Kill All Redneck Pricks. Better known as KARP: A Melvins-obsessed, heavy-as-uranium trio—Jared Warren, Scott Jernigan and Chris Smith—from Tumwater, Wash., who met early in life and formed a band in high school to insulate themselves from the ubiquitous jocks and hicks of their tiny logging town just outside Olympia.
It is, naturally, a YouTube comment that sums them up best: “best underated [sic] HEAVY AS A FUCKING METORITE [sic] ON YOUR BALLSACK band in history.”
The comment, under the song “Get No Toys (When You Pay the Money),” exhibits the type of enthusiasm about KARP that filmmaker William Badgley has come to hear with much frequency of late.
He just spent four and a half years of what he describes as “monk-like solitude” working tirelessly on a documentary about the band, the appropriately titled Kill All Redneck Pricks: A Documentary Film About A Band Called KARP. Over the last few months, he’s been screening his film all over the U.S. and Europe, eight different countries and three different languages in all. He brings the film to Little Bar this Saturday.
“At this point I’ve talked to KARP fans all over the world and am constantly shocked by the sheer girth of their fan base ... in countries where they never toured,” Badgley says from the road. “I think this is because their records are excellent, and part of what makes them excellent—beyond the quality of the songwriting and performance—is that the emotional qualities that were palpable in their live shows are in the records. People, no matter where they are, get that, and the appreciation of the band just grows.”
The work Badgley put in on the doc over the years certainly shows. The film vividly captures the band’s brief mid-90s rise and fall through home videos and photos of early KARP tours and performances, rare live-on-air radio interviews with the band, and interviews about the guys. It also offers a snapshot of the Olympia-turned-Punk-Mecca scene they came up in with punk DIY royalty like Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna and K Records head honch Calvin Johnson, who tells a funny and touching story about the three high-school boys who proposed he put out their first record. (He did, and two more after that for good measure.)
Johnson even whips out a filmstrip of KARP’s first live performance. It’s striking. They were so young. Just three nerds who decided to become World Champions of Rock after, bored in class one day, Chris passed Jared a note, telling him they should start a band.
“I think each band is a unique combination of the members it is comprised of and that the sound of the band is the sum of those entities reacting. I think that KARP is a really great example of this,” says Badgley. “There’s a line on the bottom of the back of the DVD that says, ‘Kill All Redneck Pricks is the biography of a friendship ... because ultimately the sound a band makes is the sound of their friendship.’”
Or, put another way, from a YouTube comment under KARP’s “Bacon Industry”: “holy fucking balls this is insane. It’s like I just realized I had ears for the first time in my life.”
Kill All Redneck Pricks screens Sat., Dec. 3, 8pm. Little Bar, 736 S. Eighth St. karplives.com
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