just a second....

just a second: a jump, little children fandom podcast

transcript: episode 8

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["The Sun" by Jump, Little Children plays briefly then fades out]

Anne: Hi, I'm Anne.
Melanie: And I'm Melanie.
A: And you're listening to Just a Second: A Jump, Little Children fandom podcast.
M: Where the topical discussion is beyond belief.
A: And today we're going to do an episode that we're basically thinking of as Jump 101. Sort of going back and giving a general history of the band and our experience as fans, just to have something if you're sort of new to the band or if you know someone who is new or you want to be new to the band you can just have them listen to this and hopefully we will be somewhere in the, somewhere in the realm of correctness. Although I'm sure Melanie will be. I might add some things that don't make sense but that's what I always do. [laughter]
M: I used the Wikipedia page a lot, for compiling the outline for this but I don't want this to be a rehashing of the Wikipedia page so I want to give the listeners a sort of like fan perspective of the history.
A: Yeah, cuz I think there is not necessarily a different version of the story but maybe just a different take on it from a fan perspective.
M: Yeah, so I guess we should start at the very beginning.
A: That's a very good place to start.
M: So the members—should we give a rundown of the members? I mean does everybody know who they are? I feel like if they're listening to this podcast, but if they're new...
A: Well, go ahead and do that. I don't want to be the one that does it. [laughter]
M: But it's so easy! So the members of Jump, Little Children are Jay Clifford on vocals and guitar. He's the principal songwriter. Matt Bivins who plays accordion, mandolin...
A: Keytar!
M: Keytar, tin whistle...
A: The Fun Machine!
M: Harmonica, Fun Machine, basically you know everything.
A: Right!
M: And he writes some songs too.
A: Now, did you mention the tin whistle? I can't remember.
M: Yeah! Tin whistle, yeah.
A: Ok, yes, yes, that's very important.
M: Gotta get that tin whistle in there! Then there's Evan Bivins, who is Matt's brother, and Evan plays the drums and he...
A: He's written some songs as well.
M: He's written some songs. And then there's Ward Williams on cello and guitar. And Jonathan Gray on bass.
A: And also the Moog.
M: And the Moog. That's a recent thing.
A: Yeah!
M: I love it though.
A: Yeah, he's really enjoyed that. Johnny has usually played a stand-up bass but recently he started playing an electric bass and I was asking about that and he said that it is what he, if he plays with other bands he'd usually play an electric bass. So it's been interesting doing that for Jump but I'm getting ahead of myself, but just in case you see a picture of Jump, Little Children and there's a guy who's not playing a stand-up bass, that's Johnny! [laughter]
M: So, yeah and well, Jump, Little Children as a band started back in 1991.
A: Wow!
M: Yeah. I know.
A: My gosh.
M: That's a long time ago.
A: Yes.
M: Yeah.
A: And where was this?
M: It was at the North Carolina School of the Arts.
A: Right.
M: I think it was Jay, Matt, Ward. Ward was there.
A: Yes, Ward was there.
M: Yeah and their friend Christopher Pollen. Is it Pollen? It's Pollen.
A: I believe so.
M: It's spelled Pollen. Cuz I don't think Evan had joined yet.
A: No. I think actually Evan was still in a visual arts, down a visual arts path at that point.
M: Yeah, I think so.
A: And they were, what type of music were they playing at this time when they started?
M: They were playing Irish music. Weren't they? Irish and folk music.
A: Right. That's that's my understanding, yes.
M: So, they were playing Irish and folk music and of course when you play Irish music you have to take the mandatory trip to Ireland. [laughs]
A: Yes, and...
M: And that was—no! They went to Boston first! Right?
A: Oh, did they? I don't know.
M: I don't know.
A: I always got that all confused.
M: I know it all it happened like, really close together.
A: I know they did not enjoy Boston at all. They did not like their time there. It was very cold, for one.
M: I'm sure.
A: And I think when they were in Ireland they were in Galway, which I believe is on the west coast of Ireland?
M: Ok, yeah, I don't know the geography.
A: Yes, it is. It is on the west coast. I was correct, hooray! Anyways, so, so yes they did that for a while.
M: Yeah and when they came back from Ireland, that's when Evan joined.
A: Yes. And Evan, as my understanding, taught himself to play Irish drum. You know, the little drum that you hold on your arm and you have a little stick.
M: The thing that if I try to pronounce it, it wouldn't be pronounced right.
A: Yeah, I was about to say I cannot pronounce this, but it's that thing.
M: But it's spelled "bod-ran" or something.
A: Yeah. Bo-dran[Bodhran] or something like that.
M: I'm sure there's a bunch of silent letters that aren't supposed to be pronounced. [laughs]
A: Yeah. And as my understanding he taught himself to play that. I believe that was before he went to a traditional drum kit, but I always thought that was interesting. And also I'd like to mention that Ward, as my understanding, started out wanting to play electric guitar and sort of ended up playing cello for a while. So it seems like he really likes playing electric guitar but he's basically known as the cellist because that is a unique factor in this band. You don't often see a cello in a band.
M: No. And that was one of the things that stood out to me when I first saw them, was that they had a cellist.
A: Yes, exactly! I think that's the case for many people. So, let's see. They moved to Charleston, but I think before that, that was when Chris joined that cult. I believe the cult that he joined was in Boston, is that correct?
M: I think so. I think so.
A: I'm not sure exactly what cult that was.
M: No. And no one will say what cult it was.
A: And they've only really talked about it that much recently. I think it was sort of traumatic for them to have this friend of theirs end up sort of absorb into a cult in this fashion and it did result in some songs being written about that. That seemed to really effect Jay in particular, I mean, I guess all of them. I can't really speak to that, but the fact that we do have a number of songs about that, that Jay wrote I think, you know. So once they were back in Charleston, I guess Johnny joined. Is that the case?
