baby where art thou?


the legendary jim ruiz is one of the classic chickfactor singer-songwriters. his swoon-worthy songs, his gentle jazzy guitar moves, his humble ways, we love the guy. the only thing to complain about is how little music he has generated over the years! that is all going to change now that his fans have a way of contacting him (via, you know, the internet). I gave a copy of sniff to a handsome man in 2006 and it didn’t do much good, but if I were handing out valentines tomorrow I’d be sure to put the lovely legendary jim ruiz tune “be my valentine” in there too. pam interviewed the legendary jim ruiz group for cf back in 1995 or something, so we figured it was time for an update…

chickfactor: hi jim, what happened to the legendary jim ruiz group?
jim ruiz: I wasn’t sure myself, but then I was hitchhiking in glacier national park with my girlfriend laura and this older couple picked us up. I noticed a guitar and started talking gear with him. his wife asked if I was in a band and I told her I used to be. when she asked me why I quit, I blurted out “I guess I ran out of songs!”
where are the members?
they have gone on to find success in their various fields. allison is in the owls and they are about to release their second album. chris is still going strong at the minneapolis public library. he found love, he’s been with his boyfriend jeff for over a year now. stephanie has released a couple of cds and I hear she’s thinking of moving to england. danny sigelman is working for the current, a public radio station devoted to playing non-commercial modern music and he also DJs events. charlotte is married and has had two baby girls, sally and jane.
what are you doing?
I’m still working at the public library and I am also the president of my neighborhood association, the west bank community coalition.
where is the next album?
after a couple of years doing practically no music, I bought a 16-track digital recording thing. that really became my band and I’ve been working songs out on that. I’ve been fortunate enough to get help from friends and people who I would call “old jazz guys.” so my goal is to have 10 songs that I’m really happy with, I’m recording #9 now and writing #10, although I have some options for #10.
do you have a website? blog? etc.
it’s funny you should ask, I’m in the process of getting my new myspace page up and running. although it’s not even finished, I just shattered the 100 hit mark yesterday! I’m using a picture you took as my signature picture.
is minneapolis still a great pop town?
if it’s not at the moment it certainly has the potential to be. okay, we took a hit when grimsey left town but minneapolis is a musical place, it’s part of its culture. there are a lot of really great musicians around here. I think it’s only a matter of time before something happens, and now we have a radio station that will play local music that goes to the whole state; the conditions are favorable for a pop explosion.
didn’t prince leave town recently?
I would be surprised if he didn’t live here at least part of the year. his house is in minnetonka anyway, I think that’s mentioned in his movie.
what music still resonates?
I can now say with a great deal of certainty that my favorite jazz vocalist of all time is lee wiley and that the album that is the pinnacle of that genre is her west of the moon album with ralph burns. with the exception of the track “limehouse blues,” it is perfection. in fact at this very moment I am listening to her night in manhattan album that I just received in the mail today. it’s amazing, what an amazing voice, buy, buy, buy! everybody should own the mose allison sings album. he’s like an undiscovered ray charles; he should be a thousand times more famous than he is. the first two françoise hardy albums, yeah, yeah girl from paris and in vogue are still magical. I’m more and more impressed by the maturity of the would-be-goods songwriting, I just put the morning after on the other day and I think that the album has high points that haven’t been reached since the 80s. bossa nova as a genre, particularly as more brazilian stuff becomes available – an ongoing project. 60s soul music, now I’m cheating I suppose. georgie fame playing “yeah, yeah” live on ready, steady, go (1965) on youtube gives me heart palpitations. the smiths were in retrospect much better than people gave them credit for at the time, myself included. live at the star club 1962 continues to be my favorite beatles album. I have to acknowledge that in retrospect the jazz butcher/max eider alliance at a pivotal moment made me think “hey, I could write songs like that,” causing me to throw away my life on a useless dream.
what is the news on max eider?
coincidentally, I’ve been in touch with max eider and he is about to release a new album that he is self-producing. he is considering playing a couple of shows in the u.s. and let’s just say I feel like we’re in the running for a chance of warming up for him. in any case I’m putting a band together for the first time in 6 years – just in case.
do you feel like writing songs?
I always feel like writing songs, finishing them is the real problem.
when are you coming to london?
once I get this next cd done, invite me and I’ll do my best. cf

photograph: gail o’hara

I want one.


it’s no secret to anyone who sees me on a regular basis that I am a fan of rebecca pearcy’s durable and beautiful queenbee products. I keep my precious camera warm and dry inside one of her lovely poppy truckette bags and there are few bags that can endure rainy london weather quite so well. now what I really really want for presidents day is a mixtape wonder wallet!

guitar basics.


