Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Taking the Bay (and More!)

OK, I figured I would write a little bit about Cunt Sparrer's mini-tour up to the Bay Area a couple of weeks ago. We had an amazing time -- overall we couldn't have met more nice people, played more fun shows, or been treated better by almost everyone involved, from the fans to the people running the venues to the other bands.

The Sunday before we left, June 13th, we did a semi-acoustic show at the Nomadic Image art gallery in downtown Santa Ana.  My longtime friend Andy works there and managed to finagle us onto the bill.  He also happens to be an extremely talented photographer and he took these shots of us at that show, which was really low-key and a lot of fun:

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On Wednesday we left L.A. and drove up to the Bay.  Spent the first night in San Jose with Jennie's brother and his husband.  On Thursday we drove into San Francisco for our first show on the U.S. Bombs tour.  We had to load in at Slim's around 5:30 so we spent a couple of hours tooling around the city, then headed over to the venue, where we sound checked:

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Our friend Nikki, who we stayed with while we were in SF, showed up shortly after we arrived so we kicked it outside for a bit after sound check.

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Then we were told we could go down to our dressing room, which was a shock enough in itself to us! The bill included two other bands besides us and the U.S. Bombs: the Forgotten and Druglords of the Avenues. The Bombs and the Forgotten had their own green rooms; we shared ours with the guys from Druglords, who could not have been cooler, nicer, or funnier. Seriously, a great group of dudes.

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The Slim's folks kept refilling our cooler with beers so there was hardly a need to leave the dressing room until we played at 8:15.  I really thought we'd be playing to an empty house but there was already a decent amount of people there, including some of the guys from Rancid (who I didn't see but were apparently digging us!) and even a few of our own fans who had come out just to see us.  It was a pretty great show; the audience was rad and lively and the sound was amazing.

After we played we got pretty drunk and watched the other bands, chit chatted with Lou (our booker) a lot, and met some of our fans.  We were wasted and back at Nikki's by like 1:00 in the morning.

On Friday we were scheduled at the Shire Road Club in Sacramento for our second night with the U.S. Bombs.  The Druglords guys were on the bill as well, plus the Hanover Saints and a local Sacto band.  Got to the venue around 6:00 and it was a lot lower-key than Slim's; just one small green room for all the bands and because it was an all-ages club we were only allowed to drink in the green room and onstage, so that's pretty much where we hung out!  Couple shots from that show:

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Hardly anyone was there early enough to see us play but the few people that did show were cool, and we had fun.  And that night we actually got to meet and hang out with the guys from the U.S. Bombs!  They were super cool, really nice guys.  Here we are with Duane Peters and Kerry Martinez:

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And here we are with Lou Medrano, who booked us on the shows with the Bombs and without whom none of this would have happened...we love him:

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On Saturday we were on our own as the Bombs tour headed back down South and we had a headlining show at the Stork Club in Oakland with our girlfriends in a great little three-piece called the City and an amazing all-girl Kinks cover band called the Minks!  We were so busy that night we didn't get any photos but one of our fans was kind enough to send this shot over to me:

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On Sunday we had to drive home (boo). Here's a little video wrap-up our friend Nikki made of our time in SF and Oakland:

So now we're back down south, but we'll be heading back up to the Bay Area the weekend of August 14-15! Until then we're keeping ourselves occupied recording -- here are a couple shots from our first session last weekend:

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And we have some shows coming up as well. If you're local to the Long Beach area, come see us July 6th at Di Piazza's with Cat Party, Knives, and some other bands. and if you can make it out to the Inland Empire later in the month, get over to Angelo's in Pomona for this all-tribute night with some other awesome cover bands!

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Til next time dudes.

Sara M.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I'm here!

Sorry I'm so neglectful to this section of the blog -- I've been super busy! A lot has been happening in my life over the past few months but I just wanted to stop by and fill you guys in on the most exciting thing, which is that my Cock Sparrer cover band, CUNT SPARRER*, is taking off. We played our first show on Saturday at my friend John Boy's vintage store, Scuda (sadly now departed).

Setting up...

...rocking! Click for full size.

We are playing again on May 8th at FA4 Gallery in Long Beach, and on May 27th at Redwood Bar in downtown L.A. We are also working on booking a couple of shows in San Francisco in June, so if you are close to any of those spots I hope you come check us out! Here's one of our videos.

*We've been getting some flak over this on the Internet so I'd like to clarify that yes, we realize the "Cock" in "Cock Sparrer" refers to roosters and not the male genitalia -- we just picked our name because it's funny and obvious for a girl band.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It is what it is.

