cf etiquette poll: floor sitting

liz-clayton

when, if ever, is floor sitting acceptable at shows?

 

liz clayton: floor-sitters: please, no lollipops.

dickon fosca: only if such people reserve the right not to mind when I trip over them.

daniel handler: floor sitting is only ok in some sort of hostage situation. I don’t care how mellow the band is—I’m not sitting on the floor. do the words “dry clean only” mean nothing to you people?

matt shinkansen: absolutely never ever. this is hippy talk, and I’m with cartman when it comes to hippies. I’m with cartman when it comes to most things, actually. I used to want to be lisa simpson, now I want to be eric cartman. what does that prove? what’s happening to me?  who are all you people? incidentally, out of curiosity, I just looked up “hippy” in the dictionary. one of the definitions is “having prominent hips.”

ld flare: I wouldn’t really, ever—but mostly because I value my trousers.

alex chicks on speed: when the music requires it! sometimes it’s cool to sit and listen and lie on the floor and sleep a bit, ambient music requires this.

lisa cf: never never never unless you are outside.

claudia the magnetic fields: we asked the entire audience of the great american music hall to sit on the floor during the first half of 69 love songs, and they did, all 500 of them, laughing. but then they got annoyed and rose for the second half. we thought we were doing them a favor but they weren’t comfortable.

david huon/driving past: it’s always acceptable, if it’s doable.

andrew eggs / talk it: imagine all the gross stuff on your average city street. dog urine, frozen spit, god-knows-what. we all walk on it, and then we go into clubs and track this mélange onto their floors, which then develop an overlay of beer and cigarette ash. if you plop your butt down on this surface, please don’t shake my hand.

mac of oxford: never, it’s a fire hazard.

don smith: floor sitting is only acceptable when miss julie asks you to sit in a semi-circle for storytime. or if you’re passed out

tracy dreamy: I think it’s okay.

clarissa cf: if it makes things easier to see and does not disturb the vibe of the show (e.g. if the artists are also sitting), I’m all for it.

john phosphene: nothing wrong with floor sitting. the pastels lead the way on that one, as far as my gig-going is concerned and it can bring a really nice atmosphere. I once saw someone crowd-surf at a pastels show: they landed right in front of aggi! somehow, it just didn’t fit!!

james +/- versus: it’s only acceptable if there are seats already and people want to scoot in front of the first row of seats, but don’t want to block the first row’s view…

mike yesenosky: you can sit at the band’s request. sitting between sets is also ok. you stand for someone you respect in all other situations, and if you just shelled out money to see an artist, you respect them. so stand up.

robert tono-bungay: the floor should be relatively free of sticky residues.

this poll originally appeared in chickfactor 15’s cf etiquette special section. photo of liz clayton by gail o’hara.

 

how to be a good houseguest when you are on tour.

coctails

how to be a good houseguest when you are on tour by liz clayton

without a doubt, touring is an unnatural way of life. it’s taxing, tiring, and makes you smell bad. most days are spent playing “hurry up and wait.” for bands that can afford buses or hotels, some small solace can be found at the end of the day in places where you’re only accountable to yourselves. but for the rest of you, finding a space on someone’s floor might be the best you can hope for. what follows are some tips on how to make the free crash-pad experience pleasant for your host/hostess as well as for you and your bandmates. some of these ideas are common sense, but for some reason, many of them do not occur to people. (this originally ran in chickfactor 15, 2002, as part of our chickfactor etiquette special section)

