As of pretty much now, we have new management. I'm very happy to announce that Gordon Keen of Captain America/Eugenius and James Amner of Weekender Records will both be our managers.
We're pretty fortunate to have 2 men who live and breathe music and understand what we are about representing us so soon after we parted with our last manager. Sometimes it feels like someone is watching over us.....Thank you..
I was fortunate enough to be played some new Eugenius songs today which Gordon recently recorded with the legendary Eugene Kelly of The Vaselines. It is truly amazing! I hope they release it and play it live too. The world needs to hear it! I also heard some new Primary 5 songs - this is Gordon's band with Paul Quinn from Teenage Fanclub. You can check them out here: http://www.myspace.com/theprimary5
It's pretty exciting times for us now. There is a lot on the Bird horizon including some opportunities to work with some real heroes of mine. I must pretend that my head is well and get on with it. D-Bird
The Birds hit the road with Not Cool in May and June!
MAY 27TH - NIGHT & DAY MANCHESTER MAY 28TH - LEEDS JOSEPH WELLS w/NOT COOL MAY 29TH - MIDDLESBOROUGH DOC BROWNS JUNE 4TH - BRISTOL START THE BUS w/NOT COOL JUNE 5TH - NEWCASTLE THE END w/NOT COOL JUNE 12th - GHOST SCHOOL LONDON w/NOT COOL JUNE 18TH - DONT DIE JUST YET WREXHAM w/NOT COOL JUNE 20TH - NORWICH ARTS CENTRE w/NOT COOL JUNE 25TH - ARTROCKER BRIGHTON
I'm expecting lots of beer, motorways and fights over who gets the window seat...
I first saw Nan Goldin's photography when I was in my teens. I can't remember what the book was called but I remember we weren't allowed to take it out of the library and that it was too big for me to sneak into my bag...
The photos jumped off the page and into my consciousness- I was utterly mesmerised by them. Snap shots of glamorous drag queens, young people in the prime of their life having fun, screwing around, partying and taking drugs. A world completely removed from the suburban, respectable Asian upbringing I was used to. These people seemed like movie stars to me- a world away and exciting. The deeper I delved into the book and the more and more I looked at the photographs I realised that underneath the veneer of the make-up, the glamour, the party, Nan Goldin managed to capture the vulnerability of her subjects. It was this vulnerability that I found most interesting- these people weren’t sleek, air brushed models or actors preened to look or pose a certain way. Nan’s subjects were people encompassing every feeling and emotion which made up a real person- they could me, they could be you. At the click of Nan’s camera her subjects were themselves, no one else. Posed or otherwise, what she captured was real.
She took photographs of herself after she had just been physically abused by her boyfriend. In one particular photo an ugly, purple and red swelling dominated her bloodshot eye- it was a shocking photograph but something I couldn't take my eyes off. I always thought you took photos of happy occasions but I as I held the photograph to my face her swollen eye in line with mine the photo stuck in my mind- she wanted to be reminded of what he did to her. The photos of her battered and bruised were juxtaposed with photos of people having sex- it was a real mind fuck which kicked the innocence right out of me. By the 90's most of her friends who had featured in her work had passed away through either AIDs related illnesses or drug overdoses. This she also captured in her documentary style. She was close friends with Cookie Mueller the writer and actress who featured in John Water's early films with Divine. Nan Goldin documented Mueller's husband's funeral after he had passed away from AIDs and a few months later documented Mueller's own funeral when she passed away from the same illness. I was struck by the love she obviously had for her friends in the way in which she photographed their happier times up until their moment of passing. The book was like a story with a beginning, middle and end. You went on a journey with Goldin and her photo subjects, soaking in every photo memory she shared with you.
Here is a short documentary of Goldin talking about her work.
As D-Bird mentioned in her previous post- us Birds have had our fair share of major disasters. You name it and we've probably 'been there, done that...' We've only been doing this for just over a year but there have been times when I've just thought- to hell with it. Making relationships work is the hardest thing in the world. When tempers rise people ultimately explode. A giant fire ball of grievances then hurtles out of the wreckage like gun fire. It is the most excruciating pain but you get through it, you have to learn from it. A spontaneous combustion isn’t really spontaneous at all because you’re usually aware of the explosion coming- you’re just a fool if you refuse to acknowledge that it is on its way. In order for this to work you have to be so much more aware of the bigger picture. There is no room or time for selfishness, super egos must be extinguished. You’re working everyday with people who know you better than anyone else- they know how to get your back up but they know how to calm you down. They can be the hardest people to work with but also be the most INSPIRING. Nothing is ever easy but ultimately you keep going because of the sheer passion for what you do. We do this because nothing makes us happier than playing live and writing songs. We wouldn’t have gigged solidly for over a year if we thought otherwise. As D-Bird says the arm of good gortune has outstretched towards us on a couple of occasions and allowed us to bounce back from hard knocks. It is these hard knocks that make us work harder and more importantly, together.
