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BASTION AUGUST 2016


OPENING FALL 2016 - MIDTOWN

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BLENDING THE COMFORTS OF HOME WITH THE SERVICES OF AN UPSCALE BOUTIQUE HOTEL

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TABLE OF CONTENTS AUGUST 2016

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36 46

THE GOODS 15 Beer from Here 18 Cocktail of the Month 22 Master Platers 77 You Oughta Know 78 Animal of the Month

FEATURES

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26 Barry Walker 36 Jocephus Brody 46 Bastion 56 Literature Spotlight: Curb Center Expressive Writing Workshops 66 Andrew Leahey

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Open Now to Riverside Village

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Photo: Kelsey Cherry

1200 VILLA PLACE - SUITE 403 - (615) 730-5367 castillejanashville.com @castillejanashville # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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DEAR NATIVES,

T

hanks for tagging us, y’all! Be sure to check out these Instagrammers, and #nativenashville to share your photos with us.

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ANGELIQUE PITTMAN JON PITTMAN

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MACKENZIE MOORE

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CHARLIE HICKERSON DARCIE CLEMEN

art director: 

COURTNEY SPENCER

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JOE CLEMONS

editor:

community representatives:

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film supervisor:

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K I D F R E U D E P R E L E A S E S H OW - M E R C Y L O U N G E JONATHAN JACKSON + ENATION - MERCY LOUNGE

T H E P I N K S P I D E R S T E E N A G E G R A F F I T I 1 0 Y R A N N I V E R S A RY - M E R C Y L O U N G E M OT I O N C I T Y S O U N D T R A C K - T H E C A N N E RY BA L L R O O M DEERHOOF - MERCY LOUNGE THE JULIE RUIN - MERCY LOUNGE C O R I N N E BA I L E Y R A E - T H E C A N N E RY BA L L R O O M K Y L E C R A F T - T H E H I G H WAT T B U T C H WA L K E R : S TAY G O L D TO U R - T H E C A N N E RY BA L L R O O M O F F I C I A L U M P H R E Y ’ S M C G E E A F T E R S H OW f t . Z O O G M A - M E R C Y L O U N G E V I N Y L T H I E F w i t h J M R a n d K A P TA N - M E R C Y L O U N G E C A R S E AT H E A D R E S T - M E R C Y L O U N G E S T. L U C I A - T H E C A N N E RY BA L L R O O M AMERICANA MUSIC FESTIVAL FESTI - MERCY LOUNGE, THE CANNERY BALLROOM, THE HIGH WATT

WILD CHILD - MERCY LOUNGE N A DA S U R F - M E R C Y L O U N G E T H E F E L I C E B R OT H E R S - T H E H I G H WAT T T H E DA N DY WA R H O L S - M E R C Y L O U N G E 12 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / //////

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braids: @cabbage.box brewer y: @littleharpethbrewing lens: @willvastine 16 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / //////

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NEEDLE NOSE by Ben Clemons of No. 308 photo by j e n m c don a l d

What can I say about the Needle Nose? Honestly, this is the perfect refreshing summer cooler: slightly citrusy, slightly spicy, slightly effervescent, not too boozy, easy to make, and all class. If you’re asking what I’m drinking at the moment, this is it. Next visit to 308, save yourself the bartender banter— instead of asking for a Moscow mule or “what’s good?,” just cut to the chase and order a Needle Nose. In fact, order two. Your friend is going to taste yours and want one too.

THE GOODS 2 oz Dolin dry vermouth 1/4 oz ginger syrup 1 bar spoon lemon juice 1 1/2 oz tonic

F Build ingredients in a freshly iced rocks glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

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MASTER PLATERS

ORECCHIETTE WITH SUMMER CORN WITH NICK PELLEGRINO OF MANGIA NASHVILLE PHOT OS BY DAN IELLE AT K IN S

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THE GOODS 3 ears corn, husks removed 12 oz grape tomatoes 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper to taste 1 lb orecchiette pasta 2 leeks, trimmed, chopped, and rinsed 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed 4 tbsp unsalted butter 2 leaves tuscan kale, julienned and deep fried ricotta salata for grating

DIRECTIONS F Brush the corn with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast the corn on a grill or in a broiler. Toss the tomatoes in just enough olive oil to coat them. Season with salt and pepper and roast until the tomatoes just start to blister. F While the corn and tomatoes are roasting, cook the pasta to al dente. Be sure to generously salt the water. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. F SautĂŠ the leeks and the garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Cut the roasted corn off the cob and add to the skillet with the leeks and garlic. Stir in the roasted tomatoes, butter, and the reserved pasta water. Once the butter has melted, add the cooked pasta and toss to combine. Serve with fried kale and grated ricotta salata on top.

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IF YOU SIT DOWN WITH BARRY WALKER OF

M A R AT H O N V I L L A G E , B E P R E PA R E D F O R A N EARFUL OF STORIES—AND BRING A CIGAR

BY CHARLIE HICKERSON | ILLUSTRATIONS BY COURTNEY SPENCER

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“IT’S IMPORTANT TO GET YOUR CIGAR LIT RIGHT. It’s like starting a relationship out with a good-looking girl. Get it right, don’t mess it up right off the bat . . . You’re doing good, that’s a perfect cut. Alright, look, another thing is, when you light this thing, you burn straight in. Don’t burn sideways. You got it?” “Yeah, yeah.” “Okay, and why would you not burn it sideways?” “Um . . . ‘Cause it won’t burn evenly?” “Damn, you’re smart!” This is the sort of candor Barry Walker employs in most conversations. Whether he’s talking about cigars, motorcycles, music, God, real estate, rattlesnakes, life, or death, he’s going to have plenty to say. And he’s going to say it fast. Really fast. He’s also going to say it loud, with interjections of sarcastic, self-deprecating humor and larger-than-life gusto. Maybe that’s because he is larger than life. Thirty years ago, at the age of twenty-six, Barry bought the then-abandoned Marathon Motor Works office and administration building. Then, after years of legal battles with real estate “crooks” (this is one of Barry’s favorite words) and literal battles with the drug dealers, addicts, and murderers that hung around the dilapidated site, Barry bought the MMW factory building in 1994. In the time since, he’s seen the aforementioned murderers kill people, lived through a gruesome motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed,