  1. if you arrange for a place to crash, and later get a better offer, do not make your host/hostess wait around at the club until 3am with you to tell them this.
  2. when bringing in your rare guitars, sleeping bags, pillows, duffels, and amplifiers, please be mindful of the host/hostess’ neighbours, sleeping roommates, pets that might not be supposed to get out the door you’re holding open, or stuff you might be about to knock over.
  3. if the person with whom you are staying says they need to leave at a certain time in the morning, offer to get up and be out of there at or before that time. if the host/hostess insists it’s okay for you to be there after he or she leaves, it’s nice for them to come home to a goodbye note of thanks. remember to lock up properly.
  4. wash your dishes and beer bottles out, throw away your trash, and clean up after yourself in general.
  5. though it’s sweet, you don’t have to fold up any sheets you used. they’re just going to get washed anyway.
  6. don’t use the host/hostess’ bathroom products, razors, etc. without asking. a house is not a motel.
  7. when the host or hostess seems like he or she is trying to wake you up and get you moving, that’s probably what’s happening. get your band in order, especially the stragglers, and politely let the host/hostess get on with their lives. while it’s possible they do want to sit around the living room with you all day or take you thrift shopping, you should not assume this.
  8. if you go out to breakfast with your host or hostess in the morning, it is superfriendly to buy their meal, though no polite host/hostess would actually expect you to. if they cook for you, however, I would hope you’d at least leave them a t-shirt.
  9. if your host or hostess lives with other people, especially their parents, be extra grateful to them when you run into them. they may have been talked into letting a band crash there, and your manners will make a good impression.

following these guidelines should make your band highly desirable as potential houseguests. while some people may be starstruck enough that they’re simply delighted just to have had you cross their threshold, most people over the age of 23 have learned that a little tidying-up and gratitude goes a long way in making them feel good about loaning you their floor space. happy trails, and thanks for smoking on the porch and not throwing the butts into my garden.

who was liz clayton’s best houseguest? “I have to say the coctails or archer prewitt band have been the best—they wash all the dishes, they fold up the futon, they leave presents and thank-you notes, they take me for sushi. and they’ve been treating me this nicely from the first visit in 1994,” she told us in 2002.

we like withered hand.

withered-hand-2-2

I listened to a lot of withered hand in november while I was staying at the berry jones house in southeast london. we wish we could have scoured the record shops for these when we were there, but some were sold out long ago. if we were in london this weekend, we would go see dan willson (who is withered hand) DJ at this thing on 26 jan. if we were there on 16 february, we would go to this hangover lounge thing at the union chapel where withered hand will be playing with cf cofounder/black tambourine lady/my dear friend pam berry: it’s in the daytime, it is free and it’s going to sound ace. what excuse could you possibly have to not be there? anyway, I don’t really have any birthday coming up soon but if you see any of these platters in the charity shop for cheap, pick me up one, okay? cheers mate. wh is also on the excellent fence label, whose co-owner kenny king creosote is interviewed in the new cf.


chickfactor 17!

cf_17_cover1

chickfactor 17 features interviews with grass widow, bill callahan, black tambourine, caitlin moran, fence records / king creosote, frankie rose, joe boyd, joe pernice, liam hayes / plush, maira kalman, rachel blumberg, sharon van etten and tae won yu; a jukebox jury with the corin tucker band; lots of silly polls and expertly written music and book reviews. click here to mail order a copy or pick one up at these prestigious establishments….

stores selling chickfactor 17:
Other Music (NYC)
Beacon Sound (Portland OR)
Powell’s (Portland OR)
What Cheer? (Providence RI)
Needles & Pens (SF)
End of an Ear (Austin)
Quimbys (Chicago)
Atomic Books (Baltimore)
Skylight Books (Los Angeles)
Criminal Records (Atlanta)
Grimey’s (Nashville)
Landlocked (Bloomington IN)
Monorail (Glasgow, Scotland)
The Telegraph (New London, CT)
Sonic Boom (Seattle)

• Are you a book or record store that wants to sell chickfactor? Send us a message here.

• We also have a new Etsy store where you can buy a bundle of back issues, letter-press coasters from half pint press, lovely posters by tae won yu, chickfactor mixtapes and (soon) limited-edition prints and vintage clothing.

