Friday, March 10, 2017

Interview with the Amazing Below Blackstar

Patricia Lockeman / Catch the Groove Photography.

Band Members:

Jason: guitars, vocals.
Gerard: guitars.
Debra: bass, vocals.
Jessica: drums.
Christopher: guitars, vocals.

KA: I recently got to have bit of a chat with Below Blackstar's vocalist/guitarist/keys, Christopher Standard Time

KA: Christopher, thanks for your time.

 BB: I appreciate it, thank you.

KA: Your album, Below Blackstar, Bowie inspired?

BB:No, actually, despite how much I love Bowie. The band name is really old, and comes from nights hanging out down in Austin, Texas.

KA: OHHH... what were those nights like? I love descriptions. Paint me a picture...

BB: Can I describe that time and place without incriminating anybody? But seriously... there was a rotating group of people at a rotating series of locations, and you never really got going before nightfall. Everybody's out doing their thing, either playing at the parks under the sun, finishing up with work, or grabbing a bite, whatever, and when the sun finally goes down, the curtains closed and that's when night has truly fallen. It didn't even need to be anything wild, but when you're all creatures of the night, you can rest assured that you'll be going strong until daybreak. Sometimes you spark up a bonfire on somebody's property, or you all get into your best gear before a night at the industrial haunts... some of the best moments were when there are about thirty of you cramped into somebody's tiny shit hole apartment, and everybody does a little time on Burton Drive. There were a lot of mid-mornings and late afternoons when you'd wake up and have to step over a lot of sleeping people, some drunk or what-have-you from the night before, some tired from having sex in the bathroom while keeping other desperate to use it, and a small handful of you stay awake because there's an immortality and an honesty in the conversations that happen as the sun rises (fortunately, modern sunglasses allow vampires to walk through the day). I'd be lying if I said I didn't wake up next to strangers a time or two, or that I didn't stay awake listening to stories the old guys would tell, some of whom were strangers that you might never see again. One of my personal musical influences was the result of a chance meeting at a party thrown by an entire apartment block (seriously, people were jumping off the roof into the swimming pool); I'll never forget Luke, and in the five hours I hung out with the guy, he taught me so much about music. I never knew anything else about him, never saw his band play, never ran into the guy again, but the lessons he taught me stick to this day (and dude, thank you for the Cowboy Junkies).

So, somewhere in that mess of humanity lies the story of the name, "Below Blackstar".

KA: I like that.

KA :These days, it's always others describing and labeling bands. How would you describe your own sound?

BB: I used to jam with a bassist who came up with the idea of being "neo-Texan", which he described as a modern-day/dystopian cyberpunk-cowboy in a neon wilderness. He thought Below Blackstar's music worked as a soundtrack to that imagery, and it led to us referring to ourselves as "Halo Tex-Hex Punk Floyd Sad-bastard Music". If you pick it apart, it's an apt descriptor.

KA: "Punk Floyd", I dig it. A fan of Pink Floyd?

BB: I'm a massive Floyd fan. I have every piece of music they've ever put out, and I love it all, equally. In fact, 1975's Wish You Were Here is my favorite album of all time.

KA: You're based in Seattle. Were you inspired by any 90s grunge bands?

BB: I still really love Sunny Day Real Estate, but I don't think they're grunge.

KA: I loved them in the 90s, too. I think they were the forerunners of "Emo" (giggles)

BB: So I've been told, but Jeremy Enigk doesn't think so. I like to think of it like this: Jon Thor Birgisson once said that Sigur Ros wasn't so much "post-rock" as "pre-something else". Besides, being too close to a scene can be detrimental. Some of the best musical advice I received was from a veteran Seattle musician who was entrenched in the goth scene: "Don't become a part of this scene, or any scene - if you do, you may find it really difficult to escape those labels."

Maybe it's best to just do your own thing and leave the labels to someone else.

KA: What is your favorite platforms for tube, Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, or?

