• Category Archives varnish
  • Tied to My Trailer

    Good thing my band Varnish wrote the theme song for Peace Fire, non? That made the plan for the book trailer easy and took an edge off the part where I have been dying to have a video for this song.

    Music: Tied To My Chair (Single version) by Varnish


    Peace Fire cover: a silhouette with a red flare in the middle, in front of and a large, round, metallic shape
    Peace Fire is out 11 October!
    Pre-order your Kindle edition here.
    Sale price until 10 October

  • Strangers When (and If) We Meet

    As you very likely know, the world lost the incredible David Bowie in January of this year. Soon after, Will Brooker asked if I’d like to put together a cover of a Bowie song with him to use over the credits of a documentary he was making about research he did whilst writing his book on Bowie (due out January 2017). Please head over to Forever Stardust to learn more about that. The book and the documentary should be quite good if his previous works are any indication.

    I wanted to say a few words about this project, especially given I know some of us felt like touching a Bowie song was stepping on hallowed ground. Did we dare? Eventually, obviously, we did. And we can only hope that we’ll get lumped in with all those covers we heard come out the last 8 months (it’s 8 months and 1 day now since we lost Bowie) that are considered good, rather than the ones that made us cringe or shrug. But I suppose that I have that hope with everything I release into the world…

    Why did I do it?

    • I like a good collaboration, and I reckoned that Will’s and my voices would sound good together. (I still think that and hope we sort out our ideas for future collaborations.)
    • Like many, I was gutted by Bowie’s death and, in some ways, getting to submerge myself in this was therapeutic. It didn’t take the sorrow away (it’s still there), but I find that working on someone else’s creation gives me a sense of seeing them a bit better, which took the edge off my loss.
    • I liked the fact that distance is a theme in the song and we were going to build this song around people who were both physically distant and strangers to each other. There are people I’ve never met who worked on this track, to whom I felt a sort of creative closeness whilst working, but who will still be strangers when, and if, we meet. (I’m pretty sure I owe drinks to at least half of them, so surely that means it’s a “when” and not an “if.”)
    • I love this song. I think the album is under-appreciated, and even others I know who love Bowie aren’t familiar with this song. Whereas I actually recall clearly the emotional impact this song had on me the first time I heard it, years ago (and how I replayed it a dozen times in a row once I’d finished listening to the album). Whatever you think of our cover, go listen to the original. It’s a dense and complicated piece that, in true Bowie style, sounds simple in the best possible way.

    This was a project that hit a lot of hurdles, so I definitely want to give yet another massive thanks to everyone who ended up making the time, giving their best, and (in some cases) and stretching their capabilities to make this happen. Literally each name on the list below (after the embed) is someone who had to give extra to do what they did or who was a last-minute save. Bless!

    Put your headphones on (really…this song is best with headphones or good speakers that let you hear the panning and such) and give it a listen. Hope you enjoy!

    Written by David Bowie
    Vocals: Amber Bird, Will Brooker
    Guitar: Joe Brooker, Jason Cope
    Bass: Taylor McCarrey
    Keyboard: Cat McCarrey
    Drums: Euan Rodger
    Mixing/production: Amber Bird, Joe Brooker
    Additional engineering: Oliver Betts

  • Explain Yourself!

    As observant readers know, I don’t talk about the meaning behind the lyrics I write. I’ve been thinking lately about explaining myself, explaining why I don’t explain myself, via blog. I was almost derailed, though, as I read the introduction to a book of lyrics by one of my favourite artists (Brian Molko of Placebo). Brian doesn’t even like to have his lyrics written out for people to read and, whilst I don’t share that particular dislike, the reasons he provided made sense. Suddenly, I felt like I’d already put so much out there just by providing lyrics…But here I am, explaining myself. Oddly, the thing that has me finally writing up what I hope will be a comprehensive guide to why I don’t like to explain what/whom lyrics are about is the decision to actually do a little explaining as part of the release of my band’s Each to Each EP. No, I know, it doesn’t make sense. Welcome to the chaos of my brain!

