BY FRED MILLS
Mekons/Waco Brothers/Skull Orchard founder Jon Langford was in Raleigh, NC, for a Contemporary Arts Museum unveiling of his paintings associated with the recently released Skull Orchard album Here Be Monsters (In De Goot Records). The same night (April 25) he was also doing a live show at CAM that featured his longtime Mekons partner-in-crime Sally Timms. Before all that, however, the duo dropped by BLURT’s sister business Schoolkids Records for a performance on the new Schoolkids stage, and a merry olde time was had by all in attendance. They played several songs from Here Be Monsters as well as a handful of old faves, with Mr. L on acoustic guitar and swapping vocals with Timms; the latter also played an unusually designed wooden musical squeeze box, the name of which unfortunately eluded me (probably because I was laughing so hard at some of Langford’s stage patter—he’s quite the raconteur). Among the more riotous highlights were “Drone Operator” and “What Did You Do In The War?,” both from the new record. [Go here to read our 2010 interview with Langford.]
Before and after the hour-long set we all gathered at the Schoolkids bar, which had officially tapped its inaugural kegs just a few days earlier. Also on hand (and pictured below) was an old friend, Jefferson Holt, business associate with Langford and a longtime patron of the visual arts, not to well known to music fans everywhere. As Langford quaffed his IPA he marveled at the very notion of a record store serving beer. “Seems like a good fit,” he deadpanned. No kidding. He also signed plenty of record sleeves, including the oversized Schoolkids poster (see below), and when he inscribed my battered 45 for the Mekons’ “Work All Week” as “Jonny Quality,” he explained thusly: “That was my first rock name when we started the Mekons.” Truth-in-titling, eh Jonny?