2010 has been amazing so far. I made a resolution to myself to take on this year with a really positive approach, and I'm throwing myself into a lot of new creative projects so I feel like I'm doing shit with myself. My boyfriend is awesome and I've been having a great time.

Here are some photos that were taken of me and Rusty at a party in Hollywood on Saturday night:

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Our third anniversary was in December and I still feel really lucky that we found each other. He's a seriously great dude!

Creatively, what's taking up a lot of my time right now is a new band project I'm working on with my best friend Jennie. I wrote about Cock Sparrer in this blog a few months ago and now I can reveal that Jennie and I are putting together an all-girl Cock Sparrer cover band called Cunt Sparrer (duh). Originally we planned on doing really straightforward covers, but one day we were fucking around with the instruments she has at her place and ended up putting together some songs using an acoustic guitar and a polychord selector, which is a kids' electric organette from the late '70s that Jennie found at a flea market. So we're taking a more kitschy, low-fi approach. Here are early videos of our covers of "Riot Squad" and "Take 'Em All":

We're planning on adding a drummer and incorporating more instruments and voices. For now though we're pretty stoked on how things are progressing!

Monday, December 14, 2009

On a clear day... can see forever.

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It rained all week and cleared up on Sunday, so the old man and I walked up to Signal Hill to check out the view of our city all clean and shiny after the storm. Long Beach por vida. I love this fucking town.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How heavy this axe.

On Friday night I drove up to L.A. to attend the opening of the INTRO show at the Harvey's Seatbeltbags boutique on Melrose (my friend Nancy is a finalist). Nancy's artwork looked really great and the woman who owns Harvey's was clearly a huge fan of hers -- hopefully she wins the competition! (You can vote for her here if you're so inclined.) We drank free cocktails and ate free hot dogs and my best friend Jennie had a five dollar psychic reading on the street that was about twenty-five percent accurate (which seems to be about the norm).

Me and Nancy.

Nancy, Jenny, and my BFF Jennie. Click photos for full size.

Saturday I kept it pretty mellow. It was my man-bestie Josh's 30th birthday so we rolled over to Bart's Pub in Garden Grove for his throwdown. Ghestapo Khazi played with Josh's band, Big Takeover, and Josh DJ'd. Pretty chill.

On Sunday Jennie and I went over to kick it with Josh on the low-key tip. Both Josh and Jennie are huge Pee-Wee's Playhouse fans, and Josh made us jealous with his latest Cypress Swapmeet score, a Billy Baloney puppet:

Josh and Billy Baloney. Click for full size.

All in all pretty solid. Spent the rest of the day kicking around with my dude at his place, reading magazines and watching TV. How was your weekend?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Metal moments

When it comes to my interests, fashion is clearly a biggie, but even clothes take a back seat to the number one love in my life: heavy metal. It's my fucking favorite thing. I'm a fan of most of its subgenres from stoner to sludge to doom to speed to thrash to black to death, but I'm especially partial to the big hitters of the late '70s and the eighties, with a very special place in my heart for hair metal -- if it crawled the Sunset Strip from '81 to '89, chances are good that I know it and I love it.

Certain metal songs hold personal relevance for me and remind me of very specific moments in time, whether it was the first time I heard a jam or if something significant happened while I was listening to one or if something just reminds me of one, and I thought I'd compile a short list of moments from my heavy metal life.

The Number Of The Beast - Iron Maiden

I was 15 years old and trying to find where I fit in and I had this friend named Randy that I thought was such hot shit. He was two years older than me and got me into hardcore music, which was blowing up in Orange County at the time, and he had a car and lots of cool punk friends who didn't go to our high school. Plus he was straight edge and really polite, which meant my mom loved him and let me go with him to shows and stay out past 10:00 PM.

I remember it was a Sunday evening during a fairly cold month and Randy called me and asked me if I wanted to go get dinner with him and some of his friends at Taco Loco, which is a hole-in-the-wall joint in Laguna Beach popular with vegans for its tofu mushroom burgers. (Of course all these kids were vegan, one thing with which I never got on board.) After some begging my mom finally agreed to let me go, and before I knew it I was in the back of an old beater van with Randy and three kids I'd never met -- two dudes and a girl. They were all two or three years older than me and I thought they looked so cool and old and tough with their denim jackets over faded hoodies covered in band patches, Converse and super-pegged jeans and they all had huge plugs in their ears and piercings in their faces and the girl's hair had big chunks of white and red in it and I felt totally uncool and intimidated, but they seemed to think I was all right. I don't remember anything about the drive to Laguna or our dinner at Taco Loco or our conversation in the van -- all I remember is as we were hurtling north on PCH back towards Costa Mesa, the girl, who was driving, stuck a casette in the tape deck and suddenly the speakers were blasting "The Number Of The Beast."

