trish keenan from broadcast: the chickfactor interview (2001)

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trish keenan from broadcast

today (28 september 1968) is the birthday of the leading lady of broadcast, trish keenan, who passed away in 2011. when I went to her birmingham flat on a warm spring day in may 2001, I found a warm, lovely and smart person who was far friendlier than her onstage persona might have suggested. she was charming and candid and I feel lucky to have met her. we are sharing this interview from our 14th print issue (we have a few copies left btw). 

interview by gail o’hara

chickfactor: what was your best experience at this year’s all tomorrow’s parties? any revelations? were you there for the whole thing?

trish: no, we missed the first night. I didn’t actually, I didn’t like anything. I think because if you’re down front you can get the best sound in that room—it’s not a great room. I don’t think it’s a great place to hold gigs at all [pontin’s in camber sands]. the biggest revelation for me and it’s nothing to do with music, is that there was damp in the chalets. the bands get the best of the chalets, but when I went down to a friend’s chalet who paid 100 pounds for a ticket, it was damp and it smelled. and I thought to myself, god, poor british families save up all year round for this holiday? it’s the granny and the kids and it’s supposed to encompass something for everybody and it’s just a damp chalet. there were lots of americans there, and I thought, what must they all be thinking? steve from tommy boy was with us and you know that entrance with the big blue sign, and I heard him in the back of the van going, “fucking hell.” I was like, “yeah, you’re right, it is fucking hell.” I didn’t see many bands; I had a good time. the bands I did see, I was right at the back and it was terrible sound so I didn’t get to see the best of television. couldn’t see all of yo la tengo’s set because we were on before them and we were packing up.

cf: if you curated one of those, who would you invite to play?

trish: they’re all dead. I’ve love for joe meek to play. I’d do a joe meek night, so you’ve got glenda collins and the tornados and what have you. a phil spector night. they should do a producers weekend—that’s what I’d like. three, four nights of just one thing. then maybe a little talk afterwards about how we recorded…

cf: any living producers you’d want to be there? I guess phil spector still works…

trish: good question, I don’t really… in the 50s and 60s when producers were the new phenomenon, they had one sound and they weren’t worried about what the bands wanted and how they wanted to sound, which is what the producers nowadays seem to be more concerned with—they want the band to be happy, which is good. back then, you came as a musician or vocalist to fit in with the producer’s sound. that’s what made it so interesting, that’s what made it one thing, like the spector group, and it had so many connections—the brill building singer-songwriters, and all these fantastic singers could come in and sing their songs. it was almost like this network—it was just like the beatles were. it was like an institute of songwriters and no. 1s and top 20 hits…

cf: surely britney spears is following in that tradition….

trish: see, I like the song but I don’t like the artist. “I did it again” was a phenomenal, amazing song and brilliant vocal performance but she’s crap. she’s crap. I can’t have that.

cf: it’s just a sequel of the formula.

trish: it’s like “oops, I did it again, I wrote the last song again and got a no. 1.” the idea of producers now, I think the bands have got far too much power in the recording studio now. a producer’s job is to somehow throw a net over the five band members’ ideas somehow bring them together. whereas I prefer the producer to go “shut the fuck up and play this.” then you’ve got one mind pushing the whole thing forward. there’s nothing worse than having five babbling voices all wanting to be the greatest thing.

cf: is that how broadcast is?

trish: well, you know, every band can get like that. even if you’re putting a magazine together and everyone has their own ambitions for what they want out of it and you have to be able to compromise. with the producers of the 60s there was no compromise. it was one thing and you joined it, you fitted in with it.

cf: what is the most ridiculous assessment of broadcast that you’ve read?

trish: “futuristic von trapp family.” sometimes writers come up with these things, and it was maybe before the broadcast gig even happened.

cf: what is the best fan gift you’ve gotten?

trish: I have a crocheted brooch. I don’t get things thrown up onstage very often, that’s why I remember the brooch.

cf: what do your fans look like?

trish: it’s quite a mixture actually. ha ha ha. I suppose the one type I’ve come across more than any other is this short, small gay computer or website type guy. I don’t know why. I wouldn’t say they’re nerds. when I meet these people, I say “I know he’s gay and I bet he works in computers,” and it will come out and I think “how bizarre.”

cf: you’re a total heartthrob with straight boys.

trish: I don’t think so. I’m not getting hassled by anybody. boys aren’t like that. girls have got that kind of… especially from 17 to early 20s, if you’re into pop music and chart music, it seems like the girl fans will throw their all at you and they don’t care, they’ve got the confidence. they don’t care if they’re pushed back. boys are different. a girl fronting a band, you don’t get it so much. you just wouldn’t get a group of boys screaming at a girl—it’s just not in their nature.

cf: were you a fangirl at 17?

