Carrie Butler

When we were practically kids, I interviewed Carrie for the second issue of my Xeroxed zine called K Composite. Not long after, we began dating and were together for about three years. It’s hard to believe we broke up almost twenty years ago.

Carrie is married and has a great husband and a family now. Since we live in different cities, this new interview was conducted long-distance.

I asked her to send me some photos to choose from. The ones she sent were all low-resolution snapsots – I get it, she’s busy raising kids or whatever – so I had to get creative to make her party photo look good in this fancy magazine. The good news is that someone you’ve known for more than twenty years will generally tolerate you Photoshopping a sparkles and space dust onto a picture of them in your magazine.

Now, let’s see what the old bird has been up to.

 

Can you briefly tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

Quite frankly, the world, or at least the US, would be in a much better place if I was in a greater position of authority. My unassuming, yet positive and friendly, demeanor, coupled with my commonsense approach to problem solving is sorely lacking in most modern situations, whether social or economic. I also love hoppy beers.

When you were interviewed for K Composite in the summer of 1992, you were 19 years old. Was there anything you hoped to do with your life then that you haven’t done yet?

No, not really. Given my seriously low expectations and the extraordinary amount of opportunities I had to travel, meet new people and have different types of jobs, the last twenty years were pretty great… Much less that I got married and have two beautiful, hilarious – and only sometimes annoying – little girls.

However, looking forward is what makes me feel slightly uneasy… to realize that my time on the planet is dwindling [as is] my ability to make life-changing, dramatic decisions [because they] impact so many more people.

Our friend Layla was also in that second issue and people really enjoyed the back-and-forth jabs you guys had for each other – including Ira Glass who read some of them on the air when he was at Talk of the Nation on NPR. After so many years, can you explain again who Layla Smith is?

Some guy I used to live with. I believe you must mean the artist presently known as Layla Searcy. Layla is gravely misunderstood. If you can’t appreciate the context of her life, then you really don’t know her. And if you don’t know her than you can’t say anything about her with any certainty.

To me, she is an amazing, awesome lifetime friend who I have always admired and often failed to appreciate to the extent that she deserves, based on her friendship to me.

She’s also the only person that has ever gone on a business trip with me and that means very much to me… and it was to Cleveland of all places! We felt like models!

You appeared on the cover of K Composite issue numbers 2, 3 and 4. How did it make you feel when someone else was on the cover of issue number 5?

Oh, I was so fucking pissed. Trust me, not because I am that conceited that I thought I would make another cover, but the circumstances surrounding the cover choice were painful for me. Even if at the time we were on a “break” and even if the “break” was partially instigated by my selfish, immature actions leading up to the cover decision. I am holding out for #14.

To be perfectly honest, what was more difficult for me, was coming home from Florida and seeing [your band] play at the Clifton Center with the images of you and your current – at the time – girlfriend play on a screen behind you. Difficult but necessary.

I never resolved the idea of how I could fit into your mind and world. I wanted to fit in at the time, but I knew that I never really would or could be that person. I look back now and simultaneously feel so appreciative of the time that we had together and especially your family and the time that we shared together, but I also feel so horrible knowing that I was not, at all, capable of being a good girlfriend to you.

It sucks now to look back on a relationship and realize how amazing someone is, and understand that, without malicious intent, you hurt them. Because at the time you were just trying to figure it all out.