If you're looking for somewhere to build a shrine
, 217 14th Street, Charlottesville
is your best option. Known in the late eighties
as the "Red House
," number 217 was the home to a crew of college
buddies who shared a passion for punk rock
ing. I shudder to think what would be left of my CD
collection had it burnt down and taken its six University of Virginia
students with it.
The inscrutable Stephen Malkmus, eventual singer/songwriter/guitarist for Pavement, made his home there as well as the auxiliary percussionist/noisemaker Bob Nastanovich.
Dave Berman, creator and frontman of the ingenious Silver Jews lived in the Red House at the time as well as James McNew and Gate Pratt, bassist and former drummer (respectively) of Yo La Tengo, one of the greatest bands of the nineties. Rounding off the six was Rob Chamberlain, who moved up to New York and joined an obscure band called Sugar Time (of which I know nothing).
The house produced an avant garde punk ensemble called Ectoslavia, which involved each of the residents at one point or another. It is has been said that their primary means of recording involved calling people's houses and leaving musical messages.
Never in their wildest imagination could they have realized that this band, which never played a show farther than two hours from Charlottesville, would eventually spawn three of the most important indie bands ever.
And you all thought that Charlottesville was only good for the Dave Matthews Band.