New Project for 2011

March 2, 2011

Welcome to the debut of the E.N.D. Tambourine Project. While feeling uninspired and unmotivated to work on music for this blog (or for any reason, for that matter), I re-discovered an old email from my friend Andy. He had a song lyric idea that he emailed me in July 2009. The idea came from a comment I made to him about an old tambourine that I’ve had since I was 10 years old and taking belly dancing lessons in Virginia Pleak’s basement. Just a side note for those who don’t know me personally, I’m not Greek or Lebanese. I wanted to take ballet lessons just like every other little girl that dreams of being Miss America. My mom signed me up for ballet, but Mrs. Pleak had other ideas. She was an exotic dancing enthusiast, back when the phrase really meant exotic dancing, not just a polite word for stripping. I was lured by the romance and fancy dresses of Mexican and Spanish dance, learning how to flirtatiously flutter a large lacey fan about my ten-year-old face. I could barely master the castanets but the gowns dazzled the audience with vibrant color and sequins, so I don’t think anyone took notice. Virginia not only roped me into belly dancing, but every kind of South Pacific dance: Tahitian, Polynesian, Samoan, Hawaiian. I learned the lovely hand language of Hawaiian dance, the art of swinging glow-in-the-dark Poi balls in one hand, and hopping like an old-school jump-roper in between bamboo sticks as they rhythmically beat on the floor.

I don’t know why I held onto that old tambourine all these years, but eventually it was used on several recordings with The Come Ons. It lost a few cymbals over time and I’ve since duct-taped it to another larger tambourine that somehow ended up with our gear after a weekend of shows with the Deadly Snakes. It sounds like a complete racket, like a metal garbage can crashing into a cement wall. It’s simply jarring and I love it. Jim on the other hand, thinks it’s quite unmusical. Hence the lyric “Baby Don’t Like The Sound of My Tambourine” was born – at least in Andy’s head.

So I found Andy’s old email a few weeks ago and decided to work on lyrics. When I contacted him to say I finished the song, he said he had just finished writing a song too, with the same lyric. Whoa! Weird. I suggested that we work on both songs together and record them. Here is the result. More Tambourine Project collaborations to come!

Baby Don’t AH

Baby Don’t DD


Happy Xmas (War is Over)

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas all. In my last post, I talked about the all-girl, tween rock band that Jim recorded recently, and with their permission (or, at least, permission from dad) I am sharing their recording of “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” on this Christmas day.

Thank you for all the rock-n-roll love you, dear reader, have given me over the past 16 months. Starting in January, I will be posting new recordings, maybe a few covers, maybe some new songs I have simmering on the back burner of my cranium.

In the meantime, enjoy this holiday favorite from future superstars, Electric Graffiti, and be peaceful with one another.


It was 30 years Ago Today

December 8, 2010

Last night, I accompanied Jim to The Tempermill, where he recorded a four piece rock band — a gang of 12 year old girls performing “Happy Xmas (War is Over)”. I thought it a heavy choice for such young people. Turns out, they are quite unlike the young people I wrote about in my last post, unfavorably commenting on the irrelevance to their lives of the release of The Beatles catalog on itunes. These girls L-O-V-E The Beatles. OMG! They all sounded great, singing together, shaking sleigh bells. I’m not one to speak for dead people, but I think John Lennon would have been proud.

I have to admit that I was a bit envious of them. When I was 12, I had a few girlfriends that played music and we sort of tried to get a band together. We called ourselves The Fedoras (we all loved Duran Duran) and we took many photos with my Polaroid camera in the basement of my parent’s house (I will not be posting them on Facebook). My brother Stephen had a gold sparkle Ludwig drum kit in the basement that my parents bought him for Christmas. (F.Y.I. – Don’t buy your kids a drumset for Christmas. They’ll figure out how to buy one if they really want to play and you will curse all the crashing and smashing while you’re trying to watch t.v.). My best girlfriend Michele liked to play Stephen’s drums and we’d try to work out songs by The Go-Gos (with little success). Michele and I joined the St. Robert’s basketball team together when neither of us made the cheerleading squad. It’s such occasions that brings people together to start a band. I found my ex-brother-in-law’s Hondo bass hidden under my mom’s bed. He pawned it to my mother for $150 when he needed cash. I still have it. It’s one possession I’ve had longer than anything else. No idea why. I don’t even play it anymore since I bought a frankenstein Fender Jazz bass years ago. My bad-girl friend Julie played an acoustic guitar and loved, loved, loved Prince. She used to roller skate down to Hines Park and make out with boys she’d meet there. Little Miss Trouble. My neighbor Christy was a big fan of Journey and Air Supply and actually practiced the piano, so she was the keyboard player. We both wore braces. Sexy. And yet, with all those resources, we just couldn’t pull it together.