BB: I really like Bandcamp - it's a great platform that allows artists to reap a majority of the profits of sales of their music and merch - which is becoming the new normal. You can chase after cool stuff based on their tags, too. It forces you to be patient, which is key. I've discovered a lot of great music by going down the Bandcamp rabbit hole. They recently donated their proceeds to the ACLU, as well, and that's an important cause these days.

KA: How has social media benefited your band and others?
I think we've reached people who might not otherwise have access to us. It's crazy to have people in Ottawa, Canada, and in Sydney, Australia, tell us how much they enjoy our music. If used properly, social media is an amazing tool and not just a drama factory.

Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram?

KA: Do you guys tour, or just do the local thing for now?

BB: The goal is to tour at some point, but we'd like to make smart decisions about it. For now, we're focusing on Western Washington and will expand outward as the weather becomes more conducive to travel.

KA: Where in Washington do you plan, where can people find your gigs?

BB: We are really loving Bellingham right now. There is some crazy good music in that town! When I want something a little unusual, a little more artistic, I listen to Bellingham bands. They've been really accepting of us as we try to build there, so we're grateful.

We're also a member of Soniphone Records, an eclectic collective based out of Everett. We're slowly opening up to playing in Everett, but the schedule hasn't worked out quite yet.

We also want to play Arlington, Bremerton, and give Tacoma a little love. Wenatchee and Ellensburg should also have music, and we've got friends in Spokane, including Below Blackstar's original lead guitarist, so we definitely want to go over there, too. There are projects on Bainbridge that bring music to the island, and we're interested in that, and of course, we've also gotta play on the home field right here in Seattle. Now, if we can just get Band in Seattle to call us back so my mom can watch... ha!

KA: Do you prefer that you have a mix gender band?

BB: There are a lot of ways to answer this... how much time do we have?

Let me start by saying that a good musician is a good musician, and if you have chemistry with that musician, then how they identify should be irrelevant to the process of making music. Of course, this is also reality, and everything I've just said is an oversimplification.

One of the tenets under which Below Blackstar operates is that everything that CAN be a resource IS a resource. For example, there are lead and backing vocals on Under a Concrete Sky that are obviously performed by a woman, and those songs happen to work best with that tone and timbre. We feature male vocals and female vocals in the group, and sometimes some things work well for some stuff, and some for others. A mezzo-soprano is not a tenor or falsetto, so in this example, a woman can provide something that a man simply, physiologically cannot (traditionally-speaking).

Whenever one of our women has departed and we've had to go looking for new members - and in this band, bass has traditionally been anchored by a woman - dudes will respond with this horrible shit about how they can sing in falsetto, and somehow that's the same thing as replacing a woman's voice in the lineup. The answer is usually a diplomatic, "a falsetto is not mezzo-soprano", but the reality is that such answers really upset me; I mean, you've basically just minimized the existence of women artists, and I'm not okay with that. Go fuck yourself, asshole.

There was an article that came out after Prince passed away about how he spent his career mentoring women. I remember reading it and wondering exactly how I fit into this equation in my own way (though I would NEVER even consider that I would be on par with Prince, ever). I remember how many women influenced ME in one way or another... why shouldn't Below Blackstar have women in the group? Everybody always ever brings a different perspective, so why wouldn't the female perspective be equally as important?

Besides, I've never been the traditional "dude", and as a result, the band has never been traditional. In that way, then yes, I prefer having people of many walks of life in the group.

All of the women with whom I've ever played music are very, very special to me, even though I don't really know some of them anymore... even though I might not be on good terms with some of them.

KA: Does your mood inspire your creativity?

BB: I think so. I once read this thing about how action creates inspiration and not the other way around. I guess the mood that spurs on the action really highlights the mood of the work.

KA: Where would your dream gig be at, who would you open for?

BB: I really love my bandmates. Any job where I can be on stage with Jessica, Jason, Debra, and Rabbit is my dream job, whether it's at a cool house show or headlining Glastonbury. They keep the dream alive.

KA: What kinda people does your music seem to attract?

BB: Lately, we're getting a lot of younger listeners, people who haven't reached 21 and have found us through word-of-mouth. It's cool to know that people love music enough to go searching for it.