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and been declared legally dead for six nessee studying liberal arts and design. but I did a good one once, so I did more minutes. He’s also made the Marathon Perhaps predictably, Barry didn’t exactly and more.” Shortly after, the shop sesite into a bonafide Nashville staple take to college. “I was too crazy. Too cured work at Vanderbilt refurbishing that attracts tourists looking to see the busy building stuff or doing stuff . . . Re- elevators and repairing laminate doors. American Pickers store, locals looking ally, I was terrible in school. I was bored Again, Barry had never refurbished elto see shows at Marathon Music Works, in school. But when it comes to design evators or repaired laminate doors in his and more than a hundred tenants, in- and engineering, that just becomes nor- life. Before too long Vandy offered him a contract—a real, $250,000 contract—to cluding Lightning 100 and Corsair Dis- mal for me.” Nonetheless, it was music—spe- help hire skilled laborers for odd jobs tillery. For a guy that’s been through some cifically drumming—not design, that around the hospital. Barry was twentyserious shit, Barry is downright jovial as brought Barry to Nashville. He’d been six. Needless to say, The Ingenuity Shop we smoke cigars—he says he buys about playing since the fourth grade, and he eight boxes in a month but gives most remembers his ’80s self as a techni- had outgrown its humble office on of them away—and drink tequila from cal, old-school, “real power drummer” Meridian Street, where rent was $110 his homemade dispenser at his office in who twirled sticks and spat fire onstage. a month. The former post office was Marathon. He waxes poetic and spouts Upon moving to town, Barry gigged with busting at the seams, and he was sick of life advice; cracks jokes at my expense local “piddly” bands and picked up side meeting clients at restaurants. So natu(to be fair, my cigar knowledge leaves a jobs wherever he could, including stints rally, Barry set his sights on a building lot to be desired); and reminisces about at the Country Music Hall of Fame gift full of literal shit, toilet paper, dead dogs, a Nashville that’s very different than the shop and the Red Cross. But like college, and used needles. “I saw this building, and I was just one we live in today. Before I can even Barry (again, perhaps predictably) didn’t taken by it. I had my eyes open and said, get out my first question, Barry launches really jive with the music industry. “I got tired of dealing with—not all of ‘My God, that’s beautiful!’ This building, into the first of many, many stories. This one, like most of them, ends on a reflec- them—but mostly lazy damn musicians,” vines all over it. I drove by it for a year he says, still looking a little frustrated. “I and a half, and I said, ‘I’m going to see tive note. “Hell, it ain’t about money, it’s what had three goals in my life: be a rock ‘n’ what it costs to buy that thing.’ I checked you do in your life! You know what I’m roll drummer, be a race car driver, be- into it and bought it from an investment saying?” he exclaims, leaning across his cause I used to do a lot of racing, or have company owned by a bunch of crooks.” Thirty-two thousand dollars and a few desk from his electric wheelchair. “If my own business. I did a little racing, not you’re on a roll and you enjoy what you much, just crossing as a kid, and then straightened-out crooks later, the MMW do, you can do anything you want if you drumming and music. I realized [music] administration building was Barry’s. Rewas a hard field, and I got tired of all the storing Marathon would consume the just put your mind to it.” It’s an outlook Barry has lived by since bullshit and the attitude, so I went into better part of Barry’s life, and like almost everything he sets his mind to, it his childhood in Jackson, Tennessee. my own business.” Most people looking to start a busi- wouldn’t be easy. Born to a father who worked for a “conIn 1986, the area we now call Marasolidated loan and lease” and a mother ness would search for investors or take who worked at the hospital (“they never out a loan. Barry bought a motorcycle. thon Village wasn’t crawling with hip gave me a dime”), Barry showed a pro- A wrecked, $300 motorcycle (sidenote: young professionals and American Pickpensity toward building pretty much Barry has a freakish ability to remember ers–seeking tourists. Barry, who’d conanything and everything from an early the price of seemingly everything he’s verted the third floor of the building into age. He claims to have built at least three ever bought). He then sold said wrecked an apartment, was actually the only legal hundred treehouses and forts in Jackson motorcycle for a wrecked car. He re- resident on-site at the time. “There were more murders, more peoand recalls a childhood spent digging old paired and repainted the car, selling it for $3,500, which he used to buy a table ple killed in Joe Johnson than [anywhere wagon wheels out of ditches for fun. “I was born that way, man,” he says. “I saw and tools. And just like that, Barry’s in Nashville]. I have to tell you that’s just always took charge my whole life. first business, The Ingenuity Shop, was how bad it was,” Barry says, shaking his And you know what? I was always funky born. No investors, no venture capital- head. “I’ve dealt with it all, man. I’ve and creative . . . I had metal shop in high ists, no stock options—just a guy in his dealt with people shooting at me, people school and learned to weld, so I was al- twenties with a table saw and a lot of de- threatening to kill me, seeing people die, finding dead bodies, people getting the ways building shit. I was like the kid in termination. The Ingenuity Shop found early suc- hell beat out of them.” this ditch. People say, ‘Where did you get As is the case with all things Barrycess building audiovisual mixing conyour education?’ In a ditch.” Well, a ditch and a couple of years at soles around town, though Barry admits, related, stories abound when he disJackson State and the University of Ten- “I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, cusses this time in Marathon’s history.

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He laughs at some—like the time he ‘Hell, it’s just a drug fest!’ I said, ‘What?!’” on the phone. “I thought, Well, if I’m goViolence, raves, and drugs aside, Mar- ing to die, I’m going to sit here and I want to pranked a group of squatters by convincing them the place was infested with athon continued to flourish well into the talk to them before I die.” 2) For someone new millennium. But Barry’s life was to move the weeds out of his face. “They rattlesnakes. Others haunt him to this day. There about to drastically change. In 2008, he were driving me crazy!” he laughs. According to the nurse, Barry was was the woman he found by I-40 with was in the midst of a divorce, so he did her throat cut open. The eighteen-year- what a lot of middle-aged men do in the dead for about six minutes before someold-boy who bled out after being shot midst of a divorce: he bought a brand- one—not a paramedic, mind you, just during a drug deal. The “God-awful” new Harley. This wasn’t anything for- some guy passing through Suck Creek screams he heard while working in his eign for Barry, considering he’d bought Road—fortuitously came by with a deshop one day—screams that led him to and sold—though not necessarily been fibrillator. If he hadn’t passed by the find a grown man beating a six-year-old on—motorcycles for the past twenty wreck, I probably wouldn’t be talking to Barry now. years. girl within an inch of her life. “I just remember coming out, lookSo when he and his buddies planned “Her mouth was bleeding, her nose was running, she was screaming, and a trip to visit Corky Coker (of Coker ing down on the whole damn wreck site, people weren’t doing anything,” he re- Tires) down in Chattanooga, no one man,” Barry explains before starting calls. “I came up behind him, and I put thought twice about it. They even took to laugh. “Unless I was hallucinating, I my damn .38 up to his head and said, the scenic route home, opting to go don’t know! Then I remember I saw this through Signal Mountain via Suck Creek little crooked door about four feet tall, ‘You hit her again, you’re dead.’” By 1994, Barry had acquired the rest Road instead of the interstate. But then, and it had this real bright light around it. of the site—namely, the 130,000-square- out of nowhere, Barry realized he was in I kept going towards the door and then something said to me, ‘That door’s not foot MMW factory—for $350,000. In trouble. “I was going around a curve doing right, don’t go to the door.’” the eight years between ’86 and ’94, he Barry would die two more times never stopped (and still never stops) about fifty miles an hour, and a rock or making renovations. He relied heavily deer or something jumped in my way . . . as he was life-flighted to Erlanger in on repurposed materials: Glass from a and I saw a car coming,” he says, speak- Chattanooga. While there, he caught demolished Red Cross building became ing as nonchalantly as he does when pneumonia, staph, and MRSA, and he windows. Furniture and marble from talking cigars or vintage Marathon even received his last prayers multiple the Brooklyn Center in Minnesota went cars. “I could’ve slammed on my brakes, times. After about three months, he was which I probably should have done, but moved—he came close to dying again into bathrooms and kitchens. “If you don’t have money, you got to I thought, Okay, I think I got enough time in transit—to the ICU unit at Shepherd make things happen,” Barry says. “There to miss this car and I’ll just run off to the in Atlanta. Then he started the grueling is so much waste in this country, you can trees so they don’t kill me . . . But then the process of physical therapy. Rehab, though, was nothing comcar, instead of going straight, it curved build anything. There’s so much stuff.” Pretty soon, people noticed that the over to miss me, and I curved and I hit it pared to accepting the limitations that came with being quadriplegic. old, run-down car factory off Charlotte head-on, man. I saw the light.” “My personality is building and weldBarry’s body broke the car’s windwasn’t so run-down anymore. Before he knew it, Barry had a few tenants, and shield, and he was jettisoned seventy ing and all the shit I always did,” Barry people were even asking him to throw feet down the road into a cluster of boul- remembers. “Now I’m paralyzed. It events at the space. Perhaps most nota- ders. The next thing he remembers is a was a hard thing. The first eight or nine bly, he inadvertently hosted a series of woman from the nearby mining compa- months, I drank a lot and stayed drunk ecstasy-fueled raves (video evidence of ny—who just happened to be a nurse— a lot . . . I just couldn’t believe it. Everywhich still exists in dark corners of the standing over him and repeatedly ask- body thought I’d kill myself . . . I said, ing, “Are you okay?” He most definitely ‘You know, I’ve been through everything Internet) throughout the ’90s. When asked about the raves, Barry was not: Barry had torn his pelvis in half, in the world: starting my business, fightexplains, “I walked around in the early sliced multiple veins, broken all of his ing codes, dealing with people getting days, but I couldn’t handle the music, so ribs, shattered his leg, and effectively killed, shooting at people, getting shot I walked out. I had to leave. I thought, lost his backbone from his waist to his at, everything. And here I am, paralyzed.’ “But what it did for me at Marathon is Okay, these kids are going to listen to mu- shoulders. Though he laid in the road in shock kept me more focused on my projects.” sic—amped up weird music. But I didn’t That’s an understatement. By 2011, realize [anything was wrong] until a cop and totally paralyzed, he still managed appeared saying they were ready to shut to ask for two things: 1) For someone to Barry would not only renovate another the place down. I said, ‘Why?’ They said, get his daughter and his estranged wife thirty thousand square feet, but he’d