• Follow us on this thing or that thing.

interview from CF16: jennifer o’connor

joc
jennifer o’connor is a smoky-voiced new york songwriter, bartender, ebay enthusiast and all-around pop girl extraordinaire. we caught up with ms. jen at the magician on the lower east side in the early days of summer. (this interview originally ran in chickfactor 16 and took place in 2004 in manhattan). interview by gail

chickfactor: when did you write your first song and what was it called and what was it about?

jennifer o’connor: it was in 1996 and it was called “circus” and it was for a band I had just joined—well, it wasn’t even a band yet. I didn’t really play music yet. this guy told me I should be in this band. I went to an open mike with him one night and played bass, then the next day I wrote a song. it was sort of about playing music. it was in atlanta, right after college.

cf: did you want to be a singer when you were little?

jennifer: not realistically. I wanted to be a basketball player. music was always my favorite thing but I didn’t really think of it as something I would ever really do. I played basketball from age 9 to 20.

cf: what was your first concert?

jennifer: van halen in 1987.

cf: they were so past their prime!

jennifer: I know. it was right when hagar joined the band. my first small club show was the replacements in 1991.

cf: first record you bought?

jennifer: probably “physical” by olivia newton-john. I used to buy top 40 singles every week. I used to have a notebook and write it down, the top 40.

cf: me too!

jennifer: you did that? I listened to it on my walkman and I would figure out which ones I wanted to go buy.

cf: you grew up in the south?

jennifer: I grew up in a small town in connecticut until I was 13, a really small town. we moved to florida before I started high school.

cf: when did you play your first show?

jennifer: after I moved here. it was at acme underground. I sent out a bunch of tapes after I moved here. that was in ’99. I tried to get shows at better places after that.

cf: what’s the best venue in nyc?

jennifer: I like, I play at the knitting factory a lot, it’s not my favorite, but I worked there. I like southpaw.

cf: has anything really embarrassing happened onstage?

jennifer: the last show I played was pretty embarrassing. a few weeks ago I played a show and there was no soundcheck as usual and it was the guy’s first night doing sound. I started playing and there was no guitar and somebody went to help him. they turned the guitar on and it fed back really loud. I picked the quietest prettiest song first. I spilled beer and thought I was going to electrocute myself. the snare was moving on the drum kit behind me. just a series of bad things.

cf: what did you do at the knitting factory?

jennifer: marketing and promotion. I wrote to writers such as yourself trying to get them to come to shows or preview shows. flyering and stuff.

cf: when’s the new album out?

jennifer: I don’t know. the beginning of ’05?

cf: do you record at home?

jennifer: a little bit. ultimately I would like to have the ability to do it all at home. I would like to have someone do the levels.

cf: are you bartending these days?

jennifer: no. I was. I really liked it but I was drinking a lot. I quit cause there was a gas leak in the bar and they weren’t fixing it and it made me really nervous.

cf: no one smokes anymore, it’s not that dangerous. do people smoke after hours?

jennifer: and even before.

cf: people are breaking the law?!

jennifer: they are, they do. a lot of places in new york start smoking around 2. but I haven’t had a cigarette in 18 days. but I want one right now.

cf: what’s the best bar in brooklyn?

jennifer: I like o’connors which is right down the street from me. I don’t go to bars that much.

cf: why would you want to play solo anyway? isn’t it scary?

jennifer: it is scary. I do it because…when I first started playing I was in a band and I don’t know. I like playing in a band but I also like having more control. I don’t like to rehearse so having a band…and I like playing with different people. I can’t commit to it. I like being able to do it when I want to do it. maybe eventually I’ll have a band but I like having it mine. plus when I was in a band I had some situations with other members, it’s hard to play with other people. I wasn’t treated very well in some instances and I guess I hold a grudge.

cf: you played at the new york party for the saddest music in the world, the fabulous guy maddin film. who won?

jennifer: did anybody win? I think I won. I was the saddest. no, it wasn’t a competition.

cf: there was a similar party in london, and they had a lot of crappy bands who weren’t nearly sad enough for me and I thought competing to see who was the saddest.

jennifer: we did have to give away tickets for the movie but that was the only contest of the night. kendall’s set was pretty sad too.

cf: what song do you wish you’d written?

jennifer: there’s a lot probably. “your song” by elton john. although I always think it’s weird that he didn’t write his own lyrics.

cf: even weirder that courtney love hired bernie taupin to write some lyrics for her.

jennifer: yeah! so weird. she’s just, sad.

cf: were you a fan?

jennifer: huge fan. huge hole fan. huge nirvana fan. I was in my freshman year of college when the whole nirvana thing broke. I saw hole in ’94. she was a mess then. she was talking to the ceiling and talking to him. I wish I’d written a lot of elliott smith songs. dylan songs. mark eitzel songs. I hung out with him one night on the lower east side, me and him drinking for hours, it was fun.

