Queens of the Pit

I am not the Wayward Son. First off, I’m a girl, and I don’t think I’ve strayed too far (yet). My name’s Megan Metzger, and I’ll be taking over this long, gray rectangle once or twice a month, writing about the people who make our little local music scene tick. I was 16 when the Ramones played Lollapalooza. And I had mono. But I wasn’t gonna let some white spots on my throat stop me from seeing Joey shout One, two, three, four! over and over again.

It was stupid hot that day. Longview Lake smelled like cow shit. Bottled water cost, like, $27. I was nauseated, dehydrated, hallucinating, but I trudged up in front of the stage among a throng of stinky kids in Screeching Weasel T-shirts. Then I passed out, and the security guy had to lift me out of the pit.

Best. Concert. Ever.

My fervor to scramble to the front has since abated. I don’t stand around with arms folded like some disaffected wanker. It’s just that my comfort threshold doesn’t like to be compromised as much as it used to.

Kimberely Queen and Autumn Morales are showgoers of stronger stock.

It was a sweltering Sunday evening when Peaches and the Eagles of Death Metal rocked The Granada. If it wasn’t the hottest day on Lawrence record, it was bloody close. Naturally, the A/C in the club was on the fritz.

“We were covered with a universal slime from everyone else’s secretions,” Queen recalls.

The humidity didn’t stop the 35-year-old Queen and Morales, her 16-year-old daughter, from taking their usual places front and center. “We had to be tough for Peaches,” Queen says. “That lasted for five songs.” It wasn’t the stifling conditions that drove Queen and Morales away. It was Frankie from The Real World. You remember her, right? Frankie Abernathy was the rockabilly-looking chick from the San Diego season; she had anemia or something and talked about her
Blue Springs rock-and-roll boyfriend the whole time.

“Frankie was flailing around with this cigar-box purse,” Queen says. “She whacked me in the head a few times. After she hit me on the nose, I grabbed her because I wanted to knock the stupidity out of her.”

“I had to hold her off. It was nuts,” Morales says.

It’s pretty obvious that these two aren’t your typical mom and daughter. Queen is a whip-smart beauty with sparkling eyes and fire-engine-red hair. As a chameleonic scene-stealer at Ron Megee‘s now-defunct Late Night Theater, she delivered memorable, spot-on sendups of Morris Day and John Travolta. With Late Night only a memory, Queen is playing it straight for now, having just wrapped up a run of The Giver at the Coterie.

Morales works part time at Zebedee’s, the record store on 39th Street. With long, brown bangs framing her sweet face and a sometimes-shy demeanor, she’s like a lot of girls her age. She likes fashion and talking about her car. Unlike a lot of those girls, though, she describes Nick Cave as her “obsession.”

Mom and daughter are by no means a couple of Backstage Bettys. They’re enamored of boys in bands, sure, but it’s all perfectly innocent. Besides, Queen has her own rock star at home — she’s been with local music mainstay Cody Wyoming (the Golden-Hearted Whores, the Afterparty) for nearly three years.

And though they aren’t groupie types, they do engage in a little band-aid behavior, such as staking places right in front.

“Part of the pleasure of liking the type of music we like is the chance to be up close to the experience instead of being in a lawn chair a mile away,” Queen explains.

Morales owes her discerning ear partly to her mother. “She went to sleep to the Cocteau Twins every night as a baby,” Queen recalls.

In turn, Queen credits her daughter for keeping her abreast of newer bands such as Animal Collective and Camera Obscura. “When I was her age, I saw Sonic Youth, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Wire,” Queen says. “She has the desire just like I did. She found it on her own.”

When I bumped into the pair at the Record Bar’s Gary Numan concert last fall, we all gushed about Numan being one of our faves. The club filled to the brim with goths young and old, and I high-tailed it to the back to watch the show, seated like an old lady. Of course, the Morales and Queen watched the show right in front.

“Gary Numan was awesome,” Morales says. “I touched his butt.”

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