...being the observations and navigational extracts
from the ongoing expeditions of San Francisco Piano Pop trio
True Margrit

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


A True Margrit fan seems to be enjoying my recording session...

The tour's over, but we're still gigging...

San Francisco! Home!

It's nice to be back sleeping in our very own beds, playing gigs in our local & loved venues. The Riptide on May 20: we played with (once again!) Amy Meyers, and Judea Eden--and it was grand to see those two!

As for the Riptide, I highly recommend that warm homey dive. There's parking, a fireplace, you're bound to run into someone you know, and if you get bilious from too much beer you can stroll out on Ocean Beach and clear your head (you don't have to be bilious to do that, that's just a tidy excuse). And, oh! It was gratifying be reunited with all those familiar faces and fog. Ah, home.

On Friday the 26th, I played a few solo tunes at Dolores Park Cafe amongst a host of performers--including but not limited to: Kitty Rose, Shelley Doty, Anafaith, and Carrie Baum. The event was a benefit for expenses associated with a stage for performers at the dyke march on gay pride weekend--apparently the city wants the organizers to provide more porta potties and other health and safety stuff---SAFETY FIRST! And thus! We musicians get a great excuse to come out & play & hang out on a Friday night at the ever lovely Dolores Park Cafe.

We will be back at Dolores Park Cafe a few more times this summer...notably for my birthday show: JULY 28th!! Don't miss it--or I will be cross.

Anyhoo...on Sunday the 28th of May, the full True Margrit band trooped down to Hayward for this year's first installment of Amy Meyers' legendary Yard Concert series. Let me just say, what's not to like? Grilled meats! Cupcakes! Beer...and Rock!! There was music from:Shelley Doty, Pam & Jeri Show, Amy Meyers, The Perps, (and us!). We all rocked and grooved for a happy, responsive, well-fed, sweating audience. A truly good time. It was so fun, I don't mind my one sunburned arm.

It's a badge of honor.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Separated at birth?

CIA nominee, Gen. Michael Hayden
Dr. Evil

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

River Wild

Friday May 12, 2006, Lowell, MA

Sarah & I take the 8 am train to Boston, and the T to the bus station, the Lucky Star bus to New York (only 15 bucks!) , and the subway to Brooklyn & end up meeting Gary at Voxpop Cafe in Brooklyn around 6:45 pm. The headliner of the bill,
NIcole Steed, is there already, and she is setting up a keyboard stand & I learn to my great joy that not only is there a keyboard for me to play, but it is full-size (88 keys, that is) with a lovely damper pedal (we didn't bring gear on this leg of the tour). We know Gary's friend Charlie is kindly bringing his keyboard too, but we also know it only has 61 keys and no pedal--or even a jack in which to plug a pedal. My anxiety over my ability to play a set of non-sustaining and truncated piano is over, and I thank the ever-so-generous Nicole for sharing her rig with me (and I thank Charlie too cuz his keyboard would have, after all, done the trick just fine--I just like to play lots of notes).

Gary's entire family arrives, as well as my dear friends Liz Asch and Alice Bierhorst --who is a fabulous singer/songwriter/drummer/ guitarist. We play a longish set, including a rare performance of "The Power of Music"-- which is not really a song--but more of a set-piece that appears when I'm particularly loopy & sleep-deprived. It tends to happen in a venue strewn with children's books (although a newspaper will do in a pinch). And you may ask, what is it? Well, it involves reading a brief excerpt from a book and accompanying it first with gloomy, or even dissonant chords, and then the same excerpt with sweet major chords. On this occasion I found a Big Bird book (a literary touchstone), and then, when I played the major chords I accidentally activated the metronome on Nicole's keyboard. I thought it was a nice touch.

After the show we go to Fortunado Brothers in Williamsburg and eat the most perfect canoli and gelato. Oh oh oh the pristine ricotta and the crunchy shell. Oh yes. The Power of Pastry. Good in any key.

Saturday, May 13, NYC

Day off! We have delicious knishes at Yona Shimmels. Perfection.

Sunday, May 14

We head over to the Museum of Natural History to see the Darwin Exhibit (cuz Charles Darwin is my hero). However, it's an additonal 20 bucks for Darwin, so we just check out the regular museum, which is plenty cool. We particularly enjoy the Hall of Biodiversity with it's dizzying displays of annelida to crustacean to mammal to rotifer. We follow science with pizza at Two Boots (scrumptious! I have mushroom, influenced by our museum trip--fungus: part of biodiversity!) and then head down the the street to Sidewalk Cafe for the last gig of the tour.

The Sidewalk Cafe's listening room is kept almost pitchblack during sets with a jumble of tables, and a spotlit stage with an upright piano. We are allotted a brief set, so we savor it and glory in it as much as we can, swinging through a particularly loungey version of the brand new "Juggler's Progress" as well as our Seaworthy (and a few other) staples. I have yet another cold at this point ( Flu Margrit) and can't in all fairness be held completely responsible for some of the more dubious notes I sing. But it's fun playing a real piano in all of it's acoustical, dynamic, and de-tuned glory. The crowd is generous during and after our set with applause & tips. And then..wow! It's over! I feel a bit sad, since there's not telling how soon we can get back to play in these parts again. We say goodbye to our friends with a sniffle.

