When youâ€™re a small band with dreams of going on tour, booking shows is an exercise in networking and persistence, with a sprinkle of charm and a dash of desperation. Fans in San Diego and Salem arenâ€™t begging us to come and play. During our last tour, we learned that itâ€™s about meeting up with old friends in other cities, playing some music together, and crashing on a friendâ€™s couch. We learned that shows with high expectations can disappoint, and shows with low expectations can be surprisingly invigorating. Â Â Â
Act I: Hope
San Francisco is my Candyland. Since college graduation, I have visited once a year. My best friend Caty and my brother have taken me to underwater puppet shows, burlesque circuses, the western lesbian saloon, and the white tablecloth vegan restaurant. SF is perfection.
Last time we went on tour, my favorite show was in Oakland. We walked through the purple fur lined doorway and played for an audience of 8 people. A bicycle hung over our heads. We took band photos in old mirrors. Martin passed the hat and we made $200. We played with my brotherâ€™s band, McPuzo and Trotsky, a retro 1921 band whose debut songs were Suffrage is for Suckers and Warren G Harding is a Horseâ€™s Ass. In a regular world (like Seattle), we would never play a show with McPuzo and Trotsky. But San Francisco is not the regular world.
Act II: Obstacles
I had fantasies about another fabulous yet low key show. When I was booking this yearâ€™s tour, I landed shows in San Diego, LA, Irvine, and Olympia relatively easily. But in the city that I worship, the city that have such a strong connection to, it was nearly impossible. I hit up my contacts, used Indie Booker, wrote to recommended venues, and tried to add us to existing bills. My contacts in San Francisco have kids (boring! ;)) and are less connected to â€œthe scene.â€ All my contacts bemoaned the â€œcreative droughtâ€ in San Francisco. Itâ€™s been overrun by TwitFaceGoog, and tech bros drove away all the rainbows and unicorns.
Act III: Desperation
One week before we left for our tour I said, â€œItâ€™s time to stop booking and time to start promoting.â€ I booked two nights at a cabin in Mt. Shasta, precluding us from doing a show on a Tuesday night. â€œWeâ€™ll just chill out for two nights and do some songwriting,â€ I said to myself. But my fingers kept reaching for the keyboard. I looked up feminist radio shows and organizations. I researched rentals in shared spaces, like yoga studios and yachts.
I finally posted a request on Facebook. Duh. Ask people in Seattle for a show in SF.Â
Act IV: Renewed Hope
I wish I could find the post on Facebook, but man oh man, we got about 5 leads. The one that worked was Judith Blairâ€™s ex-boyfriendâ€™s friend who started up a community space ever since SF outlawed Airbnb. It is called Mango Dome, where our new-best-friend Victoria runs the show.
Victoria and I booked the show as we were rolling away from Seattle in our 20-wheeler touring van. Victoria wanted to try out music in her community center, so she gave us a shot. We were Mango Domeâ€™s guinea pigs! After I got off the phone with her, I shouted at the band, â€œHey everybody! We have a show in San Francisco, and the contact person is really cool!â€
â€œCool,â€ said my band.
Act V: The Show
We rolled into the Mango Dome on Tuesday at 4pm, listening to ourselves on BFF radio show. Victoria climbed out of her cupboard under the stairs and helped us unload.Â
After setup, Victoria handed me the key and left to run an errand while I welcomed my brother and his bandmate. She trusted me with that key.
McPuzo and Trotsky played their set. They serenaded Mango Dome, AKA Man-Go Do-Me, dedicating each song to Mango Domeâ€™s workshops, such as How to Lick Pussy Like a Champ and Butt Stuff 101: Intro to Anal. I sat on a couch, and Victoria reassured me that the blanket hadnâ€™t witnessed last nightâ€™s Kinky Tea Time.
We played our set for my sister-in-law, two homeless guys, my friend Sarah from college, and 12 of Cheerfulâ€™s friends from Guam. Then I went home and cuddled with my nephews while Cheerful, Jeanne, and Natalie slept in a cookie factory.
Fun Lessons from Tour:
Cheerful has 20 friends from Guam in every city. She can invite them 3 hours before showtime and they will all show up.
Always play a house show in Portland. Especially with Sparkle Princess Forever and Heart On.
Even if the show is unsuccessful, take some nice photos and tell people it was awesome.
We are excited to launch the APC 5th Woman campaign. By donating, you help us make the album of our DREAMS: to record for the first time with Jeanne, to lay down tracks as a live band with Brandon Busch, and pay the artists that contribute to the overall design (photographers, illustrators, graphic designers).
