The Employee Interview Part VI: Miss Kelly

Posted by Miss Ess, June 16, 2007 02:34pm | Post a Comment
Miss Kelly
3 years employment
International Rock Goddess/Cashier

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

Miss Kelly:  Like Ratt and Prince.  I had a brother and sister that were 12 and 13 years older than me and my brother was practicing drums all the time.  He was in a band, a metal band.

Oh yeah, lots and lots of Madonna too. My sister once performed Madonna's "Lucky Star" at the food court in the mall and she won the contest and got lots of money.  She had this black lace bustier that she looked killer in and she used to make all the ladies salivate at the lady bars because she was in a lesbian band called Upside Down and Inside Out.

Wow.  Where is she now?

She lives in Virginia with her girlfriend and all of their baby animals.  She plays ukelele now.  We all kind of picked up the ukelele at the same time in the last few months.  We have this fantasy that when we meet up at the family reunion this summer we are all gonna play ukelele together.  It's kind of Uni's fault.

Wow that's rad. So how did you start listening to japanese pop and international rock?

I used to be really into punk rock and I was in this punk rock cafe that was literally under ground and one day on the jukebox this Pizzicato Five song was on and no one knew who it was and it made me so happy.  Ever since I was a child, since I heard "La Bamba", I wanted to sing it even though I didn't care what it meant, so foreign languages have always kinda turned me on.  So after I heard Pizzicato Five I couldn't find that song again until I heard it like 5 years later on the radio at my brother's house and that's when I found out who it was. I went to the indie record store in Richmond, Va -- Plan 9-- and they had it and I got really into it.  It's kind of like this insane musical; I love the showmanship of their sound.

Who were some other artist you were into early on?

I like Buffalo Daughter and Takako Minekawa.  She's now married to Cornelius and I am sure their kids will be awesome musicians. ... and the Boredoms of course too cause they were kind of punk and I was still really into punk.

What is the best thing you have ever found at Amoeba?

OOIOO Feather Float on turquoise vinyl.

What is your favorite place to see music in town?

Great American.

What's your favorite local band?

That's kind of hard!  I think I have to say Or, The Whale right now.  Their cd is really good and i wanna go see them play soon! [Ed. note: You can purchase their cd here on the Amoeba website!]

Yeah I really like them too.  Nice guys n gals.  So I think you are maybe even over-qualified to tell me, what is the best karaoke bar in San Fran?

Do Re Mi, bring your own drinks -- sneak em in!

Do they have private rooms there?

Yes, it's box [style] and you can sing in Japanese there!  In Japan they have these happy hour specials where you can rent a room about $4 a person with all you can drink cocktails from like 3-8 pm-- it's amazing!   It's a shame we don't have that here.  But I don't know if Americans can deal with that kind of thing though!  Japan is a country where they have drink machines on the street where you can buy beer.  That would never fly here.

I can see why you are into Japan!  What is your favorite song to perform?

"Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and I also like to sing a lot of Dolly Parton and Madonna cause they are totally in my range so no matter how drunk I get I can sing em.

What are some more recent bands you have gotten into?

Agent Ribbons I really like.  I''ve been listening to a lot Stan Rogers even though he's [not recent].  It's like folky sea shanty stuff.  And the new Tujiko Noriko is really great. 

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures? You seem pretty upfront, not much into guilt.

Yeah, god I don't think I feel guilty about anything that brings me pleasure at all!  Why live if you have to be guilty about that?

What is the best live show you have ever seen?

Gosh that is really difficult.  In the last year there have been so many good ones.  Probably Blonde Redhead at the Fillmore when Buffalo Daughter opened for them because Blonde Redhead played for like 2 hours and i love them to death.  Buffalo Daughter was at their very best that I have ever seen them and I went by myself which kind of made a huge difference.

Cause you didn't have to worry about anyone else having a good time?

That and it was all on my level.  I walked the whole way home that night from the Fillmore to Chinatown.  It was one of those hot summer nights that we never have.  Everything was perfect!


I'll tell you one more thing-- my first show I ever saw was one of the best too.  It was Aerosmith with Skid Row and I was probably as close as you could get!  I was in middle school and I saw people smoking pot openly for the first time and drinking out of pony bottles and sexy ladies in leather mini skirts.  It made such and impression on me.  I was into hair metal for a while but that's ok pretty much rocks too!

What is your favorite thing about working at Amoeba?

It's like being a kid in a candy store I guess.

Thank you for your time.

