Kim Longacre Interview
thereivers.net: You originally hail from California. How old were you when you moved from there to Austin? Do you have any specific memories of California that stand out?
Kim: I originally hail from Waterloo, Iowa. I was born there, but my next of kin all come from Nebraska, Omaha and Lincoln. We moved to Ne. not long after my sister, Kate was born. I started school in Seattle, Washington when my dad won a Ford Foundation Grant to work for the theatre there. Then he became the production manager for the Louisville Repertory Theatre in Kentucky. When I was 8 we moved to San Jose, California and a year after that, we moved to Palo Alto where I lived until my senior year of high school. Nowadays, 9 years doesn’t seem like a long time, but time took longer when I was younger.
Some things I remember about Palo Alto… we rode bikes EVERWHERE. I could take off in the morning, without a phone, or even quarters for a pay phone (dime?), and as long as you were home by dinner, you were golden. I had my first job when I was in 6th grade. I was a paperboy for, what I think was the equivalent of “Apartment Finders” or something “free.” I got paid cash money for throwing newspapers no one wanted in yards and driveways…I quit after one man threw a paper back at me. I got so much grief from my parents about being a quitter and lacking stick-to-it-iveness, that it took me YEARS to quit some really awful jobs. I remember the Pacific Ocean, and riding my bike to the bay- I marvel that our parents let us take the train to San Francisco for the day when we were 14 years old. I remember Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Henry Coe State Park (Redwood Forest), Butterfly Trees, I remember in jr. high, hanging out at my old elementary school, El Carmelo, listening to the Woodstock Lp over and over again with the cool rec department after school program.
I remember Santa Cruz and Stephanie’s Chevy Malibu station wagon. I remember sitting in our apple tree reading and eating apples, throwing the cores down for my dog to put in a big silver washtub. I remember sitting on our privacy fence, eating huge naval oranges off our tree, then we jumped off pretending to be “Flying Nuns.” I remember having a black plum fight with Kate using the rotten plums that fell on our patio. I remember the ghost in her room. I remember the total lunar eclipse the family watched from her window. I remember mowing the lawn, painting bricks and the most bad ass summer task I ever had was using a jackhammer to remove our driveway.
thereivers.net: When did you start singing?
Kim: My parents were theatre people, my dad was a director and my mom an actress. They met in a production of “Guys and Dolls.” They were engaged during a run of “Oklahoma;” Mom played Ado Annie and Dad was Will Parker. We had lots of records in our house and someone was always singing. In elementary school, our librarian Mr. Duncan led a school chorus. Not a choir- a “chorus” was what he called it. If you were in it, you got out of class a couple of times a week- so it was pretty packed. He gave me my first solo when I was in 4th grade. Arne Lim and I took a verse each of “Good King Wenceslas.” My second solo was in 5th grade, I sang the boy soprano solo in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. I joined the choir fer reals when I started Junior High. I sang all the time. My mom got concerned when she heard some Barbra Streisand imitations come out of me when I was in the shower and called a friend who gave voice lessons. I started taking voice lessons in 8th grade.
thereivers.net: Are there any certain vocalists that influenced how you sing?
Kim: No vocalists other than voice teachers who poked and prodded me into breathing “right” and placing vowels correctly- Ok, no, Billy Pringle influenced me- He’s been in several bands in town- The first band I saw him in was one called “Boy Problems.” He was just a channel of happiness. Like Billy Zoom. The woman I really respected was in a band called F-Systems. Her name is Lorenda Ash- There was nothing at all cheesecake about her- she was a band member, not a decoration or a novelty. She was Avengers-lovely, and a generous front person. I loved that. Singing can be kind of an isolating project…In college, it was all about improving oneself and competing against others for solos. To be a member of a band seemed like heaven.
thereivers.net: Were you in any bands before Zeitgeist?
