Shut the f*ck up, science.
Well, holy shit. I haven't written in quite a long time, probably because major shit has been hitting a major fan. I don't really even know where to start, what to divulge, who to grossly maim, and why I'm not crying right now.
I just got back from a weekend retreat to North Port with BEEFCAKESTATUS. Though I would never say I rejoice in North Port (much less Sarasota county), it was needed. Badly. I'll get to that in a little while.
Things have been rather topsy turvy in my life. To begin, I no longer work at Full Sail. I can't even bring myself to add "university" to the end of that title because it's hardly an educational hub. In fact, it's actually a black hole where talent disappears rather than appears; it's a stiffling environment where male nepotism chokes female sensibility. It's also the gigantic turd that landmined the music industry of Florida.
PLEASE EXPLAIN, EMILY. WE DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY YOUR ALLEGIANCE HAS CHANGED SO SUDDENLY! HELP US!
See that image to the right? I did it all by myself! And it's about the quality of a Full Sail graphic arts grad. It really says something about the quality of learning there.
Anyway, the long and short of it was that I was a woman in a man-dominated workplace. And as much as I hate to say that and make you all think I'm some sort of crazy feminist, that's the truth of the matter (which is also a good song- WHO GOT THE REFERENCE?!). It's fucking depressing. It's 2013 and yet I get squeezed out of a seemingly perfect job
Those are turds falling from the airplane, FYI.
because students hit on me and then got in trouble and co-workers made lewd comments about: female students they would sleep with if given the opportunity, me being in a bad mood because I was "probably PMSing", wanting to take shots and get drunk at work, their "bitchy ex-wives and slutty girlfriends"... the list goes on and on. It was a filthy place to work, both socially and physically. One of my "team" would open drawers and put his trash in them so he wouldn't have to walk 5 feet to the trash can. The same guy called me a "pretentious bitch" for saying I knew how to explain the circle of fifths better than him; mind you, he never studied music and doesn't have a fucking degree. And I have to say that I'm still baffled, disappointed, and appalled that a so-called educational facility would foster such downright bullshit attitudes. What kind of students are they turning out? I can safely say it's a waste of time and money if you want to learn how to be a good musician and generally decent human being. VAGINAS ARE THE DEVIL
To continue the poop chute, I was working for a lawyer for about two weeks when he randomly goes (on a Thursday), "I thought you were better looking," implying that maybe he wanted a legal assistant to help with more than just drafting notices and pleadings. Awesome, just what I needed- another faggot to deal with. GOOD. Suffice to say, Craigslist hasn't been good to me. Or anyone. Ever.
So, things have been a little rough as of late. And to top it all off, my mom and I brought Lily my fur child to the vet this past Saturday. She had been guilty of "delinquent litterbox use", or as common people say, pissing on the floor. My mom thought something was wrong so we took her. Sure enough, she had yet another UTI. The vet was feeling around and said that one of her kidneys had shrunk considerably, meaning she was able to be diagnosed with kidney disease. Cat owners know the gravitas of this diagnosis. This means the cat will either go naturally or have to be put down if the pain becomes too great. It's not pleasant for anyone involved. The cat normally pees all over the house in inappropriate places, stops eating, loses weight, etc. It's horrible. And it makes me wonder why God would create such suffering for innocent animals. It makes me wonder if there even is a God sometimes. I'm not going to go all preachy on anyone about what I do or don't believe, but it sucks. Massively.
Some of you were made aware that we lost our other cat Zelda recently- we're talking right when I got back from Portugal. She hadn't been eating, but it all came on so quick. She had been fine, and then was starting to mope and then went on a hunger strike. It still kills me that I wasn't there to say goodbye. People who have never had pets don't get it. They can't understand how animals become a part of your family and heart. As if it wasn't bad enough with the Zelda tragedy only a few weeks back, now we're in danger of losing Lily. I know it's inevitable, that people both human and fur, must come to an end. But for God's sake, can't there ever be a peaceful goodbye?
We miss you already, Zellies.
I'm sorry, kids. I'm in a funk, so to speak. This weekend WAS a boatload of fun, though. Jules and I got to see some of North Port's great monuments... which are few and far between. And by few, I mean none. We drove by Warm Mineral Springs (which is closed as of July 1st), went to a European deli (PEASANTS), stopped for ice cream at Sweet Scoops, got doughnuts and stared at while at Abbe's... there was a lot of eating involved. We also saw some good ol' Southern music at Owen's Fish Camp on Saturday night, and had the best Caesar salad by far. BCS (beefcakestatus will be abbreviated as such henceforth) and I even spent a romantic while on Nokomis beach looking at the stars and talking about our dreams. No joke, that's LIT-RALLY how cute we are. I know, I know. I also got some quality catch-up time with my momma, who is hysterical and wonderful. I had been waiting to tell her the happinesses and horrors of Portugal (I'm still waiting to tell y'all), so it was good to finally get it out of my system.
"I like your ring! It's... interactive!"
- BCS commenting on my worry ring
(and managing to be adorable simultaneously)
We also played a kickass show on Friday night at the Cock 'n' Bull. We did two sets of both new and old songs, as well as some jams. We threw in a cover of "Soon or Never" by the Punch Brothers that someone besides my mom recognized, which made us both proud, as well as "Impossible" by Anberlin. To me, there's no greater feeling of satisfaction than getting to write and play music with your significant other. For a musician, that's relationship porn. You combine the best of both worlds, and the two things you love the most: the music itself, and the other person making said music with you. I can't say it enough, but I really lucked out with this hunk in mah trunk. #twss
we are the cutes.
And despite the fact that he's allergic to cats, he even petted Lily! She came up on the bed Saturday morning and croaked in his face. She then proceeded to shave on his arm and cause some minor itching. WHAUPSUH. SHUH JUS LUVS YEW UND ERRYWUN DA SUM COZ SHUZ DA COOL WUN.
I could vomit with joy.
SHUH SMYLZ FER MEH.
Taking pictures with Lily made me feel significantly better. And writing this blog has helped me too.
It's already late. I know I said I would write a bitchy blog about why I deserve to not work for free aka GET PAID WHEN I WORK LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, but that'll have to be a second installment. It's time to nust and rest my mind.
Better luck (and spirits) next time.
(Give that introduction pause for a moment- how creepy did it sound? Please tell me you just shed a tear in panic.)
A lot has been going on- so much so that I actually typed this blog while at work. I can hear you all [everybody] screaming, “Way to stick it to the man, Em!” Thank you, thank you- I try. But I haven’t fallen from the musical radar just quite yet. Before I get into all of that: I’ve been working in a shitty corporate job for shitty corporate America for almost a month. It has been both miserable and mind numbing. (WHAT DO YOU MEAN NO BROWSING OF THE TUBULAR BELLS.)
I’ve been searching frantically for jobs elsewhere and praying that my soul will be freed if I eat my broccoli (which isn’t much of a stipulation since broccoli is delicious). I tried to be proactive; I hadn’t even graduated from Stetson, yet I had already begun applying for jobs IRL. One of the job listings was for Full Sail University. I don’t have to take the time to explain here why this was an exciting prospect, though I will say this: multi-hundred channel mixing boards. Yes, BOARDS. Plural. Get me? Good.
Most people in Florida know that Full Sail has it going on… albeit for a hefty price. Nonetheless, I went out on a limb and decided I would try my hand at this whole “technologist thing”. [see: “No Friends”
] I applied the very day I graduated and then waited. And called. And waited some more. And started to give up.
There are a ton of really poignant, really relevant lyrics I could insert here that would make you somewhat feel where my mind was going at this point. All I can really offer is that I am a Debbie Downer and a Negative Nancy a lot of the time, so I assumed no one liked/was impressed by/cared about my CV or resume, and that I would be stuck working this crap chute of a job (and I was happy to get hired by somewhere, even though I’ve had people hang up, threaten to call the FBI on me, and even tell me they were going to pull out their leg hair (which is what I just received in the midst of writing this sentence. I shit you not. God save the Queen.) for many more tortured months. But then there was a game changer.
"Good afternoon Ms. Dwyer,
I read through your resumé this morning and was impressed by your information.