I have been told by friends that I work through things as though I live in an ideal world. When the shit grinds you down, if you don't think about you want from the ideal world then you may as well be 6-feet under. I'm not an eternal optimist but yes at times what I want and expect from the human race is not realistic. Ultimately I live in the hope that people will eventually learn from the errors of their ways (myself included!) and that we will all live reasonably happily ever after.
I have to admit living hand to mouth wasn't really part of my 5 year plan. And it is hard staying focused and creative when you can feel the debt collector's breath on your neck. But I refuse to be consumed by a poor me, poor me attitude and I actually consider myself extremely lucky. A feeling I'm sure which is shared by the rest of The Birds. It is this constant struggle to keep everything going that is reminding me that I'm alive. I get to do something I feel a feverish passion for and you know what that makes me the luckiest person in the world.
TIME TO REFLECT 1. That I am useless at coming up with fake names. Might as well have called myself Hugh Jarse. 2. Getting this band around the country/world is not as difficult and possibly far easier than I initially imagined. Thanks to X-Bird, we are going to be able to navigate ourselves around France next week. Phew! That was close. 3. I have forgotten to knit for 5 months. 4. Everytime a major disaster seems to happen for this band, we bounce back exceedingly quickly and feel the outstretched arm of Good Fortune. 5. I don't do anything cultural anymore - theatre, galleries, exhibitions. I blame this on severe lack of funds rather than a severe lack of interest. 6. I haven't eaten any parsnips this entire week. 7. I don't have many friends. I've become comfortable with the few people I hang out with and the thought of going out without them and with new people terrifies me. 8. I am desperate to hear NEW great music. 9. I miss doing my club nights and it's going to be pretty hard fitting everything in but I'm looking forward to the next one immensely. 10. We will miss playing the regular London shows that we've done for the last year but we are really looking forward to playing round the country and abroad. It feels like we're starting all over again as a band and it's extremely exciting.
I know I take your name in vain in almost every blog post/interview I do...I am completely freaked out by the number of Nirvana t shirts people are wearing at the moment and I'm terrified that known 'celebrities' who have admitted they don't like Nirvana are now wearing them as some sort of fashion statement.
There is no guide to being a 'rock star', as even the late great Kurt Cobain complained. 'The Problem With Music' was an article written by Mr Steve Albini back in the early 1990s. I think it is a good article but I can never really finish reading through the figures as its stark truth makes a pretty disheartening read: http://www.negativland.com/albini.html
Plus we have to remember this was written before the time of digital music and downloads. If we bring the internet into the equation, then bands make even more of a loss now!!
The three of us have currently given up everything to do this band. I'm not saying that for a slice of your pity, or awe or for any damn thing. I am not seeking anything from you. There are lots of other bands who also do this, it's the damn norm if you are a dedicated musician. We've given up our day jobs, can't even fit part-time jobs around our hectic schedule, have learnt to accept a major change in our lifestyles through the serious lack of not having any money and are learning to deal with this constant, daily, heavy stress.
To be honest, apart from the last 13 months, I've never really had to deal with money being an issue in my life. Having to adjust to not even choosing to limit my spending but being forced to limit my spending because of lack of funds, has been a very raw and humble experience for me and I expect this will continue for the rest of my life.
You have a lot of crap days doing this. Despite giving up everything to finally do what you love, there are days when you cannot get out of bed and hide alone in your room till you are forced to come out for a gig or photoshoot. There are days when people who are meant to be working for you fuck things up so much and leave you feeling numb, raw and angry for giving them so much of your pure trust. There are days when every relationship in your life suffers because you are a fragile creative trying to meet like-minded fragile creatives who still don't seem to understand you or you fall for non-creatives who don't understand the very core of your being. There are days when you hate yourself and everyone around you and you scream at yourself, 'why the hell am I working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for absolutely NOTHING???!!'
So why the hell do you do it?
I'll tell you why.
1. Since the moment you picked up a pair of drum sticks 15 years ago, you have never ever stopped tapping.
2. The only thing that helped you survive the darkest, deepest years of your life was music. Nothing and no one else could or ever will help in the same way.
