Washed Up Emo

#5 - Trevor Kelley (Former music journalist for Spin and AP)

December 16, 2011 Tom Mullen Episode 5
Washed Up Emo
#5 - Trevor Kelley (Former music journalist for Spin and AP)
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Washed Up Emo
#5 - Trevor Kelley (Former music journalist for Spin and AP)
Dec 16, 2011 Episode 5
Tom Mullen

Joining us in this episode is Trevor Kelley, a former music journalist at SPIN and Alternative Press. Also he was a co-writer for one of the definitive emo books of the 2000s, "Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture". Let's also point out he is a proud fan of WashedUpEmo.com

Show Notes Transcript

Joining us in this episode is Trevor Kelley, a former music journalist at SPIN and Alternative Press. Also he was a co-writer for one of the definitive emo books of the 2000s, "Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture". Let's also point out he is a proud fan of WashedUpEmo.com

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/washedupemo)

Tom Mullen:

What was sort of the path that brought you to emo?

Trevor Kelley:

I grew up there and started going to shows in 1992, and at that point the two scenes that were going on that I volleyed between was the New Age Records scene that was going on and a lot of the shows happened in Huntington beach. But you know, like anything Mike Hartsfield-related would end up somewhere out there. And so I'd go to shows like that and see Foundation or Mean Season, a bunch of brands like that. And then on the other side — like West of Simi Valley — there was the Goleta Santa Barbara kind of hardcore scene that like card was the, the demigod um, you know, both of those were just such perfect hardcore scenes in that like a label totally defined it and like one dude totally defined it and had a visual aesthetic, and if you'd liked one thing it was super easy to like the next thing. So it had to be somewhere in there. Because I would see bands like Endpoint when I'd go see hardcore shows; I'd see bands like Still Life when I'd go to some of the living room Goleta shows. So I guess it was like somewhere in 1992 that that stuff started like kind of coming across my teenage mind and blowing it.

Tom Mullen:

Did you kind of go to indie first or was it hardcore? Or was it hardcore right into emo?

Trevor Kelley:

Well I listened to metal. And in 1992, obviously, it wasn't weird if you were like, I love Megadeath and Fugazi or Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was this weird convergence of music and time where that that kind of made sense. I would say before I started going to those shows I was a totally confused mishmash of all that kind of stuff. Like I loved Blood Sugar Sex Magik which is weird because I do not like Red Hot Chili Peppers at all. Anyways, there was like this weird amalgamation of stuff going on. And so I was super into metal, but then I think being able to see a band like Nirvana where I liked the heaviness of it. But the melody of it, and certainly the angst of it, made it easy to go listen to a hardcore band again where it was like, oh, right, they're angsty and heavy too. It was a kind of natural segue, I guess. But I wasn't into indie. That would have been a good time to be like, yeah, dude, I totally love Dinosaur Jr., but that wasn't until much later in my life.

Ray Harkins:

You hit on something, Trevor, that I think is cool, and a lot of people don't realize what a powerful scene the Santa Barbara scene was and you mentioned Kalita — most people don't even know what that is. I think it's cool where you did have a juxtaposition, because I myself was also going to shows in Southern California, and I dated a girl that went to UCSB so I would go to shows at like the Pickle Patch and stuff. And so you had these two vastly different things where it was like in Orange County and in LA you had somewhat legitimate venues like Showcase Theater before Chain Reaction was called Chain Reaction. You have these legitimate venues, and then you had Santa Barbara where it was like they had the Living Room, but that place changed every, like two years. It was a total DIY scene. So it's cool that you had that same experience as well.

Trevor Kelley:

It's interesting and I'm sure it's still happening. I'm sure there's like someone who's still throwing a show in a living room in Ivy somewhere. And I'm sure the same thing's happening in Orange County.

Ray Harkins:

I always found it interesting, too — and I'm sure Tom has had similar experiences — where it wasn't out of the realm of possibilities to have a band that sounded like Mineral and Christie Front Drive play with like a literal hardcore band. I mean, this is extreme, but you could see like Ten Yard Fight play with Mineral even though that's extreme, but only in certain places would that kind of work, where people would be that accepting to be like, yeah, I like both genres.