cf: what are your songs about?

jennifer: death. endurance. continuing. I used to write more about love and stuff but I don’t do that much anymore.

cf: what about driving?

jennifer: there’s a lot of driving and moving in my songs. I write a lot or come up with things when I’m driving. I like new york better with a car actually. I don’t feel trapped as much.

cf: are you still doing the ebay thing?

jennifer: I do that and I do a little promoting for bars.

cf: do you buy or sell stuff on ebay?

jennifer: I sell stuff. I can’t afford to buy anything! mostly I look to see what sells. I do mostly music stuff but I like it because I have a revolving record collection. and this time of year I go to a lot of stoop sales in brooklyn and find stuff. it’s like having a record store without having to buy anything.

cf: what made you the most money?

jennifer: I sold a couple of loren mazzacane connors records for $200 or $300 to jim o’rourke! it was pretty exciting. and I did a good deed because they’re using them to remaster and make the records.

cf: you couldn’t just give them to him?

jennifer: I didn’t know he needed them! he has the money! two records I sold allowed me to pay my rent and continue working on my music.

cf: you’re the middle man.

jennifer: I’m a recyclist.

cf: I hear you signed to red panda records.

jennifer: it’s a big up and coming indie label.

cf: why did you choose to go with them after that huge bidding war?

jennifer: I love the idea behind it and the people running it and I trust them.

cf: what’s in your fridge?

jennifer: romaine lettuce. tomato paste. seltzer water. milk. that’s it.

cf: what were you doing touring france? are you big in france?

jennifer: I used to know a lady in new york who’s french and moved back and she was helping put on a festival in lille and they wanted to do a night or a series of nights of new york artists and they liked my record so they flew me out there and paid me.

cf: didn’t you play a ladyfest once?

jennifer: I didn’t make it. I was supposed to play ladyfest richmond.

cf: didn’t you play one in new york?

jennifer: I was on a compilation but I didn’t actually play.

cf: what’s the pop scene like in nyc?

jennifer: I don’t know. there’s so much here but most of it is williamsburg type stuff. I haven’t found much of a community but I think red panda might change that.

cf: who’s your favorite new york band?

jennifer: I don’t know. I suddenly like the yeah yeah yeahs—they were on mtv awards the other night and it was so gorgeous.

cf: aren’t they from new jersey? have you ever dreamt about a song and remembered it?

jennifer: I do but I don’t remember it to write it.

cf: have you had a dream with rock stars in them?

jennifer: I’ve had dreams with courtney love and nirvana…oh, you mean a hot sex dream?

cf: have you had a hot sex dream with someone you really don’t like?

jennifer: oh yeah.

cf: what melody is stuck in your head?

jennifer: that britney song “toxic.”

cf: do you like any mainstream bitches?

jennifer: not really. I listen to a lot of mainstream hip-hop. I like the franz ferdinand single. I didn’t buy it but I listened to courtney love’s album at the jukebox where I worked. didn’t really stick for me. I probably should buy it—the last album was like that for me at first too.

cf: if you buy it maybe it’ll keep her out of prison.

jennifer: it’s so sad, it really is. did you read that interview in something online? I couldn’t believe how sad it was. she’s broke.

cf: not another behind the music story.

jennifer: that’s what it was like.

cf: kurt must sell a lot of records. sounds like she hasn’t done a very good job of managing her money.

jennifer: no, she hasn’t. that’s exactly what the article is about.

cf: it’s kind of embarrassing to be a celebrity and to talk about that stuff in public.

jennifer: I guess that’s part of the job.

cf: she doesn’t hold back.

jennifer: she doesn’t hold anything back.

cf: if courtney asked you to be in her band, would you do it?

jennifer: you know it’s funny that you should ask that. did you know they took out a full page ad in the village voice last year for a bassist. and I thought about it for a whole day. the ad said they wanted somebody who looked a certain way.

cf: a goth metal chick like auf der maur?

jennifer: I was like that’s not me.

cf: they could do your hair and makeup.