M: Yep. Yeah, Johnny joined in Charleston and then we have the final line-up, I guess.
A: Yeah. I guess, I think they all lived together in that house on Coming Street. They lived at 27 Coming Street together. Was it all at one, at any point in time? I think it was.
M: Probably. I imagine that all of them probably lived there.
A: So this is mid 90s, or early to mid 90s.
M: Early to mid, cuz Johnny joined in ‘93.
A: Ok. So that of course means that it since they were all living together like that in Charleston, they were a Charleston-based band. That's what they were really associated with even though they started in North Carolina and they lived in Boston for a time, they are strongly associated with Charleston. Even though I think now Jay's the only one that still lives in Charleston, isn't that so?
M: I think so cuz Johnny moved a couple years ago.
A: Johnny's in North Carolina, yeah. Evan's in Atlanta. Matt's in Chicago although he should be in Atlanta with Evan, that's what I think. And Ward is in New Jersey. [laughter] So it's interesting to sort of look back at how things started. But, let's see, now we're talking about them recording music as a band. They've got their studio albums.
M: Yeah, but before the studio albums was the demo tape.
A: Right, right. The demo tape.
M: It was talked about hushed tones, I would imagine.
A: Yeah.
M: There were only 15 copies, er, 500 copies [laughs] I don't know where I got 15.
A: Wow, there were only 15 copies!
M: Only 15 copies! No, 500, which is still, you know, not a lot. But if you find one of those you are lucky.
A: Yeah.
M: Cuz I think they told people to stop circulating it at one point.
A: Oh, really?
M: Yeah. So, it's a forbidden object. [laughs]
A: Now do you want to run through the studio albums?
M: The studio albums, well after the demo tape they did Licorice Tea Demos first, right? Wasn't that?
A: Yeah, and that was 1994-95, I think that was?
M: God, that's not in my outline!
A: Ha ha.
M: I didn't put dates. Yeah, early ‘95.
A: Ok.
M: And, cuz I al...
A: Actually, you know, I'm saying studio albums but their album after that was not a studio album.
M: No.
A: It was a live album.
M: Cuz I alway lump, I lump Licorice Tea Demos and Buzz together, which was the live EP Buzz.
A: Yeah, and there are six songs on that one.
M: Yeah, cuz I lump it together because by the time I was a fan they...
A: They were packaged together in the reissue pack.
M: They were packaged together in The Early Years Vol. 1.
A: Yeah.
M: Still waiting for that Volume 2!
A: Ha! These are still the early years 30-35 years in. [laughter] However long it is! Now I, when I first came across Jump in 1998 I happened to find in our newsroom, at the college paper that I worked at, there was a copy of Buzz that they just happened to have in their CD bin so I'm like, "Can I have this?" So that's how I got that. So I don't tend to lump them together because I have Licorice Tea Demos and Buzz as separate packaging. And there are several different pressings of Licorice Tea Demos and there will be like a thing where oh I got the purple one or oh I've got the pink. The purple one, I believe, is the older one and the pink one is the newer one. That's my recollection, I may be wrong there.
M: Yeah, I don't know which one is which.
A: But I have the newer one. I'm not sure how many there are, I just know that there are two, at least two different ones, and I have one of the newer ones. And there's a picture of them in there where they're all on the stairs at the house at Coming Street.
M: Yep.
A: And they all look very early to mid 90s. [laughter] And Buzz is an interesting, is interesting there because they've got, who was it? Gran Torino is playing with them? So they've got horns on it.
M: Yes! The horns on "Opium".
A: Right. So we've got two versions of "Opium". We've got the one Licorice Tea Demos and the one with Gran Torino on Buzz. So that's a song that they do not play anymore, if you're relatively new to the band, if they can possibly help it. Because they used to play it so much. But what do we take from the from the song "Opium"? What is that significance for the fans?
M: Honestly I have no idea.
A: Well, the fans are called Opiates!
M: Oh, gosh yes! I was thinking in terms of the lyrics! [laughs]
A: Yeah, someone started a mailing list. See, this is one thing because this is just before my time, cuz I was a fan in 1998 and by then the—we'll get to that shortly, but by then this was sort of old news and I did not recall the first incarnation of this. So honestly I think there was a website, Jennifer Fisher's Playroom, and I think that someone associated with that—we really should know this, cuz I don't think it was Jennifer Fisher that started Opium; I think she started the first website.
M: All this was like, already established by the time I was...
A: Yeah, it was several years old even by the time I joined. And so after Buzz, what happened after Buzz? There was like a—we've got a two-year gap more or less. We've got Magazine.
M: Yeah, Magazine.
A: And why is Magazine significant?
M: Geez I feel like I'm having a pop quiz!
A: Oh, I'm sorry, this is like my journalist instinct.
M: Why was Magazine significant? I don't know cuz I wasn't around then.
A: Cuz Atlantic, well no, it was a major label.
M: Oh yeah, it was a major label.
A: It was Atlantic Records. And they got signed to Hootie and the Blowfish's whatever it's called, sublabel.
M: They're a subsidiary of Atlantic which was called Breaking Records.
A: Yes! Yes. So it was an Atlantic Records imprint. And it seemed as though they would take off at that point but, long story short, they did not. [laughter] Not, not, maybe not in the traditional way.
M: Although they did have Elton John come into the studio.
A: They sure did.
M: And he...
A: I guess Elton John liked "Cathedrals".
M: Yeah! He heard "Cathedrals".