    Loki's brain is a cat in a box

    Now, without further preface:

    Why I Don’t Like To Explain My Lyrics

    (A list I scribbled whilst on the tube)

    1. I can’t be the only person who loved a song and found meaning in it and then read or heard the band talking about what they meant by it and was completely put off the song or confused…and it ceased to be meaningful to me. Sometimes, for the sake of being fed by art, it’s better we don’t understand what the artist intended.
    2. Lyrics ought to stand on their own, in the context of a song, without need for explanation. Writing them without intent to explain them keeps me from taking sloppy shortcuts. Because…
    3. In an ideal world, my songs are all over the place and people are hearing them without explanation. And…
    4. People are finding their own connection to the lyrics, their own meaning. Mine matters and there’s something to be said for authorial intent, but who am I to deny you the meaning you find? People are, I believe, most likely to find a meaning that speaks to their understanding and their context or to find, in those things that they connect with that are outside their context, a way to open their minds and hearts.
    5. Sometimes, the feelings that are captured in lyrics are fleeting. They might last only as long as it takes me to write. They might even be mostly worked out but just a pushy ghost whispering words in my heart by the time I have a moment to write. If I was hurt by you or doubted you for one brief moment, there’s no reason to have you feel hurt or upset every time you hear a song that was written in that moment.

      Bowie turns his back on you

      On a related note…

    6. Lyrics, like other art forms, sometimes dramatise a feeling or an experience. We’re trying to help evoke a massive emotion in just a few minutes; we don’t have years of building up the emotional context. (Or maybe I realised the best words to get the emotion and the rhyme/metre is to use a word that’s a bit more than things strictly, literally were. Ah, artistic license…)

      Little girl pounds at a window...text: FEELINGS

      This leads to two reasons I don’t want to tell you the story behind a song:

      1. Yes, it’s an authentic emotion I’m describing, but it doesn’t mean that every moment of whatever we were doing was this massively horrible or amazing. I don’t want anyone taking it the wrong way.
      2. I don’t want people who care about me to know that something is really that massively big because they would worry. They don’t need to worry. Better they assume it’s just dramatised. (I promise, if I need help, I’ll reach out.)
    7. Whilst the feelings or my side of a story are mine to share, I don’t necessarily want to cast aspersions on or cause discomfort in the other person(s) involved. Especially if I was being a bit dramatic. Even if I wasn’t, I’m not actually hateful and I hope that even those who’ve done the worst to me have gone on to become better people and have happy lives. (I’ve actually had more than one person who quite sincerely apologised to me, years after the fact, when they realised how horrid they’d been.)
    8. I don’t want to feed anyone’s egos. I don’t want to make famous (or infamous) people who did me ache. The only way in which I let them linger in my life is by turning them into something good (lyrics, poems, characters in stories, art!). If the worst they did was break my heart by not returning a feeling, my emotions are still not here for their egos. They need to go find some other girl or boy to help them feel that, someone to whom they return the feeling so that it’s a healthy situation. (And, whilst some people think they know which songs are about them, I’ve had some of my closest friends guess incorrectly about a song’s inspiration. So, if someone tells you I wrote it about them, they probably don’t know what they’re talking about…)
    9. Often, I’ve used the song to process through and be mostly done with an emotion or a dark moment. If we’re performing, I’m willing to put myself back in that emotion to give you a good show (I am a fan of emotional authenticity). Outside that context, however, I want to be done with the feeling. (Why dwell on an old hurt when life delivers new hurts?) And some things will creep back in far too easily if I tell you what the song was about. I try to have the same policy with emotional self harm as I do with physical, which is to say I avoid it these days.
    10. The meanings of the songs evolve, even for me. You know how sometimes you hear a song and it means one thing, and then you live a little more and the song evolves to mean something else? There are a few of my songs where that’s what’s happened. (Bruise Me, for instance…and I swear I intend to write about that in the tidbit I’m going to post about Bruise Me in the days after the album release, so read that for a concrete example.)