Trevor Kelley:

Yeah, totally. I mean I saw Promise Ring played Pickle Patch in '96 or '97 or something, and then the next night they played the Huntington Beach Library. And at the Huntington Beach Library, if I remember correctly, they played with Man Is the Bastard and The Locust. Something along those lines, where I was like, what the fuck is going on here? Like this is crazy. But, yeah, it seemed normal I guess.

Tom Mullen:

I was actually just looking at the Texas Is the Reason tour dates, and I saw some shows. I mean they did a show with Madball, and you look at it then, and it was normal to do that.

Ray Harkins:

I think it's funny, too, because now you look at the tour packages that get sent out and diversity is completely frowned upon. Or if the headlining bands don't care, and these kids will be forced to watch these bands, the kids that watch the opening bands go, this is the worst shit I've ever heard. It's just funny to have that.

Trevor Kelley:

Yeah, I remember seeing Cursive, Mastodon and Against Me on the same bill and being like, awesome. Like that was a full US tour.

Tom Mullen:

Well, I think it's interesting that with radio it's like, well this is only this one genre that you must listen to. Or with tours, you're going to go to this metal core shit tour. But I think a kid likes all that. That's why they listen to Spotify or listen to Pandora, because of that, because they like different things.

Tom Mullen:

For me, the first emo band for me that someone told me about was Get Up Kids and then Promise Ring, and then I sort of researched back and forward. What was the one for you? Was it while you were in college? Was it while you were doing the zine and where did you kind of branch off from that and sort of dive into it?

Trevor Kelley:

It's weird because, I mean, one of the first punk bands I got into was Fugazi, and then from there I got into Embrace and like any other kind of stuff that wasn't just Minor Threat. So I was aware of the proto-emo bands, but I just don't think I thought of them in that way at the time. I definitely didn't think of Fugazi's 13 Songs as that the first time I heard it. I just thought of them as a punk band. Or even stuff like Statue where I was like, clearly it wasn't quite hardcore, but it was sort of more progressive in its lyricism and sentiments, but I didn't think of it as that. I don't think it was probably until my sophomore or junior year of high school where I started thinking of bands in that light. And it was mostly like Jawbreaker. Like I bought the Busy seven inch, and I remember thinking like, what is this? And then I bought like Soar by Samiam, and being like, this is not like punk, this isn't hardcore. So it's kind of like figuring out it was a different thing, but I don't think anyone called it emo. Like I definitely thought of Still Life as an emo band. So it wasn't like the first wave, and it wasn't like the typical second wave stuff. It was like Jawbreaker and Still Life and that kind of stuff, that I started thinking what is that.

Trevor Kelley:

And it was really quick. I got super into Jawbreaker and within, I would say like months even, it was like I would read an interview with them — or I think it was through a J Church interview that I first found out about scene — and I was like, oh wow, this sounds like stuff I like, but the songwriting I thought was really tight. And then, you know, someone gave me a copy of Spiderland by Slint, and my mind was blown. It felt like it had these elements of what I was listening to, but with nothing else I'd ever heard. And so during high school it wouldn't be odd that I would go like buy a Flying Saucer Attack record and also buy LP2 by Sunny Day Real Estate or something like that. So it was sort of in high school that I found emo and kind of listened to indie rock stuff too. So that's been the last 15 years of my life.

Tom Mullen:

Did that lead into the zine you did?

Trevor Kelley:

Yeah, it was called Stop Breathing, which is a Pavement song. But that's a great example of these two worlds that I really adored. You know, the name of the zine from the Pavement song, the guitar player from the Promise Ring designed it, and the Promise Ring sold it on tour. And like Sunny Day Real Estate was on the cover and one issue Superchunk was on the cover. So it kind of hit both, which didn't seem that weird. Like the first Promise Ring record has a reference to a Red House Painters song in it. And it totally made sense. Like those guys felt like peers to me. I would go sit with them and talk about like OK Computer and it was like this mind blowing experience and whatever. But at the same time I could talk to them about Start Today. It seemed like by the end of the '90s it was totally normal. A band like Jets to Brazil totally exemplifies that to me. It's like you have guys that were in Resurrection in that band and like Handsome but yet by the time they put our their second record it sounded like Wilco.