Outside it has turned misty and chill and we head off in search of felafel.

Monday, May 15

We take a subway to the bus to the subway to the train and arrive in Lowell at 4pm. During the three days we were gone, it has rained 12 inches and the (already rugged-looking by my reckoning) Merrimac has swollen into a real-live raging torrent. Many folk are being evacuated in the lower lying areas in New England--so it is really no party. We go down by the river after dinner and hundreds of Lowellites are there checking out the brute force of Nature in this impressive display of fury. Looking northwards up the Merrimac where the falls normally drop a few feet, there now roar full-on class VI rapids. Suddenly a series of ambulances, firetrucks and cop cars rush by sirens wailing. We hear from a nearby woman that two guys are adrift in a canoe with no paddle. She avers,"That is so stupid--if I was a cop I wouldn't help 'em. Fuck 'em!" We hear other comments in that vein , but soon the crowd has moved upriver where the road is washed out to watch some firemen who are standing by on the bank with a zodiac raft at the ready above the falls. The suspense mounts. And then, abruptly they take the raft, stow it on the rack and drive away. The canoe has been rescued farther upstream.

They are safe, though deemed foolish by all and sundry. Not unlike touring musicians.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cats & Doggerels

Tomorrow is the big big day
Our first time in a Brooklyn to play
at Voxpop out in Flatbush
Don't miss it--don't sit on your tush!

Come listen, drink espresso, & think: "Hey,
I will fete this year's Mother's Day
with True Margrit on the 14th of May
at the ever-so-hip Sidewalk Cafe!"

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

where am we and what day are it?

As the tour wears on--we are past the three week mark--we get a bit punchy. Want proof? In Harvard Square in Cambridge I am sure I hear a dude say to his friend:

"...dining on a monstrous phallus.."

But Sarah disagrees, and insists it was actually:

"...munching on a lobster palace..."

But, remember! One hears what one wants...except sometimes...not.

Saturday, May 6, Somerville MA, Abbey Lounge

This wee gig is fun--and a nice way to play our First Official East Coast Show Ever. As we are setting up our gear, we are asked by the bartender not to play our instruments until after the Kentucky Derby. I forget this stipulation a few times and am duly warned

"Shhh. the stakes are high".


After the ponies run, the entire bar is strewn with betting tickets and more beers are poured and imbibed to toast the losers (lets face it--that's most of us, right? Screw the winner--aye!) I do sing a wee tune to the winning horse: Barbaro, who is ripe for a slightly -altered version of Barbara Anne (which I don't know so very well and lamely grind to a halt, but it's the idea that counts in this case).

We have a few stars in the house checking out our set: members of the Boston fave bands Baby Boy H and
The Freeways

Once the show is done, bets are on we will have ice cream tonight.Yum.

Monday, May 8th on the way to gig # 2 at Abbey Lounge
This is the day I have often feared--we are pulled over for running a red light on the way to the gig and may face the mortifying possibillity of both paying for a traffic infraction AND missing our show. None of us see the red light because the Cambridge/ Boston/ Somerville area is a labyrinthine source of utter geographical befuddlement (i. e. we are a bit lost, even though we played the same club two days before--thats how mystifiying the lack of grid-styled streets can be). The kind-hearted, but firm cop tells us we are getting off with a warning this time-- he says: "This is a $100 fine in Massachusetts, but I am not in that kind of a mood tonight. I don't know what you do in California , but we take red lights seriously here. "

Thank you officer! We are sorry--and actually quite serious about red lights!

YIKES! On to the gig. We play after The Freeways, and since their set is a bit shorter than expected, we get to play a few extra tunes. Some new tunes are creeping into the set: 500 Years (about archeologists digging up the ruins of Las Vegas)
and The Juggler's Progress (perhaps it will be re-titled... but it's a new stridey bundle of wry joy earmarked--perhaps--for the next CD...!)

Tuesday, May 9 Hamden CT, THE SPACE

As soon we walk in we know this venue is a real find. Oh yes, indeed it is! Situated as it is in a deceptively dreary Hamden industrial park, The Space is a real oasis of sparkly coloured lights, hilarious decorative parephenalia (with everything from Ms Pacman promotional posters to Tutankhamen helmets). It also sports an excellent PA and sound crew, a million types of tea, an upstairs thrift-store, a no-talking-during-performances-policy, and general good vibes. We enjoy playing, the room is resposively quick in giving back love, and we even get the standing ovation from a dude who (admittedly) gives everyone a standing ovation. We are a featured performer during the open mic and hence get to enjoy some of the local talent, including Uncle Sid Margrit & Gary w/ Unkle Sid (sic)who sings cautionary tales about the carcinogenic dangers of smoking with the backdrop of his wildly cheery Casio-generated backing-tracks. The other featured act is the pop-rootsish outfit Seth Adam Band who kindly wish us safe travels. And off we go.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

