PET POLITICS: Drummer Diana Kinscherf on Bashing Kits and Cuddling Rescue Cats

I first saw Diana Kinscherf slamming the kit during an excellent set backing Hamish Kilgour of The Clean at The Glove in Brooklyn. The next time I saw her play live was in Manhattan at Pianos when she made an awesome impromptu appearance in Nick Rogers’ (of Holy Tunics) solo set. Before meeting Diana, I had also heard some recordings of her both playing and experimenting on the kit with fellow musicians. I was impressed by the force behind her drumming and her ability to jump on the kit at any moment alongside any other instrument – whether it was guitar, saxophone, vocals, or otherwise – and immediately find a compatible and consistent beat for the song. When I got to know Diana on a personal level, I was introduced to her wicked sense of humor and we bonded over our mutual love of music and animals (specifically cats). I learned that Diana was not only a fellow cat lady but a regular volunteer at animal shelters.

Diana moved in with some friends of mine and the first time I paid them a visit with their new resident, I almost accidentally sat on a an enormous and friendly brown tabby smush sitting on an antique chair. His name was Toki, and he was happy to let me stroke and hug him (but he clearly wasn’t going to give up “his” chair). Just when I thought I was going to die of a cuteness overload, another equally adorable and giant feline came slowly crawling down the stairs.  It was Scrambles with her chubby orange belly charmingly draping through the gaps in the staircase. I could tell the entire household was smitten with these two kitties, and I could understand why!

AF: Please introduce your furry friends!

DK: Meet Scrambles and Toki – both nine year old rescues! Five month old Toki arrived first from a litter of kittens being fostered at a Bayside, Queens vets office, and a few months later Scrambles came to me via a friend who took her in from the street in Bed Stuy but couldn’t keep her. They became best buds immediately!

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Scrambles & Toki (All images courtesy of Diana Kinscherf)

Toki and Scrambles have very strong personalities. Toki is well known for his forward friendliness and his love of being handled – he’s a giant baby that loves to be held! Any attention is good attention for Toki. Scrambles has a more introverted personality, but still loves attention… though she is less forward than Toki, she WILL (vocally) let you know when she wants something!

AF: You volunteer at animal shelters. Can you recommend any for those looking to adopt a new fuzz love?

DK: I’ve volunteered and worked for BARC (Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition), an independently run no-kill animal shelter in Williamsburg. I’d volunteer to walk dogs and worked with cats. I’d definitely recommend adopting from BARC, [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][or] another no-kill shelter, like Sean Casey in Park Slope. I’m a strong supporter of “adopt, don’t shop” so any animal shelter is a great place to save a life! No-kill shelters are a great to support in general, as vetting and animal care is costly and if you can’t adopt, shelters always appreciate a donation!

Diana cuddling up with Toki & Scrambles

AF: When did you move to NYC, and where did you grow up?

DK: I was born in and raised in Queens; my high school was in Manhattan so I spent a lot of time hanging out on St. Mark’s Place, spinning the cube on Astor Place and haunting the local record stores (I later ended up working at one of them, Kim’s).

Diana playing with Hamish Kilgour at the record store she currently works at: Earwax in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

AF: When did you start drumming, and can you remember the moment you decided to hit the kit?

DK: I wanted to play drums most of my life, but I didn’t give it a solid start til around early 2012 – I began playing small gigs with anyone who’d let me play with them almost immediately after. I began lessons around that time from a friend (Michael Evans – an excellent and versatile drummer) and Oneida’s Kid Millions. Kid’s best advice to me as a beginner was “Don’t wait until you’re ready – get out there and play!” This resulted in a few shaky first shows, but you gotta start somewhere!

Diana playing with Loop Diary for their “Sun Ra Remix” cassette release for Personal Affair at The Glove this past October. Photo credit: Ben Jaffe.

AF: Can you give us a rundown of all the projects you are in now?

DK: I’d say my current main projects are Giggle The Ozone, The Unnamed (we’re working on a name!) a trio with organ, drums, and bass/guitar (we haven’t played out just yet, but hoping to play soon), and occasional backing for Hamish Kilgour (The Clean) in his solo sets.

Flyer for a Hamish Kilgour show Diana played this past November featuring art and design by Diana.
Diana playing with Hamish Kilgour at Secret Project Robot last August. Photo Credit: Jordan Bell.

AF: What was your first band? How many bands have you played with since you started drumming?

DK: My first band was duo (sometimes trio) Pulcinella, with largely improvised sets. One of my first on-stage performances was playing with several other drummers for Man Forever at Death By Audio for Thrill Jockey’s 20th anniversary show. Since then, I’ve also played with one-off projects or as fill-in in Caring Foxen, Straw Pipes, electronic dubbers Loop Diary, Brooklyn theatrical noise band BBW, with Sugar Life at the kit for half of one show (that was unplanned but exciting!) and a couple of jams with Eighty Pound Pug. There’s probably more, as I rarely turn down a gig when offered!

