Josh Robertson and Kerrie Thome

Recorded October 21, 2019 Archived October 21, 2019 34:11 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby019301


Good friends from high school, Josh Robertson (46) and Kerrie Thome (49), remember growing up in Fort Worth, Texas and talk about their love for music.

Subject Log / Time Code

KT remembers seeing JR for the first time. JR remembers KT cutting his hair in high school.
JR remembers moving to Fort Worth.
KT reflects on her experience of high school.
JR remembers being drawn to skateboarding and rock and roll culture in high school.
JR talks about his siblings' interest in music.
JR and KT talk about attending music shows and finding ways to get into events.
KT and JR reflect on pursuing new passions as culture has changed. KT talks about her ice cream business.
JR talks about working as a karaoke DJ.


  • Josh Robertson
  • Kerrie Thome

Recording Location

Dallas Public Library: North Oak Cliff Branch


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00:04 Hi, my name is Carrie. Tell me I am 49 years old today is Monday October 21st, 2019. We are in Dallas, Texas High good friend is Josh Robertson and we have been friends many years since high school.

00:26 Hi Josh, I carry.

00:32 Hi, I'm Josh Robertson. I'm 46 years old. It's Monday, October 21st, 2019, and we're in Dallas, Texas.

00:43 I'm here with my long-time buddy. We grew up in the same neighborhood in Northwest Fort Worth and went to high school together. Her name is Carrie Tommy.

00:57 I-5 remember Josh from high school and he was in the play Camelot. He was the little Squire boy sir Tom of Warwick. And so then we became friends and he was a skateboarder and my good friend Gina and I used to drive him home from school and we would all pack into the same car and we would stop and get frozen yogurt sand and and he was just a little skater Punk and he had a little tail like I hit a hair tail a rat a rat tail. That was the style in the 80s for a minute. I remember when I chopped It Off.

01:47 So

01:51 Kerrie that I think that they may be one of the scariest moments that we've ever had together was when I just decided that I needed it a new haircut and

02:06 I asked you to do it and I don't think I don't think you wanted to do it, but you're such a accommodating friends that.

02:18 I think you shook the whole time when you did it. I think it was a nerve-wracking thing for you, and I should probably.

02:24 I should I should have apologized for that a long time ago. But how how better to eat to gain trust than to let someone cut your hair in high school when your parents is so so by crucial back Lee.

02:42 I don't remember. I don't remember the that the stopping for frozen yogurt, but I do remember the rides home and and you were part of a group of people that I always.

02:56 I don't know if I always felt more comfortable with the two older kids in high school. And so you are a couple grades ahead of me and

03:08 Had better musical taste then.

03:13 Most of my friends that were my contemporaries and in my in my grade, did you think that we had some sort of connection over music salts connected to you and your family and and I guess it is the music that we always connected with together. Did you feel like well for me I'm I moved to Fort Worth from a

03:46 More metropolitan area Metropolitan neighborhood more diverse neighborhood from from Houston and immediately felt like I was kind of moving back in time when I moved to basically a place where are all of the schools that we went to where surrounded by cattle pastures.

04:11 So I feel like

04:15 It was it was stepping back into it.

04:19 Cultural space that

04:22 Well, maybe it was not stepping back, but it was just a different demographic and more conservative. We were.

04:31 I think culturally motivated in a place that stifled.

04:36 Any kind of Rock and Roll Lifestyle that I definitely wanted to live. I remember.

04:43 Moving into our neighborhood in the cable provider

04:48 Refuse to carry MTV which was my that was my life in the early eighties. I was an obsessive.

04:59 Just sponge for anyting musical, you know, it was a nut and I felt like a little lost. Did you add did you feel like like it where we lived was Amy Fort Worth is is the night that nickname is Cowtown. Yes, and I felt a little picked on at times and she knows different from everyone but I think that that just makes you more interesting. Maybe that's why we're so interesting or interesting right? Well, don't let me get a big head over that.