trish: I was probably just getting into the smiths. coming out of bowie and all the glam 70s things. I was a big bowie fan from about 13 to 16. it’s the age I was growing up. when I started school it was 1980. it was all new romantic stuff as well. I remember throwing myself at morrissey one time; I got up onstage and tried…I don’t know what I tried to do.

cf: he’s very magnetic.

trish: he’s fantastic.

cf: where is broadcast most famous?

trish: san francisco. that’s where we’ve sold the most records. followed very closely by new york.

cf: who would you want to play you in the trish keenan story?

trish: that’s a wicked question! I’m trying to think of someone who looks really irish and pale. um, I can’t think of anyone.

cf: what’s your favorite soundtrack?

trish: I quite like ravi shankar’s soundtrack stuff. I like chappaqua and charly, I’ve been playing those albums for six or seven months. I love krzysztof komeda, especially the knife in the water soundtrack. morricone goes without saying I suppose. I really like the badlands soundtrack actually, the music used in that. but I wouldn’t say I’ve got one guy. james is really into ennio morricone and that would be his answer.

cf: has broadcast been used in films?

trish: we get used occasionally in channel 4 adverts but we’ve been asked to do something but we’re awaiting the arrival of some tapes. if it’s crap, you can send it back.

cf: is there a director you would say yes straightaway to?

trish: no. there’s plenty of good directors out there. I don’t feel that we—not to try and dis the band but the greatest soundtracks have come from composers that are really steeped in the history of music, they can play classical pieces off by heart, they can sight read. all the brill building songwriters were classically trained, and it really puts you on good footing if you’ve got that behind you. if you’re postmodern and you knew punk happened, you don’t need to have that knowledge to put some good sounds together. that’s all right if you’re making an album, but if you’re making a soundtrack all of a sudden you have to represent that scene or those moods and that’s where training would come in handy. for us it would have to be a really good film—we’ll probably end up doing a shit soundtrack for a shit film at some point. right now it would really have to blow us away for us to take it on.

cf: you could always learn to read music. elvis costello learned it when he was 35.

trish: did he? I can read a little bit and I do have a go every now and again. I know I could do it, but it’s just like taking that time out. then you worry about how it will rub off on the writing technique you’ve managed to accumulate up until this point. all of a sudden I’ll start sounding like james galway.

cf: what was your first band called?

trish: pan am flightbag. this was ’90 or ’91, with two members of broadcast. we did two gigs then split off. for a moment there, we were the best local band there was.

cf: were you musical as a child?

trish: I don’t think I stood out, particularly. I didn’t really apply myself in any way and I wasn’t pushed into it from my parents, though they were really into music.

cf: what kind?

trish: I grew up with bob dylan, neil diamond. we had a pontin’s holiday in the ’70s and there was a talent competition and my mom and dad said “you’ve got to get something ready for the talent competition.”

cf: what a riot.

trish: they were there, “go on, get up onstage.” my mom used to do a bit of singing in clubs when she was younger. she didn’t really take it seriously. for the talent competition my dad said, “why don’t you learn ‘love is in the air’ on your recorder?” he taught me all the notes and I wrote them all down. we had our auditions and my mom didn’t get into the final thing. I got in with my recorder. she must have been terrible. a strange thing happened, we were in the chalet. I must have been getting worried about going onstage to play my recorder, my mom said, “come on, it’s 7:30, they want us all backstage and getting ready.” I wouldn’t go. like a 7-year-old kid, I was like, “nooo, moooom.” I must have been nervous though I didn’t feel nervous. my eyes were all red from crying cause I didn’t want to go but I got up and did it. that was it. that was my pontin’s holiday. it’s funny, the second time I would go to pontin’s it would be for music as well…

cf: do you like brazilian music?

trish: I like os mutantes, jorge ben, gal costa…

cf: caetano veloso?

trish: yeah, yeah.

cf: he wrote all the best mutantes songs. what french pop do you like?

trish: dutronc. françoise hardy will always get put on. brigitte fontaine. even a bit of charles aznavour.

cf: what causes a ruckus when it gets put on in the tour bus?

trish: joan baez. I like her, rog likes her, james hates her, and I don’t think tim likes her. for james, I think me liking joan baez represents something that he really hates. that whimsical folk thing, I’ve definitely got that in my taste and in my writing.

cf: you grew up with dylan!

trish: when I saw her sing that song in don’t look back, I had to go and find out what her best albums were. I like that record with all the poems on it.

cf: what melody or lyric do you have stuck in your head?

trish: I’m reading the art of bob dylan at the moment. I do have sections that come into my mind. I have lines going through my head all the time. for me, I’ll like one section of the song; I’ll hate the verse and the chorus but I’ll love the bridge.

cf: weirdest gig?