The Employee Interview Part V: Brent James

Posted by Miss Ess, May 26, 2007 04:28pm | Post a Comment
Brent James
7.5 years employment
Information Control

Q: What was playing in your house when you were a kid?

BJ: Janis Joplin, "Mercedes Benz" and lots of  Willie Nelson, lots of The Doors, Fleetwood Mac.  Basic 70's things that are very important to my formative years.

What was your first show?

The Shirelles at a classic car show in Turlock, California.  No lies, my dad was the president of the Cam Twisters USA! He still is.  That was it!

That's crazy. ...yet fabulous. What was the first band that you were really into?

Ratt.  They made me want to be a musician.  It's true!  Why lie, you know?

What is your favorite venue here in the city?

Cafe du Nord.

Yes, I love it.  That's one of my favorites too.  What is your favorite band right now?

I just gotta say I listen to a lot of old things right now.  Ruth Etting and vocalists of the 30s and 40s is what I am listening to a lot at home, besides the usual.

Wow, I didn't even know that you listened to that kind of thing.  What do you think is the best local band?

I've got to say barbarasteele, but they are not a functioning band anymore, so my next choice would be Black Fiction.  They are amazing live, and there's lots of fur!

Well! So I know you're not really the guilty type, but do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

Amy Winehouse
-- and Charlie and His Orchestra which was a Nazi propaganda swing band.

Geez, I can see why you would feel guilty about that.  Favorite instore of all time here at Amoeba?

Let's see...The Bell Rays and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  However Queens of the Stone Age in the Hollywood store was just amazing. [ed. note, Brent worked at the Hollywood store for a while a few years ago.]

What was the Hedwig instore like?

It was the touring program that played at the Victoria Theater here, it was just scaled down version of the film performances, and John Cameron Mitchell was there too.

What's a great record you think more people should listen to?

Good question.  I think anything you think you wouldn't like right out of the gates is something you should make yourself listen to later.  You tend to miss a lot of things with the pre-programed "I don't like it" mindset.

So what is your favorite Madonna video?

"Bad Girl".

I don't know that one!

She gets murdered in it!

What is that available on?

The Greatest Video Hits Volume Two.

Then what is your favorite Janet Jackson video?


Oh I love that one!  Favorite hair band video?

Poison, "Talk Dirty To Me."


Because of they have lots of slides and silly string and it was the introduction to Poison.  Glam, glam, glam!

Favorite moment in the Star Wars Trilogy?

Um, Luke realizing that he has to leave home to help his friends.  It takes the death of his aunt and uncle to figure that out, but he realizes, "I'm done with this".

So touching!  Ok, now what is your favorite horror film of all time?

Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  The original.

That was an easy one for you!  What is your favorite part of working here at Amoeba?

The interaction with random strangers, figuring out what everybody is into ,which is always just Amy Winehouse or Lilly Allen. Friends all over the world!

Thank you for your time!  That was so fun!

You're welcome, girl!

The Employee Interview Part IV: Obsolete

Posted by Miss Ess, May 11, 2007 05:35pm | Post a Comment
9 years of employment
Visual Merchandiser

Q:  What's the first music you remember hearing as a kid?

O: The Moody Blues, In Search of the Lost Chord.

What is the first album that made you super into music?

It was probably that Moody Blues album.  When disco rolled around I was hooked.  I was 7 years old and hooked on disco.  I loved Donna Summer and The Village People.  I was so into The Village People.  I thought they were a real representative of people in society getting together, getting along and making disco music, that The Village represented America and in this "land of the free", a cop, a sailor, a construction worker, an indian, and a leather daddy could get together and rock!

Pretty deep thoughts for a 7 year old.  Impressive.  What was your first live show?

Unfortunately General Public.  My mom dropped me off with my friend at the Universal Ampitheater at Universal Studios, California!  It was the only place I was allowed to see my first concert, being 15.

When did you start creating music and why?

I think I started creating music on my tape recorder as a kid.  It wasn't till I moved to San Francisco in my early 20s that I met more like minded people to create music with.

What was your first band?

I would say The Agent for Allied and The Subtonix at the same time.

So you were not faithful?

No I wasn't, I was seeing two different bands at the same time.

So what did you play in each band?  What did they sound like?

I played keyboards in The Subtonix and we were compared to everything from Christian Death to X-Ray Spex.  The Agent for Allied featured Brad Schelden on keyboards and me on vocals.  We were influenced by Echo and the Bunnyman, The Chameleons, and Tuxedo Moon

What were your vocals like?  That musta been awesome.  What were Brad's outfits like?

