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Monday, March 27, 2006
  A Bunch Of Blubber

Milton Carter Band: "Music Lover"

Some towns are like high school. Or prison. While you're stationed there, it's your world. The day you leave, it all happened a lifetime ago, to someone else.

Between 1995 and 1998, while I called it home, Asheville, NC (known primarily, if at all, as a rapidly gentrifying hippie haven) nourished a lively DIY scene. Bands such as Luvsix, the Merle, TimInAction and 7 Foot Spleen played in basements and at the since-defunct bar Vincent's Ear. Sometimes they appeared on Free Radio Asheville, a short-lived pirate station. Most of this stuff fell between punk and no wave, but anyone could ante up. Asheville's a great city, but it was never a big one.

As a member of the Rich & Famous and the Mathmatics (he was drunk when he made the fliers) and editor/publisher of gANK Magazine (the city's only serious music zine, heavily inspired by early Vice, distinguished as one of the first organs to publish your reporter), my friend Milton Carter was the most prominent spokesman for the seedier side of Asheville music. He sat at the center of the Decline World Media empire, which, before disappearing suddenly and completely, threw some great Sunday afternoon barbecues and put out three CD compilations documenting Asheville's raucous late-'90s shenanigans.

My feeble memory has the summer of 1998 dog-eared as a collection of personal highlights: Heroic alcohol intake, sloppy makeout sessions, glorious humiliation. The Decline Of Western North Carolina Volume Three sat proudly in my car's CD player through much of that halcyon interval. This track, from the one-shot Milton Carter Band, was always my favorite thing on it.

I haven't left metro Chicago in almost two years, and I hardly ever communicate with any erstwhile Ashevillians. (Thanks, Kate/Wyette, Charity, Isaac and Ian, for staying true, despite my long lapses in correspondence.) In 1999, I saw Milton working the door at the New York Knitting Factory. He let me into a sold-out Rachel's show. Thanks, pal.

Milton apparently lives in Brooklyn now, and has a lot of cool, arty projects on the burner. Here's his website. I'm sure all the Decline of WNC discs are beyond out-of-print, but if you ask him about it, tell him who sent ya.
 
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