Tom Mullen:

It's almost like they got older before us, and we were younger, if that makes sense. Like they kind of went through their harder phase, and then they did it, and now we're sort of in that loop, I feel like.

Trevor Kelley:

For me, personally, it was like this perfect storm of seeing bands like that or Death Cab even — like those first two Death Cab records — and like Pedro the Lion. It was like a lot of guys who I felt like I could talk to you about growing up listening to hardcore, but that I could talk to them about like a Talk Talk record too if I wanted to. It was kinda this perfect storm for me, when that sort of second wave of emo bands. Especially the Jade Tree ones kind of became sort of omnipresent. That was definitely super influential on me. And it's weird because it was kind of like my own cottage industry in my house, like creating a fanzine, selling it, booking all the ads, and paying Jason and Josh to design it and all these like different things that I was doing. At that point I was like 20 or something like that, and I was like publishing my zine regularly. And you have to look at someone as like a blueprint, and those guys were so cool to me, those Jade Tree guys. They were always very supportive and helpful. For me, what was important about that time was that someone who was a few years older than me and had a lot more experience, that it wasn't questionable for them to be like, oh yeah, you should go talk to this person. This is how you put together your own little business out of your bedroom. I mean now, I don't know if a total stranger would help a total stranger as much as some people did back then, I guess. I hope they would.

Tom Mullen:

I read the little history that you did for Jade Tree on their site. It's cheesy to say that now. It's heartfelt. There's so many records from that label that are so influential, and bands from that era, and for those guys to totally do that — like some random person asking for help — and they did it. I don't know if it's just from the hardcore mentality of kind of helping each other out, or the scene, but they kinda came from that world too.

Trevor Kelley:

It certainly had an effect on me to this day where I think every idea is worth listening to. There was a point where I'd have like college kids just send me emails, and at that point in my life was in my late twenties and they would be like, how do I become a writer or whatever, and I would literally be like, here's my phone number, because I had someone else do that to me essentially. It left an indelible mark on me.

Tom Mullen:

I had the same conversation with somebody today about that. Someone was helping me today and he said the same thing. So when you dived into writing — for the Spin, NME, AP, Punk Planet — did you feel pressure when you were reviewing or doing these things where you were probably friends with a lot of these bands? How did you figure that out?

Trevor Kelley:

When I was trying to write it, I didn't think about who would read it. Like the only person I was trying to write for and sort of entertain was myself. So I never thought, if I write this gnarly Cobra Starship record review, am I going to have to deal with the repercussions of this. I wouldn't be doing my job if I did that, you know? So that stuff, it didn't enter my mind as much. Certainly, back then you'd submit a review and you'd have to wait two months for it to come out. Once it became a reality — it was something tangible that I could hold in my hands — crap, then the thought occured to me like, oh yeah, this is probably not going to go over well or whatever. Like someone might get bummed on this or I'm going to have to answer to this. But it wasn't while it was occurring. I think at the end of the day, if I didn't stay true to either trying to find the story that I thought was worth telling or trying to assert my opinion in the most entertaining way I thought possible — in that era specifically — that would have been counterintuitive to that job.

Tom Mullen:

In late high school, I felt it sort of popping. And then, when I got to college, I just felt that there was this moment or this movement that I was talking about that no one was paying attention to, and they were still sort of stuck in Limp Bizkit world and all those things. And I was kind of screaming from the rooftops, like, these songs are poppy and catchy. Why is no one listening? And then certain people copied it and iterations of the bands move on. But when you were writing for those places, were you having to kind of raise your hand sometimes, like, hey guys, hold up, this band is going to be kind of huge?

