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.

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. 🙂