Kim Yes. My first band was with Susan Starrette and Lucinda Scott. We were called Coup de Bop. After that, I was in the Dynanihilists, with former members of Radio Free Europe (we actually played a gig!). Then I was in Genuine Stairs. That was where I met Garrett. When I was in Coup de Bop, I borrowed an amp from my friend John Croslin who I met thanks to my sister Kate. He was a friend and classmate in college. Kate called to get me to come out and see John’s band, The Make; they were playing in the clubhouse of someone’s apartment complex. My boyfriend back then wound up managing the band for a while.
thereivers.net: You created a school in Austin in the mid 1980’s with Joe McDermott called the Phoenix School preschool. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to do that? Were you teaching throughout the Reivers’ existence in the 1980’s and early 1990’s?
Kim: I taught at Athena Montessori School when I graduated in 83. They lost a lease on one of their buildings in 85. Joe got me my job there. When they closed one of their schools they encouraged Joe and I to open our own with their excess equipment. We did. I stopped teaching there after our son Max was born. When the Reivers toured or I should say, finished a tour, I got a day job at a really wonderful toy store called Over the Rainbow. When the band broke up, I went back to teaching.
thereivers.net: One standout song from the Reivers’ 1980’s days was a song you wrote called “Bidin’ Time”, which was recorded during the “Saturday” sessions but not released till later. Can you tell us about that song?
Kim: I was exploring all kinds of things “spiritual.” I guess the song came out of some kind of epiphany that religion was a way to bide time while on a spiritual path. That it isn’t truth as much as it is a practice. I think that I was probably figuring out that the deeper you practice the more understanding you gain about all kinds of things- I think one expression of this is patience and tolerance. Whenever I hear the song I wince because of the word “casted” in the first line.
thereivers.net: When the Reivers called it quits back in 1991, what were your thoughts and feelings about the end of the band?
Kim: I think any time you do something you love for a long time, you get your sense of who you are from it- your identity is very much tied into it. So, when the band broke up, I suddenly didn’t know who I was. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but it was very strange. A couple of days after the band broke up, my house was broken into and I was stabbed. So, when I think back on that time- it’s a blur of bad.
thereivers.net: Was it difficult “stepping back into the spotlight” and relearning songs for the reunion shows in early 2008 after so many years?
Kim: It was weird. Some songs came right back, complete with choreography. Others were more challenging…I remember we had to listen to some of them on the CD during practice a couple of times.
thereivers.net: Did you ever envision that you would all record a new album over 20 years later?
Kim: Not before we got together to do the reunion show. But after the first couple of practices John brought out a new song and I thought “recording” was a pretty good possibility. All former experience I’d had in the band said: songs are for recording.
thereivers.net: What prompted “The Reivers” to “Right Or Happy” and back to “The Reivers” name changes of the past few years?
Kim: We went back to Reivers once we started thinking about releasing this opus we’d been working on for the past 4 years. During the period right before the reunion show, when we were talking about what we’d like this new band relationship to be like, one of the first things we all agreed on was that we didn’t want to be a reunion band. I don’t even know that there is such a thing- It just made sense to have a new name for this new band of us. We were learning a lot of new material and weren’t practicing many Reivers songs; we didn’t want anybody to think they were coming to another Reivers Reunion.
Now that we’ve got “Second Story” ready to share, it seemed prudent to use a name that might ring a bell outside of Austin.
thereivers.net: Do you think you’ll ever perform or tour outside of Austin again?
Kim: Yes, on playing out of town, touring, not so much. I would LOVE to fly out to Chicago and play a gig and get home. It would be swell to race down to New Orleans to do a show there… anywhere, really….
thereivers.net: What would be your top 10 favorite albums – your “desert island discs”?
Not in any order of preference-
Replacements- greatest hits
Dbs- Sound of Music
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists- Shake the Sheets
Sugar- Copper Blue
Matthew Sweet- Girlfriend
Girling- Songs about Friends (good or bad)
Café Tacuba- No Exito
Elvis Costello- any one of the second 3 albums…No, today, I like Get Happy the best
Ella- in Berlin