3. There is no greater buzz than jamming or playing onstage.
4. You are your complete and utter own boss. My god that feels sooooo good!
5. You get panic attacks on all public transport, find sitting in an open office plan staring at the dull faces of your equally suicidal colleagues a form of modern torture and believe all firms/offices are society's accepted equivalent of Abhu Ghraib.
Once you understand that being in a band is a purely creative outlet and that you cannot force your music on people who just don't want to hear it and no matter how much you go around telling people you are changing the world....YOU ARE NOT, then you can quietly go about your ways making a very loud racket. I respect those who have tasted a slice of humble pie and have stuck to their morals, ethos and principles no matter what. Music is not a competition, a clique, a race or a means by which to make others doing the same job feel less inferior than you because you have garnered more column inches than them. NO WAY.
Music is about personal expression, hearing the souls of other people, supporting new, refreshing sounds and helping to get them out there rather than choosing support acts who are the newest buzz bands or top friends that will make you look cooler and stronger as a clique.
All this, my friends, are the problems that I personally have with music. Yes, there is no guide to being a 'rock' star but there is always a guide to being a 'punk'.
Gosh, if you haven't seen this documentary already then please, please, please check it out.
What I would've done to have been old enough and aware enough to go see this tour back in 1991.
I love the scene of Dave Grohl in the backstage area feeling up the grapes and kiwis!!
I really think it's time to harp back to the days where great bands tour together because they have a similar ethos, attitude and love each others music. Although we just did a few nights of the Selfish Cunt tour back in December, there was a real sense of kinship between us. Hell, maybe all bands are currently touring with each other to experience that but I want to experience this again for myself.
Who knows what the future holds? This current lifestyle leads to dramatic shifts in fame and fortune in the space of a few days let alone trying to plan and manage expectations beyond that.
I have spent the last couple of days at home. Family, chocolate and endless re-runs of come dine with me. I'm feeling rested but can't wait to get back into the studio again. Spending time away is always good. Sometimes you just need a bit of time to recharge and to reflect about the past week or so. I have come to realise that im never satisfied. I always want more. The brat that i am can not grasp the fact that there are not enough hours in the day or that simply i need to slow down. Fuck it i don't care. Lets not be satisfied. We shouldn't be too comfortable anyway. Life should always take you by surprise and once your are too satisfied with life you can't look ahead. We've written some new songs one of which we showcased last week at the Lydia Lunch gig. Working title at the moment is Devotion. X-Bird is on thrashing bass, D-Bird is on kick arse drums and i'm on vocal duty. I really wanted you guys to here it but we don't currently have a sound bite to share with you. Here are the lyrics anyway.
Dirty, so dirty Emotions collide Show me Show me Devotion, devotion
On your knees On your knees Don't you burn out Don't you fade out
Show me Show me Devotion, devotion
Make of what you will from the words. They are quite stark and litteral. I have my own reasons. I suppose i was a little fucked off with someone. But hey don't let the bastards kick you down.
This is what happens when you don't have any lightbulbs, you are bored and own a blunt pair of scissors. You kind of lose your mind a bit. I'm not sure what to do with the hair. It seems a real waste to throw it away but I don't really have any use for it anymore. Any ideas?
Ok so going from the day before when I had a pretty uninspired evening, it all changed last night after a fabulous evening at Ghost School.
Ghost School is an amazing club night run by Camilla Pia and her team. We played for them at their Halloween special back in October and since then I try and go along every month when I'm in town so it was a real pleasure to be asked back to DJ.
We met some friendly people upstairs on the roof terrace who are a French Parisian DJ duo Vicarious Bliss and Krazy Baldhead. They came to see us play but didn't realise we were DJing. They were really cool.
I was also really excited about finally seeing Male Bonding play. They certainly didn't disappoint. They had a real great energy between them and were such good musicians (they are all also in Pre). They were also really lovely guys. It came as a relief to finally see a good band play. I'd like to do some shows with them, think it would be fun.
We also had fun, fun times on the dancefloor.
I'm really exhausted now after this week. Looking forward to my brunch. I just cooked salmon, asparagus and parsnips, which are my new favourite vegetable.
Today I was DJing and saw a god awful girl-fronted band play called Japanese Voyeurs. Oh my god, they were so terrible. The singer was a cross between Avril Lavigne and Paris Hilton and screamed out lyrics like 'I'm so cool, cool, cool, cool!' and 'I want to be a naughty little girrrrrrl!!' Basically those lyrics could work if you were the right girl in the right band (see The Kelley Deal 6000's 'Stripper' song for reference) but take it from me, there was nothing right about this girl nor the band.