Aaah! Da yute!

I hope these 12 year old girls stick it out a little longer than me and my girlfriends did. Inevitably, two of them will like the same boy and the other two will have to take sides, because you have to take sides, then the band will break up and someone will make the cheerleading squad. Maybe only one of them will continue playing music into adulthood. The others will get “real” jobs that pay, and have a career, or a baby, or both. All good choices. At least they will have the memory of playing together when they were young, having fun listening to The Beatles when no one else their age seemed to care.

Here’s a song from the Holiday Hootenanny that came out a few years ago. I wrote the song while I was working in the cosmetics department at Neiman Marcus during the holiday feeding frenzy. I don’t like to be thought of as cynical when I’m thinking that I’m just being realistic and I hope this song doesn’t sound cynical to anyone. It’s Christmas time and I like getting presents as much as any girl, but I don’t have much space in my little bungalow for much more.


Beatles on iTunes

November 16, 2010

Does anyone care as much as Apple thought they would? I read a few articles about this and then I read the comments below the articles…there seems to be a lot of people that spend a ton of time reading news and blogs online and negatively commenting on everything like it’s their job. This, I do not understand. I think it’s maybe a generational thing. The youngins have learned to communicate in this inter-webular-cyberworld and are not held accountable for the things they say. Maybe when they grow up, they will learn to appreciate the music and download a Beatles song or two onto their ipod, or whatever the music-listening do-dad will be called in the future.

Jim’s theory is that Paul and Ringo felt a little threatened by my presence on itunes and decided that they better do something quick.

I have not been working on ANY music at all lately. My house is a mess, waiting for me to restore it’s youthful glow. So, one thing at a time these days. The music will have to wait. I thought I would post a holiday song or two, since it is that time of year. So, here is a song that my old band, The Come Ons, recorded about 6 years ago at our practice space in Redford. It’s not bad, considering that all I had was some sm58s and a 1/2″ tape. We only released these songs on a limited 45 pressing, so this is it’s digital debut. This song is a Peggy Lee number called “Don’t Forget To Feed The Reindeer”, always a favorite of mine as a kid. This is a completely different arrangement from the original. I hope you like it.

Happy Thanksgiving.


One Year Not Entirely Wasted

September 9, 2010

Well, it’s been exactly one year since I started this blog on 09-09-09. Funny how things happen in the universe, but the reason I started it was to keep my hands free from devil’s work after I was laid-off from my job on September 6th. Now I have a job! It’s a little vague right now, but I will be assisting a friend with his business, keeping things organized and hopefully making life easier for him. Being unemployed can suck the life out of your soul as much as any lousy job can. But a good job that makes you feel useful and productive and financially empowered is an amazing thing. Woo-hoo!

I never thought I would be unemployed for this long. Every day I would review the job postings on the Michigan Talent Bank and apply for something that I didn’t really want to do or felt qualified for, knowing that at least a thousand other people in my position were applying for the same $10 an hour job. It’s been a total drag and I have a renewed appreciation for gainful employment and getting up at 6am. Pretty soon those 6am mornings will be dark and chilly. I’ll feed the cats and listen to them slurp up their mushy, wet fish substance while I sip hot coffee and read the New Yorker. Can’t wait.

Regardless of this important change in my day to day, I will continue this blog because it’s what I love to do – write music, play music, make other people listen to my music – and I don’t really have a band to do it with. Besides, I love recording music much better than playing live. And although I do love all matters of performing live – putting on make-up, singing, practicing, wearing something new and fancy – I feel more excited in the studio. By the way, The Sirens are playing a show at the Ferndale DIY Festival on September 18th. I will be flailing and thrashing and loudly banging on drums as my 41 year old arthritic knee throbs with every bass drum kick. Rock AND Roll. The “home studio” will soon be more available for me to twiddle knobs and such and I will resume work on my Lady GaGa inspired dance jam masterpiece.


iTunes

August 22, 2010

iLike. Yes. I’m official now. The White Album tribute songs are officially on iTunes:

END

Hook up yer iPod kids. Even furry meatloaf enjoy a Beatles tribute or two:


Digital Downloads Available Now!

August 16, 2010

Hey kids! For all of you that didn’t get enough of me on this blog, well, you can take me with you – on your computer, on your ipod, burned to a cdr, whatever. Play White Album Tribute songs at your next party! Play them at work! Play them for your cats (cats LOVE White Album Tribute songs). Here’s the link to the cdbaby artiste download page:

Every Nine Days

Thank you for your support.


Cupcakes Yummy Yummy

August 14, 2010


I remember making cupcakes with my mom when I was a kid. I loved making them because they had their own little paper cup in a pastel color, and they baked faster and cooled faster than a whole cake because they were small. That meant you could frost them and eat them sooner too. I also loved sticking my finger in the Crisco and then coating that with sugar and eating it. That’s pretty gross. I wouldn’t do that now because I use butter instead of Crisco.

