Holly! Holly!

Holly Womack: A Jill Of All Trades

Publisher. Writer. Photographer. Artist. Musician. Bartender. Yup, Holly has pretty much done a little bit of everything. She can take a beer bottle, start a magazine about it, compose most of the brew's stories, snap its position on a coaster, make the container the centerpiece of a flyer, draft lyrics about its characteristics and pour the goddamn contents into your dirty glass.

Last Saturday (3/12/2011), Holly and I were part of the back-room crowd for the Larchmont Trash/Hydeouts show at Longboards in Pee Town, VA. The performance of a Rip Offs song ("She Said Yeah" -- Kudos, Hydeouts!) in a Portsmouth bar? Odd. The discovery of an abandoned, whiskey-filled shot glass with a straw in it? Odder. Call our friend Pete a sicko for chugging it down, but Holly and I have seen similar instances. From Fresh Rag #4: At the Candy Snatchers/D4/Horehounds bill in March 2002, "people were buying the display bottles that had probably been there (Cogan's) since said bar re-opened a coupla years ago." When Holly was the bassist for The Strap-Ons in 2003, a few folks were spotted drinking used Heinekens that'd been left on tables by earlier patrons at A.J. Gator's. Hell, even I was accused of imbibing "liquid crack" after enjoying a complimentary combo meal at Burger King. I swear, Hol, it was Listerine! Below are ten pours that your liver may question.

Gunther: While I was getting wasted and rockin' out at shows 'round town in 1997, you were posting a high GPA at Indian River High School. What peer group(s)did you associate with in your teenage years? Were they a creative influence?

Holly: You know, Gunth, the only influence my "peers" at IRHS had on me was motivating me to get the hell outta there. Basically, I hung out with grits during my freshman year. Yes... GRITS! Sorry, Eric Overdrive! This one grit guy was a third-year sophomore. REALLY! They were cooler than all the other ass-hats and fucksticks who were into Hootie and Korn. I NEVER LIKED KORN! Let's just establish THAT right from the giddy-up. Then I went through a small phase where I only listened to The Cure and Joy Division. I had been into some punk rock like the Ramones, Buzzcocks, Misfits, Sex Pistols and such. I was probably the ONLY person in my school who knew who the Dead Boys or the Germs were. It was a difficult time for me to feel akin to my peers... OBVIOUSLY.

Gunther: Let's cover a few firsts, shall we? What was the first album you bought with your own money? What was the first show you attended by yourself? When did you first feel like part of the local music "scene"?

Holly: I honestly don't remember what my first album purchase was. I do recall buying Ramones Mania and Never Mind The Bollocks... as a highly impressionable 13-year-old. I also have fond memories of buying several volumes of the Rhino Records D.I.Y. series on tape from Camelot Music in Military Circle Mall. One of the first shows I remember going to with no 'rents around was an early 96X Fest at Strawberry Banks around '94-'95. We went to see Combine. I've been a supporter of local acts for a long, long time. After moving out to Norfolk in '99, I started going to a lot of all-ages shows at the Riverview and the Jam Locker out on Princess Anne Road at the Beach.

Gunther: After picking up Fresh Rag #2 from Skinnie's Records roughly ten years ago, I knew that our paths would eventually cross. My favorite bits were the hit-and-run show reviews written from a morning-after perspective that recalled many a drunken night out. Why would it be a good idea to resurrect Fresh Rag? Why would it be prudent to let the zine remain as a time capsule?

Holly: Naw, FR is the past. Things around here were way different ten years ago, in terms of having a happening scene and places to see live music. I'm proud of my work in FR, and to sully what remains by bringing it back would be silly. People still ask me about doing it again, and I'm like, "Uhhhh..." I don't party quite as hard as I used to in my older age. The current "Lightweight Holly" couldn't keep up with "Old Drunk Holly."

