you can build a muscle you can do the hustle you can build a muscle with your heart.

The title of this blog is from a Purple Organ song. He is a brilliant songwriter in Brooklyn. I miss him! Here he is on the left in a very dark shadow light with our friend Brian Speaker. These ones!!

So our friend Evan from the band Sleepy Kitty in St. Louis (also a band you should check out if you haven’t already!) told me on our last tour, “Nan, you wrote to me last February and said you were moving to kansas so you and matt could be a touring band. And you’ve DONE IT. You’re DOING it.”
We did, didn’t we?!! We ARE doing it!!!!
3 U.S. tours since last may. And an upcoming European one! We put 10,000 miles on Waylon Jennings Stormtrooper.
I love playing our music, I love being on tour.  Our few forays into the midwest and the south and east coast of America have been good. There are these great musical pockets of awesome people all over the country. We’ve had a lot of magical shows. We’ve also had some “not as magical” ones – the kind where you bang your head against the wall and wonder why you are playing for two people that don’t seem to care and where will you sleep and what is that smell? and gas money? You’re lucky to make it out alive and without bruising something.

It’s all part of it though. I’m writing about the gritty times for my book. It’ll no doubt piss some people off but as I’ve learned from Keith Richards, that’s the best stuff.
The key to this whole thing is about persistance though.
Are we insane? Possibly. Maybe just insane enough to keep trying.
We’ve chosen the hustling life,and by god we’re sticking to it.

It’s a fly by the seat of your pants business course you don’t learn except by actually doing it.We had a show on the last tour- we played well I thought – a thin turnout but the people there really dug it. After the show, the bar handed us $14. I talked the booker into a few more bucks which was awkward but had to be done. This rounded the total up to just under 28 bucks which is better than nothing- but still not enough for a tank of gas and we had driven 6 hours to get there. suck! Yes, I should’ve worked out a guarantee with the booker/venue beforehand, but I took a leap of faith that more people would come, and it would work out (because often it DOES with awesome local bands bringing people and everyone dancing and having fun and getting paid. All of those things lining up is a miracle really when you think about it). So anyway, I felt dumb for having to ask the booker about more money, but then i felt pissed at the whole situation that we had gotten ourselves into.
So, okay what are you gonna do? Cry? Huff? I have done both of those things.  Ultimately you have to chalk this stuff up to good practice gigs and try and meet some cool bands and interesting people (which we did).

AND ON TO THE NEXT.


Our new Record drops next Friday. If all goes well, we will have vinyl as well as cds.
You want one! Come dance with us!!
SCHWERVON! RECORD RELEASE PARTY!
@ Riot Room
4048 Broadway
KCMO
$5adv/$7dos.
Get your tickets here:
8:30 FOLKICIDE
9:15 THE LUCKY
10:00 THE CONQUERORS
11:00 SCHWERVON

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Here’s a few pictures of our last tour- and some other pics from summer sun tour.
*this one was in the dressing room at The Bell House (brooklyn, ny).

very blurry Vaselines! I love them so.

More pics of the Schwervon/Vaselines show HERE

And Kung Fu Crimewave!!!! This is Neil Kelly.

This is Jo Kelly – with Matt Colburn playing trumpet beside her.

Luke Kelly

Preston Spurlock

From Little Grill restaurant in Harrisonburg, VA

Ken Katkin & family in Cincinatti (he does a stellar weekly radio show called TRASHFLOW RADIO.)

Jack Topht (performing at the vault in buffalo, ny. he is a mind-blowing improv rapper!) He’ll be in kansas city on October 10th performing at Wierdo Wednesday.

this was on the piano at sleepy kitty’s loft in st. louis.

When I think of St. Louis, I also think of Howlin’.

looks like breakfast after rock show.

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summer sun tour!

We’re back on the road! Already! After a late nite rock show in Columbia, MO, which included a a sweet country band and a rapping dancing party (including a lot of sexy dancing ladies and men with blazers/noshirts & rambo bullets. what!?), I ate a chocolate custard donut and fell asleep at 3am. this morning I woke up around 9am feeling a bit battered. i made some coffee and then i discovered i let the cat named pizza out. woops. i think she’s allowed to go outside but i wasn’t sure. Our friend kelly who booked the show gave us his bed and stayed elsewhere so he wasn’t there to ask. I had to get her.
matt saw me running around the yard like a crazylady called “pizza! pizza!” and was like “what the hell?”.  I kept running and finally found her in the bushes staring up at a HUGE crow. like I’m talking lord of the rings size crows.
how did so much wildlife get into the suburbs???

