Originally uploaded by becklerg.
Finally, my first interview! I plan for my interviews to mostly be centered around the interviewees thoughts about Sacramento. This interview is with Heather Conway, the lovely Miss Chooch Cinciripino-to-be. Heather grew up in a small hick Cali town (as did I), so in a way, both of us probably view Sacramento differently than most people because compared to our home towns it was the big city, full of exciting music and people who didn't think 4-H was cool. Of course I'm speaking for Heather right now, so let's get to the interview and let her speak for herself..
B: Where were you born?
H: Merced, California
B: So you grew up in Merced and lived there your whole life?
H; Yes, until I was 21.
B: So, what was it like growing up in Merced?
H: I grew up outside of Merced, about three miles outside of town, so it was a very rural, country living, a lot of creating your own entertainment. I have two brothers so a lot of just running wild in orchards and ditches and fields.
B: How has Merced changed over the years?
H: It's changed a lot. Probably since I was a kid it's doubled in population, and they're getting the tenth UC. The University of Merced is supposed to be open in a year, two years?
B: So what's the population now?
H: It's a little over 60,000. I remember my first time being aware of the population it was 30 or forty thousand. And, um, it's sprawling of course. I just remember being really shocked, coming home from college, like, Oh my god, that's southern California, that can't happen here! But of course it can happen here, it's gonna be the same, sprawl everywhere.
B: So the changes have mostly been negative?
H: I feel like mostly negative, just covering up agricultural land because it's so precious, but another side that's really positive, there's a really good music scene. There's always been a good music scene that's sort of come and gone because it's so small and people move away to pursue music or whatever, but I feel like it's finally big enough to sustain a music scene and people are stickin' around. And national acts are coming through and the downtown survived that 70â's, 80's period where everything was going out to the suburbs and stripmalls, so the downtown was pretty much intact although recently they have taken out some of the really cool old buildings. But the downtown is thriving, so in that sense it's good. I think that there are people on the city council that view urban infill projects as a good idea, but overall, yeah, it's just sprawl and developers runnin' things.
B: How many of your brothers have mustaches?
H: None! Right now, but until recently it was one. My little brother shaved it off.
B: Oh, I guess I'll see it at the wedding. Where else have you lived besides Merced?
H: When I went to school I lived in Arcata, I went to school for three years and then stayed a year after. Then I moved back to Merced and back to (mumble) for about five months and then back to Merced.
B: So do you remember the first time you visited Sacramento?
H: Well, we came for grade school field trips. So that's my first memory of Sacramento-Sutter's fort, the capitol-I remember seeing in the 80's the women with the white tennis shoes walking around the capitol and thinking "Oh my God this place is so weird" and then visiting with just me and my friend Heather, when I lived in Arcata, and we had seen the movie "Hype" and I had always been curious about Sacramento and thought "there's gotta be something happening in Sacramento with music", so we stopped in Sacramento, got off on I-5 and we were on J st. We walked the K street mall. We had coffee at Espresso Metro, it was still open then and then walked to the cigar store and got my friend a cigar and then walked back and there was a parking ticket on our car. Fuck Sacramento!
B: Wait, did the movie "Hype" feature Sacramento in any way?
H: No, but I think what's great about that movie is it shows how great insulated music scenes and I sort of felt like Sacramento was this undiscovered treasure. Plus, my valley love and I thought it's the one true city, besides Fresno, in the valley that has potential and I would never, ever wanna move to Fresno.
B: So why did you move to Sacramento the first time?
H: The first time was because I met my friend, Allan (Maxwell), who we all know and love in Arcata and we just made a connection both on being friends and playing music, because I had never met anybody-I hadn't been playing music for very long-so I just connected with him musically and I thought, "well I have to follow this guy wherever he goes". And he was from Yuba city but he wanted to go to Sac State, and I was done with school. We made plans that we would both move to Sacramento. He was gonna move back to Yuba City, I was gonna move back to Merced, and then we'd both move to Sac. He got set up before I did, and by the time I came, I just followed him here and it wasn't working for me at that time. I got a really good job in Merced so I went back there for two years. Oh yeah, and I briefly lived in San Francisco after that. For a summer, so that doesn't really count.
