FM DUST ARCHIVES: Maximum Summer Leisure Club

Maximum Summer was a vague concept that Chris Janik, Sarah Stedman and I started aggressively espousing in the summer of 2006. There’s not really much to it: I was moving to Portland that fall, and wanted to spend the preceding months wilding out hard with my friends. We even worked some “MaxSum” propaganda into the WCBN summer program guide, which I remember being pretty funny (I can’t find a copy anywhere). It was big fun.

Of course, a slogan that catchy can’t help but come back around. In 2009, Maximum Summer reared its head yet again. Initially, Margaret Young and myself founded the Maximum Summer Leisure Club as a vehicle for facilitating group-oriented summer fun (barbecues, trips to theme parks, etc.). Mike Jones (of Blood Necklace) was the next person to hop aboard, and it expanded from there. To discuss matters, we decided to have weekly meetings at Seva, a vegetarian restaurant that had dollar pints of PBR on Wednesdays.

Unfortunately, as so often happens when cheap alcohol is involved, our plans slowly but surely devolved into weekly binge drinking. Margaret stopped coming to the “meetings”, fun plans never came to fruition, and M.S.L.C. was henceforth synonymous with drinking at Seva, to my initial chagrin, eventual resignation, and then chagrin again.

These recordings were made in the summer of 2010, when Leisure Club patterns were firmly ensconced in routine. The A side is Michelle Birawer (of Better Late Than Pregnant/Strange Brew) and I taking a dumb joke way too far while the other Clubbers were on the sidewalk smoking; the B side is a clusterfuck group-chat about “Weird” Al Yankovic, Tonya Harding, and other assorted topics. I recorded these on a really lousy flip-phone that broke soon after (this is also how I made the source recordings for the Mall Mutants cassettes Nature’s Gnar and Śmigus-Dyngus, both of which can be downloaded with the other early MM cassettes here).

I stopped coming to Seva on Wednesdays later that summer, primarily due to emotional/relationship complications. Around this time, the M.L.S.C. started an eponymous kickball team sans any of its founders (Mike had moved to New York; Margaret had long since severed ties). I didn’t participate because, as anyone who knows me will attest, I dislike competitive sports more than almost anything in this world (aside from karaoke and Paul Simon’s Graceland), even if it’s just for fun amongst a reputable crew of besotted townies (the league was, in fact, founded by somebody who I like very much). It hurt at the time that the phrase I had adopted as one of my central tenets had been appropriated for something of which I wanted no part, but what can you say?

Besides, if memory serves, it’s not my phrase to begin with. I’m pretty sure I first heard “Maximum Summer” used by Jeremy Wheeler at the first Stooges hometown reunion show in 2003 (the outdoor arena show to end all outdoor arena shows). My man was blasted and having the time of his life, thrilled with his good fortune at being among friends, drinking a ton, and watching the greatest rock and roll band of all time on a hot August day. At some point in our brief exchange, I’m pretty sure one of us summarized this feeling as “MAXIMUM SUMMER”, after which the term seeped into my subconscious. At least, that’s how I remember it.

Whatever, it doesn’t matter. Maximum Summer is bigger than any of us. It’s there in the hot, heavy air every June. All you have to do is just reach out and grab it.

Dustin Krcatovich is a cartoonist, writer, designer, founder of FM DUST, and a collector of certain curios and ephemera (with a focus on 20th century "junk culture"). His writing and illustration work appears frequently in The Quietus, Tiny Mix Tapes, and Esquire's Culture Blog. He is also a former editor and contributor to Secret Zen Garden,Saagara's illustrated mindfulness/wellness blog for young people. He currently resides in Portland, OR.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>