squirrel thing records, the same label that brought the world the amazing connie converse recordings, has finally given the molly drake music a u.s. release. yes, she was nick drake’s mom and clearly had an influence on him! recorded in the 1950s at the drake family home and restored by nick drake’s engineer john wood, these 19 tracks will be available on cd and digital download. The CD package has a letterpress sleeve, 16-page booklet with photos and bio by nick’s sister gabrielle.
we appreciate any press mentions of our new issue and this one — a new zine column from tobias carroll for vol. 1 brooklyn — was ace.
a launch party february 22 at the cleaners (ace hotel) for a new book called revel in portland, which features interviews with and city picks from locals including bridge & burn designer erik prowell, illustrator carson ellis, filmmaker-photographer lance bangs, architect jeff kovel, chef john gorham, designer tinker hatfield, photographer ray gordon, artist alicia mcdaid and chickfactor editor me (gail) — I was interviewed and photographed by the awesome shayla hason. any donation gets you in and gets you a copy of the book. I will have a table set up with some chickfactor 17s, chickfactor mixtapes and maybe some photos! come down. you can also get the book here.
under what circumstances are requests acceptable?
legendary jim ruiz: requests are always acceptable because if you say “what do you guys want to hear?” you will get 7 different answers and you can just play what you want. it is kind of meaningless, because if you wait long enough, eventually someone will request something you want or remember how to play.
carrie sleater-kinney: I suppose they are always acceptable, whether or not they will get granted is another issue. we seem to get a lot of birthday requests, as if being born on that day gives one the inherent right to have a song played especially for them. I always feel like we are playing on a cruise ship or in a hotel lounge when we cater to requests. every time I say “this next number goes out to…..” I see my future flash before my eyes.
john true love always: requests are always acceptable in the realm of “popular music.” aren’t you lucky if people even know the name of one of your crappy songs?
sam quasi: half the time the requests are already on the set list anyway, so go ahead & scream it out. then there’s the person who screams out the most obscure song in the catalog, to show off the arcanity of their knowledge. that’s fine too.
rob tender trap: it’s not very nice, because it’s nearly always for a song you’re going to play anyway, or for a song that you really didn’t want in the setlist.
stuart moxham: not something I’ve ever had to deal with, thankfully, as I can’t remember much beyond the current set. it would be nice to know that anyone actually knew your stuff. ymg always had exactly the same set because the drum machine was on a tape. even so someone had to remind us what was next once….
john phosphene: if the request is for a much loved song, then fine. if the request is “get off: you’re crap!”, that might be different…
james +/- versus: requests are always acceptable if they are requests for your music. but when people request covers, geez louise that curdles my milk.
alan low: we usually welcome requests, but it’s nice to get through maybe a half dozen songs before people ask.
jennifer o’connor: acceptable. I don’t think that means the musician will play the song necessarily but it’s cool that someone likes it enough to ask for it to be played.
daniel handler: people who shout requests at me should understand that I’m not actually a member of the magnetic fields and so I have no decision-making power, although sometimes I also would like to hear “100,000 fireflies.”
claudia the magnetic fields: in our group there is no circumstance in which it’s acceptable.
jeff aden: they are acceptable. the band can just say “no” if they don’t wanna play something. it’s a little annoying, but you’re not gonna be able to keep lameness out of a rock venue crowded with drunk people.
clarissa cf: if it’s a song that the artist might reasonably be expected to know and be willing to play, absolutely — those can work out really well. joke requests suck, as do repeatedly bellowed demands when you know full well we heard you the first time.
ld flare: if you’re a really old has-been on a “greatest hits” package tour, perhaps, and some devout fan pleads for an obscure b-side from your italian-only ep or something… otherwise, I think not.
mike yesenosky: if the request is one of your songs or if you’re a cover band, I see no problem with it. if someone asks for another band’s music and you’re an original band, not only is the audience member rude, but you should probably look in the mirror and figure out how to make your own material more interesting.
robert tono-bungay: where people have spontaneously yelled out for songs my band has written, I’ve been very, very pleased by that. I do it myself from time to time so to me it’s ok. it’s also acceptable if you are yo la tengo, and it’s new-wave karaoke night.
david huon/driving past: requests are fine, but not requests for bullshit we hate.
