I sent out my September newsletter this morning. If you are not on my email list, you can check it out by clicking here, but first drop your email address into the subscribe box over there to the right so you won’t miss the next one. —–>
I saw Without You I’m Nothing on the big screen when it was released in 1990. Some of my much-hipper-than-me friends were raving about Sandra Bernhard and how we had to go see it, so I signed up having no idea what to expect. I was around 21 years old and green in so many ways — having spent most of my teenage years in East Texas, so it’s funny that the film informed me culturally in a sort of backward way. For instance, at that time I had never heard much from Nina Simone. So, while I appreciated Sandra’s rendition of “Four Women” in the film, it wasn’t for a couple years when a boyfriend turned me on to Nina Simone and I heard the original “Four Women” and had a tremendous A-HA! moment that sent me right back to the film to reconnect with the cultural references I had missed the first time around.
In a similar way, my life is folding back on itself and I just finished my second road trip and weekend of performing with Sandra some 23 or so years later. I’m so happy that the new reality of Sandra Bernhard as car cohabitant and the person with whom I sit on stage has begun to take the place of Sandra as that famous artist I have been following for most of my adult life. Not that I was particularly star-struck (okay that might be a lie) but it was a little surreal at first and it’s really fun to be in “we’re all humans here” world.
We headed up to Helsinki Hudson Saturday afternoon from Sandra’s apartment with tour manager Joe Hubrich at the wheel. The drive was much easier than the previous weekend’s trip to the North Fork. We got to the club at around 5:15 just in time to do a sound check and have a quick rehearsal to iron out a couple of changes to one of the songs. As a musician I can be a little timid about performing music that isn’t written down note for note and performed the same way every time, so my prep for this gig with Sandra and her willingness to try new things on stage has really opened my eyes to the fact that I can handle myself pretty well in that setting. It’s a little nerve-wracking but also exhilarating to approach the part of a song we changed up just a few hours before and just go with it. I am psyched to be pushed out of my comfort zone and growing as a musician through this.
The Staff at Helsinki was great. Erica was on hand to make sure we had everything we needed and made us feel perfectly taken care of. Pete ran the sound flawlessly and the space itself was pretty spectacular. I fell immediately in love with the Yamaha baby grand piano. Musty Chiffon warmed up the sold out crowd (which included my sister, brother-in-law, BFF Ken and my Aunt Judie and Uncle Kevin). The show itself was solid and the crowd was really fantastic. Since I was staying the weekend with my sis and bro-in-law, I said goodbye to Sandra and Joe after the show and proceeded to have a relaxing weekend in Chatham, NY amongst deers and shit like that.
I’m already feeling a bit sadzies about this coming weekend in Columbia, SC and Savanna, GA being my last with Sandra until Oct 17. The timing is perfect however, as it leaves my schedule open for writing and rehearsing new material for my solo show, Tentative Armor which I’m performing again on Sept 28th. (Get your tickets here so I can pay my string players!) I met with my director Adam Fitzgerald last night and I’m officially getting down to business. Writing a couple of new pieces for it and continuing to flesh out the orchestrations. So much to do, but so excited.
Sidenote: Adam’s current show, The Awake, got this absolutely STUNNING review in the New York Times. I was already proud to be working with Adam, but this just pushes it over the edge. The show stars 30 Rock’s Maulik Pancholy and is running for at least one more week. Check it out if there are still tickets available.
Finally, I’m sending out my monthly newsletter in the next couple of days and it will include a free download only available there. Sign up for it here.
Thanks for reading all of this and as always, thank you for supporting my work!
I’m playing piano for Sandra Bernhard on five of the shows on her tour. Me and Sandra on stage together– the way I always knew it should be. I added all the dates to my shows page, let me know if you will be at any of these shows!
Also: Holy Shit Fuck Damn!
A bittersweet day, this.
The exciting news is that my first single is out now on Bandcamp! I’m suggesting $1 as a price for the song if you want to pay for it, or you can just download it for free (you’ll be asked for your email address, but I promise not to give it to anyone or e-mail you incessantly). My first desire is for this song to be out in the world, so don’t let that dollar stand between you and the song. If you can pay the dollar for the song (or more if you wanna), know that doing so will help me to create more work. Recording and mastering this song cost roughly $600, it would be awesome to make that back! If you like it, share it widely. It’s on YouTube and Soundcloud now, too, so feel free to post to your heart’s desire. Next Wednesday, it will go live on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon and all the rest via CDBaby, so those options are there for you too. Really. Take it and share it. Pay me if you can.
