Once again, it’s snowing in Eastern Iowa and once again, the weather is playing havoc with a show that I’ve been anticipating. A complete account of the House Of Large Sizes reunion shows can be found on Glorious Noise, and the original idea was to back end the questions found there with a few leftover question here at Glam-Racket.
But like a retard, I deleted the leftover questions because I’m all about the shift/delete hotkeys.
There’s a certain amount of trepidation and none of it has anything to do with the weather. You see, HOLS was quite good in their live incarnation and the prospect of a reunion show(s) three years after pulling the plug and nearly twenty years after buying their first Dodge van doesn’t bode well for being able to merely pick up where they left off.
In lieu of those deleted interview questions, there are a few memories that come to mind when I think about House of Large Sizes.
The first memory concerns Deibler, a fellow classmate in U.N.I.’s “illustrious” broadcasting division. We shared a few classes and one particular semester, Dave was faced with a tough decision: to finish the semester or go on tour with House of Large Sizes.
Dave chose rock and roll.
At the end of the semester, I went into the department’s office to pick up something, perhaps to get an idea of my grades before they were officially printed. House had literally returned from their jaunt a few days prior and there was Deibler, seated at a desk trying to salvage the entire semester by belatedly taking his final. He sheepishly looked up at me without a hint of any Goddamn regret of putting his band before his college education. Yet he still had enough responsibility to know that college ain’t cheap and that he might be able to salvage a C or better, pending the results of that final exam.
There is something to be said about that Iowa work ethic.
I have another memory from when I moved from Cedar Falls to Fort Madison, Iowa, thereby losing touch with the temporary roots laid down within my former college town. I was returning from Minneapolis and took a swing through C.F. I met up with Dave at his house (he and Barb were infinitely generous about unannounced guests, which is something that I’ve never been). They had moved from their Parkade apartment into a non-descript house in the north part of Cedar Falls. As I walked towards their front door, a large goose approached me. At first, I thought the potential contact with nature was cute, until I realized that the fowl was being aggressively territorial. My pace quickened until I reached the safety of their stairs, while the goose seemed satisfied that I posed no threat. Deibler was fairly amused at my predicament, explaining that the goose was named Charlotte and her protectiveness should not be taken personally. He played me a new track from their (then) unreleased album My Ass-Kicking Life (“Nocturnal”) which was a pretty awesome departure from the sound that I had come to expect from House. But the real surprise came after the album was released: when I reached the track “North Cedar” I completely understood the line “Charlotte sees me coming and makes me go around the other way.”
There’s a lot on slice-of-life moments like that throughout HOLS’ repertoire and perhaps the best memory of House is exactly that: those slice-of-life moments when Deibler said something that just seemed to stick with me. Concerning his philosophy towards young upstarts, (“Bands need to remember to practice. At first, we sucked, but then we started to work out the kinks…..the Stones…the Who….”) or chastising me for whining that there weren’t any decent new bands anymore (“There’s lots of good shit out there! You’ve got to go find it because sometimes it doesn’t come to you…especially if you live in a small town.”), Deibler isn’t one to mince words, but he isn’t one to be self-righteous about his advice either.
There was a time I considered that I may have been too lenient on my praise of House simply because of my direction connection with the members. Since that time, I’ve understood that the appreciation was merely enhanced from being able to witness, firsthand, how much the band improved and how quickly they were able to do it. A lot of this had to do with the fact that their primary job was the band. Oh sure, the members did hold down part-time jobs early on, but soon after, even the part-time gigs were traded in favor of targeting a precise section of the country and making ends meet through regular live performances.
It wasn’t until the idea of starting a family came into play before Dave and Barb considered changing this kind of lifestyle. Even then, the pair managed to incorporate their d.i.y. ethos into a new venture. Mohair Pear, the vintage clothing store that they started has proven to be successful enough to move to a new, larger location that, ironically, is just a few feet away from the location where they first began playing some twenty years ago.
And now, in many ways, they’ve come full circle.