Static Age Records is more than just a collection of underground punk, metal and other noisy CDs and vinyl. It’s a monolith of Asheville’s experimental rock scene, offering alternative venues for local bands and touring acts that need a place to play a gig.
On Tuesday night, Static Age celebrates fives years of selling and buying records, hosting shows and helping out bands, with a party at Broadway’s (a bit further down Lexington Avenue). The Spits, Nobunny and A Burning Bus (with the legendary Don Howland ) share the bill. Why not at the store itself, with its revamped back room?
“We wanted to be able to enjoy ourselves and watch [the bands],” says Joel Hutcheson, Static Age’s owner. “Broadways is our favorite bar. They’re big supporters of us, and we’re big supporters of them. It makes sense.”
The larger space at Broadway’s accommodates the two touring acts better. Seattle-based punk group The Spits are high in demand, rarely touring the East Coast with their costumed live shows, and Nobunny always draws a crowd, says Hutcheson.
It’s a fitting bill for a Static Age party an evening of aggressive, loud and danceable rock music. Nobunny is renowned for its wild array of onstage antics and bizarre props, as well as front man Justin Chamblin’s freaky bunny mask. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Static Age event without a local band on the bill. Revamped from the ashes of Wooden Tit and Suttree, A Burning Bus’ Stooges-inspired rock plays first.
“We decided to have an anniversary party in June—we knew that the Spits were coming with Nobunny and we were trying to get them, so it just kind of coincided. The Spits have never toured this region really, so it’s kind of an anomaly. Nobunny played in the store last year, and it was packed to the walls. All three bands, even A Burning Bus, fit a good party atmosphere and fit us,” he says.
Since the store opened 11 years ago as Green Eggs and Jam, its operators have served as booking agents and promoters for a whole circuit of artists and venues, from neighborhood houses to The Grey Eagle.
“When I moved here, there weren’t any venues, really. It was just little D.I.Y. spaces, house shows and backrooms of places. If there’s a show we’re into, we’ll book it wherever we can,” says Hutcheson.
Hutcheson worked as a Green Eggs and Jam employee from the beginning, and purchased the store five years ago, renaming it while Green Eggs and Jam opened a new location in Boone. About 10 months ago, he cut the store in half and built a backroom with a stage and a house PA system.
“I’ve worked here the whole time, and we started doing shows in the store 11 years ago. We used to just roll all the racks upfront to the back part of the store,” he says.
Hutcheson’s main rule for booking shows is to always include a local band. The recent addition of Static Age’s backroom and stage has increased the number of in-store shows. UNCA Students and local bands frequently book house shows in the neighborhoods surrounding Montford and Broadway, and house shows happen all over town, but Static Age offers a more formal atmosphere with better sound capabilities.
“We try to get local bands for every show we book in town at any venue because that’s the perfect chance for them to break into playing live and figuring out what’s going on without having to worry about being so professional,” Hutcheson says.
Advance tickets can be purchased at Static Age, 82-A North Lexington Avenue.