People told me I reminded them of Rozz Williams of Christian Death and Yoko Ono, mostly.  Brad pretty much dressed the same as now, but with more black and he was clean shaven with jet black hair.

Yoko Ono!  And Brad with black hair!  This sounds phenomenal.

We were pretty phenomenal. 

Sorry I missed all that. 

I think you were in Santa Cruz or under age.

Don't remind me.  What is your current project called anyway?


What is your favorite venue to see a show at in town?

The G3 Lounge on Geary and 3rd Ave.

What goes on there?  I've heard people around here talk about it but I've still never been.

These people EXP FOLX put on fantastic Noise events.  You should check out their myspace page at

What's your favorite venue to play a show at?

I recently played at the above venue and it was great!  Very glamourous and classy.

Just like you!

Thank you, as are you.

Best local band?


Favorite Scottish band of all time?

Wow!  That's a tough one.  Off the top of my head I'd have to say Strawberry Switchblade or early Simple Minds, pre Breakfast Club soundtrack.

Of course, understood.  What's your favorite record today, right now?

Favorite record that I keep playing right now?  Let me think, what am I playing the hell out of?

Right now today I keep listening to Antony for some weird reason.  I haven't listened to his record since it came out but because I heard the new Bjork record in the store with his voice I thought of it and threw it on [Antony's I Am A Bird Now].  I love his voice so much and all the drama in his records.

I think Antony's simply divine!  As of right now I keep playing Simple Minds, Celebration.

Do you have a musical guilty pleasure you'd care to comment on?

Samwell, "What What In the Butt".  It's been flagged on YouTube for explicit content.  It's rather tame though.

What about all those times we've watched R. Kelly videos?

That was for art!  He is a modern day Orson Welles, keeping people riveted to the radio.

Something about him is definitely riviting.  Speaking of R. Kelly, do you think it is at all easier for women trying to create music these days than it has been?

Yes and no.  I think women still have to deal with people thinking they can't play their instruments or write songs. 

Very true.  Do you listen to cds, vinyl?  Why?

Both.  All forms are fine by me.

Name a great record you think most people have not heard of before and tell them why they should like it!

Lansing-Dreiden's The Incomplete Triangle.  It's really beautiful and varied, sometimes it sounds like some Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" type thing, other times like New Order and other times like some old tyme punk.

What is your favorite:  creating music or playing or recording?

Creating and playing.

What's been your best find here at Amoeba?

The Naked Civil Servant, the film about Quentin Crisp's life starring John Hurt.

I love Quentin Crisp, I haven't heard that name in ages!  Now, what is your favorite part about working here at Amoeba?

I love seeing the younger generation getting excited about music.  Their innocence and enthusiasm is refreshing.

So your record is dropping in the fall, right? 

Indeed it is.  Check for all one needs to know!

Thank you for your time.

Thank you for your time.

The Employee Interview Part III: Greg

Posted by Miss Ess, April 25, 2007 03:55pm | Post a Comment
5+ years employment
vinyl person

Q:  What is the first music you remember hearing, before you had a choice?

G: I remember hearing Bob Seger "Against the Wind" and I remember my sister playing U2 and Tiffany and X2.

Q:  What was the first band you heard that really got you into music?

G:  I think the Beastie Boys and George Michael. and Run DMC.

Q:  What's your favorite music to skateboard to?

G: It's pretty difficult to skateboard to music unless you have an ipod.  When I was young I had a boom box and I would play my mom's Fleetwood Mac tape and the Best of Country Gold tape or something like that.

Q:  What is your favorite record right now, this instant?

G:  Today? Um I like The Way I Am by Merle Haggard, a 1980s record.  Very smooth.

Q:  What's the best reissue you've heard this year?

G: Well the John Phillips Wolfking of LA. [ed note: John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas recorded a solo record in 1970.  It's fantastic and in our Oldies section.]

Q: What is your favorite Bob Dylan record?

G:  Can it be a tie?  Ok, maybe a four way tie.  How about Desire, Time Out of Mind, New Morning and Self Portrait.

Q: What about John Cale?

G:  Fear.

Q:  Townes van Zandt?

G:  Your favorite too: High Low and In Between and Live at the Old Quarter, the live one.

Q:  Those are two of my favorite records ever.  So what was your first live show you ever went to?

G:  I believe it was the Eagles at the Concord Pavillion.  I remember being moved by the music and esp I remember laying on my back and looking at the fake owl they used to scare off the birds.

Q:  What is your favorite venue in the bay area?

G:  Maybe what I like is Noe Valley Ministry.