It's frustrating but the age old problem is that 90% of girls in bands are just, well plain annoying. They can't play that well or sing that well and care more about flicking their hair and reapplying their lipstick. Oh come on!!! Our female ancestors didn't burn their bras for this!!!! Or did they? I surely hope not.
I'd really like to see more 'real' girls pick up instruments and obsess about music for all the right reasons (i.e. not because they're trying to get with a cute boy in a band). It's so frustrating. This really pisses me off.
Women - grow some damn balls!!!!!!! In the meantime, here are some women who genuinely rock in rock and have certainly inspired me over the years. D-Bird
I have always felt different. I’ve never been academic at school, never aspired to be a doctor although my parents wish I had. They even wanted me to be train as a nurse. Somehow I don’t think that would have worked out. Academic studies scared the shit out of me. Numbers, words, teachers, rules. It was always a challenge for me to be inspired at school. Forced to sit on uncomfortable wooden chairs, staring blankly at chalk boards and learning about physics. I was relieved it was all over. Music didn’t become part of my life until much later. I wasn’t into anything. It felt as if my brain was saturated with crap. I felt unmotivated like a dead weight getting on with life. I thought, “Is this it?” After school I have to get a job? I decided to study film at college and met some “cool” kids who had taste. That’s when I first heard of The Strokes. Someone asked me recently what my all time favourite album was. Hands down I always say “Is This It”, The Strokes first and best album. To me they couldn’t have come at a better time. Some people say they were just a good idea thrust into the bosoms of the musical press. To be fair nothing exciting was happening at the time. Anyone remember N.A.M? New Acoustic Movement. Yet another musical movement concocted and aptly named by the music press. Oh god! No wonder why I wasn’t into music yet. So boring and flat. No balls no kick in the gut and then The Strokes came along. Corny as it may sound they changed my life. Is this it? The very question I had asked myself for years. It felt as if this album was made for me. They were five cool kids wearing tight arse jeans, drawling New York accents and had a ballsy attitude. It was all enough to make the knees tremble. Of course it wasn’t just their looks that got me hot under the leather collar but Julian Casablancas’s vocals captivated me. Here was a man with soul in his voice. Jim Morrison had soul, Iggy Pop had soul and Julian had it too. The dirty crooning drawls of sinning men forced out of hell to captivate young, I was seventeen at the time, and impressionable minds and like out of a sleazy John Waters film it was music for kids who were “so tired of being good”. Fuck knows I was. The lo fi album title track Is this It still gives me goose bumps and every time I hear Lastnite it takes me back to my beer pouring antics and drunken dancing at Trash and Death Disco. Before The Strokes I hadn’t even heard of The Velvet Underground or even heard a Stooges track. A whole new world was opened up to me. From the Stooges I got into Bowie. From Bowie I got into the Banshees. From the Banshees I got into Soft cell.... The list is endless. Music became an obbsession. One band can you lead you to others and I suppose another reason out of many why I decided to pick up an instrument. Hearing The Strokes for the first time felt like I was reborn again. Music is such an important part my life I honestly don’t know where I would be right now. So I suppose I thank The Strokes for that. Is this it? I fucking well hope not!
A toast to the past. I’ve been delving into my not so distant past, 8 years ago to be exact. Reminiscing past connections I’ve had with people- friends and enemies (I think it’s always healthy to understand past vexes) which have since expired or faded.
People change, people move on. I've been wondering at how sad it is to lose connections with friends who have been inspirational to me in the past as well as reminicing about people who have irked and broken me. Some of you may disagree but I stand to the fact that past disagreements, fights, arguments shape who we are. How we deal with these grievances I feel highlights the type of people we grow into.
Could we have done things differently?
Life is a constant learning curve.
I am by no means a woman who is wise beyond her years or even one who has even lived to an extent where wise words pour out of me like running water. I don’t think I’ve even experienced that life affirming moment yet- the one that gives you that eureka moment of enlightenment. I don’t think 99.9% of the human race ever experience that, we trudge on in the hope that we will finally understand the meaning of life etc, etc, blah, blah... As cheesey as it sounds, I think that’s why as a race, we’re never happy.
The Beatles once said, ‘Happiness is a warm gun’.
Happiness for me right now, is being locked away in a sweat box rehearsal room with The Birds, a never ending supply of menthol cigarettes, a bottle of cheap plonk from Tesco in the park with friends (D-Bird last week’s date in the park where I was short-sighted and thought the man lying on the grass was Kurt Cobain was one of the best days I have had for a long time), dancing in my room and at various London dives to old punk records with my old girl gang The Luvians- personally for me the only cure for the blues is music. How can you still feel like shit after dancing yourself crazy to your favourite song? Oh how, feminine of me.