A: "Cathedrals" was that song about Chris Pollen, or was obliquely about Chris Pollen. And it has been a low-key, you know, underground hit ever since then. There's been a lot of people covering that and it's appeared on a few TV shows, sometimes with no context related to the song, but, you know, whatever. And at this point in time a lot of people first started hearing the band. They sort of broke, in a sense in that they were being played on radio stations around the country, primarily in the South. And they were able to sort of tour more broadly than they were before. And that's when I first saw them, was when they were on their first round of Magazine touring. Maybe not the first but it was pretty close. And at that point I think a number of people who did not particularly care for the difference in sound between the older Jump, Little Children albums and this new album, which was, you know, it was decidedly a more commercial push, had sort of lost interest. We've already seen people consider themselves no longer to really be fans and to have a new and much larger wave of fans come in. Now when did you start being a fan?
M: I came in around summer 2001.
A: Ok, so that's right before Vertigo.
M: Yeah.
A: Now, Vertigo, there was apparently a lot of issues getting that recorded. Then there was the fact that it was released on September 11th 2001.
M: Yeah.
A: Which sort of makes you feel like it was, in a sense, kind of doomed there.
M: And also they were dropped.
A: Yes, they were.
M: Or Breaking Records was dropped from Atlantic and therefore they were dropped too. Didn't they lose—did they lose the rights?
A: I think they did.
M: Didn't they have to buy it back?
A: There was not very much discussion about this cuz I think they found it so unpleasant, they didn't want to really talk about it. And I honestly can't remember exactly what was going on with that, but after that I think they had to put up their own money to record Between the Dim & the Dark, is that correct?
M: I think so.
A: Let's see, of course that was—gosh, what year was Between the Dim & the Dark?
M: Was it 2004?
A: Wow, really?
M: I feel like it was 2004.
A: Let's see.
M: Yeah, in the Wikipedia.
A: Yeah, it was 2004. They, in 2005, stopped touring. They called a hiatus and we were all sort of like wow, okay. [laughs]
M: Yeah but I kind of felt something was up.
A: Yes.
M: Cuz they had gone through that whole, like, we're just going to be called Jump now. We're dropping the Little Children. And, funny story, Keri, who was on a couple previous episodes, had some shirts made up that said "little children should not be dropped". [laughter]
A: Yeah, okay I vaguely recall that.
M: Yeah, some—I don't know what the general consensus was on...
A: Yeah, they tried that for a little while, they did try to have to go by Jump.
M: ...dropping "Little Children."
A: Try to go by JLC and it didn't quite take.
M: Yeah.
A: I've been thinking lately that while, at the time and really for most of their career, Jump, Little Children seemed like sort of an odd name. I feel like it works better now because there's more of a tendency for people to have sort of out there, bizarre names. Like, if I'm looking at a list of concerts coming up for whatever venue, and if it's like new, contemporary acts they are weird names.
M: Yeah.
A: Cuz, let's face it, it's kind of a weird name. But I think it works now. There's something hipstery about it, I hate to say it, but there is sort of a hipstery element that I think might actually work. So they went on hiatus starting in 2005. Their last show before the hiatus was a Dock Street show. And to sort of mention that every year, for I guess it was five, six, seven, eight years, they would have Dock Street Theater shows at the Dock Street Theater in Charleston in December. That sort of became a tradition. Now in 2015, what happened in 2015?
M: Dock Street 11 was announced!
A: Yeah it was announced they would be going back on tour. And that was announced in May of 2015. And it seemed like, I think, from the start they were sort of saying we don't want this to be a reunion where we just play old songs all the time forever. They are going to come back and play new songs and one way they meant to accomplish that was to start a crowdfunding effort to record the album. And the result of that album, or the result of that effort was released a year ago today called Sparrow. And Sparrow's somewhat of a departure from previous albums. It's really good, just like all the other albums, but it has a very different feel to it which I think is super interesting, because if they wanted to they could have just sort of, more or less, done their old sound or an old sound. Cuz they don't really have one old sound, but they sort of forged new sort of went into new territory with this album in 2018.
M: Yeah I feel like, with Sparrow, they finally accepted who they were.
A: Really? Okay.
M: Yeah, I do because I remember when they were recording Between the Dim & the Dark and Matt wrote on one of the journals that they really wanted to sound like one band on an album instead of a bunch of different bands from song to song.
A: Right.
M: Which I just think that's them. That's their sound, is sounding like that. Not sounding like [laughs]
A: So you do or you don't think Sparrow sound like that?
M: I think that they have finally—well, they made a very cohesive album.
A: Yeah.
M: Cuz there are a bunch of different sounds from song to song. I mean look at "X-raying Flowers" versus...
A: I think it's very cohesive though.
M: Yeah! It's very cohesive!
A: It almost, in some ways, almost sounds like a Jay solo album.
M: Yeah. Yeah.
A: Which, you know, is fine but that is the flip side of wanting the songs to not sound like they're all over the place means that they, a lot of them, are going to sound like Jay solo songs. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
M: No. I think they finally found a way to make their eclectic mix of whatever instruments and stuff come together.
A: Here's the thing is that's super super difficult to market, which I think was the problem that they faced was because they did have stuff that was all over the place. They had, you know, I guess I'm being really flip here and I don't actually mean it like this, but they have an extra lead singer! [laughter] You know, they have a Matt and what makes them unique in many ways is that they have Matt, but it also makes it sort of difficult to have a quick elevator speech about, here's this band. It's difficult to explain Jump, Little Children, I mean it really honestly is. It's absolutely worth people getting into it, but it's—they're just difficult to quickly describe and quickly package, and that's sort of, while being the thing that makes them stand out, it's also sort of problematic in terms of marketing.
M: Yeah.
A: And it certainly was in the late 90s.
M: Yeah. I feel like, I feel like there's less emphasis on being easy to describe these days.
A: Yeah, yeah, there's a lot of cross-genre collaborations and things like that.
M: Yeah.
