First up: Josh Grenier and Adam Loavenbruck of The Lee Family Curse. (as usual, most if not all links and photos provided by your faithful editor). Josh and Adam have been playing together in some form or another since their college days, and that happens to be when we first encountered them. You can check out their music just about anywhere that sells music--but of course, Amazon gets some cred for giving you previews of every track.
Adam describes The Lee Family Curse this way: "The Curse is meant to be a musical firehose of sorts for you all to try to drink from. A lot going on, kind of a big catharsis of everything we've heard over the years that got stuck in our craws. The strange, stuff that hits that mark, that you can't quite describe. It's supposed to be a rush of all the musical experiences we can and can't quite remember. It's a stew of odd parts. In that way it falls under "garage" music - it's unfiltered, home-brewed. Some things that come up again and again - calypso/island, classic rock, afro-pop, Philly soul, psychedelia, and depression-era American folk. My next door neighbor is 50-odd year old Scandihoovian Minnesotan. He took one listen and said with full confidence, "Yeah, I get it. It's like a more psychedelic Jimmy Buffet. Right?"
That's perfect, " I said. "Exactly right."
[editors note: I compared them to a fun version of Steely Dan. While Adam didn't overtly call me an idiot for that, it may be implied in his response. That is OK.]
IDYFT: When I initially contacted you all, you said that you were interested in talking sports, but you gave out this warning "Heads up - when we talk about the Spurs or Lakers, we become so angry as to become beet red. Can be awkward socially."
First question: why do the Spurs and Lakers anger you so much?
Adam: Ha. This is honestly a dream come true. I get to talk basketball from within my rock persona? Can I pretend to be interviewing from a mountain village in the Swiss Alps, in a fondue bar staffed by buxom mountaineering milkwomen... Never mind.
Josh, can you weigh in on this first? Thinking back, you were responsible for orienting me to Lakers/Spurs hatred. The flavor of my hatred is very different for each of these teams. What's shared is that bitter resentment of the overdog - both are full of old, established vets who seem satisfied with their NBA royalty treatment.
From there, though, the repulsion I feel toward each of these teams diverges. They represent the dark side of the NBA, but in very different packages - the Lakers with the feather boas, Gucci sunglasses, and venereal diseases, and Spurs with the reaper's cloaks, vapid stares, referees on their payroll, and most of all--Bruce Bowen.
Josh: To be perfectly honest, my dislike for the lakers and the spurs started with jealousy mixed with boredom. I would have loved either of them if they were our team, but they weren't and they kept winning and it got annoying and boring. I don't like watching the same team win over and over again unless it's my team. Duncan is kind of a robot, Bryant is a self absorbed ego maniac, at least that is what the jealous part of me says.
IDYFT: Adam wins for his more magical description of why the Spurs suck, by the way.
Before we delve too much into the Hate and Dislike and the like, let's get back to your innocent days. What sports and which teams did you grow up with? How did you become a fan as a child? And are you still a fan of those teams?
Adam: Booya Josh! My hate is better than your hate!
Before we move on, briefly - Josh, I don't think you should be so reflexive in your loathing of the Spur-kers. Bottom line: they are disgusting. I believe that when Darth Vader removes his mask, it's Tim Duncan in there. The Joker? Ginobli. When Dick Ceney pulls his rubber mask off - it's Shaq circa 2003. Rob Horry, when he's not accidentally breaking Steve Nash's nose, works part-time as a clubber of baby seals.
Getting back - I grew up on the Yankees. Period. Dave Winfield, Ricky Henderson, Craig Nettles, Billy Martin, Reggie Jackson, Bucky Dent, Yogi Berra, Don Mattingly. Mmmm, I love those guys - they're all glossy, smell like freshly printed card stock, and taste like Bazooka gum.
Now I know what you're thinking - how do I one moment claim undying enmity toward the Spur-kers, then say I grew up a devotee of the Dark Side of baseball? I answer that my love was pure and unthinking - I was watching the Yankees before I could speak a single word, dude! My parents kept the TV right next to the bassinet. As proof of this theory, I can say that the Twins have taken over as my primary team, and I can honestly understand why the rest of the country hates the Yanks. I think I'd feel the same way about the Spurkers if I lived in San Antone or LA.