    Having told you all that, and feeling pretty sure I’ve covered all my reasons (nine is a good number), I’m going to go write some tidbits about the songs on the album…give you a little peek at what’s behind some of the songs.

    Crowley (from Supernatural) pulls out a list and says, "Let me tell you about my feels."

    Of course, whilst I prefer not to talk about the meanings, I’m always interested in hearing what the songs mean to someone else. Even if, as occasionally happens, what someone hears in them is so far from my truth when I wrote them that I get confused. It gives me a chance to discover nuances and consider other perspectives. So do keep finding meaning. For me, if people are connecting and finding meaning, the songs are doing what they’re meant to do, and that means my life has been worth living…worth singing about.


  • I’m just singing…

    One of the things about creating art is that some people see you as a role model, even if you’re not (yet) world famous. Fortunately, I think I’m an okay person, and I really do try to promote light and love and all that good stuff. But, fact is, my music doesn’t usually come from those places.

    Once, in an interview, the person noted that the song they’d just played of ours was really angry, but I seemed like a sweet person. And, y’know, I think I am a sweet person generally. But no amount of sweetness and light leads to a life completely free of unpleasant (or arguably objectionable to some audiences) things. And, for me, the music is one of the main places I work that out or talk about the experiences that built me.

    So, yes, there are tales of sex and drugs and violence in my songs. And I’m not writing things that are likely to come across as morality tales where I beat listeners over the head with how Things You Think Are Bad Are Bad. In fact, because I’m telling true stories, I have to acknowledge the moments in even the darkest associations that are Not Bad. I have to acknowledge that, just like you, sometimes I get really angry or depressed or I-want-to-beat-you and, for some of the time, I’m feeling really okay about that.

    I’m not going to lie because you don’t like my truths. Nor am I going to not sing about things you don’t like or force myself to write the songs in ways that make them public service announcements. But I want to be very clear. And I reckon a picture makes it easier to remember and more likely to catch your eye if you’re just skimming. Ready?

    If I were glorifying it, I'd be doing more than singing about it...

    It’s as simple as that. If I were glorifying the things you claim I’m glorifying, I’d be doing more than singing about them. Got it? Please keep this filed for all future accusations. Heh.

    Now, I’m going to go write more objectionable songs so you can keep practising remembering that the fact I’m singing about it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m glorifying it.

    Stay in school, be good to your people, and don’t go tying anyone to chairs just cos I wrote a song where someone is tied to my chair…

  • Crazy for You

    It turns out, I go a bit crazy sometimes. Shocking…I know.

    Right now, I’m thinking about the kind of crazy I go when it’s been too long since I’ve played a show.

    Me and my crazy face
    No. Seriously. Cray-cray, as the kids say…


    I go to see other people play shows and I have this envy that creeps up the back of my legs.

    I dance to other people’s music and wish it were mine.

    I want to be on the other side of the mics and set lists.

    I want to be the one sharing things that would be considered inappropriate to share publicly if they weren’t in lyrics. (Though maybe our social media-saturated lives have removed all those barriers…)

    I want to be the one that maybe, just maybe, is making people Feel and making them want to dance.

    And practising with the band won’t scratch the itch.

    And loudly singing along with any music I know, in the living room or the car or the club, won’t scratch the itch.

    And karaoke just won’t scratch the itch.

    Oh, it’s a partial scratching. You get up and you sing and people cheer.

    But it’s like scratching right by the itch…An itch I can’t quite reach that way.

    Life right now is full of really important questions about how to stave off homelessness for this little household, how to eat in a way that will make for the happiest and healthiest me (and will banish some Issues that have been lingering), and other stuff that is “more important.” But what I think about, if I let my mind go where it wants, is music.

    I look at pics from past gigs. I ponder set lists. I wonder when the newest song will be ready to add into the set list. And I ache for a whole, functioning, awesome band to do that with.