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BARRY WALKER: marathonvillage.com Follow on Facebook @MarathonVillage native.is

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also bring in his two biggest tenants: Marathon Music Works and American Pickers. The Pickers store, particularly, transformed Marathon Village into a Nashville destination (Barry jokingly complains that it also shot Marathon’s water bill up by 800 percent). Now, on top of tenants wanting to get in—there’s a perpetual waiting list and Barry turns down anyone who isn’t doing something creative—companies are constantly gunning to buy the whole site. A twenty-million-dollar offer here. Thirty million there. Barry isn’t going anywhere. “[Companies] said, ‘Just think, you can build a big house.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I can do that now,’” he laughs. “I mean, a man only needs so much money. Anything else is just waste.” And if there’s anything Barry hates, it’s waste. He’s currently in the midst of renovating the few undeveloped areas of Marathon—there’s a movie theatre planned that’ll show films about the history of Marathon, but he’s more excited about a bar tentatively called Gearheads. “Everything is going to be mechanical,” he explains. “I bought an 1899 hitand-miss engine, it’s going over the bar. A lot of mechanical things, we’ll have cars hanging over, all pre-1918.” He’s also working on multiple “historical urban renewal” projects in Jackson, which is not only his hometown, but also the hometown of Marathon Motor Works (he discovered this after he found some old photos in an abandoned house years ago). And as was the case with Marathon, Jackson presents new obstacles, new opportunities for ingenuity, and, of course, new crooks. “You’ve got to be able to have a vision and carry that vision until it becomes reality,” Barry says. “People quit. People get injured, they get crippled, most people give up . . . It’s all about what you create, and it’s basically you creating your own reality.” The vision expands, the reality remains intact, and Barry Walker lives to fight and create another day.

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THE PATH TO JOCEPHUS

JOSEPH HUDSON , AKA JOCEPH US BRODY, WANTS TO SHOW YOU THE WAY TO

ENLIGHTE NMENT THROUGH DROPKIC KS AND KIERKEG AARD

BY LUKE DICK | PHOTOS BY AUSTIN LORD

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“NOTHING— NOTHING YOU DO, SPIRITUALLY OR OTHERWISE, SEEMS TO WORK TO CONNECT YOU BACK TO GOD OR SOURCE OR WHATEVER. KIERKEGAARD WOULD TALK ABOUT FAITH— THAT FAITH IS GIVING INTO THE ABSURD.”

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I CRAWL THE STEPS TO AN UPSTAIRS APARTMENT AROUND 4 p.m. and immediately find myself sitting in some kind of uncanny cultural stew—maybe even another dimension. In front of me: ’80s ninja and C-level horror videos, a music stand, and a Flying V guitar. One floor down: a room packed to the gills, pawn shop style, with analog synthesizers, recording gear, and the canon of Western philosophy packed tight across the mantel. To my immediate right: more books on theology, religion, and existentialism than any reasonable home should contain. Behind me: a couple boxes of professional wrestling T-shirts bearing the name and face of “Jocephus.” Joseph the man, burly and soft-spoken, relaxes across from me in the crook of a sectional, easy as could be. I keep asking questions, trying to see where the professional wrestler ends and the theologian/musician/family man/mythologist begins. It’s tempting to start by sharing loads of newly learned insider pro wrestling knowledge—the ins and outs of “jobbers” and “heels” and “DDTs” and so on. Something about a little peek behind the professional wrestling curtain feels like a carny or masonic level of information privilege. Still, there’s something more interesting and rounded about Jocephus. A peculiar curiosity arrived early in his life, well before the dropkicks and bruises. After a conversion to Christianity, the young Joseph Hudson followed a calling, leading him on various missions to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. After graduating from Donelson Christian Academy, the plan was to study religion and continue his missionary work. As fate or chaos would have it, his college education led him to a spiritual crisis. “[It’s] that comingof-age type thing when you’re between eighteen and twenty-one—that was when I became 50 percent of a person,” Joseph explains. “It’s kind of like, you go to college and learn the book of Isaiah had three authors, and you’re like, ‘Really?! I never knew that. That’s not