I managed to get her out of the bush and back inside. we had coffee, did internets, packed up, and then when i was trying to leave she escaped again. no! another couple laps around the house and I found her in the backyard. whew.
in st. louis now ready for another rock show!

 

 

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music is the doctor

We arrived home from tour last night at 3am crawling through the front door sweaty and wired/tired. Our Maximum Mayflowers tour is over! We ate an entire bag of munchos on the drive from Lawrence to Shawnee.
Saw some lightning on the way home and also a deer. Luckily the deer moved out of the way. That 20 mile stretch of Hwy 10 is COUNTRY. Reminds me of my youth. You don’t want to break down cause no one is around to help you. The black night and zillions of stars and just you on the road.
Maybe it’s going away for a couple weeks and then coming back that makes this place feel more like home. Whatever it is, I’ll take it.
I felt myself exhaling the minute we got in and I slept really well last night. Our bed here is way more comfortable than I remember….the basement seems cleaner too. I just had breakfast in the backyard.  I must be a sight for the neighbors (and the neighbors really do look at you here) having coffee at the picnic table with my hair mussed up, my smeared mascara from last night’s makeup and my “nan and matt in cocoa beach” tee shirt and leggings. I just waved to them and grinned. I’m like Keith Richards in the suburbs.
Gummo is looking very healthy. His fur is softer than ever – I think it’s the water here. He met us at the door, gave a little chirpy meow, and proceeded to turn his back on us.  I think he had a good time with Harry while we were away. We are nobody to him now.

My tour cold is better. Turns out though that adrenalin is a great thing. While we were playing every night I would be fine and then the cold would come back post-show. We were able to eat pretty well on the tour – looking up Whole Foods on the gps in whatever town we were in and ransacking their salad bar. kale! We stopped at three whole foods: Ypsilanti (technically Ann Arbor but it’s always Ypsi to me…I love Ypsi!), Madison, and Omaha.  We stopped at two co-ops for fruit, coffee, nuts, and snacks: one in Milwaukee that was great, and one in Champaign, IL.  I think I ordered at least 4 spinach salads at various restaurants. Spinach is the key to health – popeye wasn’t wrong. Every other day or so I’d just shove leaves into my mouth. Like a deer. We also brought our own coffee and french press on the road. And you know we TOTALLY used it. Note to touring bands. DO THIS. Then when you wake up you can just make it – you don’t need to bug anybody, or wait for the rest of your band to wake up and forage outside for it. Also Matt brought steel cut oats and we cooked them at least 4-5 mornings. The one thing that sorta fell off my routine is exercise. The first week I ran/stretched a few times, and swimming in Peg & Geoff’s pool was awesome – but once I got my cold I just said fuck it to any exercise outside of drumming.
I learned to become a master of killing time pre show. Computers & coffeehouses make this easy. However I did not read a damn thing on this tour. Maybe a magazine once. My brain has atrophied a little, however I’ve become adept at talking to strangers and meeting people, and asking for what I need. What time do we have to be there? Where are we going to eat?  Do you have wifi? Can I use your shower? We once played with a band in France called “Smelly Shower”. I’ve thought about this name many times, perhaps too much. The contradictory nature of it kills me. smelly smelly smelly. In a shower!!?

Matt is still tripping out over the guy from Lincoln, NE who told him he looked like Roy Orbison. This guy was a correctional officer/secret drummer musician. He was so enthusiastic that I couldn’t help liking him. We had some big turnouts and small turnouts at shows and one thing I noticed again and again was that every time I would feel like “oh maybe they aren’t into it- what the hell” – someone would come up and tell us how much they enjoyed it – or if we had a so so show one nite – then the next show would be magical and validating. The process of touring really does teach you how to not cling to expectations…how to roll with things more….to be present in the moment more…because it’s ALWAYS going to be different than you expect it to be.

We met some amazing people and bands on the road. The kindness people have shown us melts my heart and breaks it and glues it back into little pieces. It makes doing what we love to do POSSIBLE and so much better. Thank you new and old friends.  I will be seeing more of you in days to come – and on future tours!

