Monday, November 26, 2012

Jessica interviews Emily Saliers from The Indigo Girls!!!

I had the honor of sending new blogger Jessica to check out The Indigo Girls, with the Oregon Symphony at the Schnitz.  She also got to talk to one half of the Girls, Emily Saliers.  It's a great interview, that goes in some really unexpected directions, so thanks Jessica and Emily!

Jessica: What musicians influenced you when you were growing up?

Emily: Well as a young songwriter- the first music I was really into was the Jackson 5. They were the first posters on my wall, the first album I ever bought. When I was young- I was born in New Haven, Connecticut- it was a really urban neighborhood, so there was James Brown and Al Green and black urban music that I was introduced to in my very formative years. I first got into urban music, R&B. Then as I became a young songwriter, my first really powerful influence was Joni Mitchell.

Joni? Awesome!

Then there were tons of people who inspired me who perhaps didn't directly influence me: Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Jackson Browne. Heart- I really love the band Heart. I also grew up with a lot of classical music- my parents always had classical and jazz going. We grew up singing in church choirs, then school choirs, children's choirs, so there was really music everywhere. Amy's and my arrangements, even early on, were very influenced by a lot of the sacred music arrangements we've picked up along the way. It was really a smattering- first R&B, then Joni Mitchell, and then sacred music. So now, I'm ALWAYS inspired by music.

What are some of your favorites now?

There's stuff I really like now, likeKendrick Lamar, I just bought his new record. I love rap music. I have a really hard time with the way women are portrayed and treated in it, so that's been an interesting struggle to love stylistically, and in terms of its poetry, but also to sort through my disgust with the misogyny. That's been quite a trick. But we were just in Iowa City, where The Weepies live, and they came and played a song during our set. I love their music. I've really loved The Belle Brigade record last year, Cat Power's newest is fantastic. I still love a lot of straight up R&B, like Beyonce and Mary J. Blige. Those singers, I just love the sound of their voices.

Yeah, Beyonce's voice is pretty amazing.


When are you going to do a duet with her?

(laughs) She hasn't listened to my demo yet!

When you're writing your songs, what do you tend to write first? The chorus, or just start streaming a thought?

It depends. It can go both ways. Sometimes if I have something stuck in my mind that's really stuck in there, I want to sit down and write about. Other times, writing's become more of a discipline- not a JOB job, but as far as sitting down, setting time aside, making it time to write. Letting ideas come. That happens more often than songs enter a chord progression. Sometimes when I pick up a ukelele or a banjo, or a different instrument, that's going to take me down a different path. Playing around with that. The music is easier for me... starting, come up with a chord progression that feels good, and just shove some lyrics in there, then edit those down to formulate the imagery, or the poignant view of the song. So it does all come together for me, but the music comes more easily.

Are there any instruments still that you have to tap into and take on playing, that you've always wished you could master?

I wish I'd taken piano as a kid. I can play a little bit, but my left hand is very, very clumsy. It's so different from guitar. I love piano, the scope of it. I'd like to be able to play more of that, and that's just a matter of sitting down and practicing. I don't think I'll ever be an excellent piano player, but I know I can grow enough to write more on it. I'd also like to learn more control on electric guitar. I love playing electric guitar, but I'm not really good at getting sounds out of an amp, or controlling it. It's a whole other thing than playing acoustic. I'd like to be more proficient at identifying a sound, and being able to achieve that by spinning the knobs, hitting the pedals.

Have you every played slide guitar, or anything like that?

Slide, I love. Love it. Usually it's easier for me to play slide on my third finger, but with our music I end up needing to play chords as well, so I end up physically having to put it on my fourth finger, and I have a little less control. It would be fun just to focus on some slide pieces, keep it on my third finger, write the song and play the song that way, and just hunker down and focus on that. I do have kind of a knack for slide guitar- and I really enjoy it.

Excellent. We were talking about artists earlier- is there anyone out there that you'd like to collaborate with, or that you've wanted to work with that you've always wanted to?

There are some pipe dream people like Stevie Wonder or Mary J. Blige, but I sort of revere them to such an extent- I don't know what on earth I could contribute to a collaboration. When I think about things like that, it's that kind of feeling. We've gotten to work with some amazing people over the years- Patti Smith, Sheryl Crow, Chrissie Hynde- just LEGENDS. But in my dream of dreams, it would be some of those R&B artists.


