Monday, August 30, 2010

::Wordless Monday::

Photo by Christopher Mutch

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Best Breakfast Sandwich Ever

So far, no writing this weekend.  Cooking, though.  Last night I made fish tacos.  Catfish:  success!

This morning, my breakfast sandwiches were inspired by one the GP ordered at the lovely Adrift restaurant in Anacortes, WA.

He declared it to be the best breakfast sandwich he'd ever eaten.  I had a bite...or two (because no Outlund could ever date someone for too long who didn't like people eating off of her/his plate...and, my dad added, who didn't return the favor).  I had to concur:  it was one tasty breakfast sandwich.

I took note of the ingredients, though I forgot what kind of cheese they used and just chose a decent melty one that seemed like it would balance out the tanginess of the pesto.  I also added the sprouts.  I'm on a sprout kick.  They're insanely good for you and easy to sneak into things like breakfast sandwiches or fish tacos.

I would have taken a picture of them for you, but I set off for my camera and then suddenly the sandwiches had vanished.  Just crumbs (except on GP's plate, which was eerily clean).  Weird.

Best Breakfast Sandwich Ever

Sourdough bread 
Havarti cheese
Alfalfa sprouts

Slice the avocado & cheese.  Heat 2 skillets on medium-ish for a couple of minutes.  Butter one side of each slice o bread.  Grill each slice of bread separately - add pesto spread, sprouts & avocado to one slice and cheese to the other.  Fry egg.  Cut egg in half and add on top of the cheese.  If you want your cheese extra melty, let it fry a little longer with the hot egg on top of it.  Put the sandwich together.  Presto.

Fresh ingredients = yummiest.  Adrift always uses good local stuff and so should you.  Also, this is very good with mango slices and maybe some black beans & rice (squirt of lime, pinch of cinnamon) on the side.

Easy.  Yum.

GP said mine were even better than Adrift's.  Smart man; a wise artist from Iowa once said that's the real reason we're here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday. buh.

This is all I got today.

Maybe I'll write over the weekend?  Maybe I'll take a crack at this?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Summer into Autumn

What do school children reap at harvest time?  Summer's end, back to school.  The last letters you don't mean to be the last are addressed to camp friends, stamped and stuck in the mailbox.  The red flag raised, the apples dangling in the trees, the lunch bag packed.  The ruler.  The Elmer's glue.  The nametags on the desks clean, not yet doodled on or peeling off.  Remember the creak of opening your desk?  Remember placing everything just so?  Remember the girls who had more crayons, the right kind of jeans?  Remember the ones who coveted your headband, your panda bear eraser?  Did you smile at the new kid?  Did you glare at the mean kid?  Was your best friend in the wrong class?  Was the boy with cancer back yet?  Did you know you loved the scent of pencil sharpener shavings and the grinding sound of the crank?  Were you aware of the keen rush of relief at recess time?  Were you smack in the middle of the red foursquare ball, the pinching chains of the swings, the freshly painted yellow lines?  Did you stop at lunchtime to be thankful for the peanut butter sandwich in its ziplock bag?  Were you happy or humiliated when you found the heart your mother drew on your napkin?  When did you start counting the days till Friday?  When did you start staring down the clock?  What did you look forward to?  What were you ashamed of?  What instructions did you miss?  On the hot walk home, your new shirt dampens under your crisp backpack bearing rustling forms, notes to parents.  Maybe you're lucky and get picked up and driven to the Dairy Queen for a special dipped cone.  Maybe the city pool is still open for one more week.  Maybe you go down alone to the cool basement with a juice box and plop down in front of Full House.  Maybe you envy your young siblings too little for school yet.  Maybe you wish you had siblings.  Maybe dinner was served on the porch, grilled.  Did you tell your parents about your day?  Did you like your new teacher?  Were you put in the advanced reading group?  Did you remember eight times four?  Did the new gym teacher seem nicer than the old one?  What would you wear tomorrow?  Did you lay out your clothes?  Did you brush your teeth?  Did you pray for something? Was it the thing you really wanted?  When did you start wishing to be a grown up?  When did you stop?  Was there a line you stepped over?  A bell that rang?  Did the wind even rustle the leaves?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday Duologues: Brad San Martin

For a coupla years, my supersmart friend Jess (who was in Boston but moved to my former home of Lexington, KY - weird!) kept telling me TBH should really check out and maybe play with her friend's band, One Happy Island.  Eventually, I got a clue and checked them out and (gig pending) one result is that I've had some very interesting impromtu Facebook exchanges with member (don't even bother asking what he plays - the answer is everything) Brad San Martin.

