MIF001 - ...And Down We Fall - Live at Menoher Heights Firehall
And Down We Fall was Jacob Koestler, Brandon Locher, Scotty Kenner, and the inevitable clueless meathead on drums that completed anyone in Johnstown's first band. Brandon was at the first local show my band, Basement, (later called the Alan Smithee Project) played. It was at the Menoher Heights Firehall, a cheap, hard to find rental hall that Matt Davis' band, the Interrogation of Mister Doughball, rented once or twice a year. No,Matt Davis was not their drummer. They'd play to their fellow theater and band geek friends. They'd always insist on headlining, and they'd fill the bill with any other band they could find, and reveled in being the best band of the night. It wasn't really a scene yet, just an excuse for them to play live to friends who they already sold albums to. They printed out tickets in advance. Not to raise the deposit, just to feel professional. Anyways, yeah. Bman bought a ticket.
I was about 17, so he'd have been about 13. He was wearing an enormous tie-dye and was ready to fully absorb anything he heard and take it as gospel. He had a totally pure interest in the whole live show experience, no matter who or what band was playing, and I could tell he loved music all his life. I could tell right away that he was going to stick with it forever. Even though he was younger than me, he was the first person besides my brother I shared that feeling with. We didn't talk much in person at first, but I remember him finding me on AIM (My screen name was GoAskAlbee) and just asking for lists and lists of my influences, so they potentially could be his as well. I liked him as a person right away and his support was very encouraging. He made a fan site for ASP. We gave him nothing to go on content-wise, because it was too weird. But we were very flattered. Also, I hope this post can give back even a little of that weirdness to him. He is my boy and I love him.
As I remember it, Jacob Koestler started a band with Brandon and Brandon told him they needed to go to a Menoher show. In typical Jacob fashion, he showed up to be unimpressed. And I'm sure he wasn't. When I met Jacob, he was a 15-year-old alpha male pretentious blow-hard. He hadn't a lick of game, but he did have a convincing aura of self-confidence that was completely foreign to me. I've always been fascinated with that kind of self-esteem, and I've always hoped a little of it could rub off on me. Their band was already together when I met him. During one of our earliest conversations, he told me the only household chore he enjoyed was cutting the grass. That was always one of my least favorites. Some of my best excuses ever were concocted to get myself out of that exact chore. I asked him how he could possibly enjoy mowing the lawn. I always associated it with an obsession to dominate or suppress anything natural and harmless. Jacob told me no other chore filled him with as much accomplishment. Looking back and seeing an end to the task at hand. Seeing the literal line between the finished and unfinished grass. Then seeing a completely mowed yard. A finished project. From there, we bonded over KFC popcorn chicken, which we'd go buy when we both thought a band wasn't worth our attention. He'd drive and I'd usually pick the music. He and I had similar aesthetics, although neither of our bands reflected it at the time. We both talked about projects and ideas that it would take us years to actually accomplish. Mowed lawns, y'all. He too is my boy and I love him.
So, I watched their band a handful of times. Most likely, I saw all their home shows. I was probably at the show they recorded. It's funny they released a live album. They were very gimmicky and visual, and sort of a comedy act, and people always seemed to enjoy the performances more than the actual songs. I'll talk more about their songs I remember when we get to their album. Live, I remember them doing some strange things. They wore wigs and dresses sometimes. And they would bring broken guitars just to plug in and smash at the end of the set. Stuff they didn't need, but never their actual instruments. Keep in mind, this was the year 2000, and they were quite influenced by Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails. Bands that broke stuff. At the end of one of their sets, they spiked a set of bells (which they also didn't use) onto the concrete floor in an obviously premeditated display of rock, angst, roll, and rage. They had no need for them. So, after the show, I got all the bells out of the garbage, and from the floor, and from under the stage and put them in my van. They've since been used in songs for Beagle Club, Tech Ep, Dallas Zimmerman, Emmett and Mary, and my solo stuff. And Jacob and Brandon have both played them beautifully since.
This and the other first three albums on My Idea of Fun aren't available to listen to. Except for nostalgia, no one's missing much, songwriting-wise. Like a lot of kids, they started a label hoping it could be the next Sub Pop, or probably more accurately, Scratchie Records. Something they could have complete control over. Even then, they were very into creative packaging and production tricks. Still, I'm sorry you never saw 'em if you never saw 'em. There wouldn't be a collective without ...And Down We Fall. They had big ideas and always went for it.