Steve Alexander

Backstage Pass

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The Quasi Interview

Thursday, February 12, 2009

If you missed the last two editions of Backstage Pass you missed interviews with Stephen Malkmus and Doug Martsch, which you can check out by clicking on their names. This time, while you may not recognize the band name right off the bat, I'm thrilled to present the Quasi interview.

Quasi is made up of Sam Coomes, Janet Weiss and Joanna Bolme. If you like indie rock, you probably know that Joanna is the bassist for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, and that Janet is the drummer. Janet was also the drummer on the last several Sleater-Kinney records and somewhat famously sang this duet with Eddie Vedder at the final S-K show in 2006, while Joanna was largely responsible for the release of Elliott Smith's posthumous From A Basement On the Hill record. Sam was in a band called Donner Party in the 80s and went on to play (with Smith) in the legendary Portland band Heatmiser before forming Quasi. Sam runs a sweet record store in Portland called Exiled Records, which you should check out by clicking the link, and has also appeared on some Built To Spill records.

Many of the e-mails I received after the first two interviews remarked about how cool it was that those guys really know the NBA. I think you'll be equally impressed with this trio's knowledge, and Weiss is even a former league champion, taking home the trophy for the 2006-07 season.

We all play in the same fantasy hoops league, commissioned by Malkmus, but the four of us aren't really tearing it up right now.

20 (or so) Questions With Quasi

How long have you played fantasy hoops and how many leagues are you in? Do any of you play fantasy football or baseball? What's your favorite?

Janet Weiss - This is my 6th year of fantasy basketball. I had to look it up to be sure. Time flies when you're having fun, I guess. I am only in one league, although I wish I had started another with unlimited waiver moves. I LOVE the wire.

Sam Coomes - I guess five years now - only one league, and that's plenty. Other sports - no...all the flavor is in the NBA.

What is your team's name and why?

Joanna Bolme - I usually have some Trail Blazers' related name. Last year I was Yoko Oden and I was The Noxious Weed (for Damon Stoudamire) the year before. This year I'm Crap E. Mascot because the Blazers have this mascot named Blaze, but nobody's really sure what kind of animal it's supposed to be. The team colors are red and black and the cheerleaders look like Rock of Love rejects. I always wanted Rob Halford of Judas Priest to be the mascot during the "Jail Blazers" heyday. Just roll out on a Harley before every game, but they've really cleaned up their image these days.

Janet - My team is called "Havoc McGavock," although I think I am better known for one of my past names, "Shatter Mob." It stuck best, but for some reason we change team names each year.

Sam - I have a tradition of putrid team names and I started out with some middle-earth thing this year, but I decided to try to classy it up a little, so I imagined an Orc in 19th-century formal wear - Shagrat Spats.

How do you keep up with your leagues/setting lineups when you're on tour? Has touring ever cost you a championship?

Sam - My bandmates are also in the league, so there is understanding. It's more difficult overseas - occasionally you have to just set your lineup for a couple weeks & leave it to fate.

Joanna - We do have laptops and Wi-Fi these days. I wish I could blame tour for my losses but I would have to chalk it up to bad draft picks and injuries most of the time.

Janet - The only way to really and truly keep up is to bring a laptop. Joanna gets away without one because we room together and she's always welcome to hop on mine. But for the Rotoworld readers, it's best to have access all day long. As you know, a lot of things change at the spur of the moment. I once saw Malkmus pick up Ron Artest in the security line at the off and ready to go through the x-ray machine. It was amazing.

How do your families or significant others feel about your fantasy sports addiction? Amazingly, I've been married for 18 years - Once we got thru the first five fantasy-sports filled years it was all gravy from there...

Janet - I am only recently in a relationship, so it's been smooth sailing until now. The boyfriend has done more damage to my team than any tour! When I'm single, I can really focus. Decent tradeoff though. He's basically pretty cool about it... thinks it's funny. He spends lots of time on Facebook, which I snicker at a little bit.

Joanna - My fiancee is English and doesn't even like soccer. He takes the piss and I pretend that I'm listening - it's funny.

Sam - I pretty much do my fantasy work at night when everyone is asleep – I'm a full-on deadbeat, but my wife is a saint, so I'm OK (for now). A couple years ago a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) was in our league, but became super obsessed and ended up spending hours trolling the waiver wire and juggling stats, etc. He had to quit the league because it was messing up his family and work life. That was a little cautionary tale.

Who are some of your favorite players and why?

Joanna - That's tough. When I was a kid, it was Maurice Lucas (got his autograph at the championship parade downtown). After that I enjoyed the cocaine-fueled antics of Billy Ray Bates. Then Clyde Drexler, of course. So classy. Arvydas Sabonis is definitely one of the best passers ever and who didn't love that guy? Rasheed Wallace used to drive me nuts when he was with the Blazers, but now that he's a Piston I'm free to love him again.

Janet - Until last year, Gilbert Arenas was my favorite. I snuck down and got a high five from him at a Blazer game once, which was so exciting. But now, and I know it's so boring, I'd have to say Lebron James. I love the way he walks with his toes out like Charlie Chaplin, and how he rushes to the bench and immediately sits down at time outs. He's intriguing and mysterious... girls like that. I can't BELIEVE Kevin Duckworth is in the running to be your favorite Blazer...that's hilarious. I moved to Portland in 1989 and loved the Adelman squad of the early 90's. Clyde was so awesome to watch because he was such a fast runner. Currently, I am keen on Brandon Roy in all his fundamental glory.

Sam - Manute Bol? Favorites are tough - yeah Clyde, Duck...that whole team was endearing. When I see an old picture of Clyde doing his ballet leap/finger-roll in a Blazers uniform, its sort of a golden memory scene. I have to say, something in me loves 'Sheed the best, though.

Do you draft with your head or your heart? Is it better to have a bad team full of guys you like to root for, or would you rather own players you don't care about?

Joanna - I don't draft Kobe, which is a huge mistake. Next year I'll take him if he's available.

Janet - I draft with my head...that Rotoworld draft guide has way too much influence on me, and I pour over it before it's time to go. But my memory is terrible and I don't have much of a statistics I need help. I should really just listen to league mates Malkmus and Sticky Green. They give good advice. Certain guys I won't pick, like Dirk Nowitzki. But this year I chose Tim Duncan, a notoriously boring player, and have loved having someone so solid in the lineup. A few guys I drafted with my heart - like O.J. Mayo and Rodney Stuckey - make me feel proud.

Sam - After finishing second last year, I came up with a draft strategy for the first time this year – and I ended up with a pretty crappy team. Always before I just winged it. I had a great team last year - I thought I was hitting my stride. So using my head was a bust and I should have known better.

What player did you draft that you're most disappointed with? Will you ever draft him again?

Janet - ELTON BRAND...NEVER AGAIN...NEVER AGAIN. Like I said, I had Dirk and won't draft him again...or Shawn Marion. What a crybaby.

Sam - Carlos Boozer killed my team. I knew he was an injury guy, but last year he made it through the season, so I rolled the dice on him. I had Camby last year and I was freaked out, waiting for the injury, but he was a cornerstone. Was hoping for similar scene with Boozer, but no luck. I'd never draft Tracy McGrady (though I had him a couple years back) or Ron Artest (although I'm a fan). I feel for Rick Adelman.

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Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for and a contributor to The 2014-15 NBA season marks his 13th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
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