Welcome to Local Music'Mericans, where we'll be meeting some people behind the local music scene who aren't musicians, but more behind-the-scenes folk.
Kim Keebler was raised in Deep Ellum as a young pup. Her first concert was there: The Dead Kennedys, back in the mid '80s.
She bought her first car from a friend's shop on Elm Street, and her grandfather used to work right down the road on Main. In the '90s, she frequented the handfuls of the clubs centered around Elm and Crowdus. Eventually, though, Keebler left Deep Ellum for Austin to raise a family, and years later, with her oldest son playing in a band, she found herself gravitating toward a return to the neighborhood.
Since 2006, she's been assembling and promoting her own shows, all focused around "Close the Gap on Hunger," an ongoing campaign at The North Texas Food Bank with a goal of raising the money to buy 50 million meals for the area hungry by 2011. Her recurring shows, most of which have happened at Curtain Club and Liquid Lounge over the last two previous years, have raised the equivalent of about 20,000 meals for the charity.
Even more recently, Keebler has helped bring "Acoustic Chaos," the weekly showcase of unplugged rock performers back to life at Liquid Lounge. And, just over a year ago, she opened a store just off the intersection of Main and Crowdus Streets called In Accord, which sells fair trade art and goods in the front, and hosts artists and musicians' giving performances, lessons, and parties in the back room. Now, together with (ex-Course Of Empire drummer) Chad Lovell, is getting ready to launch deepellumradio.com on November 30. It's shaping up to be quite an interesting gathering of music and radio people, with a pretty diverse show schedule.
After the jump, we talk to Keebler about these projects and what drove her to get involved in the local music scene in the first place.
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What sort of trouble did you used to get into in the neighborhood when you were younger? Tell us a Deep Ellum tale of yore.
I remember spending a lot of time with Shelly Brooks (daughter of bluesman Christian Brooks), absorbing a lot of the local blues music, and hanging out at a shop she owned on Main. My 13th birthday party at Circle A Ranch was quite an adventure. I saw a lot of early punk shows in the neighborhood. Sometimes there was drama that you'd rather forget, but, for the most part, what I remember is absorbing a lot of different kinds of music that I loved. I had the opportunity to hang out with a lot of musicians at a very young age: Doyle Bramhall, Sting, Genesis, too many to list. I am very blessed. Music brought us all together and enriched our lives. It was an amazing time.
Tell us about Deep Ellum Radio, and what you plan for it's content.
The idea was born on New Years Day and is finally about to come to fruition. All the graphics, designs and audio are getting ready to go. After being around all the art and music community for so long, I wanted to share. So many guys have jumped on board to volunteer. Mostly, old school musicians, and those with a passion about Deep Ellum. Chad is the program director, and he'll also be hosting a "History of Deep Ellum" show. (Ex-KEGL-97.1 FM The Eagle jock) Robert Miguel will do "Robert Miguel Presents," and we'll also focus on Texas Blues Club, DEEP (Deep Ellum Enrichment Project), and DECA, (The Deep Ellum Community Association). Also, (ex-"Metal Edge" journalist) Jerry Rutherford wants to do a metal show, and we want to cover calendar events like Urban Gardens, comedy, talks on art, and, of course, the music. Almost all the local music venues want to run shows, also. The entire station is a volunteer collaboration of the community. The outpouring of support has been overwhelming.
The art store you run, In Accord, is very different, and kitschy.
It should be called My Favorite Things! I sell fair frade items from around the world that I buy from co-ops that help those less fortunate -- handmade arts & crafts, jewelry, and instruments from artisans around the world, so that they get a fair wage and a better life for themselves. I also sell handmade items from local and national artists. It's also an art co-op with a meeting room, and a party room that local artists and musicians can teach classes and hold events in. It is a place to create, meet, learn and celebrate life. (South FM vocalist) Paco Estrada calls it "Deep Ellum's Living Room".