While 242 Main is thought of mainly as a music venue, those of us who spent time there know that it fostered and inspired plenty of visual art as well. The photo above is a self-portrait of Jeremy Ayers taken around age 15. “I was a burgeoning photographer and at the beginning of my artistic journey. Note that I’m wearing a Minor Threat t-shirt that I still own and occasionally wear,” says Jeremy. “For me, art room friends and hardcore show friends overlapped.” He was also a DJ at UVM’s radio station, WRUV, while still in high school – not something many kids were able to accomplish. These days, Jeremy is a full-time artist, keeping the DIY spirit alive as a potter and a teacher. Check out his work at http://www.jeremyayerspottery.com.
Name: Jeremy Ayers
Hometown: Colchester, VT
Currently lives in: Waterbury, VT
Started going to 242 Main: age 14 / 1988
First 242 show: Fugazi (fall of 1988)
What was your most memorable show or event at 242 Main?
So many great shows. Into Another was really big in BTV in the early 90’s and they played 242 several times and they were always awesome shows. I also saw locals Colorblind and The Champions almost every time they played between 1990-1994.
What was your favorite thing about 242 Main? What kept you coming back, kept you involved?
My parents trusted it as a location where I could be dropped off as a young teen, like many others it was one of the first places where I had the freedom to be my true self and discover my identity. I kept coming back because I felt I belonged and I was passionate about music. Hardcore at that time was so interactive. Being in the crowd still meant you were part of the happening – there was no wall between the performer and the audience. We all made it happen.
What did your parents and/or other friends think about you hanging out at 242 Main?
I was lucky that my parents accepted me for exactly who I was and didn’t judge or look down on my choice to identify with punk rock. At high school, as a part of the punk rock crowd, in those days we were an extreme minority. This was before loud music hit the mainstream.
Tell me about your show on WRUV. What was it called? I know a few high school kids had shows on RUV back then but from what I understand, they weren’t easy to get, and they were often at a crazy hour of night. (Editor’s note: New DJs at WRUV have to spend a certain amount of time doing very late-night/early morning shows before they are assigned a more prime-time slot.)
My show on WRUV had many names but the two most long term ones were called “Queen City Rockout” which was primarily hardcore and punk rock when I started and I hosted “Exposure,” the live local music show for many years. On Exposure we hosted all genres of bands. It was rare thing that I had a show in high school – I trained with my friend who was a year ahead of me in school and was an incoming freshman at UVM my senior year at Colchester High School. We trained that summer semester and I kept my show for my senior year. I did my graveyard over the summer before fall and I was 17 so my parents were permissive.
Tell me a bit about your life beyond 242 Main. What do you do for a living? Did your experience at 242 Main affect other areas of your life?
I was an idealist punk teen and I channeled my energy into visual art. I attended art school and had a very anti-establishment vision about being an artist – working outside the mainstream. Now I’m 42 and I’m still an artist. I’m a potter and make my living selling my artwork. Being a teenage punk definitely influenced my point of view. I still work from a “do it yourself” perspective.
What else do you want to share about your experience at 242 Main and in the Vermont underground music scene?
Small scale shows of a band playing for 100 people or less are still my favorite way to see a band. I have no interest in huge shows. I don’t like big venues – even in recent years my favorite shows have been on the small scale. That aesthetic was tuned by my upbringing in the punk scene.