ben town and country: they are always acceptable—whether the band is going to be willing to oblige the request is the real question.
in what circumstances do you feel it’s okay to ask to be on a friend’s band’s guest list?
claudia the magnetic fields: dating them helps. second best is knowing that they don’t have too many people on the list already. after that, you should be very polite in asking and prepared to pay.
liz clayton: I have small means, and thus, little shame.
james +/- versus: 1. you’re poor and a good friend. 2. you don’t ask every time. 3. you helped them out in some way. 4. you’re poor.
matt shinkansen: guest-lists are un-socialist. everyone should pay.
mike yesenosky: I think you should wait until it’s offered. are you really supporting the band if you won’t pay to see them? I guess the only time it’s ok to ask is if you can’t afford to go and you know they will be allowed a large list. you know, you could offer to help if you really want to not pay. bands could always use someone to load equipment or sell merch.
carrie sleater-kinney: I ask to be on if I have repeatedly put them our guest list or if the show is sold out. I don’t ask if it’s a benefit or if my friends are on tour.
daniel handler: if I’m broke and they’re really my friends.
jennifer o’connor: I always try to pay if possible, because I think it’s important to support working musicians you like in a monetary way so they can continue to do what they do…especially if they are your friends.
david huon/driving past: it’s good anytime, because they want you there but they don’t want you to pay. I’d put the world on my guest list, if I could. if only I could.
robert tono-bungay: under the circumstance that I desperately must get in, I’m feeling brazen enough to ask, and that I have an aching need to be able to lord this singular gift of favor over everyone else at the door who’s patiently waiting on line to pay. or, if it’s any show at the bowery ballroom.
lisa cf: if you see that person’s band quite a bit and usually pay, then it’s fine to ask for a freebie. or if you’ve done them a favor recently.
isaac cf: it’s always ok, I didn’t spend the last 15 years languishing in indie squalor and subsisting on instant ramen so I can pay to see quasi. that’s right janet, I’m talking to you!
andrew eggs / talk it: I try to stay off guest lists unless I’m working or I don’t want to see the band in the first place. I usually ask my friends to take me off their lists. unless they get big, at which point all bets are off. watch your deli tray, too! me hungry!
clarissa cf: I have a job; I can pay my way. if they offer, I’ll say yes.but it is not nice to ask for a present.
jeff aden: you know, I used to be really insecure about asking to be on the guestlist. then I realized that I never get mad at people who ask to be on our list, so I’ve sort of gotten over it. if they don’t have room, they’ll say no. but it’s not like they’ll be pissed at you for asking.
dickon fosca: if it’s a small gig, the band have day jobs and the door price is cheaper than buying a couple of drinks, I think it’s fair enough to pay one’s way in. if the show is a big venue and the band are drinking nectar from the navels of brewer street rent boys between songs, I only go if I can get in free. basic robin hood tactics, really. if the show is sold out and the only way of getting in is by being on the list, then that’s fair enough too.
terry dot dash: I usually just say “look, you know I’m there for you… you know I’m out there flyin’ the flag for you guys 24-7 so how ’bout it? what’s it’s gonna take to get my name on that list? and while we’re on the subject, what dy’a think about a plus-one scenario? c’mon, don’t put me on there all by my lonesome — I got needs.”
stuart moxham: any. also always insist on free copies of new records if they have the need to tell you of them!
don smith: if it’s a local band, it’s not ok to ask to get put on the band’s guest list in most cases. the only cases where this is not true are if financial disasters preclude this or if the band owes you money. otherwise it’s up to the band to invite you on their list — it’s their list and their decision. if you have an interview with a touring band then you can ask them for plus ones. if you have an interview with a local band then you should bring them a gift rather than asking to get into their show. if you are assigned the interview by your editor then you can ask the band for a guest list, even if they are local, by explaining that it’s your editor’s idea. under no circumstances are you ever allowed to ask to get on the band’s guest list for the purpose of freelance photography. if the band is from out of town and their label has more than one paid employee you are allowed to ask the band’s label for anything, including posters and advance cassettes. if you are planning to bootleg the show, meticulously write down the songs played, take pictures and think about the show for days afterward you are permitted to ask to get on the guest list and ask the singer for a kiss. the band in turn, is allowed to press charges.