Diana playing a Bushwick Rooftop with Giggle The Ozone in September 2016. “Not a doom metal band, contrary to the aesthetic” says Diana. Photographer unknown.

AF: Who was your first pet? How many have you had over the course of your life?

DK: My first pet was technically a budgie named Genaro, but I was like 3 years old and barely remember him. Genaro went to a relative as at five my family adopted a pair of kittens from North Shore Animal League in Long Island; Louie and Ricky were my best remembered childhood pets. I was very close with Louie and he made it to almost 20 years old! We also had two dogs, two iguanas, and two garter snakes (although reptile expert Ben Jaffe told me they were probably ribbon snakes) in my childhood household in the course of about 15 years. There was a fish tank at some point, too. Later on, I had adopted an older adult cat (also from North Shore Animal League) who I’d only gotten to know for a year, as he passed away shortly after I’d adopted him. As sad as it was to have such a short time with him, it’s beautiful to let an older animal be able to live out their last days in a loving home rather than at the shelter.

Young Diana with her First Major Fur Love: Louie.

AF: What was it that drew you to your current kitties? Did you choose them, or did they choose you?

DK: Although Toki and Scrambles are both rescues, there was not a lot of choice involved! Toki was one of many near identical tabbies in a litter, and the vet opened the cage and told me “Have a look!” All the kittens scattered out of the cage except for one that preferred to stay put and continue eating. I picked him up to look at him, and he immediately kissed me on the nose! There was no decision to be made, I was taking this little guy!

Toki and Diana snuggling up

Scrambles’ adorable face was on a flyer in the window of the shop next door to my workplace at the time I was looking for a buddy for Toki with the words “FREE KITTY” – excellent timing, I needed a free kitty! As previously mentioned, Scrambles was found on the street and taken in by someone who wasn’t able to keep her… I remember going to Bed Stuy with my empty kitty carrier at night to get her, not knowing what this cat would be like; I heard her loud meows before I even saw her when we got to the door. Scrambles was a little aloof the first few years, but is now my best (fuzzy) friend and incredibly close to me!

AF: You are now working with GP Stripes. I loved your recent flyer for their Northside showcases! What would you say your role in this label is and how did you begin working with them?

DK: My involvement with GP Stripes is kind of a “right place at the right time” sort of deal… I had just left a less than great living situation and moved in with friends… so my part in GP Stripes snuck up on me! I’ve been able to get a bunch of GP tapes into a couple of the shops I work at and online, and have assisted in organizing a couple of shows. Of course there’s always the actual tape production that always needs a few hands on board; dubbing tapes, cutting J-cards, packing tapes… QUALITY CONTROL! Toki has been glad to “help” too!

Toki testing out a GP Stripes cassette
Toki “helping” Ben Jaffe fold some Holy Tunics shirts

I guess my role in GP Stripes aside from production of the tapes is distribution – the tapes are in a few shops in NYC and in the works for being stocked in some stores in Tokyo – a few are on their way to Dunedin, NZ as well! Psyched you liked the flyer btw! It’s one of my favorite things I’ve done recently.

The GP Stripes Northside 2018 Flyer by Diana Kinscherf

AF: If Toki and Scrambles started a band, who would be the drummer?

DK: Scrambles would definitely be the drummer; I’ve caught her tapping her tail to the rhythm of music I play at the apartment! She’d be a singing drummer… Scrambles loves stoner metal!

Scrambles rocking out on keys

AF: What instrument would Toki play?

DK: I could see Toki potentially play keyboard, but Toki appears to be indifferent/dislike music, so maybe he’s more of a fan of John Cage’s 4’33”?

Toki not giving any fvx about jamming

AF: What are your pets’ favorite human foods?

DK: They don’t have any real interest in human food (I’m not upset about that!). Toki will want a bite of cheeseburger here and there, but Toki’s interest in food instantly declines as soon as I try to give him any.

AF: How do Toki and Scrambles influence your creative side?

DK: I’d say they’re very supportive of me; when I work on flyers or any design stuff, I’m often up at all hours of the night (apparently the only time these things get done). Scrambles will sit and sleep by my side as I work – Toki may try to sit ON my work!

AF: Can you share a funny memory you have with your cats?

DK: Scrambles enjoys licking my high hat stand (for reasons unknown). There’s a whole video of this, but a picture will have to do for now …

Scrambles also has an owl beanie that she loves – she stole it from me and I just couldn’t take it away from her! It looks suspiciously like her…she’s thrown it at me (only when I’m not looking) with incredible force!

