all about salsa, Banda and Freddy Fender. My pops fancied himself to be somewhat of a Pachuco, so it was all about the oldies! Later, in their quest to become more Americanized, we were subjected to the likes of Juice Newton and Sammy Hagar.  Then my parents got divorced and my dad thought he was the Urban Cowboy, so it became all country all the time during our visits, which wasn't so bad. But Ronnie Milsap can be a bit depressing when you're a kid.

I know you have 2 older sisters.  What were they into listening to? Did they have any influence on your listening tastes?

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