FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

TIM KERR SPEAKS...

ON TIM KERR RECORDS:
Tim Kerr Records is not me. (smile) I am also not the hockey player either although Austin has a great hockey team (The Ice Bats)... a Texas hockey team? Who would have thought...

The first I heard of Tim Kerr Records was when a friend sent me a full page add for the label in 89 or 90? I was then pointed to a couple of reviews of the labels records in various magazines where the reviewer was referring to me. I thought the whole thing was funny. I didnt realize the extent of it until I went to my first Garage Shock and was asked about MY label repeatedly. What bothered me the most were that a couple of people had been writing to "them", thinking it was me, and then thinking I was an asshole because I was not responding. I was not responding because they were not writing to ME. (smile)

I then decided that I needed to find out what was going on and address the situation only to find out that they were not going to be very cooperative in trying to clear up the problem and if I was going to do anything about it I would have to get a lawyer and go through an expensive process. It seems that they were a label from portland called T/K records... named for the first initials of the two people running it. At least that was what was told to me, but when all the majors were
scooping up indies as fast as they could in hopes of another Nirvana, T/K changed their name in fear of being sued by KC and The Sunshine Band whose lable was TK or TKO? The timing of this change added to the confusion because I (Tim Kerr... confused yet?) happened to be in Seattle for a couple of weeks recording the first Monkeywrench record when the press came out on T/K's new label name.

Even people here in Texas thought it was me! (big smile) For me, I did not want to shut them down or ask for any money, I just wanted them to do something with the name to clear up what was going on or at least redirect any letters to me that were for me. After my first dealings with them Ii realized it was going to be a mess and in order to deal with it Iwould have to become a character that I detest... No! I'M tim kerr and i have done this and this...blah blah blah...

The final straw was when a lawyer friend was dealing with them and was told that they (the label) could not say... not from Texas... because it would offend their Texas artist?! My response to that was that if Dave at Estrus said Estrus was not from Texas, it would'nt offend me because... duh! They arent from Texas! (big smile)

The bottom line is that they could have been the type of person that sees the problem of mistaken identities and try to do what they can to set the...uh record, no pun intended (smile)... straight or they could sit back and take advantage of an opportunity that they may or may not have already known might exist.

ON BANDS I HAVE BEEN A PART OF:
I am always amazed and humbled when people come up and ask me about a band or bands that I have been in. It means alot to me, that it meant so much to the person that is talking to me. Sometimes it's Poison 13, sometimes it's the other bands... It hardly is ever Bad Mutha Goose (smile) which - let me clear up this sometimes misconception here and now - is a band that I was and am really proud of, but mostly its the big boys.

I can understand the impact it may have had on someone that was there at that time because it very much had to do with the times, and the bands (like Big Boys) were a part of that community. (truth be told... as proud as I am of the things I have been in or am in... The Lord High Fixers had the biggest impact on me personally spiritually and mentally) I feel lucky that I got to be a part of that late 70s/early 80s community BUT the ideas and ethos of that community are timeless and are still going on today through old and new ideas from old and young alike. Today/right now is just as significant to me (and I am not just referring to things I am involved with), as things that happened in history... or as Sun Ra says... his story. And I can not stress enough that we are all making history right now so you should stay wide open and be aware of things around you, and dont miss out of this time (now time) because you are consumed with something that has happened before. As for me - and I can only speak for me - that has been one of the underlining themes/ideas in everything that i have been involved with and i would hope that that message rings loud and clear.

ON BAD BRAINS:
I have had to tell the Bad Brains/Big Boys story at least once every 5 or 6 months for the last 30 years. So much information, misinformation, peoples' "truths," and hearsay have been written, that even when facts are given, is usually accompanied by some sort of disclaimer. As Chris Gates said recently, "It's their Altamont." The Bad Brains have tried to downplay this whole Austin incident and/or put the blame for it onto us or just Biscuit. It has always been looked at by them (and others) as a gay issue, when in fact for us, that was only a small part of a bigger picture. In a scene where everything was based on community, they took money from Biscuit and defaced property of the very people who had opened their home to them (Beth and I). In all the years that people have stayed here, we have NEVER had a problem except when the Bad Brains stayed.