KA: Where can people find you on a FridaySaturday night?

BB: We're trying to meet new people and see new bands, so we're out and about in Seattle, Everett, or Bellingham, and checking out more non-traditional venues.

KA: I recently went into the studio to record an album and the vibe is very important. What are YOUR studio necessities?

BB: As long as there's coffee and a cool diner, nearby, I'm pretty sure we'll survive. Breaks are important when you're doing twelve-hour days in the studio, or you might go stir-crazy.

KA: Breaks are insanely important. Lighting, too. And I SO agree with the caffeine!

KA: Describe your music with 6 different adjectives

BB: Cinematic, intricate, visceral, haunting, communal, and vulnerable.

KA: Awesome!!

KA: You got a sample lyric to show off?

BB: "So is this over now?
I just cannot believe
the mark of painted flesh,
the storm clouds in your eyes,
the glance I steal away,
so softly spoken and
still here breathing..."

KA: Brilliant!

BB: Thanks! Lyrics are where I excel, and I'm not shy about it. I've been writing all my life, so I figured I should put that talent to good use.

KA: Do you write music or lyrics first?

BB: Stevie Ray Vaughan used to say that  the music didn't come FROM him, but THROUGH him. I think songs write themselves, and a lot of factors contribute to how songs want to express themselves and ultimately take form. Our song, "Goldcrank", is a fine example; I'd had the title for a long, long time before I had words or music or anything, but it was such a moving title - with its own history - that I knew needed each spectacular words and music to match the feelings it was feeding me. I think it took about a year to complete, sometimes scrapping a chord here or a quatrain there.

KA: With so many bands to choose from, get on this cyber soapbox and tell readers why they should check you guys and gals, out.

BB: Pete Carroll says that you shouldn't be the best at what you do, you should be the only one doing it.

When you see us live or listen to our recordings or watch our videos, we want you, dear listener, to become a member of the group. This isn't just our band, it's your band, and YOU are important to this process. We want you to feel the same things we do: we want the sweat that drips off our noses during a performance to be the sweat that you wipe away when the lights go down and the song peaks; we want the tears that we shed when trying to figure out a lyric or an upbeat be the same tear you shed when those words or beats hit your soul; we want the blood that courses through our veins to flow in tandem with every beat of your heart. We want you to hear yourself in the music of Below Blackstar, because if you like loud music, quiet music, slow music, fast music, long songs or short songs, screaming or crooning, electric or acoustic, we are all of those things, and all of those things are us and you, too. You're a human being with a vast palette of experiences - we hope we're the soundtrack of your humanity.

Click HERE To Get Their Tunes On Bandcamp!

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Chat With Singer Song-Writer Erin Pellnat

KA:Hey Erin!

KA:: When you contacted me, you stressed that you were a "DIY" artist. What are some of the benefits and struggles you have encountered  being on your own in the musical world?

EP: Control is the greatest benefit. There's nobody looking over your shoulder telling you what to do. The vision can be completely your own. It's a huge plus. Not having access to the best equipment can be a bummer, but with it, the DIY sound would be sacrificed, so I'd say it's actually both a pro and a con.

KA: Are you able to get out and perform live much?

EP: I perform constantly, but not with this project specifically. I live in Brooklyn and I have a band here, "Caretaker." We perform 2-3 times a month at various venues. Dream In Color was made by me and my dad, who is in upstate New York, so we make music when we see each other, but we reside in different places, so it isn't as easy.

KA: You described your music as "flavorful acoustic, to accordion waltz, to Bossa Nova." Who are some of your main influences, and who would you compare yourself to?

EP:Some of the greatest influences would be Stan Getz, Shivaree, Imogen Heap. I'm honestly not sure who we'd be compared to, but some of our songs remind me of Shivaree.

KA:You're based in Brooklyn, NY. How is the music scene treating you up there, lots of competition?