"it's me playing a solo show (backed by Ian Evans of the awesome UK noise-pop band Horowitz on chair) in the merch tent at the IndieTracks festival in Derbyshire, UK...from late July of this year"

Brad would challenge my attempts at deep status updates and suddenly we'd have one of those long comment threads that aggravates anyone who simply "liked" the status in passing and tried to continue on their merry way.  Brad's comments were always decidedly thoughtful and unusually articulate, so when I posted the first duologue link and he was the first to volunteer -- not just to chat with me, but to "antagonize" me, OBViously I had to take him up on the offer.

me: so - you'd be happy to antagonize me, eh?
Brad: oh, hey -- one sec!
me: no problem!
Brad: sorry -- designing gig flyers. be back in 45 seconds.
me: take your time
Brad: ok.
me: okay you'll take your time or okay you're ready?
Brad: hmmmm
ok. ready! i don't mean antagonize in a bad way, necessarily.
me: ah - the good kind of antagonizing?
Brad: well...i just mean it's good to ask questions and engage in discussions. it seems like people aren't used to reconciling opposing viewpoints: it's all black or right, right or wrong...the art of the debate/discussion has sorta withered in the face of political correctness, i suppose.
but what's that got to do with rock'n'roll?
me: (sorry, back)
isn't rock'n'roll supposed to be subversive
Brad: well, i suppose your walking the line between rock'n'roll and pop music. before rock and pop were synonymous, it was VERY subversive. people thought it would bring about the death of society as they knew it. now there is plenty of rock'n'roll that extols the status quo quite openly.
me: and what about pop?
Brad: pop is music for everyone, right? anything can be pop.
pop/rock is sort of an oxymoron, isn't it? it's a contradiction, and the friction between the two can be really interesting...or really boring.
me: pop is music for everyone, as in, pop = popular = status quo?
that seems different from saying pop can be anything.
Brad: not necessarily. to me, it's music that is relateable, not necessarily popular. but you know, you can attach labels to anything, and endlessly pick at them and undermine them. who am i, derida?
me: i hope not... otherwise, i could be in serious trouble here.
Brad: don't worry.
me: i think relateable is a good distinction, though.
Brad: that's a key word/idea.
me: i've been listening to your full length today. i dig it!
this lyric popped out at me:
Brad: wow, thanks.
(i was being sincere!)
me: (funny how periods have come to indicate sarcasm to some.)
"i insist on not insisting on anything. i insist on not resisting what is happening, it's just happening"
did you write that ["flounder"] lyric?? 
Brad: i did write that lyric.
all though replace "on" with "I'm" -- I insist I'm not insisting on...same idea, though.
me: ah - thanks
Brad: i insist i'm not resisting...
of course, by insisting that you're not, you're insisting that you are.
me: ohhhhh that's quite different.
that sounds more like you (though it should be said i've never even met you)
Brad: well, it's a song about being trapped in a corner: physically, romantically, socially, whatever. all of a sudden i'm insisting that it's not my fault that i'm here.
which means that it is.
me: because you're saying it's not.
Brad: right :)
me: yeah.
Brad: that's a really old song.
me: when did you start writing songs?
Brad: i started WANTING to write songs in middle school. i wrote a few bad songs in high school. i wrote a lot more bad songs starting in college.
me: do you remember your first song?
Brad: hmmm...i remember bits. the first song, beginning to end, finished song escapes me.
for me, i write constantly, and rarely is anything finished.
that's the way it's always been.
and sometimes the song changes even if you don't change the music or lyrics.
me: what does it take for a song to make it to a finished state? is there some criteria?
Brad: well, if you're a songwriter AND a performer, it changes every time you play it. it means different things to you as time passes. but strictly as a writer, i have a hard time saying when a song is finished. i rely on my bandmates for that, or just when it seems to develop a beginning, a middle, and an end. it has an arc.
i toss as many finished songs in the dustheap as i do scraps of songs...i recently compiled an album of outtakes/demos, and it had 22 tracks on it, i think.
me: bandmates are good for that kind of thing.
can you describe your band dynamic in a word or two?
Brad: my bandmates are wonderful. i'm very lucky.
it's basically the democracy that every other band says they are, but aren't.
me: ha ha - so why should we believe you? :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

i am

i am reading :: quite a bit.

