Total Fest Memories: Uncut Edition


The final Total Fest is just around the corner. The three-night, 40-plus-band music festival that features punk, alt-country ("whatever that is"), hardcore, sludge and other musical mutations begins tomorrow night, Thu. Aug. 20 and goes through Sat., Aug. 22. The schedule is up for you to see, and it features favorites like Hammerhead, Big Business, Lana Rebel and The Bugs, along with bands new to the festival.

Humpy, 21 years ago, hanging out at the house that used to sit right where the Indy's barbecue gazebo now stands. - PHOTO COURTESY OF AMANDA BROWDER
  • photo courtesy of Amanda Browder
  • Humpy, 21 years ago, hanging out at the house that used to sit right where the Indy's barbecue gazebo now stands.

As a last hurrah, there is an inordinate number of reunion bands from Missoula 's yesteryear, including Humpy, Everyday Sinners, Oblio Joes, Volumen, Sasshole and Mike & Rick. Ticket info is available here, but you can also just run down to Ear Candy Music and pick up a pass.

Our story on Total Fest this last week took a look back on past Total Fests from the people who were there. The memories are fun, funny and downright maudlin at times.

We had to cut a few of those memories short due to space issues, but there were a couple that should be shared in their entirety, for your entertainment. Here they are:

From Kia Liszak, executive director at the Zootown Arts Community Center and past Total Fest organizer:

A Total Fest memory? I have seen hundreds of bands at Total Fest over the years, many of whom have become my favorites, my best friends, or even my husband. I remember many sweaty fist-pumping nights, spontaneously hugging the person next to me out of shear rock and roll infused joy while watching any number of amazing acts.

A Total Fest is exactly what it is. It is when you jump totally headlong into the multi-stage frenzy. You see all of your old friends, hit some barbeques, join the black jeans at the river, walk your sore neck down to the bright light at The Big Dipper for the record swap, sit in a pick-up truck and listen to heavy metal in the parking garage, and contemplate quitting your job just so you don’t have to miss a single part of the total fun, because it really is that fun, and a forever symbol of your youth when every party was worth it.

But when I look back on Total Fest, the sweaty nights nights blend together, and the years of Total Fest start to become a series of landmarks that are a narration of, well, my whole adult life. There were the years running up and down the stairs at Jays, relishing in the chance to take over the downstairs for the first time.

There was the one and only Total Fest I ever missed at The Cowboy Bar when my band, Sasshole, played without me while I was in the hospital recovering from a serious illness. There was creating a little infamous zine with a bunch of rad crazy chicks and watching the mortified looks on people’s faces as they flipped through it at the barbeques.

There was being 7 months pregnant and working the door at the Llama barn, and the next year, bringing my 9 month old son to the in-between section at The Badlander to show him off to old friends and catch a glimpse of my favorite bands. There was Sasshole’s first reunion show, my first big return to my punk rock self after becoming a mom and a business woman.

There was learning the importance of building something together, growing a DIY community, doing things for the right reasons, and keeping it all ages for the kids- lessons I literally use every day in my career.

This year will prove another landmark on August 22nd as my band Sasshole takes to the stage one last time with my husband’s band, Volumen on our 11th wedding anniversary, a union that would not have happened without Missoula’s music scene. It will also mark the end of one of the best parts of my life, and probably the last thing that will keep me up past 1am more than one night in a row. 

From Jim "Repulsive" Anderson, past Total Fest organizer:

1. Lana Rebel. She's been integral to Total Fest. She has been in many different bands and I believe, if my wet brain serves me correct, played the first TF with Last of the Jaunitas. Great band. Great lady. Solo style she plays great country music.

2. Narrows. I think it was TF 3, because it was still at Jay's. This band blew my fucking mind. Such slow. So much slow it almost made me uncomfortable.

3. Lozen. It wasTF 5. We were listening to submissions. Put on some band's cd called Lozen. The song started out. Heavy. Slow. Then the lyrics screamed by Hoz and Juice "crack of the whip motherfucker, you best get with it!" And everyone said, 'They're in!!' If it weren't for these beautiful women we wouldn't know Helms Alee.

4. Le Force. SLC bad boys. They were as young as me. I think Chris turned 21 at a TF same as me. This was probably TF 3. Just a bunch of kids from mormontown churning out the metals. Also gave us such TF bands as Portals and Lord Dying. Mullet Elf.

5. All the locals. Oblio Joes. Sasshole. Humpy. Disgruntled Nation. Fireballs of Freedom. Ass End Offend/Squalora. (Counting the Flathead Nowhere League as locals.) Even Volumen and International Playboys. Without these mostly fine people we wouldn't have a community that supports such a rad thing like TF.

6. Pierced Arrows. Fred and Toody. NW legends.

7. The friends and family I have made over the years. I probably wouldn't have known these people if it weren't for TF. The Oxford. That feeling you get when you introduce someone to their first JJ'S, also their first chicken fried steak. The after, after, after parties sitting at home with a slumber party situation watching the God channel on mute. Playing records and talking shit. Painting each others toenails. The ass of Juicie's pants ripping out that one night. The wake up. Food. River. Bbq. Rock n roll. Party. Slumber party. Rinse and repeat. When all the Washington babies showed up a day early and we hung heavy and made fry bread tacos.

8. The first total fest when I showed up for work and found out something called total fest was happening.

9. Seeing, like, 30-50 punks at 8 mile! Just hogging the beach doing TF stuff and getting to know each other. Listening to music. Playing music. Swimming around. Shooting potato guns. 

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