Archive for April, 2004
WHAT I’M READING: The Magician’s Tale by David Hunt. I *LOVE* books set in San Francisco.
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO: Tristan Prettyman. (http://www.tristanprettyman.com) I saw so many people pimping her on so many different message boards that I had to check her out. She’s so fucking badass! I can’t get her tunes out of my head…not to mention that her journal entries and board postings are clever and witty, she’s fucking gorgeous…AND she surfs. I think I have a full-on girl-crush on her. I gotta add her to the music page on my website.
ROCKER UPDATE: I just saw that hometown rocker chick Megan Slankard (oh, hi, hello…Tracy, CA) (http://www.meganslankard.com) is going to be on What Not to Wear in May. Haha…cool. Bye bye hippie chick, hello hottie. I assume, anyway, I haven’t seen the show yet.
WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON: Wow, if someone were to read this blog, they may think I have no life outside of Nathanson concerts. LOL That’s not true. It’s just easier to motivate myself to write up my concert stories because I know that I’m going to be talking about them with my friends on message boards and linking to them and talking about the pictures and whatnot. “Girl, did you see yourself in my picture?” etc. (hi, Sarita!)
But, since I do, in fact, HAVE a real non-concert life that I probably will want to recall at some point in the future, I need to get off my lazy bootie and write about that as well. So here goes.
Easter weekend, my Spring Break of sorts, I went down to Southern California with Shawna and the fam. Shawna and I drove down together and I dropped her off at Tony’s place in Hollywood while the kids and the dog went with Mom and Dad. I then drove out to Karin’s house in Yucca Valley and we went karaoke singing at the Castle Inn. It was so much fun! I sang “You Were Meant for Me” by Jewel and “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt. It was sweet because the karaoke guy remembered me, and I haven’t been there for I don’t know how long. A year at least, possibly more. Which was even more impressive considering that the last time I was out there, the waitress not only remembered me but remembered what I had ordered at least a year before. WOW. Those high desert people have minds like steel traps.
When I sang my first song (You Were Meant for Me), it was such a rush. People were clapping, singing along, cheering. It felt so good! Mike, the karaoke DJ, said, “Melanie, girl, you’ve been gone too long!” It was great!
At one point in the evening, there was a bar fight. And not just the subtle little kind of bar fight you see in movies where it happens in a corner and the bouncer tosses people out and then it’s business as usual. No. This was broken glass, people arguing…the lights came up, the whole bar stopped. Everyone was either over there helping or standing there staring. The music stopped because Mike went over to help with the fight. Well, after all this was over and people were standing around, just chatting and waiting to see what was going to happen…Mike goes up and says, “Next we have…Melanie!”
I thought I would pee my pants. How am I supposed to top the entertainment value of a all out bar fight by singing a No Doubt tune?
Well, the music started. Karin and Bert started cheering and clapping. (My cousins love me!) The lights came down. People were still milling around and talking. I was petrified. But then as I started singing, people started paying attention! They sat down, they started singing along…OH MY GOD! It was actually going well!
So then I started relaxing and totally rocking out. Especially at the end, you can really belt that song out, it’s a fun one. People were dancing, even. Some people were doing the rock-head-bang thing like Wayne’s World. NICE!
When it was over, people were standing up, cheering, whistling…it felt awesome! Mike says, “You are two for two, girl!”
Man, I miss singing. I miss being in the choir for that reason. There are enough things about it I DON’T miss that I would not join again, particularly without Twana there. But I so miss that feeling of being up there on Sunday, with all the people in the congregation (about 3,000 people) singing along, standing there rocking with the rest of the choir, being right in the middle of that powerful three part harmony that no other style of music has even come close to utilizing as well as gospel music…and just opening my mouth as wide as I can, throwing my head back, and belting it out. And then that moment of silence as the last note fades in the air, right before the applause breaks out (but you know it’s going to). That’s a magic moment.