I don't know anyone else besides my father who buys books on vacation like I do.  Of course, I generally go on vacation to visit my father and together we have to patronize all the local bookstores on Whidbey Island and beyond.  Yes, HAVE to.  It's only ethical.

About Mt. Rainier, John Muir is quoted as saying, "Did not mean to climb it, but got excited and soon was on top."  It's like that.  I did not mean to buy 10 books on vacation...though I did pack an empty backpack in my suitcase, just in case.

Here's what I got:

My father once read aloud the first chapter of Italo Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler to me.  We laughed through the whole thing....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday Duologues: Olivia Outlund

So, I'm traveling and visiting family for a couple of weeks out in the Pacific Northwest, and I decided to take advantage of rare sister time and interview one of my youngest sisters for this week's duologue. We had an awesome chat, my sissie and I, and covered all the truly important subjects: imagination, music, trusting yourself, and chocolate. And in the process, we probably revealed a thing or two about what it is to be an Outlund.

Also, we did this interview sitting across from each other with our laptops at the kitchen table.

me: hallooooo!
Olivia: Hellloooo!
me: yay! are you so excited for our interview?
Olivia: I am SO excited!
me: me too! i don't get to talk to you nearly enough.
silly busy lives.
Olivia: Indeed, very silly :)
me: okay, ready?
Olivia: All set
me: ::ahem::
who are you?
Olivia: Olivia
me: great!
Olivia: Am I supposed to find a deeper answer?
me: there are no right answers here.
Olivia: Phew!
me: is that a relief?
Olivia: Quite.
me: how come?
(want me to go in the other room? would that be easier?)
Olivia: No, would it be easier for you?
me: i don't think so... this is funnier.
okay i know
did you like it?
Olivia: Yes, I am curious to find out what happens to Amelia Pond and a show must be good if it has you hooked after one episode.
me: yipeee!
after watching that episode, if you were in amelia's shoes, would you go with the doctor onto his time machine?
Olivia: Oh yeah!
me: what about if you were in YOUR shoes?
Olivia: Still yes.
me: so imagine he says to you, "all of time and space, anything that's ever happened or ever will. where do you want to start?"
what's your answer?
Olivia: I think I'd like to go to Greece and see some of the myths played out-cause in my mind they all really happened.
me: oooh nice!!!
knowing doctor who, zeus was actually an alien from some other galaxy. y'know. the kind that gives birth through the head.
what's one of your favorite myths?
Olivia: Heehee, I'll bet you're right :)
Hmm, I like the one's about Athena. She is such a strong female and it didn't seem like they respected females much back then, so it's nice that one really kicked ass.
me: do you identify with athena?
Olivia: Not really, I think I'm drawn to her because she is what I'd like to be. She is strong willed and does what she wants and it'd be nice to have that quality.
me: so you don't feel like you're strong willed?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday Duologues: Brendan Boogie

Introducing Wednesday Duologues!  I had so much fun conversing with my bandmates and the singer-ladies in anticipation of our EP release bill that I've decided to make it a weekly part of the blog!  Which also means I get to have interesting conversations with fascinating people every week!?  Honestly, I love this idea so much, I can't believe I didn't think of it sooner.

I've made the executive decision to preserve the chat artifact and will be pasting from IM start-to-finish verbatim (and yes that does mean that I struck up the conversation below with a pudding non-sequitur), so please do your best to enjoy any quirks in punctuation, spelling, profanity and continuity.

If you think you might be interested in being a part of this little adventure and taking about an hour out of your day to chat with me for public consumption, please don't hesitate to shoot me an email at or message me on Facebook!

And now, without further ado, I give you my first duologue - with my good friend Brendan Boogie!

me: do you think the world can possibly comprehend how much i love butterscotch pudding?

Brendan Boogie: It is beyond human comprehension.

me: amen.

Brendan Boogie: I had an idea - combining butterscotch with honey BBQ sauce and putting it on grilled chicken.

Make it happen, science.

me: and the interview was going so well...

