Joseph A. Gervasi interviews Larry Livermore, formerly of Lookout Records and author of the book How To Ru(i)n A Label (Don Giovanni Records, 2015).
Since Larry’s book covers the story of his involvement (and de-volvement) with Lookout Records so well, we only talk about the label a bit in this lengthy interview. Instead we focus on other aspects of Larry’s life, like growing up working class in Detroit, his estrangement from his family, the consumption and sale of psychedelic drugs, living in Northern California, MaximumRockNRoll, the punk scene’s sometimes self-destructive disdain for success and embrace of obscurity and failure, and being involved in a record label that meant a lot to countless people. We talk about how we came to know one another in a story about my stay at a hippie religious commune in the early 1990s. The Martin Sprouse edited book Threat By Example (Pressure Drop Press, 1989) is discussed along with Larry’s essay in it. The discussion doesn’t shy away from sensitive subjects such as suicide, love, and loneliness. All told, even those who’ve read Larry’s columns and books (and possibly attending one of his speaking engagements) will find much to enjoy in this interview.
As I note at the start of the interview (and as is the case with a few other interviews in the project), Larry is not a “Philly person” (though he told a terrific Philly story when he gave his speaking engagement shortly after this interview was conducted). Larry’s writing, bands (The Lookouts, The Potato Men), the Gilman Street Project/924 Gilman, and records he released through Lookout Records had an impact on participants in the Philly scene (myself included).