But I digress…
Speaking to old connections on the phone yesterday (here’s looking at you Carmen and Niko Luvian) after a lack luster Monday. Sitting in dumbfounded astonishment at how awful a week has been and only realising it was still Monday. Oh sweet Jesus. I wondered at how it was so rare these days to have people in your life who instantly even after a, ‘Hello’ give your spirits an instant endorphin kick. It’s these people who I’m writing this blog for today. My Birds- Dee and Char. My Luvians- Lisa, Carmen, Niko, Colster and Sarah. Women in my life who have inspired and enriched me in so many ways. In the past when toxic ‘friends’ have given themselves the challenge of damaging our equilibrium- there have always been friends (Colster and Sarah) pushing us out of moving traffic. When I was unemployed and on the verge of mental overload- there was Lisa buying me dinner after our long Withnail and I walks in the woods (mud, stilettos and tree climbing in the Buckinghamshire woodland)- a definite ‘we’ve gone on holiday by mistake’ moment. Dark times feeling completely uninspired and apathetic on almost all levels of ‘living’ have always been kicked in the gut by good friends, on several occasions good wine and a lot of laughter.
More often than not you don’t have to look further than your little black for inspiration. The Birds, The Luvians. I salute you.
As usual, the amazing food spread from the wonderful Amanda and Adrian who run Corsica Studios, was phenomenal! The entirely vegetarian feast (yay!) was prepared by a local South London heroine, Miss Marmite who infamously runs a restaraunt from her living room. The food was amazing and helps to keep the faith that you can get great, varied veggie food. You can read her blog here: http://marmitelover.blogspot.com/
and an article about her restaraunt: http://www.metro.co.uk/lifestyle/article.html?Eat_at_an_unusual_restaurant_-_someones_sitting_room&in_article_id=554230&in_page_id=194
We also met some amazing fans last night. Mary-Jane and Sally are both from America and met each other last night on the road as they were walking to the gig. It's great when people come up and say they love your music and genuinely mean it. I just never know what to say back. Sorry.
Also here are Teenage Jesus during their soundcheck as those of you who came to the show may not have seen much from where you were standing seeing as it was so packed last night:
It was great to see Lydia and to also know that she has heard of us and really likes our music. Lydia now lives in Barcelona after having lived all over the US and London. We asked her about when she lived in London. "I moved here 1981/1982 because Nick Cave and Marc Almond lived here. I was totally stalking them," she said with a cheeky grin.
Last night was a very strange and difficult night for me. I think I had an extremely indulgent night at Decasia and had been in hospital the day before that so everything really caught up with me. Lydia saw my state of numbness and took me aside and said, "Criticism means nothing to me. Praise means nothing to me. I do what I do for me and for no one else. I believe in myself and I don't give a shit what anyone else thinks. You do the same, doll."
I am awfully grateful it has come to an end. Actually, this week wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. A couple of unexpectedly great, amazing things happened which overshadowed the minor crap. That is always special. Yay.
This weekend gives me a lot to look forward to. It is Decasia tomrrow evening! I am so glad it has come round so quickly as the Hacienda night was SO much fun and I have been anticipating this Back to the 90s night very much.
Last night, I ventured out to a club night that I have never been to but heard a lot about. It was such a major disappointment. The atmosphere was completely soulless, the music was crap, we got heckled by some idiots that turned out to be the promoters of the night and what annoyed me was that this night was meant to be one of the most edgiest in London. Jesus! I make a huge deal over the people and bands that come to my night. There is no favouritism as I want everyone and anyone to come along, have a good time and more than anything, to feel welcome. That is how I look at the role of a promoter - as someone supporting new and interesting music but also a good, friendly and accommodating host. If you are a dick looking to make a bit of money, get some street cred and don't give a crap about the people who come to your nights or the bands (I heard bands complaining at the bar moments before they were due on stage as they had to buy their own damn beers and had not received any free drinks) then I will find you, track you down, sit you down and slap you very hard around the face.
DO IT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS OR JUST DON'T DO IT AT ALL. I am watching you...
In the meantime, 9pm tomorrow for a FREE night at Catch with Not Cool, R O M A N C E, Vegas Whores playing live, The Birds, Zezi Ifore, Hanna Hanra and Rac Mac on the decks. Woop woop!!!!! D-Bird