Vermicious Knids

Vermicious Knids Go Arena Rock!

Published in RW #9, 1997

Interview by Jayne Wayne

Thank god that whole drab and droll alternative music thing is over and done with. How passé. Pretending to want to be unpopular, trying to look like you're not concerned with selling out or being successful. Heroin chic? Pu-leeze! Why on God's green earth would anyone want to be an unsuccessful, junkie-looking burnout? Why wouldn't you want as many people as possible to hear your record? Why wouldn't you want to make a living selling out huge stadium venues to a faceless crowd of thousands? Thank God alternative rock is over. Bring back arena rock. Bring back the wall of sonic power, the flicking Bics®, the rock star posing, the outright decadence of decades past and let's start this mother up all over again. Woo hoo!

Always the first to jump on the bandwagon and beat a trend to it's bloody end, The Reglar Wiglar has once again rushed to interview the prima donnas of the new age of Big Guitar Rock: Vermicious Knids (an literary reference). Jayne Wayne caught up with the band backstage at the Grant County Memorial Riverfront Fair Ground Center Stage A in Grant County, Iowa, minutes before they were to send their crushing guitar riffs into the rich agricultural soil of America's farmland to rock the children on the corn.

RW: Why don't we start with a quick band history, tell us about your stint as virtual nobodies.

Cindy: Oh God, talk about painful memories.

Jodi: Those were definitely the salad days.

RW: What was it like in the underground back in the mid '90s? Was it totally scary?

Cindy: It was grueling. It totally sucked. We had to play these small clubs to three, four hundred people and we stayed at Days Inns and Motel Sixes and wherever.

Jodi: Yuck, with their cruddy little bars of soap that leave your skin dry and flaky . . . that's bullshit.

Cindy: And talk about zero water pressure in the shower.

Jodi: But we did it and we did it without complaining that much.

Cindy: Yeah, we really didn't complain too much.

Jodi: But after struggling in the underground as an indie rock band for weeks and weeks and weeks, the band—or Cindy and myself rather—we're forced to ask the question, "What's it all worth, anyway?"

Cindy: We just realized that in 1997 being an indie rock band wasn't cool anymore.

Jodi: What we really realized was that we weren't an indie rock band anyway. We never really were. We were always an arena rock band pretending to be an indie rock band. We just didn't know it. We thought we had to pretend to be indie and be concerned about having credibility and paying dues. We really only wanted to be tremendously huge rock stars. We've always just wanted people to love us, emulate us, worship us—

RW: —Buy your records.

Jodi: Yeah, totally buy our records.

Cindy: In the beginning we thought it was just about the music.

RW: Really? Wow.

Cindy: Yeah, we were kind of naive in that sense. It's almost kind of embarrassing to admit now.

Jodi: It was really hard for us to be this "ethical band" thingy. To have credibility, it was just very, very stifling.

Cindy: Credibility is the death of inspiration for us. Believe us we tried, but we're just much more comfortable when we can be ourselves, you know, really, really cool and popular.

Cindy: Our egos never were very comfortable under the hot lights of a small club.

Jodi: Too many gross indie rock guys, please.

Cindy: Eeewww!

RW: So how did you go about making the transition from indie to arena rock band?

Cindy: It was easy, we just went to our label and told them, "Look, we're getting a lot of shit from the indie community about not being indie enough, is there anything we can do?" and they were like "Don't worry about it. It's done." And they fixed it and here we are, an Arena Rock band in the '90s. Kinda weird, huh?

RW: No, that's great that they could do that for you.

Jodi: Yeah well, they have a potential gold mine on their hands here, so they had better be accommodating, you know?

RW: Sure. What about the other two members of The Knids? It seems like they rarely get to show up for the interviews. In fact, I don't think I've ever even heard them speak.

Jodi: They don't really get to speak.

Cindy: I don't really even remember what they look like . . . just kidding

Jodi: That was a part of our record contract, actually, Bill and Ted don't talk.

RW: Bill and Ted? I thought it was Brad and Kevin?