jennifer: they wanted someone who behaved like flea but didn’t play like flea or something.

cf: why do you think they wanted a girl?

jennifer: um, I think that’s pretty cool. that’s something I waffled about if I put a band together. I prefer to play with women if they’re good. it’s easier. my first band was with two guys and that’s part of the reason I don’t want to have a band anymore. some bad shit happened and I think it was in some ways because I was a girl just learning how to play. I’m not saying all guys are like that because they’re not.

cf: do you like to sing karaoke?

jennifer: not really. I’m kinda shy about it. I like watching people.

cf: what’s your sign?

jennifer: scorpio.

cf: ever been to a psychic?

jennifer: yeah.

cf: what did they tell you?

jennifer: stupid shit. when I lived in florida a while ago, I wanted to find out if I should move back to new york. said I was going to be very famous and rich. of course I’m still waiting for that. have you been to a psychic?

cf: hasn’t everyone? are you going to check out the spongebob movie?

jennifer: I want to.

cf: who’s your idol?

jennifer: sleater-kinney. as a group.

cf: all three of them?

jennifer: yeah, they’re great.

cf: better than hole?

jennifer: they’re better than hole.

cf: they’re definitely better than hole. who’s your favorite writer?

jennifer: I like michael chabon a lot. I read the mysteries of pittsburgh in high school. I read a lot of music stuff. I just read the bob dylan bio.

cf: you have any phobias?

jennifer: I don’t like to fly. I don’t like heights. I don’t like the subway. I have a lot of anxiety issues in general but I’m working on them. I don’t like elevators either. I don’t like to feel like I’m out of control even though I’m really not anyway.

cf: who do you have a crush on?

jennifer: I have a crush on the brenda character on six feet under. I also have a crush on the amy character on judging amy. she’s sexy. david berman. I love him.

kendall: maybe gail can introduce you.

cf: talented man.

jennifer: is he a jerk? I used to have a big crush on carrie brownstein but I think I’m over it. don’t print that.

cf: right, we won’t. off the record. you’re the first one to have a crush on her.

jennifer: I’m more interested in corin at the moment. I really like the song she wrote about her kid. they’re good rock stars.

cf: who would you want to collaborate with?

jennifer: the guy from neutral milk hotel. kevin shields. dizzee rascal.

cf: what are your top 5 records?

jennifer: the self-titled elliott smith record; bringing it all back home; what would the community think; blue; american water; plastic ono band.

photograph by amy bezunartea. jennifer runs a label called kiam records and her latest LP is called I want what you want.

 

cf poll: the musical taste of your offspring

tumblr_m3ghp1ofix1qalo1oo1_500

describe your kid’s/kids’ taste in music.

alicia the aislers set / magic trick: well, she is very moved by music. her current favorites are journey, katy perry, elvis presley, david bowie. she’ll occasionally ask for alice cooper, the ramones, joan jett, stevie nicks, the grease soundtrack. her first vinyl lp that she would put on and dance to was steely dan. she knows what’s good when she hears it. nothing but honesty from that kid! if it’s a bad song on the radio, she’s like “turn this off! put on some journey!!!”

jessica would-be-goods: bowie, t rex, early elvis costello, classic disney songs (e.g. “everybody wants to be a cat” and “I wanna be like you”) — and the would-be-goods, which is very touching. she used to threaten to kill me if I told any of her friends I was in a band but now she thinks it’s OK and even plays them our music.

mark teenbeat/unrest: one likes lady gaga and the other classical music, though they won’t complain when the kinks are on the hi-fi.

corin tucker: it’s ever changing, but this week it’s skrillex and deadmau5.

dawn cf / agoraphone: it’s a strange mix. folk music of all sorts: woody guthrie, pete seeger, fairport convention, laura viers. then wild flag, ramones, and the fave david bowie (mostly ziggy stardust). I can’t really explain it.

daniel handler: otto started out loving late-period kraftwerk, went through a beatles phase, is now a big fan of stars, metric and (not my fault) chromeo.

andrew eggs/talk it: my oldest son likes music with loud guitars and melodies. he loves melodic punk music like strike anywhere as well as airborne toxic event and stuff that comes on DC101. my younger son’s two favorite songs are “donald where’s your troosers [sic]” and “tie me kangaroo down,” so he’s harder to classify. sometimes he requests music with “people screaming.”