In 2009, Natalie and I were sitting in the backyard complaining about the subtle sexist things that people said to us as musicians. I had just been on the phone with a guy recruiting me for a cover band. After I spent about five minutes telling him I just taught girls how to play in rock bands, he said, â€œSo you play acoustic, right?â€* Natalie tells the full story in our blog post about Boys Night.
When we first wrote Boys Night, we felt kind of alone. At that point in time, Rain City Rock Camp (RCRC, or rather, Girls Rock! Seattle) had just put on its first camp. We were longing for a community, and Natalie decided to build it. Or as Rebecca says, â€œIf you want people to come to your show, start an effing nonprofit.â€ While there were many amazing volunteers, it was not yet a united voice.
A lot has changed in four years. Today, I can post that quote from acoustic-man on Facebook and get a chorus of support. We now know our experience is not unique. Our community discusses the sexism, racism, ageism (and more!) on a daily basis. No apologies.
Today, we are excited to release our Boys Night video. Watching it, we are reminded of how far we have come. Itâ€™s not a video of our band grumbling to one another about undercurrents of sexism polluting our psyches. Instead, it features a bunch of our friends singing those lyrics with us. It symbolizes the voices and stories from the awesome rock camp family that sustains us. Maybe this is cocky (heh), but it feels like an anthem that reflects our movement.
Video credits to Todd Tibbetts of Happy Awesome, who did an amazing job helping us realize our vision! Thanks to Kate Cofell,Wayne Foley, Margaret Fulton, Jenn Johnson, Jeani Krogstad, Mandy Hubbard, Dacia Saenz,Robin Smith, T-Rex, Reese Tanimura,Barb Telford, Sally TerBeck, and Jess Wetter.
Releasing this video marks the end of an era for our band. Yesterday, we went into the recording studio for the first time since You Have To Care. Boys Night talks about the problem. The next album is about taking action. Itâ€™s about the flood of support we have for one another. Itâ€™s about Natalie helping Sasquatch break through industry barriers and put more women onstage. We (not just our band, but the entire international rock camp community) are trying to build something huge and it is starting to work. Stay tuned for our Indiegogo campaign.
What about you?
Boys Night is not limited to the music industry. The same could be said about tech, finance, cooking, fashion, engineering. Um. everything. So a friend of ours wrote an adaptation of Boys Night for female software engineers.
You’re not sexist, it’s just Iâ€™m not that good You’re not sexist, it’s just Iâ€™m not that smart You’re such a good male speaker! I can’t believe you’re on an all male team! Did you write your storage layer?? How long have you been coding??
Document your own work, Troubleshoot your own bugs, Unit test your own code(x2) Cuz you’re that special!
You’re not sexist, it’s just I don’t know how to build for scale You’re not sexist, it’s just you’re a real developer It’s so cool you were hacking mainframes when you were in 3rd grade! Man, I wish I knew how to use the command line back then!
Document your own work, Troubleshoot your own bugs, Unit test your own code(x2) Cuz you’re that special!
Thanks for the mansplanation I guess Iâ€™m a little slow Interrupt my presentation glad youâ€™re sharing how much you know
If one girl’s just a token and two can write the docs then three can be the booth babes and five hundred are devchix dot com !!!!!!!!!!!
Document your own work, Troubleshoot your own bugs, Unit test your own code(x2)
It’s boys night at the Startup boys night, boys night(x2) x3 BOYS UNITE!
And hey, when I was in business school I threw down a few lyrics myself:
Youâ€™re such a good male leader I canâ€™t believe you are a working dad Did you pass accounting? That guy is such a f@**0t
What would the lyrics from your world sound like? We want to hear from you. Donâ€™t limit yourselves to sexism. Racism, ableism, homophobia… What would they sound like in accounting, customer service, restaurant, product management, radio, film, fashion, advertising, the list goes on? Type them in the comments below.
Better yet, download the instrumental of the mp3 here, record your vocals, and upload it to soundcloud. We will add it to our Boys Night Playlist.
Lyrics to Boys Night Youâ€™re not sexist Itâ€™s just weâ€™re not that good. Youâ€™re not sexist Itâ€™s just weâ€™re not that smart Â Youâ€™re such a good male drummer I canâ€™t believe youâ€™re in an all-boy band Do you write your own songs? How long have you been playing? Â Chorus Listen to your own voice Listen to your own song Listen to your own speech â€˜Cause youâ€™re that special Â
Youâ€™re not sexist Itâ€™s just we donâ€™t know how to book a show Youâ€™re not sexist Itâ€™s just youâ€™re a real musician Â Itâ€™s so cool you heard that record When you were in third grade Man, I wish I knew how to listen To music back then! Â If one girlâ€™s for the money And two are just for show Then three is just a gimmick And five are the (Go)-Go-Goâ€™s Itâ€™s boys night in Seattle Boys Unite!!
*We love acoustic music and acoustic guitars. Itâ€™s just this assumption that people make about women musicians thatâ€™s annoying.
We have a show! At the Crocodile! All Ages! In a month! Exclamation points!!!
*sigh* Itâ€™s been awhile. 14 months, to be exact. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
We are playing with Bleachbear – an awesome band from the Rain City Rock Camp community and Spider and the Webs – Tobi Vailâ€™s current band. We grew up on Bikini Kill and canâ€™t help but swoon a little.
The last show that APC performed was for Jenn and Teresaâ€™s wedding weekend on April 20th, 2013. The house was packed to the gills with cousins, parents, high school friends, college friends, former bandmates and future bandmates. We played a show with our extended rock family: Pablo Honeys and Sheâ€™s Your Sister. Teresa was 6 months pregnant. Natalie and Rebecca played two sets. Jeanne melted faces.
Since then we have written 5Â songs, hosted 4Â rock camp sessions, played in 3Â other bands,Â boughtÂ 2Â housesÂ and had 1Â baby.
You: What?! You wrote five songs? Us: Yes. Maybe more than that. We disappeared into the woods (again) and wrote more songs. You: If a band writes a song in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Us: Not until itâ€™s played live.
Therefore, you should come hear a ton of new songs at the Crocodile on June 18th. Little song embryos have been incubating and growingÂ and we are excited to give birth to them. (Thank goodness this show is all ages!) They are about the dearth of female performers at music festivals, United We Band, and this crazy little thing called loooooove.
BTW, we don’t intend to wait this long until our next show. Summer is comin’ and we want to melt your faces.
This is the shmaltzy romantic song. Iâ€™ll try to keep the history of the lyrics a little more tidy so that you donâ€™t retch.
Lyrics of Looooooove…….. xox oxoxoxoxo
I could have settled for half what I wanted but instead I waited twice as long for everything
Hereâ€™s the deal. Now that Iâ€™m in a relationship with someone who is really awesome, stable and a good fit for me, I realized that everyone leading up to that point was just practice for the real thing. If I had to live my life all over again, and if I knew everything I know now, I would have spent more time reading books and playing my guitar instead of hitting the dating scene.
When I was dating a jerk, people told me, â€œRelationships are hard,â€ and â€œrelationships are work.â€ Sure, maybe thatâ€™s true. But maybe I was getting advice from people who had settled for mediocrity. Suckas.
The Making of the Song
This song includes handclaps. At first, Natalie, David and I recorded the handclaps in Rebecca’s kitchen. When we listened back the claps sounded a little like a “you’ve-been-naughty” spanking. I insisted that we re-record the handclaps with lots of people, which sounds less like one hand on one… ahem.
So about 10-14 friends gathered at Rebecca’s house for recording. We snacked on cookies and beer and told a joke or two. When we headed down to her basement, we realized we had only four headphones. Oops. But the show must go on! After working out intricate gestures and dance moves, we strategically placed sets of headphones throughout the crowd and many people recorded handclaps without hearing the song. Watch them work their magic in this video!
This song does not follow the convention of Verse, Pre-chorus, Chorus, Verse, Pre-chorus, Chorus (VPC, VPC). Oh no! It is VPCPVPCPV. In my brain it looks like the picture below. The verses are soft and sweet like a sigh, the pre-chorus adds some energy (with the handclaps!) and the chorus is full and swelling. And then the prechorus takes it down a notch before we revisit the soft and sweet verse. And then back up the hill to the chorus via the pre-chorus! Hooray! Hooooraaaay for LOOOOOOOOOOOVE!
This is the first in a series of blog posts that introduce the songs from our new album: You Have to Care. We will be streaming one song a week leading up to our CD release (6/27) and telling the story behind the song. I hope you enjoy it.
Background of â€œCuteâ€
Iâ€™m a skinny person. I come from a long line of skinny people. I had a great aunt who seemed to think that her virtue made her skinny (â€œI never put croutons on my salads!â€ â€œAll I need is one piece of Dove chocolate.â€) but Iâ€™m afraid itâ€™s her genetics.
Because feminism is pro-size, sometimes people feel like the corollary is true: that feminism is also anti-thin. However, if you tell me that I need to gain weight, it is really not very different from telling my good friend that she needs to lose weight. Yes, society is far more anti-fat, and there is WAAAAY more judgment around being fat than being thin. Iâ€™m not saying, â€œWoe is meâ€ here. What Iâ€™m saying is, if we really want to be feminists, we should all just say, â€œI love you and you are beautifulâ€ and stop concerning ourselves with the superficial. Because the negative criticism that so loosely flies around can really tear us apart and waste our precious energy. And criminy, the last thing we need is to tear ourselves down. Instead, chicks need support.
Iâ€™d never tell you that Youâ€™re too much of anything I would just tell you That youâ€™re cute
Thatâ€™s the general idea of this song. But I like stories, and this song is based on ongoing frank conversations about size that I had with a dear friend. She wears a larger size than I, and we would have very open conversations about our bodies, similar to the last couple of paragraphs. When she was in a Weight Watchers group, she said that she was nervous to shed pounds because she strongly identified with her size, and it made her feel powerful. I couldnâ€™t agree more. She embodies zeal, smarts, power, love, and action. And sheâ€™s beautiful.
Her big smile A bigger sin Her grand arms And thicker skin
She grabs it all with gusto You canâ€™t control this animal The serpent turned her junk To gold
At work, she made things happen. She threw her passion behind her work and people listened. She connected with communities across the state and created some really exciting programs that changed peoplesâ€™ lives.
I wonâ€™t bore you with work politics, but ultimately I think her excitement may have been too much for the C-suite. Somehow, they squeezed her out but wanted to keep her connections.
Her network isnâ€™t yours to keep You pushed her underneath your feet You canâ€™t refuse her gifts And steal them
And she got another job in another state with people that just. love. her. Farewell!
This is the year-long story of writing a new song in APC land. It’s also about our friend Margaret. Because we are committed to being collaborative, our writing process is slower than other more decisive bands. However, it normally doesn’t last a year. In the case of the Margaret song, we were stuck. It was hard to communicate a vision or a feeling. We tried a few different paths. Ultimately, we were victorious because we collaborated with an external force: Margaret Fancypants (last name changed to protect the innocent).
First, a little about Margaret
I (Teresa) have known Margaret since college. I lived with her and Bjorn when I first moved to Seattle. She comes to most of our shows. She has long red hair, creates beautiful quilts out of old shirts and dresses, adores words and uses them wisely and creatively, works as a librarian, and is currently in pastry chef school. We used to get together weekly to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When that series ended, we had a weekly documentary night. One day she walked home instead of taking the bus. A year later she walked across England. She deserves some time in the spotlight.
A year ago, I hummed a tune into my phone on an elevator. I had a vision for how it should sound. I wrote some lyrics about straight men and tried to jam on it with the band. To make a long story short, it never worked. Playing the tune differently, with distortion, without distortion, figuring out the underlying chords… it. just. didn’t. work. At that point, I was sick of singing a song about straight men. Although we love straight men, the exact subject matter made me vomit in my mouth.
I didn’t want to lose the tune, and I wanted to have fun playing the song. Having written plenty of songs about myself and my own perspective, I reached out for inspiration. I emailed Margaret a list of 18 questions and asked her to answer five of them. She answered seven. I’ve starred the ones she answered in the list below.
What charities or organizations have you donated to? Why did you choose that one?
Which relative in your extended family are you most similar to? What do you have in common? If he/she were asked the same question, would they say you are most similar to them?
*What is a recurring dream you have? What do you think it means?
Describe an encounter with a stranger while you were travelling. Do you still talk to that person? How often? What do you talk about?
*If you could give advice to your past self, what would it be? What age would you be?
What will you do when you retire?
When did you realize you were a grown up?
Describe your ideal party. (# people, setting, food/drink, type of clothing, conversation, activities)
*If you had to re-live one moment over and over again, what would it be? (brain candy question)
What is the most creative thing you have ever done? Who else was involved? When was it? What inspired you to do it?
Describe your favorite food or meal.
*What words do others use when describing you?
*What is your favorite zoo animal? Why do you like it?
*Where/when do you feel most normal?
What is the last adventure you went on?
*What is a tradition you like to practice every year? Who made up the tradition?
What is your least favorite word? Why?
Whom do you despise? Why?
I won’t put all of them here, but I will include the relevant responses.
Verse 1: The recurring dream
Once every couple years (and it’s been a while since I had one) I dream that I go into my bedroom closet and there’s a ton of clothing in there that I don’t recognize, or had forgotten about. And there’s a lot of overlap- five of the same shirt in slightly different colors, or the same dress in three or four different sizes. Things I’ve never worn or couldn’t possibly wear, plus lots of stuff that I could if I had enough time. And I stand there flipping through the racks examining it all, trying to figure out what on earth to wear. It’s probably something about feeling overwhelmed in the face of the endless possibilities that life offers every day.
Verse 2: The annual tradition
OO! OO!Â Is this question just for me? Do you already know what I’m’na say? I bet you can guess. It has something to do with a certain crazy dead guy. Yes, that’s right! John Belushi!
Every year in the middle of September I like to watch The Blues Brothers (aka “The perfect American movie”) with my buddy Bjorn and sing along to the music. He and I made up that tradition together. I’m thinking that this year we should embellish the tradition by making three orange whips and drinking them during the climactic scene where Cab Calloway dances around the stage in a white tuxedo while yodeling. Well, okay, it’s not exactly yodeling, but how else to describe it? The man had a singular and bizarre talent.
Bridge: When she feels normal
What a fascinating question. I put it to a friend and he and I had a great conversation about different definitions of the word “normal” and the various ways one might answer. Does normal mean “statistically common”? “Healthy”? “Comfortable”? “Typical”?Â Does it describe a sense of belonging to a social group, orÂ notÂ belonging to social group? Both? Does it necessarily have a social component at all? (I could imagine someone saying, for example, that she feels most normal when meditating alone.) Anyway, in my case, ringing handbells satisfies several of the aforementioned criteria for “normal” so I’ll pick that. It’s something Â where I share a near-universal human activity (making and enjoying music) with people who are both of a demographic-majority social group for my country, and the culture in which I was raised (namely white protestants).Â And even if I don’t have a lot in common with those specific people in other ways, in that circumstance I’m “normal” for people who like ringing. And I’ve been doing it for much of my life, so it’s normal and comfortable for me on a personal level, and, I daresay, healthful. 🙂
After I received Margaret’s responses, I interviewed the band. “What do you think of when you think of Margaret?” Here are the responses:
Food, ice cream (She brought homemade ice cream to our practice once.), and cake. Loyalty, enthusiasm. Mittens. She has some really great mittens that we talked about for a long time. She’s so fucking cute. Brightens the mood of anything. She comes to all our shows. She likes us for real. Warm and whatever is the opposite of stand-offish. You don’t have to know her for very long to be comfortable with her. She’s very authentic to herself. She makes tasty treats but also not following the norms of anything. She never just makes chocolate chip cookies. They are chocolate chip pumpernickel pomegranate. With ingredients I would never think of. Very theatrical, but she’s not playing a role. Laughs a lot. Sometimes giggles.
I struggled with the lyrics for the chorus. When the song is about an idea, a chorus is an opportunity to epitomize the message. Distilling down a person to one idea, especially someone I know so well, is damn near impossible.
When I was in San Francisco, I went to Humphry Slocombe for ice cream. Using Facebook check-in, I reported that I had Secret Breakfast (whiskey and cornflakes), Fluffernutter, and Salt & Pepper. Margaret replied, “My envy can only be expressed through a dance of rage.” There you have it. Margaret’s appreciation for the English language, her sense of humor, and her love for creative flavors was encapsulated in one phrase. Incidentally, it is a quote from the Marzipan Pig, a story and movie narrated by Tim Curry.
This is where it got tricky. One thing we do as a band is sometimes listen to other bandsâ€™ songs in order to force ourselves out of our norms. I tried to find bands with a frenetic energy. Margaret often has a rapid-fire articulate speech pattern that is both humorous and engaging. While I wouldn’t describe Margaret as frenetic, that’s how I wanted the song to feel. I played a little Sicko and Marnie Stern for the band. I could imagine Margaret happily head-banging to both bands. And then it was born.
A pink shirt. A red one.
And a purple and a yellow and I cannot decide
And a new dress
In more than one size.
And maybe this is similar to my life where lots of pretty, shiny things dance and play
And all the possibilities might just overwhelm every day.
The gears are turning (x3). You’re breaking all the rules. (By the way, this is in reference to the turning gears in her brain, as well as the blender that she so masterfully uses. Cream and sugar all the way.)
I express my envy through a dance of rage.
A movie. September.
And we sit and sing along with glasses raised.
A sharp white tuxedo
And he dances and he yodels across the stage.
And maybe yodel isn’t the word but he has talent that is singular and bizarre
And when we give a toast, we’re honoring one dead crazy star
(Criteria for normal)
It makes us happy to hear you laughing at our rock shows and
We like the way your mittens go so well with your cute clothes and
If you want to make us goodies, we will be your guinea pigs
Pumpernickel, pomegranate, dill and buckwheat and fresh figs
We will be yours!
Here is the video of the song’s debut. You can see Margaret at the beginning and end of it. Hugs and love to Margaret from APC.
Why should I go on tour, anyway? When Bon Jovi did it, they rode a steel horse and hot tubbed with the ladeez after thousands of fans screamed for them. When I told people my band was going on a west coast tour, my inner third grader imagined us gracing stage after stage with fans that crawled out of the woodwork. Instead, really close friends that I havenâ€™t seen in 17 years marked their calendars two months prior to come see me and have 15 minutes of conversation on a school night. (Thanks, Amy, Adrienne, Corrine, April B, Job.) Then, they kindly sat and listened to the music Iâ€™ve been creating for the past four years.
I still have a bit of an existential dilemma over what tour is about. On a selfish note, itâ€™s about performing with my band six nights in a row, becoming more connected and solid with each performance. On selfish note part B, itâ€™s about seeing old school friends and meeting new musician friends and subjecting them to my art. Itâ€™s hard not to be selfish as a musician. We practice a lot so that we donâ€™t make asses of ourselves on stage. We improve so that we can book better shows. As a guitarist, Iâ€™m literally staring at my navel.
However, on a more selfless note, tour is about developing a music community that goes beyond my hometown of Seattle, AKA, finding out who cares. For example, Ed from Apache Trail, and his wife Celia, offered us a place to crash after our Portland show, based only on a mutual friend from high school. Marty from San Francisco hosted us for his birthday, and did a beautiful â€œaskâ€ before passing the hat. Becky put together an amazing bill in Los Angeles. We can only hope to return the favor by hosting them in our city.
Natalie, David, and Rebecca are better at describing music. Iâ€™ll leave that to them. My blog is going to be about the people I met, unofficial members of the music community in my mind.
Monday, September 13: Leaving Seattle
I met Dan through his wife, Lark. She is a book artist, and 100% DIY. For example, when they got married, she grew the flowers, sewed her wedding dress, and cooked food for 200+ people â€“ with nary a hint of Bridezilla. Dan is a drummer, and for a moment in history, we jammed with my friend Bjorn and were called â€œThe Redheaded Sweeties.â€
Dan lent us his van for tour. He installed speakers, a new battery, and other mysterious mechanical parts. Dan and Lark handed me the keys and a box of delicious homemade cookies on Sunday night, with wishes for a good tour. It made Dan happy to donate the van to a touring band. We paid him a small sum, and the van ran smoothly to LA and back. Natalie and I picked up Rebecca and David from work on Monday night, and the conversation went something like this:
Nat and Teresa: Hello bandmates! Welcome to tour.
Rebecca: Oh my god. This is a touring van.
David: I didn’t really realize that I was going on tour until this moment. Now that I’m in the van and my stuff is in the back, I think it’s really real.
Or something less eloquent than that.
Tuesday, September 14: Eugene to San Francisco
We stayed with Rebeccaâ€™s family in Eugene on Monday night, a stopping point before our first show in San Francisco. We went to the Sweet Life for breakfast. I asked the barista to fill my thermos with hot water. I felt a little rude asking for a favor, and explained that we were on a road trip.
Barista: Where are you going? Teresa: Weâ€™re in a band and on tour. Barista: Did you play in Eugene? Teresa: No, no one would take us. Barista: Well, I host shows in my warehouse. Send me an email and Iâ€™ll see if I can get you a show next time youâ€™re in town.
We gave him a sticker with our website, and took his email. After some cyberstalking, I think his name is Aaron Sullivan.
At the van
Rebecca: Did you just get us a show in Eugene? Teresa: Yes. David: Did you just pull an MBA back there? Teresa: Yes.
Thank you, MBA. Although I do not yet have a six figure salary at an overestimated high tech company in Seattle, I do have a show in Eugene that will further my expensive hobby.
Later that day…
We pulled into Kimoâ€™s Bar in San Francisco at 9:05 pm, approximately -5 minutes before the show started. Fortunately, Leopard Print Tank Top postponed their start time so that we could load in. Leopard Print Tank Top (I canâ€™t stop typing that fabulous band name) involved a ukulele, a bass, a keyboard, and lyrics so funny Iâ€™m not allowed to sing them in Another Perfect Crime. (We are, after all, a serious band.) I canâ€™t give any specifics, but the songs were about Jewish heritage and cats. Their outfits were satin, and they were unfortunately missing their belly dancer that night.