Brendan Boogie: It wasn't going THAT well.

me: i still have half a cup of pudding left so i think i'll make it.

now my next question is this... how many serious answers can i expect from you today?

Brendan Boogie: Don't you worry - I have a well-developed serious side.

me: (it'll help determine which ones to ask)

Brendan Boogie: Ask them all. I've got all day, baby girl.

me: righto.

who are you?

Brendan Boogie: My name is Brendan. I'm a Leo. My turnoffs include rude people, venereal diseases, and hipster cupcake joints.

me: ooooh! brilliant! let's make this a contest to see who can catch all the thinly veiled digs & instances of trash talking in your interview and who they're aimed at! it'll be a good scene-building exercies.


Brendan Boogie: I try not to trash too many people. By name, anyway.

me: that's why it'll be fun :)

Brendan Boogie: Here's hoping!

me: do you consider yourself a nice guy? not y'know, "nice guy" like "oh he's such a nice guy" but just... a nice guy...

Brendan Boogie: I value kindness very much. Probably above just about anything else. So I try to be kind, yes.

Do you consider me a nice guy?

me: in my head i call you Brendan That Big Sweetie.

what else do you value?

Brendan Boogie: Hmmm... kindness really trumps everything. I think it's the most important thing a person can have. I think everything comes out of that.

But I also value humor.

And pain.

That's sort of a weird thing to say, I know.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

Countdown to Spinning & Shining: Jennifer D'Angora of The Downbeat 5


In sum:
Now usually, when a band releases a record, we say that it "drops." My friends, there is no "drop" to the record that is going to be released tomorrow night. This record isn't just going to be "released," it's going to be slingshotted. If you do not believe, then just listen to today's band of honor, This Blue Heaven. They'll be playing a super-special, super-powered record release tomorrow night, presented by your favorite blog. You must not miss this one.

On an evening jam-packed with unbelievable shows, this might be the best front-to-back bill out there! We’re not talking 6 sugar-sweet pop acts trilling their hearts out about pretty things and happy thoughts. We’re talking a diverse application of the 20 metric tons of talent across the 6 bands on the bill. Each band has their own style, each band utilizes their frontwomen to the best of their ability, and each band is fully prepared to rock-the-f*ck-out!

While a song like "Nova Love" is a straight-ahead rock & roller, "Slow Dance Slow" starts out with a shimmering, arena-space-rock riff before the chorus blows the windows open when singer MacKenzie Outlund's vocals rush in on a gust of ascending chords. "A Serious Mistake" is a bit of 3/4 rock-electro-waltz that sounds like it could've been lifted straight from a stumbling patron in an Irish pub. Don't know what that sounds like? Neither did we, until we listened to it. You'll just have to hear it for yourself.

Trust me.  You want to get your tickets now

And if all that isn't enough to get you there...  and if all that PLUS the amazing women I've been showing off so far this week STILL isn't enough to get you there... then Jennifer D'Angora and The Downbeat 5 really oughtta seal the deal.  If not you're just... just... silly.  So there.

Jen is just a rockstar.  No seriously.  You know how when you find out your favorite rockstar is using the same picks as you or wearing the same shoes as you or reading the same book as you, you get all giddy and (oddly) affirmed by it?  Well, when I saw her in Jenny Dee and the Delinquents for the first time and Jen had a Starbucks cup in her hand...that's how I felt.  She might as well have given me the matching half-heart of her Best Friends pendant for how elated I was.  Y'know?  Because this woman ROCKS.  Like, seriously.  (And she drinks Starbucks before shows JUST LIKE ME!!!!!!!!!!!!) (So what if hers could've been filled with vodka? So what??)

So just try to imagine how I felt when I found out she was gonna play on this bill JUST LIKE ME?

And THEN try to imagine how I felt when I found out she used to put on dance routines with her little sister JUST LIKE ME, too!!!!

I really don't know how else to say that she rocks.  She's the epitome of rocking.  She wails.  And when she smiles at you, you might fall maybe make sure someone's standing nearby who'll catch you tomorrow night, eh?


What kind of "shows" did you put on as a kid?  Any favorites?
When I was about 10 years old, I would write songs and work out dance routines with my younger sister, Beka, and our best friend. I actually sent a jingle to Chips Ahoy that I wrote, and Beka and I can still remember the song. It was a foreshadowing, because now Beka sings and dances with me in my other band, Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents.