Or Yo-Yo Ma. Yo-Yo Ma!

For some of these other questions, I started doing a little research. It sounds like you're a big football fan. Is that true?


Are you more of an NFL or college fan?

Totally NFL, not college at all really.

Do you have a favorite team or do you just go by the players?

Well, both actually. I'm totally in love with Aaron Rogers, QB for the Green Bay Packers. I love him. I also love Tom Brady. I'm a huge Patriots fan, they are like... the team of my heart. I'm really proud of the Falcons. I've always been a Falcons fan. Historically it's been hard to be a Falcons fan- Atlanta is kind of a fickle sports city- and they've struggled historically, where they'll get some excitement going, and... yeah. But this is shaping up to be a good year for them

Yeah, you guys have a great start!

I love football, and know all the teams and players. Football just makes me happy. And now that it's on three days a week instead of two... let's just say it's hard to tour during football season.

I can relate. Do you do any kind of fantasy football?

No, that takes too much energy! I don't even go to the live games. I really have a deep joy in just watching it. I'm in a small pool with my friends, we give each other all kinds of crap. Mostly I just like to watch. I grew up watching with my dad when I was a little girl, and I never stopped loving it.

It's a great game. I feel you on that.

It's neat to be able to just love to do something that much. It's the one for me.

I love the fact that it can go any way at any time- like that the whole game can change in the last few minutes. It's exciting.  I was doing a little reading on your restaurant, The Watershed, and I hear that it has the best fried chicken ever.

That's what we've been told... I hope so. It's really good. It's a three day process!

So would that be part of your “last meal”?

Not so much my last meal, but with me asking for my favorite food is kind of like asking for a favorite song, or favorite. Food is something that I'm so passionate about and so involved with. That chicken would definitely be in my top 10.

So when you come to Portland, do you have any favorite restaurants you check out? We're becoming a real foodie capital.

There's a seafood restaurant I go when I'm there- you have to have a day off when you're touring, otherwise things like that don't happen. Jake's? Jakes Seafood. I like any place where you can get some nice oysters and really fresh seafood, and have that Northwestern seafood experience.

That's a great restaurant. It seems that you are a wine collector as well.

I used to be, not anymore. I really got into it when I started in the business, but it's quite expensive, and it takes a lot of time and attention, so I had to kind of lose interest in it. Our restaurant does a great job, though. My best friend who owns a wine distributorship, and helps at The Watershed, has fantastic wines that are boutique but affordable, and I've gotten out of that “the best wines are always the first growth,” because really they out-market people's enjoyment of wine, and it's more important that people can taste and experience fabulous wine that's not astronomically priced, and we try to do that at the restaurant.

I know we just have a few minutes left, so just a couple more questions. Are there any places that you'd like to visit, but haven't yet?

Many places. India, that's the first place I want to go. Japan and China. And I want to go to Northern Africa. That's the top of the list. I'd like to go to Iceland. I've been a lot of places, but not those yet.


I love travel. Even when I come off the road, I still like to.

I suppose you don't get a chance to see as much when you're on tour.

A little bit, when we get a day off. But because we get to come back to some of the same cities again and again over the years, we do develop a certain familiarity with certain cities and neighborhoods. I really like the kind of vacation when you can go and get a sense of another culture that's not your own.

Final question- how many and what kind of pets do you have?

I have two dogs. I love them. I just bought a sweater for my dog online. It's so FUCKING cute.


They're mutts. One is really old- 16, kind of on her legs, black terrier-cocker mix. The other is a beagle mix, also a rescue dog. They're the love of my life. I wish I could have ten.

Do the dogs get to go on tour?

No, they don't. The older one never traveled well, and the other one is blind now.

Oh no!

I know, they're so sweet. I have a dog whisperer to take care of them, she's like their surrogate parent, so I know they're in the best hands. I miss them though.

Well, I'm really excited to see you guys on Friday in Portland!

Yeah, it's going to be great. It's going to be with the Symphony- a totally different thing, and we loooove Portland.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reader question: Who is your favorite "walk-on" character from a song?