Josh: WOW!, I can't compete with this! I'm in the middle of writing my architectural manifesto, not kidding, and it's due in 4 hours so don't have time to respond with comedy and wit. I can give you names: George Brett, pine tar, Brett Saberhagen, Willie Wilson, Dr. J, Mike Rozier, Tom Ratheman, Roger Craig, umm... can you guess where I come from? I can tell you I literally cried every year as a young boy when we got our asses pounded in the orange bowl by a team from Florida that used "wide receivers" whatever the hell they were, i didn't understand. There really was a feeling that those people were bad people, that it was somehow immoral to pass the football. But we were vindicated in the mid nineties...the good boys who run the ball, keep it on the ground, they got a little piece.
Adam: Ha! Passing is for cheaters. That's great.
IDYFT: Josh, I'm going to go ahead and guess you're from Kansas City. I never knew that about you. I always assumed you to be a New Yorker.
Do you have a singular fan moment? One that you remember watching? Either highlight or lowlight? For example, I remember watching John Riggins in 1982 carry a Miami Dolphin on his way to the endzone. It helps that it is a moment that is shown all the time, but still. I remember it. Do you have a sports moment that you can close your eyes and still see?
Josh: I looked up that Riggins run, and I remember it too, I was a Riggins fan. Didn't they have an offensive line called the Hogs or something?
I feel like I should choose something that happened a long time ago, but none of my childhood sports memories are that powerful. I'm from Nebraska, you were close, so I was rooting for the Huskers and the KC Royals.
The Royals won the World Series in 1985, a good year overall, with "Back to the Future" being the coolest movie and the Bears recording "The Super Bowl Shuffle" (they won the super bowl in Jan. of 86). But I don't think I cared as much about sports as a kid. I would get all worked up and emotional if my team lost, but would forget about it in 5 minutes.
I have to say the biggest moment for me was when KG got the ring last year. I have been watching KG since the beginning. I didn't even care that he was playing for Boston, I was really happy for him. We were never going to get him a ring in Minnesota. He had this thing following him around for so long, that he would never win it all, and to see him get it, that was great. I really liked the interview at the end:
He's slobbering all over, calling out for his mom, shouting "anything is possible" at the top of his lungs, and then ending it with "whachou gonna say now". It's great, I'm sure you saw it.
IDYFT: I'm still waiting for Adam to explain the Yankees awfulness--spending almost Half A Billion dollars for 3 guys.
Adam: I can't justify the Yankees having the same spending power as most of the nations of South America. I can't spin that in any way to make it seem okay. I can just say that my mother and father are much happier when the Yankees are winning. So, I have 2 outlooks on the Yankees that I keep in separate compartments in my mind. One of them comes from the the pure, unthinking point of view of my family, who don't have the ability to be analytical about the situation, but instead think that the pinstripe uniform turns a guy automatically into a legend, a descendant of Roger Marris or whatever. In the other compartment, I see the Yankees as the ultimate example of pro sports giving big-markets a calossal advantage, and relish in watching the teams full of veteran megastars collapse under their own weight. Don't tell my mom, she wouldn't understand.
IDYFT: Final Question! Who is your intellectual pick for Super Bowl Champion? Who is emotional pick? (editor's note: all picks were made prior to last weekend's games. Also, prior the awesome Timberwolves 4 game winning streak)
Josh: Here are my emotional picks:
The Vikes will play the Giants in the NFC championship game. They will win and go to the super bowl.
In the AFC, I want someone to beat the Colts, preferably the Chargers. In the end the Titans will beat the Steelers in the championship game. The Vikes win the superbowl, of course.
Here are my intellectual picks:
The Panthers beat the Giants in the NFC championship game, setting up a Titans vs. Panthers superbowl, and the Panthers will win. It is hard not to pick both of the Manning teams, so I suppose my intellectual picks still have an emotional component. (I don't want them to get there again, yet)
I actually have no idea. One thing I dislike is the gap between the championship games and the super bowl, it always seems like a buzz kill.
Adam: My brain says "I don't know much about the playoffs yet, have to do some research and formulate strong opinions".
Heart says Vikings will lose in the worst way imaginable.
Well dude - we never got to talk about our anguished love affair with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the most bedraggled, forlorn outfit in the NBA. You might even say it has the Curse of McHale! I'll just mention in parting - my wife does not let me miss even one minute of one horrendous blow-out game. It is really sad. She's a social worker by profession, and it's honestly like she sees these guys as her clients, like they need social services. She really likes them,so it is a lot of fun for me to see her get into the game. Personally, I'm just a hopeless homer, and I always, always pull for the underdog. Plenty of opportunity for that with the T'Wolves, so... Bonanza!
IDYFT: Thanks guys! Perhaps we can talk at the mid-point of the Timberwolves season, and rehash everything that has gone right and wrong.