When it was your birthday at school, it was expected that you bring cupcakes for the entire class, even the kids you didn’t really like. The nuns would not have allowed treat favoritism. I remember once my mom forgot to make cupcakes for my birthday when I was in third grade at St. John Bosco. I was very upset. So she went to the store and bought pink snowballs for everybody instead. Remember snowballs? The icing feels like rubber in your mouth.

Anyway, cupcakes are just small, convenient pieces of cake that you can eat with your hands. Perfect for kids. So what’s the big deal with cupcakes these days? It seems that everyone’s got a boner for cupcakes and cupcakeries are opening up everywhere. The bummer about these places is that most of them make lousy cupcakes that taste like they came from Costco or a Betty Crocker mix. Which is fine in a pinch! But to build a business around crappy cupcakes made from crappy ingredients doesn’t make much sense to me. Add to that the fad that is the cupcake (now quietly being replaced by the french macaron) and you got nothin’. It’s like a Rubik’s Cube store. How long can that last?

My friends at Pinwheel Bakery were invited to audition for the Food Network show Cupcake Wars. They make much more than just cupcakes at this bakery and all of it’s good. Sometimes the service is a bit crabby, but Jim says this is due to the fact that “they put all of their sweetness in their treats.” Really. So Pinwheel made an audition video and I told them I would write some music for it, something upbeat, something about cupcakes. I started to write the song 2 weeks ago. Somehow it ended up in a minor key. Not so uplifting. I just finished it today. Needless to say it was too late to include it in the video. I don’t even know if they would have wanted to use the song but I figured I should finish what I started. I think it could use a saxophone, so if anyone wants to add a saxophone, send me an email. I used a drum track played by my ex-bandmate Patrick, then adding a drum intro of my own so I could rip-off the intro to the Velvelettes song He Was Really Saying Something. The rest is all my fault…so don’t be mad at the cupcakes.


Paul McCartney

July 29, 2010

Did anyone see the PBS special where Paul McCartney was honored by President Obama with the Gershwin Prize for Popular song? I only saw about a half hour of it and it was great! I don’t have tivo or a dvr, but I checked out Jack White on youtube and he did Mother Nature’s Son from The White Album! Here it is if you want to check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BXV1_D5eXA

I’m sure you can find other artist’s performances on youtube as well. I thought the whole thing was very cool and I liked seeing Emmylou Harris and Elvis Costello and Dave Grohl. I love Stevie Wonder and he was the only one grooving and singing along to Band On The Run. Everyone else in the audience acted like they were at an opera…very well dressed and stiff. Can I say that I don’t like Ebony and Ivory? I know it was a huge hit but it’s sort of goofy.

Speaking of goofy, I’m working on a country song. I haven’t finished writing it so I can’t record it yet, so I’ve got nothing to post this week. I know it’s been a few weeks, but Jim and I have been working on refining digital versions of 15 of the Every Nine Days White Album songs so I can post them on itunes. I’m still waiting to clear licensing on a couple of George Harrison songs, then off they will go into download cyberspace! I picked 15 of what I thought were the songs I performed the best, not necessarily my favorite songs. A few needed some tweaking. I don’t mind posting songs on my blog that are a little sloppy but I couldn’t justify selling them with glaring mistakes (ie. “soap confection”). I will send out a post when all this comes to fruition. Cheers!


Give Me More

July 6, 2010

Ok. I think I need to change the name of this blog to Every Nine Days or So…I could have posted a song on July 4th, but I decided to go to Lake Michigan and get a sunburn instead. I just finished working a temporary job on a film and it was like being in prison for 3 weeks. I needed a day off from everything. In the last 23 days I had no time for anything but work and not much sleep. Somehow I managed to get my last 2 songs posted on time, I know. Now Jim is working the studio for 12+ hours a day, so this song is sadly, unmixed. It’s incomplete too, because I wanted to play drums on it and a few other things, but I thought, well it’s been longer than nine days, I should post it just the way it is.

This Saturday will be my mom’s 80th birthday and we’re having a party for ol’ Delores. She raised eight snotty and undisciplined children and somehow most of us didn’t end up in jail. I’m not saying that some of us shouldn’t be, I’m just sayin’. My mom got a part-time job at McDonald’s when I started kindergarten after 25 years of raising kids (i’m number eight) and put herself through school, graduating at age 50 from Shapiro School of Nursing. She worked at the V.A. until her hip gave out at 70-something. She does and says crazy things sometimes, but she’s an inspiration to me. Now she takes care of my dad. He’s still alive because of it, I’m sure. Happy Birthday mom!


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