claudia the magnetic fields: I think at this age, the parents dictate that. my friends keep telling me to play her shonen knife or the ramones, or other upbeat punk music. and she does respond well to that. she also seems to love rihanna, from her outbreak of dancing in restaurants to her. but at home we play pretty much peaceful folksy kids records, elizabeth mitchell, putumayo collections, dan zanes, some other kids records like wiggleworms, a bit of latin female vocalists like cesaria evora, some country female singers, some classical, some joni, etc. I think if I were a jazz fan, eve would probably be into jazz right now. she just attaches on to whatever’s playing, including dancing to embarrassing electronics that make little songs.

matt lorelei: ursula likes the family cat, vince guaraldi, polyrock, and burl ives. stephen’s son niko has a brazilian nanny so he’s listening to and digging os mutantes quite a bit.

kim baxter: his current favorites are vampire weekend and the english beat. I play nick drake in his room every night as he’s going to bed but the other night he asked for jeremy enigk instead.

kelly velocity girl: whatever it is they like, they listen to incessantly. here is the honest to god play count from itunes for the past few months from songs the girls picked themselves:

“goody two shoes” – adam ant 146 plays

“sensible”- small factory 154 plays

“dancing queen” – abba 192 plays

“choco la la la” – mr. g 137 plays

“crystal days” – echo & the bunnymen 140 plays

“under the rotunda” – the lucksmiths 138 plays

“suggestions” – small factory 105 plays

“do they know it’s christmas” – band aid 169 plays

“the ramblin’ rover” – silly wizard 146 plays

when they’re born one thinks please let them like good music. when they do they listen to music, good/bad/indifferent it is with such repetition that one prays please let them take up literature.

pete paphides: our 11-year-old is obsessed with coldplay. which is fine. I’d rather not have “edgy” children. she also loves goldfrapp. the 8-year-old is partial to dexys’ too ry-aye album.

gordon the fan modine: my littlest is always turing the radio up and bobbing his head no matter the genre. his older brother can’t get enough rick james.

mike black tambourine / manatee: theo’s gone through a few phases, getting really into one band of genre for a while and then moving on, though he always likes the old stuff too. the first music I think he stated a strong affinity for was jazz, specifically late 50s/60s hard-bop. then he went on a beatles jag, concurrent big troubles and teenage fanclub crazes, and has more recently moved on to punk rock, which he will happily state is the best music and that he’ll “love punk music forever” and “funky” music like james brown and the meters. a chip off the kid frostbite block, I’d say!

bridget st john: definitely in spirit and in desire to play different instruments. she has a great feeling for and love of music. and is an extraordinary poet and writer.

tim dagger: the beatles.

photograph of alicia the aislers set by tae won yu. 

cf poll: have your kids inherited your musical genes?

fbh

have your kids inherited your musical genes?

claudia the magnetic fields: eve is definitely musical. she was singing in tune along with records (or with me) at 6 months old. she sits and listens to albums in a way that people watch TV. she just sits on the couch and stares off, clearly trying to understand how songs go. she also retains melodies that she has only heard once. this was amusingly demonstrated when I took her to a christmas lightshow event which featured a parody of toto’s “africa.” within minutes, she was walking down the street singing the hook intro line to that song, and now she still sings it. ¶ the thing that she appears to have also inherited is my uninhibited attitude toward singing. while occasionally she drops to a self-conscious whisper when asked to perform a song (lately it is “rain rain, go away”), I frequently witness her singing quite proudly to herself on buses and subways. story songs, where she processes events of the day, or memories, or sensory experiences in a sort of abstract melody.

corin tucker: my son definitely has some musical talent, and my daughter loves to sing as well.

kim baxter: yes, he loves playing music, dancing, learning the lyrics to songs, and making up his own songs.

daniel handler: no, but he has my wife’s sense of rhythm, and you can keep your dirty jokes to yourself, buster.

jessica would-be-goods: my daughter taught herself to play the guitar (aged about 12) by listening to early bowie songs and has a lovely singing voice.