    I don’t know who you are, but you are out there. Maybe I already know you and/or you already know about Varnish. Maybe you (sadly) don’t even know I exist yet. Either way, I’m chomping at the bit. Let’s move forward. Let’s charge ahead! You, me, us, music. Now. Please.

    And if you, reader, aren’t that “you” above, what is it you’re charging toward?


    (Yeesh, speaking of crazy…the weekend was a bit short on sleep and I was, as those who interacted with me will happily attest, stupid tired. Stupid. Tired. The “stupid” part includes not clicking to publish this Saturday. I think all the not gigging has impacted my memory and ability to function….haha)

  • “Artwork is work”

    This one’s for the artists. (In more ways than one.)

    It’s also for the people who care about the artists.

    As I was thinking about what I wanted to write, I had one of those weeks where the same thing kept coming up, over and over, in different contexts. And given that this is a topic that’s important to me, I’m happy to give in and just write about it.

    If you’re an artist or if you care about an artist, the question probably comes up every once in a while: how can you support that artist? (Hopefully, if you’re an artist, people are asking you this question.) I’d love to get a conversation going in the comments, but here are some answers I’ve come up with as I’ve pondered this.

    First, a note to the artists: When people ask you how they can support you, it’s good to have an answer. It’s even okay to have an answer. Like anyone who works hard, it’s okay to promote yourself and to try to move ahead with what you do. Now is not the time to have no answer or to feel like you aren’t allowed to be honest. (And I’m talking to myself here, too…)

    Of course, as a musician, most my answers will obviously apply to that, but I’m pretty sure you’re clever enough to sort out things that apply to other arts as well.

    How can you support the artists in your life? Well, here’s one of the random things that crossed my path this week:

    Bumper sticker that says, "Artwork is work. Supporting the arts means paying the artists."
    I think artplay is what we call hobbies…


    I’m not going to dance around it, because one of my responses when I wasn’t being thoughtful about how someone could support me was, “Well, if you’ve got loads of money or music connections…Heh.” (I laughed when I said it, but definitely wasn’t joking about either.) And it’s just a fact. What we do costs money, so one of the ways you can support any artist in your life is with money. Here are a few things you can do in that regard:

    Feeling flush? Most of us wouldn’t say no to a gift with the one criteria being we spend it on our art.

    Alternately, if you’ve got gear or studio time or something else we might need and you’re willing to donate, that can also be helpful. (Want to support budding artists? Find a local program, like Rain City Rock Camp for Girls, and offer your gear, your skills, or your time.)

    Other artists: We can talk about trade! I’m always looking for photos and flyer design (cos I’ve done all but one of the flyers on my own…). Let’s see if there are ways we can help each other out.

    Taking my own picture
    Because this kind of photo shoot lacks something…


    Buy our stuff. Whether it’s our albums, our merchandise, or something else…Whatever we do, when you buy it, that both shows financial support and emotional (it says, “I like you and/or your art enough to buy stuff”). You can even throw in a little extra, tell us to keep the change, that sort of thing.

    I once had an older friend tell me that what we were doing wasn’t really to her tastes, but she could tell we were talented. Is that how you feel? You can always give it as a gift to someone else. This also works if you do like our stuff. Heh.

    Come to our shows. This is a nice little transition, because it both helps to get a little money into our pockets and helps others see that we have fans. Venues notice who brings in a crowd. Jason and I have one friend who is older (I’m guessing she’s at least in her late 60s), who doesn’t really enjoy loud music, but who shows up now and again to watch our first couple songs. Every time she shows up, I get a little grin.

    So, the second broad group of suggestions has to do with boosting our signal and being counted as a fan. In addition to coming to our shows, you can:

    Bring your friends to the shows with you. Give them a chance to discover us!

    Other ways to help your friends discover us:

    Tell your friends about us. (It can be as simple as, “Have you guys heard this band?” or you can mention us when your friends are looking for new music, as a couple examples.)