trish: I think it was in arizona. it was just in somebody’s living room. it was just weird because we were really tired, and we were just looking for a chance to go, “no, we’re not doing it.” and this was our opportunity. there was no PA, there wasn’t even a kettle. we did the gig in the end. I hadn’t seen one person on the street all day. there was a church 100 yards away with barbed wire all around it. we were like, “we’ve gotta get out of this place, it’s horrible.” and all of a sudden like 90 people come out of nowhere and cram into this little room and there was a gig on. you’ll drive to a gig for 40 or 60 miles away, that’s nothing to you. that’s half the length of this country—I couldn’t possibly go that far for a gig. if it’s not a bike ride, most of the time I won’t go. terribly british and lazy.

cf: if someone came to birmingham for the day, what would you show them?

trish: I’d go and see the canals. I think they’re the best thing we’ve got. we’ve got more canal miles than venice. birmingham was the heart of the industrial revolution, and if it wasn’t for the little waterways that were already built, we would have never been anything. you’d never have had black sabbath if it wasn’t for those canals, that’s my theory.

cf: are you from birmingham?

trish: yes, I was born here.

cf: who is the most underappreciated artist in this country?

trish: autechre. I think they’re fantastic. there’s no compromise with what they do. they’re not massive either; they’ll pull a decent crowd, like at camber sands they pulled a good crowd. the autechre fans are always boys that can’t walk properly, they’ll push your pint into you. rude, horrible boys go to autechre gigs. I always get a laugh out of it. if they wanted to do a commercial track, it would be no. 1.

cf: what’s in your fridge?

trish: two very dark brown bananas—I like them that color. easy-peel satsumas, half a tin of baked beans, some salmon, a bag of carrots, there’s usually much more than this. red cabbage, orange juice, mixed salad.

cf: most people just have beer.

trish: I don’t drink. I smoke blow though I don’t keep that in the fridge. I’m not really into alcohol. don’t like it. not a very good buzz. it’s a bit overrated. if they’d legalize some other drugs, alcohol would go right down the pan. that’s why they don’t want to legalize cannabis, especially here because there’s so much tax on alcohol and cigarettes, offer somebody another escape and those two industries will go down the pan.

cf: if your house was on fire, what would you grab on the way out?

trish: I don’t think I’d grab anything. I’d just get the hell out. I’d take my APC shirt and my vivienne westwood shirt, because they’re close to the window.

cf: who is the funniest person in the band?

trish: they’re all really funny. I couldn’t say one’s funnier than the other. roj I’d say he’s the quickest. his comic timing is genius. he really should be on telly. they’re funny but if you put them under pressure to be funny they won’t be. the three of them together (roj, james and tim) are hilarious. they make the tough parts easy. I’m an audience for them, they get a laugh out of me every time.

cf: are you addicted to anything?

trish: cigarettes, cannabis.

cf: do you collect anything?

trish: I mean, if you call records collecting. if you’re into music, that’s just part of what you do. I’m not really that mentality, and there aren’t many girls that are. it’s a boys’ thing, that collecting, and I think it’s innate. I’m not saying no girls can be collecting nerdy types like that, but it attracts the male mind to get into detail about that. you need both, you need the airhead and the one who knows everything. I’m the airhead. I can’t remember names, I’m terrible with band names and track names.

cf: with CDs, no one even looks at the track names. it’s like “I love track 5!” have you ever had something embarrassing happen onstage?

trish: I’ll tell you what I always do, and it really pisses me off. I always end up hitting my mouth on the microphone. I’m not very comfortable onstage. when I walk into a room I like to be unnoticed. I like to slip in. I’m not the kind of person who wants to rule the room with my conversation. I’m a quiet person.

cf: but you ended up the frontman.

trish: I don’t know why. it’s only cause I could sing. I don’t know whether I could sing or can sing…

cf: you can sing!

trish: because my mom and dad always sang, my mom has a karaoke machine, my dad’s irish and they love a good song, and singing is just something you do. you don’t have to be a performer, you can just sing at any point.

cf: what’s your next record like?

trish: it’s not written yet. what’ll usually happen is I’ll put a few songs together on my own, upstairs is where we recorded the last EP, and james will put production ideas together as far as sounds and if he’s got a chord structure that he’s put down, I’ll get it on minidisc and stick it on my four-track and I’ll try and do a vocal on it. hopefully we’ll have a combination of tracks that I’ve just written on my guitar, four-track tracks, and tracks that james put together that I can put a vocal on. then we’ll go to the studio and we’ll take it someplace further.

cf: do you look at music websites?

trish: I do. I don’t download music, I tend to print lyrics. I always go to olga, the online guitar site and get chords and lyrics. and maybe some creative writing websites that give you some exercises to do—just when I feel I need a kick, a boost. looking at a track on paper—I just looked at “you don’t own me”—that’s a real inspiration for me. the biggest inspiration to me is other people’s music and working it out. CF

photo on the cover of chickfactor 14 by gail o’hara

food poll: what is your favorite food-related song or album?