Scrambles relaxing with her Owl

Toki never has a dull moment – he’s very possessive of a particular chair and will try to push whoever’s sitting in it off. And Toki doesn’t actually “meow” or make normal cat sounds. He makes a sound that can best be described as “MAGUB.” I found out about this when Ben insisted Toki was saying “magub” and I thought he was messing with me. Soon after, everyone else in the apartment has heard “magub” and I have no idea what they’re talking about until Ben records Toki making his notorious “MAGUB” noises – my best guess is that’s what Toki calls everyone that’s not me!

AF: Where and when I could see can we catch your next set?

From Diana’s most recent set with Hamish Kilgour at The Glove this month. Photo Credit: Anthony Procaccino.

DK: My last set was backing Hamish Kilgour at The Glove July 15th. I love playing with Hamish – we rarely (if ever) rehearse, and the cast of characters is subject to change from gig to gig when I play with him… the set tends to be a mix of Hamish’s solo compositions, songs by the Mad Scene, and sometimes a Clean song here and there. Hamish is one of the handful of people I can play with intuitively, so there’s never much of a struggle to “find the groove” in our set. As Hamish is a drummer himself, his rhythmic guitar style allows me to change between a motorik drive to a painterly, less pulse-based sound. Violinist Marija Kovacevic and tenor saxophonist Greg Vegas joined us for the show Sunday night at The Glove; both Marija and Greg are fun to play with as well as they both have a good sense of space and dynamics during the semi-improvised set. The four of us have played together before – it’s always exciting to see what direction we’ll take!

The Glove. July 15th, 2018. Photo Credit: Anthony Procaccino.

I was delighted to have many people tell me after we played Sunday night how much they loved our set! That’s always a good feeling, when audience members give you that positive feedback. sometimes I’ll get on stage and behind the kit super last minute – you never know where I’ll pop up!

Diana backing Hamish Kilgour at Earwax Records in November 2015. Photo Credit: Alessandra Maria Iavarone.

PET POLITICS: Co-Pet Parenting with Frank and Jenna from Sic Tic

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Sic Tic photo by Janeth Ann Gonda

Sic Tic has one of the most innovative rock sounds in the Brooklyn scene, pairing the raw rip of grunge with the precision of jazz musicians. I have had the pleasure of seeing them evolve over the past five years to form their current line up; their sound went to a whole new level when guitarist Frank Rathbone asked bassist Jenna Nelson and drummer John Swanson to join the band several years back. They have also been active members and proponents of the Brooklyn-based DIY label GP Stripes.

Frank, Jenna, and John are the type of people whose connection you feel through their stage performance—not only in the sense of creative back-and-forth, but of friendship. There is a warmth about the band’s vibe that you can feel, and I think that is a testament to their closeness as individuals as well as artists. Knowing that Frank and Jenna also co-parent some fur babies together, I was interested in hearing how the process of being partners in so many facets of life crossed over into various channels.

AF: When did you each start playing music, and what were your first instruments?

JN: Viola was my first instrument, which I began playing in fifth grade. I was good friends with my neighbor who was a year older, and she played the viola when orchestra club began in fifth grade, so I wanted to as well. She stopped after that first year, but I really liked it and continued playing. I spent a lot of time hiding out in my closet (I’d kill for a closet this size in NY) when I was growing up, especially in middle school because I was socially awkward and got teased a lot. Sometimes I would sneak my dad’s old acoustic Ovation guitar out and pretend to play “Wild Thing” and imagine a different life for myself, which, in retrospect, seems a lot like my life now. I got my own guitar in high school and wrote dozens of awful sappy emo songs. I was also very active in my youth group and sang in the band. I sort of played the bass, too, but I was just borrowing it and didn’t really know what I was doing with an electric instrument yet. I finally got my very own bass when Sic Tic formed!

FR: I learned the trumpet from my grandpa when I was 8. When I was 12 my uncle gave me a guitar and I started a band with my friends in my basement. We would write a ton of songs, record them to tape, then never play them again. I still have all those tapes.

AF: Was there a particular band, song, or genre that drove you each respectively into the music sphere?

JN: I was really into Rickie Lee Jones when I was in preschool. I would carry this ragged record cover around with me, even to the grocery store. It’s a picture of her wearing a beret and smoking a cigarette. Pretty sure I knew all the words to this album. I remember being afraid the first time I heard music with screaming in it – but the kind of glittering fear that drives you toward the thing. It unlocked something inside me that had been bottled up for a long time, or started to at least. I wanted to learn how to evoke this feeling, to feel powerful.

FR: When I was in 3rd grade the high school band, orchestra, and drum line came to our school. I remember feeling moved by the drum line.

AF: How did Sic Tic form?