if you are like katy who has no rock camp in her area yet, you should try to find people in the community to start one! until then, perhaps sarah utter’s (ex-bangs) guitar basics zine would be a good place to start. check out her fab t-shirts on the page too. surely if you wear one of her ‘reading is sexy’ t-shirts in your town, you will meet some like-minded people to form a band with!

oh l’amour, l’amour.



can’t seem to find the right valentine’s message for your paramour? I’m sure stella marrs can help. check out her beautiful postcards and start bombarding the object of your affection with these romantic messages. stella’s work has gotten more political these days — no other artist has taken on health concerns and environmental issues and presented the argument against harmful chemicals in home and personal products in such a clear cut and effective way (stop using them unless you want cancer, that’s the gist) — but as you can see on her website she covers all of life’s big subjects.

postcards: stella marrs

oh, the absurdite.


the brit awards. how silly are they? I hear that even the nominees have to pay like £750 to get in! is that a scam or what? no wonder no one wants to go. well, the silliest thing about it this year is the international female category where we have beyonce, pink, xtina aguilera and nelly effing frittata up against none other than our very own charlene “cat power” marshall! hoo boy. does this mean grammys and oscars are next for miss chan? the thing is, back when I worked at time out new york in 1995, we did a story on hot local acts to watch and I chose cat power. I interviewed her (I may have been the first non-fanzine to do so) and I mentioned that she’d recently opened for liz phair at town hall and she had blown liz phair away. then I got a letter from some angry reader who told me I was full of shit and that cat power was terrible at that town hall show, everyone could see that! I guess we can wait until cat power becomes the first lady of chanel, until she appears in a wong kar-wei film, until she conquers all to admit that she might be one to watch. (this post is for that reader (and for gerard, who really “discovered” her), natch.)

photograph: gail o’hara for chickfactor

covergirl from chickfactor 1 in drama club shocker.

that’s right, gang (especially you new yorkers!) the lovely ms phoebe bluesky summersquash is starring in a play in new york city! the girl has multiple talents and loads of acting experience — I believe she was even one of the famous ‘silvermen’ in sarah silverman’s backing band and she was also the slacker cartoon voice on some mtv hit show!
the play is called savage in limbo (written by john patrick shanley, directed by jocelyn burrows)
also starring jocelyn burrows, erin cross, brant cunningham + andres monroy
february 14, 15, 16 and 17 @ 8pm, at the michael weller theatre, 311 west 43 st, suite 602, between eighth and ninth aves
tickets $18; for reservations call (845) 551-1199
here’s what they say: ‘a tragicomedy in one act, it’s a romp in the bronx at a bar where everyone is 32 and going nowhere not so fast. featuring a virgin with a pack of cards, an oversexed and under appreciated hothead, a barkeep with a santa suit, a failed nun and a handsome italian hot shot looking for ugly girls. you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but most of all you’ll be glad you’re not stuck in their situation…or are you?’
so grab your anti-valentine’s day party date and go.

the matt and mac show.

I was lucky enough to go see m ward (who I can say I totally adore as the comfort food music of choice these days, oh I really do) and portastatic (aka mac) at the town hall on 26 january 2007 in new york. it was on a superfreezing evening and our feet froze all night long, but oh was it all worth it. portastatic played a go-betweens classic and also one of our fave tracks “I wanna know girls” and margaret white the subtle sidewoman pulled out all kinds of instruments and made it all sound super for a duo.

I have to admit I had only just seen m ward one time, opening for mlle neko rochelle case at london’s lovely koko, so it was glorious to have him play a proper set, mostly alone. he needed a haircut (but he’s still pretty foxy), and he slumps around and he only looks mean the way he does in photos some of the time — the rest of the time he makes funny (not smily) faces. I know some people say he appeals to the deadhead noodle dancing crowd (oh what an awful thing to say) or he is only for the ladies but I know this just isn’t true. he may be getting a little too slick (going on the road with norah jones I hear) and I hope he doesn’t get so full of himself that he may burst, but man oh man he’s a good thing happening right now, not like these mediocre pansies flooding the streets of my current place of residence. go m ward. that daniel johnston cover is about the best thing I’ve seen in years…. (but why was conor oberst on the stage with him looking rather pale and ill?)

it’s a dump.

jm-dump
dump is a lazy band from brooklyn. they never do enough music for the kids. they go on the road with some other band, which is really annoying! get to work, dump. for chrissakes, we need a new dump box set. we tracked down the dump guy for an exclusive interview.