If you have not done so, would you be able to fill out the pre-screen questionnaire and upload your unofficial transcripts?
I would also like for you to consider a time that we could set up for a meeting.
Please let me know your schedule, when you can, and we can proceed from there.
Thank you very much for your time."
Spoken like a hero.
… Excuse me? Did I read that correctly? EXCUSE ME, SIR. SIR. SIR.
Suffice it to say, I called about 10 minutes after receiving that email
and then called back Monday morning to make sure of the interview date.
Can’t touch this!
I switched my schedule around on the same day and planned to meet a Full Sail head honcho at 10 am on Tuesday, aka today. I had been sent directions which I proceeded to mutilate after making 3 U-turns at the same intersection before calling the Full Sail main office. I truly have no sense of direction. #good
Besides the usual paranoia and tension before going into interview, I felt rather deflated. I kept thinking, “Why would they want me? Nobody wants to hire me for music. My majors were hard, and finding a job is going to be even harder." And then as an after thought: "...Where can I throw in a TWSS here?” So I parked and walked into the office and met with my interviewer. We talked about why I had applied for the position, my collegiate and pre-collegiate background, my experience with recording software- basic questions that anyone would get asked when applying for that type of position. He told me about the other faculty members’ instruments, but I didn’t hear “violin” listed. So, being the “TRIP AND A HALF” that I am, I cut my eyes and him and asked slyly, “So no violinist? Sounds like you need one.” Nice try, Emily. That’s real professional. Act like a clown in front of the department head. GOOD WORK. LESS MARKETABLE. But then a meteor fell out of the sky and landed on the interview and maybe my face (because that mental image is making me the LOLing).
“Your background speaks volumes about your dedication to music. I am very
impressed and would love to have you on our team. When’s the earliest you
I checked the calendar and the earliest start date listed was April 29th. I pointed to the date the way a Walker points to human flesh. We stood and
went to talk to the Assistant Course Director before I left. He told me to finish some paper work and that he would get me in the system.
Butt trumpets and angels and shit.
And just like that, I was hired by Full Sail University*. (*This is the point of the story where I make an analogy about my life to Frodo destroying the One Ring, or Voldemort dissolving into ash, or even Darth Vader getting his butt hole handed to him by his own son.)
And though I still have an hour to waste at my desk, I can see the sunlight dying between the shades of the blinds. And I feel comforted.
I made a promise to not slander anyone or any program in particular, but it’s really unbelievable what some teachers say to their students- especially in an ultra-sensitive field like music. It makes you grateful to the professors, family and friends who have stuck by you, even when you had the audacity to tell them all you wanted to study two musical fields in college. All I can say is: I am NOT less marketable. But thanks for playing. #getrealshewhomustnotbenamed
Aside from a fresh job waiting for me, I’ve also begun some part time work for an Orlando-based company called Booked Promotions
. One of my friends from middle school as well as Stetson began working there and told me that
there was a vacancy for a “BookedPro Show” hostess. I immediately shouted in his face, “DOES THAT MEAN I GET TO BE A CUPCAKE?!” at which point I got slapped in the mouth. Not really, but that was way cooler of a story, bro. So I looked up the company and then found both the job description and the ad. I decided, once again, “YTFN?”, and proceeded to send my resume and website info. I was contacted by two gents named Andrew and Danny. They told me to meet them for an interview at a Starbucks
off of Colonial. Seeing as I love me some Sbux as well as music, I was down to interview. It went well, and both seemed very warm and chill (don’t misread that as
an oxymoron, you FOOL!). They told me they still had a few interviews and that I would be hearing from them by Sunday if I got the job. Because Andrew is a little prankster, I got this email:
"Hello Emily,We have bad news, unfortunately you were selected to be “The BookedPro Show” host which means you’ll have to see us a lot more.
Haha, congratulations! We’re going to get some of the sites up and running and then we will contact you with more information. If you have any questions be sure to let us know."
Initially, my heart sank like a rusty anchor… until I proceeded to reread the email. I c wut u did thar. I was very happy to be a part of the Booked Pro team, and had my first assignment at the Polyenso show on March 28. The second show I had to cover was the Evergreen Terrace show on April 4th. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, because a lot of deets will be up on the Booked Pro Show Facebook page
. Also, you’ll be able to see me stumble through interviews, talk about what makes bands cool, and watch me act ridiculous in public via the podcasts. Best hostess ever? Dur. #straightcupcakestatus
I do, however, still want to write about both of those shows, since there were some endearing stories and happenstances. But more that’s for tomorrow’s workday. The Booked Pro Show is going live as soon as I can get my vain ass in gear and pick the promo shots. Did I mention I’m super stoked about it all? I love getting to talk to musicians I both admire and have recently met. It’s all about networking. And being hot. That helps, too.
And speaking of hot, I’ve decided that I’m going to let y’all in on a not-so-little secret about someone I’ve affectionately nicknamed Hotbox. I will use the hashtag #straightbeefcakestatus whenever I discuss him (just so we’re clear). Many of you may remember me bloggy wogging about a certain Julian
a post past. After much wooing and swooning and general lovesickness, he decided to accept my stalking as completely-smitten affection… and return it.
Be prepared for me to start blasting my unadulterated joy on Facebook.
THAT’S RIGHT, KIDS
And on top of that, he has generously extended the invitation for me to be a part of his SoFla ensemble LAVOLA.
Hell, we’ve already been doing acoustic gigs together! And if that isn’t cute enough for you, go look at a pile of kittens. Even though you should do that anyway. I shall say nothing more of the matter because I’ll find myself gushing. And Lord knows what happens when I gush (see: poetry.)
I could cry about all of this. This whole post makes me very emotional, because things are not taking a dump on my soul as of late. I seem to have hit a pocket of good luck and unbridled joy, both of which are most welcome. I’d like to thank the Academy, and Jesus and my cat Lily, and everyone else who hasn't turned me in to the karma police. Or maybe just all of y’all for making me feel like my choices finally mean something worthwhile. I can feel the tears- HERE THEY COME! (twss)
But really, thank you. I love all of you. But mostly my cat Lily.
Until I overdose on filtered sewage water aka work coffee,
"Our gimmick is helium-singing."
Just when you thought you were going to get rid of me, I came back with a fury so strong your eyeballs melted out of their sockets. Good. I do apologize for any vision loss I might have caused, though. Some things have been happening! Things with stuff! To feel feelings! Done did it done to do it done, and other related noise. It's hard picking an appropriate starting place, but I'll try to flesh it out as I go (that sounds gross).
So... I've been to a lot of shows recently. I went to see Meshuggah on Monday the 10th, Further Seems Forever on the 15th, and then Anberlin on the 17th (which was a nice way to finish). That's... a lot of music. And stimulation. And hearing loss, especially since I forgot ear plugs for every show and had to resort to using napkins from the bar. Is that my phone ringing? NOPE, ONLY MY OWN DEAFNESS. #Beethovenswag
I could take all the time in the word talking about those shows, and I very well might- they were a lot more interesting than my girly observations about the insanity of local musicians, school-girl crushes, and recording experiences. BUT I KNOW Y'ALL LOVE ME UNCONDITIONALLY SO I MIGHT AS WELL TALK ABOUT MYSELF SOME MORE OKAY.
But briefly, here's a run down of the aforementioned shows:
1. Animals as Leaders blew my mind. I had always heard good things about them but e=never had any of their albums. Apart from them being the most racially-balanced trio, they were incredibly inspiring musicians. Definitely blew a fuse over their performance. Meshuggah is metal as fuuuuuh. I didn't even know what was happening most of the time because of how br00tal everything was. I met up with some folk there, including Topper from ABL,
my Uke friend Roddick, and Julian from Lavola. Topper and I ended up moshing, which must be noted: YES, a 98lb female violinist moshed in a pit at a Meshuggah concert. Love me forever.
2. Further Seems Forever was like a dream. Really. I went with my gal Rachel, who has also been a long-time friend of the FSF crew. Madness ensued. We drank Pabst/Bud Lite like champs, shouted nonsense, and even sang along when Chris proceeded to fall on top of us from the stage. Oh, and did I mention that photo boothing was involved? Yes, ladies and gentlemen: I sat on Chris' lap while we photoboothed like besties. Probably because we are. (Note: author must take a short bathroom break to vomit a rainbow.)