05:38 Do you do you do you remember like a

05:44 We met through Theater Arts. Is that it?

05:51 I think I saw you as I saw you and maybe I don't I don't really know. I think you just needed a ride home.

06:04 So then we became friends. Yeah. Okay. Well that necessity is the mother of our relationships. That's fine, but I think

06:18 Growing up where we did in kind of a cultural dirts. Do you think it was it pushed us to be a little bit?

06:28 More

06:33 Yes dok pushed us. Yes you do. I can push this a little bit further to further away from from

06:41 From the sticks in the same further further away from from Friday night cow tipping parties. Did you ever go out to like the back 40 with with people and party member being there a couple of times it in like in the in the cow pasture? Yeah. I never I never did that. I wasn't nobody wanted to talk to me. I think I was there well times.

07:17 DUI

07:21 Was there anything?

07:25 That you that you felt like what what do you what did you feel like growing up and going to school in like the outskirts of you know, right conservative City? Well, I've just always I've always felt difference and just looking for something more interesting to do and I guess I felt like an outcast and what about what about you and your your family? How did how did you guys all end up being so musically like having such great taste and

08:08 Now your background tell me about your parents will I think taste is subjective obviously, but my

08:18 Growing up my parents.

08:23 They they bought me they bought me kiss records when I was about four or five years old and that had a big influence on me. I remember them going to a Mexican border town and buying like a Mexican guitar for me. And then I really would play my kiss records in my room and I remember them.

08:45 Kind of peeking in on me jumping up and down on my bed, you know feigning playing guitar and me being really embarrassed that that that they were getting a kick out of that but really

09:00 My my dad was a professional Surfer before there was such a thing as being a professional Surfer. I was born on the coast in Corpus Christi and my mom

09:14 She she had really good musical taste. I remember.

09:19 Going through her record collection and

09:24 I

09:27 I guess around I guess around 1980 found out honestly about MTV and really never stopped watching and digesting that until I moved to Fort Worth.

09:44 In 5th grade, I guess I was 10 years old and I had a lot of that taken away from me. And so I

09:53 Liens on skateboarding and

09:58 I remember.

10:01 Being really obsessed with skateboarding and I remember an issue in Texas monthly where it was a cover story of this girl who is a DJ at this community radio station in Dallas called knon and she was this cowpunk.

10:22 Girl named Shaggy that was her name and and she had a skateboard and

10:30 I had no idea that there was a radio station that that would cater to something that I was interested mean. She seemed like the coolest thing in the world and I remember that I remember that specific night trying to trying to get the frequency from so far away from Dallas in Northeast Fort Worth is that it barely came in but when it did I specifically remember hearing something that I've never heard before and putting in a cassette into the cassette recorder cuz that's how we used to, you know steel MP3s back in our day was to put in it a cassette and just recorded stuff off the radio. It just so happened to be the at.

11:19 A Husker Du retrospective which they ended up being a super influential band for me and I remember having that cassette.

11:34 In my twenties working for when I work for a record label in Austin and you know the guitar player for Husker Du Bob Mould living in the neighborhood being friends with some of the people at the small record label and coming by the office and I was the only one there and having this really influential like hero just hang out with me in a you know, 8 by 8 little office and US exchanging Records Was

12:07 It was it was.

