Downtown Dirt By Manhole: Metro Pulse RIP

The funeral has ended; the eulogies have been spoken; the last shovelfuls of fresh dirt have been ladled over the coffin. Let the mourning period commence, brief as it may be in this Era of the Short Attention Span.

And yet before we turn another page in the Book of Life, relegating the story of Metro Pulse, Knoxville’s erstwhile alternative weekly, to just another Previous Chapter, I would first have my say. I was a part of Metro Pulse, as either a full-time staff member or a chief contributor, for a goodly number of years. Right up to the end, in point of fact. And mine is a perspective that can be freely shared, as there is no severance check held hostage to purchase my silence. Continue reading

Zeus Speaks

Zeus is the Preservation Pub’s resident Genie and Unitarian Spiritual Counselor. We like to check in with him every so often, seeking his wise counsel on various weighty world affairs. And a few trivial ones, too.

What do you make of the War on Terror?

I think there’s nothing we can really do about it. The key is to stay close to God through prayer and meditation. Protect our people, and show love to our enemies. Only God can bring peace. We have to be steadfast.

What do you think about Joel Olsteen, the TV evangelist?

I think he has some good words, but something is not right about him. I don’t want to come out and say he’s bad, because I don’t want to cast judgment. All I would say about him is you should spend more time with God, question your motives and pray for forgiveness. You cannot lie to God. You may pull a fast one on your neighbor, and your brother. But you can’t fool God.

What about Stacey Campfield?

Cut! Stop! Get him off the stage! When he’s moving forward, there should be a foot moving up behind, on his backside. That’s not what Tennessee represents.

What can be done about concussions in football?

It’s a lot like boxing; you get hit all the time. But I think it’s on them. They stepped out on the field. Why would I be a gladiator if I didn’t want to be eaten by lions? It’s common sense.

I’m not sure this is what God intended. I’m not sure God meant his people to play that kind of game.

Zeus’ Quote of the Month: “Let go of old ways and old concepts. This is autumn, a time of change. And when the leaves fall from the trees, it’s a symbol for letting go and being reborn in a bright new dawn.”


Heavy Rotation: What’s in your earbuds?

Nichole Mcminn

Nichole McMinn

Nichole McMinn

1. Dwight Twilley, Looking for the Magic: “Tom Petty played bass in that band before he did his Tom Petty thing.”

2. Suburban Lawns, Janitor: “Just a really great, not super well-known early ’80s band. They have some crazy-sounding stuff.”

3. Broadcast, “Michael A. Grammar”: “It’s just a great song.”

4. Human League

5. Chronic Graffiti



Who do you think you are: Preservation Pub patron John Post

john post

John Post

What’s the best joke you know?

It’s Sunday, in a church, and the pastor is taking prayer requests. “My flock, will you tell me what you need?” So Johnny stands up and says, “I need a miracle for my hearing.” The pastor says, “Johnny, my son, come up here.” He goes up front, and the pastor lays his hands on Johnny’s ears, and he prays with the congregation. Then he lifts his hands and says to Johnny, “How’s your hearing now?” Johnny says, “I don’t know, it’s on a Wednesday.”

Who’s your favorite superhero?

Batman. The graphic novels tend to be darker in nature. And it’s plausible. Batman’s like some nut with a lot of money. And it’s a more human story. Batman, for a thousand reasons.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

It’s a toss-up between teleportation and invisibility. In middle school, I would have chosen invisibility because I wanted to look in the girl’s locker room. Now I would say teleportation. Because I want to rob a bank and go chill on a beach.

What actor would play John Post in a movie?

Christian Bale, mother @#$er!

You’re having a Moonshine Roof Garden Party at Preservation Pub. What three special guests would you like to host?

A young Immanuel Kant; James Gandolfini in character as Tony Soprano; and the late local writer Jim Dykes.

If you were going to torture someone, how would you do it?

Waterboarding, and electrodes on their nuts.

Who is your least favorite celebrity?

Wayne Coyne. I love the Flaming Lips, but Wayne Coyne is a giant bag of shit.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

I fell asleep at the Pub my third night here, completely passed out at the bar, and Jilly had to tap me on the shoulder and ask me to leave.

Describe your worst date ever.

I liked this girl, and we went out for pizza. We ate, then went back to my apartment to smoke some week, and she was just lame, a @#$ing square. She was a mad square about it.