FR: I had a few other groups that played under the name Sic Tic, but they were disbanded when I met Jenna. When we first started dating I wanted to show her my music so I wrote some songs and booked some recording sessions. Jenna started learning the songs and we decided to start up a group. I had been sending songs to my old friend John in Texas, so I called him up and asked if he wanted to come to NY.

JN: Yeah, we started dating in mid-2013. I hadn’t been involved with any music for a long time and wanted to get back into it. I’d been living in Brooklyn for about seven months. Mutual friends kept telling me what a great musician Frank was, but he didn’t play anything for me for the first several weeks. When he finally did I was like “damn, they weren’t kidding!” He recorded that solo album to impress me, which obviously worked. I encouraged him to keep the name Sic Tic. The following summer we were ready to get serious, and at the same time, a room opened up in our apartment. Frank called John, who had been living in Austin for two years, and was like, “Dude! We need a drummer and we have a room, get up here!” I think that was a Tuesday and he showed up with a backpack and a guitar on Friday. Gigawatts Fest 2014 was that weekend and we all went out and got stoked to be a band together. We had our first show that September at Palisades.

AF: How did you two meet?

FR: We smiled at each other a few times at Little Skips. Then one night at an art opening there our friend Linda introduced us. I told Jenna I always thought she was cute.

JN: We sort of instantly hit it off. We went to a couple shows that night, at the Silent Barn and Fitness, which used to be in our basement, and then he said he had to go walk his dog… I basically never left.

FR: Pretty sure Shorty sealed the deal.

AF: How does the writing process work within your band?

JN: Frank writes most of our material. Usually he gets a rough idea of a song done and then brings it to me and John. We’ll work out the arrangement, drums, bass, and vocal parts together from there. Then maybe we’ll make a demo and see how it all sits, rework it, etc. We all live, practice, and record together. John’s been putting a lot of work into our home recording setup lately, so that’s been more accessible to us.

AF: Have you ever written a song about animals?

JN: Just human animals!

AF: Can you introduce your fur babies to us please?

FR: Shorty is a little biscuit colored pit bull.

JN: With white paws and chest, nine-and-a-half-ish-years-old. Very affectionate, cat enthusiast, hater of the doorbell, the most personality of any dog I’ve met. She’s basically my therapy dog. We also have a cockatiel, Joey, who is endearingly obnoxious. We’re frenemies. Frank found him at Little Skips, too, trapped in the gate.

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Jenna & Shorty – photo by Jenna Nelson

AF: What’s Shorty’s backstory?

FR: 7 or 8 years ago my friend Maggie was working at a vet clinic. Someone brought in a pit bull they had found abandoned in Prospect Park, tied to a fence with a big bag of food. They named her Honey. Maggie sent her my way and I took her in and called her Shorty.

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Frank & Shorty – photo by Frank Rathbone

AF: Did you have pets growing up?

JN: My family almost always had a big dog and an indoor/outdoor cat. There was also a smattering of Betta fish and various small rodents. For a year or so when I was in fifth grade, we had to rent a house that was furnished and the owners left some of their pets behind! This included a pretty generic fish tank and a hedgehog that lived in a big box in the carport that we had to feed cat food. In college I had a chinchilla, and later a ball python which I would bring around to parties.

FR: Yeah, we had a lot of animals in the house too. Dogs, cats, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, snakes, lizards, fish, frogs. We had a parrot named Picasso that escaped. I drew a picture of him and put posters up around town. The next few months we would get calls. He was hanging out with a flock of crows.

AF: What were your first experiences with animals? first pets?

JN: My first pet was a Siamese cat named Jasmine that had been my mom’s before she married my dad. At one point they lived on a lake and she caught fish. She died perfectly healthy at 17, bitten by a coral snake. Up until the year we moved into that hedgehog house, my family had lived in these dense woods in central Florida, bordering a nature preserve, near Rattlesnake Lake, off of Rattlesnake road. This is the land that was an island before the rest of Florida emerged from the ocean. You could find ancient shark teeth in the white sands of the woods, between 200–year-old oak trees and towering pines. There were herds of wild boar that would come through our yard, flocks of wild turkeys, our neighbors pair of peacocks, beautiful iridescent Indigo snakes, bald eagles, owls, the rare panther… Nearly all of our neighbors had horses, but I was allergic and my parents were too hippy to give me allergy medicine, so no horses for us, although I did take riding lessons. We also had chickens, and a turkey once which I was very sad to find out was not actually supposed to be my pet.

FR: I don’t remember. They were just always around.

AF: If your pet had a band, what band or genre would it be for? What instrument would they play?

FR: Shorty really likes soft finger picky folk songs. She would be the singer.

AF: If your pet could be the mascot for any food item, sports team, musical gear company, etc – what would it be?

FR: Blueberries.

JN: We joke sometimes that she would run a junk yard called “Shorty’s Trash Mountain.”