Trevor Kelley:

Yeah, I don't know. I think Leslie Simon was really good at that. I wasn't like the forecaster as much. Like there were certain times where I pointed at like Say Anything or Panic! at the Disco and I was like, this is definitely gonna happen, and then I was correct, but there were just as many other times where I was maybe not. That wasn't necessarily my role as much. But I will say that I do know what you're talking about. Like I remember feeling like the first time I heard Clarity that that was going to be Nevermind. I remember getting the advanced and listening to it and being like, wow, this is done. Like Promise Ring is definitely not selling my zine on tour anymore. They're going to put out Very Emergency and it's going to be huge and they're going to go sign to MCA or Capitol or wherever. And then then Something to Write Home About came out, too, and I remember that period I was expecting all those albums to be pretty big. Clarity clearly was not, and the Promise Ring record was not. And I mean, Something to Write Home About certainly was, and that kind of started the entrance into the mainstream for a lot of the fans that kinda came from that world. But I did feel like, in that sort of late era for the second wave, that it was going to be kind of huge and it didn't. And I remember when things started to get huge, I can point to like probably three or four times where I was like, well, it's not going to get bigger than this.

Tom Mullen:

Well that's the thing. I was thinking like Weezer with Get Up Kids tour, Roseland, like buses and fucking crew members everywhere. And I go, "Holy shit." I remember saying that at the show.

Trevor Kelley:

And then a year later it's like Dashboard Confessional doing unplugged. I remember when that happened, and he was on the cover of Spin like twice in a year. And I was like, well, that clearly, that's it. It's not going to get bigger. And I think the last time I was like, there's no way it's gonna get bigger than this was when I saw Fall Out Boy at Bamboozle 2006, I think, and they were standing onstage, and it was like 40,000 people or something like that. And I was just like, now, this is as big as this scene gets. And maybe in some ways that was it, maybe that was sort of like the peak of the mountain to some degree.

Ray Harkins:

Anytime you watch a band — even if obviously you've got no emotional connection or you fucking hate their music — as you watch them ascend, it becomes surreal. And like, obviously once they become popular, they become sort of outside of the sphere of what you pay attention to. A band like My Chemical Romance is the perfect example. Like any time my dad downloads a song by a band, that obviously has like an independent context, I'm like, this doesn't even make sense. At the time, obviously all of those bands were being exposed to people that would literally have no context.

Trevor Kelley:

Yeah. And I think for awhile, too, you would see some of these bands exploding in the mainstream. Like there was no denial that they kind of came from — if not the same world that I came from, some sort of iteration of it. I felt like seeing My Chem and Fall Out Boy and certainly like Thursday and Taking Back Sunday get big, I was like, oh yeah, this is the same thing I saw happening. You know, this is exactly that. I think after their success it's a little harder for me, cause it was like, yes they were coming from a scene, but it was only like this mainstream punk scene. And this is like a flag on them — I think they've actually written some really great pop songs. Like Paramore, it wasn't like they slugged it out, necessarily, or even saw the world that some of the bands that came before them came from. The path was more defined a little bit.

Tom Mullen:

From the interviews that you were doing in that sort ora, was there any favorite from the emo world that sort of stuck out to you? I want to bring up the Ian MacKaye interview, which I think is hilarious, but are there any others that kind of stuck out with you that you read now and you're like, holy shit, that really exemplifies that time and that era.

Trevor Kelley:

All of them. [laughs] Not like, I nailed it. I don't mean it like that, like, but I can't read those. But when I do, there's no way I can't think of that particular time in my life, like 2003 to 2007 era where I was living in New York or preparing to move there. And I was watching all these bands get super huge and like every expectation kept getting surpassed. I can't help but look of that stuff and think like, god, it's so crazy that happened and a part of me thinks like, I don't know if that'll happen again. And that's not a good or bad thing, but I don't know if you'll have a thing where the mainstream will embrace a scene sort of like that or a genre, a seemingly new genre.

Tom Mullen:

I think that was the last scene because I didn't have a cell phone until it was 2000, and I feel like it was bubbling like 97, 98. You know, you've got Clarity, you have Something to Write Home About, you've got all those things kind of popping and then it came out. And internet and being able to share and Napster. It's just like you still had to go to the show. You still had to borrow your friend's mixed tape. You had to listen to the radio.