EP: The music scene is always on point out here. Always something happening. Definitely a lot of competition, but not in a hostile way. Everyone wants to succeed and wants everyone else to want them to succeed and watch everyone else succeed too. And when people dig an act, they get very into it, so support is pretty strong out here, for the good stuff anyway.

KA: Do you ever think being in a more musical city would benefit or challenge you more or less?

EP: Benefit one hundred percent. I've done all my greatest work in this city. People acclimate to their surroundings without even trying. Being surrounded by so many people who are hell-bent on "making it" is a huge drive boost. No one wants to fall behind, and in a place like this, everything seems just a bit more tangible.

KA: Are you working on a full length album in the future, I'd love to hear more!

EP: I have zero doubts that my dad, (Christopher Pellnat) and I will always continue to make music. He writes really beautiful songs. Constantly getting better with time, too.

KA: The album was written by Christopher Pellnat, your dad, who also did some producing. He's probably gonna stick around for the ride, yeah?

EP: Of course!

KA: Who would you love to work with and what would you want their role to be?

EP: I would love to work with Kevin Parker. I would give anything to sing on a track with him. Lonerism vibes. He kills me.

KA: Being a woman, have you tumbled upon any misogyny in the music business?

EP: I hate that this is such an obvious 'yes.' People act surprised when they find out I write the music for my band. Asking if I "applied" for my residency at a Brooklyn venue. The sad part is that these men don't even realize that they're being so condescending. It just really doesn't occur to them that I, a woman, could be capable of whatever success is at hand. It's the underhanded misogyny that gets me the most.

KA: Your lyrics are very dreamy. They paint pictures of skies and love. Was that Christopher's vision, or yours?

EP: Christopher wrote the lyrics on the "Dream in Color" EP. He went to college for writing and when we were kids, I remember him working on a book....which I never actually ever got to read. Hm. Have to ask him about that.

KA: What is something about your music that you feel is important to get across to listeners?

EP: The magic of music as a revelation, as fun, and the thrill of sharing it.

KA: What kind of audience does your music seem to attract?

EP: I'm always surprised by the many different types of people who like what we do.  There are no barriers with music.  As long as your ears and mind are open, the music has a chance.

KA: Have you been able to get any airplay?

EP: We're on a few blogs and the SoundCloud plays continue to rise, but no radio as of yet.

KA: If you could tell readers why they should listen to your music, what would you say? Heres your soapbox:) 

EP:If you like harmonies and beautiful melodies on soft, full beds of sound, this music is for you.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Interview With Novelist, Jeffrey Matucha

                                 Novelist and recovering addict, Jeffrey Matucha

KA: - Hey Jeffrey! Where are you at right now, what are you working on?

JM: Right now I'm promoting my latest work Crash Shadow. I'm also working on a play with some of the characters from the book. I'm also looking to promote some of my earlier works, including a couple of older novels.

Crash Shadow is self-published, but I am open to having it picked up by a major publisher. At this point I would even be willing to work on the length or the title if I could get it accepted by a major publishing house. There are, of course, some changes I wouldn't make no matter what, such as certain dialogue changes and character revisions. Skye still has to be able to punch people for this story to work.

I'm also looking at publishing some of my previous works with the self-publishing route. Shorter novels along the same vein as Crash Shadow.

 KA: - So, your debut book, Crash Shadow: The Tale Of Two Addicts, how much of the material is based on your own personal addictions?

JM: I'm much more familiar with one of the two major addictions than the other, but I had plenty of help. Being from the punk, new wave, metal and oh-my-God-what-did-we-do-last-night scene I have no shortage of friends who've been through the substance abuse ringer. To prepare myself for the book, I interviewed a couple of my junkie friends who are now in recovery. Even though I already knew quite a bit about heroin addiction, I wanted to get a real feel for what the junkie experience is like. Some of the work is inspired by my experiences, but it's mostly the experiences of my friends and colleagues.

But at the same time it really is just fiction. It's amazing how many people believe your work is autobiographical. They'll ask you if Carl's Place is a real bar, or what was it like having really bad DT's in a dark warehouse. I oftentimes have to remind people that it is a work of fiction.