(short list though there are more i’m forgetting i’m sure:
thank you jim cherewick, max at halfway house & restless days, tedward from the whole shabangs, christopher the conquered, sleepy kitty, coed pageant, indy hostel, the rutabega and josh, peg & geoff in south bend, amy roth, landing on the moon, tenderness wilderness, island of misfit toys, shannon, warsaw vices, venus in furs, deco auto, the ants.)

Here’s some pictures. You already know by now Matt is the real picture taker of our band – but I got a few of em.

The wonderful band Sleepy Kitty in their art loft in St. Louis.

Jim Cherwick in his backyard in Ypsilanti.

A poem I spotted at a cafe in Ypsi:

Christopher the Conquered in Ames, Iowa (and his brass band! there is a girl sax player that i couldn’t reach with my ipod)

Lawrence, KS pre-show sky:

Chad of The Ants killin it (Lawrence, Ks show)

A couple notes:
For eyeshadow wearing musicians: Stay away from wet and wild eyeshadows. yes, they’re cheap but they fall apart cause they’re so cheap. smoky glitter eye dust exploded all over everything in my makeup bag. ew.

Our new car Waylon Jennings performed great on the tour.  He handled our gear like a zen master, got good gas mileage, and we only had to throw oil in him once.

SHOW NEWS ALERT:
*We are playing the best fleamarket I’ve ever seen in my whole life on Sunday May 27th at Cowtown Ballroom at 3pm.
ANDDDDDD
*We are opening for GRASS WIDOW on June 4th at Record Bar in KC (9:00pm) !! We love Grass Widow.  I’m so excited about this. Found out their drummer Lillian is from Centralia, washington which is next door to Chehalis where I grew up. crazy!
*Our next U.S. tour commences June 21st! Dates/Info soon. We’re going out 3 weeks for the next one – including a 3 day stop in NYC!!

self portrait at coney island in february

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dude where’s my car?

I am learning so much about cars it’s ridiculous. Why just today Matt and I sat down with Mike the Mechanic (not the singer of mike and the mechanics, a la Genesis side project….but a small hoop earringed bearded rotund man I liked immediately) at carriage motors in KC and learned a LOT about volvos, in particular volvos made after 1998 which have different computer systems that require loftier maintenance than the older models. Was told to look for well-maintained older models if I go the volvo way. Mike should know…he has 6 volvos! The white wonder volvo we have been flirting with for a week was determined to have a failing transmission. I didn’t even know what a transmission was before today! Um among other repairs totalling in the 1700 dollar range (on top of 4 grand for the car) – we would’ve had to think about a new transmission for you know, 3800 bucks!!! Might as well look at new cars for that price.

So we let white wonder go. which was ok, except now we have to start the search over. Tomorrow we hit more suburban used car lots and wheel and deal. I know a little more than I did a week ago which is something.  Have you had your timing belt replaced on this car that has mileage of 114,000? I sure hope so! Brake fluid?
We might try out minivans which kind of scares me as they feel so big and well, suburban. But then I have to remind myself that they are cheaper, there’s a lot of them for sale around here, they get good gas mileage, are easy to repair, etc.  Plus the very chic bands Sleepy Kitty and The Degenerettes have them, so if they can do it……

oh weather report. Another gorgeous sunny day with puffy clouds – about 70 ish degrees in the sun….who’s coming to visit and sit in the backyard with us???

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tornado dreams

I never would’ve guessed 3 months ago, I’d be living in KANSAS dealing with a TORNADO WATCH.
It was a bit of a dud in our neighborhood, just a little light rain and some wind. We were able to eat dinner outside last night at the picnic table. I think the most exciting thing was when my Dad left me a voice msg that said, “”Nan. I don’t mean to scare you but there are tornado warnings in Kansas. I think you have a basement so if you think the tornado is going to be in your area, GO DOWN THERE. JUST GO DOWN TO THE BASEMENT!”
Also Matt’s Dad has a little weather alarm alert thing in the kitchen and at 4pm we heard this long beeping sound and were like “what the heck is that?” Then this low baritone voice says, “The National Weather Service has announced a Tornado watch in these counties…..”