cf08 cover

gail cf: “birthday cake” by cibo matto (pictured). “hot burrito #1” the flying burrito brothers (elvis c’s version is good too). “lemon cake” by containe. “candy” the magnetic fields.

daniel handler: wingdale community singers, “sugar and salt.”

hannah grass widow: “pig out” by shonen knife.

pete paphides: al stewart’s down in the cellar – a concept album about fine wine!

stephin the magnetic fields: shonen knife: “I wanna eat choco bars.”

james dump/yo la tengo: black flag, “black coffee.”

corin tucker: I have a 7-inch by an australian band called the claggs with a song about chips and gravy.

darren hanlon: “cheeseburgers in paradise” by jimmy buffet.

bridget st john: “suzanne,” leonard cohen.

gordon the fan modine: “I want candy.”

matt lorelei: “vegetables,” the beach boys. that’s sir paul mccartney on carrot don’t you know. or maybe “bite” by the chills.

dawn cf: modern lovers “ice cream man,” barbara manning, “your pies.”

tim dagger: descendents “I like food.”

joe pines / foxgloves: siouxsie & the banshees: “hong kong garden”. the cat’s miaow: “ice cream”. lloyd cole: “ice cream girl.”

vintage photo of cibo matto by gail o’hara, from the cover of chickfactor #8, new york city, 1994.

 

cf food poll: have any musicians influenced your eating habits?

daniel handler: I usually foot the bill while dining with musicians.

stephin the magnetic fields: stephen sondheim freely admitting he is unable to cook at all has made me feel better about my own disastrous attempts.

corin tucker: seth, sara and mike (from corin tucker band) are all pretty much foodies and are very adventurous. we had a really fun tour of japan where we tried octopus balls in osaka. I liked the flavor but had a hard time with the chewiness.

ed shelflife: the fat boys.

bridget st john: john martyn revealed the mysteries of indian spices and the joys of grilled tomatoes!

gordon the fan modine: I look after ash’s goats and chickens a lot and get amazing eggs and veggies in return.

darren hanlon: it’s hard not to eat hot chippies while mark monnone (lucksmiths) is around.

james dump/yo la tengo: the fat boys, big pun, poison idea.

stephen the real tuesday weld: don brosnan and I talk about the dukan diet a lot.

gail cf: connie containe/pacific ocean influenced me hugely by cooking vegan food for me a million times and taking me to angelica kitchen. lupe too when we were flatmates as she is the queen of the improv vegan bakers.

fran cannane: james dutton (cannanes) is a fine cook. david nichols is an inspirational vegetarian.

tim dagger: tears run rings, I’ll now try seitan.

allen clapp: jill pries clapp! she’s been vegetarian since the late 1980s. I’ve been a vegetarian for 8 years.

joe pines / foxgloves: my interest in the go-betweens is gradually leading me to consider eating kangaroo. I am told that it is both healthy and tasty.

 

 

cf food poll: what venue has served you the best eats?

Jim-Ruiz-Set-2

the legendary jim ruiz: I remember I ate my first tempeh reuben sandwich at the black cat in washington, d.c., in the ’90s. unforgettable.

john the magnetic fields: vega, copenhagen. helsinki hudson is a close second.

hannah grass widow: great american music hall.

corin tucker: I like the burgers at maxwell’s.

james dump/yo la tengo: maxwell’s, now and forever.

ed shelflife: cameo gallery in brooklyn that has the lovin’ cup cafe upstairs. good vegan options.

daniel handler: slow food festival, san francisco.

gail cf: I’ll have to say bunk bar.

pete paphides: festival food is the best food. the stall just beside the main stage at the green man that serves traditional welsh meals. faggots and home made chips with stellar gravy; beef stew with moist, heavy herby dumplings!

stephin the magnetic fields: helsinki hudson, in hudson, NY.

fran cannane: I remember most the butchersville pub in louisville, kentucky, in may 1991 as I was so amazed they would give us food for free. I cannot recall this ever happening to us in australia. no idea what the food was though.

kim baxter: rotown in rotterdam. it was so good that we went back for breakfast the next morning.

allen clapp: slims in san francisco has a wonderful veggie buffet!

matt lorelei: einstein a-go-go in jacksonville, florida. sadly it is no longer, but the spread they had for us was amazing. that’s the best we’ve ever been treated.

gordon the fan modine: the rooster’s wife in aberdeen, NC. they sit everyone down to a home-cooked meal from their garden in a beautiful old southern home.

stephen the real tuesday weld: blois festival france.

jennifer o’connor: it’s all a blur honestly.

ian musical chairs: maxwell’s, hoboken, NJ.

bridget st john: otterton mill, devon, UK.

jim ruiz photo courtesy of jim ruiz.

cf food poll: what is your signature dish?

frankie-rose

frankie rose: mexican food. pozole. enchiladas, which I made in glasgow, because there was a little mexican specialty shop that had all the ingredients.