You may or may not know this about me: I overanalyze song lyrics.  Obsess over them.  Ponder not only their meaning in a strictly psychological Frankfort School context, but also in a more Berkleyan idealist way.  I'm one of the few people to have read Crittenden's Unreality: The Metaphysics of Fictional Objects and complained about it not being deep enough.  Okay, I'm probably one of the few people to have read it at all.  But I digress...

What I want to talk about today- with you, dear reader- are those characters mentioned briefly in songs who make you say "Gee, I want to know that person's story.  I wish the song was about him!"  Not the main character.  Johnny from "Shooting Star" is right out.  We know his story.

So here are some of my favorite "walk-ons".  Join in on the comments to tell me yours!

Uncle Dwaler- "Tijuana Hit Squad" by Deadbolt

 This one is a classic.  We don't know much about Uncle Dwaler, but what we do learn is fucked up.

My line of work is a family tradition, and we never worry about ammunition
My Uncle Dwaler has a heart of pure cold- he said he was there on the grassy knoll

And judging by everything his nephew, the narrator, gets into, it's totally believable.

Liquid Melvin- "In France They Kiss On Main Street" by Joni Mitchell

I love this album.  I have loved this album since before I could read.  That fucking snake.  Whoooh.  Anyway, who is Liquid Melvin?  What does it mean that he has a "hotwire head"?  Is he a cyborg?  Why wasn't he on the cover?

In other news, I'm going to cover this song with my doom metal band, and call it "In France They Fuck On Main Street".  I guess I need to start a doom metal band.

Klaus and The Rooster- "Here At The Western World" by Steely Dan

This is actually kind of a famous one.  William Gibson, noted Steely Dan fan, threw a couple of characters named after this duo into one of his novels.  But he didn't explain who they were in the context of the song, so I think it's fair game.

Down at the Lido they welcome you with sausage and beer
Klaus and The Rooster have been there too, 
but lately they spend their time here

The eponymous bar is just as much a mystery in this song as K & The R, primarily defined by what it is not, and who goes there, and how you get in, and who is puking on the stairs.

And can we dismiss the possibility that the second half of this duo is actually Jerry Cantrell's dad?  No.  We cannot.

Ramona and Amanda- "Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer" by Morphine

This song.  Man.  This whole album.

And yes, I know in the lyrics it's

Ramona and a man do a tango dip,
cheek to cheek, hip to hip
come on

Just let me have my illusions.  Picturing Ramona and Amanda dancing like that... ahhhhh.

The Killer- "The End" by The Doors

It can be argued that The Killer here is the focus of the song- but I will argue against it.  He comes and goes like a summer rain.  With a fucking knife.  I've actually written and gotten published a short story imagining who this guy is, so I'll leave it at that.  No, actually, I'll leave the link for you to buy that book.

You- "Driving Your Girlfriend Home" by Morrissey

 There are so many I could choose from here.  And of course we already know who Pinky, Cuban, and Patrick Noonan are.  I think this was a good one to close on, because the "you" here that is ruining the poor girl's life could be anyone- hell, it could be me.  It could be YOU.

That's it from me!  Leave your favorite walk-ons in the comments!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Live show: Psychic TV at Rotture, 11/10/2012

First of all, hi everybody! First post here. I'm me, you're you. I write things sometimes! You read things (I hope) sometimes! Introductions over. Let's get down to brass tacks, shall we?

I just got home from seeing Psychic TV headline a four-band set, and boy are my legs tired. I'd have said arms, but as it turns out, I don't stand on those for hours, and I drove home instead of flying.

First things first.

Today, I learned that if you're talking to someone about rigging up a show review, and you ask for a guest list spot +1, that you should make sure they actually confirm it in writing before you assume they're going to go ahead and let you in. You see, when you assume, you have to get to have a brief argument very friendly chat with a fermented pile of elephant spunk very friendly fellow in a cheap beautiful suit who is drinking on the job just trying to protect his financial interests. He lets you know that "it's my show, and I can't honor that." So, me and my +1 decided, after some deliberation (okay, it mostly involved shrugging our shoulders indifferently and stating "well, we're already here") to just get over it and pay our door charges and go in.

And then you have to get on the Internet and complain about it. Done.

ALSO, there was a concert. Which I saw.