If you had to choose another genre of music to learn/perform, what would it be?
When I worked at Rounder, I became a fan of Hazel Dickens and old timey music. I'd love to try my hand at that raw, Appalachian style.

What is the strangest thing you've found yourself doing since being in a band?
Searching for normal, non-band clothes to wear!

(Do NOT MISS The Downbeat 5's set at midnight Saturday.)

(And after that, you better stick around for the surprise ending, which may or may not involve one or more of the ladies you've read about this week... and maybe even another surprise guest or two!)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Countdown to Spinning and Shining: St Helena's Magen Tracy

Free stuff!  Free stuff!  Free stuff!

At Playground Boston!

At Boston Band Crush!

& at Bandcamp!

Some dude in a pink shirt, upon hearing a solo set by Magen Tracy at The Armory, once said, "If you didn't just fall in love, you weren't paying attention."  I feel like anyone who's seen Magen perform - and anyone who's ever known her at all - would have to nod in agreement with that.  She's like that.  Loveable - onstage and off.

A lot of performers (myself included) undergo a kind of transformation when they get onstage.  There's a persona, and maybe the persona is a magnification of certain aspects of their personality or maybe it's all the outrageousness they keep in the shadows the rest of the time.

With Magen, this rare lovely thing happens when she takes the stage and the only perceivable change isn't in her at all.  Rather, the kindness and grace and world-wise sparkle in her eye that characterize all of her interactions are now, well, center-stage.  And the way she put you immediately at ease when you were talking with her just a few moments before is now extended to her bandmates onstage and then out across the room to the audience as a whole.  You're right there with her.  And when she starts to play, well.  Like Brendo said.  You'd have to be actively working to ignore her not to be smitten.  Or swoony.

(Which may or may not be how she came to become part of the extended TBH fam -- and I am not limiting that possibility to any particular member.)


What kind of "shows" did you put on as a kid?  Any favorites? 
I'm a big sister, so I made my little brothers dress up and put on shows with me all the time. I definitely made them perform an entire album of New Kids on the Block songs with me for our parents and grandparents in Florida one time. I think they blocked it out, but I remember it vividly.

Who/what are some NON-musical influences on your music? 
Exes. Social politics. My mom. 

If you had to choose another genre of music to learn/perform, what would it be? 
Dirty alt-country. Potential side project with the fabulous Ashley Willard pending - stay tuned!

What about a career path you haven't pursued, but might later or would if you had time or even another lifetime? 
I'd love to work in film scoring/music editing for film. I keep saying I'll pick this up as a side project once I have some free time (read: whenever I get bored with this band stuff...)

Do you ever have pre-show moments when you wish you didn't have to perform?   
Everytime. Performing gives me crazy agita. I mainly do it for the high right after I'm done, like with a long run or hike; it's painful while you're doing it, but you feel so damn good after you convince yourself to do it again and again.

Describe your band dynamic, in two words. 
Deliberative Democracy

If you could open for anyone (let's say in all of history, 'cause that's more fun), who would it be? 
Tori Amos 

Describe the perfect scene of solitude for you. 
Empty house, baby grand piano, bottle of wine.

Where would you like to travel? 
My next trip will hopefully be to the Pacific Northwest; I've never been north of Sacramento. Ideally, I'd love to drive out there, since I've driven the southern route to California a few times, but never the northern route.

What's one thing you don't know but wish you did?  
How to whistle.

What're you reading or watching, lately? 
Reading:  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Middlesex, The Magicians. 
Watching: True Blood, Mad Men, Coupling.

When do you find yourself aware of yourself *as a woman* in the band context? 
Only once in a while; those rare moments when the boys will stop mid-joke with that "Magen's going to quit" look on their faces. Though that probably has less to do with me being a woman, and more to do with my opinion on scat humor. The boys in St. Helena know the drill by now: sex talk is encouraged, but poop talk is prohibited. I'm a lady, dammit.

Describe your favorite audience in one word. 

Upcoming stuff?
We're currently recording our first full-length at 1867 Studios in Chelsea. Sounding great so far; look for it this fall! 

And, for the record, I am an INFJ* (per Meyers-Briggs) and a DGSM (per OKCupid). 