cf: a lot of people in the UK don’t even know what mexican food can be like.

frankie rose: actually they don’t know what they’re eating. what they thought of as mexican food — I think they have tacos and burritos — but an enchilada was like a really foreign… they’d never even heard of it before.

gordon the fan modine: curried beets with beet green and almond “saag” and cucumber raita.

daniel handler: dandelion green pesto on gnocchi with aged gouda.

hannah grass widow: I’m told I make very tasty salads.

stephen the real tuesday weld: peanut butter, slightly burnt toast.

kim baxter: does taking the family out for conveyor belt sushi count? If not, I make a pretty good guacamole.

darren hanlon: wasabi mashed yams.

corin tucker: my son loves my beef tacos. I like to cook for him.

james dump/yo la tengo: v getting food from taco bell and pretending I made it from scratch.

fran cannane: mushroom fajitas this week.

tae won yu: it changes with the seasons. in the summer, I do homemade pasta with pancetta, heirloom tomatoes and basil. I also like risotto with mussels. seafood stew with coconut milk, very easy to make. I rely on seafood stew, never fails, always good. simple, cheap. I love getting an aged ribeye from ottomanelli. a perfect steak seared and basted in butter, that’s amazing.

allen clapp: spinach and cheese omelets. I’ll make ’em for anybody. It’s really the only food I know how to prepare, thanks to my older sister who taught me this skill when I was in second grade.

joe pines / foxgloves: baked salmon with lemon, leek, risotto, rocket salad + pinot grigio. or we could just go to the chinese, it’s only 5 minutes down the road.

matt lorelei: pasta with chard.

jennifer o’connor: vegan cajun cornbread casserole.

pete paphides: apparently it’s my wraps. the sweet potato falafel, tzatziki, red onion, tomato, mango chutney and coriander goes down well – although recently, I’ve been making this: peppered mackerel, tahini, tomato, red onion and toasted pumpkin seeds. also, roast red peppers stuffed with pearl barley, figs, goats cheese, caramelised onions, cumin, chilli and cinnamon. whilst I’m blowing my own trumpet, I prefer my tomato and basil pasta sauce to any other one I’ve eaten elsewhere. liquidised caramelised onions – that’s the key. my kids (and bob stanley) like my wholemeal pizzas.

janice cf: pizza.

stephin the magnetic fields: vegan bento box. I assemble a beautiful lunch.

tim dagger: toast.

gail cf: asian noodle salads. blueberry peach crumble. hummus.

rachel blumberg: I make a really mean eggplant parmesan. did it again the other night. the secret is the sauce. it’s all about ratios and timing and cooking it slow and low! I also love making soup and curries.

bridget st john: roasted vegetables with quinoa.

frankie rose photo by lauren bilanko.

 

chickfactor food polls: best towns

what is the best country/city to tour when it comes to eating?

ed shelflife: I have to vote for portland, oregon!

fran cannane: mexico, japan and the usa. england is really coming into its own I have to say.

stephin the magnetic fields: stockholm: I live for their industrial-strength combination of horseradish and mustard.

corin tucker: france is pretty amazing, for someone like me who has a sweet tooth.

daniel handler: san francisco, bologna, vancouver.

hannah grass widow: I like eating in new york for the polish food. although I must say we have pretty great food in san francisco.

james dump/yo la tengo: japan and nashville.

frankie rose: san diego. amazing mexican food there everywhere. we just randomly walked into a mexican place recently and I had the best lobster burrito I’ve ever had in my life.

bridget st john: kyoto, japan.

stephen the real tuesday weld: los angeles – hands down.

rachel blumberg: new york is pretty fantastic, city wise!  I look forward to polish food, pizza, katz’s, and then all the nifty new places. oh, I had the most amazing ramen ever in new york. georgia recommended it. I can’t wait to go back. my favorite country for eating on tour is france because of all the amazing cheese back stage. ohhh the cheese….

joe pines / foxgloves: arlington, virginia, for ray’s the steaks, where I was taken by my friend stephen wood – a keen supporter of both pop and steak.

jennifer o’connor: southwest usa.

mark teenbeat/unrest: there was an incredible restaurant in minneapolis called the sri lankan curry house. probably the spiciest food I have ever had. it’s unfortunately not there anymore.

ian musical chairs: big cities seem to be the best for food with more veggie options. chicago, boston, and nyc are pretty amazing. israel has fantastic food. there are so many countries I’d like to eat in!

gordon the fan modine: everything is at your fingertips in NYC.

rachel blumberg: new york.

gail cf: portland, oregon!

allen clapp: new york, ny! I love being able to walk out of the club after a show and have the whole world at your feet. In san francisco, everything shuts down way too early, and it’s like walking out into a foggy ghost town (which is kinda cool — but not if you’re hungry).

