Photo courtesy Ayssa Kazew

I have been really digging Ivory Weed’s latest lo-fi offering since being contacted to promote a couple special shows coming up in the next few weeks. The ‘band’ is John Chriest, a local Pittsburgh musician who is participating in NXMW next Friday, February 10th. Sponsored by The Original Magazine, this ‘two venue’ festival features several bands favored by this here blog, including Legs Like Tree Trunks and Dean Cercone. The next gig is a You=Love benefit at the Thunderbird on Friday, February 17th again with Mr. Cercone and The Beagle Brothers. John was nice enough to take some time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
My Chemical Romance, which also happened to be my first concert ever. I used to
love Emo music, as do all middle class white teens. Life was so
“hard” for us angsty teens.
Your last album bought?
Peter Bjorn and John’s “Falling Out”, their oldest CD. In the past
year, they have become my favorite band. I had to see how their music began.
Favorite album of all time?
It’s going to have to go to Peter Bjorn and John. Their album “Writer’s
Block” is amazing, and also pertinent to my current state of being.
Least favorite/most disappointing
Portugal. The Man’s newest album “In the Mountain, in the Cloud” was
very disappointing to me. I have been a huge fan of them for a long time, and
this album is way too processed to me.
First concert attended?
As explained before, was My Chemical Romance. I actually got to meet Gerard,
Franky, and Mikey. I was as excited as a school girl. I crowd surfed and
moshed. I have never crowd surfed since, but man was it a blast.
Last concert?
Avey Tare at Club Cafe, and he was GREAT!! Very small show but it was VERY
Favorite concert ever?
I don’t really have a favorite concert. The same as I don’t have a
“favorite” band, because it is all pertinent to what I am feeling at
the moment. As well as each musician plays a different style that isn’t better
or worse than any other but just there form of self-expression. Therefore, each
show isn’t weighed on a single scale but examined for its own beauty.
Least favorite concert?
I work at Mr. Smalls as a roadie at times, so I see some shows that I would not
go to on my own accord. One such show had to be Kottonmouth Kings. I only saw
about 5 minutes of their set between naps in a faraway room, but that was
enough KMK to last a lifetime for me. Oh, and one of the “rappers” in
the band tried to make fun of Pittsburgh then me in a passive way.
“-Experimental- Ambient- Drone- Folk-[Each word used to answer his
questioning of what type of music I play, was met with a gasp/giggle of
disapproval]”. “Well who listens to that?!” He spurts in
disbelief that anything other than shitty hip-hop dedicated to smoking weed
could be tolerated by people’s ears. “Not many people”.  “I do it because I like it”, I say
calmly. He simply turned away and started talking to the guy next to him, who
had driven three hours to see a “band” that had decals of bongs
wearing penny loafers, joints smoking joints, and lollypop women with giant
lollypop boobs. All of these ridiculous cartoon drawings made with huge blood
shot eyes so as to show “they were high”. Needless to say this man
had the beginnings of a huge KottonMouth Kings tattoo on his chest. Whew!
Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I love how friendly most of Pittsburgh is. Being such a small city, it is easy
to run into someone you know. There are a ton of great things happening here,
that most outsiders (or Oakland dwellers) overlook. If we could consolidate the
coverage of such things, there would be much progress. It has been tried by
many people, but I feel most have been missing key factors (which I don’t want
to go into for various reasons).
Thanks John, especially for contacting me. Unfortunately, I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to discover your music otherwise. For that alone, I appreciate the email.