We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Karp came together for two principal reasons: 1) Jocks fucking suck, and 2) There’s nothing else to do in Tumwater, Wash. A target for bullies in high school, Chris Smith started a newsletter called “Kill All Redneck Pricks.” He borrowed the name for his band, Karp, which was hatched later in a note exchanged with his buddy Jared Warren. The band, wrote Smith, “would probably be set up like this: You, bass. Scott, duh. Me, vocals. But at times everyone needs to pukishly scream.” After a period practicing in a three-walled shack behind Warren’s mom’s house, Karp went on to become one of Washington’s best and loudest post-grunge bands. Bill Badgley’s 2011 film, Kill All Redneck Pricks: A Documentary Film About a Band Called Karp, tells the trio’s story, beginning with its unassuming origins as a clique of angry, dorky kids who had no idea how to be rock stars. Karp’s first national tour, with the rising star Beck, was awkward: Three kids recently out of high school didn’t know they weren’t supposed to break into bands’ dressing rooms and steal their beer. They later struggled through crises—Smith attempted suicide and got hooked on heroin—and disbanded in 1998, splitting off into other groups. (Warren even went on to join The Melvins. Rock ‘n’ roll wishes do come true.) In 2003, drummer Scott Jernigan died in a boating accident on Lake Washington. Badgley’s documentary brings together a cast of Olympia musicians eager to tell stories about Karp’s onstage antics and ear-splitting shows. But despite the aggro act, their roots showed: Kathleen Hanna had Karp pegged for high-school outcasts right away. The film shows at 8 p.m. at Black Cat Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $6. blackcatdc.com. (202) 667-7960.