We're Off to See the Wizard: Chris Parizzo talks with Emerald City's Adam Woogmaster

GC: Hi, Adam. Adam Woogmaster: Hi.

GC: How’s it going?

AW: Good.

GC: Thanks for sitting down with me...

AW: In the bowels of the Emerald City.

GC: In the belly of the beast. Before we start talking about the club, let’s talk about your musical experience. What were you doing before you were running a club?

AW: How early do you want it?

GC: Let’s start in the womb, Adam. Did you make music while in the womb?

AW: (laughs) Not that I remember.

GC: Did you blow a mean fillopian tube?

AW: Uhhhh...

GC: Let’s move on to your early years...

AW: I remember banging around on pots and pans when I was a kid. I sort of remember playing as a little kid because my Mom’s boyfriend was a musician, he was in a band. One of the first bands I was in, we used to play right down the block from here, I was in high school at the time, I was maybe thirteen or fourteen. The guys I played still play around here; Peter Sharp, Peter Mayou, Anton Cole.

GC: What was the name of the band?

AW: Oh my God, I don’t remember (laughs).

GC: You’ve got to love those high school memories...

AW: Yeah, I cherish them. You know what, I don’t think that we even had a name. We played the Goddard Spring Fest once or twice. That was cool. I then played with a band in Utah called The Kind.

GC: The Kind?

AW: Uh... yeah.

GC: And where did that name come from, The Kind?

AW: I would say... uh... we were really nice guys and that is how we got the name. Yeah.

GC: I guess I’ll accept that. Later you played with Mr. Dooley.

AW: That was later, yeah.

GC: What did you do in Mr. Dooley?

AW: Singer. Later I went into viperHouse.

GC: Yeah, let’s talk about viperHouse. Were you one of the founding fathers of viperHouse?

AW: viperHouse was like this: Michael Chorney had this vision. He had a list of all the people he wanted to play with, he called them up and said: “Come on down. We’re going to do this thing and if you want to be in... just show up. And then three rehearsals later we had this demo tape... it was bad (laughs). It started out with me and this other kid who were rapping. I can’t remember if there was any other type of singing. As my side of the story goes; I’m driving around — this is how I remember it... I might be wrong. My memory is clearly subject to... uh... fatigue. But I’m driving around in my car with my girlfriend and her friend is Heloise, she’s in the backseat. I’m listening to this tape we made trying to practice the songs... just singing along, this stuff was way over my head, man. The shit was really good. Heloise just starts singing in the backseat and it blows me away... I’m like: “You need to come to the next rehearsal!” So I bring her to rehearsal and the stuff they were playing was beyond me and she was picking it up. So I thought: “She sounds so great.” I just kind of bowed out.

GC: That’s pretty cool of you.

AW: Yep.

GC: You’re pretty cool, Adam.

AW: Thanks, dude.

GC: So how did you get to be a club owner?

AW: Well, my Dad owns it. I kind of run it.

GC: How was the transition from musician to running your own club?

AW: Pure insanity. I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind wanting to own a club! It’s really fun. The work is great and stuff, but the hours are terrible!

GC: You end up doing a boring interview at three in the morning.

AW: I hate it when that happens.

GC: How did you get the name Emerald City?

AW: Uhhh... (laughs) well actually the signs were already made! This guy was collaborating with us... (pauses to reflect and starts laughing) he already picked the name. We really don’t work together anymore. We had different ideas for the place.

GC: Do you think that playing in a band — being a musician — effects the way you book the room?

AW: I think so. I think I found myself falling into traps when I was a musician, when dealing with club owners. A lot of bullshit. I kind of look at how well a band has their shit together. I check out how well a band promotes their shows. I have seen, more than anything else, it’s all about the hype for bands. If your music is good, that’s half the battle. And it goes the same for a club, man. I really believe it’s all promo. We are going to start trying to get the club’s name out.

GC: You have one of the best rooms to play. The atmosphere is great, the people who work here are awesome...

AW: And I think that we have one of the best sounding rooms in the state.

GC: Why Montpelier?

AW: The room was already here. It was called Legends at the time. It was a sport’s bar.

GC: Really?

AW: Yeah, it was a racecar bar. You’re resting your head on a car tire.

GC: Oh, shit! There are car tires all over the walls! Damn. Never noticed that before.

AW: Yeah, we tried to change the place around. Right now, we are sitting in the room that use to be the bar when it was Legends. We turned it into the band room and opened up the second floor as The Emerald City... it’s bigger and has more room for the stage.

GC: What type of music do you like to see in the The City?

AW: I’m trying to keep it really eclectic. I am trying to get good music of all kinds because there is no place to fucking go around here, you know? People want to hear music of good quality. There is no place to hear that around here. Even in Burlington.

GC: You book a lot of local music! More than any other club in the state, in my opinion. You also give a lot of up and coming bands a chance to show what they can do.

AW: Yeah.

GC: Do you think that comes from being a musician... you know what it’s like to be starting from scratch?

AW: Yeah, I think so. I think that goes back to presenting live music of all kinds. We just want to bring people in.

GC: What do you think The Emerald City will be doing in the future?

AW: Just to show people what a great place this is, ya know. I honestly can’t tell you, man. I have some ideas of what we are going to do. I am hopeful that... someday... we can turn this into an all ages club. I am really discouraged by the local community. The lack of support is awful. We are thinking about turning the upstairs into an alcohol and smoke free environment.

GC: All ages?

AW: All the time. Because the alcohol laws suck. Being a bar really restricts your patronage. There are a lot of people out there who just won’t go to bars... kids can’t get in! We have had family events here and the place is packed. The Pryalisk was like that.

GC: The Pyralisk was great!

AW: Yeah, and that place was packed all the time! It wasn’t a bar — no alcohol — it was something else. Man, we are thinking about turning this bandroom into the bar and having the upstairs just be a room for everyone to go into. I think that would be the coolest thing we could do.

GC: We need an all ages club in Montpelier.

AW: Yep.

Chris Parizo is the bass player for Chin Ho! and co-publisher of this here magazine that you’re reading. Yep.