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The Pomonas: Working on Their Screenplay

story by tim mcmahan



Lazy-i: Sept. 14, 2005

The Pomonas
w/ Fizzle Like a Flood, The Ointments
Sept. 17, 9:30 p.m.
1322 So. Saddle Creek Rd.

Are The Pomonas the epitome of slacker indie rock bands?

The Lawrence four-piece's music certainly typifies a lifestyle of unctuous turpitude. For evidence of this, just check out "Slacker in the Service Industry," a veritable homage to a lifestyle of slovenly ease justified by a chorus that goes, "Working on my screenplay / Working on my screenplay..." and ends with "Someday they're gonna give me a Golden Globe."

Ah, the joy of wishful thinking.

The song comes from The Pomonas' recently self-released EP, Jubilation, which the band doesn't like very much. "We're pretty dissatisfied with it the more we listen to it," says Pomonas' guitarist and official mouthpiece Andy Gassaway via cell phone moments after waking up in Emporia, Kansas, following a long night of free drinks -- a large (and important) part of the band's compensation package.




Interviewing Gassaway is like having a heart-to-heart with comedian Steven Wright -- he has that same dry delivery as he describes the band's adventures in academia. While Drummer Brandon Ripley got a degree from William Woods University, the other members all attended Kansas University. Frontman Justin Ripley was kicked out after changing majors seven times -- he currently has enough credits to graduate. Bassist Ryan Laird is on academic probation, while Gassaway actually earned a Journalism degree, which he applied for three years at a small newspaper near Lawrence before being fired on his birthday.

"The boss and I didn't like each other," he said wryly. "It came down to being assigned an article about the search light on top of the McDonald's drive-thru. I e-mailed him (even though he was right across the hall) and asked if he thought it was newsworthy. I got a hurt-sounding e-mail in return, and then got called into the conference room."

Gassaway is now on unemployment, which gives him plenty of time to tour, something the band loves to do. So much, in fact, that The Pomonas are sort of an outsider band in a Lawrence scene bubbling with label-bound acts like The Minus Story, Ghosty and Arthur Dodge and the Horsefeathers.

"We're pretty nonexistent as far as that stuff is concerned," Gassaway said. "We concentrate on playing out of town. I don't know why, but we enjoy playing a lot for people we don't know."

Like us Omahans. In fact, the Pomonas' first out-of-town gig was at O'Leaver's last February, where they glowed like a diamond in the rough -- and I mean rough. Their style is pure indie-garage in the vein of a messy, early-'90s Matador band practicing in your basement. Vocals ranged from falsetto yelps to unison cheers to straight-on indie crooning, all with a laid-back, slacker sense of humor.

Gassaway said the band was disappointed in that first Omaha gig. "We thought it was pretty sloppy," he said. "We've gotten a lot more professional, but still, there's a restlessness about us. We want to be a tightly honed machine, but, at the same time, entertaining to watch."

Sadly, Gassaway said the band no longer plays "Slacker…" "We had to cut the jock-jam chorus," he said. "It blew my mind that the song could go beyond six minutes. I don't want to listen to any song for six minutes unless it's a Yes song."

Ah, the joy of wishful thinking.

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Published in The Omaha Reader Sept. 14, 2005. Copyright 2005 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.






"We concentrate on playing out of town. I don't know why, but we enjoy playing a lot for people we don't know."