So, of course, the bitter of this bittersweet day lies in the fact that this is the one year anniversary of my mother’s death. This song is for her and she is the reason I wanted to release this song today. My mother always encouraged me to pursue my music, even in spite of my massive fear of doing so. Something about her death made me decide it was time to step out of fear and get the fuck on with it already. So, while this has been a year of great sadness and mourning, it has also been a year of tremendous creativity inspired by her memory.
Thank you. This song is for you.
“Go.” is recorded, mixed and being send off to Joe LaPorta at Sterling Sound for mastering. Looks like all is well for a July 10th release date and I am so excited to be putting this thing out into the world. Joe McGinty recorded and engineered the session and, of course, the brilliant Leah Coloff played cello on the track. I sang and played piano.
This period of creation has been such a gift for me. I’ve spoken pretty openly about intense self-doubt in terms of creating and sharing creative work. This process of doing it anyway, and getting tremendous positive results… lovely. Feeling empowered and at one with the universe.
In tech geek news, I am thrilled with Adam Rokhsar‘s Jumpstart: Max For Live class. I posted last week’s project on my YouTube channel, and I’ll continue to do so with the remaining projects. It’s really fun digging in to the software and making new sounds with it. I am gonna love incorporating this knowledge into my future work.
That’s the update for now.
I’ve decided to record the song “Go” and release it as a single next month so I’m feverishly arranging a cello part so I can get my pal Leah Coloff to play for me. We’ll be recording it this Sunday at Joe McGinty’s Carousel Studios here in Brooklyn. I am SO EXCITED. My pal Brody Polinsky is designing original cover art and and and and… I’m just psyched. I may release sheet music with it too, we’ll see. Maybe a download of the live performance of the song? Who knows. Definitely the song, that’s for sure.
ATTACK.WAV are also in the studio (I play synth bass in the band) and we are getting close to releasing some new stuff too. We’ve got a show at Cake Shop on June 24th with Little, Big and Vows. It’ll be a great show and I LOVE playing with ATTACK.WAV. Come to this!
To the right of this post is a little box where you can sign up for my mailing list. Do it! I am going to start giving away some free stuff to mailing list subscribers and you don’t wanna miss nothing. I promise not to be spammy or share your email address. Pinky promise.
Summer is always a good time to get some writing and other work done, so hopefully I can churn out some new material and I am looking at doing another show of original work in the Fall. I will totally keep you posted on that. Maybe I’ll even get that ol’ video blog back in action this week!
In other news: when did I forget how brilliant this is?
- I am thinking of releasing a single. Should it be “Invocation” or “Go?” I can’t decide. I think probably “Invocation” because I can do all the work in my home studio. Oh, it’s the song that opened my show last month. I think I will save “Go” until I can afford to pay for a real studio to record actual strings. Yes.
- I wrote some music for a webseries that I am dearly in love with, Conversations With My Ex. My piece is at the end of episode 2, but I really do recommend that you watch the whole thing. It’s so well done, and created by my good friends Adam Fitzgerald and Blake Drummond at Fifty2 & Nine Productions.
- I wrote some music for a feature length film that is still in production. I’ll share more when I can. I would LOVE more work like this! Are you listening, Universe?
- I am working on a new piece called “What Enslaves Us” to be performed at The Third Annual Animal Rights Day in NYC on June 9th. More on that soon!
- My band, ATTACK.WAV is in the process of recording. Look for a new single this summer (?)!
- Finished recording piano tracks for a Misty Roses double A side tribute single, more will be revealed about that as info arrives!
- Wow, that’s actually a whole bunch, isn’t it?
I think that’s all for now. Here’s the first episode of Conversations With My Ex to get you started:
I saved this tribute to my Mom to share this week since it’s Mother’s Day. When I was writing this show, I wanted to come up with a song to end it with that put things on a lighter note, because the last section at the time was “Five Tasks of Grief.” I worked at coming up with something for a while, and then this song sort of just turned up after I sat in meditation for a while. I still struggle to be consistent with my meditation and other spiritual practices, but this was a good day.
In spite of the fact that the idea behind it is positive, I can barely get through this song without bawling, so please forgive the breaks in my voice.