As the summer winds to a close, revelers far and wide are doing whatever they can to squeeze the last ounces of se asonal vibes from the calendar. It’s likely that the first installment of Helter Swelter, coming Saturday, August 16th, in the parking lot of Ace of Cups, is where you’ll find the most bang for your buck. Legendary New Zealand band The Clean will be making their maiden visit to Columbus as headliners, but the undercard, with sets from Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, Scrawl, Pretty Pretty, and the Unholy Two, among others, is the best concentration of local bands this town has seen in some time.
Jerry Dannemiller is the man we have to thank for bringing it all together. Besides his great work as Communications Director at the Wexner Center for the Arts, he’s also a member of Moviola – they’ll be playing as well. I recently got to chat with Dannemiller about how Helter Swelter came to be and what attendees should expect from the fest.
How did the idea of Helter Swelter come about? Was this something you’ve been kicking around for a while, or did it happen fairly spontaneously?
Jerry Dannemiller: Marcy had been wanting to do something since the bar opened two years ago; I’d helped out with a number of festivals in town, Independent’s Day, Parking Lot Blowout, 4th and 4th, and booked some shows at Ace of Cups (Blues Control, Eugene Mirman, etc.). We hatched a plan at O’Reilly’s bar one night in January over a couple drinks.
You don’t need to tell me, but how do you explain to others the importance of the Clean?
Oh gosh, I think if you’re not familiar with the awesomeness of the Clean, then a) you should get familiar with it, like, now and b) you’re certainly aware of the long shadow of influence they’ve had over bands like Sonic Youth, Pavement, Yo La Tengo, and many, many others. Their longevity, 35+ years(!), is only one aspect of their greatness.
Besides the Clean, what set are you most excited to see?
Everybody, for certain, but Scrawl and Unholy Two are the two I’m going to make a point to be up front for.
One thing I love about Columbus is that there really doesn’t seem to be a lapse between the bands of 20 years ago and the bands playing today, and this show is a perfect example of that. What is it about Columbus that perpetuates that continuity?
Lack of caring or knowing about what’s fashionable, though that seems to be fading as time moves on and more luxury housing and gastropubs get built.
To that end, what is it about Columbus that continues to pull bands like Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments and Scrawl out of (semi) retirement every few years?
Hmm. Lack of actually good bands to actually see? Maybe the need for supplemental income because of a horrible Republican governor?
When was the last time Moviola played? What prompted you guys to get back together? Is there new music being recorded?
We played last around Christmas 2012 for our friend Bela’s Anyway Records 20th anniversary. That was fun. We have a whole batch of songs for another record (our 8th?) which are recorded, yes.
Are there any plans to do this again next year?
Most definitely. I certainly hope all the work everyone has done this year would be a foundation on which to build next year.
Are there any charities or other organizations that you’d like to acknowledge in collaboration with Helter Swelter?
Yes. A portion of the proceeds from the event will go toward both Grrrls Rock Columbus and Girlz Rhythm n’ Rock Camp, who help young women have creative expression experiences regardless of means. Everyone knows that the best drummers in the world are always women (see: Moe Tucker, Janet Weiss). Hopefully this inspires a new generation of not only drummers, but all sorts of future female music makers.
3:15 RAW PONY
4:05 WASHINGTON BEACH BUMS
5:55 PRETTY PRETTY
6:45 UNHOLY TWO
7:35 THOMAS JEFFERSON SLAVE APTS
9:25 THE CLEAN