8 days a day

Thursday, April 27, Chehalis, WA (gesundheit)
Chehalis: NO, it's not really a fancy transliteration of a sneeze--it's a town in Washington State--not far from Olympia and the home of the Matrix Coffeehouse. The Matrix is a dream-- cozy couches (on which I have crashed on some of our tours), booths (and tables), a great-sounding room, nice stage, delicious foods, and ever so community-spirited. When we arrive, the local democrats are having their meeting and enjoying meatloaf or stuffed chicken breast (we in True Margrit all order the chicken breast----stuffed with brie and artichoke hearts: yow!). Andrew realizes he doesn't have his cymbals, but he manages to get Yes Yes Alliance on the phone and--miracle!--they have his cymbals. He scoots off to Olympia for the retrieval therof.

Matrix Coffeehouse!

We hang about and visit with our chums- the proprietors, Rick & Moon and Gary's friend from since he was a wee lad--Eric Miller. Eric is a luthier with a cool-as-hell business in the back:

Hands On Guitars!

We set up our gear for our feature-performer set at 9pm, and then the open mic commences with a duo playing some bluegrassy-pop-country-folk. One of the dudes has a very loud (due to a very large port), clear, and effective washbucket bass. Neat-o. Some more folk music from a duo follows, then some teens singing a rock anthem or two. Andrew returns with his cymbal bag, and we follow the anthems with a snappy set and, then it's time for the real work--time to tuck into stuffed chicken breast. Aye.

Friday, April 28, Tacoma, WA, 11:20 a.m.
We leave Tacoma a wee bit late, after we all eat the $ 4.99 chicken-fried steak special at Shari's. We score a Shari's pie poster for possible consideration in use as a stage prop. Our host for our 4pm radio show (MR RANDOM) calls at this point and seems a bit concerned at our late departure. I assure him we will be on time. The we fly down highway 5 to Portland, past Salem, and into Eugene at 3:17. Phew.

Friday April 28, Euegne, OR, 3:30 pm
We haul gear into a terrifying freight elevator and push (as is apropos!) random buttons. Mr Random calls out to us as we pass the floor where he's awaiting us. After a few more slapstick tries we finally land on the destination floor and pile out ourselves & the gear.


We have a lovely time chatting with Mr Random and playing tunes and then we head to Sam Bonds Garage where tonight's gig will be.

Sam Bonds Garage

Friday April 28, 5:45 pm
I am starving! Live radio really works up my appetite for some kind of hippie food--thank god we are at Sam Bonds! I chow down on a tempeh reuben--and it is just what I need for physical and psychic fortification. We visit with Heather's old friends Pearl and Bill and all is well.

Friday, April 28, 9:45 pm
Touch Force opens the show with some zesty, punky rock goodness, and then we take the stage. The room is receptive and we charge on through a nice long set. After our gear is spirited away, The Visible Men launch into their own brand of jaggedy-sweet keyboard-pop. It is bliss. It is hard to peel ourselves away after the show--so many great folks to talk with, but we must head up to Junction City to catch some shuteye at Reverend Mark Time's abode.

Saturday, April 29, Junction City OR, 2:30 am
Heather and Andrew have drifted off to sleep up here in the attic, but I can still hear Gary and Mark chatting:
"...mumble mumble mumble...Margrit" "...mumble mumble mumble...Burt Bacharach"

Saturday, April 29, Junction City OR, 4:30 am
Gary and Mark turn out the lights and go to sleep. I drift off.

Saturday, April 29, Junction City OR, noon
Rodeo Steakhouse--that's where we go for breakfast, except they don't serve breakfast, so we all have some beefy meaty item of some type and I feel a bit bilious--not highly recommended. Although, I sure like throwing peanut shells on the floor.

After a thorough tour of downtown Junction City, we zip up to Portland.

Saturday, April 29, Portland OR 4:08 pm
My brother and his wife welcome us to their fine home. There is chatting and showers are taken and then we head to
Mississippi Studios for our soundcheck.

Saturday, April 29, Portland OR, 5:45 pm
Jim Brunberg's regular sound guy is a no-show--apparently he's in New Orleans. But sound check is a breeze with Jim at the helm--he is a sound guy extraordinaire himself. As we leave, Jim informs us that the perfomers at Mississippi Stusios get half-off at Pasta Bangs across the street. We head there with our growing posse--the Portland Eichlers and True Margrit. And: yum! I have penne with hazelnut pesto--and yes! it is scrumptiously garlicky and nutty and basilicious. We are now ready to rock.

Saturday, April 29, Portland OR, 9:45 pm
Ed Haynes does a set of his brilliant and hilarious songs, and we follow with another nice long True Margrit set. The room sounds great, the crowd is generously kind, and we are just a wee bit sad we are rocking out on our last set of the NW leg of the True Margrit 2006 Mocharoon Spring Tour.... see you on the east coast in a few days...