A: Like I was reading this, I hate the mention the Beatles again, but, you know, back in the 60 and 70s crossing genres like that was simply not done. That's why, you know, looking back at something like Aerosmith doing "Walk This Way" was such a huge deal, whereas, of course, now because of songs like that it's not a big deal at all for a rock and rap act to work together.
M: Right.
A: For example it's not seen as, my God why is this happening? You know, the most recent controversy, in a way, was "Old Town Road" which is two completely different genres yet it works perfectly well.
M: Yeah.
A: It was a little bit controversial but it shouldn't have been. But we are seeing more and more of that, where you've got several different influences mixed in a song and people are able to accept and deal with it better than, certainly had been in the 60s where everything was pretty much striated.
M: Yeah.
A: But they still are quite difficult to describe and it's hard to make—you know I was thinking if I made a playlist for someone that had all the best Jump, Little Children songs on it would be 50 songs long. [laughs]
M: Here's my theory, cuz so many people post to Opium about making—like, what song should I put on this playlist or mix for this person that I want to introduce to Jump?
A: Right.
M: And I feel like it's not about putting the best songs on there; it's catering your song choice to what you know that person already likes.
A: To their existing tastes.
M: Yeah.
A: Their existing taste, yeah.
M: Yeah.
A: I could certainly go through and come up with what I think the, quote, best songs are and even then someone might be like, well this doesn't really speak to me. I mean, I don't know who that would be because as far as I'm concerned everyone should like them and think they're good! [laughter] But it's just tough, like if someone at work were to ask me "who's that" and I'm like, "Oh, that's Jump, Little Children" and they'd be like, "who do they sound like?" I'm like, fuck me if I know! [laughter]
M: They sound like Jump, Little Children! You should know what they sound like! They're Jump, Little Children!
A: R.E.M, Neko Case, and the Shins but really good. You sort of have to be like, if you like so-and-so then you'll like such-and-such.
M: Yeah.
A: But even that's not always a guarantee.
M: No. I've tried to, you know, cuz I like to say, oh this is the love child of so-and-so and so-and-so.
A: Yeah.
M: But it's really hard to do that with Jump, still!
A: Yeah. I mean, you can get close.
M: Because they just sound like Jump, Little Children.
A: Yeah.
M: That's the closest that I can get is they sound like themselves!
A: That's their blessing and their curse. [laughs]
M: Well, yeah.
A: Now, for fans I had the Opium email list and we had several incarnations of that but that was eventually retired and now we have a Facebook group for Opium. You know, it's, there's some drawbacks and there's some pluses to having a Facebook group instead of an email list. We also have various fansites.
M: Yeah, there's like, there's three or there were three. One of them is now housed on another one.
A: Oh yeah?
M: Cuz there was the...
A: You mean Matchbox Whistler?
M: Yeah, Matchbox Whistler.
A: Matchbox Whistler has lyrics and tabs.
M: Tabs if you want to play guitar go to Matchbox Whistler, which is now housed on jumplittlechildren.net.
A: Yes, which has the lyrics and the, when did they play such-and-such and with who. So if you want the technical details like when was—on such-and-such date did they play blah blah and who opened. Who opened for them, etc., etc. That's your history of stuff there.
M: It's very comprehensive and it has a list of unrecorded songs too.
A: Yeah.
M: So it's pretty great.
A: It's very useful to have lists of songs like that, to have that available. And, of course, we also have archive.org stuff.
M: Yeah.
A: But that's not really a fansite but that is where you would go to see, to access various live shows. Not all of them but quite a number of them.
M: There's a lot, yeah. And there's some...
A: And what is...
M: What?
A: Sorry. I was going to say, what is the other fansite?
M: The other fansite would be seven-days.org which is...
A: Yes.
M: Anne's site.
A: That is not a comprehensive or technical site. [laughs]
M: No, it's about fan stuff!
A: It pretty much is, yeah. In 1998 at the computer lab at my college I started a Geocities website and I—this was back before they have the templates now; you can just put in a bunch of web 2.0 or 3.0 or whatever we're at now, pre-existing templates and stuff and all the websites look the same. But back in my day you could build websites in the raw code or you pretty much had to unless you wanted to use one of the ugly Geocities templates. So I learned some CSS, I learned HTML. I had all these mouse-overs and all this kind of crazy stuff. And I wanted to build a site that was not technically based. I did not want it to be focused on when they played such-and-such because that niche had already been filled. So I focused more on silly fan stuff; the silly things that we say at concerts was a big cornerstone of that. Just a record of people having good times at shows, really.
M: And that's the quotes page, right?
A: Yes. So the quotes page is now seven pages long, stemming back to 1998. I had, for a little while, I had—it was a big thing to send postcards, little virtual postcards, so I had a lot of those. Back in the day there was a guestbook. There was all kinds of very late 90s, early 2000s stuff on there.
M: Yeah, you had a list of all the Livejournals and various online diaries.
A: Yeah, Diarylands, yeah. Pictures galleries because, you know, people would used to scan. People used to take pictures with their disposable cameras or their otherwise cameras and then get them developed and then scan them. Yes. This was a thing.
M: The whole ordeal.
A: Ordeal of scanning the pictures that you had developed.
M: You couldn't just upload straight from your phone.
A: Nope, nope. It was just, you know, thousands of years ago this was how we did it. But most of those are broken. Most of those links are broken so those pictures don't really exist anymore. There's some on Flickr, of course, but even Flickr's sort of old school at this point.
M: Yeah.
A: But that was—and Matt said, Matt has said, I believe it was on this podcast, he said he sort of knew that—maybe it was also on that instagram post about me [laugher] I don't know. He said that's sort of how they knew they arrived is that they had a fan website like that. And from a fan perspective, I just wanted something to sort of reflect our experiences.
M: Well, it does that very well and it captures the whole funness.
