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

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The SPECTACULAR GLORIA JUSTEN + more heretofore unintentionally neglected heroes

Fair readers. As I have been relating in a handful of earlier blogs, we are blessed to have some truly super-special guests sitting in on our upcoming CD, THE JUGGLER's PROGRESS. HOWEVER! I have not yet revealed our viiolin virtuoso hero... until NOW:

GLORIA JUSTEN !!! People, she is a force to be reckoned with! I'm VERY excited for y'all to hear the savory deliciousness of these tasty tracks she has cooked up with us! YES YES YES! So stay tuned as we wind up the CD ( at least a few months away).

Other heroes:

NUSI has written a very cool review of my solo show last month (and it's quotable--she calls me a "piano ninja"--among other flattering things--which I really appreciate and love). AND she posted a photoblog of the big EL RIO show on her myspace page!! WOW! check it out.

Russell David has played us so many times on his cool podcast that ya'll should know by default he has great taste, so check out all the episodes. simplemuzik podcast

...What else?

Today Christina Kowalchuk and I burned through day number four? Seven? Twelve? ( Well, who's counting and why) We are mixing her excellent album project. Then I went up to the Haight to participate in one of Judea Eden's all-star exravaganza shows--this one in celebration of her birthday ( and GARY's too!). In addition to Judea & the True Margrit duo (Gary & me) There were sets by:

Carrie Baum's mind-blowingly awesome rock opera
Vicious Fish
Plus Maria Stanford's awesome set with Shelley Doty and Jeni Day.

and others...

I played my new silly song solo (finished this afternoon...!) and then Gary & I played a wee set of newer tunes.

About the new song---here are the words-- if you watch the L-Word and hate the horrid theme song as much as I do you will appreciate this (otherwise not) .... ++ SPOILER ALERT++

"I Hate the L Word Theme Song (Raise Up Your Remote)"
Some pleasures are guilty and some are profound
some make joyful noise and some make stranger sounds
some stick in your head in the very worst way
I want to be proud to announce I'm gay

So raise up your remote now
put it on mute
a theme song so annoying though it can't pollute
the perfect performance of Jennifer Beals
if you raise up your remote and show us how you feel

I'm really psyched for Elizabeth Ziff
I know she can write way better riffs
than the ones that she used for the L-Word song
even lover Cindy won't sing along

SO raise up your remotes now
put them on mute
a theme song so dismal though it can't pollute
the perfect performance of Jennifer Beals
if you raise up your remote and show us how you feel

We all bow to fate though sometimes we can choose
so why kill of Dana instead of that tune
musical taste is a lot like sex
you might fall in love you might have regrets

SO raise up your remote now put it on mute
a theme song so heinous though it can't pollute
the perfect performance of Jennifer Beals
if you raise up your remote and show us how you feel

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dire Straights

As the week progressed, I was feeling better flu-wise, but still sticky in the lungs and brain ( I can't even think straight). A visit to my nice new doctor armed me with a one-dose course of antibiotics. Due to the vicissitudes of timing, I was forced to take it a few hours before our gig. As I swigged down the revolting immitation banana flavored fluid, I read the warnings:

"may cause nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, heart palpitations, vomiting..."...uh oh. I seem to be prone to side effects?

And indeed, my stomach hurt soon enough. Another side effect was to swiftly follow--oh readers, the most delicate way to put it is that it was not an ideal situation for a gig night, but what are you gonna do? The rockshow must go on, and so on.

We headed up to Dolores Park Cafe for a benefit for AMY MEYERS and CINDY BUCK's Yard Concert series. Amy & Cindy were in a frenzy setting up the PA, and and an overall rising sense of excitement was in the air. Soon the show commenced with a series of wee sets by a bunch of acts--including but not limited to:
PAM & JERI ( of Blame Sally)
Shelley Doty
Groovy Judy
Kitty Rose
and more more more. We played our new song, the mini-rock-opera "SEA OF TRANQUILITY" ( and a few other tunes) I then sat in with a supergroup lineup of Amy's band-- Pam Delgado, Jeri Jones Judea Eden ( and me). When I told Pam of my digestive complaints, she flipped her drum over and pointed inside it as if to say: you can aim in here during our set, in case of dire straits. How downright neighborly!

At the end of the set Gary and Andrew joined with us girls and we burned through a massive version of Judea Eden's tune, "WAYSIDE" ( from her new CD). At the end the band pumped out a big crescendo with whooshing bass, strumming guitars, crashing cymbals, and while I jumped up on the keyboard to get closer to the keys, I realized someone was spanking me--Judea! Bonus for the audience, and for me, too--and fun for the whole famille.

The next day was ANOTHER big lineup fundraiser event, this time at EL RIO with a raffle, free BBQ and many peeps. This particular benefit was dedicated to raising funds for the excellent new documentary: ATOMIC MOM by MT SIlvia.