B: But through that time you had plans to move back to Sacramento?
H: Yes, yeah. I planned to move back. I stayed in Merced a while, got that out of my system, then save money, move back to Sac, and do music.
B: So I was gonna ask how Knock Knock got together, but I guess it was when you met Allan Maxwell, first right, so what happened after that?
H: Allen and Nicola (Miller), who played in Slumber Party were in another band with Allan Campos and when I came out Allen (M.) said, "Oh, you should come join our band". So it just worked out, luckily.
B: What are the good things and bad things about being in a band in Sacramento?
H: The good things are, obviously, are that we're a pretty tight-knit community. I like all my friends band, luckily. It just feels more isolated. We're more able to come up with our own sound, without any pressure, like you would have in L.A. or San Francisco. It just really feels more fun, like more of a community. The bad things are, gosh, there are bad things. Well like right now, there's no place to play shows. That really sucks. And..at some point you just feel like a stepchild. It's great that we can fly under the radar and I ultimately I prefer that any day, but when you see all these bands and they're getting all this press and they're not good. I mean they may know how to play their instruments well, but there's no creativity, I don't know how to say it. They're just not that good.
B: So I love Knock Knock. They're definitely one of my favorite local bands so I wish that you guys would play in more cities and I wonder why you don't and do you have plans for the future of Knock Knock?
H: Yeah, that's something that we've actually talked about, that we want to play out more. I think it's just been¦well, we're lazy for one. Maybe that's part of what's bad about being a band in Sacramento. It's really easy to fall into just kinda playin' with friends and not really getting motivated to play out, but we want to start playing weekend shows in other places close to Sacramento-San Francisco, other parts of the valley. We definitely want to kick it up a notch.
B: Bam! OK, so I forgot to ask you before we started talking about Knock Knock, do you think about moving away from Sacramento, and if you do, why?
H: I don't think I seriously do think about it because I'm just so old now, in my thirties, it just doesn't make any sense. When you're young it's easy to move away and make friends, but I think you're only happy places where you have friends and I have friends here and I'm close to my family and I like it here a lot. There are things happening lately, like the rents going up, that I don't like at all, but I can't imagine where I would go if I did move, unless I could convince all my friends to move to Merced or something.
B: I thought about that before, like moving to Merced with you guys. Cuz I'll never afford a house here, so I'm like "maybe if there were enough people we know that move there."
H: Let's all do it! It'll be fun.
B: What's a favorite Sacramento restaurant?
H: I have a special love for Jalapenos. (laughter from Becky) I know they're not the best, but I take into consideration on certain days they do have the best beans and rice in the grid. They're cheap, which in these parts is hard to come by, and the people that run it are so nice and you can eat outside.
B: I know you caused some controversy on Sacramento websites talking about this, but what's your favorite local band right now?
H: Right now it's probably the Knightmares, because I listen to them every day when I get home from work.
H: And I love the CD. So right now, but that doesn't mean they're the best band of all time.
B: Cuz that's Magnolia Thunderfinger
H: We all know that's Magnolia Thunderfinger.
B: What's your favorite neighborhood in Sacramento or dream neighborhood to live?
H: My dream neighborhood is definitely Southside Park. I love it-the trees, it's beautiful, it's close to the farmers market, there's diversity. It's the nicest feeling neighborhood, for sure.
B: In the past I've heard you defending Mayor Fargo-on what grounds can you defend Mayor Fargo and possibly you vote for Mayor Fargo?
H: Why, because we have the same name. It makes sense! Actually, I'm trying to remember why. I would never vote for her again. I voted for her the second time because she seemed the least of all evils that were running. She is really up on stopping urban sprawl and I think that's probably the second most important issue in California, besides water conservation. But, she's an idiot, so I would not vote for her again.
B: Any predictions for the Kings this year?
H: I think it's going to be a bad season with Ostertag this year.
H: I don't see them doing well. But they surprised me last year because I thought it was going to be a rebuilding year but they had the best record all the way until they screwed it up in the last month.