cf: where is my new dump album?
dump: it’s not done yet.
cf: what has dump been watching on tv? now that dump is a tv star who has starred on the gilmore girls and the simpsons, what other shows does he want to be on?
dump: I’ve been watching heroes, the wire, lucky louie, pitagora suichi and talk sex with sue johanson. I wouldn’t mind being in the audience of a judge judy.
cf: what is dump eating on the road with his other band?
dump: I’ve been eating cuban food in miami, somewhere near the corner of stab whitey and kill whitey. bbq from dreamland (the tuscaloosa branch, but delivered to us in birmingham) was stout and soulful. I couldn’t find anything to eat in orlando so instead I bought records (eddie bo, skull snaps, chubb rock, beach boys “breakway” 45, released the day I was born!). fried chicken in tallahassee. very good cheeseburger at pete’s in knoxville. jonathan marx brought me cookies from nashville’s best bakery, becker’s.
cf: what does dump download, listen to, watch, whatever, on the innernet?
dump: recipes, sports scores, directions, occasionally music, “can’t stop the bleeding,” hardcore pornography, flipper videos on youtube, and streaming wfmu.
cf: where is my dump box set? badges? promotional vinyl carrying case?
dump: I don’t know where your dump box set is. same goes for the badges. I don’t even know how to address the matter of the promotional vinyl carrying case. those would all be pretty cool, because the first two things could fit inside the third thing, and you could carry them all around like that, and then it’d be really easy to know exactly where they all were. but I haven’t made any of those things yet.
cf: why is dump ignoring the fans? when will he deliver the goods?
dump: I’m not ignoring dump fans, quite the contrary. I finally started a dump myspace spage, where I am conversing freely, practically like a normal person. I’m posting new, unreleased and hard-to-find songs there from time to time, as well as original artwork.
cf: normal, hmm? ha ha, keep trying.

dump is on myspace apparently, but we would prefer a new vinyl product

pipas are people.

just like dead can dance, pipas have become one of those bands that reside in various locales, currently lupe is in london and mark’s in brooklyn. we caught up with the big-haired chanteuse/songcrafter/multi-tasker lupe nunez-fernandez and she was kind enough to answer our mini-interview questions. she says that they plan to record a new album in march, “might play some shows after that,” have cds for sale and t-shirts (the sorry tour design) and maybe a bag or two via pipasforthepeople.com…..

what is the weirdest thing someone has said about your new album sorry love?
that it’s too long. no just kidding, I think I dreamt that. the weirdest thing anyone’s said is that they thought we’d broken up! you go quiet for a while… no people, we’re here to stay, at least for a while.
what do the pipas fans look like?
many different ways. too tall too short too skinny and too fat all rolled into one, and let me tell you, they always look damn good. they always look like they’re high on caffeine. generally they look happy. they usually go for the natural cruelty free look. big hair and glasses. you dig what I’m saying? can’t complain.
we hear that mark powell is the pipas fashion stylist. what does he tell you to wear?
he tells me all sorts of stuff but it’s pearls before swine, I never listen. I used to try to cleverly mis-match t-shirt slogans, like he’d wear his ‘I’m an army wife’ shirt and I’d obviously reach for my ‘sweet burger’ number (my other band. I mean my other-other-other band gail!). in general the plaid button down look never fails. I won’t include my mariachi shirt in that category, that’s not such a popular number in our dressing room. I wanna dress like pidg [mark’s nickname] and one day I will.
where have you received the best vegan food and or hospitality on tour?
well many places! our recent show in leipzig was unexpectedly preceded by our friend’s delicious vegetable gratin — so decadent, total stick to the ribs sort of half, double, and quadruple soy cream involved. we were practically licking the dishes. everyone treats us too nicely. germany in general fantastic for vegans — it’s the land that produced among other things green peppercorn streich, now a staple in our tour bag. if you’ve never had this… gothenburg was extraordinary this past time, we stayed with our heroic friend who is a vegan chef in his free hours… so it was a long and delicious 4 course meal, including the biggest artichokes we’ve ever seen and homemade swedish waffles with lots of sauces. genoa for the farinata (deliciously unctuous savory chickpea crepe bought at a bakery at 3 in the morning). finland, finland, what did we eat in finland? great coffee across the street from kiasma in helsinki. barcelona for annika’s gorgeous toy kitchen stocked with all kinds of friendly delights. madrid for, um, churros. utrera outside seville gave us ajoblanco, that vinegary white garlic soup otherwise known as the nectar of life. athens was good to us — good beans eating in, good beans eating out, and ecstatically good olives all around. if we look back over the last few years, it would be hard to overlook australia and california as wholes — best tofu scrambles, flat whites, homemade baked beans, waffles, etc etc. in new york I find there is too much fake meat, too much tofu, too much salt. not complaining! but things don’t have to be the same always. we also enjoyed the humble diet-like vegetables in tomato sauce and garlic rye croutons in estonia. as long as there’s something to put in our stomach — preferably involving bread, olive oil and coffee — we ok.
for more details on the dyn-o-mite duo, head to pipas blog and pipas site

photograph: gail o’hara