Today there were less bands and longer sets, so we got to enjoy more tunes by:
Chula (a new supergroup with Maria Stanford, Robin Roth, Shelley Doty, and Jeni Day).
Pam and Jeri ( Again--yay!)
and of course, us. We once again did a superdupergroup rendition of "WAYSIDE" which was even more colossal this time. There was a screening of the 9-minute trailer for Atomic Mom (afterwards there were no dry eyes to be found in the house). On the other hand, there was also a surprise appearance from MARGA GOMEZ! who is always a cause for great hilarity. So, we laughed we cried we rocked. We raised $$ for a good cause. Burgeres were eaten, friends were hugged. Raffle prizes were won. Drinks were drunk.

Later at the after-party / pizza demolition event we recounted our fave moments of the past week. Oh readers, it was all a kind of a blur to me, this mini-tour interrupted as it was with the flu and flux, cough drops, sneezes, and doctoring. Yet, now here we were--I was on the mend and intact and we didn't miss one show--and the shows were some of our best ever. Onward! Onward we push! Through dire straits and straights and narrows.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

That was Rock of You

Friday I am worse for the wear, viruswise--my cold is getting worse, not better. But we nonetheless scoot up to Hayes Valley to play at the Art is MY BAG opening at Agesong Gallery ---a cool, sadly soon to be defunct, very reverbant (i.e. echo-y) artspace. We play a couple of lower key sets ( lower key for us) whilst the art is enjoyed by the folk of Hayes Valley & beyond-- and then we check out the art ourselves, too. I particularly love Leigh Radke's pieces with paper bag stamps, Madeleine Vietmeier, Virginia Greene & Tina Callo's polar bear, and Charlotte Seekamp's bee piece. The bee's are the thing I have been obsessing on in some new tunes lately. Charlottle's piece focuses on the very thing that got me fixated on the subject--CCD, or Colony Collapse Disorder. Bee colonies are disappearing at an alarming rate--and people, this is no joke. Pollinating makes the world of produce go round --and that's the whole world.

Anyhoo, I am thrashed & tired & feverish afterwards, but I feel righteous for having played whilst sick & not blaspheming against the rock gods that demand the rockshow must go on. Or that's what I tell myself for comfort when my fever rises & I pass a dismal hallucinatory virulent night.

But then, someone might say to me: dude, that was rock of you.

Now, I can't take cred for that excellent exhortation. "Dude that was rock of you" is the phrase that Andrew came up with the other night when Gary told us about his recent nerve-racking super last minute gig with Bryan Magness's hard rock band wherein Gary was playing many songs for the first time. As our hero was striving just to stay afloat with the basslines, the lead singer suddenly draped his arm on Gary's shoulder & shoved the microphone into his face to join in on a chorus of a song Gary didn't remotely know at all. Dude that was rock of you...but.

Monday finds me still sneezing, slightly feverish, and totally sick of being sick, but gamefully powering the tea, soup, and costume drama DVDs. Must get better! We have shows this weekend! There is yet more rock to be made, dude.

Now hand me my pretty pink kleenex.

Friday, March 07, 2008

There's no Liquor in All of Alcohol

(ps--to the previous post --The awesome singer/songwriter CHRISTINA KOWALCHUK!! is another of those new faces I talked about, who are joining us as special guests on the new CD, THE JUGGLER'S PROGRESS. She sang some gorgeous harmonies on several tunes this week! YAY!! Thanks Xtina!!!)

and then... On Thursday we had a gig in Sacramento with the excellent JULIE MEYERS and band ( featuring on drums...yes! Naked Nate!!!).

So, up we drove to the capitol, making pretty good time owing to Gary & Andrew's superior route finding gifts. The drive was long enough, though, for us to get pretty peckish and start talking about the fish & chips we were imminently to order at our venue, the Fox & Goose. Andrew & Gary ( but especially Andrew) also spoke longingly of the chocolate stout the guys always enjoy when we play at F& G.

The Fox & Goose is a Britsy pub which manages to be both cavernous AND cozy at the same time with its high ceilings and bricky-woodsy walls festooned with plentiful Union Jacks, beer lights, Stout posters, a couple of tvs for sports viewing, dart tournament paraphenelia--and a truly bizarre pair of... paintings (?) posters(?) displayed side by side of Queen Elizabeth II and a wizard, who ones assumes is Merlin. Which begs so many questions---who's the myth? Who's real? Who knows? Who am I and why am I such an Anglophile? Oh England, this green & pleasant land, this blessed plot this earth this realm, this precious stone set in a silver sea...

hmmm... did I mention I had a slight fever and more than slight cough? Ick, yet another appearance of Flu Margrit.

Anyhooo, the opener, SAMUEL ( he must have a surname but I never heard it) played his first gig ever and did great--cool voice cool tunes--and banjo--yay! Then TM went on and we had (my plague notwithstanding) a fun set which included songs from SEAWORTHY, and songs soon to be on JUGGLER's PROGRESS, and the band's debut of "SUPERHERO DRUS". (yes yes I know I have played it out--but only solo which only counts a teeny bit.) Julie had an excellent set as well, which we all enjoyed thoroughly. After the show, we met some nice new folks & reconnected with some familiar faces chatting with audience members and the other performers. One woman told me that she really liked the song "Member's Only" and that, in fact, she had ALSO once dreamt that she inexplicably had a penis ( which is not a non-sequitur-- I wrote "Member's Only" after dreaming I had an inexplicable penis, a story I "brought up" when introducing the tune that very evening). Julie's producer Dave told me he LOVED our 7/8 progrock bridge in our song "500 Years", Gary & Andrew had one more beer each and then a cup of tea each, (I powered tea & honey all night--glamorous!), we packed up our gear and got in the car. A fine night of rock all around. The only blot on the evening was the sad news that the Fox & Goose had quit carrying that delicious chocolate stout. Alas. But Gary & Andrew appeared to have found other tasty brews to sample.