For the sake of reliving something wonderful, here was the setlist:
Pictures of Shorelines
NEW DESERT LIFE
Just Until Sundown
Justice Prevails (!!!)
Snowbirds & Townies
New Year's Project
The Moon Is Down
Too... Much... HAPPENING.
3. Anberlin, another FL band, is still kicking. I have liked these dudes since WAY back in the day. We're talking for at least 7 years, I have been attending their shows. Even though 3/5 members are married with families, they still rip apart everyone's butthole in a nice, refined Christian way (they are rock stars, though). I used to go to all of their Florida shows when they would come into town, though I couldn't exactly do it this year, sadly. So instead, I got massively out of control and went wild like an animal. Ask anyone. I pogo'ed until two DUDES in front of me left, head banged until a security guard thought I was having an epileptic fit, and then screamed like someone was dying. It was kick ass, even if I had to resort to much Tiger Balm the day after. They all came out afterwards, too. Nice guys.
I'm going to pretend I'm that microphone. Don't judge me.
One of the reasons I didn't go to see Anberlin's Ft. Laud show was because I was recording with the band LAVOLA
. I had been hit up a while back by their singer Julian after he saw the cover Steve and I did of the Velvet Underground. I had no complaints or qualms about jumping into some new music, so we had a Skype practice session before I actually drove down to record. Despite my mind completely disappearing after meeting a ravishingly attractive dude, the first practice went well. (Note: what is it about musicians? I can't seem to escape them, yet they all end up being somewhat insane- including myself. *Let's hope Mr. Black Eyes isn't.)
*This is the part of the story that I skip for obvious reasons. Oh, and because if I don't skip certain deets, y'all will think me a crazy, obsessive stalker. WHAT IS GOING ON, PEOPLE. LET'S BRING THIS ISH BACK TO MUSIC, OKAY.
Good God. Anyway... Lavola was set to record with the mega-talented Ryan Alexander of Civilian
at Bieler Brothers Studio. Unfortunately, the studio was officially closing on Tuesday, so recording HAD to happen that Monday lest it wouldn't get done. Since I had nothing else going on, I made the trip down and hopped to it. We layered some really dark, depressing string parts on top of one another for a super lush sound, added some creeping tremolo sections, and even did a let-me-kick-your-ears accented section. I'm pretty proud of how everything is already sounding, and nothing has even begun getting mixed yet. All good signs. I'm very stoked to hear the final product, as you should be.
When I got back into town, I got hit up by a guy with whom I recorded a music video. He said he wanted to have live strings instead of MIDI (duh) and wanted to record Wednesday night. Wednesday was kind of hectic because I had an interview for a library position (books rule) followed by 4 lessons. I had to high tail it back to Orlando from Winter Garden to make the session on time. I recorded in this guy's house alone (unnerving), with only a stand, folding chair, and one lone mic as setup. Though I can't actually get into too many details (I signed a work-for-hire release- pfffft), I almost walked out of the session.
Kids, I rarely pull the ego card. Most of you will know this if you have ever worked with me in any capacity. I am usually the first one to say how much I have proceeded to suck at something. But when some washed up producer of a HIP HOP track has the gall to tell me that I am not in tune when he doesn't even know what key he has "written" in, I get a little flustered. And by little, I mean an overwhelming amount. Thicker skin, I know- I know. I probably need to let more shiz just roll off my back so I can get back to feeling good about the music I make. But to have some jerk off flippantly ask, "Have you even recorded before?" after HE was the one to punch me in during a musical phrase (so that I didn't know where we were starting from), it's pretty rough to handle. I actually told Mr. BIG INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL that unless he was going to tell me clearly how he wanted me to pay some bullshit 4-bar passage (that wasn't hard except that it was poorly written... without a key signature aka ENHARMONICALLY), he would need to CTFD and treat me with a shred more respect. I didn't study violin and recording technology for 4.5 years only to have some consistently-stoned old man knock MY musicality.
Suffice it to say, I was pretty PO'ed. I hate the idea of people not respecting musicians solely based on the fact that they think the work we do contributes nothing to society. Or that live musicians are all stupid and inaccurate. Sometimes, I swear to God, you have to have as much patience as a canonized saint to be able to handle the directions that are given to you in the studio. And want to know the irony of the entire situation, if it's not entirely obvious by now?
The string sections on this song were for HIP HOP. THE GENRE WHERE EVERYTHING IS MIDI, AUTO TUNED, AND FAKE.
Yeah, Master Producer- these 4 bars of eighth notes at 130 bpm are the hardest thing I have ever played. It's not like I studied the Corigliano sonata for my senior recital or anything. #nbd
This was me after recording on Wednesday.
But at least recording with Lavola was refreshing and worthwhile. I'll let you guys know when that album is set to drop. And for all the talk of the above industry professional, Ryan and the Lavola dudes were way more musical and organized with what they wanted out of a live string player. And for that I am grateful.
Oh, and did I mention that I'm smitten with their lead singer? WHOOPS.
Hope everyone has a good weekend. Opera is Friday & Sunday, so I hope to take a trip down to Dead-Land to see it. But for now, I'm going to go practice and pretend I'm not still wearing my pajamas.
Until then, I remain your rosy buttercup,
"I'm glad we went to that Fick show even though right now we are SOL on the side of Mt. Doom."
Oh man, oh man, oh man.
It's rough being a musician most of the time. Sure, it's brilliant fun to make music with some of your best friends and create a world out of the nothingness that is often every day life. I feel like without music, I would just be another being occupying space. Music gives me a place and a purpose for my heart. And it's not easy- to quote John Ralston, "No one said it was easy." But day after day (by day by day by day...), musicians everywhere have the same struggle that I do: to find where we can feel loved and appreciated for our exhibitionistic narcissism and catharsis. We just want to be loved, really.
That brings me to some sad but all-too-true revelations of late. These things are bound to happen, but a lot has been changing in my life post-college. Basically, both Fick and The Minks are breaking up. Here's an idea of the reasoning behind Fick.
"Hey guys, today I've decided to end Fick. It may seem sudden, but for a while, I've been reflecting on this past year's lack of progress, and I feel it's time to move on before investing any more time. To this day, I've continued to entirely devote myself to this band, but with the lack of progress, no fan base, and no other measurable amount of success, I can no longer justify my efforts. It's not an easy decision, and I know I'll have my regrets, but it's the best decision, at least for myself. But I'm looking forward to hopefully ending on a positive note at the next show. It's been a real pleasure, and I wish you all the best in your future musical endeavors. - Kyle"
One shiny, dysfunctional group of misanthropes.
That's a hard email to read. I don't really understand the idea of us not having fans since progressive metal is a rough genre to break into, not to mention when a band is based out of Gainesville. It's also odd to me because there was much discussion about my involvement with the band after graduating. Though it's depressing for me to admit, I saw this coming. Fick has been an amazing group to be a part of, though there were some seriously trying moments in our band's history. And Kyle's right- it's pretty annoying playing shows that no one comes to, and putting out CDs that no one ever buys. But I see music through rose-coloured glasses; I make music for myself, not for approval from others.
But really, I get it. That's just my sadness monster speaking. And no one wants to keep hearing a sadness monster ramble on and on about memories and death and life and bitterness. Self-indulgence! Hurrah!
Anyway, I thought I would take this opportunity* to relive some of my favourite moments with my bandies since after this Saturday, we won't be "Fick" anymore, though we will still be palsie walsies.
(* See the above disclaimer if you're not interested in feeling all mushy about metal dudes)
"Your incredible tapping skills make me want to lick you!"
Kyle: What a hysterical dude. He is the proud owner of Karma Cream
, a Gainesville sweet spot that's favoured among hipsters and cool folk. He was actually the first member of Fick to suggest that I be in the band after we recorded at North Ave Studios. He helped me with a lot of the physical music writing aspects of the band, as well as always rehearsed with me before shows. He was incredibly patient when I couldn't grasp constantly changing time signatures, weird modulations, and awkward accents. He had a propensity for being a light weight and falling asleep on various couches; he had an interesting way of counting out songs which consisted mostly of "one-onetwooneonetwo-one"; his political and social beliefs were strong but humourously Kyle, aka presented, "Well, liiiiike..."; he also is married to my former high school concert master, which only leads me to believe that we truly live in a small world.