Gunther: Another great aspect of Fresh Rag was the gloriously gritty photography. The picture I'm most fascinated with is the shot of The Star Spangles. Note the date of the Chicho's show (9/10/2001) and the band's hometown (NYC). Isn't it amazing how one day can be very different from the next?

Holly: I am pretty sure Kim Baise took the picture you're talking about. She took probably 95% of the band photos during issues 2 and 3. I did most of the writing. I do remember being at work the next day and Witt Katherman calling me to turn on the news.

Gunther: Under the "brand" Miss Demeanor Images, you've made many attention-grabbing flyers. Think I recognized one of the lovelies from a long-misplaced skin mag. Any plans to collect them in a coffee-table book? Have selected ones been framed?

Holly: I have a few of the original copies tucked away in a storage box. I consider them art, most definitely. Sadly, the cyberflyer seems to be the norm these days. If someone wanted to put my shit in a book, I would not be opposed to it at all.

Gunther: How did you get the coveted slot as bassist for The Strap-Ons? I caught the Chesapeake stop on your U.S. tour in 2003 and was highly entertained. Care to share a couple tales from the stint on the road? If you're saving the juiciest gossip for a tell-all tome, I'll wait until the book signing.

Holly: Coveted slot! Ha ha! It was an experience that I am VERY glad I did. I got to see the West Coast during the summertime. I met all kinds of people. We even went to the Playboy Radio Station and did an on-air interview. The best part was probably getting to know Joey Image -- who used to drum for the Misfits back in the day. He was the tour drummer. Man, he had so many groupies. He was a good boy, though -- not a dirty dog at all. Brian, Katie, Joey and I used to do impressions of one another when we got bored during long drives. I also learned that it's not good to get lost in Oakland at 3 in the morning and try to pull over and get directions at the A.M./P.M. with 20 crackheads hanging around the pumps.

Gunther: The favorite drummer in your life (Greg Wise) is a largely inactive participant in social networking. How have Facebook, Twitter and other sites changed things for the better? For the worse? 

Holly: Aw, Greg's such a frightened and confused caveman. The interwebs haven't been so kind for him. Me? I embrace technology. Holly the Bartender, Norfolk, Nov. 2011We have a laptop and regular Internet access. I don't think I could go about my everyday life with no computer. It's a double-edged knife.

Gunther: You've recently tried your hand at bartending. In the movie "Cocktail," Brian Flanagan's tutor had many tenets called Coughlin's Laws. Among them were "Never show surprise. Never lose your cool." and "Anything else is always something better." What would be part of a Holly's Law list?

Holly: "Don't ask me to make a drink I've never heard of and not know its ingredients." Thank you very much. 

Gunther: On a ten-point scale, how would you rate the music scene in Norfolk? What could be done to make the number higher?

Holly: Currently, I'd say we're at a critical low right now, but that's largely due to lack of venues. Maybe a "6." I do know that when I do go out, I have a good-ass time. And our circle of friends does a great job of communicating and networking, so I can't knock that. 

Gunther: The Sweet or Slade?

Holly: Although both bands are phenomenal, I'd have to go with the Sweet. Desolation Blvd. is one of the most rockinest records ever. 

Read issues of "Fresh Rag" below! 

Issue #1 Click here

Issue #2 Click here

Issue #3 Click here

Issue #4 Click here

Video: Watch the "Fresh Rag" segment from the Hardcore Norfolk movie below! 

Gunther 8544

Give me 20 days to write something for Hardcore Norfolk, and I'll piss away 19 of 'em.  Which is why my career caps on the site hover around 30 instead of 300.  Nonetheless, I am occasionally inspired by talented folks who call the Tidewater area home.  Believe it or not, glowing marks have been awarded to individuals unbeknownst to me.  My mathematician side would like to construct an NCAA March Madness-like bracket representing the 64 greatest bands in our region's history.  Perhaps Debra, Paul and I will assemble in a conference room somewhere in Suffolk and bring the draw sheet to life.  


'Fresh Rag' segment from the Hardcore Norfolk Movie