A: Now, sometimes it has gotten a little cheeky a little. Maybe a little out of line but I think that is part of fandom experience with Jump, Little Children is there is a certain amount of cheekiness and we're just doing our own thing. And it sort of is separate from the band and the band's experience. I've sort of learned recently that this isn't really something the band understands and I'm fine with that. This is a separate, really a separate entity from them.
M: Yeah, they don't need to understand it. They're not part of the fandom.
A: Yeah, yeah. And I think it's important for us to have a perspective like that and to have that perspective documented. Plus, it's just really fun! And, of course, it is important to have listings of actual concert dates and when something was performed and that is also a huge part of being a fan is, I was at this show or I need to refer back to this reference material to see oh yeah, I was at that show and they played such-and-such. Because whether it's looking at a setlist someone scanned or looking at a list on a website, that sort of cements your fandom experience. You realize, yeah I was there, I heard that. Because, you know, we can't remember everything! [laughs]
M: Yeah.
A: Everything that's happened to us. So this sort of archival work is pretty important. Now, one thing about—I think we were talking about having an episode that was primarily about concert behavior or quirks about Jump concerts but I guess we could touch on that briefly in terms of what is our audience participation and what has it been like at shows.
M: Do you want to talk about like, things like the clapping?
A: Yeah, there's stuff like that. We have, you know, there's the song "Say Goodnight" when he says, when Jay sings "turn out the lights," people clap as if we're turning off The Clapper. And that was something that was started by Lonnie and it took off and became a thing from then on! That was Lonnie Lewis and that was a really good example of something sort of spreading like a, before they really had the term, like a meme. Like in the sociological sense of the term meme, not like a picture of a cat.
M: Right.
A: And taking off because it—I think the band thinks that's pretty funny that we do that but it works perfectly well.
M: I feel like at one point they didn't like it.
A: Oh yeah, they don't like. [laughs]
M: But then they started—cuz at the...
A: They got it, they accept it.
M: Dock Street 11 it was like they turned off the lights as we clap-clapped.
A: Yeah, and now they know how to, they know to do that now, at shows.
M: Yeah.
A: Not really at places where the lighting person necessarily knows them I'm not sure if this is a directive they give beforehand or what, but they will absolutely do that with the show. But they were sort of baffled by it for a little while, like, eh, but I think it works perfectly well with the song.
M: They've come to accept it.
A: But that's just one example of our audience participation. There's also moon arms.
M: Moon arms.
A: And that's for "Smiling Down."
M: And then later, cuz they stopped playing "Smiling Down,"
A: Yeah.
M: So later they did it for "Dancing Virginia", or we did it for "Dancing Virginia.
A: Yeah, I was thinking as I was saying that, I'm like, wait a minute we do it for another song too, right? But yeah, that's another example of it. And that is just a thing that you—somebody starts it and eventually it takes off and everybody does it. So, not every band, I think, has something like that.
M: No. I've been to so many different bands and there's—I can't remember ever seeing anything like that.
A: Yeah. Now, and also another thing, this is definitely tapered off now that we're all in our 40s, but, well most of us are in our 40s, is jumping up and down. Cuz I swear, I'm telling you when I was 19 we would jump up and down for the whole show.
M: Wow.
A: And that, of course, depends pretty strongly on what type of music is being played. Because after awhile they did start playing music that makes no sense whatsoever to jump to; like Between the Dim & the Dark and Sparrow, you can't jump and down to that. But when they were playing things that were more kinetic and more pop-y and there was, I mean yeah, we were doing that. And there's no way in hell I would do that now. I'm lucky if I can stand for the whole show.
M: Right?
A: They used to also play longer shows but then we were all so much younger then. So jumping, standing up and jumping more or less the entire show was definitely a thing and that, of course, is due in part to the name, Jump, Little Children. It sort of—it's not like we're saying, oh the band is called Jump, Little Children so you have to jump. It's just that sort of went along with the whole thing. So there are various things that fans do at shows and now we want to also mention the fact that Jump is very unusual in their fan interaction. Would you like to talk about that?
M: Well, that's one of the things that really set them apart for me, also, when I first started getting into them, was they would stay after shows and talk to the fans.
A: Yeah.
M: And I was like, wow, bands do this?
A: Yeah.
M: So that was really exciting for me. And that may have played a part in me getting even more into them.
A: Oh yeah! I definitely think it is, has for many people.
M: Cuz it just, yeah, it felt like I don't know. I had never experienced that before.
A: Now, I have mentioned before that most of the shows that I've ever been to were Jump, Little Children shows and I sort of found myself expecting--I mean in a humorous way, not literally, to be able to do this for other people like, we can't talk to ELO after the show? We can't talk to U2 after the show? You know, it's like--but it is unusual. And we've talked about this before, and talked about it with Matt, but it just sort of started happening [laughter] I guess, and I'm pretty sure that the first real show I went to--god, I honestly can't remember, but this would also have been in 1998. Like the first show I saw them at was the Big Day Out and I was just like, oh that's interesting. Then I saw them at the Cotton Club and I don't think I was aware at the Cotton Club that you could stay after and talk to them. But then my third show was in Athens and I think I met somebody there, it might have been Kyle and Lisa, I'm not sure, but I think you know obviously at some point I picked up on the fact that you can stay after and talk to them and, you know. I think in a subsequent episode we'll actually break down how that plays out but that is something you can do if you're a new listener and you want to come to the shows in December. Which, by the way, there is going to be a tour in December! So if you want to look up that information it is on jumplittlechildren.com. But I'm not saying you have to talk to them after the show if you don't want to, of course. But it's just an option. And I've always thought it was fun to do that, of course, except when it's not fun and you've embarrassed yourself. [laughter]
M: Yeah, the first few times I ever did it it was kind of daunting.
A: Yeah.
