Quarantine Creativity Interview Series: Vern Rumsey

Ben Allen, music editor
Vern Rumsey is a guy from Olympia, Washington. He has created some exceptional music over the years that has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. Rumsey is widely known for his playing in the band Unwound. In the 1990’s, the group successfully blew minds everywhere by obliterating the preconceived notion of what a “punk” group could sound like. Some called it “post-hardcore,” but the most intriguing aspect was their ability to remain unclassifiable.
Rumsey played bass on the exceptional album, “Fake Can Be Just as Good” by Blonde Redhead. More recently, he relaunched the record label Punk in My Vitamins with a zine and compilation. Vern also collaborated extensively with the band Teach Me Equals, releasing a split EP and touring together.
Based on our brief exchange here, Rumsey is also quite the comedian, something I hadn’t realized previously, and was pleasantly surprised by. Let’s pray this COVID-19 thing ends quickly so Vern can stop injecting bleach and get busy with his orgies!
Ben: Greetings Vern. I know you have a reputation of being a bit of a “recluse.” I’d like to be the first to inform you that there’s currently a global pandemic happening called COVID-19. Have you heard anything about this?
Vern: I have sir, I stand firmly with our president that we should all inject bleach and make sure we put the most unqualified people on earth to lead this dangerous pandemic. Furthermore, I think that if it weren’t for our great lesstership, we might have made it to zero new cases. Our president has done a wonderful job. He knows what he feels is right. He avoided the Vietnam Nam War, which unfortunately claimed thousands of useless US deaths. He’s avoiding the virus the same way . . . just let it run its course and it will miraculously go away. He has spot on hunches and gut feelings. Something I truly admire as a leader on the world stage.
Ben: What has your daily routine been as of late? Have you been busying yourself with any creative endeavors?
Vern: Not really. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about being creative, but I have nothing to do until the end of July, so my girlfriend is making me clean up and organize my band room. Now I can’t find shit. My only solace has been getting up at 5am to have alone time, then going to the supermarket early enough that I don’t have to watch Mortal Kombat scenarios at Fred Meyer.
Ben: What can you tell us about the upcoming Household Gods album? It seems to have a good roster of musicians?
Vern: It’s a cool collaboration that was put together by Conan Neutron. I don’t know what about him manages to get some really cool people together. I’m blessed to have been a part of it, Conan, of course David Pajo (one of my favorite guitar players ever) and Lauren, who sadly passed away shortly after recording. This album is truly a memorial and dedication to her. Someone who truly lived, loved and led her life as a gift to others and hopefully an inspiration to not only young women musicians, but also young men. Creativity is in the mind of the beholder, gender plays no role in music. You rock or you don’t. Lauren was a powerhouse of creativity.
Ben: When this COVID thing passes, what are you looking forward to going out and doing?
Vern. Picking up on some unsuspecting people to have orgies with me and my wife. Actually just being able to go back to the parks. We live near Capital Forest and several other nature parks. I’m also looking forward to fishing again. I don’t really miss much though because, as I pointed out earlier . . . I rarely leave the house anyway.

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