Describe Hell.

Dante hade it right.

What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told?

I can’t print it. I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations hasn’t run out.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“You can’t chase all of your dreams.”

Now Playing: Mic Harrison and the High Score

Mic Harrison was still a member of Knoxville indie rock outfit Superdrag in 2004 when he set out to record his second proper solo album, Pallbearer’s Shoes, a winsome 12-song effort that reestablished Harrison’s presence in the Americana world after the break-up of the V-roys in 1999.

Little did he suspect that the project would also cement his relationship with the band that would be the longest-running of his musical career, in the form of local truckstop-rockers the High Score. Mic Harrison and the High Score will celebrate their 10th anniversary  together Friday, Nov. 21, 8 p.m. at Scruffy City Hall.

“Once the record was done, Don [Coffey, Superdrag drummer] and I started going out and playing with [guitarist] Robbie Trosper,” says Harrison, reclining on an old sofa in the living room of High Score drummer Brad Henderson. “Then he introduced me to Brad and Vance [Hillard, High Score bassist]. Now I couldn’t imagine playing with anybody else.”

“I’ve told Mic that I wouldn’t be playing with him if he wrote crappy songs,” Trosper says. “But every time he brings in a new batch, it’s like, damn, these are good. It’s so cliché, but he’s like family to me. Not to get all cheesy, but there’s a special connection with all the guys in this band.”

That connection is writ large in the music MHATHS has recorded over the course of a decade: since Superdrag went on an indefinite hiatus, and Pallbearer’s Shoes ran its course, Mic Harrison and the High Score have produced four increasingly confident full-length albums, plus an odd 45-inch single and an EP.

And Harrison is justified in looking back on that output with considerable pride, as the High Score have honed to a fine point their signature sound, a bright-but-lived-in brand of roots music mixed with punchy, pop-savvy rock.

Yet Harrison believes that he and the band have only begun to scratch the surface of their potential. “There have been nuggets on every record,” Harrison says. “I’d say we started to hit our stride on The Great Commotion [2010]. That’s where we gelled together and became a badass band. And it’s gotten better since.” That MCATHS has survived 10 years of touring and recording together says a good deal about the band members’ chemistry, musical and otherwise. Take drummer Henderson’s entrance into the band: Before taking a seat behind the drum kit with Mic and the High Score, Henderson had auditioned to play bass in Harrison’s Pallbearer’s touring band.

“We played and drank together one night,” Henderson remembers. “At the end of the night he said, ‘You can’t play bass for shit, but I sure like hanging out with you.’ He was just speaking the truth; I think I hit two right damn notes all night long.”

But the easy personal connection he felt with Henderson over the course of that single night-long jam session remained with Harrison, and when Trosper reintroduced him as a drummer in 2004, he was quickly welcomed into the fold. “The thing is, you have to have to get along with the people you’re in a band with,” Harison says. “And I knew that Brad was a fit.”

Over the years, the band has both enjoyed and endured all manner of strange, terrible, and wonderful adventures. They’ve played Bonnaroo and opened for ZZ Top; they’ve traveled hundreds of miles in beater cars to play shows that nobody saw.

Recently, Harrison and another member of the Score were rousted by cops at a Sevierville music theater after a geriatric usher accused them of shooting heroin in the downstairs men’s room.

“Sometimes being in this band is like being in a David Lynch movie,” Trosper chuckles. “One night you show up at a club, and there’s only two microphones and no sound man. The next week, you’re opening for ZZ Top at the Tennessee Theatre. You have some extreme highs, and some very confusing lows.”

But Harrison notes that the High Score have backed off their touring schedule in recent years. “I’m dating myself, but I miss when Bill Clinton was president,” he says. “People had money, and they went to clubs. In the ‘90s, you could say, ‘We’re going to put a live turd on stage,’ and 1,000 people would show up. Times are changing, and we’re still trying to figure it out.”

Nonetheless, Harrison plans on putting out another record in 2015—the follow-up to the High Score’s highwater 2012 full-length release Still Wanna Fight, and their recent one-off in the studio with Con Hunley.

“Our legitimate goal has always been to have 10 or 15 cities we could pound about three or four times a year,” Harrison says. “But our main goal is to make good records. And make good music. And to enjoy being with the guys that we play next to.”

Mic Harrison and the High Score: Friday, Nov. 21, 8 p.m. Scruffy City Hall