Q:  What's your favorite local band?

G:  Mon Cousin Belge.

Q:  What is your musical guilty pleasure?

G:  Well I don't know, other people might feel guilty for liking the Dixie Chicks but I feel good about it.  And Marc Almond is pretty good.  I like Dwight Yoakum, really love Dwight Yoakum. 

Q:  What is the best record you can think of that most people probably w
ouldn't have heard before?

G:  Maybe Bobby Charles, self titled?  He was a rock and roller who wrote "See You Later Alligator" and later recorded this self titled album with The Band in Bearsville in the early 70s maybe.

Q:  What is your best find here at Amoeba?

G:  Well I found my girlfriend here.

Q:  Very good.  Any specific record too?

G:  Well I found Michael Hurley Armchair Boogie on 8 track. 

Q:  Do you have an 8 track player?

G:  Yeah-- candy apple red.

Q:  So do you prefer to listen to 8 tracks, vinyl, cds?

G:  Vinyl.

Q:  What is your favorite section of the store?

G:  Well I like the men's room. [ed note: for employees only, as you probably already know.] I like it when you don't have to wait to get in and you can lock the door behind you and finally breathe.  You might be breathing in foul air but it feels good to do that alone.

Q:  What is your favorite part about working here at Amoeba?

G:  I like that it is next to the park and if I am smart I will ride my bike through the park to the ocean on my lunch break.

Q:  Thank you for your time.

The Employee Interview Part II: M. Nero Nava

Posted by Miss Ess, April 11, 2007 05:32pm | Post a Comment
The Employee Interview
Second Edition: M. Nero Nava
3 + years at Amoeba
Floor Gent

Q: What was the first music you remember hearing as a kid, before you had a choice?

M.N.N: The first song I remember was Blondie's "Heart of Glass."

Q: How have your parents' musical choices affected your musical tastes?

They affected me a lot because my dad likes blues music, which got me into R&B, and my mom used to be a goth chick, so my aesthetic leanings were more towards post punk and all that stuff.  But of course I rebelled as a teen and I listened to hip hop.

Q: What has been the biggest musical influence on your life?

Probably my mom. She laid the foundation with bands like the Cure, David Bowie, Lou Reed.

Q: What is your favorite record to get down to?

Probably Marvin Gaye, the I Want You album.

Q: What is your musical guilty pleasure?

All those R&B chicks that have one good song and they have one name: Kelis, Aaliyah, Ciara, Amerie.

Q: What's the last concert you went to? What was the first concert you went to?

First concert: Jefferson Starship at Great America.
                                   Last concert: I saw Prince for my 46th time.
Q:  When did you start playing music and why?

When i was 16 I started playing keyboards, then I sold my sampler and bought a guitar when I was 18. I wanted to play because girls like that and I'm funky.

Q: What's your favorite venue to see a show at here in the bay area? Great America?

The Great American Music Hall.

Q: What's the best show you've been to this year?

The best show I went to was a Prince show in Las Vegas. I was in the front row and Prince noticed me making fun of an audience member onstage. Prince told the guy to get off stage. He cued the band to stop playing and he said, "What about you, godfather, why don't you get onstage?" I ducked and hid so I wouldn't have to get onstage and one of his dancing girls grabbed me and pulled me onstage. I walked up to him and I said, "Prince, why are you doing this to me?" and he said, "Stand over there and dance!" and I danced with the twins [ed. note: Prince has twins he uses as dancers and backup singers] and I flashed my cufflinks at him. He critiqued my dancing and my outfit. I was wearing a black and white pinstriped suit with matching Stacy Adams shoes and I was wearing my Tiffany cufflinks that are engraved with my initials. He told me he liked my dancing cause it didn't look like I was gonna break a sweat and he liked my cufflinks. I was onstage for about 15 minutes and when I was done I bowed and threw my hanky into the audience and I jumped into the first row. When I hit the first row he said, "I see that guy all the time, and I don't know about him. He's a mix of the godfather and Count Dracula but he dresses clean." [ed. note: true story!]

Q: What's the furthest you have traveled to see a show and who was it you were going to see?

I went to Georgia to see Prince. He was playing in a small club for about 500 people.

Q: What is your favorite section of the store?

The soul section.

Q: Best find in Amoeba?

I found Vanity 6 on cd, which has been out of print since 1985.

Q: What is your favorite Prince song?

"She's Always In My Hair." It's rock, it's funky, it's the revolution.

Q: What is your favorite part about working here at Amoeba?

I like talking to the customers.

Thank you for your time.
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