20 Questions with Asterik

    Members of Asterik gather around the piano to practice. Photo by the author.

    It’s almost impossible to walk around campus in early fall without running into (or over) a flyer advertising one of Northwestern’s many a capella groups. Still, how many people realize there’s more than music on the minds of the men and women behind the melodies?

    We wondered just that in this week’s 20 Questions in an interview with members of Asterik. Communication senior Ryan Grossheim, former president and current member of the group, Weinberg junior Josh Waytz, musical director and Music junior Devin Archer, who serves as Asterik’s Director of Elections, sat down together for an interview three times as funny.

    There are a ton of a capella groups at NU — what makes Asterik special?
    RG: Personality.
    JW: We’re taller than everyone else — we’re the second tallest basketball team on campus.
    DA: Our social dynamic is fierce.

    How do you decide which songs to perform?
    RG: Sometimes we just fight.
    JW: If you like it, we can do it.
    DA: We kind of have discussion and then sort of choose — sometimes we mud wrestle over it.

    Would you list a capella as a special skill on your LinkedIn?
    JW: No.
    DA: What’s a LinkedIn account? [After explanation] Oh, no — wait, yes.

    What’s your favorite place to eat in Evanston?
    RG: My favorite restaurant is Bat 17.
    JW: Wiener and Still Champion, not a lot of Northwestern students want to venture that far but it’s worth the trip. Devin eats at CVS.
    DA: Probably Celtic Knot, that or Wild Dogz.

    What’s the least badass thing you’ve ever done (and don’t say a capella)?
    RG: I used to be the editor of a high school yearbook. Pretty not badass.
    JW: I planted a garden, back in my floral days. It was actually more of an urban farm.
    DA: I cried on the part where you rise on the roller coaster, on my first time on a roller coaster. I was sobbing my way up, but half way down the first decline I was in ecstasy.

    Should Australia be considered a continent?
    RG: I say yes.
    JW: Is New Zealand part of Australia? Only if you can count New Zealand as part of Australia.
    DA: I would say probably most of Australia no, because it’s deserted except for lots of kangaroos.

    What’s your favorite pick up line?
    RG: Can I buy you a beer?
    JW: Hey, wanna dance?
    DA: That dress is becoming on you, and if I was on you I would be too.

    Has it ever worked?
    RG: Um, sure.
    JW: Yeah. I pull that one at weddings and bar mitzvahs across the country.
    DA: I got a hot blonde chick with it… in a show. Yeah, it works.

    Which drinking game are you the worst at?
    RG: I’m pretty bad at the rhyming part of Kings. Very specific.
    JW: I’m 20-years old, I’ve never had a drink in my life. But seriously, I don’t know enough games.
    DA: None of them. I champion all of them.

    Who would you rather be roommates with Clay Aiken or Ricky Martin?
    RG: I think Clay Aiken would just be annoying.
    JW: Ricky Martin hands down! What in the world? Ricky Martin is not gay — she bangs, she bangs. Is Clay Aiken the large African American man who won American idol? I’d rather room with Ruben.
    DA: Ricky Martin, clearly.

    How often do you shower?
    RG: Every other day. I’m not going to lie, I definitely don’t every day.
    JW: Everyday.
    DA: Everyday. Sometimes.

    What’s your least favorite thing about Northwestern?
    RG: How far north SPAC is.
    JW: I wish they could switch Norris and Kellogg in location. It would help ease the North/South campus divide. I’d also trade the locations of SPAC and the Arch.
    DA: I don’t like how the basketball team gives up against Purdue.

    If you hadn’t gone to college, what would you be doing right now?
    RG: I’d probably be a dog. Just like the animal. Probably like a generic family dog, a Lab or a Golden Retriever.
    JW: Teaching at college.
    DA: I would probably be in the military or a ranchero with a hat. Living the good life. Harnessing bulls and stuff, and taking down cattle.

    Which reality show could you actually win?
    RG: I’ve always wanted to go on the Amazing Race.
    JW:I love New York.
    DA:Tila Tequilla.

    What’s your favorite board game?
    RG: I like Taboo.
    JW: I like Monopoly and the red properties. They have an Evanston Monopoly. You can buy Chipotle.
    DA: Risk.

    If a capella groups were sororities, which NU house would Asterick be most like?
    JW: My answer is Alpha Sigma Tau Epsilon Rho Tau Iota Kappa, but we’re more like a fraternity.
    DA: A Phi — they seem like real girls and we’re kind of like a real group.

    Are you glad Britney’s back?
    RG: I don’t think she’s back.
    DA: I don’t give a shit.
    JW: I echo Devin.

    How do you feel about nudity?
    RG: I like it (laughs).
    JW: People in Roman times, they were nude a lot, weren’t they?
    DA: Incorrect. They wore togas.

    What’s your hidden talent?
    RG: If I think really hard, I can make all the hair on my body just go away. I’d like to hear you come up with a better hidden talent. I’m actually really really really good at Flip Cup.
    JW: I can jump really, extraordinarily high. I have no wisdom teeth.
    DA: If I think really hard, I can make all the hair on Ryan’s body come back. I can also drive really well.

    What song best sums up Asterik?
    RG: The national anthem.
    JW: “Kansas City,” the James Brown version.
    DA: “I Will Survive,” the Cake version.

    Full disclosure: Sam Allard, Asterik’s president, works on the staff of North by Northwestern as Writing Editor, and member Jeff Meyer formerly served as a copy editor.


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