I had a dream last night about Keith Richards.
I might’ve mentioned I read his autobiography last summer and I even wrote a song about him…inspired by him and the stones and well being a lifer musician really…
In the dream, Matt and I were in a sunny park in Lawrence, Kansas (I went to Lawrence for the first time a couple nites ago to see an outdoor art space show by This is my condition/Folkicide/Holly Hunt/Scraping Teeth (I saw 3 drummers- inventive drummers – that blew my mind. Also, I think I love Lawrence.). But back to the dream.
We were in a sunny park sitting on picnic tables and green grass with about 20 other kids and musicians….Keith Richards pulls up and says he’s gonna play a set. Matt and I are rapt with attention while he sings and plays on an acoustic guitar. The other people there didn’t really know who he was….and started talking through his songs. Keith looks at Matt and I and says, oddly enough, in a southern drawl, “Well…..I think I’m gonna play a song about going back to Lawrence. That ok? I’m gonna dedicate it to Matt and Nan here.” Matt is smiling at him and Keith says to Matt, “Why don’t you come on up here and play it with me, coach?”
Matt starts to walk up to where Keith is and my dream ENDED.
aaaah!!!!
I wanted to hear them play together!
I was so happy in that dream though. Keith Richards! He was such a sweet and gentle crooner.

Right next to that dream I had a dream about Kim from Matt & Kim. Not as good as the Keith dream.
I dreamt that schwervon was supposed to play a show at Radio city music hall and I was thinking I could borrow Kim’s drums as her band was also playing. We did a soundcheck…actually there were two kits set up outside and she and I were both playing and jamming, and she was smiling and very friendly and I thought, “damn, we could make up a fun collabo song!”  Then she came up and said, “well I gotta pack these up now.” I said, “Kim I thought I could borrow your drums for the show? ” She mumbled, “um….i don’t……um no you were confused um no…..” and then she packed them up and left.
I had 10 minutes to get to the show. Where was Matt? I kept calling, “Matt! Matt!” I was panicking cause I knew we were really late. I was walking down a ratty looking hallway in a ratty building that I was sure Matt was in – maybe it was the place we were staying- An old woman in a housedress who was feeding tuna to her cats was blocking the hallway. Why she wasn’t feeding her cats inside her apartment?  So I was walking up and down the hallway of this place calling for Matt when I woke up.
Damn. I was so glad that one was a dream it made me so anxious.

Agenda this week is practice! car search! booking tours!
you know the usual. except the car thing is new.
right now it’s super sunny and 70 degrees. i love it.

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kansas you sly charmer

Right now it’s an overcast day but out the living room window I can see green grass lawns and trees and birds are chirping. Green grass! I hear the train go by occasionally. Matt heard one siren the first night and thought the cops were after us cause we were having a band practice in the living room. They weren’t.
Gummo is sitting on the window seat watching birds. He is alert and active -There is so much to explore here….all the rooms and nooks and we haven’t even taken him outside yet.

So last night we played at Matt’s friend Darren’s (now my friend too) Music Store – called Midwestern Musical Co. Let me take a moment and just say that Darren is kind of like our friend Klaus in Regensburg – he is the musical mayor of Kansas City – he knows everyone! He’s also known Matt since high school. He and Matt learned how to play music together right in the basement here where we’re staying and they were in Dracomagnet together.    I love watching these two talk together….they share a lot of slang terms. Darren has a patience about him I like – and so does Matt….a gentleness. I could tell they really influenced each other – and maybe still do. Cathy his wife is really cool too -warm and easy to talk with.

So anyway Darren and Cathy put on these monthly nights at the music store called First Fridays where one artist presents their work and two bands play.
The store has all these vintage guitars and amps and records and cool STUFF in the corners to look at. Steve from Goodbye Blue Monday would love it I think. The place filled up to the gills as we started our first song – Darren wasn’t kidding about people coming out to this event. Lots of college kids and fans as well of the band that played after us called “She’s a Keeper”. Their drummer with a crazy hairdo called Fritz even got people dancing on a couple of our tunes. (side note: she’s a keeper were awesome- kind of kicking fleet foxes’ ass).
We had a really fun set – I think we were warmed up from the festival show the night before – I felt more relaxed and we played some of the slower singy songs like Cyclone and Cougar. I kept meeting sweet people all night who welcomed us to kansas city and talked about all the cool art galleries and music stuff happening here. One of the bartenders who was helping me sell merch owns a hair salon in town and said they give free bang trims. Score! I’m getting set up already.
After the show we were starving and went to an a little cafe open all night…called Ly’s i think? The food they have is whatever they decide to make that day.
I had a homecooked meal of mac n cheese, mashed potato, curry green beans, jerk chicken, and corn. That’s what I’m talking about!!! I’m going back for pie soon.