Jodi: That's just what our A&R guy calls 'em, Bill and Ted. Isn't that funny?

RW: What's your label guy afraid of, that Bill and Ted won't jell with your image?

Cindy: Wow! That's like an exact quote of what he said.

RW: That strikes me as a little cold.

Cindy: Christ, they're the fucking rhythm section, what do they know about anything?

Jodi: Believe me, they're getting paid.

Cindy: Besides, like the saying goes, too many cooks spoil the broth. You know what? It's true.

Jodi: We had this bass player once who had all these opinions about music and suggestions and stuff and well, that didn't really work out so well.

Cindy: Yeah, this guy actually had the nerve to suggest a change in one of the songs we were teaching him.

Jodi: That's like the dishwasher tasting the soup-of-the-day and then telling the chef, "it's good but it needs a little salt."

Cindy: Can you believe that? The whole male ego thing is sooo frustrating.

RW: So, in about a half hour you're going out there to play in front of a couple thousand people, how does that feel?

Jodi: Well, it's only Iowa. We've got some better shows comin' up a little later in the tour, but yeah, its' OK.

Cindy: It has never been one of my childhood dreams to rock out in a cornfield, but hey, these farm kids need to be rocked too, I guess.

RW: What was the reaction in the indie community when you guys made this conscious decision to leave the indie rock circuit and become committed to a more polished, produced musical approach?

Jodi: They dis us in their pretentious, self-righteous little zines.

RW: Ouch. Are there any bands out there right now that you ladies are into that you might be interested in brining on tour with you?

Jodi: The Woodrows are cool. I think they've got a really interesting approach to music.

Cindy: They've got a really good act, you know, a parody of a stupid, nihilistic, punk rock band bent on excess. I like that kind of retro thing. And besides that, they're cute.

RW: You're not serious!

Cindy: I'm totally serious. I know they have that kind of "ugly" look going, but you can tell that it's not real.

RW: I've met the Woodrows and believe me, it's no act, retro or otherwise, they're ugly and they're for real.

Jodi: Oh my God! Cindy asked Marvy Woodrow to go out with her. We met them in Boston at a hotel where we were both staying.

Cindy: He was so funny. I saw him in the hallway by the vending machines and he was pretending to zip up his pants, and he said "Whoops, you just busted me pissin' in the ice machine," and I thought, "Wow, this guy is really funny."

RW: That's sounds like Marvy. He's not even allowed in hotels anymore because of the type of incidents you just described.

Cindy: I asked him to go out with me the next time they're in town which is going to be next week.

RW: Jesus, you've got to be kidding me.

Cindy: I'm not.

RW: Girlfriend, you have got to change your locks, your phone number and possibly your name—and call the police immediately after the show.

Cindy: You're joking.

RW: I am dead serious.

Cindy: Oh my God.

(The Vermicious Knids tour manager walks in to check up on the band's better half and see if thye need anything before the show.)

Cindy: This is Jacques, our tour manager. Say hi Jacques, He's so shy.

Jacques: Hi.

Cindy: Oh, Jacques, could you please run up to Miffy's and pick me up a tube of Tre Rouge #110, Not #115, Jacques, #110.

Jodi: Oh, Bunny, that sounds so silly.

Jacques: I don't think they have a Miffy's in this part of Iowa.

Cindy: K-Mart then, for Christ's sake, Jacques, please.

Jodi: Yeah, we like make-up and being girls and rocking really hard and make-up and stuff.

Cindy: It's so frustrating being a woman in rock in the '90s, 'cause everyone expects you to be this, like Femi-Nazi riot grrrrl. Why can't we just be ourselves and indulge in make-up and chocolate and boy talk. We get shit for that.

RW: That doesn't sound right.

Jodi: It's like sorry, I shave my arm pits and I can't be a cave woman with you, but hello.

RW: Well, where you're at, I guess it doesn't matter what anybody thinks of you anyway. You're beyond that now. You're an Arena Rock band, nobody can touch you.

Cindy: You're Fuckin' A right on that one, Jayne.

Published in RW #9

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