12:13 I don't know that that was that was something that that was very fortunate to have two very fortunate to have found a community radio station that spoke to me and kind of guided me when you know, we we we didn't have we didn't we didn't have College radio. We didn't listen to Kano at all the time, but we didn't even have record stores and then write you and I After High School or actually maybe during high school we both got jobs at

12:49 It records record stores. And and so as far as me and my family the way that that worked. Well, first of all, I'm the oldest out of three children. My younger brother is 7 years younger than me and my younger sister that's almost another seven years. He's like six and a half years younger than me. And I read that if you have about seven years in between siblings that each sibling kind of grows up as an only child, but I know I had a I know my little brother was he looked up to me naturally and so he always try to come along on trips to a skate park or something like that and when he got old enough to go to shows that was when you know, you know, I tried to make sure that he was safe because I knew he had a long drive back from Dallas and then yeah, we were

13:49 Both kind of interested in being I wanted to be in a rock and roll band more than anything, but I didn't have the either the talent or the discipline to go through with it and I just ended up deciding to

14:07 Book shows and really try to push my friends that were talented and in the music field and then it just seems like he kind of ended up doing a lot of the same things and now he still book shows in Fort Worth. I still book shows occasionally in Dallas and it's funny that I was out of the house before my little sister was was even in grade school, but I find it really funny that unique sit Katie my sister it is the only one that actually she actually went through with it and she actually makes a living as a musician and she's brilliant pianist and and singer and

14:53 But I feel like there's a big difference in between the three of us because there's just a big age difference. Right? And I have a my brother is 6 years older than me and I'm so I'm the youngest of a for siblings. I'll pretend I tracked. Yeah, and I do I do feel the same that that were very separate but then he has well, all of my siblings have helped me so much along like I know that you've you've helped yours and yeah, so but I'm the youngest I think I didn't realize that I had the influence that I have other people said, hey, you know, your brother really looks up to you course and so I felt this incredible burden.

15:52 2

15:53 To be a good influence on him when and when you're running like, you know when I opened up.

16:04 Mad Hatter's in Fort Worth and I was booking shows and I was you know in a world where there's a lot of drinking and drug abuse. I felt really really strong urge to Shield him from that which was

16:24 Probably misguided an end and hopeless because everybody has to grow up and and and he had to learn what he could handle in what he couldn't handle. So there were a lot of times where I didn't say what I mean for me. I didn't really start drinking till I was twenty-five but you know when I was 25, he was around the age of 18. He was at the age of where you just get into shows and so I would make sure that I was on the other end of the bar and have my beer around my back and and tried to hide it as much as I could but that

17:01 There weren't there is there is there is a there is a kind of almost a parenting position. And now that I'm a dad of my sons have a teenage son Evan I find myself when I talk to my little brother.

17:28 I find myself referring to him either as my son's name just because I feel it's like it's the same relationship almost just if he's if he's doing something and you know, I'm frustrated with him, you know, my son's name to to my little brother.

17:55 But so I was thinking and I know you've talked your way into some really interesting strange places or just shows and just by just by saying things and I can I can I tell your biggest rip. Okay, I'll taste okay, so this is good.

18:17 I have the philosophy that that that if you want if you want to if you want to get into an event is the first thing I mean, it's confidence act like you're supposed to be there. It really helps you and I've gone to music conferences and definitely sold out shows at South by Southwest many many years and it's so frustrating to sit there and wait in line and think that you're not you're going to miss your favorite band from

18:51 Germany or somewhere that Terry Australia that's never going to come back again. And the thing to do is to make sure that you have a microphone cable or a box a box with some cables in it and go up to the door and say like these were left in the van. I have to get up to the stage. That's a good one act. Like you know what you're doing. I think that I think that's essential. It's it's also I think very selfish and something that I try not to I still do it. I'm sorry. I didn't even think of it being selfish. So one of them is it is there are lots of people out there.

19:37 But if it was on the other hand, I think if it wasn't me it was going to be somebody else. That would do it. Sorry and I had good intentions. Yeah, I remember one specific time. There was a neighbor is a Scottish after party.

19:57 And this is going to be bad. My I had I literally had a promoter that toured Road managed in in Europe. And one of the promoters from Glasgow was was was in the in the the car with me and a couple of the musicians from from Texas and we all knew that we were going to get into this and we pulled up anyway, and we're just going to see what we were going to do whether we going to we were going to jump the fence or are not my friend in the front front seat. We pulled up and he was demonstrative. He said, all right we go up to the door. None of you guys say anything.

