The Reader gets new blood; remembering Tom Rudloff; Ten Questions with We Were Promised Jetpacks…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Reader has a new managing editor. It’s David Williams, the former editor at Omaha Magazine and their family of publications. This new addition is a big deal for Omaha’s favorite arts and entertainment monthly, and long overdue. John Heaston and Eric Stoakes have been handling all the editorial decisions at the pub for a long, long time.

Also joining The Reader staff is another Omaha Magazine refugee: Super talented music write James Walmsley. James has been writing music profiles for Omaha and Encounter for some time, including this rather well-written profile of little ol’ me that appeared in Encounter. Walmsley’s title at The Reader will be something like Music Contributing Editor.

These additions represent surprising growth for a print publication in a time when word of magazines and papers shutting their doors comes on a daily basis. In fact, the June issue of The Reader looks to be the fattest in recent memory. It’s the annual “Music Issue,” and highlights a run-down of all the best places in town to buy vinyl. Also included is my annual list of favorite bands, as well my column that recaps the history of Cultural Attraction and local music legend Mike Tulis on the occasion of his 50th birthday. I’ll be posting a link to that column in the coming days, but you can read it right now in the printed edition of The Reader, available wherever fine journalism is sold.

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I would be remiss to not mention the passing of Antiquarium proprietor and all-around good-guy Tom Rudloff. I first met Tom when I was a nerdy young lad, probably around 12 or 13. My mother drove me to the bookstore where Tom was selling a large collection of comic books. Among the one or two I bought that day was a copy of Avengers No. 4, the first appearance of Captain America in the Silver Age, a comic book I still own.

Over the years I got to know Tom through my writings about Bill Farmer, a local artist who I profiled in a couple cover stories for The Reader (You can read one of those profiles online here). Tom and Bill always were very patient with my questions about art and the lives of those who make it and, in Tom’s case, support it through running an art gallery.

Tom was known for holding court inside the bookstore, offering coffee and conversation to anyone who wanted to drop in. The kids and record hounds headed to Dave Sink’s record store in the basement probably wondered who that tribe of intellectuals was gathered just inside the entryway. They could be intimidating, though Tom never was.

Tom was funny and smart and one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. He will be missed.

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We Were Promises Jetpacks at Mohawk Patio, SXSW, March 19, 2010.

We Were Promises Jetpacks at Mohawk Patio, SXSW, March 19, 2010.

We Were Promised Jetpacks has become something of an indie staple. Seems like every year I journeyed to Austin for South By Southwest since 2009 the Scottish 4-piece was playing the festival, drawing large crowds for a sound that takes a guitar-fueled indie dance vibe (see Phoenix, Tokyo Police Club) and injects it with an emo sensibility that Cursive would approve of. The band continues to tour its 2014 release, the exquisite Unraveling (FatCat Records), making one assume that they must be working on new material. Find out if that’s the case when they play The Slowdown Monday, June 6.

I asked WWPJ to take the Ten Questions survey. Guitarist Michael Palmer stepped up to the challenge.

1. What is your favorite album?

We Were Promised Jetpacks: Right now, it’s The Wilderness by Explosions In The Sky. We’re just off a support tour with those guys and they’re the nicest people and the best band. Love them. All time favourite (yup, that’s a ‘u’ in there – don’t take it out) is probably Kid A or something.

2. What is your least favorite song?

“Happy Birthday.” We once all started singing it to a friend of a friend on a night out, it was going great, then we all got to the “dear…” bit and, at the same time, realized that none of us knew her name. So we all just sort of stopped…

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

The part when you start writing a new song, and play it together the first few times. Before you have to talk about changing things. That part.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Not getting to see certain people for long stretches of time.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Pepsi.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Glasgow, because afterwards I don’t have to get into a van. It’s not that getting into a van afterwards isn’t sometimes amazing, it’s the not having to that makes it special.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Glasgow. Early on. There was a show where there were only like 10 people there and none of them cared at all. So we thought it would be funny to all kick our shoes off at the same time. It was. It was hilarious actually. Never mind.

8. How do you pay your bills?

I’d like to point out here that I used “where there were” in a sentence above and it was awesome. We pay our bills the usual way, I guess.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do? 

One where you get to leave at 5 p.m. and go to your own home EVERY SINGLE DAY! That’s the answer to both halves of the question, by the way.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

I hear that there’s a $200 million development plan for land off the I-80. But that’s just because I went to omaha.com and read one of the headlines. I love that there’s an omaha.com, great work guys!

We Were Promised Jetpacks plays with Tokyo Police Club Monday, June 6 at The Slowdown. Tickets are $16 Adv./$18 DOS. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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