I had never heard Iron Maiden before then and I was instantly hooked. Randy and his friends knew every word and sang along, making claws with their fingers and raising them above their heads, out the window, shouting at passing cars: "SIX! SIX SIX! THE NUM! BER OF! THE BEAST!" I felt then for the first time, maybe since I had moved to California four years earlier, that I was becoming a part of something, something that I really liked.

Slayer - Raining Blood

Randy introduced me to Slayer, too. After that night at Taco Loco he and I started kicking it with those same kids fairly regularly after school. After school got out Randy and I would walk together to his car parked down by the junior high school, and he'd blast Charles Bronson and Spazz on his jacked-up speakers as we drove past all the 7th graders walking home, then we'd jump on the 405 and tear down the freeway to Fountain Valley, where Randy's friends lived, just a couple of exits away from where we lived in Newport Beach, though it seemed really far away at the time.

We'd get to Fountain Valley and pick up one of the guys, I think his name was Bill, and then drive over and park outside of the other guy, Gregg's, apartment complex. Weirdly, I don't remember ever actually setting foot inside his apartment. The four of us would sit outside in Randy's little Honda and play CDs and talk about music.

One afternoon we were playing Cattle Decapitation -- I remember that really clearly -- and I said something about the sick blastbeats and that got Gregg on the subject of Slayer. When I admitted I'd never heard "Raining Blood" he leapt out of the car, ran inside his house, and emerged a moment later clutching a disc in his hand. "Crank it as loud as it'll go," he told Randy, and then that infamous opening thunder rolled through the car. It was the most metal thing I'd ever heard.

Randy switched schools the following year and I never saw him again. I think about him often, wonder what happened to him. I've tried to find him on Facebook but to no avail. I hope that one day I get to thank him for everything he introduced me to.

Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar On Me

Completely cheesy, but I totally love this song and it'll always be close to my heart because it was playing the first time I met my best friend in the fucking world. I was 18 years old and had a new boyfriend (who later turned out to be a real creep, but that's beside the point) with this very tight-knit circle of friends whom I was keen to impress. I had met and made impressions of varying strength on most of them, but everyone kept mentioning someone named Jennie who was apparently visiting her family in Detroit and would be returning any day now, at which point -- I assumed -- the party would truly start.

I worked as a retail drone at Blockbuster Video then and usually closed the store, which meant that I didn't get out of work until around 1:00 AM, which was actually ideal at the time because one o' clock was when everyone was really kicking into high gear. After work I went over to the boyfriend's apartment and, as I was parking, heard the familiar strains of "Pour Some Sugar On Me" blasting from inside. When I walked into the apartment, the prettiest girl I'd ever seen was rolling around on the carpet, laughing this seriously infectious laugh and imploring everyone in her slightly Midwestern accent to pour sugar on her in the name of love.

It was Jennie. Instantly I knew we were destined to be best friends. Six years later we still are, and every time I'm with her and this song comes on I remind her of how we met and how no one could find any white sugar so she had brown sugar sprinkled on her in the name of love instead.

Mötley Crüe - Merry-Go-Round

This is a pretty stupid memory but I'll never forget it and I'll never be able to hear "Merry-Go-Round" again without thinking about it.

I was 21 and my relationship with the aforementioned boyfriend was at a total standstill and I decided to get away and clear my head by flying across the country to visit Ashley, whom I had known through LiveJournal for a few years but whom I'd never met in person, in Macon, Georgia. At the time she was the only person I knew whose love for hair metal matched up to mine, and when I arrived I met the guy she'd been dating at the time, this little 19-year-old who looked like he'd stepped right off the Strip in 1989, who worshiped at the altar of Tracii Guns. I'd never seen anyone like him in Los Angeles, much less in Macon.

While I was visiting, the three of us were pretty much a running crew, and I remember one morning we were sitting around the kitchen figuring out what to do that day and eating breakfast and listening to Too Fast For Love on Ashley's little boombox. "Take Me To The Top" had faded out and "Merry-Go-Round" was starting and Ashley was like, "Ugh, this song is so stupid," and skipped forward to "Piece Of Your Action."

The guy she was dating jumped out of his seat and cried, "It's not stupid!"

Ashley was like, "Yeah it is. It's a stupid song." She did a little deep-voiced impression of Vince Neil: "Merry-go-round and round...merry-go-round and round..."

Her boyfriend got really incensed and said "It's the Crüe! It can't be stupid!"

She was like, "Dude, I love Crüe just as much as you do if not more, but that doesn't mean 'Merry-Go-Round' isn't a lame song. It's a lame song."

