The Redmond and the Nerd Squad
(Fall 1999-Spring 2000)
If you've ever driven down University Ave, you may have seen the rough-hewn, red brick apartment building at the corner of 8th Street SE. We have always known this building as "The Redmond", though it may have been called something else in 1890 when it was built. Today, this building is filled with young college students, who have decided that air conditioning is something they'd like to be free of. More than anything, this building is responsible for the creation of Vomit Sauce.
My first Redmond experience happened in the summer of 1999, not too long before the start of my sophomore year of college. The sixth floor RA had become pretty good friends with us our first year (she was even dating one of my friends that summer). She invited a group of us to her suburban home for a pool party. The group of people that attended were some of my IT-honors class mates from freshmen year. As night fell, the all too high-school nature of the pool party turned to thoughts of getting hammered, so we moved the party to Matthew Fliss's girlfriends's place in Minneapolis, which just happened to be at "The Redmond". For a suburban kid used to buildings built in living memory, "The Redmond" was a totally new experience. The building was in OK shape, but it was 110 years old. The stairway leading up to her apartment was tilted at an almost 30 degree angle to one side, and most of the floors were slanted one way or another. Otherwise, the building was actually in pretty sweet shape (the condition from apartment to apartment varied widely, as Alex will attest to). The party consisted of lots of underage drinking, and of course, lots of Mario Kart.
Playing Mario Kart at the Redmond, summer 1999.
The Redmond, summer of 1999. Fliss's girlfriends place was on the 3rd floor corner.
Once again I was living in Middlebrook Hall for the school year, but this time I was living up on the 12th floor. A small group of my 6th floor IT buddies were living down on the third floor, so the Mario Kart still flowed like wine (although Rolling Rock was the Kart drivers drink of choice). So one night that fall, the guys told me that they wanted me to bring my guitar to a birthday party at the same apartment we had partied at that summer. I was of course happy to oblige, needing some attention. I packed up my gear, and hitched a ride with Fliss over to "The Redmond." The party was going OK (only about 10 or so people were actually there). I recognized one of the guys there as the creepy night manager from the previous school year, (he had gotten rid of the green hair by now). He was introduced as Alex, and it turned out he also played guitar, and knew a bunch of Nirvana covers (go figure), so I passed a guitar over to Alex, and we did some cover dueling for awhile. Somehow, the conversation turned to comics, and Alex invited us all to go over to his place a few doors down at apartment 219A to peruse his comics collection. I was less than pleased to have the spotlight taken off of me, but the comics probably were more interesting than me anyway. Our little group quickly befriended Alex, and soon we were being invited to parties at his apartment on a regular basis.
There are a lot of memories from this time in my life, most good, but a few rather unpleasant ones. The year 2000 opens with me living in the infamous Redmond apartments. Andy knows better than I but this building was built in like 1890 or something and I think it used to be an old hotel. All the doors open to the front of the building’s 4 sets of giant cement steps. It was a community building full of 20 somethings, a lot of people’s first apartments, including mine. I met Andy through a friend in our building, we were all together drinking and talking comics when the subject of music came up. In trying to keep this relatively short, I brought the crew of nerds back to my place and Andy and I played a little. I really sucked at the guitar at this point having not played in years but I was itching to get something creative started. I noticed Andy was a decent guitar player and the seed of Vomit Sauce had been planted. Cue alcoholic haze….
Parties at 219A were always a good time. The apartment wasn't in the best shape in the world, so no one really seemed to care that much about what happened to floor and such. There was usually a keg in the bathtub, and about 50 people crowded into what was essentially a hallway. Guitars were smashed on people's backs, vomit was spewed through the screen door, Alex's bathroom got tagged by some random gang member, and Presidents n' Assholes was a regular event. Usually, I'd find out about the parties from my IT buddies at Middlebrook, and we'd all go in a big group across the 10th Ave Bridge. We always showed up too early, and most of our group left after about an hour, claiming that drinking wasn't really their thing. Actually, they were pretty much right. Alex had this huge stuffed Batman sitting on his couch. At one of these parties, our friend Brett over-indulged, and about an hour later, we found him spooning with Batman in Alex's room. After a few of these examples of party ineptitude, our group was dubbed "The Nerd Squad". I didn't know I was a member of the squad till much later when someone let it slip when they forgot that I had once been a member.
Drinking at a low key party at the Redmond
Me in repose (repose=drinking).
Engaging in "innapropriate teen-to-peer choice
Alex rocking out, spring 2000 at 219A
At one of these parties, Alex taught me this messed up version of the Jimmy Buffett song "Pencil Thin Mustache", in the wrong key, with the wrong words:
"I wish I had a pencil-thin mustache, so I could get some pussey too".
Here's a clip of me playing Alex's version of "Pencil Thin Mustache" on my four track back at Middlebrook.
Speaking of four-tracks, during the winter of 99-00, I finally bought myself one of those crappy Tascam portastudios, and quickly started recording crappy demos and covers. The four-track got its first real worthwhile use in the spring of 2000 with a little short-lived recording project called the "Canadian FBI".Next: The Canadian FBI and the Squad House
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