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Bad Balance Magazine

Bad Balance: A magazine of interest.

A Three-legged Creature

Kastner practices with much art-school fury

BB—Bad Balance
J—Josh James
C—Chris Renn

BB—What about the rumors that you're breaking up?
C—Well, see, Nathan, over Christmas break, Nathan took his drums home to play with his band Joy Camp, and his car broke down, so he wasn't able to get them back up here, and he even tried to fit them on a train but they tried to charge him 120 bucks, so we haven't played yet this semester—this will be our first practice of the year.
J—And we're probably going to play through the summer, too.
C—And next year, hopefully, but we're not breaking up anytime soon.
J—When I graduate, it will probably be broken up.
C—He'll be going back to louisville and starting a really bad band.

BB—So is it still the old lineup?

BB—Okay, what about the lead vocalist?
C—It's always us and the other guy when we find a vocalist.
J—He's not bad—he's a good guy.
C—He's a nice kid—he broke the neck on my guitar, but he's a nice kid. He just screams a lot.
J—Yeah, and that is not really a necessary thing for our music anymore. I've always liked us more as an instrumental band.

BB—How do you define your music?
J—A blend of—I don't know—that's always a really hard question to answer.
C—Because it changes by the week.
J—It's just a blend of influences, and we just try to do what feels good.

BB—So are you guys a gay rights band?
J—I have no problem with gay rights.
C—We fight for all causes.
J—Gay rights and straight rights.

BB—What are your hilarious opinions about the KC music scene?
C—What scene?
J—I think its kinda sad that there isn't more going on right now. Most of the scenes are in Chicago or Louisville.

BB—What's going on in Louisville?
J—It's a bad-ass scene, man. It's not what it used to be, but it's coming back.
C—There's always a lot of stuff going on there. There will always be bored kids, people our age there with nothing to do, creating bands. When we were growing up there was a huge straight edge scene, and then all those kids grew up and started drinking beer, and now it's just mostly the real hardcore kids, and the the emo-rock kids.
J—And the art fags.
C—So there's three groups: the hardcore kids, the emo-rock kids and then there's the arty bands. Art fag rock is what everyone calls it—we call it art rock.
J—The KC Scene doesn't look too good—grim, actually, because Farewell Bend is taking off and Brandon Butler and that whole scene—those guys are all leaving because the scene's so...
C—Not seen.
J—There's an article in the Pitch about the Get Up Kids and they mention how they don't really get any kind of a crowd because nobody's really interested.
C—Yeah, it is true—How many times can you get your friends to come see you play, you know?
J—It's a shame because I think the city has potential to house a decent scene. I don't think there are enough bands or enough places for them to play. But it's definitely do-able.
C—Something's gotta give one way or another—either everybody's gonna move out or it's gonna pick up. There's this Kansas City-Louisville-Chicago triangle and Kansas City's working its way out—it's turning into a line instead of a triangle, but something will happen.

BB—Do you have a 7 inch coming out at all?
C—We were talking about doing one with Saturn 138—I've talked to Chris about doing it.
J—I wanna get Eddie Delhunt.
C—We wanna get Eddie Delhunt from Harlings to do one with us, but we don't know.
J—We've talked about doing all kinds of stuff, but nothing's really come into commission yet.
C—The whole money situation isn't good.
J—It's possible—we'll probably do something before we break up.

BB—Why do your amps keep blowing up?
J—We've just had bad luck. There's something about Epperson-it's pumping out too much wattage.
C—And it's blowing them up.
J—We pretty much just borrow everybdy else's equipment.
C—We have a bunch of guitars and only one amplifier. And all our guitars are broken, too.
J—Survived by our good buddy Edan, pretty much.

BB—Chris—there have been rumors about you pursuing a solo career with such projects as Battleship Down...
C—Watership Down. It's something that's always in the back of my head—it keeps changing from wierd really minimal music with just a few chords and it goes from that to folk. I don't know, it'll happen eventually—probably after Josh leaves. Watership Down—it's about bunny rabbits—it's this cartoon and a book. Have you seen it?

C—My God—go to Tivoli and rent it—Watership Down. It's the most amazing film ever. But the project is in the planning stages.

BB—How about you, Josh?
J—Well, I've tried to do a solo thing, but it didn't work out. I've had solo projects and stuff, but I just want to continue doing Kastner. I was going to do something with Edan but it didn't really happen because I don't really have the time to commit to it. So I'll continue doing Kastner and when I get back to Louisville I'll have a new band there, so I'm not planning on doing anything solo for a while.

BB—Are you playing Beaux Arts?
C—Oh yeah.
J—Definitely. Our drummer will probably get up and walk away again this time.

BB—He walked away last time, right?
J—Yeah, well, he was really tense because it was the first show since the Get Up Kids incident—He got tied up with comparing us to that, so when things didn't go as planned, he kinda freaked out.
C—We had to stop in the middle of a song because we fucked up and he couldn't hear anything—Well, you remember when we were a five piece with Eric and Elliot, and it was just... I liked the music, but it was so muddied up. It was like putting brown paint in every thing. It was fun, but then we came back this year and we brought our guitars and they brought their keyboards, so we knew something was missing.
J—Actually, after that first practice...
C—We thought kastner was over then, but I was like, no , we gotta keep going.
J—So we tried it out as a trio, and things worked out pretty good with me on bass.
C—And the we started switchin because he still wanted to play guitar and that's fine with me. Then me and Nathan kinda pushed Josh out as singer and then Brad sang for us a few times during practice and then the whole incident with his brother dying—so he left and then we got this kid...
J—Andy from UMKC and it worked pretty good but we had a show at the Amnesty Show at UMKC...
C—We got it on tape and the energy level was kinda lacking.
J—So I personally prefer things just as a trio—it just flows a lot better that way.
C—A power-rock trio, right? But yeah, Beaux Arts is gonna be a happening thing—its gonna be good good good good. I'm looking forward to it. We'll play some new stuff, some old stuff, maybe some really old stuff. Maybe we'll even move around a little bit.