The first show we played in Kansas City was for Middle of the Map Festival – which I haven’t even talked about yet…
This night we played was a sort of reunion show for these local KC bands like Cher UK (who I really liked with their singer who sounded a little like squeeze), Molly McGuire, and Season To Risk (both mmguire & STR are hard head bang rockness – their drummers were INSANE –  something is in the water for drummers here). These bands were pretty popular at the time Matt left Kansas for NYC….so it was a real trip for him to see them again. To talk to people he’d known from 18 years ago. When we first arrived at the club I was a little intimidated – the venue was huge and the other bands were soundchecking with balls of fierce rock and I was thinking, “oh man, they are not gonna be into us….like they might think we’re too cute or something.” And right after our set I was like “what just happened?”  I think Matt and I were in a dreamlike-energy-amped state. My pre show assumptions about the scene were totally flipped over the course of the night as some of the beefiest, beardly-est, dude-liest guys in the place came up to me and said, “good show. I dug that. thanks.” yes!
It is so great that we played shows right off the bat and were talking and meeting people – the move seems less scary somehow with music as my center….
So what next?
We just dropped the uhaul off and got a rental car for a week. This will help a lot so we can get to the grocery store and also start our tour van hunt.
Matt’s dad is still in Florida recovering from pneumonia for another couple weeks so we haven’t moved into the basement just yet- still on the ground floor.
Matt is right now trying to fix a leak from behind the fridge that’s dripping through the basement ceiling. woops. I think he figured it out – it’s the ice machine. Who needs ice? There is some work that has to be done in the basement…..there’s one giant room in good shape with crimson carpet I call “the red room” where we’re going to put most of our stuff – it’s probably the size of a studio apartment. But the bedroom in the basement is in poor shape so until we fix it up we’re going to sleep in the red room.
There are a lot of appliances here. I want for nothing in terms of kitchenware. Also there’s a dresser in the “office” guest room and all my clothes fit in there. I haven’t had this much space in years. It’s insane!

I have to get my ass in gear with tour booking again. Monday I’ll get into high gear. High gear! Who talks like this except Jon Spencer when he is singing his “high gear” song?
Lots to do which is good. And try to sit in the tree swing as much as possible. Tree swing! here are a few pics.

the house

the street

tree swing

living room practice the first nite we arrived.

a pic of matt in the basement. i know!

midwestern musical co.!

middle of the map fest.

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jelly roll morton jelly legs

Right now I’m sitting on my bed in a pretty empty bedroom, which the exception of a couple boxes and a litterbox. Gummo is napping on bed on the green fleece blanket he loves….Matt is in the next room finishing a documentary that Justin is doing on us and leaving and Olive Juice.
I’m tired. Packing is freaking exhausting. Leaving is hard. What can I say beyond a general statement like that? It’s moody.  Sometimes I’m clear-eyed excited and light feeling and other times I’m crying walking down the stairs with stuff. Distraction is key. I just read The Hunger Games the past two days off and on and that helped. Saw some friends. Took a walk and had a sandwich.  I must’ve made 10 trips down the stairs with garbage today (not really garbage just stuff we couldn’t give away – luckily this is nyc and there were several people on the street that snatched up our dishes/records/bowls/ceramic sombrero). We are on a 4 floor walkup. My legs are jelly right now. Ow the burn.

Last week schwervon! played the Big Snow Buffalo Lodge send off show…and I can barely articulate how special it was. It’s funny I actually thought before the show I’d say a few words or talk more onstage about how lucky I feel to have lived in NYC and to know such amazingly talented people. I wanted to do that, but once I was up there playing, all I wanted to do was to play for these wonderful people I know. Fiercely.  To rock out the best I could. Maybe it goes without saying, but
I am deeply grateful for the musical community of friends and fellow artists we have here. People that I love that have motivated and inspired and challenged and encouraged us.
It is rare.

Here are some pictures Lippe took of us at the send off show.


I love the ball of light pic.
We are loading the ten footer uhaul Monday morning. If anyone wants to help carry a box then show up at our place around 10:00 or 10:30.
Then look out Kansas!!!

We’re playing a festival called Middle of the Map Fest right when we get to town.
Get It On!

I’m packing a lunchbox with roast chicken for Gummo in the Uhaul. Because the Bubblegum Gangster deserves the best.