ld flare: I don’t usually—as a writer I’d rather just call the club or the pr people.
tracy dreamy: most of the time I am organizing the gig… and when I’m not, I don’t feel too bad about asking. if I feel it’s not right then I buy the ticket or I don’t go
Photograph: gail o
of course we stand with the late quentin crisp, who said “fashion is what you adopt when you don’t know who you are.” we prefer highly developed personal style. nevertheless, as someone who pays a tiny bit of attention to what the designers are doing, I can say with some level of certainty that when it comes to spring/summer fashion trends, some things never go away: white, yellow, flesh, baby pink, gray, beige (or “greige”…“grayge”?), nautical, stripes, gingham, safari, military, polka dots, floaty ethereal frocks in dry-clean only fabrics that snag easily, etc. the above gallery features some designers whose creations for the season we might actually wear, if we were given free promos (hint hint). dries van noten. eley kishimoto. miu miu. apc. chanel.
trends we can get behind no matter what year it is: the sixties. oriental. the 80s. flowers. op-art. motorcycle boots. we don’t mind if you want to dress up like lady mary either. ballerina style. orch pop. enid from ghost world (but we hate ‘ladylike punk’). the edith head look. mod. papillons. shiny silver gilded cecil beaton party dresses. lee miller. pendleton. vintage frocks. flannel. paisley. leggings. comfort. durability. quality. surf. recycled / customized / repurposed items. eco fashion. regionally sourced fashion. mary quant. twiggy. indie-pop. joey ramone. rosie the riveter. space-age flapper. suffragette. stevie nicks circa ’78. ziggy stardust.
trends to which we say “no no no”: fur (fuck you, fur industry, and all the idiot luxury magazines that advertise it). handbags made from endangered species. orthopedic shoes. top knots. anything skinny, shrunken, teeny, matchstick, etc. – especially jeans. sheer. neon. mesh. sheer neon mesh (see hannah’s ghastly ensemble on the painful-to-watch episode of girls last night). we prefer musical pastelism to pastel-colored clothing, which can be done very badly. life-threatening heels. dousing one’s entire body in toxic chemicals in an attempt to beautify oneself: just drink water. fast fashion. pointlessly expensive “designer label” b.s. mullets. outrageously priced thrift-store clothing.
jennifer o’connor: no.
don smith: I still remember a drunken kelly young from death worm radio yelling at the great plains when they played with beat happening at d.c. space to shut the hell up when the aging replacements-era indie rockers tried to make a go of it about 18 months after their last point of relevancy. the crowd was talking amongst themselves and the band clearly was making no impact on them, but at that heckling comment they seemed really hurt and confused, barely able to muster “what is this, new york?” they quickly played “why do punk rock guys go out with new wave girls” and left the stage. in the end I felt really sad for them, even if they had totally missed the boat musically and bored us to tears. up until that point I had never considered that the band wasn’t onstage in a cone of silence, unaffected by the audience’s reaction. but still, they were doing material appropriate for 1986 and here it was 1988. ron house redeemed himself for the four-eyed posse crowd with thomas jefferson slave apartments.
matt shinkansen: it’s fine to chat if you’re bored but, as a courtesy, you should include the band in the conversation. ask them what chord they’re playing and stuff like that. suggest more interesting open-string variations etc.
david huon/driving past: it’s ok to chat whether they’re boring or brilliant. chat is grouse!
lisa cf: not right in front, where people are trying to listen. this is why more clubs should have an in-and-out policy.
tracy dreamy: no, it’s about respect. go next door, or if you must say a few words, keep it brief and the volume down.
ld flare: only if you don’t know them. if you do know them, it’s absolutely unforgiveable.
mac of oxford: no, shut the fuck up, you may find them “boring” but elsewhere others may be straining to hear that boredom.
clarissa cf: if the policy of the space is that you can’t leave and come back in, be discreet (at the back of the room, very quietly). otherwise, leave and come back in. you’ve paid your money, which gives you some rights, but there is the matter of simple politeness to the people who do want to hear the band.
