I recall a lot of the details of this show quite well, particularly those that capture me on film. It was eventful (I liked the Revelators and thought it was a particularly fun house show) yet uneventful (I had seen them before and a scuffle with crowd members seemed par for the course). Sometime after this show, a girl came up to me and said, “Hey, aren’t you in the Secretaries?” It turned out to be Briana, the sister of Jeremiah, the singer in the Revelators. I’d never met her before. She said, “Hey, things are totally cool with you guys and them, they weren’t even talking about you at the show, it’s a total misunderstanding.”
I was clueless to what she was talking about, so I asked to what it was in reference. She said, “Oh, the house show! Everyone’s talking about it, but it had nothing to do with you guys!” She was like, “Oh, they totally like you guys,” and I thought, “Uhh, maybe they don’t dislike us as people or anything, but I would bet that they do not actually like our band or music.” I told her I was actually at the show so I was really confused. She kind of wrapped up the conversation and didn’t explain too much more, which left me even more confused.
A day or so later, someone in the scene said to me, “I heard the Secretaries and the Revelators are in a rivalry!” I asked what they heard, and they said, “The Revelators called you guys ska pussies,” to which I responded, “No, I was there and they were totally talking to some skinhead/punk dudes, not us.” Like half the band were at that show, and the comments made were specifically at other people who were not in the band. Anyway, these rumors circulated for a little while and then eventually died out.
Sometime later I ran into Jeremiah at a party. I knew he was in the Revelators, but I didn’t know if he knew who I was. He was wearing an Elvis Costello & the Attractions shirt, and I said, “Hey, cool shirt, where’d you get that?” We rapped for a bit and he was genuinely nice. I finally said, “Aren’t you in the Revelators?” and then I mentioned my band and said, “Hey, I hear we’re in a rivalry, haha.” He said, “Yeah, I heard that too – what’s that all about!” I told him the story that passed around and he was a little hazy on the incident – sort of remembered there being a ska-related skirmish but wasn’t sure to whom it was directed. I assured him I knew it wasn’t toward us.
Fast forward a million years to 2011: I’m in Austin and just start a job at the Austin History Center, the archive wing of the city’s public library system: a very cool place and a hub for historical research on the growing region. My boss asked one of my new co-workers to give me a quick tour. He very politely shows me the place and at one point I look at his nametag. I think, there can’t be a lot of people with this name in the world. I say, “Are you John Schooley from Columbia, MO?” He says yes. The first words out of my mouth are, “Dude, I was in the Secretaries.” It doesn’t register to him; I’ve got to jog his memory, but eventually he remembers the band having existed in his past. I joke later that we had a rivalry, but he still doesn’t quite recall us. We get to be good work friends and it was always nice to have an old Missouri bud to talk to. He has a DJ night (pre-COVID) where he plays obscure and weird country at one of the few bars that hold dive-ish status, and I would always try to make it out, pre- or post-children. It was my ideal event for the current times – just sitting and listening to deep cuts while sitting in a cush, leather-seated booth and having a few drinks.
This video shows the following: the “ska pussies” tirade actually happened, and none of the people Schooley directed the tirade to were in my band. Therefore, it was not directed at my band, and, I was there and witnessed this firsthand. Never in my life has a memory been so proven correct!
The Revelators reunited for a show in Austin in 2018, and I made sure to attend. They sounded exactly the fucking same and I was astounded; it was amazing to see a band play together after so long and have the music hold up. Also the band didn’t seem out of step, They weren’t guys in their 40s playing what was juvenile-sounding music, nor did they seem like “40-year-old guys.” I hadn’t heard their songs in almost 20 years (I’m sure they were still played on KCOU post-breakup, and I heard the tracks on occasion), and I was surprised at how much I remembered the lyrics and changes (the markings of good songs). I talked to Mark a little bit before the show and it might have been the first time he and I have ever actually spoken, though when we were all in Mahjongg together, Gabe and Caryl told several funny Mark stories from their record store days at Eddie’s. It all felt like a nice little resolution to the whole manufactured rivalry. And I had to acknowledge that if both bands were to reunite in 2018, I think the Revelators probably would have sounded better. So maybe they won in the end?