Hello and welcome to REPLY ALT, the best email newsletter about music in the entire world which is also sometimes a podcast—the best podcast in the entire world. Today it’s a podcast.
Sometimes I will spend a few hours preparing for an interview so that I will pass as someone who at least wields some vague sense of what the fuck they’re talking about. Sometimes, if I’m being honest, I will be cramming my prep in at the very last minute. But talking to today’s guest is something I feel like I’ve been preparing for my entire life.
Kevin Devine played in the first band (or at least among the first bands) I ever saw perform way back in… 1997? Like me, Kevin grew up on Staten Island, New York, and cut his teeth playing at local spots there, particularly a DIY hall called The Joint, which hosted all-ages shows every Friday night. Kevin and I talked a lot about growing up with that background and how the blue-collar punk scene on Staten Island was drastically different than the more respected one happening just a ferry ride away in Manhattan. We both agreed that it instilled in us a small-town mentality that still informs how we operate within the music industry today.
Will this incredibly niche subject be interesting to anyone who grew up outside the tri-state area? I don’t know! Not my business! We talked about a few non-Shaolin topics as well—the path his career has taken since his Miracle of 86 days (and his Delusion days, if we want to go really far back), as well as Nirvana and tips for cutting your own hair during the paindemic.
Kevin has a new EP out called No One’s Waiting Up For Me Tonight in which he delivers more of the familiar, comforting sounds I’ve enjoyed from him over the last 20+ years. I guess we should have talked about that but we didn’t. Again, not my problem!!
Oh, and we mentioned a 1998 show at which Kevin’s band played an outdoor skate demo. I will embarrass him by including that video below. Listen to the episode to hear the story behind his incredibly baggy pants! (The story is that baggy pants were cool as heck back then. Really not much of a story now that I think about it.)
(The above photo was taken by Erik Tanner.)
Also, a housekeeping note for dedicated REPLT ALTers: If you ordered a zine, the last batch of them shipped out on Friday morning. Hopefully they will arrive to you safely.
Check out previous REPLY ALT episodes with Laura Stevenson, Jonah Ray, Sarah Tudzin [Illuminati Hotties], David Anthony, Chris Farren, Lauren Denitzio [Worriers], Todd Taylor [Razorcake], and Jenny Owen Youngs.