Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hey, you.

Wow, it's been a while. Months, even. I'm supposed to be cleaning my room right now. :)

Just finished a six week tour across the U.S. with Joe Ginsberg (my bassist and teammate), Good Old War and Yukon Blonde. It was more fun than a barrel of monkeys which means it was brutal seeing it come to an end. I miss my friends. Isn't that the bitch of traveling; The more friends you make, the more people you miss.

I don't know what it is, lately. Metaphorically speaking, which usually goes without saying, I feel like I can't see the road in front of me anymore. I used to be able to see it clearly but was so fearful of where it was taking me. My stride used to be slow. Now my path materializes under my feet only just before I take the next step, transforming every stride into a leap of faith. For some reason, this is less scary than knowing what's coming. It's hard to explain. Maybe it's because when I don't know what's in front of me, I don't know what to be afraid of so, instead, I'm perpetually dazzled.

But oh, wouldn't it be nice to have a copilot, like a navigator or someone like that? A true comrade. I've stayed far from love for so long. I was sure it was my lot in life to walk the Earth alone, for all eternity. I thought that would keep me safe and focused on what's "really" important. I felt this deep ambition to prove that I could do it on my own. Now that I know I can, I feel much differently about the whole thing. There's less pride involved. I'm softer, if that makes sense. I'm quieter.

I'm not saying I'm looking for love. It's not like that, but now that I'm not afraid of it anymore, I've noticed myself changing. It started in my hands, I think. I don't know, all I know is, I'm so grateful to have been without a copilot for so long. A girl needs to be able to make her own way in this world. I've done that. I'll always do that. I'm good at it. But, I'd love to learn from someone who's been down this road, on this boat, and in these clouds before. Someone smart enough to slide a few hints and heads-up's under my mind's door, along the way.

Vulnerability -> Self-Knowing -> Constructive Tools -> Action -> Strength
*How else will I discover who I am and what I'm capable of?

Masks -> Self-Doubt -> Destructive Weapons -> Reaction -> Weakness
*Once I know I can make it without these things, they lose their power over me.

It should be noted that there will always be a fork or, rather, a choice in the road should you come across true weakness;

Face the vulnerability, or don the mask.

Los Angeles is beautiful today. The weather is perfect. The wind is hooting through the gap between the screen and my window behind my thinking couch. I'm listening to mixed cds from friends and daydreaming, daydreaming, daydreaming. Right now I'm imagining that you (Hey, you.) wake up tomorrow morning with a kind of miraculous, divine epiphany. You open your eyes and, suddenly, see it all so clearly. The monsters you thought impossible to conquer are suddenly powerless over you and you lie there for a moment in total peace and, just like that, you feel the weight of the world lift from your shoulders.

Aaaaahhhhhh, something wonderful and exciting could happen at any minute...

Any minute, now...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

On The Road Again

This blog is like an old friend I've been meaning to call for some time, now. I think about it everyday. I forget most of what I want to write in it. I scribble things down on my hands and in my moleskine but time passes and jottings become old toys I've outgrown. Every so often there's a day like today, when I clean out creativity's attic and fall for my beloved junk all over again.

SXSW was a total whirlwind; like Mardi Gras for music lovers. I played four solo/acoustic shows, did lots of interviews and smoked a ton of honey/rose hookah at The Arab Cowboy. Tastes just like honeysuckle. Anyway, I met knew friends and caught up with dear ones and I can hardly wait to go back. Shane Scheel (live entertainment producer/tour manager/extraordinaire) and I were in Austin for a week and then parted ways. He went back to LA to tie up some loose ends and I headed out to kick off an acoustic/radio tour.

Met up with Casey James Cress at the airport in Charlottesville. He makes my job so easy it's not even funny. He tour manages, sound engineers, navigates, and helps me sell merch after shows. I just ride along, listen to music, sing when it's time to sing and sleep when it's time to sleep. We've stayed with wonderfully hospitable people, met fascinating characters and seen pure and beautiful countryside.

There are animals all over the place. Hawks, buzzards, blackbirds and geese in the sky, deer in the woods and ducks on the water. I have yet to grow tired of looking out across open land from a car window. Been doin' it all my life.

Casey and I were at Skeeter's, a bar in Blackwood, NJ, jammin' to "Ima Be", when a couple of older gentlemen walked in. They were dressed in suits with looks on their faces of having survived some real force of nature. One of the men, Philbert, had his glasses propped on top of his bald head and a crystal, teardrop earring hanging from one ear. I asked them why they were dressed so dapper, "You boys are lookin' pretty sharp tonight."

Phil's cousin said, "We just came from his mother's viewing. Yea, but we're not cryin' tonight. Tonight, we're celebratin'. Frances was an incredible woman. We'll cry like babies tomorrow."

My heart sank. I wished I had been more observant. They bought us a drink. We toasted to Philbert's mama, "She was a good woman. A great one. To Frances!"

I started talking to them a little more. Gave 'em a couple CDs. I told Phil I liked his earring and he took it out and gave it to me, right on the spot. I've warn it every show since. Wearin' it now. I'll wear it tomorrow. When Casey and I got back to my Mom's house, I couldn't lay down. Her place was so still with everyone sleeping. Not a creature was stirring, ya know? I had nothing but my thoughts and they were screaming, "You are so lucky to have your mother."

This leg of the tour has been incredibly enlightening. I can't believe I've been out for almost a month. It's not like I forgot who I was so much as I didn't know myself as well as I thought. Before I left, I was worried about everything under the sun. I had no reason, other than anticipation, but I forgot how much fun this is. I'll try to remember from now on.