chickfactor poll: stage fright, part two

do you have any advice / rituals / pharmaceuticals to recommend for coping with stage fright?

stephin the magnetic fields: courvoisier.

corin tucker: deep belly breaths, and really warming up before going on stage.

stephen the real tuesday weld: you have to look at yourself in the mirror in the dressing room and say: “pull it together you pathetic piece of shit. what the F*** IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? get out there right NOW” very, very loudly.

james dump/yo la tengo: seek another line of work?

bridget st john: 1. breathe. 2. don’t have company backstage before you go on stage – it’s a distraction. 3. no pharmaceuticals! but if you have a sore throat singer’s saving grace herbal concoction works very well for singers.

daniel handler: I have a great self-hypnosis program in which I say to myself, “nobody cares one whit. not one flying fuck.”

fran cannane: francesca recommended vodka and grapefruit juice. just for the voice you understand…. It seems to work.

allen clapp: used xanax for a few years, but absolutely HATED it. yoga 2-3 times a week is way more helpful. also, talking to people before playing and not being a hermit is helpful, just to get out of my own head for a while. also, ruby port.

hannah grass widow: we actually made a very spontaneous shrine in our dressing room at that celebrate brooklyn show. it was very therapeutic. we just took a bunch of comfort objects and music supplies and made a really epic and weird shrine in front of our mirror. but unfortunately we usually just drink before we play to take the edge off and warm up the vocals.

matt lorelei: I used to drink heavily and then take max alerts (over-the-counter trucker speed) to focus. it did or did not work depending on your perspective. I would not recommend it. my heart rate became an issue. now I’m just less nervous because I don’t worry about reproducing the recording live. live is a separate thing and the tracks can take on a different life.

joe pines / foxgloves: the night before you play, go on stage with ld beghtol and accompany him by playing one note on an electric stylophone for four minutes.

erin a girl called eddy: there really is nothing that makes it easier for me personally. a very large guinness after though always helps.

gordon the fan modine: a slight buzz is usually nice. and, always eat after the show unless you are playing pretty late.

 

chickfactor poll question: do you suffer from stage fright?

kim baxter: only when I’m playing acoustically for a small audience. my band mate tasha and I recently played at a small bookstore here in portland. we were opening up for our author friends joe meno and nathan larson. we were so nervous! I forgot to breathe the whole time and couldn’t look up. it felt like I had never played a show before. we laughed the whole ride home about how ridiculous it was that a small bookstore crowd totally intimidated us.

james dump/yo la tengo: I do not.

mark teenbeat/unrest: definitely. especially and most certainly if I’m up on stage all by myself. at the chickfactor show I played I got up there and my mind went blank. suddenly I was lyric-less. If I’m playing with other folks on stage it’s usually not a problem.

stephin the magnetic fields: just the reverse: I suffer from stage ennui.

fran cannane: once I had to get off stage and be sick in the middle of a set in chicago at an outdoor festival but that was not caused by stage fright.

corin tucker: I do get nervous, especially in front of large crowds, particularly if I’m singing for someone else’s crowd.

matt lorelei: yes and yes. lorelei was invited to play a gig in princeton, new jersey, in ’91 that ended up being in a living room. those assembled were within arms length of me. I had luckily brought a flask but I had one swig before we started and shook like a leaf the entire time. it was not fun for me.

hannah grass widow: I used to get really nervous, but it’s been a while. I definitely still get an adrenaline rush that infuses the set. there was this one time we were opening for sonic youth at prospect park for celebrate brooklyn. we hadn’t played very many big shows at the time and I can say in retrospect that we were not ready to play for 15,000 people. I got this weird freak allergy attack and my hearing got all weird. It was probably psychosomatic. then we played and it sounded really weird and I realized I was so nervous I forgot to turn on my amp and I was just playing direct. I wish we could play that show again now.

joe pines / foxgloves: it is usually very scary preparing to play, especially as I have no idea how amplifiers, tuners or microphone stands work.

erin a girl called eddy: yes. no specific incidences, but it always amounts to a feeling of sick, hollow dread right before the show. and that’s just the audience.

daniel handler: I watched a friend break down during her bat mitzvah in 1983.  everything about that is a horror story.

bridget st john: most of my stage fright comes in the days leading up to the performance – doubting that I should have agreed to play etc. by the time I am ready to go on stage I am usually quite focused and in a zone. any horror stories have been in recurring dreams of being unprepared and sloppy and starting a song and changing my mind when I can’t get through a song – but then I always wake myself up before it gets any worse!

jennifer o’connor: no, not usually.

gordon the fan modine: if I’m not nervous before a show, I might as well not play it. I think it is a gauge of energy.

gail cf: yes. I only sang onstage with the cover girls in 2002 and it was awful. I was all liquored up and had a cold and seeing the footage of it ensured that I will never do it again.

ian musical chairs: I get quite nervous at first but it wears off pretty quickly.

allen clapp: opening for the ocean blue at the troubadour in 2001, we went to dinner before the show and leisurely walked back to the club. when the stage door opened, the stage manager started screaming at us for being late, and said they had a sold out room and that we were supposed to go on in 1 minute. massive panic attack ensues. I look out, and sure enough, there is a sold-out crowd standing there waiting! the whole set I thought I was going to pass out. In between songs, I kept looking for a secret exit and couldn’t think about anything except running away. argh!