what they taught me in Sunday school. The Red Sea isn’t actually mentioned in the Old Testament, it’s really the Sea of Reeds?! Oh, I never heard that either!’ There’s the theological skepticism that enters in through what you’re learning in Old Testament Survey 101 . . . you see how the Bible is put together. You think you’re going to go back [home] and be a missionary . . . and then all the questions come again, and you plunge and plunge and plunge.” Joseph is talking about what Sartre calls “anguish”—the reality that every decision (spiritual or otherwise) is a radically individual endeavor. Kierkegaard refers to this as “the anguish of Abraham” in reference to the biblical story in which God calls on Abraham to sacrifice his son. Anguish is the feeling of the responsibility that we all have to sort out every choice for ourselves. Even for the faithful, asking God for guidance means choosing to believe that the divine is answering by signs or symbols or a voice in your head and you’re not making it all up. Nothing like the body slam of a few critical books to awaken the eighteenyear-old mind. If you went to class and listened, the world got bigger and hairier after Survey 101. Looking back, the thirty-nine-year-old Jocephus remembers, “Nothing—nothing you do, spiritually or otherwise, seems to work to connect you back to God or source or whatever . . . Kierkegaard would talk about faith—that faith is giving into the absurd . . . Faith is really giving into the absurd. Because you can never prove that God exists, anyway . . .” Getting from Kierkegaard to professional wrestling takes two to three montages and at least three hundred headlocks. Several years after college, Joseph worked as a librarian. During that time period, he also worked on several creative projects: “Me and my brother were writing a screenplay about a character who thinks wrestling is real. I thought, We should really network with local wrestlers . . . to get the screenplay done. One of us should train. I thought I would have ten matches to learn what

I needed to learn to make my movie . . . then I just never stopped.” Something about the process of a soft-spoken librarian becoming a pro wrestler seems like it might be a better screenplay, but I’m not one to judge. The transition from Joseph to Jocephus started with his attending Stadium Inn wrestling matches and befriending the owner, Tony Falk. Falk and his son, L.T., agreed to train him on the basics one day a week. Lesson one: learn to fall properly. Apparently, the wrestling ring can pack a wallop. Lesson two: learn to “run the ropes.” Interacting with the ropes of a wrestling ring hurts like hell, it turns out. They look like rubber bands, but they’re actually heavy steel covered in plastic. Joseph then began weight training at the YMCA, eventually with a trainer, Benita, and bulked up considerably to about 290 pounds. Benita, known as “Abriella,” would become his wife and wrestling partner. His first match, he wrestled as “Jocephus the Shelby Street Brawler,” whose backstory was that he grew up street fighting in the rougher, ungentrified East Nashville. He took an indie band approach to promoting his matches. “I plastered Nashville with a poster I had made with my brother. They didn’t look like normal wrestling flyers, which was helpful too. One had my head in the middle and James Joyce and Sartre all surrounding it, and at the bottom it said ‘WRESTLING AT THE STADIUM INN THIS FRIDAY.’ My brother would design them, and I would help with the ideas to put into them.” He wound up selling out his first match and several other matches until he outgrew the Stadium Inn. To this day, he remains the reigning champ of the (now defunct) Stadium Inn wrestling night. Seven years, a few valuable trainers, and a few hundred matches later, I find Jocephus as a fully developed character. The last time I remember caring about pro wrestling was around the age of nine or ten in the WWF era dominated by Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Andre the Giant. On a school

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JOCEPHUS BRODY: Check out Jocephus’ music on Facebook @Thexists native.is 40 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / //////

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night in 1988, my mom loaded a friend and me up in our ’72 Lincoln with embarrassing rusty fenders and took us to the Tuttle High School gymnasium to see a wrestling match. I still remember how big the athletes were. I can’t even recall if I thought it was real—that wasn’t the point. These were big men performing extraordinarily athletic feats. It’s arguable that pro wrestlers are the closest things we have to gladiators. Sure, MMA is real fighting, but the fanfare and storylines of wrestling are so much more dramatic and hierarchical, akin to ancient Greek and Roman gladiator rituals—many of which were staged. My buddy and I still remember the wrestlers’ names from that night. That was the last time I saw live wrestling, until I see Jocephus. I drive into Clarksville not knowing what to expect, with only simple hopes of grabbing some Chick-fil-A on my way home. I come upon a sign reading “WRESTLING THIS WAY” in thick Sharpie. Clear enough. I pay $25 for my ticket—“VIP” status they call it. That gets me ringside. The Wilma Rudolph Event Center feels fairly new, outfitted for the

show with a massive ring, light rig, and sound system. It’s legit. Among the concession offerings for the sold-out show of eight hundred-or-so spectators: pizza, popcorn, nachos, homemade jerky, and Bud Light only. At 7:05 p.m., the floor lights go down and the ring lights go up. I watch a set of twins (who are surely Prince look-alikes) dance down a catwalk to Tame Impala in feathered cabaret regalia. They are the good guys. They fight another set of twins who are much brawnier and have cornrows—they fight dirty when the referee isn’t looking. The winner of that particular match is decided by who can climb a ladder and grab a briefcase hanging from a cable in the center of the ring. Charlie Chaplin-esque shenanigans ensue. Next, a harlequin character works the crowd into a frenzy by playing the part of an utter simpleton. Then comes the main event, a six-foot-five, 240-pound beast of a man being body slammed onto hundreds of tacks by a monstrous villain in a Texas Chainsaw mask. Later on, I hear the eight-year-old boy sitting next to me crying when Bram the Giant Brit beats Jeff

Jarrett by cheating. It turns out the refs in pro wrestling are way worse than the MLB. As fantastical as it is, I admit that even for an educated, skeptical Okie, there is still a suspension of disbelief. I know Penn and Teller aren’t actually magic either, but if I can’t see the trick, it feels real. That suspension makes it pleasurable to join the mob and jeer. The last match comes and goes, and the emcees are wrapping up the show when the lights go back down. From the corner of the auditorium comes the chainwielding fury of Jocephus. In what seems like a matter of ten seconds, he chokes and chain-whips just about every bouncer and emcee in sight until he gets the microphone. His violence and vitriol seem to have two main themes: 1) He needs to explicitly let the crowd know how dumb and redneck they are, and 2) he needs to publicly communicate to the wrestling commissioner his anger with being deliberately excluded from matches. Then he demands a fight with Clarksville’s hometown pro wrestling hero, Crimson. Jocephus seems to revel in the ire as he walks out of sight to the deafening sound

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of boos. On the drive home, I think about why we’re entertained by something clearly staged. Maybe it’s the athleticism. Maybe it’s the violence. Maybe it’s conflict in general we are enamored with. Nietzsche makes a convincing argument that we all need rivals and that we’re all brutal and must deal frankly with it. He talks at length about the historical Greek olympian and general Miltiades and how a lack of competition led the stagnant warrior to a life of tyranny. Competition in general is way easier to understand than religion and philosophy. It’s primal. Joseph says, “You don’t have to know about Sartre to understand good and evil. My son’s name is ‘Soren,’ after Kierkegaard. You don’t have to know Either/Or to know that a bad guy wants to cheat to win. If you can communicate that to anyone, no matter what their walk of life, you’ve done a good thing. Essentially, you’ve been an entertainer, but maybe you’ve pointed to something else too.” Joseph is very obviously an anomaly—a straight and narrow family man who dedicates his life to study, creativity, and spectacle. He seems to juggle his life with a zen-like affect. On the one hand, it’s peculiar to see an intellect spending so much time on wrestling—such a hard living, when he could very well be devoting time to being a professor or some other more traditional lifestyle. Then again, creativity often abandons practicality in favor of curiosity. As to why he still does what he does in the face of such bleak odds of success, he says, “I’m still interested in it. That’s the main reason. There’s some financial reward. There’s been physical injury. There’s been all kinds of things, but it still interests my mind to be part of it . . . I love being part of the performance or ritual. I consider wrestling a ritual. It’s sort of tribal. It’s violent. It’s a process that leads to potentially some kind of greater truth, maybe. Good and evil clashing. Let’s do the ritual. Let the buffoons do their thing to show that good will hopefully win in the world.”