KA: Exactly. I have to literally warn people that my books are not about me!

KA:  - What was your poison(s) what did it for you, and when did you know that you hit rock fucking bottom?

JM: My main poison was always alcohol. I tried plenty of other recreational substances, but alcohol was always King. It's one of the most pernicious recreational drugs out there, primarily because it's so readily available, and it's the most socially acceptable recreational drug.

I didn't really hit a bottom. I slowly weaned myself out of substance abuse, as many other addicts have. It's a myth that addicts have to hit rock bottom in order to start cleaning up. Sure, plenty do, but many people just bring themselves out of it slowly, quitting certain substances and keeping others, and then finally going all of the way. That goes along with a lot of other myths about substance abuse, myths I want to try to dispel, such as the idea that you have to lose everything if you're an alcoholic or a drug addict. Many addicts have nice homes, complete families, and good jobs. They're able to keep themselves in denial about their substance abuse because of the stereotypes.

 KA: - Was the process of writing Crash Shadow cathartic?

JM: In a way. I've already written about this topic in some of my previous works, such as my two previous novels The Falling Circle and The Clubber. My main goal with writing Crash Shadow is to expose people to the world of hardcore drug addiction and to alternative culture in the big city. My hope was that it would be an eye opener for those people who aren't aware of how these worlds really operate.

KA:  - You are a big time runner now. You do epic marathons and everything. I've seen loads of ex addicts take up exercise or extreme running. Does it truly replace the synthetic rush of opiates and endorphin's drugs gave you?

JM: It sure does help. I ran my first marathon in 2009 as a bucket list item. I got hooked after that. People like myself can become obsessed with other facets of life. I've seen some people transfer their addictive personalities to art, to music, and sometimes to other things which I don't think are so healthy, like spending addictions or simply becoming addicted to attending twelve step meetings. They feel they're still doing all right, even though they've transferred their addictions to something that doesn't involve substance abuse. Though I think I'd rather have someone occupy their life with non-stop meetings rather than slamming heroin.

Someone once told me that recovery was a question of balance. But balance is the last thing an addict ever does. One day we're drinking and taking drugs as if there's no tomorrow and then suddenly, boom! Nothing. No drugs of any kind, not even beer. That's not balance, that's going from one deep end to the other. Addicts are experts at taking something and not half-assing it.

 KA:  - The style of your writing is interesting to me. I dig it. You go back and forth between characters for each chapter. How did you settle on that style?

JM: I wanted to show both sides of addiction, the active user and the recovering addict. I thought writing in such a style would prove to be quite challenging, but in this context it always flowed quite naturally. Having the characters connected by a distant relationship really helped. Plus both sides of addiction have so many similarities. When you're a using addict you hang out with other addicts, go-betweens, and dealers. When you' a recovering addict you have sponsors, sponsees, and, of course, other addicts. Both realms use code words and rituals that are basically known to the people who inhabit those worlds. And, of course, they have their own unwritten rules, which is much more easily talked about between active addicts, rather than twelve steppers.

 KA: - You are self published, correct? Do you think that's more freeing literary wise than traditional publications?
JM: Definitely. There's no editor screwing up your dialogue, and they're not putting a cover on your book that makes your stomach turn or releasing incredibly cheesy advertising tag lines. Even so, I would love to have this book picked up by a publisher. Definitely the hardest part of self-publishing is the work you have to put into promotion. 

KA:  - Who did you use for the editing process? I see you just recently had an editing update released.

JM: The recent updates were more for formatting problems than content. The Kindle version of the book was majorly borked. That's all fixed now. As for an editing process, believe it or not my mother copy edited my book, even though it's the kind of book you don't necessarily want your mother to read. My mother is a voracious reader, and a great copy editor.

KA:  - When writing your book, did you have it planned out ahead of time or was it more write as it comes to you?

JM: For this work I really had a good idea of how I wanted it to progress, especially when it came to the parallel story-lines.  I had a very clear idea of how I wanted each story to progress, and all I really had to do was fill in the details. That's not always the way it works. For other projects I've started with a more-or-less solid outline, but then had to feel my around to put the story together, weaving things and letting the story-line work itself out as I wrote.

