Back in May (here, to be exact) I wrote about how Kite Pilot was bidding Omaha a fond farewell as Todd and Erica Hanton headed for better climes in Portland. Final shows were scheduled; people said goodbye. Only a few weeks later, while enjoying some ice cream at the Dundee Ted & Wally’s, Protoculture’s Koly Walter informed me that the couple had already returned to Omaha. What? Within a few weeks, Kite Pilot was gigging around town again, this time with a visiting original guitarist Austin Britton, home for the summer from the West Coast.
“We went out there in June to find a place to live,” Todd said. “We did a lot of research first — the rental market, areas of town that we would or would not like to live in. After five days of driving around the city, looking at houses and apartments, waiting for call-backs, this is what we found. Compared to Omaha, you will pay about 30% more in rent for about 30% less in the quality of living. Anything worth renting was snatched up immediately.”
The frustrating search to find affordable housing resulted in the couple reevaluating the reason why they were moving to Portland in the first place.
“We had another sit down, each of us writing a list of pro’s and con’s of living in both cities, what we wish we could do in Omaha that we weren’t already, what we wanted to get out of Oregon,” Todd said. They discovered that they weren’t willing to compromise their standard of living without a good reason. “If we were to move for an awesome job or for the benefit of Kite Pilot, that would be another story. Neither of those were reasons why we wanted to move,” he said.
They’d also miss their music. “We missed playing even before we left Omaha. We have the contacts, the players and the music right here, so why start all over again? True, we might have more success in the long-term by playing in a larger market and not having the Saddle Creek (Records) hanging over our heads like every other local band, but success is what you make of it, where you make it.”
Saddle Creek hanging over their heads? Did he mean that he feels there’s a stigma being from Omaha and not being on Creek? “That is a real good way of saying it,” Todd said. “Everyone that is not from here thinks, ‘Hey, you guys are great! Why aren’t you on Saddle Creek?’ They don’t have any idea of the social dynamics that goes into something like that.”
Todd said he and his wife realized that the real changes they wanted to make were within themselves and not dependent on location. “Living in Omaha can often feel like you are in the movie ‘Groundhog Day,'” he said. “We all want new and exciting. We all look for it in different place. We were looking in Portland. But you know what? After a certain amount of time, the allure of a new city wears off, no matter what city. We feel that we have to change our attitude about Omaha, instead of changing where we live.”
Now for some points of clarification:
–Kite Pilot will continue as a trio after Austin moves back to the West Coast later this year, with Jeremy Stanosheck on drums. Todd said the band will probably start writing new songs.
–Erica will no longer perform in The Protoculture. “The whole reunion was to put out all of their songs in one compilation,” Todd said. “Now that that is complete, she is done. The guys want to continue, though. Erica wants to focus on KP only.”
— The couple got their house back, and Todd even got his job back with Elan. Erica, on the other hand, didn’t return to her government job. “She actually started a company called Saque,” Todd said. “Right now the only product she has are handmade purses and shoulder bags. She just got them into her first store — Crane Coffee on Cass St. Having her business started, she is currently looking for a new job.”
You can check out Kite Pilot with special guest Austin Britton tonight when they open for Art in Manila at The Waiting Room with The Ladybug Transistor. Show is $7, starts at 9 p.m.
Unfortunately, I’ll likely miss that show as one of the most gonzo shows in recent history is happening down at Sokol Underground tonight: The Cloven Path CD release “party” with Dance Me Pregnant, The Shanks and The Little Nastys. I expect mayhem the likes of which haven’t been seen on any stage since the days of GG Allin, or at least plenty of drunken debauchery. $7, 9 p.m.
This is a busy weekend: Tomorrow at the Waiting Room it’s Eagle*Seagull, Spring Gun and Michael Morris (9 p.m., $7). Also Saturday night, The Shanks play again, with Mosquito Bandito ($5, 9:30 p.m.). Sunday night it’s Against Me! with Two Gallants, Gaslight Anthem and Cobra Skills (8 p.m., $14). Also Sunday night, The 4th of July play at O’Leaver’s with Thunder Power!!! and Midwest Dilemma ($5, 9:30 p.m.).
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