NASHVILLE’S COMMUNITY CENTER FOR JAZZ

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P h o t o : C a i t B ra d ey

vint age + handmade goods

SHOP WITH A SENSE OF HUMOR 37 01 B . G a l l a t i n P i ke

615 . 4 3 2 . 2 8 8 2

O P E N 7 DAYS A W E E K

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AFTER YEARS OF WORKING WITH T H E PAT T E R S O N HOUSE, PINEWOOD SOCIAL, AND T H E C AT B I R D S E A T, C H E F

JOSH HABIGER

I S F I N A L LY

MANNING HIS O W N S H I P AT BASTION BY ANDREA LUCADO | PHOTOS BY EMILY DORIO

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JOSH HABIGER AND BEN GOLDBERG restaurant.” That’s understandable, considhad looked at all of the open real estate at ering the hype around the rumor that this Houston Station, the creative business and Catbird Seat alumnus was opening his own event space in the Wedgewood-Houston restaurant. Minnesota-born Josh has a reputation in neighborhood. Or so they thought. Chef Habiger had an idea for a French bistro, the Nashville food scene. He moved here but none of the spaces at Houston Station in 2008 to help open The Patterson House. seemed appropriate. Then the guy showing Then he was co-chef at The Catbird Seat and them around mentioned a part of the build- helped get Pinewood Social off the ground. His pre-Nashville resume is impressive too: ing he wasn’t allowed to show anybody yet. Naturally, Josh asked if he could see the The Fat Duck in London, Craft in New York, and Alinea in Chicago. forbidden corner of the building. But Bastion? Bastion is different, because The guy reluctantly agreed to show it to them. He opened a garage door revealing Bastion is his. Except he doesn’t really put it that way. a cavernous room. Stacks of lumber, a canoe or some sort of boat propped up, mid- In fact, Josh talks more about his team than build—the space was being used as a wood- he does himself, and the idea of ever havshop. A hallway connected this large room ing a restaurant named after him is cringeworthy: “I think it’s not really my style in with a smaller one. “The dynamic of this, that little room and restaurants [to have] one dude and everythe big room, got my wheels turning a little one’s trying to recreate that person’s vision. I think here, it’s a bunch of people with a bit,” says Josh. After the tour, he told Goldberg, co-own- similar vision trying to achieve that thing.” We are sitting in the bar portion of Baser of Strategic Hospitality restaurant group and partner in Josh’s new venture, “‘I love tion. A black-and-white mural is painted on that space. It’s beautiful. It’s perfect for the far wall. String lights crisscross the ceiling, illuminating high shelves stocked with something, but I don’t know what yet.’” He knew it wasn’t the place for his French liquor. The seating choices range from bar bistro idea. That would have felt forced, stools to leather chairs to a set of customand he wanted to do what was right for the made, built-in bleachers. “Some of these elements—large shelves of space. “So I thought about it a little more,” he says, “and I called Ben a couple days later alcohol, string lights, record player, some of and I said, ‘I think in that neighborhood the furnishings—a lot of people that know what would work would be a neighborhood me say this is the same thing as my apartbar and then sort of a destination restau- ment,” Josh laughs. When I ask him what it’s like to walk into rant.’ He said, ‘Okay, which one do you want a restaurant that is his own, a manifestation to do?’ I said, ‘Let’s do them both.’” of his dream and vision and style, he says, And that’s exactly what they did. Bastion opened in the larger space in Feb- “Well, I don’t know. It’s nice, I think.” Josh is articulate, soft-spoken, and ruary as a neighborhood bar serving cocktails and nachos. In May, Josh opened the thoughtful. This response sounds casual, Bastion restaurant in the smaller room. The but it’s clear to me he loves and is passionate about what’s happening at Bastion; he’s separate opening was strategic. “I wanted to establish the bar as its own just not the type of guy who’s going to let place to hang out,” says Josh. “I was wor- something like being responsible for one of ried people would just come to the bar to the most-talked-about Nashville restaurant treat this as a giant waiting room for a tiny openings of the year go to his head.

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WHEN IT COMES TO TRAINING THE STAFF ON HOSPITALITY, THE AGREEDUPON MOTTO IS, “DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE.”

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He’s also an artist. The type of artist who sees his work as two things: a team effort and something that can always be better. “Some days it feels really good and some days it feels stressful just like anything else,” he says, regarding restaurant ownership. “I think that I’m one of those people that always wants things to be better. So I’m never completely satisfied. But I’m grateful because we have a really great crew and the people that work here seem happy to work here. When we were working on the place, I kept saying, ‘I want everyone to feel like they’re taken care of.’” The restaurant’s name is a nod to this sentiment. The word bastion kept making strange appearances in Josh’s life before he settled on it:

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it came up in a conversation about The NeverEnding Story (the main character’s name is Bastian with an a), then again in a cookbook. When Josh came across a definition of the word as a “fortress” or a “stronghold that holds on to an old idea,” he was sold. “I think that’s the hospitality side of what we’re trying to do here,” he says, “holding on to that old-fashioned idea of hospitality and just being genuine and honest and not trying to be anything else.” When it comes to training the staff on hospitality, the agreed-upon motto is, “Don’t be an asshole.” “And I mean that in a very loving way,” adds Josh. “There’s a dish we have back there with two little tortellinis in the dish, and if you’re one


person getting the dish, that’s all you need. If you’re two people sharing the dish, you get one each. But if you’re three people and you’re going to share the dish, it’s like, ‘Don’t be an asshole. Give the person a third tortellini.’” I agree. More tortellinis for everyone, please. It’s this attention to detail that sets apart an institution. It gets people talking about their experience rather than just saying, “Hey, that was good food.” And that’s what dining is meant to be, Josh says, an experience. “We talk a lot about the experience. We have a meeting every night at the end of service where we go through and we talk about what [guests] liked and didn’t like. If there were comments they made. If they liked one of the records we were playing. If they liked a certain

winemaker.” The restaurant itself offers two different experiences depending on where you’re sitting. To get to the restaurant, I follow Josh behind a sliding metal door, past another smaller bar, and into the second room. I notice a record player to my left along with a substantial vinyl collection. A long and curvy bar is in front of me, looking onto the open-air kitchen, and directly above the bar are suspended shelves holding herbs and plates. Opposite the bar are three—only three—tables that seat parties of four to six. The bar is meant to emulate being at a chef’s house, while the tables have a more family-style feel to them. Josh explains, “[At the bar], you’re looking straight ahead into