KA:  - At the end of the novel, when all was said and done, did you feel a sense of sadness, like a goodbye to the characters? I know I did for my book.

JM: I can't say that. I have plenty more to write about with these characters. I've written a lot of stories with Skye. In fact, I already have an idea for a sequel! Plus Skye is the lead character in the play I'm writing.

 KA: - Do you have more to say, will there be more books from Jeffrey Matucha?

JM: I have too much to say. I have more ideas than I can write out! I have another book in mind, but at the moment I'm currently working on that play. I decided to try my hand at play writing when I saw a few modern productions. I will say that I was not inspired to try my hand at a play because I thought the productions I saw were so good they prompted me to write. Rather, the modern productions I saw were so badly written I knew I had to try my hand it it, because there is simply no possible way I could write something so terrible. Flat characters, completely implausible dialogue, and just shoddy writing. And these are plays that actually got produced. Someone actually took the time to rehearse and build sets for those awful works!

Which is not to say I haven't seen good productions. Heather Marlowe's The Haze was incredibly powerful. And then there was The Book of Mormon, which knocked my socks off! 

KA:  - What truly got you through drug/Alcohol addiction, what would you say to others struggling for their life right now?

JM:  I can't say for sure. I was caught in that cycle for such a long time. Being caught in a well of substance abuse can feel like and upward or downward journey when in fact you're not going anywhere. You're just spinning in circles. I can say my friends helped me through a lot of it. That is, the people who really were my friends. But all in all it was myself that pulled myself out of it. It always is. 

If you're someone who's caught in the grip of am active addiction I say just go to a twelve step meeting. Find other addicts who are trying to stay clean. Twelve steppers will hate me for saying this, but the thing that truly got me through my first year of recovery is just being around people who weren't using. Twelve steppers get mad when I say that, barking "No no, it's the program that kept you clean!" But really, it was the community of clean addicts. The steps and sponsors and all that rot? That came later. Which is not to say that's the way it works for every addict who's trying to clean up, but that's how it worked for me.

 KA: :- What's your take on drs prescribing opiate pain meds for chronic pain, are you for the government controlling that and coming down hard on patients and pharmacies?

JM: That's a can of worms for sure. I know many doctors over prescribe medication. It's a drug culture that's gotten out of hand. I've seen personally what many pain and psych meds have done to people. It really takes them apart and shuts them down. At the same time, there are good reasons to get bombed on super hard drugs. Some people really are fighting chronic pain, and if it takes a good strong opiate to ease their life, then so be it! But I do believe that it's being abused overall.

 KA: - When are drugs a good thing for inspiring art. Are you a weed fan?

JM: Drugs inspire art because they take you to another side, whether that other dimension is euphoria, psychedelia, or even just abject misery and chaos. Drugs just introduce another algorithm into people's thinking, and not always for the best. Ultimately it's the person who makes something out of it. It's a very tricky business.

I've never been a fan of weed. It's the one recreational narcotic I just couldn't get into. I always thought that made me an odd person in the drug culture. Even many people who aren't terminal teaheads like to have a bit of weed now and then.

KA:  - Take me through your day when you were an addict versus a typical day for you now.

JM: When I was using I had a job, and I had relationships. It's the same now, but I'm in a healthy relationship, and I have two jobs. Plus the marathon training schedule. When you're not using your life gets filled with life, rather than self-medication. Plus my temperament has really improved, thank God!

I still have flashes and connections to that old world. I still have to go to a dark, crowded club full of drunk punks every once in awhile and listen to music that sounds like barbed wire going through a meat grinder. The other day a friend who's still "living the dream" called me up and asked me to help him move a couch he had found on the street. He wanted to tie it to the top of the brand new Prius I had just bought, and he got quite stressed out when I refused to let him tie a grungy couch to the top of my shiny new vehicle. That's because he's an old friend who remembers what I used to be like, and oftentimes expects me to still be that person. 