The lineup was Psychic TV, DBC (apparently this stands for 'Dangerous Boys Club'), King Dude, and Vice Device. Psychic TV is currently on a mini-tour in support of their first release in several years, a 12" single titled Silver Sundown Machine vs. Alien Lightning Meat Machine.

I have absolutely no idea what order the openers played in, so I'll just go chronologically.

The first band played their entire set before I managed to make it through the line, but I listened very intently through the wall outside. It was, to my trained ear, something like thuddity-thuddity-thuddity-RAAAAAAAAAAAAUGHH; when I got in, my +1 noted that one of the openers had just finished a sound check. That was their set, as it turns out. Not much to say about that, aside from that someone made a confusing booking decision there.

The next band, whoever they were, was great! They probably practiced for at least five hours in one of their parents' basements, and were doing a grand job with the snare drum that one of them got in sixth grade band class and the Casio they found in a dumpster outside of Best Buy. (Full disclosure: It probably was not a Casio. I'm pretty sure about the sixth grade band class thing, though.) After a few songs, I was suddenly glad that when I was in grade school that the band teacher refused to let me play the drums. If I had boobs and a Chelsea haircut, that totally could have been ME up there.

After the second band finished up their three song set, I went outside and chatted for what seemed like long enough to miss the entire third set in its entirety, but I managed to only miss the setup of said third set.

The third band was the most interesting and alarming opening act yet, for a number of reasons:

1.) The set was played entirely by a fog machine. I don't think there were any people actually on stage. This is a clear indication that Skynet has become self-aware. Sorry to break this to you when all you wanted to do was read a blog post. We're all screwed. That, or they just used too much fog so we could see that they had LASERS. Not really sure which, but I haven't seen that much smoke in one place since a friend of mine accidentally ignited about a pint of flash powder he was holding. Protip: Don't do that.  EDITOR'S NOTE:  I was there.  Really, don't do it.

2.) While I didn't actually recognize any of the songs, I am 100% certain that I heard them all at concerts between 1992-1995. This is a clear indication that that guy from the venue, whom I previously identified as a very friendly fellow, saved the world by destroying causality and sending us back a decade to stop the terminators before it's too late.

3.) I know that for effect, I'm supposed to have three things, but I don't, so I'm just going to use #3 to state that. There you are, then.

They also seem to have played about three songs.

So, then Psychic TV came on, they pulled out all the stops, probably dosed the entire venue with some sort of hallucinogen, and started doing their thing.

I had been initially informed that Genesis P-Orridge was done touring, so was totally unsure what to expect from the show if the only static member of the band was not actually performing with them. Apparently, however, rumors of Genesis having retired from touring have been greatly exaggerated, because there (s)he was on stage, singing and chatting away. It took me about half a song to determine to any degree of certainty that it WAS Genesis, as prior information had stated that (s)he was not going to be there, but if it wasn't him/her, then they had signed on a very impressive doppelganger who was exactly as off-key as I remember Genesis being from what I could recall from my dabbling in Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV in my youth. That's right. I experimented as a kid. C'mon, didn't we all?

Also curious: I think Psychic TV played about three songs too. They spanned nearly 2 hours, though. See what I mean about having three things here?

Anyway, I recognized exactly none of the set, having not listened to any of their 2,540 albums* beyond a handful of songs in the 90s, but I like to think that gave me a nice, clean, unbiased slate.

* - Give or take. They might have only put out 2,538. There was that one year where they put out an album every 95 minutes month, after all...

So, we stood around, soaking in an darker set of songs than I expected, which frequently seemed to channel Black Sabbath or Pink Floyd. They were pretty solid, considering that this was stop number two on a Very Small Tour, and they mostly packed the house, which is not too shabby for a band whose core fan base probably already died/went permanently insane from an overdose of something.

I did not, unfortunately, manage to catch any names of the people who were performing with him while they were doing the mid-set introductions, but the guitarist was David Della Rocco.

Who knew he could play guitar?!

Also of note: There were a surprisingly large number of dudes with Rip Van Winkle caliber beards in that place. I am unsure of the significance of this. Discuss.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Shad isn't sick, precisely, but neither is he well.  Thanks for the great first post!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Møtrik at Langano Lounge

Meine Damen und Herren, are you on the prowl for a little krautrock because you've warn out your copy of Amon Düül II's Yeti?

