I remember the first time I bought a Karp release. It was my final year of high school. was 1996 and I was only beginning to figure out the internet thing which was still rudimentary. I had seen a few shows with Olympia related bands and cobbled together the rest of what I knew from reading the Melody Maker. So I had been listening to Beat Happening, The Halo Benders and Bikini Kill. I wanted more.
The next time I was in the Rough Trade that used to be underneath that skate shop in Neal’s Yard I spotted this K comp of Ipu singles, Project Echo. I bought it.
Nestled between what you normally expect from a comp of IPU singles by bands such as The Crabs, Lois, Heavenly etc. was Karp’s We Ate Sand. It came on right after The Softies. The immense rumble of the plodding bass, the monstrous drums. The chanting:” if you run away/ speak up/speak/speak up how/si/si/howww. And the screaming: sit down boy you misbehave.” It blew my mind. It still blows my mind.
I am now obsessed with Karp.
Fast forward a year. I move to Olympia to go to school. I have some fairly ludicrous expectations about what it will be like living there. I also want to see Karp.
After arriving I find out Karp had played a show the week before with Behead The Prophet No Lord Shall Live. But they seem to be on some sort of break. Some guy living on my floor on campus with even more ludicrous expectations about Olympia gives me the straight and narrow. Some of the people who play in bands even work in Olympia: the guy from C-Average works at the pizza place and the bassist for Dub Narcotic works at some drug store on the west side. I take this in but I don’t quite process it. It takes me a few months to connect the fact that the guy making me burritos in the school cafeteria is the same guy who sings in the Tight Bro’s From Way Back When and who is in KARP.
In the ensuing year I see the Tight Bro’s a lot. But Karp don’t play. Then after booking a ticket to go home from the summer I find out Karp are playing a week after the date my ticket is booked for. I plead with my parents to change the ticket. But it costs too much. I console myself with the thought that Karp will play again. But they don’t. They break up over the summer. I’m still gutted.
In the course of the rest of my time in Olympia I became part of the scene or the community or whatever you want to call it. I also became friends with the members of Karp. One of these members of Karp was Scott Jernigan. He was the drummer. He nicknamed Maniac cuz, well listen to his drumming. He died far too young. Today is his birthday. To commemorate it here’s some Karp:
The best opening song on a record ever?
And they went off on a high note: