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The Importance of Being Earnest: Booking a Tour in Five Acts

When you’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 aren’t begging us to come and play. During our last tour, we learned that it’s about meeting up with old friends in other cities, playing some music together, and crashing on a friend’s couch. We learned that shows with high expectations can disappoint, and shows with low expectations can be surprisingly invigorating.      

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.

Western lesbian saloon

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 brother’s band, McPuzo and Trotsky, a retro 1921 band whose debut songs were Suffrage is for Suckers and Warren G Harding is a Horse’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.

Back in the day. Oakland.

Act II: Obstacles

I had fantasies about another fabulous yet low key show. When I was booking this year’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 “the scene.” All my contacts bemoaned the “creative drought” in San Francisco. It’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, “It’s time to stop booking and time to start promoting.” I booked two nights at a cabin in Mt. Shasta, precluding us from doing a show on a Tuesday night. “We’ll just chill out for two nights and do some songwriting,” 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. 

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 Blair’s ex-boyfriend’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 Dome’s guinea pigs! After I got off the phone with her, I shouted at the band, “Hey everybody! We have a show in San Francisco, and the contact person is really cool!”

“Cool,” said my band.

Teresa: We got a show in SF! Cheerful: Don’t bother me. I’m busy chewing.

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. 

This is not Victoria.

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.

Our new best friend, Victoria

McPuzo and Trotsky played their set. They serenaded Mango Dome, AKA Man-Go Do-Me, dedicating each song to Mango Dome’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 hadn’t witnessed last night’s Kinky Tea Time.

We played our set for my sister-in-law, two homeless guys, my friend Sarah from college, and 12 of Cheerful’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.
  • Always book a radio interview with DJ #3 at KUCI 
It was awesome.

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Announcing the 5th Woman Campaign!

IT HAS BEEN SO LONG SINCE WE HAVE BEEN IN THE RECORDING STUDIO.

*cough* *cough* *desert* *in* *my* *songwriting* *soul*

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).

Help us make this happen. Our campaign will last 30 days: http://igg.me/at/5thwoman

If we exceed our goal, we will record MOAR TRACKS!

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The Boys Night Video is HERE!

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, “So you play acoustic, right?”* 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, “If you want people to come to your show, start an effing nonprofit.” 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. It’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. It’s about the flood of support we have for one another. It’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 I’m not that good
You’re not sexist, it’s just I’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 I’m a little slow
Interrupt my presentation
glad you’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:

You’re such a good male leader
I can’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. Don’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
You’re not sexist
It’s just we’re not that good.
You’re not sexist
It’s just we’re not that smart
 
You’re such a good male drummer
I can’t believe you’re in an all-boy band
Do you write your own songs?
How long have you been playing?
 
Chorus
Listen to your own voice
Listen to your own song
Listen to your own speech
‘Cause you’re that special
 

You’re not sexist
It’s just we don’t know how to book a show
You’re not sexist
It’s just you’re a real musician
 
It’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!
 
If one girl’s for the money
And two are just for show
Then three is just a gimmick
And five are the (Go)-Go-Go’s
It’s boys night in Seattle
Boys Unite!!

*We love acoustic music and acoustic guitars. It’s just this assumption that people make about women musicians that’s annoying.

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First Show in 14 Months!

We have a show! At the Crocodile! All Ages! In a month! Exclamation points!!!

6/18 show poster

*sigh* It’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 Vail’s current band. We grew up on Bikini Kill and can’t help but swoon a little.

The last show that APC performed was for Jenn and Teresa’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 She’s Your Sister. Teresa was 6 months pregnant. Natalie and Rebecca played two sets. Jeanne melted faces.

APC show April 20 2013

Since then we have written 5 songs, hosted 4 rock camp sessions, played in 3 other bands, bought 2 houses and had 1 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 it’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 growing 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.

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Tales of Imperfection (PG-13 blog post by Teresa)

[wolf_playlist id=”1605″]

by Teresa Demel

This is the shmaltzy romantic song. I’ll try to keep the history of the lyrics a little more tidy so that you don’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

Here’s the deal. Now that I’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, “Relationships are hard,” and “relationships are work.” Sure, maybe that’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!

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Cute

[wolf_playlist id=”1609″]

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 “Cute”

By: Teresa

I’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 (“I never put croutons on my salads!” “All I need is one piece of Dove chocolate.”) but I’m afraid it’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. I’m not saying, “Woe is me” here. What I’m saying is, if we really want to be feminists, we should all just say, “I love you and you are beautiful” 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.

I’d never tell you that
You’re too much of anything
I would just tell you
That you’re cute

That’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 couldn’t agree more. She embodies zeal, smarts, power, love, and action. And she’s beautiful.

Her big smile
A bigger sin
Her grand arms
And thicker skin

She grabs it all with gusto
You can’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 peoples’ lives.