AF: Did you meet any cute or interesting animals on tour?

JN: Yes! We did our first tour in the fall with Haybaby which was completely a dream come true. Leslie graciously put us up in Richmond – we played a lot of places near there, so we were able to stay in their beautiful house for like 5 nights – and we got to hang with the two cats a lot. There were also got some nice fish and their downstairs neighbors have a couple of very friendly dogs. Sic Tic played our first show with Haybaby and personally, they are one of my absolute favorite bands on the planet, ever, and they are wonderful people. I get kinda overwhelmed with happiness thinking about that tour, and when it was over I honestly missed seeing them perform every night.

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Sic Tic photo by Secret Loft

AF: What are Sic Tic’s plans for 2018 (and beyond)?

JN: We’ll be releasing a lot of music and more music videos. Still working on the timeline for everything, but we are very excited about the new material. Hopefully we will be hitting the road again soon! I’ve got the tour bug. There’s so much of this country I have not yet seen and I want meet everyone and share sounds. Touring overseas or out of the States is also a huge goal! Iceland, Germany, Japan, Norway!

AF: Do you have a favorite song about animals?

JN: The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog”? That’s the first thing that comes to mind. I really like that one for karaoke.


MORNING AFTER: Veggie Pancakes and Ale with Lost Boy ?

Origin stories: they’re typically how I kick off these off, some pseudo-enticing meetcute in the heart of the scene. A half-drunken beg for an interview, an impromptu striptease, a deep side-eye at Two Boots Williamsburg. A chat in front of Little Sunnyville Gutterway Footskips Stadium. A bite from a radioactive spider. I mentally collect these origin stories, and yet I cannot remember meeting Davey Jones. Instead it feels like Davey’s been the perennial maypole at the center of our scene, linked to everyone. Lost Boy ?, as you damn well know, is a staple.

Incidentally, I played the everliving fuck out of my creamsicle copy of Goose Wazoo last October, savoring the trillions of clever pop culture references, floating in legitimate lo-fi heaven. Recently, Davey’s really inking and coloring the sound; the most recent Silent Barn iteration of the band is fleshed out by Jeremy Aquilino on bass, Adam Reich on guitar, and Charlotte Kahn on drums (and everyone else on air guitar).

But today it’s just the two of us, because Davey is fam, and with fam, you message them late on Friday like, “Dude, I was serious about having you as my October column, plz let’s hang out tomorrow.”

Anyway, I love a good Saturday morning adventure. Stay tuned.

The Scene: “We’re going to find Davey…and I don’t think that should be hard…because he is approximately…9 feet tall…give or take,” I mumble into my second iPhone, weaving around stacks of post-punk standards.

It’s the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair and in between quick flips of vinyls (hmm, do I need to throw down $10 for the Rock N’ Roll High School soundtrack?) I’m struggling to find Davey. But oh! There he is, and after salutations, he digs out his finds. The objective was Massive Attack, which he found for the decidedly NOPE price of $55.

“But I got Mosquito which is kind of an odd record,” he says showcasing the distressed pastel pink album cover. “It has Jad Fair of Half Japanese, and Steve Shelley, the drummer of Sonic Youth. The vocal, I think, is supposed to sound like a mosquito.”

“Like literally, like a buzzing noise?”

“They have a weird effect on Jad’s voice the entire record,” he says before showcasing the rest of his finds: a bizarro double Cure re-issue, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and two cassettes. (“One for Nick, one for me.”)

We decide to go into the anxiety-inducing crowd of Smorgasburg and diverge to get our food; he’s gonna get the vegetable pancakes and word is the mozzarella sticks are hella good.

But like Rock N Roll High School, we confirm they’re not $10 good.

12:46 “You gotta get in on this,” Davey says, offering his plate of Okonomiyaki.

“Oh, I’m gonna get in on this.” I say, forking a sizable, quick-to-crumble bite. We’re in line about to grab beer and a table, a slow rendition of “Feel It Still” soundtracking our orders. There’s chit-chat about the Sharkmuffin girls (Nat is his GF, Tara is my Russell Hammond, you may know them from this website and just about everywhere else) and how they’re finally gonna be home after touring all year. Then I ask Davey how he wants to wrap up his 2017.

“I’m thinking maybe I’ll work on one animation specifically, and put it to song. It’s been kinda on my list of things to do. And I’ve been working on this character for a while.”

“THAT’D BE SO COOL, like a Lost Boy ? music video that you’d animate yourself?”

“I actually have like two characters, so I think they might both appear. I gotta figure out what the body would be for the bird with the spikey hair.” I demand receipts for these characters and he graciously provides them:

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Courtesy of Davey Jones

“Is he like a donkey…?” I ask.

“He’s kind of like a rabbit meets a bird, and then he has Goofy teeth.”