20:44 Just let Robertson talk and he put me on the spot. I had no idea and tell me anything about it. So I just said okay and I and then it came to me was like walked up to the door guy. And this is a bad at this is not going to sound good, but I said in my worst impression of a Scottish accent sound like

21:06 Listen to I got no identification made.

21:11 Trump on the man is it from Franz Ferdinand? I got no identification the guy so I'm trying to say that I'm the manager from Franz Ferdinand and and then I have no ID and the door guy the poor door guy was probably hired that day and just because he was a Neo big guy was so confused and he was probably think I'm just from Texas. I don't know what language you're speaking but y'all go ahead and go on and have a good time and those things were those things those things those cutting Corners things or or

21:46 They're really essential. If you don't have genuine Talent, you've got to cut some Corners somewhere. I think I see so well, I feel like if you really want to be somewhere or you want something that you'll it'll magically happen for you and that's just I mean it does I feel like it does give me an example of how that's happened for you when we went down to South by Southwest one-time and we had no idea how to get in to see Tom Waits or we had no idea where he was playing. We just drove we just got in the car and drive down there. Me and Eric had her Meyer your old boyfriend. We just drove down there and somehow just ended up in the right place and and got in line got tickets and it was amazing and everybody wanted to get in and when we were

22:46 You know walking up people were offering $400 for tickets and it was just cool. Isn't that the best feeling? Yeah, it's I think we're talking about a lot of selfish selfish behavior. Oh, well, I'm you want something you want something. That's true. You figure you figure it out. Well, I think that the Universe kind of works in your favor favor. I feel I'm being. You I'm being too hard on us, but do you feel like okay, so we

23:19 We're both kind of culture vultures.

23:27 And we're kind of swimming Upstream from where we came from in Fort Worth, I think.

23:35 We're because do you feel like we're both casualties of dying Industries like record stores and working at record labels and Friday and cuz we both I think we both would have stayed working at record stores for a lot longer and you kind of did I worked at a record store longer than you and then I worked at a bookstore and said record me that's a dying industry all around. Yes. So but I love I love music. I love being in record stores and I love the people who come in and the people who work there and I still I love to work at my friend's record store in Fort Worth. Sometimes I just go help him out. Yeah. Yeah. It's it's but it's the thing where

24:30 It is we still have to kind of eat out a living and and so I had to kind of switch gears from working at record stores to doing I did some you know, I did some music riding. I really thought when I was 23 and 24 that I really had a soapbox to stand on and I was putting out a music magazine and and and

25:05 In a meeting or taking out ya doing that and then eventually managing bands and touring at Road managing just being just anything that I could do to be close to 2 to that.

25:21 Tip to that to that thing that I loved but at some point I feel like I had to reinvent myself because the industry's kind of dried up. What do you feel like the same way in is right cuz you have you have your own tell tell tell me more about your your new Endeavor for about a year. I've had a ice cream business called Starry ice cream and I make my own ice cream and I take it out in a carts and do pop-ups and events and and it's been just something that I've always wanted to do so labor of love. I love ice cream. And so I just wanted to make it so I did it cracks me up when I found out that you were doing it. I had no idea and I had no idea how you started. I had no idea how you and you become successful enough to the point where people want to actually

26:21 Like distribute and you've made the specific decision talk about your decision to not do that.

26:31 Not carry it in in well, I'll be right because I make it I make it all by myself and I put it in the containers and I just I haven't really gotten to the point where I want to, you know, be hiring more industrialized your process. It's a very small batch. I like to make a cup that makes three flavors at a time and and just make enough that I can sell it to people and some day that I someday maybe I'll I'll figure out how to be distributed in the grocery store or something. I'm just not interested. I just said, it's me and I love making it send it to me. It's more about making the ice cream. It's and then I love it. Yeah, there's like a magical experience for me. It's intangible at the end of it. You've got something ASAP. Yeah. It's not like it's not like me.