matt lorelei: ursula certainly likes to make noise. she’s finally embraced dancing so we have dance party before bath time complete with shakers, drum, sleigh bells, and glockenspiel.

bridget st john: definitely in spirit and in desire to play different instruments. she has a great feeling for and love of music. and is an extraordinary poet and writer.

kelly velocity girl: the youngest certainly has inherited the show(off)manship gene. I know there is a slumberland supergroup in all of these kids somewhere.

alicia the aislers set / magic trick: yes, she is insane! she has the most incredible ear.  ever since she was really small, she could sing songs, with melody lines, in the key that she originally heard it, by memory! my grandma was a music teacher, and always thought that I had perfect pitch as a kid. sometimes I think that about lida. she’s playing a lot of piano right now. recently learned “home sweet home” by the crew…

andrew eggs/talk it: if they do I will strongly discourage them.

mike black tambourine / manatee: so far theo hasn’t shown much interest in making music, but he definitely likes listening to it and can be quite opinionated. he’s a quite a good listener, picking out lyrics I never even noticed (sometimes not a good thing) and learning his subgenres with some accuracy—punk, funk, ska, etc.

gordon the fan modine: they both sing little ditties all the time. it’s wonderful.

tim dagger: sophia has rhythm and loves playing instruments (she was recently spotted banging away on stew and jen’s mini drum kit in their house).

photograph of claudia by gail o’hara. 

cf poll: how has your munchkin(s) affected your musical career?

honey-kennedy-gail-ohara-london-8-jessica-from-the-would-be-goods

how have your offspring affected your musical career?

jessica would-be-goods: what career?

stephen the real tuesday weld: “dad, is this your music?”“YES!” “it’s not very good, is it?”

kim baxter: after having our son, it was definitely a struggle trying to figure out how and when to play music. but since my husband and I are both musicians, it was a no brainer that we had to figure out a way to keep playing. we’re both happiest when playing, recording, and touring, and we wanted our son (who’s now 3) to see us working really hard at doing something that we love.

corin tucker: it’s tricky to tour when you have young kids. mine are both in school now so we’ll see if it’s any easier.

gordon the fan modine: made it necessary.

matt lorelei: well, stephen and I have toddlers so being away from home to tour isn’t really an option. but that’s ok since touring is sort of a drag anyway. it mainly makes logistics difficult. but on the other hand…

kelly velocity girl: they’ve actually encouraged me to play again. my oldest constantly begs me to play guitar, showing the complete lack of a critical faculty in this regards on her part. when I do play she prefers only the strumming songs, none of this fancy dancy finger picking slow sappy nonsense thank you very much. total rockist.

daniel handler: fun to have a kid at soundcheck.

claudia the magnetic fields: the birth of my daughter two years ago has affected absolutely every aspect of my life. I solo parent a two and a half year old, which means that my brain is almost constantly fogged in and I have limited free time. so the music management work that I used to rip through in a week, now can take me months. emails are dropped, calls not responded to. ¶ we took her on the road in 2012 for nearly 9 weeks. it was ridiculously intense. there was a lot that was fun and joyful, but I can’t say I’d want to do it again, at least not with that aged a person. just the 24 airplane flights alone with an 18 to 20 month old spinning around on my lap was enough to wipe me out. not to mention all the cars and trains and new hotels each day, constant moving and rushing about. ¶ musically speaking, I find myself newly engaged in singing and playing instruments. she inspires me to engage creatively more, building and drawing things, reading books aloud, singing songs together. and I purchase a lot of kids albums and kid-friendly folksy or pop albums. so perhaps the great upside to this relationship is that I have a newfound curiosity in the musical world and in my musical self, which perhaps I had lost sight of.

mike black tambourine / manatee: not much, since I don’t have one. I still have a band (manatee) and manage to write and rehearse once a week, and play some shows here and there. theo is actually a bit of a fan of manatee and has come to a few of our gigs, which is quite fun.

andrew eggs/talk it: it is just the greatest thrill when your kids like a song you wrote. sometimes I hear my oldest son singing the melody of one of a song by my new band and it’s just the coolest thing.