“I love the hat, the hat is a nice touch,” I say, before he introduces me to Nosey and Bosey.

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Courtesy of Davey Jones

I squint at his iPhone screen. “So what are their personalities? This one seems sad…”

“Nosey’s like, obviously a nosey-body,” he explains. “And Bosey’s the kind of character that gets into trouble. Probably drinks too much.”

“Well, that’s why he has the stubble,” I confirm.

“He has stubble and a red nose, and Nosey’s probably always checking in on Bosey and knows too much about what’s going on in his life.”

“He knows all of his secrets.”

“And that’s why Bosey’s kind of depressed.”

“Because he’s an alcoholic and his friend knows that he’s trash,” I confirm, now fairly certain Bosey is my spirit animal. “You know what I love about animation in general? You have to convey certain personality traits but you also have to simplify it since it’s a simpler form of art. Which I think in some ways is more difficult; you either have to exaggerate it or have a good signifier, like a red nose or something.”

He nods. “You can get a personality just by looking at the character, right. You can get it just by the smirk or by the eyebrows. Maybe the mischievousness of even like…”

“…their posture,” we finish together.

1:02 “What was your favorite ride at Disney World?” I ask, and I kid you fucking not, Davey’s face lights up at this as if we’re literally next in line for Star Tours.

“Oh, oh, the Aerosmith ride! Yeah, I loved that ride, ’cause it was so fast, I think I went on that one three times.”

I am very certain that Natalie is a saint because you could not convince me to go on that once, let alone three times.

“That one and the Tower of Terror,” he continues. “I think that was my favorite place to go in Disney. That whole park, it’s more themed for adults. It kinda looks like you’re in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and there’s alcohol.”

“And there’s alcohol, which is the best part,” I agree, remembering distinctly when my mom bought me a $12 strawberry marg there so I would stop complaining about being in Florida.

Apparently the couple managed to hit up all the rides except the Toy Story shoot-out game and Splash Mountain, tragically closed at the time. It’ll be the first stop for next time though, for sure.

“Are you hot?” Davey asks suddenly. “I feel like you’re in the sun pretty hard.”

“Um, I’m okay,” I say, developing all sort of weird tanlines.

1:27 Favorite Disney character though, go!

 “It’s kind of hard not to say Mickey Mouse just because I love him so much,” Davey says, and remembering his Mickey costume at Little Skips last Halloween, I’m not surprised.

“He’s so classic though,” I feel this feel really hard because Brooklyn Year One was spent wearing a lot of red, white, and Mickey ears.

“It’s also just because Mickey was so innovative for future characters in a lot of other cartoons that aren’t even Disney.”

“He was like a template.”

“It’s not even that Mickey Mouse was the first cartoon, but he was just a perfectly crafted character,” Davey explains. “Now, from my understanding, Walt Disney did not totally create Mickey Mouse, I believe it was one of his good friends that designed Mickey Mouse. But even so, the character and his personality is so well developed, and so influential to Felix and even Popeye. Without Mickey Mouse you wouldn’t have great animation.” He pauses. “Mickey and Minnie Mouse, really,” he clarifies (#equality).


1:32 Btw some point around here we chit-chat of typical Saturday afternoon: propaganda cartoons, the utter terror of this administration, and whether people at their core are more good than evil. And we talk about Halloween costumes—him and Nat are going to “keep rocking the mouse theme” and go as Pinky and the Brain. I’m probably gonna be 1995 Gwen Stefani on this album cover.

“And I’m considered hiring, legit hiring some of my musician ex-lovers to be the three blurry guys in the background,” I explain.

“You should get together a No Doubt cover band of your ex-lovers and call it Tragic Kingdom,” Davey says.

We burst into a fit laughter as I die inside (only a little).

Anyway, I’d love to tell you more about that, but…

1:56 “Goddammit, we might need to hang out more because my phone just overheated and died.”

Luckily, Davey and I are both yearning for ice cream and figure it might be a good plan to antagonize our friends at the Van Leeuwen trucks.

We skim through a sidewalk sale where a man is unloading all of his music. I, someone who hates music entirely, chastise this guy for getting rid of all his Siouxsie & the Banshees impulse buys. Davey, ever a consummate music collector, reluctantly picks up another handful of cassettes, including a last minute Tears For Fears album.

“It’s funny because I was looking for that exact Tears for Fears album, and I didn’t even notice it, I just went back and double-checked.”

“There’s like, few greater joys than finding something in a different way then you’d expect it.”


We say hi to Zach (of Darkwing) at the Bedford hub, before hitting up Nick Rogers (of Holy Tunics and like one episode of Girls), and Lisa Mayer (of…all of our hearts) by Transmitter Park. There is a graphic design expo, so we hit that up before parting ways. The day, regardless of the tech heatstroke and the fact that everyone’s out of summer berry crumble, has been fruitful AF.