I won’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 isn’t yours to keep
You pushed her underneath your feet
You can’t refuse her gifts
And steal them

And she got another job in another state with people that just. love. her. Farewell!

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Margaret’s Song (Potentially Titled “Yodeling Figs”)

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.

The Song

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.

18 Questions

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.

  1. What charities or organizations have you donated to? Why did you choose that one?
  2. 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?
  3. *What is a recurring dream you have? What do you think it means?
  4. Describe an encounter with a stranger while you were travelling. Do you still talk to that person? How often? What do you talk about?
  5. *If you could give advice to your past self, what would it be? What age would you be?
  6. What will you do when you retire?
  7. When did you realize you were a grown up?
  8. Describe your ideal party. (# people, setting, food/drink, type of clothing, conversation, activities)
  9. *If you had to re-live one moment over and over again, what would it be? (brain candy question)
  10. What is the most creative thing you have ever done? Who else was involved? When was it? What inspired you to do it?
  11. Describe your favorite food or meal.
  12. *What words do others use when describing you?
  13. *What is your favorite zoo animal? Why do you like it?
  14. *Where/when do you feel most normal?
  15. What is the last adventure you went on?
  16. *What is a tradition you like to practice every year? Who made up the tradition?
  17. What is your least favorite word? Why?
  18. Whom do you despise? Why?

Margaret’s responses

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!  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”?  Does it describe a sense of belonging to a social group, or not 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  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).  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. 🙂

Band Interview

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.

Chorus

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.

Song Style

This is where it got tricky. One thing we do as a band is sometimes listen to other bands’ 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.

Final Lyrics

Verse 1
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.

Pre Chorus
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.)

Chorus
I express my envy through a dance of rage.

Verse 2
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

Bridge
(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!

Debut

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.

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Teresa’s Take on 2010 Tour

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 haven’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 I’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, it’s about performing with my band six nights in a row, becoming more connected and solid with each performance. On selfish note part B, it’s about seeing old school friends and meeting new musician friends and subjecting them to my art. It’s hard not to be selfish as a musician. We practice a lot so that we don’t make asses of ourselves on stage. We improve so that we can book better shows. As a guitarist, I’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 “ask” 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. I’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

Music community members #1: Daniel and Lark Preyapongpisan

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 – 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 “The Redheaded Sweeties.”

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

Musical community member #2: Aaron Sullivan, Eugene

We stayed with Rebecca’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: We’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 I’ll see if I can get you a show next time you’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…

Music community members #3: Jamie Freedman and Elisabeth Rene (Leopard Print Tank Top)

We pulled into Kimo’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 can’t stop typing that fabulous band name) involved a ukulele, a bass, a keyboard, and lyrics so funny I’m not allowed to sing them in Another Perfect Crime. (We are, after all, a serious band.) I can’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 don’t know anything about my band, and I can’t imagine anyone who doesn’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 another’s performances and planned for future shows.  We stayed at my brother’s place in Berkeley. More on him later.

Wednesday, September 15: SF to LA

Music community member #4: Becky Gebhardt and the merry band of rock camp counselors

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 – 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 and… 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 bandmates’ 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 – allowing us to travel in our fuel-efficient hybrid sedans instead of a large van. Great idea, right? Rebecca’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 drive… 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 Gebhardt’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 Irvine’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: ‎Interview 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 doesn’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 doesn’t catch my eye/ear, I’m not going to spend time on it. This is why I obsess about Marnie Stern, Sleater-Kinney, and the xx – and have no idea what Supergrass, Lady Gaga, and whoever-your-favorite-band-is sounds like. I’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

Music community member #7: Martin Azevedo
Music community members #8: Craig Demel and Paul Anderson (McPuzo and Trotzky)

My brother plays in a band called McPuzo and Trotzky. They’re retro-political and funny. Specifically, they are two men from 1921 singing humorous pieces such as “Dam America,” and “Suffrage is for Suckers.” 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 “emergency.” The night of the party, people show up, perform their original song, and eat food. It’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 – none of which I can remember, old stylie tunes, and the highest density of filthy double entendres I’ve ever encountered in a set. Needless to say, I’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 “made a sandwich with us,” playing half a set before us, and half a set after us. Their friends lounged on the floor on pillows (supplied from Martin’s pillow bureau). It was the most intimate show we have ever played. It felt magical.

Craig improvised on “For You,” 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

Music community member #X: That nice couple from Ashland, those boys who had a crush on Natalie

This one almost doesn’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, “Should we play anyway?” 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

Music community member #9: Sheryl Lanham, Andi Puzl’s friend
Music community members #10: Leslie and Jonny Yeargers, Teri Quagliano (Lather, Rinse and Repeat)
Music community member #11: Ed (and Celia) from Apache Trail

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 couldn’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. That’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. “A friend of Andi’s is a friend of mine,” 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 that’s a huge part of the girls rock camp philosophy – 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 can’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 Sheryl’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 don’t have thousands of adoring fans, and I don’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.