mike yesenosky: out of respect for the people in the opening act, who might be decent human beings even if they don’t make music you like, no. at least they are doing something productive with their time. keeping your mouth shut for 45 minutes shouldn’t be that big of an ordeal for an adult. plus there are probably people in the room who are enjoying them and didn’t pay to hear you chatting.
stuart moxham: yes, ’cause they’ll improve (or quit.)
robert tono-bungay: interesting. it might be a matter of degree: a word or two here or there, y’know, I don’t think you can help that. although I don’t think it’s ever “ok to chat”, to really go at it. I mean, you whip out a cell phone, everyone thinks you’re a creep; but you do the same thing with a live person standing next to you and that’s ok? on the other hand, a large background murmur DOES send a perhaps valuable message to those in the midst of performance that they might should, y’know, rethink things. and it doesn’t have to be a small place either — I saw portishead at the hammersmith and it was as if someone had drawn this “line of yak” right at the mixing console. everything from the board on up was rapt attention, and from the board on back the place sounded like a broadway theater lobby during intermission. tell you one thing — you sure could tell who paid to get in and who didn’t! CF
how many of the things you have to say cannot wait? do you usually stay toward the back or by the bar so as not to disturb people who came to hear the music?
lisa cf: catty comments about band cannot wait. spotting someone’s ex in a crowd cannot wait. if you are about to faint or vomit, that can’t wait. everything else can.
david huon/driving past: everything that comes into my head cannot wait, because I’ll lose it if I don’t say it straight away. if I don’t lose the truth of it, I’ll lose the appropriate, spontaneous form of it, it won’t be convincing anymore.
liz clayton: I was once at a show at a very small venue and it so happened that a friend of mine, who had just returned from an eventful trip with her husband, was there. while we shouldn’t have been talking, I didn’t shush her when she started to tell me how she was probably about to get divorced, because it seemed pretty important. in between songs, the performer, who was a friend of mine, said “have you ever been performing a song at a quiet club and you’re really getting pissed off because you can hear someone talking and you look over to find the person and it’s someone you’ve been friends with for years?” and gave me a look of death. ouch!
don smith: you are laying a lot of the blame for this talking at the feet of the audience. did you ever giggle, pass notes, or doodle during high school classes? why would you divert your attention from the teacher and perhaps inhibit the other children from learning? because ya get bored and you want to gossip. or were you the kid who tsk-tsked the talkers? and besides, who said that every band is good? the venue’s architecture allows this behavior. the new 9:30 club has a second level and easy-to-access spaces that would allow for conversations during lulls in band’s sets, both the old and new black cats have a wide area in the back for conversations. if I came to a show with friends or came to see bands that I don’t really like just to hang out with friends then the bands need to move me to keep my attention, but that’s what I paid them to do when I walked in the door. another problem which you address is the inappropriate booking of bands into certain spaces. on the east coast the major venues for bands, even indie pop or quiet acoustic bands where songwriting is key, are rock clubs and bars completely inappropriate for such quiet and introspective music. I have seen such mismatched shows before and the crowd can get annoyed that people are talking and drinking in the very bar they went to see quiet library music. the bar patrons probably share the ill feelings about the people who aren’t partying it up in the bar they went to. I would think that if a band is quiet or plays lyrical music where people want to hear the words, the last place that they should play is a bar. that’s why art gallery shows exist. in the end gail, I beseech you, don’t be a playa hata.
tracy dreamy: mostly my words can wait — unless there is a fire or other emergency that I must warn people of.
matt shinkansen: no, because it disturbs the people trying to order drinks. bands have to compete with the bar, and one of them’s bound to lose out — it’s basic darwinism.
robert tono-bungay: I kind of never converse during someone’s set, at least I try not to. I just feel like I want to concentrate on what these bands worked hard (presumably) on presenting. and anyway, I think more people can attribute whatever hearing loss they may have to getting their earholes screamed into at close range than getting a buttload of skronk from some PA.
ld flare: I use sign language or write notes in lipstick on cocktail napkins. CF
originally published in chickfactor 15’s special etiquette poll section.
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 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- wash your dishes and beer bottles out, throw away your trash, and clean up after yourself in general.
- though it’s sweet, you don’t have to fold up any sheets you used. they’re just going to get washed anyway.
- don’t use the host/hostess’ bathroom products, razors, etc. without asking. a house is not a motel.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.