Played a show with Tim Barry. I wish I had been able to talk with him more. I'd guess that's how everyone feels about Tim. We traded stories and he gave me shit about not having written mine down yet. :) His dog, Emma, was wonderful and it made me wish I had a companion like that. I miss having a dog. Anyway, watching the crowd react to this man is really something special. Like Chuck Ragan, he's singing their lives. If everyone in music were as passionate and sincere about what they were creating as Chuck and Tim, the entire world would change in a heartbeat.

Casey and I have done Charlottesville, Annapolis, Philly, Cambridge, Vienna, NYC, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago and Minneapolis in a week and a half and still managed to see Henry Rollins speak, visit The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and hit up The Mall of America. Tonight's show is in Denver. Snowed last night but it's all gone now.

Once I get back to LA, I say "See ya later" to Casey and chill for a day or two before I'm off to London and on the road again with Shane. I'm so lucky to have such badass traveling partners. So excited to be in my apartment tomorrow.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Wow. Long time no see. Where did we leave off?

Went to Oklahoma and hung out with my family. We got snowed in Christmas Eve. Very rare for Oklahoma. One of my sisters was stranded at home and we didn't get to wake up all together on Christmas morning. Bum out, but we were reunited later that day and the gift giving commenced. After a lot of rescheduling and shuffling around, we made it through the holiday in one piece and closer as a family, which is the point, right? It's like a relay marathon. But whatever, our team rules, so...

Magic. It was a blue moon on the last day of 2009. I was lucky enough to spend it in total romance. I savored it like chocolate knowing it couldn't last forever. As honest as you can be with yourself, it's still so painful when it's over. If it weren't real, it wouldn't hurt. "Once in a blue moon". Best New Year I ever had. Bar none. Gonna be hard to beat that one. Wrapped up the trip for a couple days, said tearful goodbyes and headed back to LA.

I had a week to get everything together to go to Sweden and England. Holy shit, I don't even remember it, really. I just remember being really glad that I could pay rent and bills and get everything I needed without worrying about it. First time in my life that's happened. Woo to the hoo!

So, I went to Sweden to write with Play Production. We wrote Susan Boyle's first single together and, channelling the excitement surrounding those recent events, we were able to pen 4 new songs that we're all in love with. It was so cold there!! I slipped and fell, right on my ass, twice. It's amazing how you can hit the ground so fast you don't remember how you got there, ya know? It was such a great week. The town I stayed in had a castle right in the middle of it! On my last night there, I ate Pike Perch from the moat. haha. To the folks in Orebro, this was like catching fish out of your pond... no biggie. It was fun. :)

After that week, I headed to London... the love of my life.

I visited five years ago and had a blast. Only thing is, it's different when you're there alone. I had way more fun, this time. I absorbed so much just walking around and watching people. I saw a lady feeding the birds, little kids with the teeniest little rain boots on, warm caramel peanut vendors, cobble stone everything and AMAZING street musicians. Everywhere I went, I couldn't help but think how long that city has been functioning and alive with people and pigeons. I met up with an old friend I hadn't seen in five years and got a healthy dose of the place I'd been missing for so long. I have to live there.

Anyway, there were lots of meetings and interviews and then I got to play a show which was soooooo fun! It was my first time meeting the people who are helping get the word out about my music, in Europe. I am so grateful to get to work with such passionate and talented people! I can't say enough good things about my time there. I miss it. London!!

As it was time to start wrapping up another trip, I realized the reality of my life. I'm no longer wishing I were doing the things I always wanted to do; I'm doing them. The funny thing is, I've been doing them, in some way, my entire life. I grew up to be what I wanted to be, as a little girl. Actually, I wanted to be Dougie Hauser or Marty McFly for a while, but I was always making up plays and songs and begging my mother to move out to LA so I could be on Nickelodeon. It's bizarre how a person knows their purpose in life, as a child, and forgets or gets talked out of it somewhere along the way.

The morning my manager went back to LA, I saw a red fox run right down Charlotte St. No kidding. Very cool. I had one more crazy night in Merry Old, before heading back to La La Land.

Jet lag is a real thing. I got over it, once and for all, by going to an all night music jam a few blocks from the ocean. It was the most frustrating and miraculous night I've had in a LONG time. They wouldn't let me sing. All night long they kept hating on me and waiting around for legendary people who said they were "definitely on their way". I heard one guy talking about people asking to play and as he made his best effort to get a drunken/half asleep groupie on his lap, he managed to mutter, "I didn't realize this was gonna turn into a fuckin' open mic night."

Ah, but never fear. My best friend and HERO, worked the room so hard they had no choice but to let me do one song, seeing as they were sick and tired of hearing about it from him. So, after hours of sitting through music from musicians just hoping to be the one on stage when that legendary soul singer walks in, after begging and pleading and haters for miles, at 5 AM... yep... I sang The Happiest Lamb and they liked it so much they me have one more, so I played The River. Exhausted and having won the war, we mustered all the energy we had left and used it to get home.

We pulverized the haters. We slayed dragons that night.

A woman was there that I've known, and had to deal with backhanded compliments from, for a long long time and it was so sad to see she hadn't changed one bit. I remember her, long ago, acusing me of using my family to get ahead. I was playing Genghis Cohen back then and one night she said to me, "Oh, Audra, congratulations on the publishing deal your uncle got for you." This time it was, "Oh, you wrote a song for Susan Boyle. That's nice, but what are you doing for YOU, baby?" Sorry, but if you're not into soap boxes, turn away now.

I just have to say, for the record; If you have to wear it on your sleeve, you don't possess it in your being. Spirituality is not an accessory. There are people like this everywhere in the world. People who exhaust themselves and waste their days trying to hold other people down. What's the point of making competition out of art or how balanced a human being you are as compared to those around you? Do people really need to keep score so much? This just in... there is no finish line. We're playing to infinity.

I wonder if the rock star ever showed up...