    Play us when other people are around. The fact is, we are a lazy, lazy species. As easy as it is to click a link and listen to something online, sometimes that’s just too much effort. Take the link out of the equation!

    Put our songs on a playlist or CD you make for a friend.

    If you follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter, like and share our posts or tweets. That puts us in front of your friends and, with Facebook, increases the likelihood that we’ll be seen at all. (Curse you, Facebook algorithms!)

    With that in mind, follow us on Facebook or Twitter and actually pay attention. (Studies show we are now wont to click that link that lets us follow/like a group and then never pay attention again. Yowch!)

    Also in that vein, make sure you’re seeing our Facebook stuff. We posted a note about how to help us be visible in your feed in spite of the accursed algorithm.

    Oh, and because I haven’t mentioned it in ages, making fan art is cool. Draw a picture, make a gif, paint a shirt, get a tattoo, make a video…As long as you remember to credit us so that the people who dig your art know who inspired you, we’ll be chuffed. We’ll make an album online to show you off even!

    Wear the merch you bought from us. In public. Maybe even take pics of your pretty self sporting that stuff. It’s kind of the same as fan art…(And the more of you who are up for buying merch, the sooner we’ll have new stuff!)

    Amber and a Varnish dog tag
    Dog tags don’t care what your t-shirt size is…


    Make your own or use free things we’ve made. Use our avatars, use our banners in your signature, make our quote your “what’s on your mind” for your IM or when Facebook asks about that. (We have a few variations on what’s there, so feel free to ask…Or make some changes to make the colours and/or quotes more to your liking.)

    This next idea is thanks to a friend who did this for me on my birthday Wednesday: As his gift to me, he posted Varnish stuff on his Facebook. I’m going to try to remember to post things about friends’ books, art, or music on their birthdays. It made me smile and might even have gotten some new attention.

    If you get pictures or videos of our shows, we’d love to have those to share and to add to our digital scrapbook. There are fans all over the place, and we can’t take pics of ourselves whilst on stage, so you help everyone feel a little more connected when you do that.

    (Note: I hate to even have to say this, but I’ve watched this happen to others…If you make money off of your fan art or things I’ve mentioned in this post, you’ve likely violated copyright…If you make money off stuff to do with us and it’s just fan art–whole different story if we show up in your commercial without permission, for instance–let’s chat and work something out. Or make a fair donation to us. Something. Let’s all play fair 🙂 )

    Amber with nerf gun and stuffed hunting companions
    Don’t make us come for you. Adventure Penguin and Hedgehog will get you!


    When we do social stuff outside shows, come hang out! Don’t assume we mean everyone else. When we post public invitations, we mean everyone. Show up. Bring a friend or come alone. Drop in just long enough to say hi or stay for some conversation. You might make a new friend, discover a new band, or at least have someone to nod at when you come to our shows.

    Learn the lyrics and sing along (dancing would also be cool) at shows. As humans, we assume something is more valuable if we see others value it. Your singing and dancing helps this. It also makes me extra happy (someone just posted a note about my lyrics on a forum and I got a giddy grin). And, honestly, isn’t a show more fun when you find yourself dancing with a friend or singing the same line together? (At least that’s the case with me!)

    When we say we want to make a community of fans and musicians and other artists, we’re serious! If you help build that, you are supporting us. All this stuff I’ve listed already is part of it. But you can also:

    Be friendly to all our other fans.

    Come out to shows for the other bands we dig.

    Suggest other cool local bands to us.

    And, once we hit the road, you can help us sort out good places to play and good bands to play with in your town. If you want, you can start pointing us at other bands in your area now. We know a few folks who live nowhere near here with whom we’d like to play someday.

    If you’re an artist (musician or otherwise), we’d also love to see you out at social things. So far, we’ve done things where we hoped to have multiple groups represented, not just to promote Varnish.