K.D. : Let me just start off by saying that this guy is a complete and utter bad ass. First of all, he's the only brown member of the band, so he gets ethnic points (SORRY, BUT IT'S TRUE.) He also has had a good number of things in his life that have been less than awesome, one of which was being diagnosed with cancer. But did K.D. kick cancer's ass and take names? OF COURSE HE DID. And he came back into the music scene kicking and screaming. He does a lot of thrashing from within, though, because he's usually very calm.
"This is better than giving each other the finger."
Don't be surprised! He is merely planning how to explode your head with mind controlling powers. Some of my favourite memories are sarcastically "wanting" to take shots at 10 am while on tour, starting a mosh pit at Bar 1982 after one of our sets, and watching him actually laugh after a beer or two. (That's a big deal, because the only other time K.D. smiles is when he is feasting on the flesh of his victims.) Oh, and apparently old women like his DEATH shirts.
"I swear this was one of Freddy Mercury's moves."
Dan: Where to begin? Ah yes, HE'S GOT THE GAYS. Just kidding. But it was a recurring theme with us, among five thousand other things. Dan was always protective of me and made sure that the good times lasted (at least until 5 in the morning). I was fascinated that he had been reading a book on philosophy when I first met him, and then continued to be fascinated when I found out he had a ton of poetry books in his room. He is both a sensitive writer and loyal friend. He, like me, grew in up a small, dinky town (he, Arcadia; me, North Port) so he knew what it was like to want to shake off the rural life. I have never felt more metal in my life than when I took my first legal shot of tequila sans lime OR salt with Kellen and him (and that's saying something since I've been known to throw down). He has a knack for saying the absurd, making people watching an Olympic sport, and turning shitty situations into reasons to celebrate life's banality. But I can say with certainty that the loss of his various bandannas has made it finally possible for me to sleep at night.
Kellen: KELLEN SCHMELLEN! He had more than a few hang ups about everyday annoyances such as: his hair*, chicken, ranch dressing*, Republicans, Mitt Romney, southern-raised folk, neo-Nazis, Jews, his hair, meat eaters in general, ranch dressing, obesity, Florida, crappy co-workers, not-tight-enough drum heads, poor venue mixing, Keanu Reeves, his hair...This guy is seriously one of the best musicians with whom I have ever worked. He is ultra-passionate about his drumming styles, technique and attack. He opened up my mind about playing in a prog band because of how fluidly he transitions between time signatures and tempo changes.
Jews taste better.
He has helped me in times where I felt myself falling through the cracks- especially in my final semester of college. He also drove all the way to Tampa to pick me up after my car took a shit on me (see earlier blog) when I was driving to Gainesville to go on Fick's mini tour. Saintly? I think so. Though he may sometimes appear high maintenance, he has a huge heart- and even rescued a kitten from the side of the road! THAT'S RIGHT, WORLD. And despite Fick ending, I hope to make music with him in some capacity in the future. Help me convince him! INDEED.
(* Note: these items have the potential to be mentioned a plethora of times. But I took the liberty of merely mentioning them twice for clarity's sake)
Well, it looks like we're actually the Village People.
I'm thankful that I got to be a part of something so hardcore and bad ass. Females don't often find a place in the heavier music scene, sadly. But with these guys, I never felt like the odd gender out... probably because I make a ton of TWSSs and dick jokes, but whatever. It felt good while I was a part of it. (...twss)
Long live monotone colours... and metal.
I love them all very much, and wish nothing more than awesome musical endeavours in the future. Just remember- FICK created the genre "butt rock". Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
"So, it's awesome that we're best friends."
See that picture there? Yes, that is THE Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional, only my FAVOURITE ARTIST EVER. #nbd
But before I get to explaining all of that, I just wanted to take a second to brag and let that picture air. My heart is still bleeding a little bit from that entire weekend. I haven't felt that fabulous in a while, and it just kept getting better. I hate when people say, "It doesn't get any better than THIS!" but let's be honest- this past weekend was paradise. Truly. And I always curb my enthusiasm.
It was quite the hectic yet relaxing weekend. Now, for the deets. And kittens. And cake.
I had been mad STRESSIN' about getting a ticket to this show. It was at the Bienes Center for the Arts in Ft. Lauderdale. I didn't know anything about the venue, but what I did know was that it had sold out. Normally, I am the first person to get tickets for any DC shows, but I was in my final semester at Stetson... which basically means I was SOL. Big time. Like, maxing out my debit card over a $5 Publix pizza. Good for me. Winning.
But because of that, I had no monnaies, so I couldn't exactly acquire a ticket easily. I reached out to Jack, the infamous tour manager and he did everything in his power to get me a spot. Luckily, I was able to find a ticket and get into the show, for which I am still grateful. I was having a MAJOR WARDROBE CRISIS because I didn't know what the venue was like (it was at a high school?!) except that it was a seated show. Not good. I only like GA shows unless I am at the symphony, for crying out loud. Did you hear me? UNLESS I AM AT THE SYMPHONY.
But anyway, I ended up deciding on my new Tom's (grey with sparkles, woof woof), Bullfrog jeans, and a hip shirt with beachy palm trees and such on the silky sleeves. I thought it made sense according to the general vibe of many DC songs. SoFla, represent! The Tom's were a good choice, but I'm not there yet...
When I got to the venue, it was pretty odd. It was literally a high school, yet they were serving alcohol. I found my seat which was towards the back. During Ryan Alexander
's set, everyone was pretty mellow. I know a lot of his earlier music when he was in Alexander, but didn't know his new stuff (it was still awesome). He played solo the whole time, which takes a serious amount of guts. Maybe next time I can jump on with him. Eh? EH??
Great minds dress alike.
After his set, I went outside with some of the DC gals just for a breather then came back in when Chris was going on. I managed to talk to one of the ushers and asked if I could sit closer. She asked to see my ticket then pointed at a general area in the front, saying loudly that "that area in the front" was where my ticket specified, but then she winked. She whispered that if someone came for that seat, I would have to move. Uh, deal! I got to sit next to two gals who were quite into the music and were singing along. My kind of crowd! Eventually two bimbos came and said we were all in their seats, so the two gals moved away and I snuck to the second row. Why not? Exactly. There, I sat next to a lovely dovey couple. They were simultaneously being romantic while getting sloshed. Always a good combo. The woman said I could continue sitting in her paramour's seat as long as no one came. Somehow, by the random but fabulous happenstance that is often life, though the entire rest of the venue was sold out, that one singular person never showed up. So... basically I sat the second row the entire time. Sweet Lord.
Chris started off the set as usual- playing old DC with new, occasionally taking audience suggestions (WILL SOMEONE SHUT THE FREEBIRD-LOVING HOBO UP), and generally acting like his normal, DC-fronted self. He had a pretty extensive setlist.
But wait. About 3/4 of the way through his set, he suddenly announced that he had some friends he wanted to welcome to the stage. I knew it wasn't any of the DC dudes since I had talked to Johnny earlier, so who could it be?
Two guys and a gal walked onto stage- drums, bass, mandolin/keys. Chris said that he had been working on a new project that was "more in the direction he wanted to take his song writing", which was folkier in nature. Turns out that the group didn't even have a name yet, but had about five songs prepared and ready to play. It was downright bizarre. Don't get me wrong (GET ME RIGHT), I really enjoyed the new tunes- it just seemed random. I had no idea Chris wanted to go folkier, though "Into the Flood" definitely had a vibe of country/folk to it. The reception was an odd one too; people were clapping, but no one knew about the musical surprise. It was hard to gauge the reactions of most.
Chris kept the new band mates on stage for the last few songs, though one song they all stood silently. Ending with the band during "Hands Down" was interesting and not quite the same energy level. Though they are all great musicians I'm sure, that song only really seems appropriate with the original DC cast. Maybe I am a purist. The DC gals came up to the stage so we all stood on stage right for the final moments of a mind-blowing concert. I still left feeling warm and fuzzy, a sentiment I don't think will ever go away when there is still Dashboard to be had.