In one day we’re centralized in literal and figurative festivals of art, music, friendship and $10 motz sticks (I stroll by the Intimacy Expo on my way home but, mmm, hard pass). I love it: it’s like Brooklyn on steroids. And it feels right that I’d have this mini-adventure with Davey, even though, and now it’s nagging on me, I don’t remember when I met him.

But I guess that’s fine. That’s how it is with ubiquitous characters, particularly ones that define a culture in a few brilliantly simple strokes. You don’t remember being introduced to your big brother. You don’t remember the first time you saw Mickey Mouse.

You’re just grateful that you both co-exist in this weird, wonderful world.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

MORNING AFTER: Breakfast Bowls At Jimmy’s With Fraidycat

“I’m so hungover, I’m dying. You guys, I’m dying for water.” Fraidycat must think I’m tremendously professional right now, my head throbbing, my pores seeping sweat, regret, and hastily applied gardenia rollerball perfume. I’m waiting with the three-piece—made up of Andy Kinsey, Charlotte Kahn, Danny De Juan—for a table at Jimmy’s Diner, and while they’re saddled up with iced coffees I still need to hydrate. It’s the second day of a pre-summer clump, and you know how people get reckless in hot weather. The climate-tolerable friend-of-friend rooftop parties! The tallboys with tall boys! The early morning Uber Pools of Shame from Bedwick-Stuywood!

I’m talking in generalities, of course. On to our guests of honor.

Fraidycat works quickly. After just over a year together they’ve released Other Better Places with Bushwick-based cassette label GP Stripes. Taking a bite out of the lead track “Best Pie” gives you a proper taste of the band’s slop-pop neurosis. In less than a minute and a half Andy and Charlotte rattle off all the fears one has when hearing about an old love’s new S.O. (“Is he in a band and does he smoke the same cigarettes as me?”) Fraidycat is very successful at making your anxieties sound upbeat and fun. So I’m sure this band, this brunch, and the tall glass of water calling my name (“Come over here, Mary Grace, you idiot.”) will distract me properly from this pain in my temples. It’s gonna be a lovely pre-summer day!

The Scene: Jimmy’s was an apparent no-brainer; Charlotte had already eaten there twice that week and the host had warmly welcomed the band when they put their name down for a table. It’s neat, a typical American diner with the excepted Williamsburg-approved touches of hipness: breakfast bowls, retro Christmas lights, fuzzy punk rock and boozy milkshakes (oof, pass).

12:41 “Are you guys excited for your release show? Do you have any special activities planned?” I wonder, water long acquired. “Pin the tail on the donkey, or…?”

“Besides music at the show?” Charlotte asks. Yes. The band starts shooting off ideas: beer pong, cornhole, a glitter station so people can glitter their face, or, as Danny suggests, “that thing in church where you take a moment and turn to your neighbor and say ‘Peace Be With You’.” Sky’s the limit, but Andy isn’t sure any of these ideas will come to life.

“‘I always get ideas and I think, “That’s going to be so cool to do,’ and then the time comes and I’m like, ‘I can’t do that,’” He says. “I went to see Kool Keith once, and in the middle of his show he stopped the music and passed out Handi-Snacks.”

That could work, too.

12:57 “I’m so glad that you called this because I was honestly drawing a blank…” Andy starts.

“On places to go?” Charlotte finishes. “Well, I wasn’t.” Andy asks to try some of her grits and hot sauce and then mentions the band is going on tour soon.

“We’re going to play in Newport, Rhode Island,” He says. “We went to Boston last summer with Thick because Charlotte’s girlfriend is the drummer – you know Kate Black?”

“I know of Kate Black,” I say (like in a several-mutual-friends-on-Facebook way).

“Kate is our mutual friend who introduced us. And when we go up to Rhode Island and Conneticut we’re going with True Dreams, they’re like our new friend-band.”

I perk up at this: “That’s so exciting that when you’re in a band you can become friends with other bands, ’cause it’s like you become little collectives, little entities.”

“Even if one person in one band might hate the other person in the other band, the bands are still friends,” Danny says.

“Right, the bands are still friends, it doesn’t unravel it,” I nod.

“They’re such little sweeties though, aren’t they?” Danny asks.

“There’s nothing I hate about them,” says Charlotte.

1:03 Andy’s an alumni of the band I’ve routinely referred to as “Shark Question Mark” (i.e. Shark?) and he’s talking about how this project works to break away from the typical, “dude band” mold.

“So kind of the rough idea of starting Fraidycat was, as much as possible, I wanted to work with women. Dara from Operator mixed our album.” Which I think is such a cool concept but, “There’s an element of it that makes it a little bit grossed out,” he confesses. Why’s that?

