Kathy and Josh came and visited in December. Now I’m going to San Francisco to visit Kathy and Josh.

She left me her 2007 Best Of, “Toof.” “Toof” references her missing front tooth that happened last year. She’s getting it fixed.

I met Kathy at KUSF in the very early ’90s. “Nevermind” had just come out. A few years before, Kathy’s ex was the original label to first put out “Bleach.” “Alternative” things we’re very big. Kathy knew so much about music and I was amazed. I was dried up on VU, grunge and dub and really needed some serious musical guidance. So she and they began to show me everything. AMM, Uncle Tupelo, Caroliner Rainbow, The Monks, even Nick Drake… I was barely 21. I began private repeated listenings of “The Battle of El Goodo.” Commonplace today, but these were all first told to me when nothing else like them were ever discussed before. I needed to hear them. Exactly those and just right then. Somehow I knew they existed. Etched into my mind, I can still see Eric as Music Director in the Music Meetings holding up, “The Mummies.” I thought, “These are really important bands Laura. Pay attention.” Shit I did. And then Eric would laugh about just what the fuck these bands were doing. We all loved it. Sometimes Eric and I would play music together. Mostly Neil Young. When Eric wore his Jandek shirt to the SF Jandek show, people asked who that was on his shirt.

So “Toof.” Just the name alone makes me laugh for Kathy. She’s tough as nails, breaks just like a little girl, loved Lennon. She was the girl in New Orleans who wore the black arm band when he was shot.

There’s a Bright Eyes song titled Kathy w/ a K. It’s her. She was first to tour manage him. She worried about how fragile and nervous he was, how he always sounded like he was going to break – which made her laugh – and now he’s become a big-time (ahem)… heartthrob. Anyway, Kathy w/ a K always says things like, “A classic if ever there was one,” and was the first to tell me about Lester Bangs. She’s Southern polite and Brooklyn smart. She’s incredibly petite, dresses in Converse, grandpa sweaters and wears wingtips for dress-up. I am amazed when she considers me a “girlie” friend and we share fashion tips and advise. She’s been quitting smoking for years but presently smokes American Spirit Blue – an improvement from Camel Filterless (or whatever cigarette she would tear the filter off of). She loves bunnies and Winnie the Pooh. She’ll give you socks for presents because she loves socks so much. My cashmere argyle are still a favorite. The recent pink and black striped thigh-highs are somewhat befuddling but I’m way down for them. Kathy would always pull some kind of sexy girl thing out – in Converse high-tops. But she always got her man: The smart music geek that had social disorders. That’s what you get when you love song so much and you’re as smart as shit like Kathy is. So Josh is her gem. He actually talks to her friends. Like me. He’s even picking me up at the airport. We’ve reviewed going keyboard shopping during the week and he’ll probably comment on how I need more RAM – my computer is coming with me. He’s right.

Now she works for the Tenants Rights Union of San Francisco. For her, a dream job. This is after working for Homestead Records, booking folkprogrock festivals, bringing Ghost to America, Bevis Frond, Windy & Carl, Glenn Jones – and I’m totally blanking on everyone else. These are the Go-Tos. Obviously.

So to get her 2007 Best Of? I get excited for her lists. I still have the Best Of 2006 eMail saved in my Yahoo account.

Her notes open (centered as shown and in an Excel document):

“of course I wrote this brilliant thing about the How of listening changing the What, listening on the ipod, listening on the commute, not listening as often to complex long beautiful comtemplative [sic] stuff like richard bishop or william parker, not this time, not this year, not that I didn’t, but rather I didn’t all the time, what dominated was the commute ipod song not the challenging but rewarding, not the albums… then I accidentally deleted it. sorry.”

I love that, “not the challenging but rewarding”. Good shit Kathy.

I miss her complex comtemplative educational bits on this one. But still I’m listening to her show and I’m reading her notes. She’s on the air to me. It rocks like the only person to talk about Lime Spiders to me would. She loves songs with energy and excitement. Passionate sincerity that seems melodramatic but it’s just the point and I liken it to the true loyalty she gives to her friends. Like the pop-punk-not-trash-futility of Ted Leo & the Pharmacists. Think about just their name alone. Pharmacists. That’s not for kids.

I don’t doubt any of us who get a copy of “Toof” aren’t thrilled to have it. It’s the Kathy w/ a K show.

I’ll close with her LCD Soundsystem comment (I tell you, I was surprised to see they made it, but LCD is way good music, she knows a good song and after reading her notes, I at least knew it was Kathy): “one of those singles-things: the album was way too… modern(?) for me”. The song she listed? “All My Friends.” Aside from the sentimental connotation this song has when reminiscing about an old friend, the lyrics had already reminded me so much of Kathy. The beginning… the part all about astrological charts and sex? That part is so Kathy w/ a K.

Good stuff.

2 thoughts on “Kathy w/ a K

  1. just about LCD: see, James was in a far-too-overlooked indie rock band called Pony who were on Homestead in the early 1990s, which is some of the why – the music and lyrics beign the most of the why – for the choice.Oh, actually I work at the Eviction Defense Collaborative – I volunteer at the San Francisco Tenants Union.

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