The facts...

The Bad Brains came to Austin to play a show we had set up. They stayed at our house (Beth's and mine). Most of the door money that night had gone to the Bad Brains because as always, most of the door back then would go to help out the touring band. When the show was over, HR had complimented Biscuit on the show and he then asked Biscuit if he was gay. Biscuit said yes. The HR/Bad Brains freak out began and here is where the accounts of the story get skewed by others who were not even there. Biscuit DID NOT make a "pass" at HR -- period. Beth and I were both there and this did NOT happen.

In all the years we all knew Biscuit, even though he was certainly not a saint, the man never acted inappropriately. His sexuality was never at issue. Biscuit had acquired for them, in good faith and below cost, something they needed and he was told they would pay him the next day. Needless to say, after the big freakout at the show, when we all got back home, things were now uncomfortable and stressful for Beth and I. Even though we did not agree with their views we wanted to stay respectful to their beliefs for the rest of their stay with us. It most likely would have been left at that, but the next morning, while I was at work and Beth had stayed home from work, MDC came over and started it all back up again. Beth called me at work and was really upset. By the time I got home there was a yelling match going on in our little front yard. The subjects ranged from women needing to be at home, barefoot, cooking, and having babies to holy religious sermons. EVERYONE but Earl was involved not just HR . Beth was in the kitchen in tears and I had to go out and put my (shaky) foot down to stop the whole ordeal. MDC left but it still took the Bad Brains several hours to leave. We still were courteous to them, but Beth and I were both emotionally drained and the atmosphere was very uncomfortable by this point. We gave HR a foam pad for his bedroll and tried as best we could to help them speed up the process of going.

When they were headed out the door HR handed Beth a thick sealed envelope addressed to Biscuit, so we did not open it. I can believe the possibility that money was put into an envelope by one of the band members as the documentary states, but in the emotionally charged atmosphere of that afternoon, and after all we all had been through the night before, I have a very hard time believing that there was ever a friendly message on the envelope as depicted in the documentary's animation. We certainly did not receive anything saying "thank you, Bad Brains."

When they finally left, we discovered that they had defaced an historic poster in our bathroom that had actually gotten Raul's (an original Austin punk club) shut down. They could have easily told me it offended them and I would have covered or removed it. I also saw that the big 3d oversized post card of the pope that I was using in a painting I was working on was now gone. That escalated the whole affair for Beth and I as we had NEVER had any band take or deface something of ours. The next day when we gave Biscuit the sealed envelope that was supposed to contain the money he was owed, there was no money. There was a multi-paged letter/sermon/rant that ended with "ůmay you burn in hell, the Bad Brains." When word got out, sides were taken, as all the zines reported on the incidents and then printed letters from readers. They stressed the gay issue rather than the whole disrespectful way we all had been treated. The Big Boys started getting mail from all over, pro and con on the gay issue even though we had never made a band issue of Biscuit being gay because, IT WAS NOT AN ISSUE. A year or so later we were finally sent the money owed by one of their crew.

As hard as they try to downplay it, it really was a huge deal at that time in the DIY community. Other bands even wrote songs about it. Chris is right, it was their Altamont and became a big part of their history and some say downfall. Like Ken Burns documentaries, the Bad Brains one will become a truth and the Austin incident will become a small footnote.

Just goes to show you that history is indeed his story. I'm just adding a footnote of my own for the record.

ON TABS:
I dont really ever use "standard chords". I grew up playing acoustic and was really into old folk blues and people like Bert Jansch and John Martyn as well so I would play in tunings which usually add a lot to chords etc... I started playing electric when I started playing in bands and by that point was so use to hearing things in such a way that I would "dissect" chords to get that sound. I guess the closest thing I can relate this to for you is the difference between an A chord and an A7th. I will always head for the more open 7ths (smile) it drives most people nuts when trying to figure out what I am playing because its only pieces of chords making up a whole new chord and then there is the physical push and pull that I generally will do that confuses the listeners and my band mates (Monkeywrench) when they only have a tape of me to go by and don't physically have me there to "see" what I am doing. I'm not real sure how you could tab that.

Today! With both feet firmly planted in tomorrow and yesterday.