bridget st john: I’ve written children’s songs I probably would not have otherwise written. I gladly put my career on major hold to raise her. she is trying to help me get more involved with all that current technology can provide to help my career.

alicia the aislers set / magic trick: well, I was skeptical at first and didn’t fully absorb that it would really affect things on such a drastic level. I remember seeing rose melberg when I was pregnant and she was like, yeah, the first three years it’s pretty impossible to do much else. I was like, nawww!, I can do it!! and then, low and behold, things were much harder to balance. I just wasn’t physically able to tour or get enough hours to give as much of myself to music. I was able to record with still flyin, which I was grateful for, as it was such a large band that they weren’t necessarily depending on me to tour or whatever. I was super stoked for the support I got from them in that I was able to take lida on tour for two weeks when she was 1 1/2. that was awesome. these days I have a new band called magic trick, and we just released our second record. I’m not able to go on all the tours. it’s financially and family-wise not the easiest thing to do to pack up and leave for 3-4 weeks at a time. but tim, my bandmate, is awesome in that we knew this from the beginning. and we started off working together primarily in the studio. we didn’t envision a band, that tours, etc. they are actually out on tour now across the states touring with father john misty, with a friend sitting in for me. and that’s ok. it’s my choice.  I do the west coast shows, local stuff. lord knows I’ve spent enough time on the road.  (I’ll pass on the boredom of soundcheck, ha ha). it’s just not worth it for me to miss my daughter for that whole time. I find real satisfaction in the studio and local shows. the occasional adventure, like with the aislers set, or something, is cool, but I feel like I am much more able to prioritize in a healthy way. sometimes, like now, I miss them (the band), but until we as musicians can actually support a family on touring, etc. that’s just not gonna be a possibility. at the same time, sometimes playing a show or something, there are those transcendent moments when I feel like this (music) is what I should be doing all the time. it’s what I’m good at.

photo of jessica griffin of would-be-goods, london, 2001, by gail o’hara.

cf poll: what dish do you wish you could re-create at home?

cannanes

what meal do you wish you could re-create at home?

fran cannane: really great curries especially those from malabar restaurant crows nest in sydney. (listen to a new cannanes tune, “bumper,” from their forthcoming small batch EP out on march 19)

corin tucker: japanese traditional udon soup. I’ve tried making it at home but there’s a lot of expertise there.

james dump/yo la tengo: cookie puss. (yo la tengo has an ace new album out called fade; two dump LPs are being reissued this spring on morr music)

kim baxter: conveyor belt sushi with the conveyor belt coming out of the kitchen into the dining room. (kim baxter’s latest album comes out march 15 on blue vinyl; her band is touring europe in april)

daniel handler: cruda at esca.

stephin the magnetic fields: the tomato cobbler at mary mac’s tea room in atlanta, GA. I bought the cookbook, but I can barely boil water.

rachel blumberg: I once had these tomatoes at a venue in italy. the tomatoes were the reddest red I’ve ever seen. they were grown in the volcanic loam on the side of mt. etna in sicily. they were served with fresh basil and olive oil. it was amazing. so good it made me weep. we had that with the most amazing bread and there were mushrooms too, sauteed in garlic and wonderful wine. it was all so simple and perfect. the only way I could ever recreate it would be to transport those tomatoes through a portal. I dream about those tomatoes. (rachel, who is interviewed in the latest chickfactor paper issue, has a new shop here)

gordon the fan modine: coal-fired pizza. (fan modine have a new one out this year)

hannah grass widow: pierogis.

joe pines / foxgloves: a steak that stephen wood would consider worth eating.

matt lorelei: I’ve been trying to re-create tartine bakery’s sourdough bread at home. getting close.

ian musical chairs: burekas!

tim dagger: that pasta/sausage with vodka sauce at la buca in portland.

bridget st john: a meal made entirely of ‘raw’ food.

pete paphides: a generic chinese beef curry like the ones you get at take-aways; a lamb balti like the ones you get at brilliant birmingham balti houses. once in a while, a big mac.

gail cf: everything on the menu at angelica kitchen (I have come close to mastering the miso tahini spread, soba sensation and noodle salads) and the mushroom ale pie at mildreds.