Jamie is a volunteer for the girls rock camp in San Francisco. For those of you who donâ€™t know anything about my band, and I canâ€™t imagine anyone who doesnâ€™t know this fact would read this far into the blog, Natalie is a co-founder of the Seattle chapter of the girls rock camp. Although we have almost nothing in common with LPTT musically, we appreciated one anotherâ€™s performances and planned for future shows. Â We stayed at my brotherâ€™s place in Berkeley. More on him later.
Wednesday, September 15: SF to LA
My girlfriend adores Becky Gebhardt. I get it now. When our original LA host contracted a virus and suggested we stay elsewhere, Becky threw open her doors, supplemented our truck tacos with avocado, played Paper Telephone with us, and gave us four places to sleep in her medium sized LA apartment. Now I adore Becky Gebhardt as well, probably almost as much as my girlfriend does.
Becky is also a volunteer for girls rock camp â€“ but in LA. In fact, she probably runs the place. Her full time job is playing bass in Raining Jane, a beautiful folk/rock/world-like band that tours nationally for realz. Like, with ladeez in hot tubs andâ€¦ you know, money. She now has a side project called (Something Somebody and his) Bountiful Hearts which, to my novice ears, sounds like classic rock with a David Bowie influence. Before I offend her further, you can read my bandmatesâ€™ blogs to find out what her band really sounds like.
Anyhooters, we played with Bountiful Hearts, Ingenue, and EZ Tiger at Silverlake Lounge on Wednesday night. The crowd was packed, and 75% women (if not more), strongly represented by Girls Rock LA volunteers. All the bands were REALLY GOOD. Like, I want to host them in Seattle so badly it makes my loins ache a little bit. All of the bands had at least one member who volunteered at the rock camp. Hello, community.
Becky and my girlfriend Jenn have plans of developing a network for touring bands through the Girls Rock Camp Alliance (GRCA). Right now, touring bands need to borrow a van and lug drum kits and amps. However, bands in the alliance could set up shows and lend equipment to touring bands â€“ allowing us to travel in our fuel-efficient hybrid sedans instead of a large van. Great idea, right? Rebeccaâ€™s talking about writing code for the website to keep track of equipment, bands, and calendars. But before that step, let it be known that we will host any of those bands in our home town.
Thursday, September 16: LA to Irvine
Music community member #5: Rita Gennawey, KUCI Radio Show host
Music community members #6: Jenn, Andi, Len, Margaret, and Chad
This was one of our favorite days, mostly because we did not have to get in the van and driveâ€¦ very far. I went to breakfast for three hours with my college friend and cinematic costumer, Corrine. Rebecca stayed with the drummer from her college band and subsequently visited her newborn goddaughter, and Natalie and David enjoyed a fabulous feast made by Becky Gebhardt while looking out the window at hummingbirds, flowers, and succulents.
Natalie and David selected a few songs for us to turn into acoustic masterpieces, and we rehearsed them in Becky Gebhardtâ€™s sunny apartment until it was time to go. We ripped Rebecca away from a newborn child down in Irvine, and headed to the radio station. KUCI is in a trailer in UC Irvineâ€™s campus. Rita met us in the parking lot, and I thought she was awfully cute, probably because she looked a lot like, well, me.
Rita played some songs, we played some songs, we played the songs of some of our friend bands. Whatever. Details. Our friends gave us feedback via Facebook throughout the show. I’m starting to love social media.
Margaret: I am listening right now and Rita announced you! *excited* Len: The band sounds great! Chad: I caught the end of it (are they done?!) and it was sweet! Andi: APC, that rocked, and you rock!! That was truly da hunchback!! Jenn: â€ŽInterview starts at 23:23, APC album tracks start at 24:00, live set starts at 48:00, DJ set throughout. OH! and buzzing silence (rain city rock camp band) starts at 1:30!
We went out to dinner with Rita. Rita is one of those people who does nothing half-assed. She hosts the radio show on top of her regular FT job. She doesnâ€™t play music, but is a collector and connoisseur of it. She supports and promotes bands. Honestly, I felt kind of music-dumb around Rita. I shop for music the way I shop for clothes: if it doesnâ€™t catch my eye/ear, Iâ€™m not going to spend time on it. This is why I obsess about Marnie Stern, Sleater-Kinney, and the xx â€“ and have no idea what Supergrass, Lady Gaga, and whoever-your-favorite-band-is sounds like. Iâ€™m ADHD and only listen to about three bands. Rita, however, listens to the CDs that get mailed to her. STACKS of CDs. Go, Rita.
