Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fifteen years later, the New Yorker's story on Missoula's Sputniks is online

Posted By on Thu, May 23, 2013 at 10:50 AM

In 1998, a Missoula band called the Sputniks went on tour with a writer from the New Yorker. Those of you who remember the band and read the article might be interested to know that it's now online and available to read on photographer Mary Ellen Mark's website. (Though, ironically, the photo doesn't seem to show up on her site). Those who haven't read it, should.

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Chad Dundas, the Sputniks drummer, posted yesterday that "if you want to read a story about a bunch of 19 year-old kids getting drunk and saying embarrassing stuff, it doesn't get much better than this." Whatever embarrassments the band might feel, the story by Bill Finnegan is really well done and he captures with amazing detail and thoughtfulness the world of the Missoula punk rockers as they drive the country eating mustard sandwiches, sleeping on people's floors and playing to excited and not-so-excited crowds. It's sweet and poignant, as well as hilarious:

Chad's high-hat cymbal fell apart, causing a delay. Grady asked the crowd if anybody had an anvil. "That's what we do in Montana," he said. "Anything goes wrong, we just forge a new part. These guitars we play are all solid steel. Made 'em ourselves." Nobody laughed, or gave any sign that they knew what an anvil was. Grady wondered aloud if they were alive. Zach said something about "fun," then asked if kids in Chicago were familiar with the concept.

Here's what the story looked like:

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