27:31 Dad a call center on the phone, I can't really I can't really go home and look at that. Happy moment a tip from you. How can I be a better karaoke singer? Oh, that's a tough one. It's not that tough. So I guess after the music industry part of my life sort of dried up I decided to get into that was already doing artwork for bands that I liked and I knew a little bit about computers and a friend of mine said you should just work for you should work for this tech company, you know enough and and I ended up doing that for 10 years, and it was soul-sucking.

28:21 And I like to I still like to go and have fun and one of my friends and I would go to karaoke bars and it was the only way that we could kind of fulfill that needs kind of be.

28:35 You know like a rockstar and

28:39 So I I guess when we started doing karaoke, good luck karaoke about 10 years ago. We wanted it to be something good thing about you karaoke adjust I think by definition that means translation. It means poor pitch and so it's just the only thing is just to like really kind of

29:06 Believe that you're doing a great job regardless of whether you're a good singer or not and just enjoy it if that's possible.

29:17 And sometimes it's good to have you know, a backup dancer, which I would like to do. Yeah, I like to play air guitar a lot behind some of our performers. I think that and now I I like to sing backup that I like to be involved. So it's more fun than any regular karaoke party like a party. Well, that's what we wanted to be mean. We wanted it to be we wanted to be that and I don't know if

29:51 You know, but like I said, we have to come up with a different costume theme every weekend and so there's there's actually a lot of work that goes into it and

30:04 If you want to know how to be better at it, I don't know you just keep doing it. If and if it's a practicing. Yeah, okay, but that's that's sadly sadly. I can't believe that that's become my

30:23 We all kind of my lot in life is now is when people ask me what I do when I go meet a girlfriend's parents for the first time. What do you do and she says, oh, he's a karaoke DJ. He's a he's a 45 year old karaoke DJ and they're like, of course you brought this guy on to us cuz it matter what I do. I do. I do find that. I'm relying on myself rather than a corporation has been both scary and and and important in Essentials your ice cream business. Like I I can't tell you how shocked when I shot but yeah really surprised and really really happy for you for that but things happen in your life and you just end up getting to the point where you just say

31:16 Why not? Why not do what I want but you'd risk and a lot of people that are our age and may be younger than in this like in the climate where where

31:30 Industries are dying left. And right exactly we have to have you can order ice cream on Amazon, but you can I mean but not handmade ice cream now you can but it's complicated. What do you think? Meet me? What what?

31:52 What what do you are there? Is there anything you're looking forward to as far as like?

32:00 As far as like your work your career your relationships. Are you ever going to own a home?

32:08 I don't think I'm ever going to own a home. Yeah, I mean, yeah, that's I don't know if that's part of the American dream anymore. What what is the American dream American dream? I don't know if we know what that is. I mean, I think we have our own dreams, but we're our own dreamers. So my American dream is difference. You know, I just want to to find happiness doing something that I love. I don't want to be stuck in some job and Gino falling into all of the expected price of living. You know, I want to do things that are fun and interesting to me. Why did why did what did you ever want to move and leave Fort Worth? Did you ever want to leave and

32:56 Yeah, I would move to New Orleans and a heartbeat. But I mean, I don't want to leave my family. I love my family. So everyone around and just said I also really like Fort Worth it. It's it it got a lot better once I left. Yeah.

33:20 Yeah, I think so. Not because you left I'm noticing your Xcalibur had is that a reference to when you pulled the sword out of the stone is similar to that? Yes. It was a fight you it was a gift. Yes in Camelot. That's our time Warwick had that special moment man. Congratulations and congratulations to you think. I'm so happy that you drove all the way from Fort Worth to meet me to do this.

33:53 Anytime you're my brother. I feel like you're my sister anybody that cuts my hair when I'm 14 or 15 years old is going to have that forever.