It escalated from there to the point where her boyfriend stormed out of the apartment. We kind of looked at each other and laughed and went about our business and about 45 minutes later she called me over to the living room window and pointed down at the street. Her boyfriend had been sitting there in his car the entire time, seething. "He's probably listening to 'Merry-Go-Round' on repeat," I said.

Mötley Crüe - Dr. Feelgood

On that same trip, Ashley and I decided to drive down to Jacksonville, Florida, to visit our friend Prego. Once we'd arrived in Jax, we promptly got lost and found ourselves caught in the middle of the most terrifying lightning storm to which I've ever bore witness (and I grew up in monsoon-riddled Arizona, so it's not like I'm some kind of pussy about lightning or anything). We took refuge at a Kangaroo Express gas station, and when we went inside to ask the guy behind the counter for directions, I spotted a tray of cheap plastic lighters, each one adorned with the album art from Mötley Crüe's Dr. Feelgood -- the caduceus with the snake and the wings and the creepy voodoo skull. I didn't even smoke, so I had no use for a lighter, but we were both like "Score!" and snatched them up.

I smuggled the damn thing back to Long Beach with me on the plane and carried it in my handbag everywhere with me and whenever anyone asked me for a light I worked out this routine where I would sing "He's the one they call Dr..." and the person who wanted the light would have to sing "Feelgood," and then I would go "He's the one that makes ya feel" and they would have to go "all right" before I would let them use the lighter. It was pretty great for meeting dudes. Eventually I accidentally ran the Dr. Feelgood lighter through the washing machine, peeling off the label and rendering it useless, but I think of it often and fondly.

AC/DC - Highway To Hell

AC/DC's been my favorite band since I was about 17 years old, but shortly after I turned 21 and dropped the dead weight that was the aforementioned creep boyfriend, the band started to play a supporting role in my life, and not through any machinations of my own. After I dropped the dead weight I went on a bit of a tear, out at the bar nearly every night with my best friend Jennie, meeting a lot of questionable dudes and basically acting like a 21-year-old who just broke up with her long-term boyfriend.

During that time in my life I was really living up to my nickname -- Sara Rowdy -- and it wasn't long before Jennie and I noticed that it seemed like AC/DC, and specifically the album Highway To Hell (AKA the best album ever recorded in the history of music, but let's not go off on a tangent), was following me everywhere. I'd walk into the bar and "Girls Got Rhythm" would immediately start playing on the jukebox. I'd get in the car and "Highway To Hell" would be on the radio. It was kind of uncanny. Jennie decided that I was the wild-child reincarnation of Bon Scott, and for about six months I lived like I was.

I've settled down considerably since then, but Bon is still my total kindred spirit. I plan to get the eagle tattoo he had on his arm on my right arm.

This took longer to write than I thought. I have more metal moments, but I'll save them for another day. A KISS moment, a Priest moment, an Anthrax moment, maybe another Maiden moment or two...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This year Halloween fell on a weekend...

I love Halloween -- I love seeing everyone in costume and all the parties and how wasted everyone gets. I was stoked that it came on a Saturday this year so we got in a full weekend of partying!

On Friday night my friends Hillary and Reid hosted a party at their apartment. My roommate and I were Wayne and Garth from "Wayne's World," and I must say for putting it together out of pretty much nothing (the only thing I bought for my outfit was the blonde wig), my costume turned out pretty excellent.

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Hillary and Reid were Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell from "Overboard." Our friend Colin was a giant baby, and Kristin and Jeremy were cat burglars. There were a lot more people there, but these were the only photos I got.

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Unfortunately after I took these photos I drunkenly dropped my camera on the hardwood floor and broke it! So I don't have any pictures of the rest of the night, or of Saturday night, which is too bad because we rolled to the Prospector for their Halloween show. Every year they have local bands dress up and play covers and it's always really good -- this year Ghestapo Khazi played as the Dead Kennedys, the Commotions played as the B-52's, and the Valley Arena played as the Misfits. I snagged a few pictures from my friend Brittany's Facebook page:

Ghestapo Khazi as the Dead Kennedys.

My adorable friends Jeff and Tammy!

The Commotions as the B-52's and the Valley Arena as the Misfits. Click for full size.

I had an awesome time and at the end of the night Farron and I were surprised to hear "And the runner's up for best costume goes to...Wayne and Garth!" Pretty excellent! We were shocked, but at the same time I have to say that people were super stoked on our costumes. Everywhere we went people were shouting "Party on!" and while we were dancing to the Commotions this wasted girl was trying to surreptitiously take photos of us. Wish I could get my paws on those pictures.

How was your Halloween? I'm bummed I broke my camera, but I had a sweet time!