Then when the applause DOES break out, THAT feels great. And, of course, the whole choir is clapping, too (because it’s not the congregation clapping for the choir, per se…it’s all of us clapping for God, you know – whatever *smile*). It’s just this incredibly emotional shared experience. I loved that.
The thing I loved the MOST about being in the choir, though, was singing out at different places: different churches, different events. We were a racially mixed choir (um…yeah…I was in it, so that would be an “OBVIOUSLY”), and at many places we went, you could tell that they were skeptical about whether we would have an authentic gospel sound. Until we started singing, that is. It was incredibly satisfying to stand there and watch the astonishment on their faces as we did our first couple of songs and then just see them smiling and singing along as we did the rest. WE WON THEM OVER! WOO HOO! What a sense of validation.
Man….all this reminiscing almost makes me want to go back. But…then I think of all the politics and bs…and I remember why I’m not there anymore. Why can’t it just all be about the music (well…and worshiping God, of course)? Why does it have to be so much about people’s fragile little egos and manipulative little power plays?
And that’s why I think I’ll be sticking to karaoke.
OK, so apparently this is going to be the new trend. I update my blog every time I attend a Matt Nathanson concert. Today was such an incredible day. Awesome time hanging out with my Mom, awesome set by The Matts (even if it *was* rated PG), AWESOME conversation with Matt Nathanson after the concert.
OK, now, I’m not going to be able to remember the conversation word for word, but I’m going to do my best, because…yeah…I’m going to want to remember this years from now.
But, in order to understand the conversation, you need to understand what happened before, so let me put on my post from the Matt Nathanson thread on MSM:
“I teach second grade and I use music and poetry in my classroom. I don’t use Barney and kid music crap. I use good music. Kids are never too young for quality tunes. We sing the Beatles and Billie and Ella and all kinds of cool stuff. So, I wanted to teach the kids one of Matt’s songs, but my choices were somewhat limited due to the fact that the public school system somewhat frowns upon the use of profanity and blatant sexual references in the classroom. Go figure!
At any rate, I finally settled on Wings, thinking that even though the kids (at age 7) are not old enough to grasp the true meaning of the song, at least they can absorb some of the poetic language. Also, it’s fast paced and fun to sing along with, which is a plus in a room full of 20 short-attention-span seven-year-olds.
So, I taught them the song today (they loved it…of course), and during journal time I saw one of my girls poring over the lyric sheet and writing in her journal with this absolutely intense look of concentration on her face. And keep in mind, this is one of my struggling reader/writers as well as an English Language Learner. She’s NEVER on task and concentrating that hard!
The following is what she wrote (and I didn’t correct any of the spelling or grammar, because I wanted to keep the original impact):
‘I really, REALLY (underlined) like the new song we laerned its named Wings. It is fun. It is good and fun to sing. It is kind of wired (weird) because they can fly and people can not fly but it is like DragonballZ. The girl falled in the water and and the boy gets her. The boy can fly. I think it is the boy. I hope the girl did not drownded but she prollaby did because he says im gone and that means dead. When my mom had CANCR!!!! my auntie said gone and that means dead. But maybe the boy flied her and she is still alive and i like to singing that song named Wings.’
The other reason this just blew me away is that I have never been able to get her to open up, verbally or in writing, about her mom’s death.
So…in the interest of milking this for all it is worth, and since we’re working on learning how to write “friendly letters” right now, when we come back on track I’m going to have the kids write fan letters and mail them off. That will be a fun project. ”
And then Michelle printed out that post and gave it to him at House of Blues in Chicago.
Now for my conversation with Matt today:
When I was at the front of the merch line, I put down my poster to have it signed and told him my name was Melanie. I said, “Matt, I had my second grade class write you fan letters and sent them in the mail. I was wondering if you got them?” He stopped signing, and looked up and said, “Dude that was you? YES! That was so awesome! I got them literally the day before I left on tour, but they are on my nightstand right now and I can’t wait to read them! Now…you originally gave me the main letter after a show, right?” I said, “My friend Michelle gave it to you after a show in Chicago.” (ShellyJanuary…HOLLA!)