    Related, if you’ve got a site, link to the artists you dig! (I probably need to go check out our Links page…And, if you’re an artist, you probably ought to at least set yourself up with something simple others can link to…)

    I’m hoping you’ll use the comments to talk about ways to apply this to or to support other kinds of artists, as well as to talk about this topic in general. I decided to put this in my blog instead of the Varnish blog so that I could feel okay about this being long (longer than planned…eep!) and because this is important to me with all my projects and all the ways I try to pursue art. Plus, I’ve got loads of talented friends, and I’m always thinking of ways to support them, whether or not I’ve got money.

    Now, your turn! In addition to choosing one of the many suggestions in this post and applying it to one of the artists in your life, leave a comment!


  • Doing Time…

    Without any ill feelings, I note that I do “everything” for the band. I mean, I’m not the guitarist, drummer, or bassist, but I’m all the other stuff. And that certainly includes all the non-music stuff like booking, promoting, web design, online communications, blogs and vlogs and all the other cogs. I’m not saying I do as stellar a job as a paid pro would do, but I work my little bum off.

    And it definitely takes time. On a “slow” week, all the things I’m doing for the band and music easily take at least 20 hours. On an insane week (like the weeks I’m working on redesigning our web site or updating all our online stuff), it easily turns into 80 hours a week. Yeah, seriously.

    As you might guess, this impacts other areas of my life. My friends get used to rushed, infrequent Facebook status updates (often something like, “Almost done! I swear I’ll be back soon!”) and my little household probably just feels amazed that everyone gets fed every day.

    Crazy, right?

    Probably. But I’m sincere when I say there are no ill feelings. Whereas a day job usually feels at least a little torturous every moment, even if it’s working on my favourite type of project with my favourite people. Which means that people who are baffled at the time I put in often become further baffled. All that work on music and the band, “work” being the key word, and I don’t resent it? Hard to believe, some say…

    But here’s why:

    First, I was raised to know that where we spend our time shows our priorities. I find that, now that I’ve accepted the reality of my priorities and just let myself give the time I need, there’s deep satisfaction and no guilt.

    Second, as noted, there is deep satisfaction from putting the time into this thing I love passionately. I might produce something killer for a day job, but it will never impact me on the same level or mean as much to me as what I accomplish musically. When I give this time, I receive all sorts of good stuff in my head and hearts. (Haha! I accidentally pluralised that last word…Maybe I’ve been watching too much Doctor Who lately, if that’s even possible.)

    Third, cos I do like threes, Danielle LaPorte noted in her recent book The Fire Starter Sessions that work/life balance is kind of a ridiculous concept that actually has the potential to cause harm. Fortunately for you, she also posted about that online.

    So, the question for you to ponder is this: What truly feeds your soul?

    And the followup question is this: How can you give more time to that without neglecting your responsibilities? (Sometimes, by the way, the answer is to wrap some things up and decrease your responsibilities. On the other hand, I’d also assert that the answer is probably not to give up responsibilities entirely…I think you’ll have a more fulfilling life if you are striving to take care of yourself instead of just letting others handle that or neglecting yourself.)

    Now, I’m going to go spend some time with the man who helped me develop some of my ideas about priorities and responsibility. Cos the people I love most are the “thing” most wont to get me to take a break from happily working on music 🙂

    (And, just so you can share in the irony, the reason I chose this topic today instead of a couple others that are as loud in my brain, is that it wouldn’t take as much time to write cos I need to prioritise some other things over the band stuff today. Ha!)

  • Clearing the Pipes


    And, I’m back! Here’s a quick catch up so that I can get to my longer, ponder-y post that’s the official “every second Saturday of the month” post in a couple days. (And, yes, that means at least a monthly post, but there might be others….like this one!) Mainly, this is to get you up-to-date on topics that have been mentioned here before, just in case you haven’t also been following things on Varnish pages and sites.