Friday, September 16: LA to SF
My brother plays in a band called McPuzo and Trotzky. Theyâ€™re retro-political and funny. Specifically, they are two men from 1921 singing humorous pieces such as â€œDam America,â€ and â€œSuffrage is for Suckers.â€ When booking the tour, I asked Craig if he wanted to play a show together, knowing it might be my only chance.
Enter Martin. He hosts musical emergencies a few times a year. He selects a story (Jack and the Beanstalk, Star Wars), breaks the story into about 20 parts, and assigns them to musicians two weeks before the â€œemergency.â€ The night of the party, people show up, perform their original song, and eat food. Itâ€™s a fantastic concept, and Martin is the quintessential music community member. In fact, he asked me how we did Ladies Rock Camp, because he wants to create a version of it for his own friends.
Martin lives in a loft in Oakland, and offered to host our sibling show. We were greeted by the softest, fuzziest purple door, mannequins, cigarette machines, a saw table used as a coffee table, and a bicycle hanging from the ceiling. He fed us delicious Thai food and wine before taking the stage. McPuzo and Trotzky were the opener. Lots of puns â€“ none of which I can remember, old stylie tunes, and the highest density of filthy double entendres Iâ€™ve ever encountered in a set. Needless to say, Iâ€™m proud of my brother (McPuzo) and his partner-in-crime, Paul (Trotzky). Especially since Craig arrived in town from Spain the night prior and was jet lagged.
We played our set, fearing it was too loud, but playing it anyway. Martin told us we were the coolest band ever to perform in his home. McPuzo and Trotzky â€œmade a sandwich with us,â€ playing half a set before us, and half a set after us. Their friends lounged on the floor on pillows (supplied from Martinâ€™s pillow bureau). It was the most intimate show we have ever played. It felt magical.
Craig improvised on â€œFor You,â€ a song from our first EP, with his Stroh violin. It brought tears to my eyes. Momma and Daddy woulda been proud.
Saturday, September 18: SF to Ashland
This one almost doesnâ€™t count. We played a show at Caldera Taphouse in Ashland on Saturday night. Honestly, it was the loneliest and longest show. A couple listened to most of our set and bought a CD. A group of guys stayed for about 30 minutes. Another group of guys stayed toward the end and offered us a place to stay and a drink. (They were 21. We said “no” using a long, drawn-out passive aggressive technique, with regional influences from Georgia, Ohio, DC, and Denver.) The whole situation begged the question, â€œShould we play anyway?â€ since it probably cost more money to stay in a hotel than we made up for in food. The food was good. The beer was good. It broke up the drive. We improvised with one microphone for two hours. The end.
Sunday, September 19: Ashland to Portland
Finding a place to stay in Portland was, ironically, one of the biggest challenges. A friend of mine offered me a place to stay, but couldnâ€™t take the full band. A friend of a friend offered us a place, but she had cats and cats hurt me. As a compromise, I went back to the original friend, and learned that she needed to get laid instead of host me. Yes. Thatâ€™s what I said.
Sheryl to the rescue. She just moved to Portland from Seattle. Like, JUST moved. That day. We slept on her four couches. â€œA friend of Andiâ€™s is a friend of mine,â€ she said. Sheryl is a drummer. Kudos to Sheryl.
The first time we played in Portland, we were AWFUL. Our bodies were shaking, we cursed in front of small children, and it may have ruined our reputation in Portland. However, Leslie Yeargers has remained supportive. She now plays with her husband Jonny and fellow rock camp volunteer, Teri. We love these people. They are kind, they love music, and they encourage their kids to love music. Every time I see Leslie play, her bass lines become more and more inventive and interesting. I think thatâ€™s a huge part of the girls rock camp philosophy â€“ is that the learning is as exciting as the end result. Lather, Rinse and Repeat has some great songs. It was their first show playing out, and I canâ€™t wait to play with them in the future.
Joe-the-booker asked me to get four bands together. Not being from Portland, it was a bit of a stretch. I did a Facebook call, and my friend from high school, Alicia Robinson, referred me to Ed, the guitarist for Apache Trail. They ROCKED it. Good lord, my ears were burning and my body was convulsing. Ed and his wife Celia offered us a place to stay. We were already settled at Sherylâ€™s, but appreciated the gesture. They referred us to the best pancakes in Portland, and we went to bed at 3am.
There you have it. We donâ€™t have thousands of adoring fans, and I donâ€™t ever expect we will. However, we met and played with some wonderful people, and hope we can give them the same treatment when they come to Seattle.