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BASTION: bastionnashville.com Follow on Facebook or Instagram @BastionNashville native.is

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what’s going on in the kitchen. With the shelving coming down, you’re drawn in and boxed out, like a TV screen in front of you. Then for the tables, I’d say that’s more like you’re going to a dinner party. You’re a little more removed from what’s happening in the kitchen . . . Every now and then more food just appears in front of them.” The menu consists of fifteen continuously changing dishes Josh collaborates on with co-chefs Tom Bayless (formerly at The Catbird Seat) and Patrick Carroll (formerly at Piccolo in Minneapolis). Tuesdays determine the menu because Tuesdays are delivery day from Nashville Grown (NATIVE’s July cover story), a local farm distributor. Josh says they don’t put too many parameters on themselves as far as what they’re going to create each week, but they are mindful of balance: “We try to have a dish that might be more adventuresome and something that’s going to be more approachable and something that’s going to lie somewhere in between.” The menu I’m looking at includes king salmon and corn, sea urchin and shiso, and artichoke and hazelnut. But again, the food is part of the experience as a whole, and that’s what Josh hopes guests will take away. “I hope people that come in do think of it as an entire experience as opposed to just dinner. At the time same, I hope people that come in want to just get fed.” No matter your motivation, a visit to Bastion is memorable. I go back to the bar a few days after our interview to try Ludovico’s Technique—one of head bartender Michael McCollum’s creations made with gin, vermouth, banana, and black pepper. I take a seat in the bleachers and look around. The place feels new yet familiar, comfortable yet surprising. I wonder if this is because Josh built Bastion into this space instead of building the space into his vision. When my drink arrives, I remember how Josh described it to me during our interview: “Nothing is overpowering. Everything is balanced.” He was right.

MEN. WOMEN. HOME. GIFT.

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THE CITY THAT LISTENS MUSICIANS CORNER TURNS THE SPOTLIGHT ON THE FINEST ARTISTS RESIDING AND MAKING MUSIC IN MUSIC CITY

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“THE RE IS A LOVE OF WILD NATURE IN EVE RYBODY.” - JOHN MUIR

NEW STUDENTS: 10 CLASSES FOR $20 # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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ILLUSTRATIONS BY MACKENZIE MOORE 56 / / / / / / / / / / / / / ///////

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LITERATURE SPOTLIGHT:

CURB CENTER EXPRESSIVE WRITING WORKSHOPS ON TUESDAYS AT NOON, the parking circle at Vanderbilt’s Curb Center was filled to capacity. The visitors all had two things in common: they had been touched by cancer in some way, and they were there to write. The group included cancer patients and survivors, loved ones and caregivers. Sometimes they wrote explicitly about cancer: the loss of a partner, the weight of a prosthetic breast, the cold rush of IV chemo. Other times, the writers found great joy in not writing about cancer, in celebrating the many other aspects of their lives and identities. This past year, the highlight of my creative writing fellowship at the Curb Center was leading the expressive writing workshops. The writers ranged from published poets to complete beginners who were giving themselves permission to write for the first time. Each time we met, I was deeply moved by the emotion and specificity in the writing, by the growing sense of community in the room, and by everyone’s bravery to write against cliché, against the expected narrative, in order to tell their own stories. The following are excerpts of fiction, memoir, and poetry written by some of the workshop members. —Anna

The expressive writing workshop series is co-sponsored by The Curb Center at Vanderbilt and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. The following excerpts of prose and poetry are from members of last year’s workshops, led by Vanderbilt writing fellow Anna Silverstein. # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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LOST

By Molly Zirkle Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my eyelashes the most. But I’ve gained hindsight. Hindsight to see that reconnecting with the sister of a college friend wasn’t random. Hindsight to see that chatting with a fellow churchgoer during our daughters’ gymnastics class wasn’t random. It was part of God’s bigger plan. They were both diagnosed within six months of these encounters. And became two of my biggest cheerleaders. Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my slim fingers the most. The finger that fit two rings. One given when I said “yes.” The other when I said “I do.” But I’ve gained proof. Proof that the man who put those rings on my finger meant his vow. In health . . . and in sickness. Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my waistline the most. My waistline that also disappeared six years ago, as I celebrated bringing the one and only life I will bring into this world. But I’ve gained another birthday. A birthday to celebrate the day I became cancer free. A birthday I share with the daughter of a friend. Born the same day, in the same hospital. She gave me motivation to get out of bed and wheel through the halls to visit this precious new life. Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my estrogen the most. But I’ve gained . . . Sore feet. A slow metabolism. A quick temper. Little patience. Anxiety. Brittle, thin fingernails. I’m not sure of the positive gain . . . yet. So, I will still run my race.

DEFACE

By Jamie Zoe Givens Alejandro Mar stares at a bra filled with double-D prostheses his aunt wears with her church clothes. He pulls out the cold, wet-as-flesh fake breasts from each pocket. He drops the mastectomy bra and stands in his aunt’s bedroom holding a prosthesis in each hand, noting the weight, squeezing fingers, wondering if this is how his own breasts would feel if he’d been born a woman. Once, he asked his Aunt Yolanda why she wore the breasts part time. She said they were needed when she wanted a man’s help like mechanics or plumbers, or at dances when she didn’t want to be misidentified as a man. Arching his long back, Alejandro places each carnation pink slab over his nipples. He looks in the dresser mirror but avoids looking at his crustaceanred, scarred, misshapen nose. The flaps of fake breasts fall off his chest, and Alejandro wonders what his friend, Pedro, would think.

OLD BARS

By Arnie Reed

Old bars have that smell. Decades of stale smoke mix with decades of stale beer The old men line the barstools as George Jones cries from the jukebox. Outside the vans wait to be unloaded. The heavy pieces come in first, rolled on dollies past the wall lined with newspaper clippings announcing victory over the Germans,

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then Japan’s surrender, all of which took place as I was growing in my mother’s womb. But there is no time to linger. The boxes and bags must be unloaded, fathoms of wire to uncoil, snake and connect, lights to raise and focus, PA speakers to hoist, problems to solve. Then come the amps and instruments hauled in one by one, unpacked, set up and wired together, cases stacked in a side room. The crowd begins to shuffle in and take their places. The pitchers of beer appear and glasses clink as the drummer counts off and we play our sound check song, “Slow Down.” I have prepared for this moment all my life. Piano lessons begun when Harry Truman was president and those clippings had not yet begun to yellow. Learning to play piano on guitar songs in guitar bands learning to listen, learning to fit in. Big stages, small stages, no stages, Moose lodges, VFWs, churches, community centers, Holiday Inns, country clubs, weddings, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, christenings, tour boats, inside, outside, rain, snow, ice, sleet, and sweltering sun. Rock, blues, country, folk, originals, covers. Nights smooth as silk, train wrecks, responsive crowds, dead crowds, no crowds, fights, drunks, and empty rooms. And the delicate balance of personalities and priorities, home life and work life. Hours of driving, hours of practice. All for this moment. Beauty meets Truth in this smoky bar. Our well-rehearsed band rolls out 90 minutes of non-stop synchrony, perfect harmonies split the stale air, as couples begin to leave their seats and move to the beat. A new sonic reality is brought into being