    • We released Each to Each (a sort of maxi-EP, if you will) 1 December, 2011. It’s got the 5 studio tracks, plus 3 live tracks (of lesser production quality) that I threw on. It’s only available as a digital download at this time. Much love and thanks to all involved in making it happen.
    • In order to put all his musical energy into Post Adolescence, Johnny stepped down as bassist. Yes, in fact, I am gutted. But we’re all still friends, so that’s a happy thing. Don’t want to think what life would be like without my best friend.
    • Mentioned in one of the first posts that my mum didn’t like our music. Somewhere about midway between that post and when she passed away, she told me (out of the blue) that she did, in fact, really like a couple of our songs. That was a seriously happy thing for me to hear.
    • I’m going to shift things here a bit so that the focus on this blog is more to do with me, including Varnish things specific to me. Not that I was posting loads of band business here, but I’ve got so many updates on the Varnish main site, the Facebook, and Twitter that you’ve got plenty of sources for Varnish information. And I hope you’ll join us one or more of those places, cos your support and love are huge to us.
    • I am still a big hippie, believing in love and light and the great worth of all people. Plus, organic food and treating animals well and taking care of the environment. And so forth. I’d apologise for not being rock ‘n’ roll enough, but I feel pretty good about it. Heh.

    And now, back to work. Cos taking care of my band is a full-time job!

    ps Here is a picture of my cat. Doesn’t his cuteness make you forget (or at least forgive me for) how long it’s been since I posted here?

    Does this NY Met bag make me look cultured?

  • about time i updated, non?

    well, looks like the best intentions i had got eaten by life. lots going on in my personal life and music, and suddenly i look and find this blog has been neglected. i am going to try to hold myself to at least a monthly post the last half the year. and you feel free to poke at me as it gets near the end of a month if i haven’t. (plus, i was reading some old entries one day whilst out and on someone else’s computer, and i must go back and fix my errors. put on my editor hat and clean things up. yeesh.)

    so, what have you missed?

    * we’ve played some shows, of course. because that’s what we do. our last was with five alarm fire, the new band of john maurer from social distortion. oh my stars. what a great night. and i feel very lucky that john and i clicked and spent most the night talking. he’s quite cool, and i urge you to check them out if five alarm fire play near you.

    * our johhny’s main band, post adolescence, had their cd release! i’m linking you to their myspace, urging you to buy a copy. if you buy it digitally, please consider using digstation, because the boys get 100% of that money. seriously, seriously proud of my best friend & bassist, and of the other boys in the band (also my friends). plus, it was produced by mark clem, whose name you might have seen mentioned as producing the varnish ep (also a friend of mine).

    * ah, the varnish ep…the silver lining of the fact that the cover art has proven ridiculously hard to make happen is that there’s still money in my savings (because it would, otherwise, have been spent to press the cd). and that’s good because it looks like my day job is about to cut my hours (maybe my job?) in the next week.

    * but that last part is only not awesome because i have bills. it *is* awesome because i have also started working on some side project stuff about which i’m very excited. it’s different from varnish, so it lets me stretch and explore. and it’s with two people i consider family (always a bonus…one thing i love about working with johnny in varnish is that he *is* my family). plus, i’m working hard to promote varnish more and really get moving. i’m going to add us to more sites. and i’ll be sincerely, deeply grateful for any efforts people make to help spread the word about us.

    * not yet sure how i’ll handle selling them if you don’t live near (probably paypal), but we got these cool, limited edition (made only 50, 4 of which go to the band) varnish dog tags. this is the mockup, not a photo of the actual thing, but it’s pretty close:

    varnish dog tag

    * there are also stickers now. if you head over to our facebook page and look at the pics from 2010-06-19, there’s a picture in there. i suspect those will make their way happily around…

    * lots in my life and in my head. and varnish are working on new material. just moving ahead as much as i can in all areas. blessed to be surrounded by good people, to have a stellar bff like johnny (and his cat), and to see myself at least clearly enough to like myself. something i wish i could help all of you do….see clearly that you are of worth….i truly believe we’d all get further in life and would treat ourselves and each other better if we knew we were of great worth. so i’m going to keep telling you that until you believe me. because i never lie….

