Show #18: May 6, 2005
w/ Zachery Allan Starkey
Fat Girls by the Snack Table
The first time I saw the name “Fat Girls by the Snack Table” in print was on a marquee at Larry’s, a legendary but now long-shuttered High Street bar. I pictured a bunch of smarmy guys in a shitty cover band, and I thought to myself “What a bunch of douchebags.” It was only once this show was booked that I found out the band was in fact all girls, and quite saucy to boot. I found their website which featured exactly one song called “Nothing Makes a Man Change,” which had a chorus that ordered the listener to “Fuck me real slow.” Their sound was a bit more sophisticated than ours was at the time, but it was in the same poppy/electronic vein. I knew we’d end up being good pals.
Even if you didn’t know Zachery Allan Starkey personally, you knew Zachery Allan Starkey from seeing him walk around the city with his eye-catching new wave hair. I had introduced myself to him already on the OSU campus where we were both undergraduate students, and we had friends in common. He had initially tried to get us on a previous show at Skully’s, another High Street venue, but that one fell through, so this show at the High Five was a generous IOU. Zack was a polarizing figure in Columbus (now seems better received overall in NYC) who inexplicably drew people’s ire, so I was excited to be a part of this whole wacky thing.
This was our first show at the High Five (the second iteration of the club), and I found it to be very polished-looking. I saw Zack arrive at the venue, and I approached him to say hello, but then noticed he was screaming at someone furiously on the phone, so I put that off for a moment. I then met Gretchen Tepper from the Fat Girls, but I don’t recall what we talked about. What I do recall is a bit later Zack asking me if I’d met Gretchen while she was standing next to him, and I had to pause to think if I had. “YES!” she shouted at me, with a half-laughing snort. (I wouldn’t go as far to say that I have a “facial blindness” condition, but I do have a tendency to sometimes need a moment to remember people who are relatively new to me, or people who I don’t see as often - I think it’s more of an anxiety condition. If I’ve done that to any of you, and I know I have, I’m really sorry).
We were on first, and I remember having a few before we went on to loosen up. I was beginning to realize by then that having a bit before a performance made me a bit more animated on stage. I mostly recall doing our cover of “Milkshake” by Kelis, and facing the crowd in a tornado drill-manner with my butt in the air (covered for this one, but that would eventually descend into underwear, and then bare ass).
The Fat Girls went on next; They had been advertised online as a three-piece, but by this time they were a duo. Gretchen and Sara Cole rocked that joint, and held the crowd in the palms of their hands. At one point between songs, Gretchen asked the crowd, “Does anyone want to lick the sweat off of my tits?” Like I said, I knew we’d end up being good pals.
Zack Starkey closed the night, joined on stage by Marvin the Robot, aka Miles Curtiss. This was our first introduction to Miles, who is someone you don’t easily forget. At one point during the set, Miles abandoned his synthesizer duties to run around the venue and rub the heads of people who were quietly minding their business at the bar. It was outstanding.
It is simply unbelievable to me now as I write this that it was a mere 11 months later we were organizing a farewell show for the Fat Girls. We had already grown so close by then. I threw a minor tantrum over the phone to Gretchen when I heard the news they were breaking up. I couldn’t help it, performing with them made me feel safe and powerful. They were so great and so magnetic, and they could get a bigger crowd than we did just by falling out of bed in the morning. This picture is from an after party at our place following their last show (aside from a handful of reunion gigs) on April 15, 2006. What’s also unbelievable to me is that the show ended at 2:30 AM, so who knows what the fuck time this is taking place. We were damn party machines back then. It was a special time and place.