Cold War Vets

They're younger than 30!

By Bobble Tiki on June 14, 2007

Bobble Tiki was born in 1966. Lyndon Baines Johnson was President. The Beatles were more popular than Jesus, and talking about it in Evening Standard. Bobby Hull was setting the NHL single season scoring record. The United States had 250,000 troops in Vietnam. The Beach Boys released Pet Sounds. Richard Speck was murdering nurses.

And Bobble Tiki remembers none of it.

While usually periods of Bobble Tiki’s life of which he has no recollection can be attributed to weeklong booze binges or serious head injuries, this time Bobble Tiki can be excused. In 1966 Bobble Tiki was only a baby. 

(Tiki fun fact # 27: Bobble Tiki took a lead pipe to the noggin in the great Nirvana vs. Pearl Jam debate of ’92. He laid in a coma for three weeks. He doesn’t remember it and doesn’t want to talk about it.)

In 1966 the Cold War was in full effect — not like Reggie and the Full Effect. It lasted into the ’90s, so Bobble Tiki definitely remembers. Bobble Tiki’s dad, ever afraid of the big, bad, proverbially red fuzzy commie dice that hung over the head of the United States, kept a well-stocked bomb shelter hidden beneath the Tiki’s suburban home. Later in life, Bobble Tiki remembers 1989 and smoking herbal jazz cigarettes during his fifth year of college and watching the Berlin Wall come down from the comfort of his Cheeto stained futon.

Gus Voss, the 16-year-old leader of the Cold War Vets, who will play The Oakland Tavern Saturday, June 16, and Le Voyeur in Olympia Sunday, June 17, didn’t yet exist in 1989. Actually, Bobble Tiki takes that back. There’s a chance Voss was a sparkle in his pappy’s eye. Either way, the fact the leader of this Boise, Idaho based punk band is young enough to know about the Cold War only from text books and the History Channel makes things all the more interesting.

For the record, the Cold War Vets do have one member old enough to remember the actual Cold War — drummer Don Martinez is 25. That’s either a little weird, or a little reassuring, depending on how you look at things. The band’s lineup is rounded out by 16-year-old bassist Kristin Smith and 18-year-old guitarist Elijah Judd. Voss seems to be the youngest (by months over Smith) and the most outspoken. Though, in fairness to the rest of the band, Bobble Tiki only spoke with Voss this week. The other members of the Cold War Vets may be equally candid.

There’s nothing genius about what the Cold War Vets do. In the world of punk rock that’s a good thing. When a punk rocker starts being too adventurous, it’s not long before he’s not punk anymore. The Vets seem to have a good handle on the ideals that have given punk staying power. They push buttons and they play the role. Plus, they’re cute as a button (aside from the aforementioned creepy old drummer).

BOBBLE TIKI: First of all, can you explain the name to me?

GUS VOSS: Our name came from an inside joke in my debate team. We were joking about being veterans of the Cold War, considering there are no real “veterans” of the Cold War, although there were many hot conflicts during the cold war. Since we named ourselves the Cold War Veterans, we have found an actual organization called the Cold War Veterans Association. A lot of people get pissed off because we’re all under 30 and there is no such thing as Cold War Veterans.

TIKI: Talk about the music scene in Boise.

VOSS: The music scene in Boise is dying slowly. Especially the punk scene. Everyone in the punk scene has drifted into either the indie scene (which is growing to be ridiculously large) or the hardcore scene, which sucks.

TIKI:  How long is the tour? What are you driving and where do you sleep?

VOSS: This is our first tour ever. I book all the shows, and my family pays for the hotels. We’re only out for nine days this time, due to limited funds. We’re driving three compact cars. We’ll be sleeping at one hotel for three days and then at my mom’s house in Washington.

TIKI: How did you end up here? What things have led you down this path?

VOSS: Well, my parents got divorced when I was 4, so I got to move in with my dad and grandparents. I started listening to Blink 182 and calling it punk, which pissed my dad, an ex-punk, off, so he showed me the Sex Pistols, the Damned, The Buzzcocks, and a bunch of other old school punk bands.

TIKI: Is it a conscious decision to be controversial? Would this band be as fun without the controversies?

VOSS: It’s great fun. We write most of our songs to piss at least one person off. It wouldn’t be anywhere as fun to be less controversial, and yes it is a conscious decision.

TIKI: Are you punk?

VOSS: Yes.

As always, Bobble Tiki doesn’t care what you do this weekend because he doesn’t even know you. Besides, Bobble Tiki’s still trying to figure out why the Sopranos finale sucked so badly. Is he supposed to worry about your social life too? Unless you can help Bobble Tiki fill the void in his soul left by the loss of the Sopranos and Bob Barker, he’s pretty sure he doesn’t need you. You do your thing, Bobble Tiki will do his.

[Oakland Tavern, Saturday, June 16, 9 p.m., $3, 3860 Center St., Tacoma, 253.627. 4003]

[Le Voyeur, Sunday, June 17, 10 p.m., no cover, 404 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia, 360.943. 5710]

Bobble Tiki is going out of his head via e-mail and