KA:  - When you first released your book, were you hesitant, or were you fully confident that it needed to be read?

JM: I did have some hesitation, because you cannot read this book and not get the idea that I have some intimate knowledge of drug culture. It really does put a lot of yourself out there, even though it is just a work of fiction. Like I said, it's amazing how many people assume what you've written is autobiographical. I keep having to explain to people that it's a work of fiction, that I made these stories up.

But I also knew I had to write this work. I simply had to get my side of the drug issue out there. There's so many distortions about drug abuse in the mainstream media, even in documentary work, which always showcase the most extreme cases of addiction without qualifying them. In my stories there are not tons of guns everywhere, every other word isn't the f-word, and dealers don't threaten you when you try to buy drugs from them. They are in sales, after all!

 KA: - Which books are currently in your reading library?

I've been reading a lot of nonfiction lately. I recently read Mary Roach's, Grunt. She's one of the best science writers out there. I'm also rereading Sarah Vowell's, Partly Cloudy Patriot. And I've also been reading some of Leonard Cohen's writing, since I found a collection of his works at a nearby little library. I also started Patti Smith's, M Train, which I'm really enjoying.

KA: Nice! I am also a fan of Patti and Cohen.

 KA- Now, get up here and tell readers why they should read your book.

JM: When most people hear about a novel about drug addiction, they're probably expecting lots of the aforementioned guns and f-words and gratuitous sex and violence. There's plenty of swearing and some violence, but it's a more raw and realistic look at what's really going on out there. Life really is stranger than fiction, and that's what I try to capture in this work. It gets real, it gets gritty, and it puts you right there, so you can really experience what it is these kinds of people go through. 

Thanks for the chat, Jeffrey!

To buy his Novel, click here!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Small Chat With Dandy Warhol's Zia McCabe!

Photo Credit: Xaime Cortizo (

KA: Hey Zia! Thanks for joining me! You have a lot going on, so I appreciate the time for a small chat. 

KA: So where to begin with you, my dear... a new Dandy Warhol's album "Distortland", a Us/Canada tour , and now you are touring Europe?

ZM: Yep, we’re out here keeping busy on the road promoting the fuck out of our new album.

KA: You also DJ and are in a country band, Brush Praire. How do you make time for all your projects?

ZM: Brush Prairie has really suffered lately. Luckily (or maybe unlucky) all the member of BP have other projects and families to keep them busy. 

It was always meant to do in my down time and well, I don’t have any down time lately. So I’ll have to come back to that once promo for Distorland settles down. 

DJ’ing goes along with tour, as in I do all the after parties so the ball continues to roll with that. Enough so, that I’ve been able to tour as DJ Rescue when time permits...

KA: You are a mother, too! How does that fit in the equation? Are you a hands on mom?

ZM: My ex and I share Tildy Time 50/50 which means during extra busy times like this, I’m basically a single mom when I’m home. 

It can get really tricky juggling it all but it’s important to me that I am with Matilda as much as possible. They grow up so fast!

KA: Your birth name was Aimee Springer, what inspired the name Zia Mccabe?

ZM: Actually it was Amy Springer and I changed the spelling when changing my name entirely proved too difficult. There where at least three Amy’s in every class. It drove me nut being Amy S. or Brown Eyed Amy or Amy 1. I wanted my own name! I didn’t want to share.

So as soon as I started college I decided it was my once chance to find a new name. It took a couple weeks of going around school with no name. Finally a classmate suggested Zia to me and I knew it was my name instantly. McCabe is my mother’s maiden name. I just like that name better. 

KA: I feel you. I was "Kim H" in a class of Kim, Kimiya, and Kimberly in 2nd grade!

KA: You have been in a very male dominated band since the mid nineties. What is touring like when you are dealing with very girly feelings or issues, I.E cramps, sensitivities, or even being pregnant back in the day?

ZM: I’m pretty open about all that stuff so I guess it was more about them dealing with me. I got knocked up a couple times, that was quite inconvenient while touring. Who wants to get an abortion while their in NYC? Not my idea of fun at all. But shit happens. I’m only recently really comfortable and thriving in my relationships with women. I get guys, they get me. It’s always been pretty easy. 