“Like it feels kind of gimmicky, but at the same time I have a daughter and she’s always come with me to recording sessions. And I think about it and I’m like…she’s a little kid, she doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. But if she can see other women playing drums or see other women recording…You have to create that.”

I’m very endeared by this. “Honestly, I love that. It’s so important to get representation in media or within the workforce because then little girls see it to and they think, ‘Ok, cool, I can be like that.'”

In a shocking reveal, Andy had tried out a girl for guitar before joining forces with Danny, and Charlotte, as previously mentioned, touched base with the two after hearing about them from Kate. Charlotte also plays in Rat’s Mouth, so they showed up at her show wearing leather jackets (everyone laughs at this), having clearly done some light Internet stalking before hand – but possibly not enough.

“One of you went up to my sister and thought it was me and introduced yourselves and she was like, ‘Wrong person.'” Charlotte recounts.

“Close enough” I say. “I mean, maybe not close enough, but close. It was like, ballpark.”

“Genetically it was close,” Charlotte says.

1:12 We’re chatting about the common practice of seducing crowd-goers through Tinder on tour, because what else is there to do in Asheville? Charlotte is issuing a sarcastic example with, “‘Come get this pussy. Just kidding, but don’t fucking talk to me. Come to the show but don’t look at me.'”

“‘Come to the show but I don’t actually want to talk, hang out, or make eye contact at any point.'” I phone in.

“I would always do that but they would always match us like the day after and I’d be like, ‘Oh, you’re so cute, but yeah, I’m in Kentucky.'”

“‘Can you drive here, it’s only seven hours away?'” Charlotte says. And then Andy has a story for us:

“There was one tour with a friend’s band where this guy got stuck in a dungeon.”

“What, like a dungeon-dungeon?” I ask.

“Like a sex dungeon. And they had to go pick him up the next day. They couldn’t find him – he had wandered off and he was like, ‘Yeah, I went on this Tinder date and ended up in this dungeon.’ It’s a pretty awesome story. Like, ‘Come on guys, we gotta pick up Nick, he’s in a basement out in Toledo.'” I asked if he ended up ok, and Andy says he only lost his shoes and his phone.

“Well, he gained a few psychological scars, so there is that,” I say.

“We’ll have to see what the dungeon life is like in New England.”

“Gin and tonic tumblers.”

“They all have extensive heritage.”

“George Washington actually passed through this sex dungeon.”

“He slept here.”

1:20 “I feel like this is a good representation of how I conduct myself in my romantic life,” Andy says of the painting hanging over our table. “I’m always like, ‘Is this…good? Is this how you do this?” I know that feel.

Danny starts telling us a story about something that happened at a work luncheon. “The account manager who was running the event asked beforehand if I had a fun fact she could use to introduce me. So I mentioned the band and that we had our first record coming out. And she gets up there in front of all these IT security professionals and is like, ‘And an interesting thing about Daniel is that he’s in a band called The Fraidy Cats.”

Everyone cracks up at this.

“And then you skipped out like, ‘Hiiii, I’m Daniel,'” says Charlotte.

“Danny and The Fraidy Cats” Andy adds.

“You lost all your credibility before you could fucking speak,” Charlotte says.

1:44 I’ve never watched the Alien series, but Charlotte and Andy are binging each movie and I’m learning that every movie has an android who has “cream of wheat instead of blood” and that Andy pronounces Sigourney Weaver’s name as “Suh-ger-nee” (either way, it’s “not what you name a baby”). But beyond sci-fi movie marathons, the band hopes to fit in some beach hangs once tour is over. Charlotte has it all planned out: “Bring a guitar, write some songs, stress about how bad the songs are, not enjoy the ocean, maybe cry a little bit about how we’re never going to make it as a band. And maybe swim a couple of times.”

“Let the ocean wash the tears away,” Andy concludes. They also have designs on playing an acoustic set (with stand up drums!) and recording a song with all of their own equipment.

It’s clear by now that Fraidycat works fast and frantically, but I assure them they have time. “You can probably pencil it in between now and death.”

Charlotte chokes on her water at this.

Despite nearly killing off 1/3rd of the band, Fraidycat walks me halfway to the BQE before we part ways. My head still hurts, but I feel better – refreshed, and not just because I finally got some goddamn water. In the midst of a million pseudo-serious Brooklyn dude bands, I love groups who can churn out rapid-fire ideas, wisecracking all the way. And like the anxiety-tinged tunes off Other Better Places, Fraidycat has the ability to make any painful moment feel fun, or at the very least funny. And that makes me feel that with the Other Better Places chapter about to start, there’s great things lying ahead for the band… distinguished WASPy sex dungeons notwithstanding.

You can follow Fraidycat on Facebook and check out Other Better Places on Soundcloud.