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MORE INFO: The next expressive writing workshop (led by incoming writing fellow Katie Young Foster) will begin on August 30, 2016 and run for six Tuesdays at 12–2 p.m. To sign up or ask questions, please contact Ali Schaffer at 615.322.9799 or allison.schaffer@vanderbilt.edu. The workshops are free of charge and open to anyone. 62 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / //////

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for three minutes at a time. The old men forget their time in the trenches, and the young people move their bodies to a new perfection that sweeps us all along in a river of benevolent energy. Forty-eight songs later, the bar is nearly empty as we play the last tune. Now begins the load-out. Wires unplugged, coiled and stowed, lights and speakers lowered, instruments carefully packed, equipment rolled out past the yellowed clippings and packed for the ride home. Fifty-eight dollars for my wallet, one last check, and we are on our way. On the way down I-40, my eyes feast on the Cheshire Cat moon as it smiles above the pines. It was a good night. THE GOOD WITCH By David Kitchell They are vacuuming glitter From the floor of my car At the carwash. It’s winter And she lives in another city. I had ambled around, shirt stuffed With straw, while she waved her wand Above a blue strapless dress And threw glitter over everyone all night. I waited as long as I could To get the car cleaned. Road salt causes rust, Though, and here I am. Those cold men Don’t care where the glitter goes, And labor unaware Of the light in which they shine. “The Good Witch” originally appeared in New Millennium Writings

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SATURDAY SEPT 10 2016

JOIN US FOR AN

UNFORGETTABLE DAY

ON THE RIVER

AND COMPETE IN A 250-METER

RACE FOR THE TITLE OF

GRAND CHAMPION! ALL PROCEEDS HELP FUND

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CUMBERLAND RIVER COMPACT

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#PADDLEYALL

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cumberlandrivercompact.org/dragonboat DESIGN BY KAYLA CRUMBLEY


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ANDREW LEAHEY DISCUSSES

JOURNALISM, BRAIN SURGERY, AND HIS NEW RECORD, SKYLINE IN CENTRAL TIME

PHOTOS BY ANDREA BEHRENDS

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“NASHVILLE IS A FIVE-YEAR TOWN.” That’s something I heard a lot during my first month here. The sentence was always delivered by a musician—some borderline-burnt-out songwriter who’d been playing gigs at The 5 Spot and making friends with the DJs at Lightning 100 long before I came along. Looking back, I understand why guys like that  felt the need to put me in my place. I’d barely been in town for five weeks, much less five years, yet there I was, sitting at some bar in East Nashville, ordering the first Yazoo pint of my entire life and telling some longtime Nashvillian on the barstool beside me that I was hoping to land a contract with Thirty Tigers. God bless all the strangers who didn’t laugh in my face. Telling me that Nashville was a five-year town was their way of politely saying, “Man, just wait your turn like the rest of us. You haven’t even begun to pay your dues.”

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They were right. It took me half a decade—as well as several hundred gigs, a brain operation that left me in recovery for the better part of a year, two independent albums, and a lot of dumb luck—to land that deal with Thirty Tigers. This summer, when I release my new album, Skyline in Central Time, on August 5, it’ll hit stores just a few weeks before my five-year Nashville anniversary. The whole thing is making me super nostalgic, which may be why NATIVE asked me to write an autobiographical piece about my time in town. So, in case you were wondering, that’s why you’re reading an article

about Andrew Leahey, written by Andrew Leahey. I write about musicians a lot. When I moved to Nashville in August 2011, I’d already spent the first part of my twenties working as a music journalist in New York City and Ann Arbor, Michigan. I really loved that job—I still do— but I had a hard time reconciling the fact that people like me were getting paid to sit in cubicles and judge other people’s art without having the balls to make art ourselves. Why were we the ones getting health insurance, while these songwriters—the guys I was spending eight hours a day critiqu-

ANDREW LEAHEY: andrewleaheymusic.com Follow on Facebook @AndrewLeaheyandtheHomestead or Twitter and Instagram @AndrewLeahey native.is

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ing—were busting their asses on the road and fighting the good fight? Music journalism was originally my backup plan. It was an alternate career path that I cooked up in high school in an attempt to pacify my parents whenever they became worried about their son fumbling through adulthood as a broke musician. By the time I hit college, though, Plan A—which was playing music, not writing about it—seemed to be shaping up nicely. I was gigging every week, playing four-hour marathon shows in bars and frat houses while paying my rent as a pit musician for a theater company. It wasn’t glamorous work, but I loved it. And then, when graduation hit and I realized just how poor I had become as an undergrad, I put my own music on hold and moved to Manhattan to take a position at SPIN magazine. Plan B temporarily took over. To be fair, working at SPIN was awesome. I was twenty-two years old, living in New York, and spending time with people like Ric Ocasek, who came into the office one day to perform some old Cars songs in the company conference room. I met my wife, Emily, at a music conference in Lincoln Center. I sent a fax to Bill freakin’ Murray. The entire experience hooked me. I wound up working for more than a half-dozen other companies during the years that followed before I had an internal What the hell am I doing with my life?! conversation and starting writing songs again. I quit my day job a few months later, and Emily and I moved to Nashville. Launching a music career is a lot like launching a journalism career. You start off by never getting paid. You accept any gig you can find. You network your ass off. You inch your way toward a place where better gigs and better pay grades await, and eventually, you arrive at that sweet spot where you don’t have to spend all your time looking for work, because work starts finding you. Talent is important, but it isn’t the only thing you need to bring to the table. You need patience. You need connections. And, as

Thirty Tigers CEO David Macias told me during our first meeting together, you need a story. For years, I thought my story was going to be a simple one: guy moves to Nashville, forms a band called Andrew Leahey & the Homestead, plays roughly one hundred shows per year and gets his big break. When my band wrapped up a big summer tour in 2013, though, that story took a turn. I was spending an afternoon in Centennial Park with Emily when the hearing in my right ear dropped by 50 percent. I remember that feeling. It happened all at once: a burst of electronic noise (which, I was later told, was the sound of my nerve endings dying), followed by the sudden sensation of my ear being stuffed with cotton and taped shut. My balance and depth perception started to slip too. We went bowling later that night, and I kept accidentally walking into chairs like a drunk person. The doctors didn’t know what to do with me. They tried everything—including shooting a syringe full of steroids through my eardrum and into my inner ear, hoping to blast out the infection—and only agreed to give me an MRI after I passed out in a Kroger parking lot one afternoon, splitting my chin open on the pavement. When the MRI results came back, they were devastating: I had a brain tumor on my right hearing nerve. It was growing—the hearing loss must’ve been caused by the tumor passing some sort of size threshold—and it needed to be removed. “You’re having brain surgery? Like, brain surgery brain surgery?” That’s how my friend Warren Givens responded to the news. Most of my friends had