 

 

our 2012 lists, round four!

in case you missed them, here you may read round one, round two and round three as well!

chickfactor editor gail’s top 20 records of the year

1. grass widow, internal logic
2. jim ruiz set, mount curve avenue
3. tender trap, ten songs about girls
4. lightships, electric cable
5. frankie rose, interstellar
6. sharon van etten, tramp
7. saint etienne, words and music
8. corin tucker band, kill my blues
9. veronica falls, veronica falls (technically 2011)
10. lambchop, mr. m
11. beachwood sparks, the tarnished gold
12. the hangover lounge box set, various artists
13. amor de días, the house at sea (technically 2013)
14. yo la tengo, fade (technically 2013)
15. samara lubelski, wavelength
16. black tambourine, onetwothreefour (ramones covers!)
17. songs of the year: grass widow, “disappearing industries” 7”
18. grass widow, “milo minute” 7-inch and video
19. withered hand, “heart heart”
20. dump, “nyc tonight”

mike slumberland’s ten records I listened to the most in 2012

1. four tet, jupiters 12″
2. robert hood, motor: nighttime world 3
3. liechtenstein, fast forward LP
4. lightships, fear and doubt 10″
5. linden, bleached highlights
6. moodymann, why do u feel 12″
7. saint etienne, words and music
8. sea pinks, freak waves
9. various artists, time to go: the southern psychedelic moment: 1981–98 LP
10. young guv & the scuzz, a love too strong EP

sean price’s (fortuna pop!) top ten list

1. chain and the gang “in cool blood” (k records). ian svenonius has now been in three of the greatest rockandroll bands of all time. go figure.
2. the precise moment during “mission bells” when linton and gary olson’s twin trumpet attack kicked in and shattered the mirrorball. (chickfactor 20th anniversary, bush hall, london)
3. ben rivers “slow action”. dreamy, hypnotic and disturbing film installation only bettered by the scotch egg and gallery-brewed real ale I enjoyed in the café afterwards. (hepworth gallery, wakefield)
4. the imposter (dir. bart layton). a documentary that thinks it’s a thriller.
5. dan greene “knife thrower”. illustrations from the mind-blowing alternative universe of the butterflies of love / mountain movers man, on card, wood and whatever else came to hand. (intercambio gallery, new haven)
6. bill fay, life is people (dead oceans). spiritual music.
7. amour (dir. michael haneke). one day he’s going to stop making these crowd pleasing feel-good flicks and turn his hand to something serious.
8. jeremy deller “joy in people”. marvelous, life-affirming art about stuff that matters. (hayward gallery, london)
9. leonard cohen live. three hours of laughing len in concert. at a castle in copenhagen. beat that. (rosenborg castle, copenhagen)
10. porgy & bess. I hear the songs of georgie gershwin. possibly transposed to apartheid-era soweto. (cape town opera, ENO)

rachel blumberg’s top ten music experiences

1. watching black tambourine and small factory at chickfactor NY, brooklyn, ny.
2. playing many happy hours with michael hurley and the croakers at the laurelthirst, portland, oregon.
3. playing with the the cascadia ensemble (me, tara jane o’neil, tender forever, dragging an ox through water, lisa schonberg) at the keep portland weird festival, paris and metz, france.
4. playing with tim rutili (califone) to live film at midnight at huichica music festival, sonoma, california.
5. watching beachwood sparks, old light, and sea of bees at huichica music festival, sonoma, california.
6. playing with tara jane o’neil and mirah at the keep portland weird festival, paris and metz, france.
7. playing with michael hurley and the croakers at my going away party, type foundry studios, portland, oregon.
8. playing with the secret drum band, all over oregon and california.
9. watching sad horse in a very wonderfully crowded valentines, portland, oregon.
10. watching alela diane at the woods stage with friends at dusk at the all around amazing pickathon music festival, pendarvais farm, oregon.

sadie underhill’s (jeffrey honeybunch’s daughter and japanese vocaloid specialist) top ten vocaloids