    i appreciate the many lovely compliments that people have sent my way after shows and online. i feel truly blessed to be able to make music, and super flattered that you see my goodness. so far, i must confess, my favourite has been the following:

    “Ultra Goddess to the highest power. You know you wanna learn all you can about the divine feminine that *IS* Varnish’s Lead vocalist. You KNOW you wanna.”

    i hope you all get a chance to truly see the divine that’s in *you*
    i mean that.
    and i mean it about everyone. literally. even if you’re someone i don’t get on with or who doesn’t care for me. it doesn’t change the fact that you have that in you.

    be good to yourself.
    don’t settle.
    find beauty.
    be courageous.
    and poke me if i don’t update. because, like ms. o’connor once sang, i’m full of good intentions…


  • just so you know it’s still alive

    oh my stars. it’s been two and a half months since i posted, hasn’t it?
    unless all the registered users are desperate spam-bots, there are actually some of you out there already hoping for posts.
    so here’s a quick one, full of little random bullet points (close friends are not surprised at that) to let you know this is still a living blog. it just needs a little cpr. heh.

    * cd progress: as you know, the songs are done and have been ready and mastered for months. have now had the requisite conversation with the cd pressing folks. am all ready…except for the cd art. still. but i have decided to find a way to get cd art i’m happy with (i already know what it looks like, but just need to have it created) asap. in spite of the unchanged status of the obstacles in the way. and i’m a determined girly. yah!

    * my new motto (which i came up with on my very own — go me! — and hope the band will also take as a motto) is “make music, not excuses.” feel free to use it. just remember where it came from and buy the t-shirts when i make them. hehehe

    * why is my most spammed post on here the one called “best friend (lyrics hint)”? seriously. i get a few huge spam “comments” on it daily. and only infrequently on a few others…and this is why i don’t talk about what lyrics mean. it must be a sign. haha!

    * speaking of best friend….in this case, my actual best friend (who is not the topic of that song, in case you missed the post), who is also my bassist…i’m just pleased as punch that his main band (post adolescence) have finished recording their album and will be releasing it in the next couple months. and it’s amazing stuff (thanks to the fact they started with hot material, and then used the same killer producer we used). you know i’ll be saying more here when it’s out and ready for you to consume.

    * as far as playing live goes…we’ve managed one a month for february and march, will have two this month (one tomorrow, in case you’re in the area, at the blue moon), and have one lined up for may. already working on june and months beyond. a number of factors (local “blackout” periods where venues don’t want you to play within 2 weeks of playing for them, other bands our folks are in, and so forth) make it unlikely we’ll regularly do more than one a month for a while. but you better believe we’ll fit in as much as we can.

    * we’re now at a point where art for gig posters and pictures of the band are a good thing. if you’ve got something you want to share or have us consider, drop me a line. we’re a bit tight on the money just now, but we’d at least want to hang on to things for a future where we can set you up. (that said, i’m really excited for the poster my friend nathan made that we’ll be using for our may show. it’s hot!)

    * have started a song that has the word “varnish” in it a few times. i write like mad, and i clearly like “varnish,” so it’s odd that this is the first time i can recall it coming up. suddenly, i’m wondering if it comes off as silly to use that word multiple times in a song given that it’s the band name. not my deepest pondering yet. heh. just one more reason to have another project someday, so i can use all the lyrics i write, whether or not i think they are right for varnish.

    okay, that ought to make you feel more confident in the lifespan of this little blog. i promise i have a list of topics to address. and i continue to be open to your suggestions. i just have to scrape out a little more time now that life has gotten a bit more on the full side. maybe next time i’ll talk about chilblains, seasonal allergies, and my new motto. (now i’ve put that in my mind, increasing the chances of posting again soon. see how that works?)

    stay safe. keep believing. as bjork would say, “all is full of love.”