Welcome to the next edition of Better Know a Musician, a semi-regular column where serious local artists answer some not-so-tough questions.
If you have any suggestions for future guests or additional questions you want to ask Valley songwriters, please leave them in the comments section or email culture editor Jason Keil at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next up: Col Bauer of Closet Goth
If you ask Col Bauer about the origins of Closet Goth, you'll get two different answers.
“The real story is that I saw someone tweet the words 'closet goth' nine years ago, and I just wrote it in this Excel sheet I kept when I was in high school of band names,” Bauer said over the phone. “But the fake story I tell everybody is that it’s about identity and how I truly am a darker person, but I never let that out. I keep that darkness to myself by constraining my own personality.”
Constraining isn’t a word that suits Closet Goth. Dubbing themselves a "party band from Party City, Arizona," the music Bauer and their bandmates make is feral and spastic. It's best suited for a shindig where someone spiked the punch bowl with enough DMT and speed to make Hunter S. Thompson’s ghost foam at the mouth.
Originally hailing from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Bauer moved to Arizona in 2015 and started recording in their free time. “It’s mostly been just me doing me and making songs that I want to hear.” Bauer and their Closet Goth collaborators released a full-length album last year titled Friendship Village, and are currently gearing up to play a basement show at The Trunk Space this weekend.
We got in touch with the head Goth to find out about their top five high school albums, their Jersey Shore musical tastes, and which local band they could beat in a
You recently tweeted "accidentally emotional over mike the situation's wedding." It begs the question: If you were DJing Mike The Situation's wedding, what would be your big needle drop? What would be your secret weapon song to get the party started?
I think, in general, everyone likes “Paper Planes” by M.I.A. People tend to fucking dig that track, so that’s an easy party-starter right there. But if I’m feeling like a shithead, I think I’d play “Human Upskirt” by Pissed Jeans.
What are your top five high school albums? What records were your life back then?
All right, number one by a mile would be Reinventing Axl Rose by Against Me. It’s not even close to number two. Then it’d be Nouns by No Age. Jay Reatard’s Blood Visions. Number four is Condition by Summer Vacation. And number five would be Travels With Myself and Another by Future of the Left.
If you could eat the brain of anyone in history, living or dead, and immediately gain all their knowledge and talents, whose brain would you eat?
Oh fuck. Living or dead? I would probably say ... hmm ... can we come back to this one?
Sure. Okay: If your music had a tangible, magical effect on people, what would it be?
Dancing. It’d make people dance all night. That would be the best shit in the world.
If you had to gladiator-fight to the death with any band in Phoenix, who would you pick?
If I’m being honest, I could probably beat up any band in Phoenix. One, I’m taller than them. Two, I went to professional wrestling school for two weeks. And three, let’s be real, my bandmates are stronger than me.
Whoa, back up: You went to professional wrestling school?!
Yeah, for two weeks, and then I got hurt.
What kind of moves do they teach you early on?
It’s very generic: how to take bumps. Selling is very important because if you don’t sell the moves, there’s no match. So you learn to take a general punch, do character work; that’s some of the first things they reach you.
Since we’re on wrestling: Who’s your favorite wrestler of all time?
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I have a list and I don’t know how to narrow it down. First off: The Undertaker because he’s fucking awesome. CM Punk because, one, he’s awesome, and two, Against Me used to be his favorite band. I thought that was sick we shared a favorite band. Three would be UltraMantis Black. He went to my high school. He doesn’t wrestle in WWE, but he’s an independent wrestler and he’s also in an amazing band with members from Pissed Jeans. And Kevin Owens! He’s just so sick. He’s also French Canadian, which adds a lot of points. And probably Cesaro: He’s an amazing wrestler.
Getting back to the brain question: Have you figured out who’d you eat?
I’m trying to think of which mathematician I’d want to eat, and it’s hard. So I’m just to say my math teacher: Marko Samara. Because he knows more than all these other mathematicians did. Shout out to Marko.