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I’m keeping the ghostbuster jumpsuit

The purging of our apartment continues. I’m into it now, despite my earlier resistance. I am THROWING SHIT OUT.
TAKE IT TAKE IT TAKE IT!
i want this crap outta here. What is this piece of metal? This black light? Put in “give to friends” pile. Get these books outta here! I read em’ already!
It sort of makes me pissed off – all this crap I have that is unnecessary. Am using this anger as fuel to purge. But I’m keeping the ghostbuster jumpsuit. That’s going with me on all my adventures.

My hair. Someone help my hair. oh the vanity!
My mad desire to get my hair cut and colored since the end of january has morphed into a fascination at watching my real hair color poke out under the blonde. It’s freaking dark. But I gotta do something. It’s too upper east side “highlighty” which I don’t like.  I had a dream I asked a friend, “Should I go red? Should I do more blonde?” I couldn’t decide.
I also had a dream last night that Rick Santorum was president and took away Women’s Rights. Like all of them. It’s wierd when you have a dream but you’re not sure if it happened. I’m having all these conversations in my dreams lately. It’s like the purging of our apartment is unleashing years of communicative process. Maybe I’ll get some shit done in my dreams.

Am booking Midwest May tour for Schwervon!
This is how it’s shaping up.
We have a week in the middle that is just TRICKY to get dates….there are a few options i’m toying with. stay in ohio or go up to michigan.
Any ideas/suggestions of places to play, lemme know!

SCHWERVON! MAY MIDWEST TOUR!!

May 9    El Lenador, St. Louis (w/ Warm Jets USA + Jump Starts)
May 10- Mike n Molly’s, Champaign, IL (w/ Coed Palace)
May 11- The Indy Hostel – Indianpolis, IN
May 12 – ????? somewhere in Dayton/columbus/ Michigan?
May 13- Detroit, MI (tbc)
May 14 – ?? ann arbor/ypsi?
May 15 – ?? ann arbor or kalamazoo?
May 16- South Bend, IN (tbc w/ The Rutabega)
May 17 – Subtarranean Lounge, Chicago, IL (tbc)
May 18 – ??
May 19 – ???Iowa city? somewhere between chicago and ames, iowa? help!
May 20 – The Space – Ames, Iowa (w/ Christopher the Conquered!)
May 21 – Vaudeville Mews – Des Moines, IA (w/ H. Dustin Harmsen + New Bodies)
May 22 – Barley Street – Omaha, NE (w/ Landing on the Moon)
May 23 – Duffy’s Tavern – Lincoln, NE

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Don’t forget about our special New York Send Off Show next week.
Dancing, crying, laughing…it’s gonna have it all!

Thursday March 22nd
SCHWERVON! Send off show!
(from nyc to kansas!)
@ Big Snow Buffalo Lodge
89 Varet Street
Brooklyn, NY
All Ages
$8 cover (some of proceeds go to help with our moving expenses!)

8:30 Julie and Gold
9:15 Silence Kid (from baltimore)
10:00 Purple Organ
10:45 Schwervon!

**************************************************

We played last night with The Debutante Hour at Littlefield. What a great venue. With nice staff (!) Was awesome to have big rock sound.   Audience was warm and up for chatting between songs. Matt danced and moved all around that stage. I bashed my crappy cymbals REALLY hard. I have to when Matt plays like that!
The Deb Hour were at the top of their game. Man, can they sing. And they always look so good in their sparkly outfits. Loved seeing Butch in a floral bathing cap playing junk percussion. heh.

Speaking of percussion and drums….Paula my drum teacher asked me to write something about my time studying with her.  Anyone who wants to learn drums….well, she’s your direct line to drum addiction and transcendance.
************************************

I started studying with Paula Spiro 10 years ago, in May of 2002. I had been playing drums with my boyfriend Matt in our band for a couple years already, just following my instincts for rhythm…..really working with one beat that a friend had shown me in college.
I wanted more beats to draw from. I wanted to go to a teacher that didn’t try to “change” my style, but who was encouraging and would show me different beats to try. Paula did all these things, and also has been a mentor for me over the years. I tell my friends she is my “holistic drum teacher” in that she treats the “whole” drummer.
Some of the invaluable lessons Paula has given me over the years:

*how to drum with an injured wrist (i had a cyst for years that was really painful)
* reducing performance anxiety
*working on specific problems in my band’s songs
*rudiments of rock and funk drumming – this covers a broad range- but learning to read drum music has improved my playing dramatically, and helped me “get more tools” when I feel like my drumming is hitting a plateau.