You're in luck—Møtrik ist hier!

Møtrik made their world debut Saturday night, November 10th, at Langano Lounge on Hawthorne. An instrumental ensemble made up of Dave Fulton, Cord Amato, Lee Ritter, and Eric Golts, the band packed the tiny basement space, leaving many just standing anywhere they could find some floor.

Typically, I'm a little wary of new local bands. It usually feels like I have to "squint my ears" to hear what they're going for. If asked, I struggle a little for positive comment, skipping over the "squinting my ears" preface. It's important for people to have the experience of being in a band, but not all bands are masters of their craft.

Møtrik, however, is comprised of four musicians that are clearly masters of their instruments and have taken the time to build a tight group rapport. Their set flew by, one song morphing into the next, for perhaps 40 minutes to an hour. Who was clock-watching? Not me, I was just enjoying the music, which I could see myself easily enjoying at home. You know, if they ever released an album. Although if I was listening to an album, I'd miss the strobe lights they periodically used to accentuate their music.

Another interesting experience was changing where I stood in the room about halfway through the set. After enjoying a more distant sound at the back of the room, absorbed by all the bodies in front of me, I worked my way up to the front where I could watch the band in more detail. It was a much different balance and sound, reminding me of one of the joys of live music.

Follow Møtrik on Facebook to hear about future gigs.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Double album release 11/11 at Rontom's

Megan (from Jared Mees & The Grown Children) has let us know that there is a double album release show coming up, 11/11 at Rontom's.

Megan's project Woodwinds will be releasing their album Kismet, and they are sharing the show with local artists Genders, also releasing an album, and LA band Black Apples, who are apparently huge slackers and not having an album release.

Sounds like quite a bill- check it out!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Upcoming shows: Crushed Out 11/8, Indigo Girls!! 11/9

Gratuitous picture of Syd Barrett.  Is he seeing Emily play?  Is he watching you poop?

Propeller has steered me towards some good upcoming shows.  Thanks Angela!

November 8- Super peppy Brooklyn duo Crushed Out will be here at PSU on Thursday, and their new album Weigh You Down drops tomorrow!  Check out their new single, as featured on Rolling Stone!

November 9- Two shows.  Sorry, you're gonna have to choose.  Unless you can teleport.  In which case, call me.  I have some stuff I need to do.

First up- Jonny "Corndawg" Fritz at the Crystal Ballroom, with Devil Makes Three.  JCF is an old school country balladeer.  He'll be coming back later this year on tour with rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson, so if you miss him Friday, meet me at that show!

Next- and this is very exciting- the Indigo Girls are at the Schnitz on Friday.  They've gone with a couple of hot arrangers- Sean O'loughlin and Stephen Barber- and will be deploying those new arrangements with the Oregon Symphony, with an acoustic set to follow.  I'm sending new blogger Jessica to cover this gig, and she'll be interviewing the Girls as well, so look for that!

Awesome!  Now teleport me back home, I'm ready to eat some chicken soup.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New gear review podcast up!

Not pictured: fuzz pedal.  Or shoes.

I went to do a short gear review of the Malekko Heavy Industry Fuzz Pedal, but couldn't stop talking, so turned it into a podcast.  While I was working on it, I got my new bajo sexto, and decided to make a two part episode.

This was actually kind of fun... I'm thinking I'd like to do more podcasts, maybe not just on gear.  Maybe I'll try to get some audio interviews on there.  Anyway, it's a work in progress, and you'll hear more from me soon.  Check them out on the Gear Review tab up top, or listen to them right here.  Once again, thanks to Malekko Heavy for being so awesome, and making great gear!


Help Chelsia kick cancer's ass!

My friend Chelsia just found out she has squamous cell carcinoma, which sucks.  Big time.  Nobody wants to find out they have a form of bladder cancer that sounds like HP Lovecraft was drunk when he named it.  Nobody!  The bottom line is that she needs help!

Chelsia is a friend from way back, and one of the people whose writing I admired in my formative high school years.  Currently she is doing that dirtiest of dirty jobs- teaching school.  She was inspiring already, but has shown an amazingly honest and resolute face in the fight of cancer.

Visit this site and help the fight.  I guarantee, it will be far more satisfying than crowdfunding some dude's USB pocket fisherman.