M: But now it's like, oh let's go talk to Matt, let's go talk to whoever. Cuz Jay never comes out anymore.
A: Oh, you know, not usually.
M: The rare occasion.
A: Yeah. Sometimes he does.
M: Sometimes you luck out!
A: But yeah, and that is another major thing about being a Jump fan, is that people will hang around after the show, and you can always tell the people that run the venues are like, what the hell? Go home. [laughs] Why are you still here? Go home!
M: Yeah, so many times I've been after shows and they're like, get out!
A: They just kick us out.
M: You have to go!
A: Go outside. Leave.
M: We gotta clean up! Get out!
A: Then we're standing around, like, watching them pack up. [laughs] It's like, should I help? Should I offer to help? [laughter] Just going to be out here anyway. But yeah, that's more or less a tradition, I would say, that's tradition. There also is some level of engagement with some of the band members in terms of social media. That's primarily Matt who would be the one engaging with the old email list. And Matt & Evan engaging with the Discord community, which is part of their Patreon, as well as the Opium group on Facebook. So they do have a certain amount of interaction in that respect. And of course there's Instagram and their official Facebook account, which is what Allison primarily spearheads; although, of course, Evan & Matt are also involved. But the others, I think, are much more hands-off when it comes to their social media, in the new era of social media.
M: Yeah, sometimes Ward will swoop in.
A: Yeah. He'll show up.
M: Like, unexpectedly and then leave. Like, oh.
A: Johnny isn't particularly technical and Jay actually seems to actively avoid social media.
M: He avoids any social anything!
A: Yeah, yeah.
M: But that's Jay.
A: Yeah, it's true. But yeah, those are our fan interactions, largely. And of course, if you are a Patreon there's a different sort of engagement. You can listen to Cool Demo, which is Jay's podcast; you can submit questions to Cool Demo. I think you can submit them regardless of whether you're a patron but you won't be able to listen to it [laughs] and see if he answers your question unless you...but yeah, let's see. We've got, they've also, you've got some stuff here as miscellaneous. Do you want to go through your miscellaneous stuff there?
M: Well, I have Little Bobby, which is the sort of mascot for...
A: Yeah, and there's two different designs for Little Bobby.
M: Yeah. There's a old, the older one is like, a purple line drawing of a kid jumping.
A: Yeah.
M: And it's not quite a stick figure but.
A: Yeah, it's a little cartoon figure of a kid. And the second one is from the Magazine era, which is just a face.
M: Yeah, a little head. A smiling head.
A: And that sort of does become a way of knowing, ok is this an old school—it used to be, it's not so much now. I think it's been more collective now, but it used to be a way of—is this an old school person or a new school person? Because that did used to be a thing.
M: Yeah.
A: It's kinda, you know, from some of the stuff I said it's kind of still is but it doesn't really matter as much anymore because, you know, we're all so old and tired. [laughs]
M: Yeah, and it used to be really exciting to see, when you're driving, a Little Bobby sticker.
A: Yeah. I mean it still is!
M: But now, it still is! I mean, the ones that have survived, the stickers that have survived, if people still have those stickers on their car.
A: They have also reissued those. We also have new ones.
M: The purple ones.
A: Yeah, those are new ones, there's new ones of those.
M: Yeah.
A: Now, you've also got on here the Kinetics.
M: Yeah!
A: That's the band they play in Occasional Hell, right?
M: Yes. They were in a movie called An Occasional Hell.
A: Yeah!
M: And it starred Tom Berenger, which I could not tell you who he is at all but I just know the name.
A: Yeah.
M: And I've seen the movie.
A: They had a weird cameo in it for like, no reason.
M: Yeah, cuz Tom Berenger goes into this, I guess it's like a club, that they're performing at and they're setting up and he's questioning them.
A: Yeah. Yeah.
M: Cuz, I guess—I have no idea what the plot is..
A: How about their lines in it. They have—it's like a murder myster movie or something.
M: Yes.
A: But they have some lines
M: So he's questioning them about whoever died, I guess.
A: Yeah.
M: And yeah, they have some lines. I cannot remember any of them off the top of my head right now.
A: I know there's a very funny, like Jay's delivery was lacking.
M: [laughs] yeah.

[audio clip from An Occasional Hell plays]
[music]
[feedback sounds]
Voice: hey what's up?! What you doing, man?
Tom Berenger: Quite a sound, guys. Very distinctive.
Jay Clifford: You wanna hire us or something?
Tom: No, no. Uh, I'm, uh, no. My name's Ernie Dewalt. I'm, uh, looking into the disappearance of Jeri Gillen.
Voice: Who?
Ward Williams: Think he's talking ‘bout Rodney's wife.
Tom: Mmhmm. Y'all got another gig coming up?
Jay: Theta Ki house every Friday night.
Tom: Without Rodney?
Jay: What kind of choice do we have?
Matt Bivins: Light My Fire's gonna sound real good without a keyboard.
[laughter]
Tom: Well, any idea where I might find Rodney?
Jonathan Gray: Try Jamaica.
Evan Bivins: Follow your nose.
Tom: Well, rock on, dudes.
[laughter]
Voices: Yeah, rock on man. Rock on.
[music plays and fades]

 

A: They also—Matt and Evan's mother is an actress, and they also appeared in a sort of cult film. I think, was it 1991? 1990?
M: Was that Tater Tomater?
A: Tater Tomater, yeah. And that was another thing that we circulated for a little while, trying to get copies of Tater Tomater on VHS; and it is also on YouTube but it's in very poor quality. Now, I think Matt has like a background cameo appearance and Evan sort of actually has more screen time. I don't think he has any lines. It's a short film, but it's, I still think about it. Their mother is in it as a cafeteria worker. I still think about some of the lines from it, because it is, really is quite funny and unique. So if you can find it, see if you can. But they also made two Halloween movies to show on screen.