Paula is a very special teacher, in that she always provides you with tools to improve your playing…but she individualizes her lessons to fit where you’re at in that moment in time. Her positivity, wisdom, and punk rock attitude have only motivated me to discover my drumming potential! That is the sign of a great teacher. I am so thankful I was able to study with her.

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make room for new

The dismantling of one’s life is messy. And jarring. Like cutting onions and crying. You want to cut the onion but MAN.  Stop already with the burning eyes.
Matt and I have begun the casual undressing of our STUFF. I think Kristin Hersh made up that word, in reference to her series of stories called “Casual Undressing”. I just stole it.
Our apartment is coming apart. The excessive papers and gadgets and tchotchkes and
books and cds. What can we get rid of. What must we take with us to the ends of the earth and time.
I am getting rid of a lot. I found a couple Sonatinas songbooks for piano. How did I get those? And books books books!
I have a load of dance books that i’ve read a zillion times but don’t need anymore because I’ve sort of memorized them.
If you want some dance books or memoirs (i love memoirs), let me know.
I can’t get rid of 15 years of journals. I write in composition books. I have a huge garbage bag of them in my closet. I’m keeping those
forever. I might have to read them one day when I’m in a nursing home with no teeth and remember who I am.
I am sort of looking at this whole moving thing as a long tour. It is the only way I can let go of some of my crap.
Oh boy matt just walked in here and says he’s going to sell his Lava Lamp for 10 bucks. Anyone want a Lava Lamp???

Last day to download our new Schwervon! song DAYDREAM RATION !!
We are still releasing songs from our Memphis sessions with Doug Easley every couple weeks. Dave Shouse of The Grifters sings on this one.

Also my Lady T video has been released!!! About a year ago, I made a video for this song with the filmmaker Andrea Merkx. Me and the One Nite Stands & Andrea had such a fun weekend putting it together…she really got the essence of the song.  I remember describing to her how I wanted a group of men in the woods playing drums on the “robert bly verses” line and I was like “where the hell are we gonna get grass skirts?”  Turns out co-star Julie “props costume artmaker queen of the universe” Delano happened to have some. The video came out better than I even imagined!

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Change, love, kansas, nyc.

So I’ve been waiting for the right time to blog about this and I think it’s NOW.
Matt and I are moving to Kansas April 1st! Before you go “WHOAAAHH NELLIE!” hear me out. You can still exclaim loudly if you must; I can’t hear you on this laptop.

Our financial situation has gotten to the point where we can’t justify paying so much rent in NYC, when what we really WANT TO DO is to get Schwervon! on the road touring more in the states. Matt’s dad lives in Shawnee, KS which is a suburb outside Kansas City. He has a large basement, and has graciously agreed to let us move in! Our plan is to get a car once we arrive and start living out Michael Azzerad’s This Band Could Be Your Life”.
Living in Manhattan, we can’t really think about of lots-of-touring-in-the-u.s, or getting a car because we are hustling to get an exorbitant amount of rent money together every month. I used to joke with my friend Tony if NYC got too expensive that we could always live in the bathrooms in the East River Park because they’re heated and well-lit. I thought about that, yes I did. And then the movie came out where Will Smith played the guy who was broke and homeless who had to sleep in the Public restroom with his kid, and he won an oscar and after that…the momentum was gone.

I’m not thinking of Kansas as “forever…” but for now it feels like a good decision.
It’s exciting to think about going someplace new and playing lots of new places.
I will miss a lot about nyc – my friends first and foremost! And our little apartment.
But there are adventures ahead. And I plan on blogging about them. And you’ll see us every few months when we pop back here to play a show and ask you to crash on your couch.

We have a Big Whopper Schwervon! NYC March show in the works, so stay tuned. Keep those ears perked like an elf running through the woods!
Also I’m working on U.S. tour dates in May so if you’re reading this and live somewhere in Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, North Carolina – holler back. Hey, and
remember those recordings we did in Memphis last summer?
We’re releasing a track from those sessions digitally every other week, with free downloads available the first week.  Go HERE to listen to the first song, Truth Teller.

NYC!
My love letter to you is still being written.

(photo by dany naierman)

(Our rooftop)

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