KA: I won't even bother with the abortion question...

KA: Has there ever been any more-than -friend experiences with you and the boys in the past?

ZM: Peter (holmström) and I dated the first year I was in the band. Then we bickered for the second year and barely spoke the third. Or something like that. Now I’d consider him my best friend in the band. 

KA: He's lovely, I had a chance to speak with him as well.

KA: I think it was you who posted that you guys were the last band to open for David Bowie. What kind of feeling does that give you, and what was opening for him like for you?

ZM: I just shared an article that came out in England. To be completely accurate Polyphonic Spree was the last band to open for Bowie but that was in USA following our tour with in Europe/UK with Bowie. It was two long months of playing in enormo-domes, far from city centers. We where kind of trapped in these giant locker rooms as dressing rooms all day. It was awesome to open for Bowie of course but the days where long and kind of lonely out there. It was really neat to get to watch a Bowie show every night from a different seat. I liked that part!

KA: If you were to dump out your purse/bag right now, what would we find ?

ZM: Vinyl Factory shades, ear buds, phone charger, lip gloss, chap stick, lip stick, lip liner, swiss dark chocolate drink mix (I nicked from breakfast this morning), hair clips, glasses cleaner, band tour laminate, eye drops, doTerra essential oils, wallet, panty liners, Icy Hot patches, pot infused mints, dental floss, rolling papers, little bag of weed, Clinique touch up concealer stick, sharpie, a Telegram official merchandise lighter and more hair clips…. 

KA: You have a very natural, hippie-like beauty about you. But do you have any go to beauty products that you don't leave home without? I always have my foundation with me, for example

ZM: I can red under my nose so I like to have a touch up stick in case we’re doing photos I wasn’t planning on. I don’t go anywhere w/o chapstick or lipgloss.

KA: So, you have the Dandies, which are very alternative with a dreampop after taste, but then you also have a country flair. Tell us about Brush Prairie

ZM: I wanted to do a little singing, so I started singing country covers at Karaoke From Hell which is live band karaoke. I got asked to sing the songs I’d been doing at a party and it grew from there. I was born in Brush Prairie so it seemed a good fit for a country band title. I grew up on country music and psychedelic music so now I feel more complete when it comes to what I perform. Man it’s fun having an old fashioned Honky Tonk country band!

KA: And your DJing...What is that sort of change in music like for you, and what fan base does it bring to your gigs?

ZM: I just can’t trust hardly anybody else to be in charge of the music. So I started saving good parties from bad music in 2001. I love it!

Dandy fans and music lovers in general come to my DJ gigs. People who like to have a good time on the dance floor.

KA: Do you ever struggle with the presumed inequality in the music scene being that you are a woman?

ZM: I ignore that shit. 


KA: What about self image and self esteem? I know you were a bad ass, and posed pregnant for suicide girls in 2005, but do you ever have "I feel ugly" days? And if so, how do you push through it?

ZM: Of course! I have plenty of wake up ugly days and then either stay that way or pull it together at some point. Nothing wrong with surrendering to an ugly day. Of course I always hope they don’t coincide with a photo shoot day. 

KA: I saw you introduce Bernie Sanders and give a very inspirational speech in Oregon. I voted for Bernie as well. What do you think about what's going on politically with Trump being the front runner, and what about all these #bernieorbust activists? Would you vote for Hilary Clinton if you had to?

ZM: I’m hoping Bernie will decide to run independent if he doesn’t get the democratic nomination. #bernieorbust

KA: Whats your opinion on things like Climate change and Black Lives Matter? do you think the fight can be won?

ZM: Well we either work hard to reverse the damage we’ve done, work to heal the planet or suffer the consequences. Black Lives Matter is catching on but not as fast as I’d like. I kind of live in a bubble though. I’d like to think things are improving faster than they probably are. 

KA: Thanks for your time, I know you were on tour during this, and unable to have time to answer the other questions :)