M: Yes.
A: On stages when they did Halloween shows in, I think it was ‘99, ‘98, 2000, it was right around then. Now, what are those?
M: Those are Jump, Little Children of the Corn and Suburban Mutilator Nightmare. Which Jump, Little Children of the Corn is on Youtube.
A: Yeah.
M: But Suburban Mutilator Nightmare is not.
A: Yeah, and I've been told that they would eventually put that up somewhere. Like, Matt has it somewhere but it doesn't seem like they have done that yet. So hopefully one day we will be able to see Suburban Mutilator Nightmare again. It was really quite funny, as is Jump, Little Children of the Corn. They are both really hilarious. What they would do at their Halloween shows was they would play this on screen before they came out and then when they came out they would be dressed like they were in the movie. And they used to have Halloween shows where they would get all dressed up, you know obviously along the lines of dressing up to align with what they were wearing these movies; they would have various themes. That was also stretching back before my time when they would have theme shows, I believe it was at the Music Farm. They would have, like, the Wizard of Oz show which became really well known. They were all dressed as different Wizard of Oz characters. There was Cafeteria Night where they were dressed as cafeteria workers. But that was all, that was still well before my time. You know, like, wow, 3-4 years before I was a fan. [laughs]
M: Well, it's...
A: Way back then!
M: That's like half of their existence almost.
A: Yeah. It's true.
M: At the time.
A: So this was sort of some miscellaneous things, but they've also got, they also have their solo projects.
M: Yeah.
A: Talk about that a little bit.
M: Cuz Jay had Rosebud.
A: Yes, what is Rosebud exactly?
M: Rosebud is—the first album was like, Jay, Johnny, and...
Together: Amanda Kapousouz.
A: The violinist.
M: And it's a more...
A: What would you say they play?
M: It's a more Jazzy type outlet for Jay.
A: It's like gentle Jazz.
M: Gentle Jazz! [laughs]
A: Gentle singer/songwriter Jazz.
M: Yeah.
A: It's like romantic.
M: Romantic Jazz.
A: Yeah. Very, very romantic. [laughs]
M: Stuff that you would sit under someone's window and play if you're in a movie. [laughs]
A: Yeah, yeah. It's very much like that. So there are two Rosebud albums and I think one of them is on vinyl. I don't think the second one is on vinyl, is it?
M: No, it's not.
A: They should do that.
M: Just the first one. They need to reissue the first one and put the second one on vinyl.
A: They need to, I think Jay has expressed openness to doing more more Rosebud stuff.
M: Yeah. He has.
A: Which he really should do. And there's also biv.
M: biv.
A: Talk about biv.
M: biv was the band with Evan as a frontman, playing guitar and playing all of his own stuff. They did a few covers.
A: What type of music was that?
M: It was more like, I want to say, like, it was more rocking. More rocking stuff.
A: And sort of related to that there was the Dole. Which was Evan and Matt and some other people.
M: Yeah, the Dole was like a Irish thing.
A: Was Cary Ann in that or was it Amanda also?
M: No, it was Amanda and I think Ash Hopkins.
A: Yeah, yeah yeah yeah. I didn't really get into the Dole.
M: Yeah I never saw them. I wanted to but they were like a, it's like a punk Irish thing.
A: Irish punk. It was sort of a performance group and you know, performance art type of thing. And Matt sort of had a character.
M: They all had little fake names.
A: But speaking of that and maybe on a more grander scale. More grander? On a grander scale was Cabaret Kiki which Cary Ann was in, which I loved! And they were apparently were hoping to make that more of a long-term thing, with like, switching out various members and making that more of a real, ongoing cabaret show which didn't really quite materialize. But that was really fun and I really loved their Cabaret Kiki album that they were able to put out, which is, I guess, hard to find.
M: Yeah.
A: I have it on CD somewhere but that was, you know, obviously like a cabaret thing where they really did have personas and were playing characters.
M: Yeah, there was a loose storyline.
A: Yeah, with song written by Matt & Evan, some of which are, you know, really really good stuff. I enjoyed that. The shows were fun too.
M: And they had, cuz I saw two—well, I saw two down in Charleston at Theatre 99 when they had it there.
A: Yeah. Yeah.
M: And they had, like, a different guest for each one where they would spotlight a song. And one of the guests one night was Michael Flynn and another was Jay Clifford. So that was fun.
A: Wow. I don't know if I was at that. But of course we know now that Cary Ann is in Shovels & Rope with her husband. And they are pretty much making it big now, so that's good for them. And Ward had a solo album out didn't he?
M: Yeah.
A: And he went on Broadway, if you will. He was, he played with the, what was it? The Waitress?
M: He was in the Waitress band.
A: Yeah, and he's done several other things on Broadway which is exciting. Then, of course, there's Jay's solo career.
M: Which he's done two albums.
A: And Jay also does arranging and producing.
M: Yeah, he's done orchestral arrangements for...
A: Quite a number of people.
M: Yeah. And he's also worked, he's written songs with a ton of people. Like, I only know this because I have a friend in Australia who was like, Melanie, this song by this—I think her name is Missy Higgins.
A: Oh yeah.
M: But he co-wrote a song with Missy Higgins who's from Australia, but I don't really know who she is. And my friend in Australia was like, yeah, this song was co-written by that guy in that band you love. [laughs]
A: Wow, really?
M: Yeah.
A: He's gotten to do a lot of that stuff. And he even, for a little while—can you, you'll probably do a better job of explaining than me, the whole Zach Braff thing.
M: Yeah. Cuz that was during the hiatus wasn't it? That Zach Braff kind of—did he tweet?
A: I believe so, yeah.
M: He tweeted about one of their songs?
A: Oh, I don't, yeah, I'm not sure if he—I don't know for sure, but I think the bulk of his interest was after the hiatus started.