similar reactions. I was a pretty healthy dude—no meat, no coffee, no nicotine, very little liquor. And I was young. Still, none of that changed the fact that Emily and I suddenly found ourselves taking a lot of trips to Vanderbilt Hospital, talking with a team of neurosurgeons and otolaryngologists about my head. The doctors were honest with me. They explained that any brain operation carries with it intense risks. I had a fifty-fifty chance of waking up from the surgery with complete hearing loss in my right ear, which would’ve meant the death of my music career. They also gave me odds on whether or not I’d even wake up at all, which would’ve meant the death of me. The twelve-hour operation occurred three months later, in November. It was successful, although I’ll spare you the gory details. No, I wasn’t awake, and yes, it did hurt once I woke up. And it kept hurting, whether I was sitting on a La-ZBoy in a hydrocodone haze (which I did for the first ten weeks of recovery—a period that, I should add, would’ve been much worse if it hadn’t been for my wife, who was just beyond awesome throughout the whole ordeal) or taking the Homestead back on the road for another tour less than three months after leaving the hospital. Immediately following that tour—which I booked against the advice of pretty much everyone I knew, simply because I wanted to prove to the world that my career wasn’t over—I came back home and paid dearly for not allowing my body the time it needed to fully heal. My head throbbed. I suffered daily migraines for about four months straight. I didn’t play one hundred gigs that

I REALIZED THAT MUSIC— PLAYING IT, LISTENING TO IT, WRITING ABOUT IT, LIVING IT—ISN’T A RIGHT OR A GUARANTEE. IT’S A PRIVILEGE. A BLESSING.

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year. My skull couldn’t take it. Instead, I stayed home and wrote songs. It felt different this time. I realized I’d been taking music for granted during the years leading up to my operation, simply because it was something that had always been around. It was playing inside every car I stepped into. Every movie I watched. Every speaker in every bar I ever visited. After it was nearly taken away from me, I realized that music— playing it, listening to it, writing about it, living it—isn’t a right or a guarantee. It’s a privilege. A blessing. And, for me and thousands of other people in this five-year town, a total necessity. I wound up taking those new songs, along with a few I’d written before I got

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sick, and recording them in Ken Coomer’s East Nashville studio. The result is Skyline in Central Time. I’ve been describing it as “an album about what it feels like to be alive,” and if that sounds a bit lofty and Bono-ish, so be it. The whole surgery experience woke me up. It made me a better guy, a better musician, a better husband. I never want to go through something like that again, but there are some lessons you can only learn when you’re nose to nose with your own mortality, and I’m doing my best to put those lessons to good use. A lot has happened in the past half decade—more than any eleven-track album or sixteen-hundred-word article can encapsulate. I think I’ve reached the end of the beginning. To all Nashvillians who’re new to town and just starting their own journey: welcome and good luck. To those who’ve been here awhile—and, like all of us, are still paying those never-ending dues—remember that we’re in this thing together. Let’s all see what the next five years have in store.


A Harvard study has now shown that certain meditation practices are powerful tools to shift and change our physical health as well as our mental and emotional states. Learn to meditate and experience expanded awareness and deeper levels of inner peace.

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YOU OUGHTA KNOW: NIGHTLY

There’s something to be said for first impressions. They’re not everything, but they certainly make a difference (Severus Snape, anyone?). Local pop duo NIGHTLY undoubtedly understands this, and they’ve got the debut single to prove it. Released only three months ago, “Xo” is the band’s only song to date, but it’s already gotten nearly a million streams on Spotify. It also earned the duo an opening slot at Lightning 100’s Nashville Sunday Night concert series in July and a spot as ALT 98.3’s band of the month in May (sidenote: we were at the Lightning show, and about fifty people came early just to catch their sound check). Right now, NIGHTLY’s bouncing between Nashville and L.A. while they work on their first EP, which is slated for the fall. But in the meantime, read their answers about ice cream, breakup songs, and Pokémon above.

NIGHTLY y.com Thisisnightl book, ce Fa on ow Foll agram st In or r, Twitte ly @thisisnight native.is

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ANIMAL OF THE MONTH

Written by Cooper Breeden*

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As one of those weirdos who is enamored of all kinds of reptiles and amphibians, people often tell me about a salamander they spotted in their yard. While Tennessee has a large variety of salamanders, they usually aren’t found in an urban or suburban yard, at least not as often as skinks. Like salamanders, skinks have a slimy-looking appearance, but the similarities mostly stop there. A skink is actually a lizard, making it more closely related to snakes, turtles, and alligators than the amphibious salamander. Tennessee has five different kinds of skinks, three of which are difficult to tell apart, and all of which lack any creativity in the nomenclature. The most common skinks are the ones with blue tails, which may actually be one of three different species: southeastern five-lined, common five-lined, or broad-headed skink. All three have blue tails as juveniles, the males get reddish heads during breeding season, and they all have five lines running down their back, which they may or may not lose later in life depending on their gender (or the whims of genetics). The only real way to tell them apart is to get uncomfortably close and examine the scales on their lips and under their tail. The other skink species are the little brown skink, which can be found statewide in forests abundant in leaf litter, and the coal skink, which is deemed rare by state agencies. One of the skink’s more well-known party tricks is caudal autotomy, or the ejection of its tail. A skink drops its tail when it feels threatened, and the tail usually goes on squirming. This will hopefully capture the predator’s attention while the lizard retreats to safety. The tail is released via a powerful muscle contraction that separates

the wriggly appendage. While this may save the skink’s life, it does have some drawbacks, ranging from impaired mobility since skinks use their tail for balance, to nutrient deficiencies because so much energy is devoted to regeneration of the tail, to stunted reproduction, again, because energy is needed for egg development. Sometimes a skink will return to its rogue tail when the coast is clear and eat it for its valuable energy reserves. Skinks stand to be on the dinner plate of almost any larger carnivorous creature, including raccoons, snakes, and birds. You may even find your cat batting them around from time to time. Domesticated cats take a surprising toll on many animal populations in suburban areas (some studies have reported cats as killers of billions of birds in the United States each year). While the skink populations in the state might not be imperiled, that doesn’t mean a cat won’t poach them out of a yard. Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to create safe places for them in an urban or suburban landscape—it’s just a matter of providing areas where they can forage and take shelter. This could be as simple as an occasional pile of sticks, logs, rocks, or leaves worked into your landscape or tuc tucked inconspicuously in a corner of the yard. For the same reason people don’t like worms and snakes and slugs, people don’t like skinks—they’re long and slimy and weird. Nevertheless, they have their place in our ecosystem, and that is true of suburban yards too. Skinks primarily eat crickets, snails, slugs, cockroaches, spiders, termites, beetles, and even small mice—basically anything we don’t want in our homes and gardens. No ma matter how repulsive skinks may seem, all those other things out-yuck skinks any day of the week.

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Profile for Native

NATIVE | AUGUST 2016 | NASHVILLE, TN  

FEATURING: Bastion, Andrew Leahey, Jocephus Brody, Barry Walker, and many more.

NATIVE | AUGUST 2016 | NASHVILLE, TN  

FEATURING: Bastion, Andrew Leahey, Jocephus Brody, Barry Walker, and many more.

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