Trevor Kelley:

And I think to some degree indie rock has kind of fulfilled that a little bit in the late aughts into now. Certainly a band like Phoenix putting out a record like Wolfgang Amadeus, where they were probably playing Bowery Ballroom-sized venues at the front of the tour, and they did that at Madison Square Garden. That's probably as important as "Sugar, We're Going Down." I think that's kind of close. But I didn't touch that as much.

Tom Mullen:

I wanted to get into this, but the book — I have couple of funny things that I want to mention about it. I did some research. You still have a MySpace page for it. You guys have an old school badge on there, saying you were there at the beginning of my space. 8,500 fans still commenting. There's still people commenting. And then I also did a used Amazon sale. I wanted to see your book versus Nothing Feels Good and versus Leslie's Wish You Were Here. So if you'd like, I'd like to give the used price. Now I did an average, but I'd like to give you the used price. Wish You Were Here —$2.04. Nothing Feels Good — $2.84. Ready for yours? $3.04. So you guys won, you guys have come out on top. That's my way of figuring out.

Trevor Kelley:

We would have won if we got a movie deal.

Ray Harkins:

That's definitely the definitive "you win" statement. Hey, you're not in the 99 cent bin, yet.

Tom Mullen:

I thought it was hilarious cause I was like, holy shit, there's all these old books that came out, and I'm sure there was always people that bought it. They thought it was just going to have stuff about Dashboard Confessional in it. And there's other things about bands they don't know about, and they threw it away, or their parents bought it for them. I'd love to get into your head of like, hey Leslie, you want to do a book? Alright, let's do it about this. I mean, you got Greenwald doing the forward. I mean, you've got everyone involved, and it was sort of that time it came out. It was a pretty big deal.

Trevor Kelley:

Leslie had an idea to do sort of a manual about emo. I remember when she asked me if I'd write it with her. We were at Misshapes in New York, and I saw her sitting at the bottom of stairs, and she told me like, I have this idea, I want to do this thing with you. And I said, sure. I mean that was kind of my reaction to anything back then. I was just sort of game for anything, from large scale projects like that to like weird hangouts. So I was kind of like, yeah, okay, sure, whatever. And then she kind of told me what it was, and we spent the next two months sort of trading emails and ideas and sort of started putting together a proposal for it that, and the shape of it evolved a little bit in that process. And then we had an agent who then went to many publishers, and to our surprise, many publishers were interested. And that was kind of it. I remember being home in New York for Christmas, going into 2005. I remember saying to my family, "I think this might happen." And them being lik, that seems crazy, but sure, whatever. You go for it. I remember being pleasantly surprised when I came back and I was having options, and I was talking about it. It was a quick experience but really exciting. I look back on it very fondly. I just remember it coming out and sort of weird things happening very quickly and like us being on TV or us doing morning radio like weird things like. I thought we'd put it out, we'd have a party at a bar in the Lower East Side and that would kind of be it. And then it continued and continued and because of it I ended up changing jobs, because I enjoyed marketing it so much. It was a really cool thing. And Leslie just put out a new book a couple of weeks ago, and I went to her event for it here in Los Angeles last week, and it was cool because I was kind of standing by the side of the table where she was signing. And it was neat to see like what appeared to be like a 19 year old girl in a Saves the Day t-shirt getting this book that's completely about something different signed. I remember looking at her and being like, that girl's wearing a Saves the Day t-shirt. That's awesome. Like that's great that like this person probably still knows Leslie from that, and they're interested in what she's still doing and that there's still some sort of lineage there.

Tom Mullen:

Please tell me that you get 15 cent royalty checks every so often.

Trevor Kelley:

But yeah, it was a popular book, but I don't see 15 cent royalty checks.

Tom Mullen:

I mean, from what I understand, book deals aren't like record deals where they give you a sizable advance.

Trevor Kelley:

Well, I think they do. I just the costs are different. So it's like you do get an advance, but what are your costs. It's like, okay, your advance is X amount. You have to live for six months, and you already have a laptop. So like I guess you don't have to go to a cabin in Woodstock to write this record and, whatever, have like a guru onsite to make sure that your head's in the right space. You know, it's like totally different circumstances and that's totally speculative.