M: Yeah, cuz...
A: He had a movie that was fairly recent that he had "Mexico" in. That's why I think a lot of people know "Mexico" whether they are aware of that or not. And while that is a Jump, Little Children song Zach Braff also did the video for "Know When to Walk Away" which is a Jay solo song.
M: Yep. And I think Jay got to hang out with Zach Braff in California at one point.
A: Yeah.
M: So that was, that was very amusing to me. [laughs]
A: Oh yeah?
M: I just, it's just Zach Braff!
A: Yeah, I mean it is kind of random. [laughs] I mean, obviously he has good taste in music because, you know, I listened to the Garden State soundtrack a tone of times! That was, what, 2004? 2005? I listened to that a lot! But, yeah, so hopefully that afforded Jay a little more exposure and sales than he would've had otherwise. I certainly hope so.
M: Yeah.
A: But, yeah, Jay definitely keeps busy with the writing, arranging, producing. And Johnny played bass for a lot of bands in Charleston.
M: Yeah!
A: And Johnny, now, is like a wilderness guide in North Carolina. Like, teaching kids how to—I don't want to say survive in the woods but that kind of is, like, I had a co-worker who trained in that stuff and he learned, like, first aid and camping tips and, you know, wilderness awareness and stuff like that. So that's pretty interesting. Matt and Evan have their website business which is, I just love that because back when I first started Seven Days on Geocities they didn't know how to even do stuff that looked good on their own website. No. [laughter] And now they're turning out these gorgeous websites, cuz they both have a really good eye for design. And Evan, of course, is still doing some of his visual arts stuff, working in learning more about drawing for comics, which I think is really cool.
M: Yeah, he's really good at it.
A: Yeah, I'm also, I have to say, I know I've said this—I had to have said this in a previous episode but I'm really impressed by Evan's ability to teach himself stuff.
M: Yeah.
A: He wanted to learn to play the bodhran, or however you say it, so he did. He wanted to learn how to play drums, so he did. You know, he didn't go to school for that. He was like, I'm going to learn this, and then he did! It's really incredible because he's so good. He's just like, I'm gonna do this! That level of determination is delightful and I think it's—I can't remember for sure if Matt and Evan both run the captioning company or if it's primarily Matt's thing?
M: Maybe primarily Matt's thing.
A: I know that's definitely...
M: Yeah, I don't know, but Matt is definitely the one doing the bulk of talking about it.
A: Yeah, I think it's primarily Matt's interest.
M: Yeah.
A: Because his wife is deaf and he wants to increase the availability of captioning, particularly in a setting where you're watching a live play, wanting to get that captioning as close to the real time experience as possible. So that is super interesting because that's not something I really would've thought about, captioning a play, and I'm thinking about it, it's surprising that they don't have that as widespread as they really should.
M: Yeah.
A: Many people could use that. So that's what Matt has been doing. And we've talked before about the hiatus. Just sort of, you know, they needed this time to, you know, have their families and deal with other things. But also, you know, it seemed—you could tell by the time this was approaching that they were getting sort of burned out.
M: Yeah.
A: Like, as fans we were sort of, you know, it's tough to describe. It's not that we were getting burned out, per se, but it's sort of an understanding of we can't have the same thing going on indefinitely because that's just not how people work.
M: Right.
A: So it was pretty crushing to have this hiatus but at the same time, you know, you understand it's—looking back now, it's like yeah. Obviously this was time well spent because they were able to come back on their own terms and with the modern crowdsourcing they were able to pretty much do what they wanted. Which is, you know, a fan priority is making sure people you're fans of are enjoying what they're doing and able to do what they want.
M: Yep.
A: A certain amount of flexibility. And since then they still will occasionally pop up in soundtracks of stuff. Like, there was some show on Netflix where they had "Cathedrals" in the background, and I alluded to that earlier. Something that they used that "Cathedrals" where it doesn't really make sense. [laughs]
M: Oh yeah, that was on the Society.
A: Did you watch that? That was so weird, yeah.
M: I haven't watched it yet.
A: Well, you're not really missing anything because imagine any random scene of anything with "Cathedrals" playing over it. I was like, is it just me or does this not make any sense? It's like, yeah, it doesn't make any sense. And it doesn't! So do you think we pretty much covered what we would need to as sort of a Jump 101?
M: I think so.
A: Cuz it is difficult to get in everything about them. And it even was, you know, back in the day. It was difficult to sort of explain everything. Cuz there's so much going on that needs explanation.
M: Yeah.
A: It's hard to sort of sample them and be like, oh they're this. So I hope we didn't forget anything. Cuz I think we talked about everybody's solo work.
M: I think we've covered everything pretty well.
A: Yeah. Now, let's see, I don't think we had anything else. Once again Jennifer Fisher founded the Playroom and the Opium listserve. [laughter] Unless I'm wrong about that, too. And Shelley did the reboot of Opium2. And if I'm horribly, horribly wrong then I will recant! Although I don't think either of them listen to this. [laughter] So we'll never know!
M: So, hopefully this is a nice trip down memory lane for some people and a good primer
A: Introduction, because, yeah when you get down to it you don't really need to know specifically who started what.
M: No.
A: Although, those people, I feel it is important to properly credit those people. I think from a 101 perspective.
M: Yeah.
A: You just really need to know the basics about, you know, what is this band? What are they even trying to do? What is the fanbase like in a general way? How long has this been going on? [laughter] Why won't it stop? No. [laughs]
M: It's been going on since 1991 and that's all you need to know.
A: Wow! So long ago.
M: I know. That's almost 30 years!
A: Yes, I hope everyone learned a lot or were misled into believing things that are wrong! [laughs] Bye!

["Voyeuropa" by Jump, Little Children plays then fades out]