He said, “That’s right, that’s how it worked. And I was reading that letter, and it was just so awesome…like, seriously, I was reading it to my wife and it was just so rad, like seriously heartbreakingly rad. And then when I got home…my management company picks up my mail when I’m gone, and they gave it to me. I was all, ‘what’s this?’ And then I pulled it out, and I was like, ‘oh, yeah…that’s awesome!’ But then I left on tour the next day. But they are seriously on my nightstand right now.”
PICTURE OF MATT TELLING ME ALL THIS:
I must have said, “Oh, Matt, that’s so awesome!” and “Wow, Matt, thank you so much!” about twenty times interspersed in this conversation, by the way. Also, at two different points in the conversation, he stopped and gave me the two most awesome, huge bear hugs ever! I read a thread on the expectedmiracles.com board one time that talked about how incredible hugs from The Matts are, and I have to say I concur.
PICTURE OF ME AND MATT STARTING TO HUG:
So, while he continued to sign my poster, I said, “Well, you know…since they were meaningful to you, it would be so great if you could write them back even a short note…they would be so excited.” And he said, “Oh, Dude, no, that’s totally my plan! I’m home for, like, 8 days at this point, and I was totally gonna sit down and read them and then write back after I’ve read them.” And I said, “Oh my God, Matt, that would be so cool! They will be *so* excited about writing after that!” (Umm…how much of a teacher am I? I’m having this incredible conversation with my favorite rock star, and the first thing that pops into my head is how him emailing will get my kids fired up about writing LOL) And he said, “Dude, that rocks, totally…that’s awesome.”
I also told him that I was really happy that I was able to give him something that actually meant something to him because his music has meant so much to me. And it has, too. On a total sidenote, these past few months of heartache and pain over being dropped like yesterday’s garbage by Shithead (you know who you are, asshole…your initials are the same as an infectious disease! GGGRRR!!!!) have been so heartrending…but listening to downloads of Matt concerts and singing along and laughing at his stories have been a really needed outlet for me, and I’m grateful for that.
PICTURE OF MATT SIGNING MY POSTER:
Then as he was finishing up signing my poster, I told him, “When you do get a chance to go through them, you’ll notice that a lot of the pictures they drew are of people drowning and someone flying in to save them.” He started cracking up and said, “That’s fantastic!” He finished signing my poster and I got a pic with him. And before I left, he even stopped to reiterate that he would be reading the letters and getting in touch with me on email.
ME WITH MATT
Oh, my God. If I thought that Matt was a cool and genuine person before, that opinion has been multiplied tenfold. What a talented, creative musician as well as a completely and sincerely kind person…WOW. If there was any doubt before (there wasn’t, but still) that I would be a Matt fan for life, that has been totally erased. That conversation was one of those incredible, special memories that I will keep with me forever. F’real.
Then….I got to meet Fish!!!!!!!!!!!! I had been too nervous to go up to him at the Sweetwater show. He just seemed so busy, and I felt as if I would be interrupting him. But today, we got to talk for a quick minute, just about how great I thought the set was. Can I just say that I am going to be SO SAD when Fish is not touring with Matt anymore? When I first read about it, I got tears in my eyes, no shit. It feels like the end of an era.
Anyway, today, I took a picture with him, and the sun was shining really bright in our eyes. After the pic was snapped, he said, “Wait, I think I blinked. The sun is…wow.” So, we turned, which ended up being better anyway, because then the ocean was in the background. Pretty! But I thought that was so nice…his being concerned that the picture turned out OK, even though it wasn’t his picture, and even though it took extra time to turn and take it again. What a sweetheart!
ME WITH FISH!!!!
Anyway, like I said, what an incredible day!
And three Matt concerts in one month…damn, why can’t all months be like this?