After the show, I talked to Suzie (mandolin) who apparently is in a band from NYC called The Narrative. She was super sweet and said the new ensemble was a bit unorganized in its beginning stages. My question was: when is a band ever organized? I also talked to Ryan some more, then waited to chat with Chris. When the line of hyperventilating winos calmed down, I approached Chris and immediately said, "Nice shoes."
Yes, he was wearing Tom's. What colour? Grey, like mine. GOOD.
We talked about the show, the new FSF album, working with old/new band mates- it was nice to be able to merely catch up since it had been a while. I had been itching to ask him about the new band. To me, folk music requires violin. It's entirely necessary since violin adds that "fiddlin' sound". When I finally felt ballsy, I told him simply that I wanted to be in his new group. His response? "Okay!"
Now, wait just a second, kids. Though nothing is in the works yet, I do have my foot in the door. And I will break every damn toe on my foot before letting said door close. I even gave Chris my number, which I personally typed into his phone. Musicians walk a fine line between being enthusiastic and being abrasive. Though I would hope to never come off as the latter, I figured it would be more pertinent to try to approach the request in a mellow way. He asked if I played mandolin (??) and then said he thought I didn't live in SoFla anymore. SO WHAT!
I didn't scream in his face like I just did in yours at the end of that paragraph. I only responded, "I will drive."
He mentioned an after party at a local pub called Maguires Hill 16 in Ft. Lauderdale. He kept saying he didn't feel sober enough to drive (whoops) and wanted to stash his equipment first. I ended up going for a bit but then high tailed it to my former boss' house since I had no place else to stay. It was a hefty drive back to West Palm, but overall the night was pretty kick ass- I couldn't complain.
The next morning, I mad a bad decision about my life and decided to ham out at Howley's
with Steve. It was delicious carnage.
Goat cheese, mushrooms AND sweet potato fries? Might as well go kill yourself.
We ended up jamming together for a while afterwards and came up with some covers. It was pretty wild since I had never heard Steve sing or play in person. We did "I'll be your Mirror" by The Velvet Underground/Nico and "You, Your Fears" by Coma Cinema. How do you think this one turned out?
I ended up leaving around 4h30 after taking a trip to a local music store to get Steve's guitar restrung. I was supposed to record with some of the Beauty to the Moon boys that evening at their new recording area, The Moon Studios
. I hit up Starbucks for a strawberry smoothie first (which has whey protein- be warned!) and then Panera before heading over. The complex where the studio was also housed a porn store and a punk venue (where once, when I first started at FAU, someone had pulled a knife. Oh, good times!). The walls inside were covered with old fliers and shirts staple gunned to the walls, which is a neat idea. Heaven knows I certainly have enough band shirts to do that successfully... Mike was finishing up with a local punk band as I set up. We ended up recording the guitar track for a new jam called "The Risk". Everything was going well until someone below started playing their SHITTY music WAY too loudly. Then, microphone bleed. Awesome. We had gotten some violin stuff recorded, but I don't know how entirely happy I am with what we have currently.
"Emily, you are being a MAJOR pain in the ass."
For some reason, all the parts I was coming up with seemed very "major" in nature. I wanted to create depth but via shadows, not light. Since the song is nowhere near completion, I can go back and rewrite some of those parts. There is a really sick harmonic outro that I love, but otherwise I was disappointed with my own playing/writing. Bah! I do love working with these guys like nobody's business, however. I'll probably be back in SoFla within the next month to work on some music with these guys. I really feel quite passionate about everything Mike writes. Sometimes people just speak to you. I had felt that way when I had been in a Christian band way back in the day, but enough of that talk... it makes me kind of nostalgic and sad. BAH NUMBER TWO! But Mike did have a really wonderful compliment: "I am in love with the music we make together." As an artist, nothing could be sweeter.
After the mini-sesh, I ended up driving to Delray Beach to meet up with former FAU folk, Brostowski and Brittany SM. I wandered around aimlessly, since I didn't know where Bro worked. Even if I had, I suck with directions. (Please see Psychostick's "Girl Directions"
for details.) I walked past a bunch of restaurants filled with ta-ta'ing rich folk until getting to the now-closed City Limits where I had seen one of the best shows of my life.
"I am filled with sadness and lost memories."
We all ended up at this local bar where it was Wop Central. Jersey Shore all up in this! Brittany took care of us, but it would have been rough without a male protector. Bro and I ended up leaving and calling it a night despite it being Latin Night at the Blue Martini. Whew.
The next morning, we went to a 50's diner and I proceeded to ham the f*ck out again because I lack moral guidance. We sat in the Marilyn Monroe room, which was the only detail that I took umbrage with. It was a delicious meal filled with home fries, iPhone apps, and beermosas.
Afterwards, there was still potential that I would be recording again at the Moon Studios. Turns out that both Bader and Haddox were in a class that would last until about 3, which would mean I would be getting back way too late. Instead, I went mini golfing with Bro even though I would rather lick gum off of my own shoe. Did I mention that I have -5082 hand eye coordination skill? Yeah, so that happened. It was exciting to see Bro make a hole in one because then not only could we feel like an accomplished team, but we could also make a ton of TWSSs. Besides wanting to flip the birdie (GET IT?!) at a bunch of hooligans and pants-pooping children, it was a good time.
Like I said, no moral guidance.
We almost look normal.
The trip home seemed like a short one because I had an extensive but hardly dull conversation. It was almost a four hour drive but worth every single minute. I haven't had that much fun since I was crapping into a diaper! Which was yesterday! But really, it was more than I could have asked for.
Now, let's see about me making some music with Mr. Carrabba in the future.
Until then I remain your faithful, crazed pretzel,
"We're just DANDY... get it?!"
Time for a Minks update!
We hadn't played a show together in a hot minute, so when we got together for band pracky, it was like a family reunion. People who haven't been in bands probably don't understand how incredibly close you get to your fellow band mates. Like any ensemble, you become close to the people with whom you make music; with a band versus an ensemble, there is a more relaxed environment. Often, the music you make in a band is original/personal, so you put your best foot forward to give back to your band mates in the way they give to you. (Or at least that's what I do.) You develop a bond with them that you can only truly understand by making music with them.
Suffice it to say, we all love each other. Forever. And always. <3
Anyway, we had been invited to record a cover of Beck's song "Heaven's Ladder". The whole concept behind Beck's newest album
is pretty interesting; basically what you do is record your version of one of his songs and then submit it to the Song Reader website
. It's a unique way to engage your listeners and involve a lot of talent for one album. Pretty, pretty, pretttttttttty good. The people in charge were from Full Sail University's video department. What they wanted was to make both a live recording and then a video with it and release it as a package deal.
But before I could get my head in Beck-mode, I had Cirque training at 1 pm. I had to get in the right mindset after I was told I would be learning how to do flips and play upside down.
"Will this training make my legs less awkward?"
The actual training space was at the CEO's house, which was in a residential area. I wasn't entirely sure how everything was going to work out since I hadn't seen the rig until going out back. I started out by playing some tracks with DJ Exit 9
just to get a feel for the music. Because there was no wireless pickup, I was just going to learn some of the harness techniques and practice playing upside down.
There was a very specific sequence to remember:
1. walk and then semi-jump while being lifted into the air. (arms within the harness)
2. kick with one foot and then wrap around to spin, then pose (legs out to stop)
3. swing one leg up and bring legs out onto the harness (arms out first, then brought in to play upside down)
We basically ended up running that sequence a good number of times. Next thing I know, I'm sweating and felt faint. They took me down for water so I had a brief rest, but then was right back at it.
...And then I legitimately felt like my head was falling somewhere into a darkness I didn't understand. At that point, it was pushing 4 pm, and I hadn't eaten anything except two mini KK crullers. Probably not a smart idea at all. I needed to get ready for the Full Sail shoot, so I ended up heading out shortly after drinking a Perrier and trying to shake away the cloudiness. #whoops
I had asked Andy the same day if I could shower/change at his house, and thankfully he said it was okay. When I got there, I was greeted by his two kids. NOTE: I normally do NOT like children. In a totally impartial way, Andy's kids are some of the cutest I have seen. And they're little rock stars just like him. Moving on!