Ray Harkins:

Have you ever wanted to write another book based on this experience? I mean, not obviously the same subject matter, but something completely different.

Trevor Kelley:

I don't think I'd write another book. It was so much work, and it was really rewarding in that time, and there was something about me thinking that was a really great experience. I don't know if I'd want to continue to do that over and over again and it becoming routine. So I don't think I would. I'm pretty happy with not being an author or a writer anymore.

Tom Mullen:

What were your thoughts on the Nothing Feels Good book?

Trevor Kelley:

I liked it. I know people have a sort of dicey relationship with it sometimes. But I've always been a fan of Andy's writing. I've always thought he was a great writer. I think he was honest about it. That was the thing that kind of bummed me out when people kind of got down about him. Cause I think their thing about it was that he was sort of like a tourist. Like it was this guy who kind of observed the initial emo boom, mainstream boom and then wrote a book about it and sort of got a good amount of notoriety or just attention from it. But I thought that's how he wrote it. I don't think he proclaimed to be an expert or someone who had lived it. So I thought the book was really honest. I thought it was well-written and think that, to this day, there's there's no better definitive version of the Chris Carrabba story than the one that exists in that book. I thought that that portion of it was very strong. So I was a fan of it. I continue to try to seek out his writing when I can.

Tom Mullen:

Michael Azerrad did Our Band Could Be Your Life, which was a great book. Do you feel that 10 years from now someone's going to have a book that is sort of even more entrenched in that?

Trevor Kelley:

I'd buy it if they did. In a weird way, we're just as influential in sort of casting the mold for certainly some things that bands did sonically, but like also like the career paths bands took. And Our Band Could Be Your Life is sort very much about the integrity of doing things independently, and how those bands lived, and how they came up. I remember when I was being interviewed for the AP oral history and the guy writing it asking me if the era that Leslie and Jonah and myself were really intergral with, if we thought that people would look back on some of those records as classic record. If you're asking me if Deja Entendu is going to be looked at like Blonde On Blonde, like, no, it's probably not going to happen. But I think that musically there were just really incredible records that perhaps were sort of flighted off because they happened in a period where emo broke into mainstream and people might just kind of take a cursory glance at it later, you know, 10 years from now and not be like, hmm, maybe I should check out War All the Time or these handfuls of Black Parade, which was a really great record. There's a ton of them that I thought, gosh, this is really good. And I would be interested in hearing this years from now. So I hope people do. Um, I don't know if they will. That's the thing is it's like The Replacements' record Let It Be, people will always continue to buy, and I don't know if Tell All Your Friends is that record. To me it is, I think there's great songs on it, and I think it continues to be worth revisiting. I mean people are clearly nostalgic for it.

Tom Mullen:

The Refused record, The Shape of Punk to Come. I mean, when you read Guitar World and all the guitar players for the new metal bands put that down as their favorite record. It's obviously gotten to a different place than maybe another record that came out around the same time.

Trevor Kelley:

Right. And maybe people wouldn't have thought that, you know, five years ago. So it seems to be really hard to predict or tell. I really think that in that time there was some really great music coming out of that world. So I hope as years go by, people kind of look back on it and say things like, you know, "Hands Down" was a pretty good pop song. Like I gotta give it to that guy.

Tom Mullen:

When you were working at MySpace, I mean I still consider that the last sort of emo era. Um, was it, was it interesting, too? Any interesting anecdotes from that time?

Trevor Kelley:

Yeah. I mean, a lot of interesting things, certainly in my time there. But the thing that I would say a lot to people there, and even up until my last day, is that I said, we changed music, no matter what people say about it now, or they'll continue to say years and years from now. It socialized music. It kind of removed the barrier between the artist and the audience in a way that was just so substantial. It was kind of the first moment of discovery that is so integral to something like a Pandora or Spotify. Discovery was such a huge thing there, and it really opened up the way that you could consume, find and fall in love with music.

Tom Mullen:

I mean, what did you do? You typed in my space.com/theband. Yeah. It was in your head to do that.