My throat was pretty raw after the set, so I begged Gary for his very last cough drop which he kindly handed over to me to promote the cause of True Margrit's lead singer being able to vocalize at the following night's gig. One for the team.

We zoomed out of town and were soon cruising by the flat fields and wetlands outside of Sacramento. To prolong its effect, I let the precious cough drop melt slowly on my tongue--and tried not to crunch it as is my wont. I leaned back into my little nest of musical gear, jackets, and a wee pillow. It was clear and I could see Orion listing down toward the extensive central valley horizon.

As we neared the Budweiser plant I suggested to Andrew that he get a shot of it with his fancy new camera, cuz the place looks so satanic with the red "Budweiser" sign and the beer factory steam swirling about in the night. He declined. But he laughed and commented on the disgustingness of that weak untasty beer, and began telling us that Colorado state law only allows 3.2% alcohol beer. Gary & he debated the finer points of this point, and then the topic of Utah's even stricter laws on spirits came up. Andrew said, "There's no liquor in all of alcohol".

I believe he'd intended to say there's no liquor in all of Utah...but we all liked it the other way, and Gary began slurring the phrase it in a perfect dipsomaniacal wino voice: " There's no liquor in aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall of alcohollllllll." So true.

We made a stop in god-knows where for gas and peeing (intake for the former and outtake for the latter. Naturally). Soon enough, we were scooting through the post-midnight light traffic of the Bay Bridge, and thus, were soon to be tucked into respective San Franciscan beds. There's rest in all of sleep.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Ma Jour en Fromage

Dearest readers, there is no subtext to read into my shamefully long silence--other than the fact of absurd mismanagement of time and genuine busy-ness. And with what, you may very well ask, am I so damned busy?

well. I made lasagna last week with five kinds of cheese. Much more on that in a moment...

We are in fact making great strides with the new CD journey--"THE JUGGLER'S PROGRESS" and it's quite exciting. To us. It features performances which we in the TRUE MARGRIT trio are very proud of. AND! we have some superlative guests who joined us on SEAWORTHY back for a second helping of rock (plus some new faces). Who exactly? Well! We have the great fortune to be once again recording tracks with Pamela Delgado who is singing up a storm on even more tunes this time, and she is sounding AMAZING!!! (She can also be heard in BLAME SALLY) Speaking of Blame Sally-- their magnifique guitarist, Jeri Jones is also back, gracing the album with her spectacular electric guitar! Also! The uber-talentedKAT DOWNS has been in the studio with us singing some gorgeous vocals. As on SEAWORTHY, we are psyched to have a couple of songs again with our double reed hero, Ned Howey on bassoon... and..we are proud to offer some tracks with sax superstar Symon Michael. YES! And finally, one of our newcomer guests is Louis Stephenson on backing vocals crooning some supersweet tenor harmonies. + more more more...

So, I love to share meals with these fab players before and/ or after our sessions if possible, cuz the only thing as good as playing music is eating.. and of course --well you know. Sometimes we go out for a bite, but I prefer to make a homecooked meal. Last week I was expecting Pam for a session, so I whipped up some lasagna--but the whipping up became protracted for some reason. Maybe it was the extra sauce? Or the five cheeses I picked out at Rainbow Grocery?

Anyway, I made a romesco sauce for one of the layers (roasted red bell pepper, roasted garlic, and nuts--walnuts & hazelnuts in this case-- which are spun in a blender / food processor), then I made a marinara sauce w/ lotsa garlic & mushrooms & eggplants & zuchinnis. As this was getting time consuming, I popped in the DVD of "La Vie En Rose" to watch whilst grating the various cheeses and constructing the many-layered marvel. Also, I wanted to experience the Oscar-winning lead-actress, Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf. I confess: I have never really loved Piaf's music,,, it's always seemed counter to my taste for more raw genres of music --or, well, I found her songs to have a certain elusive element that hinted at cheese. But I was pleasantly surprised-- I think I get it now. Ah, bien sur, the basic shmalzty fromage flavor of Piaf's classic repertoire is how I remember it, with melodramatic accordion and swelling strings...and yet.., her gritty-sweet-tragi-comic heroine/heroin persona, and perilous life and times were edgy indeed-- & she played every gig with utmost integrity. She rocked. Hard.. Nevermore will I dismiss the Little Sparrow. Maybe that ephemeral cheese is the very thing that shows us where the real flavors are found...?

And the two-sauce five-cheese lasagna rocked. Some people eschew dairy products, I say, life is short & cheese is delicious.