After much ado about nothing, I decided on an outfit appropriate for the music video. We were told specifically no white or stripes. I had brought at least four outfits with me, but ended up going with light purple/pink corduroys, brown lace-up Journey boots, and a very colourful flower blouse from H&M.
We caravanned to campus and checked in early. The Mud Flappers
were recording before us, and seemed to be taking longer than they were supposed to. We had time to hang out, eat some snacks, and run through the music individually. There was a makeup artist named Maria who would be working with us. I have never had my makeup done, so that was quite the treat. Andy got his done first, but then I jumped into the hot seat second. I had started to doll up before sitting down, thinking she was only doing foundation and powder. But she ended up doing the whole shebang: hair and makeup. Andy jokingly said my hair should get "80's-ed out", so she teased it us a bit. Everyone was cracking up in good spirits, and kept saying I looked like Tawny Kitaen. What do you think, readers?
"Who wants to buy me a Mustang so I can pose on it?"
By the time we finally were ready to record, it was almost surreal because we had been there for so long. The set looked great, but we kept getting shooed away. I really do wonder what they were all thinking by that point, as 6 indie rockers kept standing underfoot, oohing and aahing over ALL OF THE LIGHTS (Ima let you finish...)
This dude looked like Kanye, but was merely a Full Sail employee. I can pretend.
We had a few takes, and each of us messed up something in each one. But perfection is not necessary in rock and roll! They decided to keep our final take, because it was the highest energy. I almost crashed into both Andy and Kelly at one point since I was being a clown. But apparently violin clowning sells. Maybe I can make a career out of that... oh wait!
After everything was said and done, Andy, Abe, Dan and I went to Ale House. We ended up seeing George and Scott from the Mud Flappers. We had a nice little party going. I ended up leaving around 1 but was stoked about the new friends and music. Overall, it was swell day. Check out our video below- let me know what you think!
While climbing on Heaven's Ladder,
Kids, kids, kids. You'll never guess where I recently landed myself. So instead of making you wait while you guess, I'm just going to tell you and get on with it. But let me give you some background first...
I was maxin' in my room after running some errands on Thursday when a weird cell phone number popped up on my phone. Yes, there were the days when I would screen my calls before answering, but if you plan on gigging frequently, those days will be long gone before you can say, "What's your budget?" So I answered and spoke with a man named Garret. He told me the standard: so and so called in sick (dog bite?!), so such and such group needed a violinist. Would I be interested? (Yes.) The gig is at the JW Marriott. (Okay, that's pretty fancy...) You will play 3 songs and get paid $________ (Hell yes!) There is one condition- are you scared of heights? (No... why?) Well, you're going to be in a harness hoisted above a thousand people.
Apparently, this was a gig with the group Cirque USA, a smaller branch of THE Cirque du Soleil* squad. (*Hysterically enough, I had already printed out sheet music to audition for Cirque post college, but I guess it won't be necessary now!)
I am not scared of heights, so I did what any freelance, semi-struggling musician does: I accepted.
And within the next 10 minutes, I entered Fury Mode. You know how in certain combat video games you can push the A and B buttons in succession to fire up the "Fury Mode" of a character? That's totally what happened with me for a brief albeit hectic amount of time: I immediately started stripping and trailing clothes everywhere while simultaneously packing a messenger bag with potential clothes/shoes. I turned on the shower while also gathering makeup. It was seriously something out of a romantic comedy, though (unfortunately) Jude Law wasn't involved. #damnit
And yes, blog world, I will admit it- I HADN'T SHAVED! So a shower was necessary. Don't judge.
"I wonder what the combo is for "HOLY SH*T I AM GOING TO BE IN A HARNESS" ?
I left after about 15 minutes of mania for the hotel, not knowing what would be in store.
When I got there, I had no idea where to park. I ended up driving around the general lot at least twice before sending out an SOS to the gig contact. It was a bit nippy out, so I donned my favourite jacket (GUESS? moto-blazer, as I fondly call it). Eventually, I found a building that looked somewhat legit, so I barged inside, thinking that would be a good thing to do. Instead, I was greeted by about 3 gigantic bouncers (a bit unnecessary! Hello! I am 98lbs! HELLO!) who told me I was in the wrong place. I was ultra-apologetic/partially fearful for my life, and ended up going across the way to yet another ball room where they were getting everything set up for the evening's event. It was pretty huge! I was trying to act calm and collected, since I still had relatively no idea what was going on.
"Can I hang and play from that crystal chandelier too?"
I met up with some VIP (basically, the people who knew what was actually supposed to go on over the course of the evening) and then started listening to some of the tracks for the gig. Funny thing is, I would be live improv'ing to the music since I had no idea what I was even asked to play. No biggie, I just wanted to make sure I could at least groove a bit. Though I can play by ear no problem, I can't exactly fly around on a harness and live improv too well. Right? Riiiight?
But that's coming! HOLD YOUR SEAHORSES! (You'll see...)
There was a lot of running around and randomly leaving personal belongings at fancily-made up tables, but eventually I was shown a dressing room. There was a full beverage area, a salad bar, a main course table, and hand-sized desserts. AND COSTUMES! There were costumes everywhere. I was told I would be wearing a gown. How much I had been misled is yet to be determined... But anyway, I met the CEO of Cirque USA who who seemed pretty relaxed. But the first thing out of his mouth was, "So, you're tiny. Take off your clothes."
Gotta say, that was a pretty hysterical way to foster a relationship. And next thing I know, I had found myself in a seahorse costume. Yes, you read that correctly. A f*cking seahorse costume. Jealous yet? You should be.
"MAI MOMMY LUVES MEH!"
I basically had nothing to do after that while the crew set up the stage, so I grabbed some food. The stilt performer was apparently some DJ from Detroit who stilt walks for cash. (A good way to supplement one's income.) I knew one of the dancers who had been involved with Dog Powered Robot
but all the other dancers were new names I would have a rough time remembering (nothing against them, but I am awful with names. I guess I should start trying harder since I've met at least 75 people in the last week alone.) I got to watch them warm up and do some formations, which was pretty interesting. That was one thing I always wanted to be able to do, but it seems like my body is a bull in a china shop, moving through space the way you would envision an apocalyptic asteroid would as if it were plummeting to the earth.
Wait, you mean it would be on display during the harness show? Damn it.
"If I keep eating all of these sweets, I will break that damn harness."
There was a lot of fuss about me wearing a mask as well as the headpiece, so I ended up wearing both. The harness worker was super nice and said I just had to pretend I had done it a million times. Easier said than done... But they got me all strapped up and tested it by actually lifting me right up by the waist, no pulley system needed. (I guess I really am tiny.) The actual harness device felt like a diaper, but one that was swaddling my ass. Very tightly. In fact, I had bruises later on my stomach sides and legs where it had rubbed, but THAT'S HOW MUCH I AM WILLING TO SACRIFICE.
There was a huge issue with the PowerPoint showing various donors (obviously! Who even likes PP anymore? Prezi
is the way to go.), which was pretty funny yet also painful to watch. There were some pretty rich folk there, and rich folk don't like it when things are not smooth. But when it was finally time to go on, I was definitely apprehensive. Though I knew I would not be dropped, I still felt like an egg in the hands of a small child- unprotected and most likely going to get destroyed. The CEO gave the go-ahead and next thing I know...
"You can call this Crouching Tiger, Flying Seahorse."
I was doing that. AND pointing my toes. Who knew that movement class would come in handy?!
Funny thing was that I wasn't even amplified; the tech guy had forgotten the wireless pickup, so I merely acted like I was playing. In all seriousness, I was actually playing, but no one could hear me. No one probably cared, either. And oddly enough, the seahorse outfit was a hit. To the point where after only having worn it for ten minutes (before the hoisted performance), some older man asked me what food I liked/if I had a boyfriend. God save the queen.
I did 3 songs that all seemed relatively repetitive, but it was more about spectacle. Or so I was told. I think my band Fick
has a song about that... Overall, it was a really interesting experience. When I was told they wanted a call back, I was pretty thrilled. Though I never thought something like that would be in high demand, I could see why it sells. Suspended violinists? Crazy costumes? Hot chicks?