Trevor Kelley:

And then you check their top eight and oh, who's that band? And then you check out that band, and then you send them message maybe and say like, I book shows here, or like, I really love that song, what's it about? And they wrote you back. That stuff all exists still. It just exists in different ways.

Ray Harkins:

It's just a different vehicle of communication like this. Myspace was a tool and people utilized it for as much as they could until there was something else that came along. It was easier.

Trevor Kelley:

The fundamentals of it, it just fragmented, and in the way that a fragment — compared to those places that just focus on one thing — is better. No one would deny that. And so it just became the way that we consume music now, and we do it across, you know, 20 platforms or something. But to see it all happening as it did, it was really exciting. I got to do a lot of cool things. I got to go to Hawaii with Tom.

Tom Mullen:

Ray, I don't know about this, but I pulled the biggest coup at a label I think ever. I worked a Willie Nelson record and Trevor's coworker Isaac got Band of Horses to play a Willie Nelson show in Maui, and we got to go out there for a MySpace secret show, and I got to go for like a week.

Trevor Kelley:

That time was just so crazy. There are so many crazy experiences that I can recall from it that were just incredible. Like going to Willie Nelson's house, meeting Robert Smith and everyone else. I think anyone who worked there would say it was a really exciting place when they worked there.

Tom Mullen:

And I think it's a really good book end because the MySpace feel and that era and those bands, they were just using it so heavily, and you felt connected. It's just as Twitter felt connected when it first started. MySpace, I feel like, for a really long part of it, felt you were connected to the band if you were friends with them. You could message them and they would write you back. It felt like you were connected.

Trevor Kelley:

One of the things I thought was great was the bands looked at the platform that way. I recall very vividly trading emails with the singer from Fleet Foxes, like trying to get his profile straight. There was a time where he was like super invested in it and it didn't seem weird that it was like, I'll just email this guy at MySpace and we'll just get it done. And like the barriers around music when that platform became so ubiquitous, just started deteriorating. And that was an exciting idea and still clearly continues to be one in other parts of the space.

Tom Mullen:

Where is the Jawbreaker t-shirts? What happened? Quick note,Trevor made some Fugazi shirts. All these bands wear them, Trevor posts them on his Facebook page. People get stoked. I get stoked. People still look at me funny when I wear it and then I have to explain, but there's supposed to be a Jawbreaker one and it's not my inbox yet.

Trevor Kelley:

So the Fugazi shirt, people liked those, as Tom said. So then I thought, what a great idea would it be to do the four Jawbreaker albums as a shirt like that. So I mocked this up. I put it up on Facebook and Twitter and said again, do you guys want them? I mean, I'm sure your podcast base is huge — and so I will clear my name through this. I give away these Fugazi shirts. I have never made any money on it. In fact, I've lost a lot of money making these. So please anyone who wants to like tell Dischord that I make them, please let them know that I lose money on them and give them to people. So I thought I would do the same thing with these Jawbreaker shirts. So I mock it up and all these people, I'll take one, I'll take one, I'll take one. So I ordered 34 of them, I think, cause their response was so great. They come to my office at work, I open them up and I'm, like, yes, great. And I think I went straight from work that night to a show, and the person that I was going the show with had put their hand up and said, I would like one of these shirts. So I deliver it to him — who I also blame for this. He used to be an English teacher. He picks up the shirt and goes, is that how you spell Bivouac? One of the most literary punk bands possibly of all time. You cannot put those shirts out with a typo. No.

Tom Mullen:

You know what? Those can be used like they have, you know, when the NBA championship and the other team that loses, but they still make the shirts and they send them somewhere? You should do that. I know how serious you are about tee shirts because I shouldn't have thrown out half the tee shirts I did because you would've bought them off me.

Trevor Kelley:

It's weird too because I don't wear t-shirts really.

Ray Harkins:

You don't need to explain yourself because there's a comfort in owning t-shirts, like there's a comfort in, for me, owning an extra large Chokehold t-shirt that I'll never wear.