(This is my favorite (recorded) St Helena tune!  Be sure to get to Saturday's show (UPSTAIRS. MIDEAST. SATURDAY.) in plenty of time to hear their set at 8:45pm!!!)

Beneath the calm, collected exterior of the INFJ lies the horrible reality of someone who has seen The Truth. The INFJ knows what other people are too naive or too brainwasted to admit: the Conspiracy is real. Mistrustful and suspicious, the INFJ is not easily fooled, and does not take the word of the government-controlled medico-military-industrial complex for anything. Whether it's uncovering the plot by butter-eating Jews to clog the arteries of Christian folk with artificial margarine or discovering the secret laboratory in Tibet that's producing legions of Jimmy Carter clones that will be sent out to seize the manufacturing facilities in the Guangdong Province of China under the pretext of inspecting chickens for influenza, there is no lengths the INFJ won't go to in order to blow the lid off the whole thing.
INFJs can often be found holding down jobs as AM radio talk-show hosts. They can also be found driving taxis in the greater Washington, DC area. Other common jobs often held by INFJs include vagrant, loony, whacko, and writer/director/producer of the television show "Seinfeld." INFJs can also be found feeding that crucial bit of information to determined FBI agents just before they are brutally murdered.
RECREATION: INFJs often come home from a hard day's work exposing conspiracies about how the government is poisoning us with mind-control agents spread by passenger airliners and unwind by spending all night writing Web sites exposing conspiracies about how NASA faked the Bush election.
COMPATIBILITY: INFJs are usually happiest and most successful in relationships with Julia Roberts, though the relationships may not end happily.
Famous INFJs include...well, if I told you, I'd have to kill you.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Countdown to Spinning & Shining: Sophia Cacciola of Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling


Camp Street Love

CD Love in the Weekly Dig "Relentlessly upbeat and unquenchably positive, Spinning and Shining is a hopeful endeavor perfect for scratching the summertime itch."

<a href="">Nova Love by This Blue Heaven</a>

Show Love in the Weekly Dig "The lineup may seem like a genre clash, but the common denominator at play here is undeniable: Each group incorporates the talent of some of the city's best rockers ... who happen to be talented females."

So, y'know... there's that.  (!!!!!!!!!!)

And then there's Sophia.  I want to preface my personal introduction to Sophia Cacciola by saying that I have a great deal of respect for her artistry and her intellect, and I like and admire her a great deal as a human being for many reasons -- from her strong moral framework to her unwavering support of the Boston music scene (which cannot be overstated).  These things all inform what I am, in the full light of my feminist convictions, about to say.  Oh, and please also note that I also have a great deal of respect for her marriage vows (hi buddy!) and, of course, my own sweet relationship.

But um...


Y'know?  And I don't mean hot blond whoa.  I mean woman in hot command of the full power of her raw wild self whoa.  Sophia's Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling onstage presence and performance will transfix you.  Even if you do glimpse a few glimmers of her obvious adoration for her counterpart's 'stache in the mix as well.  

Plus, I wanted to be an astronaut, too.


Who/what are some NON-musical influences on your music?
The well publicized project of our band is to write/record a song for each episode of the '60s spy cult tv show, The Prisoner – our EP, The New Number 2 had the first five songs and we're gearing up to record another set of 6 or so – I hope to have all 17 “episodes” done by early next year. The show is very surreal and paranoid; and anti-establishment/societal conformity so it's been a real learning experience to live in that mindset for a while.

What about a career path you haven't pursued, but might later or would if you had time or even another lifetime?
I always wanted to be an astronaut or a singer. I think I would have made a great astronaut. I love everything to do with Space: The Final Frontier.

What is the strangest thing you've found yourself doing since being in a band?
I have learned what a “control enthusiast” I am. I'm playing more and more with art direction and concepts as a way to enhance the music aspect of the band. I guess for my style I really feel that to be a performer I need to cultivate being a musician and an artist.

If you could open for anyone (let's say in all of history, 'cause that's more fun), who would it be?
The Stooges on the Raw Power tour (1973); Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds on the Let Love In tour (1995); Klaus Nomi in 1979; Tom Waits on the Bone Machine tour (1992); Joy Division in 1979; I could go on like this for pages.