1. rin kagamine
2. IA
3. CUL
4. gumi
5. len kagamine
6. SF-A2 miki
7. piko utatane
8. lily
9. aoki lapis
10. KAITO

gail’s top ten things to avoid so we can stop climate change

1. meat
2. fish
3. big stupid supermarkets
4. non-recycled loo roll
5. bottled water
6. long-distance food
7. plastic bags
8. big stupid cars
9. waterfront property
10. monsanto

rachel blumberg & jeffrey honeybunch’s top ten cities we visited

1. savannah, georgia.
2. st. augustine, florida.
3. kingston, new york.
4. saugerties, new york.
5. new bedford, massachusetts.
6. woonsocket, rhode island.
7. rochester, new hampshire.
8. tarpon springs, florida.
9. arcata, california.
10. port orford, oregon.

sukhdev sandhu: ten books bought in london at the end of 2012

1. christopher fowler, invisible ink: how 100 great authors disappeared
2. eddie johnson, tales from the two puddings: stratford, east london’s olympic city, in the 1960s
3. kathy battista, renegotiating the body: feminist art in 1970s london
4. daniel poyner (ed.), autonomy: the cover designs of anarchy, 1961-1970
5. metrozones (ed.), faith is the place: the urban cultures of global prayers
6. jason eskenazi, by the glow of the jukebox: the americans list
7. born in flames
8. karren ablaze!, the city is ablaze! the story of a post-punk popzine, 1984–1994
9. maria fusco and richard birkett (eds.), cosey complex
10. hito steyerl, the wretched of the screen

joe brooker (the pines, foxgloves): top ten sentences from james joyce’s ulysses (only one per episode)

1. woodshadows floated silently by through the morning peace from the stairhead seaward where he gazed.
2. on his wise shoulders through the checkerwork of leaves the sun flung spangles, dancing coins.
3. listen: a fourworded wavespeech: seesoo, hrss, rsseeiss, ooos.
4. those homely recipes are often the best: strawberries for the teeth: nettles and rainwater: oatmeal they say steeped in buttermilk.
5. pineapple rock, lemon platt, butter scotch.
6. hot herringpies, green mugs of sack, honeysauces, sugar of roses, marchpane, gooseberried pigeons, ringocandies.
7. miss douce halfstood to see her skin askance in the barmirror gildedlettered where hock and claret glasses shimmered and in their midst a shell.
8. lady sylvester elmshade, mrs barbara lovebirch, mrs poll ash, mrs holly hazeleyes, miss daphne bays, miss dorothy canebrake, mrs clyde twelvetrees, mrs rowan greene, mrs helen vinegadding, miss virginia creeper, miss gladys beech, miss olive garth, miss blanche maple, mrs maud mahogany, miss myra myrtle, miss priscilla elderflower, miss bee honeysuckle, miss grace poplar, miss o mimosa san, miss rachel cedarfrond, the misses lilian and viola lilac, miss timidity aspenall, mrs kitty dewey-mosse, miss may hawthorne, mrs gloriana palme, mrs liana forrest, mrs arabella blackwood and mrs norma holyoake of oakholme regis graced the ceremony by their presence.
9. nevertheless, without going into the minutiae of the business, the eloquent fact remained that the sea was there in all its glory and in the natural course of things somebody or other had to sail on it and fly in the face of providence though it merely went to show how people usually contrived to load that sort of onus on to the other fellow like the hell idea and the lottery and insurance which were run on identically the same lines so that for that very reason if no other lifeboat sunday was a highly laudable institution to which the public at large, no matter where living inland or seaside, as the case might be, having it brought home to them like that should extend its gratitude also to the harbourmasters and coastguard service who had to man the rigging and push off and out amid the elements whatever the season when duty called ireland expects that every man and so on and sometimes had a terrible time of it in the wintertime not forgetting the irish lights, kish and others, liable to capsize at any moment, rounding which he once with his daughter had experienced some remarkably choppy, not to say stormy, weather.
10. furthermore, silly milly, she dreamed of having had an unspoken unremembered conversation with a horse whose name had been joseph to whom (which) she had offered a tumblerful of lemonade which it (he) had appeared to have accepted (cf. hearthdreaming cat).

chickfactor 17!

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chickfactor had a pretty stellar 2012! We set up 12 events, 11 of them were pretty stellar live shows and/or sold-out festivals. Gail published her first photo book, had a photo show in Portland, and we published our 17th issue on paper, featuring Grass Widow, Sharon Van Etten, Bill Callahan, Black Tambourine, Caitlin Moran, Corin Tucker Band, Fence Records, Frankie Rose, Joe Boyd, Joe Pernice, King Creosote, Liam Hayes / Plush, Maira Kalman, Rachel Blumberg, Tae Won Yu; tons of silly polls & smart, funny reviews! Bonne 2013!

Stores selling chickfactor 17:
Other Music (NYC)
Beacon Sound (Portland OR)
Reading Frenzy (Portland OR)
Powells (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)

We will also be sending some to Monorail in Glasgow very soon.

And you can always buy it here in our shop. We also have a few posters and coasters left from the London & Brooklyn shows.

Stores interested in selling it can send me a message on effbk or email me.

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