Trevor Kelley:

So I don't wear tee shirts in my day to day life that much anymore, but I will wear them when I go do yoga and it's like the raddest feeling to be like the guy at yoga wearing an Inside Out, "No Spiritual Surrender" t-shirt. Thinking maybe someone will know, like maybe someone's going to be like, dude, Burning Fight, that's one of the best hardcore songs ever.

Ray Harkins:

Anything smaller than a large like did not exist. Period. I have like four Outspoken shirts that I would wear every day if they were a reasonable size and didn't look like a dress on me.

Trevor Kelley:

Or especially when you buy them from Ebay. They have crinkley...

Ray Harkins:

They have showneck on them?

Trevor Kelley:

You were asking about when I first started going to shows and when I would go to the hardcore shows that would happen in either Huntington Beach or Simi Valley, there like this like game where if they didn't like you and went to crowd surf or stage dive, they'd just grab on your neck and just like fuck your shirt up basically. You could you imagine me at like 13? I looked like I was eight. And I had the '90s like huge, huge pants. I looked so young. And I would be like, alright, I'm going to go up with a stage dive. I don't know why I thought like, yes, these guys who are like 19 or totally going to be like, that's awesome, that eight year old just did a stage dive. So I'd just end up with these Gorilla Biscuits long sleeves, like they'd be so stretched out, I couldn't wear them. They'd fall off me basically.

Tom Mullen:

Oh, I love that. The first shirt I ever bought was — no one knows this band — Sam Black Church. It was 2XL long sleeve. What the hell was I thinking?

Tom Mullen:

But real quick, favorite emo band from that genre?

Trevor Kelley:

Jawbreaker.

Tom Mullen:

Favorite record?

Trevor Kelley:

Dear You and Tell All Your Friends. And I will throw in The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me.

Tom Mullen:

What was the band that was called emo that you thought just wasn't?

Trevor Kelley:

Like Slug from Atmosphere? I didn't get what was emo about him. I mean, I like them at the time, but there was nothing remotely emo about this guy.

Tom Mullen:

A favorite new band that you feel is influenced by older emo?

Trevor Kelley:

Defeater.

Tom Mullen:

Defeater, nice. Bands you wish you saw, but didn't?

Trevor Kelley:

I never got to see the original Smashing Pumpkins lineup. That was a big moment for me, I'm a really big Smashing Pumpkins fan. I never saw OG Sunny Day Real Estate. That would have been great. I never saw Gorilla Biscuits.

Tom Mullen:

Bands you saw, but wish you didn't?

Trevor Kelley:

I saw a lot, I mean, they all have their merits, it was just for other people. But yeah, there's nothing that sticks out to me where I was like, that's it I need my half hour back.

Tom Mullen:

Mine was definitely Brokencyde. I definitely needed my half hour back.

Tom Mullen:

And last one, do you feel that these bands will be talked about in 10 years?

Trevor Kelley:

Well, I mean, I just talked about Still Life, right? That band impacted, I can't think more than 10,000 people in the course of the past few years and it still gets brought up. Um, yeah, I think so and I hope so. I hope that Full Collapse is somebody's Diary or their Let It Be or whatever.

Tom Mullen:

Like you said, you saw that younger kid at that show, they're there, they're trying to experience that moment and, you know, you saying that girl going up to Leslie like, that is awesome to me. I would help that girl out. I'd be like, do you want some records? Not in like a weird way, but like totally cool.

Trevor Kelley:

And I think so. I mean, if the music was quality, it all has a say, you know? Like I went and saw Thrice last night, it was such a fantastic show. I think that for a lot of people like that band might've ended after Artist In The Ambulance. I think they play maybe two songs that predated 2005 maybe or 2006. Yeah. And you know, it was great. If the music is great, people will still come. I do think that some bands won't endure the way others do. But I certainly think it all has merit. We'll continue to unearth it.

Tom Mullen:

Thank you. It was awesome to have you and being able to help out Washed Up Emo. I love hearing what you say about this. Because you wrote a book about this, that solidifies your expertise on this!

Trevor Kelley:

And as far as emo goes, I'm washed up. It's true.