Some write about messy breakups, some write about messy politics. Kate Lebo's muse is a messy dessert. Tonight, the local poet, blogger and longtime Richard Hugo House staff, will read some of her pie-inspired prose poems at the Hugo House, with other local poets sharing their own forays into pie poetry (and the $5 cover includes a slice of pie!). Here, Lebo writes about coming out as a country fan, having a boyfriend in a listenable band, and what makes pie such a worthwhile subject.
Reverb Questionnaire is a list of (mostly) static questions we pose to folks outside the music industry. The questions are all answered via email.
What music have you been listening to today? Did you like it?
First "Welcome Joy" by the Cave Singers, then "Red Headed Stranger" by Willie Nelson. I was late to hop on the Cave Singers bandwagon, but now that the sun is out their music makes sense to me. Something about guitars. I was late on the Willie Nelson bandwagon too and have been making up for lost time by listening to his albums constantly. So yes, I liked it.
What's your preferred method for listening to music (iPod, car, home stereo, etc.)?
In the car on the way out of town. That's the best method. I'm also a fan of having the music on loud in the living room while I cook in the kitchen. Fleetwood Mac sounds best while cooking, for example.
When was the last time you heard "Stairway to Heaven"? Did you turn it off?I can't remember. I'm sure I tuned it out, which is why I can't remember. I'm not a Led Zeppelin fan. I'll take "Freebird" over "Stairway to Heaven" any day.
Do you play an instrument?
I took piano lessons from age 8 to 18 but quit playing when I went to college. Every now and then I think about picking it back up again, but I also figure that if I really wanted to play music I would have done it by now. I prefer to watch other people play music.
Do you still listen to anything you were listening to in high school?
I still have Weezer and Beck on my iPod. I still listen to Elliott Smith and the Spinanes. I used to listen to Garth Brooks in secret because country music was what uncool people liked, and I did not want to be any uncooler than I already was. Now that I am older and I date a country musician (and have friends in low places), Garth Brooks is my go-to guy.
What was the first band/artist you saw in concert? Would you see them again?
Third Eye Blind and Eve 6. Nope.
What was the last band/artist you saw in concert? Worth your time?
The Maldives at the Ballard Seafood Fest. I have to say it was worth my time because my boyfriend, Jason, writes the songs and sings them, but even if I didn't have to say that to maintain my domestic bliss, I'd say yes.
It's really awesome to love your boyfriend's band. I mean, wouldn't it suck if you didn't? And then you have to go out and support him and be a cheesy band girlfriend? But the whole time you're dying inside because you hate the music? With the Maldives, every show is a chance to hang out with people I like while listening to great music.
When you sing karaoke, what's your go-to number?
"Tainted Love." I have a low voice and no range, so that, some Johnny Cash and "My Angel is a Centerfold" are the only songs I can actually sing.
How do you feel about ABBA?
My feelings for ABBA are exactly like my feelings for "Stairway to Heaven."
What is the last song you want to hear before you die?
I'm going to play the band-girlfriend card again and say "Walk Away" by the Maldives. It's this epic, superlong (the longer the better if I'm going to die as soon as it's over) folk rocker of a ballad to family that catches me up and makes me feel like a part of something bigger--the Maldives family, my own extended family, Jason's, our friends, our community, all the living things that love and nurture us and make our lives what they are. I think it's the lyric "so wave your flag over the sea/my family, they grow in me" coupled with the chorus of "I will walk away" that brings it all home to me.
"Walk Away" is about how even when people aren't in our lives anymore, our relationships with them don't ever entirely end. That'd be an awesome send-off to the underworld, don't you think?
Please share a favorite musical moment/story from your past.
I studied abroad in Glasgow, Scotland in 2003 because I wanted an excuse to stalk all my favorite bands. Belle and Sebastian, the Delgados, Arab Strap, Camera Obscura, etc. One night I went to a dance party at the something-or-other social club on Queen Margaret Road. One hour and two beers later, I realized that Stuart Murdoch from Belle and Sebastian was also on the dance floor. "This is my chance!" I thought.
As we danced on opposite ends of the room, I came up with this scheme to accidentally-on-purpose bump into him and then introduce myself. While I was plotting the minute details of my indie rock stalker fantasy, the DJ put a Belle and Sebastian song on. Murdoch vacated the dance floor immediately. I didn't have the courage to follow him, so I danced the rest of the song. I think it was "Too Much Love to Go Around." Then I went home.
Last Question: Pie inspires your poetry, but does poetry ever inspire your pie?
Not directly, but baking pie can be just as intuitive as writing poetry. What I love about baking is that it demands attention to the physical properties of food. When I make pie, I take cues from how the dough feels, from what I'm hungry for that day, and that helps me remember why I write--because it's fun, because I want to communicate something. The pleasure of pie-making is so direct, immediate and simple. The best poems are like that too.