Why the hell not?
I'll let the e-world know how the gig tonight goes... I have high hopes.
Hey kiddies. I know, I know, FOR GOD'S SAKE I KNOW- I never finished writing about tour. I will. I promise. Though I probably should never promise anything too sincerely during the school year. Stop judging me- Jesus wouldn't like it.
Anyway, I thought I would take this opportunity to write about some recent comings (twss) and goings of my musical life. It seems the dynamic I have with music has ended one crescendo and reached a new forte, if you will. (Did I really just make a pun about dynamics? I really need to cool my jets.)
For right now, the Minks have taken a break. I think we all are a bit burnt out with our old music, and none of us have as much time is as needed to sit down and actually legitimately WRITE new songs. Sure, we can play them... but we also need to discuss, track and re-evaluate them. As far as that goes, I think we might start back up in November-ish, at the least. I promise we won't be gone forever. I mean, have you seen my face during live shows?
"I LOVE CONFETTI. AND YOUR MOM."
Yeah. There is no way that is ending.
In terms of Fick, we're still going strong. We have a show at Backstage Lounge on September 29- more deets are to come in time, but everyone has been plugging along AIDS-free. And that's gotta mean something, right? Exactly.
What I'm pants-crappingly stoked about happens to be a semi-out-of-the-blue side project with my good ol' boys, Beauty to the Moon. Yes, they are brutal... but said side project features their acoustic and more mellow songs. No screaming, no shredding like it's Taco Night- just straight, clean melodies.
In fact, I traveled down to S Fla this past Saturday to record with Mike, Bader and Carlos. We set up shop in the Coral Springs School of Rock and were set on finishing one of my favourite local band tracks OF ALL TIME, "List of Things", as well as start a new song that Mike had been toying with for a while. After much ado about mic placement, we were good to go until...
Let me explain. Mike was running an old school copy of PT with Mac OS 9.2. Yes, you read correctly- nine point freakin' two. There was an issue with the buffer size (as all you engineers out there will know, it can be a little bit--), so he changed it and then... Nothing. His computer wouldn't start unless he turned off all the extensions. He and I called anyone we could think of and luckily my friend Stephen has some classic advice:
SHUT THAT SHIT DOWN.
So we did. And I flicked some checkboxes and prayed as the tears welled up in my eyes. Could this really ruin an entire evening session? Did I drive down here for no reason? I'm getting recording blue balls, c'mon when suddenly
IT WORKED. Like a leprechaun trumpeting a unicorn from its magical rainbow, the computer started with no issues and PT was back in order.
"BRB, gotta go answer Emily's prayers before she throws a hissy fit in front of all these tattooed dudes."
So then, with newly-acquired vigor and passion, Mike and I recorded the two most brilliant tracks in all of music's history. Well, that's pretty much how it went down, folks. I felt a tingling in my inner cochlea and/or spinal fluid upon listening to the luscious guitar/violin call and response. When these tracks drop, you will all drop deuces. Mark my words. And make sure you have enough TP.
We actually have some more in the ready that are marinating until I can get down there again. One is actually driving me partially insane, in all seriousness; it's called "The Risk", and I've had it on repeat since Mike sent it to me. Lyrical highlight: "It was never yours to take."
Don't worry, it will all make sense, even if you end up in tears by the end of the song.
But HEY, YOU! I need to go practice all that classical rep soon. Just thought you missed me. Because I'm egotistical and self-centered. LOVE ME! LOVE ME!
After the show on Thursday night, we hit the place we had been staying to grab our stuff. Kellen took a quick shower since drumming leaves one quite sweaty (twss?) while we loaded the car. I had made my little nest in the cargo area when Kellen started arguing with his Droid. It’s common knowledge that no one likes Kellen’s GPS girlfriend. She has a not-so-soothing voice and seems to enjoy masochistically sending everyone in his vicinity in the wrong direction. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Kellen’s GPS girlfriend is actually jealous of me, considering that every time I talk she likes to interrupt with a newfound direction that has never even appeared on the map before. Let’s just say I’m sick of her girly BS. Did I just bitch out a GPS voice? Sure did. NEXT.
Throughout the night/early morning, I got two hours of sleep here and there. It was glorious when it was actually happening (twss) because sleep is hard to find on tour. No wonder so many band members drink themselves into stupors and pass out in their respective vans. It’s not easy, kids. (Points to you, reader, if you got that reference.) We kept stopping every two hours as well, which is probably another reason I kept waking up. I’m not sure if it’s because the trailer brought on a lot of drag to the car or because the Fick babies have the tiniest bladders known to mankind, but either way we were startstopstartstopping throughout the route to Dallas. One of the interesting places we stopped at was some faux saloon place that has a plethora of awful yet wonderful things to purchase and be perpetually overjoyed with. For example: I bought strawberry jam (a Louisiana favourite!), a mini German chocolate pie (shoot me), a “we don’t call 911” sticker (ultra classy), and then… it was like the angels were blasting butt trumpet fanfares when I saw this:
"That's right, I am a Deputy Sheriff. With two F's."
What COULD be more glorious? You’re right- nothing. What had to happen? You’re right- it needed to be purchased as my new tour crown. I ended up wearing it even while sliding back down for nappy wappy times ten. Billboards of great importance: various Bible quotes about repentance with a Zeus-like figure looking pissy and vengeful, “fried pies” almost immediately after crossing the state line and yes, “FREE CONDOMS HERE” for all the world to see and revel in (the sign, not the condoms). I suggested we pull over for the latter, but then Dan made quips about raw dogging and then- “Are those Dallas stars under the highway?” We were almost there, and the hotel couldn’t come fast enough on the horizon.
There was much ado about nothing aka parking the trailer. We ended up pulling the hangover move of not caring where & how the state of things were left before spastically springing to the bathroom to puke joy over the feat of finally having made it. There was a queen in a room with dividing doors, extra cots, a mini-fridge, and A JACUZZI HOLY SHIT WE’RE ROCK STARS. Doesn’t matter that no one used the jacuzzi, it was still there for using. If we wanted to bathe ourselves in champagne and have a bunch of hot dudes feed us chocolate strawberries, we could. Wait, that’s only what I want? Non factual statement. Surely someone else could work this fantasy into fruition. Dan? Anyone? Hello?
"It's okay, Emily, we understand your plight about sexy men bathing in champagne."
We dropped our belongings and headed out for food. I had been keeping a wary eye out for vegetarian places since all of us boast of animal rights activism. There was a Thai place along the main road that I had seen and suggested, so we ended up there. Kellen was a Pouty Polly the whole time because he was tired – he even leaned his head back to shut his eyes at the table. I had a massaman curry dish that was absolutely fabulous and an epicurean Renaissance, of sorts. If I find the name of said restaurant, I will send everyone in Texas and its surrounding states there. I had leftovers after gorging as well, which were just as good cold as they were hot (especially on the road, when a "meal" means a pb & honey sandwich). Conversations during meal time: the spice levels of Thai food, government representatives, the creation of the world. Literally. We are a fascinating band.
"I would have tasted so much better had we not argued over why the Primordial Soup Model of creation makes the most sense. (I was still delicious, though.)"
We left from the restaurant to check in at the venue (the Boiler Room). It was about half an hour away which ended up taking longer than expected since there was a good deal of traffic. When we got there, no one thought to knock on the front window even though one of the venue workers was inside. Eventually we got merch set up only to have one of the other bands (who shall remain unnamed) set up right next to us with everything looking stellar and expensive. They are local yet had about 5 different shirt designs and a metal shirt hanger rack contraption rich-kid thing on which to boastfully display them. Nothing pisses me off more than a not-so-professional-sounding band having totally-professional-looking merch. They probably have all the means in the world to make themselves better-sounding musicians before making themselves better-looking businessmen. Snort.
When we got back, we needed to start getting ready. Of course, I called the shower first and proceeded to almost break my face in the tiny and poorly lit Quality Inn bathroom. High butt busting quality INDEED. I then putzed about in my skivvies (oi!) for a hot minute and polled the audience about my show outfit. KD and Dan preferred the combat boots with short dress combo, Kellen preferred the Nine West rainbow leopard flats, and Kyle preferred starting at facebook’s advertising page. I ended up with the boots since I wanted to give the “I can still kick your ass even if we’re in Texas” vibe.
