In summer 2005, guitarist Dan Wise was managing at Off the Record when the retail store experimented with hosting concerts, shortly after OTR moved to North Park. Wise booked the 100-person-capacity club Basement on University between 30th and Kansas, adjacent to the record store. The Pinwheels and Airport 81 played at the first Basement show on July 16, 2005. Soon, Dan Wise and OTR employee Chuck Powell (guitarist in the Plot to Blow Up the Eifel Tower and Some Girls) were also booking multiband shows at the nearby Sunset Lodge Ballroom, on University and Kansas, which can hold 300.
In September 2005, local record label Art Fag released its debut album, a three-track collaboration between Kill Me Tomorrow and Long Beach's Dance Disaster Movement. Art Fag is headed by local DJ Mario Orduno, whose second release was The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower's cover of David Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging." Orduno settled on the Art Fag name after a discussion with Dan Wise from Kill Me Tomorrow.
If you pick up a copy of Zack Wentz's novel The Garbageman and the Prostitute, you might notice that William T. Vollmann is quoted on the front cover. Vollmann, author of Europe Central, The Atlas, and Whores for Gloria, called Wentz's book "A sad and creepy work... Entertaining and at times haunting."
Wentz says, "I was talking to a very old friend of mine in the Northwest about the book, saying I needed to get some blurbs together and she told me she knew a few authors. I asked her if I might have heard of any of them. She said Bill Vollmann, and I just about fell out of my chair. K8 [Wentz's wife] and I have known her for years, and she never mentioned him before. She said she'd give him a manuscript, but not to hold my breath. I held my breath."
Then, one day, Vollmann called Wentz.
"Needless to say, I was floored," Wentz says.
A tale told through the eyes of multiple narrators, The Garbageman and the Prostitute is loosely based on Kill Me Tomorrow's album of the same name and includes graphic work by K8. Wentz is the band's primary lyricist, vocalist, and drummer. He works two jobs -- at the Turf Club and Krakatoa -- and plays in another band with K8 called Tender Buttons. Wentz says he has completed a second novel. K8 has her own clothing line (Blood & Guts) and works part-time at Custom Printing.
"I have no idea [how we do it], but it all somehow keeps happening," Wentz says. "Maybe because I don't know how to do anything else and the alternative is transience. We just work on all of it at the same time, letting the mediums bleed into one another. I prefer it that way.... I had fairly severe insomnia growing up, but it seldom hits me now. If it does and it's bad, my brain begins composing several things simultaneously at a manic rate until I feel so deranged I have to get out of bed and get as much of it down as I can."
K8 and Wentz, who've known each other for almost a decade, moved to San Diego from Oregon in 1999.
Wentz says, "I never like to go back and have a nasty habit of cursing Oregon every time the state comes up, despite it not really being that bad of a place if you like rain and aren't inclined toward alcoholism, depression, or schizophrenia."