Jorgan Krug from This is Jazz Talks About DIY Life.
The shit-kicking, beer-spitting, do-it-yourself music scene that has evolved in Philadelphia over the last two decades is thanks in large part to multifaceted individuals like Jorgan Krug. Our Elizabeth Price chats with Krug about being a soundman-about-town, his punk band This Is Jazz, and why we can’t slither down to The Ox anymore.
How did you end up in Philadelphia?
I went to audio production school in New York. I ended up in Philly because I felt like it was a middle ground between New York and my hometown of Pittsburgh.
Who do you do sound work for currently in Philly?
I work at World Cafe Live, R5 Productions and any independent bands that want to hire me for their gigs. This month I’ll be working at the TLA. I did the Defiance, Ohio show this summer at the First Unitarian Church.
This is Jazz is a four-piece. I provide vocals, Chris Pires plays drums, Mark Roscoe plays bass and Philip Holmes plays guitar. We recently played three house shows with One Win Choice.
You were involved with the Ox (the Kensington venue/residence that was shut down in February). What was it like for that to come to an end?
Ultimately, the reason why it stopped was that we had had cops coming by for awhile and making their presence known. When Two-Piece Fest happened, they actually swarmed in, stopped the show, took everybody’s IDs down. Because of the space’s zoning and because we are living there, we “temporarily” stopped doing shows. I say “temporarily” because it’s been six months and we’ve only done a couple since. It was home to about twelve people. In February we did fifteen shows. That’s more than one every other day. It made sense to take a break at that point.
Are you actively trying to get the Ox space up to code?
There’s no way we will be able to bring that space up to code. It would cost tens of thousands of dollars. It’s not worth it. I think that being around shows, working shows, going to shows… the way that we were able to conduct them there makes more sense. Especially for smaller ones than any other alternative venue. We ended up losing a reunion show for The Fad to The Fire. With overhead, the bands ended up splitting $60 or so. I’m not saying, “fuck The Fire.” They have expenses. They’re a business and we weren’t. We had the ability to give bands like those $250 instead.
You gave small acts a chance to put on rad shows. Now that it’s over, are you glad there aren’t tons of kids in your house each night anymore?
It was an absolute nightmare having kids running around your house. In the summer everything was hot, beer bottles everywhere, toilets were always busted. In February, I had to kick some people out of a show, like, “Hey dude, how about you not piss on our neighbor’s steps? How about you don’t break bottles? How about you don’t try to start a fight? Stop shooting fireworks off of my roof.” Everything, everyday. We wake up, shovel beer cans, crush them and haul them to the scrap yard for a little cash. It’s like the glamorous world of DIY house-show promotion. It took its toll. I never took a promoter’s cut for anything I booked. That’s the whole point of why that place was there.
Nice to have a break? I do remember the Halloween show in 2010. We were trying to figure out how not to have 800 kids break into your room since the door was busted.
Yeah! Most definitely. I forgot about that. You understand. Was that the night the cops showed up?
Yes it was.
Yeah. That was great.
(photo by Dan Bassini)