Outfit break for that night's show: GUESS? denim dress; brown Journey’s combat boots
Before heading to the show, we stopped at a liquor store like true classy gents and then saw a waterfall billboard! Gasp! It was for Coors, however, which was an extreme disappointment. I listened to a variety of the Dashboard catalogue in honour of John Lefler’s promise to come out. Yes, your read that correctly: THE John Lefler said he wanted to come see me. It was a big deal. It still is. I mean, have you seen his luxurious locks? Have you? Here’s a picture in case you forgot.
Don't you just want to scream, "HA'DAW!" ?!
As for the actual show, we had the biggest turn out thus far on tour. Dallas is a lot bigger than Pascagoula and Pensacola, so that makes sense. There were a lot of sound/technical issues however, and we ultimately played like crap that night. Of course. It figures that when someone legitimately important comes out and there are a decent amount of people there that we would suck. Awesome. John was gracious though, and deemed us a “metal band” even though Fick often holds the alternative/progressive title. I think we’re more of a WTF band, but that’s just me. And everyone else in the entire world.
It was lovely to catch up with John[ny]. I haven’t seen him in a hot minute, so there were many things to discuss such as: relationship woes, musical gear, tour life, songwriting, drinks of preference, and getting “older”. Ladies, keep in mind that he is single and if you are reading this, there’s a good chance you’re awesome enough to holler at him. I’ll act as his personal representative. Good.
Much drama ensued later that evening between band members being drunk and random people showing up to the hotel, semi-uninvited. I mean, they were invited by our front man. But no one invited them to proceed to SMOKE AN ILLICIT SUBSTANCE in our hotel room. Who even does that? I seriously wonder what the hell goes through people’s heads sometimes. I* pulled out the RA card and got all “I can’t believe you’d put us in a compromised situation” attitudinal, which has consistently worked with my fail-stamped residents in the past. Dan was ultimately very apologetic the next day, but everyone was in a pooper-scooper mood on the last day’s drive to Austin/San Antonio. We had all entered into the 007 gear (overtired 0verdrive… 7 deadly sins?!) by the time we hit the road on Saturday morning. The relative atmosphere of the van was tense and thick (twss) which made it all the easier to sit on my iPhone and pretend I had various important, managerial things to do. I did remark, however, that I saw a child of no more than eight years old actually go out of his way to get hotel coffee. No one seemed to think that was remarkable except me, at which point I crept back into my SUV hidey hole.
Austin, here we come.
*For the record, I have never been high (YES, I have NOT smoked weed before, so don’t ever ask me. kthx) and have chosen to live above societal pressures and loser druggies. Take that, America. Go me, self-aggrandizing, pompous, pure blood Emily.
I’m a big fan of lists, so I’m going to make them. A lot of them (twss).
Breakfast: kisses from a particularly tiny kitten, assorted fruit parfait, orange-mango juice, whole wheat toast, Karma Cream Coffee (thanks, Kyle)
First day of tour style: Frankie B jeans, TWLOHA shirt (fears vs. dreams campaign), Let Love Rule Tom’s shoes, orange Zenni optical specs
First destination: Pensacola, FL. Final venue destination: The World Famous Celtic Irish Pub (Pascagoula, MS)
We started by loading a mini-trailer at the warehouse. Though KD has only been on one other tour, he took the initiative to be the trailer-loader and consequently play a mean game of Tetris with all of our gear. Kellen did tedious but necessary drum maintenance- changed the heads and then loaded up his 5000000 piece set. Dan announced early on in the process that he needed to “drop a deuce” and disappeared with the community roll of TP. Kyle flitted about, asking about general band maintenance, funds and map organization. Boys will be boys. It didn’t take us long to get situated like one compact, dysfunctional family in a 5 seater SUV. At this point, the open trunk area seemed to be calling my name. I could easily lounge with a pillow and sleeping bag if I remained in the fetal position, or maybe even make a tour de fort. GET IT?!
U-Haul ... ass?
The total driving time was about 5.5 hours, though no pit stops had been factored in. The plan was to go to Kellen’s old friend’s house, drop off the luggage there, shower & change, then hit the road for MS. Since Pensacola and Pascagoula aren’t very far from one another, we planned on driving back after the show that night. I took cat naps throughout the nearly 6 hour trip until we stopped at Ponce de Leon Springs Park for a bathroom break. Friends, let me share this little secret with you about this location: cleanest rest stop bathroom I have ever used, probably because it’s in the middle of nowhere and nowhere is not a place to have a party. Unless you’re in Fick, in which case anywhere is potential shot-taking territory. Nothing else was extremely outstanding besides seeing a school bus filled with convicts. (From this point forward, I’ll make a list of oddities observed while driving all over America’s south.)
By the time we got into Pensacola, we were collectively worn out. But thankfully, we weren’t even at the first venue! And it was the first day of our mini-tour! Joy! Rapture!
I called the shower first (girl power) and was feeling pretty heavenly for the show that night. When we got on the road, I decided to listen to Fick’s discography. And solfege it all. Finally, four years of music school has practical application! By the time we got close to where the venue was supposed to be, a putrid smell of fishy swampiness greeted us with predictable Mississippian hospitality. After driving past a hospital that reeked of potentially-liquefied, Matrix-reminiscent bodies, turning onto an all-too dark railroad crossing, then backtracking to behind a Lowe’s, we found the venue.
“What the hell is this?”
It was small (twss). It looked relatively interesting from the outside, particularly so because no one was there. The bartender was pretty cool right off the bat, as was the sound guy, who was all-too attentive. There were some people inside who seemed to enjoy drinking alone on a southern Wednesday night. One eventual Fick enthusiast wearing a dangerously short “canary yellow” dress kept asking about “hearin’ that fiddle” when she saw me lug in my 2000 lbs of gear (playing violin in a band has its advantages).
Outfit break: royal blue top from Charlotte Russe, American Eagle shorts, lace leggings from Pac Sun, shit kickers from Journey’s
The guys ended up doing two sets: one of cover songs where I sat out and recorded video, and a full Fick set where I would actually play on every song. Note: The usual drill was walking off stage when I didn’t specifically have a part I was told to play. More recently, things have changed and once again, I have weaseled myself into the entire set after arguing that it was awkward to walk off and on like a musical call-girl. Though it has been a rough practice the night before, I was pumped to finally have the chance to play on every song. We did a full set, something Fick has never done before; this even included the semi-SOAD-reminiscent song, “A Ballad for the Folly of Man
"I will film your horrible stage banter."
For the most part, it was smooth sailing. Of course, there were only 6 people there to begin with and 4 remaining after our set, but it was a start. Ended up having a conversation with a bearded ginger about music school expectations, which is always a topic of much debate. Also had to be convo-rescued when a “meth mouth” came up to me upon the completion of our last song. Here’s how the exchange went down.
toothless man: “Mmmehreshuh mmat FIDDLE?”
me: “Yes, I play fiddle!”
toothless man: “Wheremahassen fiddlesolommmyeah?”
me: “I just played a solo in ‘Daybreak’!”
toothless man: “Mmmmzzzufuhzuzzle…”
Dan: “Thanks for coming out, man! She needs to pack up now.”
Various jokes about “packing” were made while loading the trailer. We got paid (a good start!) and hit the road for the drive back to Pensacola. It was short and sweet, but would be the only non-exhausting drive during the entirety of the tour. Sad face.
Back at band headquarters, I attempted (mind your head!) to shower. Apparently there are these ultra-fancy pants faucets where you pull the actual filter spout thing down and it goes from bath to shower configuration. But after fifteen minutes of frustrated efforts to change the water flow, I settled on a bath*. I did get to snuggle up in the spare bedroom which was a little more distanced from the IAMDRUNKITALKLOUD voices coming from the living room. Suffice it to say, I felt bad for K.D. and Kyle.
What glories await Thursday afternoon?! Gasp, gasp, GASP!
* THAT’S how metal is done, boys.