Where would you like to travel?
Traveling is all about eating for me – I like to go and plan vacations where vegans are accepted – barring that I would love to hole up on a secluded island in Hawaii for the rest of my days.

When do you find yourself aware of yourself *as a woman* in the band context?
There was a moment in Richmond, VA when I lifted my drum stick to hit the snare and it got caught on my dress for a quick moment and someone woo'd – so I guess I'm aware when accidentally flashing the audience! Though at the beginning of the night I often see a wave of acceptance pass over people's faces when they see me setting my drum set up and you can see the gears turning until they realize that I'll be drumming that night – girl drummers are still a novelty.

Describe your favorite audience in one word.

Upcoming stuff?
We're finishing up our first tour, will be headed back into the studio to record another EP in the fall, we're working on two music videos, and will likely be out on the road again in the Spring.

(I'm gonna go ahead and take this opportunity to  directly address the 2 people who read my blog:  Hi Mom! - this band is not really your bag, but they're still good folks.  Agent Bishop, you're kind of a genius for getting the roadie/merch-girl gig with these guys. They're on around 9:30pm THIS SATURDAY AT MIDDLE EAST UPSTAIRS!)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Countdown to Spinning & Shining: Jessica Sun Lee of The Sun Lee Sunbeam

First a bit of Spinning And Shining news... 

* Boston Band Crush is giving away free tix + a CD and/or t-shirt from each of the 6 bands playing the EP release show THIS SATURDAY NIGHT AT MIDDLE EAST UPSTAIRS.  All you have to do to enter is send an email to with subject "SPINNING AND SHINING" before Friday morning!  A winner will be drawn at random that afternoon.

* The ENTIRE Spinning and Shining EP is now available for streaming at  We would love to hear your feedback!  Oh - and please do not forget to learn the chorus to A Serious Mistake for our big sing-a-long!!! 

* If you haven't already voted for "Generous Soul" in this week's Boston Emissions New Fave Local Song Poll, please hop on over there and give us your love!  We promise to love you back!

<a href="">Generous Soul by This Blue Heaven</a>

...and now for the good stuff.  I want to introduce Jess by saying that she's someone I admire a great deal - not only for her many great talents and the fierceness of her creativity, but also (and especially) for her emotional honesty and willingness to dive under the surface of things that most people are content to ignore.  My high school English teacher told me that the world couldn't afford to lose people like me (which is where "this world needs who you are" from the Generous Soul chorus comes from, by the way), and though I'm still struggling to understand how those words apply to me and how I can live up to them, I can say with absolute conviction that they apply to Ms. Sun Lee.  The world needs her not-looking-away courage and expression.  Lucky for us, she's generous with both!


What about a career path you haven't pursued, but might later or would if you had time or even another lifetime?
My goal is to die writing–mostly fiction novels, but I don’t want to limit it to that.

Do you ever have pre-show moments when you wish you didn't have to perform?  What would you rather be doing on those occasions?  
I seriously think a pre-show quicky would be the best way to quel my anxiety, but that’s usually not possible due to the logistics of what needs to be done on those nights.

What do you believe in?
Seeking the truth and understanding within myself and others, as difficult as that can be.

What's one thing you don't know but wish you did?
What it’s like to be fully and unconditionally loved and understood because of who I am, and because who I am is a undoubtedly a part of something bigger. Being abandoned as a baby has surfaced some emotions I repressed until recently because I felt it’d be ungrateful or wrong to feel them. It’s like I shut off a big part of myself because of what I didn’t know. Those unanswered questions, I’ve discovered, are all intertwined with the rest of what I do, think, and feel. The good news is: it supplies a nevereneding stream of longing and the desire to belong to something important. And that fuels all of my art, writing, and music.

Upcoming stuff?
As The Sun Lee Sunbeam is wrapping up our last couple of shows and recording our final EP, I’ve been working on a different style of music, forming songs from the bass instead of the guitar. I feel like I’m going through musical puberty all over again. It’s both liberating and exciting to shape a new sound, as it’s a totally different approach for me to write this way. I’m constantly buzzing from it and look forward to playing it live when it’s ready.

(I love this track from The Sun Lee Sunbeam and they are STELLAR live, so do NOT miss their ***second-to-last show ever*** this Saturday at Middle East Upstairs - they go on at 10:15 - right before This Blue Heaven!)