Sunday, March 30, 2014

a Q&A w/The Missing Letters

Been awhile since I have posted here, have been helping Boss move house on the east coast.

Recently, I was at SXSW with the almighty Soundgarden, doing a few shows. Incredible shows, I should say. They did the entire Superunknown album front to back on a rooftop overlooking Austin!

Two of my (most excellent) runners on those shows were members of the up & coming Minneapolis-based band: The Missing Letters.

here they are on their way to SXSW.

I wanted to find out more about what they were up, so i did my patented Kitty interview:

11 QUESTIONS WITH THE MISSING LETTERS 1. What is your favorite letter? Which letter would we be most screwed if it went missing?

JAKE: X, the Xylophone community would be up in arms.

SHANNON: K….It has smething to do with Japanese Hippos... and unless you are my sister it might be hard to comprehend… But trust me it is so very important!

COLE: T. the most common non-vowel in Wheel of Fortune. Would really change up the metagame if it left us.

2. How/when did you form your band?

JAKE: October of 2012. Shannon threw a post up on a local rock Facebook group looking for musicians and I hit him up. After a few months we started adding more people to the band.

SHANNON: It's not all that interesting of a story...but I can tell you that Mark Zuckerberg played a role in the whole sordid tale.

COLE: I was late to the party so to speak.

3. Living in Minneapolis, so rich in music history, do you feel the pull to either coast? what would make you leave the Midwest?

JAKE: I love the authenticity of the Seattle scene, so that's something I would love to explore further someday. On the other end, New York ALWAYS has something cool kicking, and it's fun to watch what jumps from their melting pot of a music scene. I don't think there's anything specific that would cause me to ditch the Midwest though. When I feel it's time to move along, I'll move along. The Midwest sound will always be my focus.

SHANNON: More toward the West Coast, primarily because of our influences.

COLE: Do you feel the pull to the Minneapolis? Cuz it's there.

(interviewer's note: Oh yes, Prince & Low pull me there)

4. If you could have written one song that exists today in the world, what would it be and why?

JAKE: Your Time is Gonna Come - Led Zepp. Such a simple tune, but so much power. It's awesome.

SHANNON: Positively 4th Street by Bob Dylan, I lived through a similar situation that is described in those lyrics.

COLE: What is Love? Baby, Don't Hurt me.

5. What sound do you wish to achieve?

JAKE: My goal when writing and playing has always been about honesty in the music. I want each song to sound like I mean what I'm playing and that my hearts in it, and I want it to sound like four people sitting in a room playing instruments.

For me, some of the most authentic music was the alternative scene in the nineties. All the way from Meat Puppets and Stone Temple Pilots to Third Eye Blind and Eve 6 and so on, there was just such a cool vibe in music rom that time. I tend to try and package that vibe up with a kick of Minneapolis soul and let it ride.

I usually don't write for a specific style generally, but that's the feel I strive for with every song.

SHANNON: Pure rock and roll. Finding the essence that made Led Zeppelin, the Foo Fighters and MC 5 different from the others

COLE: The kind that goes BRRRRNNNNGHH. If that makes any sense.

6. Your favorite thing about touring is...?

JAKE: The openness of the ride, and the feeling of freedom that comes with knowing you're out grinding with the band to do what you love.

SHANNON: Being in a smelly van with your brothers and embracing everything from everyone

COLE: Van smell.

7. What's the weirdest thing that ever happened to you with a fan?

JAKE: No Answer

SHANNON: No weirdness… I really enjoy meeting people. Especially people that like our music. People thought I was weird my whole life…I suppose that's perspective.

All sorts of people come to our shows, and I think that's one of the cool things about what we do… I like to think of a show with The Missing Letters as a coming together place… Where it doesnt matter what your scene is. We (meaning us and our fans) make up our own scene. So if someone wants to come to one of our shows dressed in a green guerilla outfit, thats cool. Not weird. Ya know?

COLE: I had a really cute girl come up to me once. I got nervous and walked away.

8. Your band is strongly involved in important social issues esp. missing kids, how would you like your fan base to help?

JAKE: In any case or situation, just look for your own way to help. With missing children or anything else really, there's always awareness to be raised, and a number to call. Just do what you can personally to be a solution.

SHANNON: No one tends to think about touchy subjects because they're uncomfortable. We dont think that each of us is a possible victim until it happens to us. That goes for crime, natural disaster or anything really.

The reality is we all need to be more aware about what is happening in our communities, our country, and our world. The more in touch we are, the closer we are to a solution. Its not hard. Just be aware. Open your eyes and your mind. When I was young I had a classmate of mine named Alexis Patterson go missing. As far as I know, she was never found. It really affected me, as she was there, and my friend one day playing with us at recess, and then the next day... gone. There was lots of TV crews at the school the first few days when everything first happened. Then everyone went away, the reporters were gone, and it was like nothing ever happened… but Alexis never came back.

COLE: The success of a campaign like Amber alert requires a broad awareness from the public. All I can ask of anybody is to take a few minutes and look over some pictures from their local area It's very much a hivemind effort.

9. You have one superhero power, name it.

JAKE: Burritos out of thin air.

SHANNON: To be like the human torch, because who wouldn't want to be able to snap their fingers and make a flame?!?

COLE: The power... to move you.

(*interviewer note: did you just quote Tenacious D to me??!)

10. How do you see yourselves in five years? Where would you like to be?

JAKE: Part of the fun of music is that I really have no idea where it could take me in any period of time, but I dig that. The unknown is my greatest motivation.

SHANNON: I want to be successful and happy doing the thing I love the most, and that's playing rock and roll.

COLE: Shooting off flares and sexing up the ladies; you know? Like men do.

11. The question we really wished you had asked us is:_____

JAKE: Whats for dinner?

SHANNON: What was your first interaction with rock n roll?

COLE: Nah, You did fine.

watch The Missing Letters in action here:

I have also posted thirty (count 'em 30!)free things, in my continued Swallowing Diamonds project-- go get 'em, tigers! Click HERE.

Friday, February 14, 2014

items #42 and 43: "concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT!" FREE TICKETS!

playing catch up on hearts day.

this "swallowing diamonds" project has been so much fun and it's putting me in touch with humans I may never have had contact with.

this package, bursting with sticker-love, came to me from a previous winner on the blog- the lovely three-names Anthony.

even his choice of postage stamps: spot on!

a geniune moment that made me stop and hold my little red velvet heart in my hand... or as my British production manager used to say:

I got a tear in my glass eye.

So, I was remiss in posting yesterday, I was still in German guitar god heaven.

I got to spend a day on the Michael Schenker tour, he and his band of merry pirates played at House of Blues on Sunset. Epic evening. UFO has the ability to put me right back into my eighth grade room. Lights out in London!

Today's diamonds will be a pair of FREE tickets to see Back in Black, an AC/DC cover act, on Friday, Feb 28th.

AC/DC, I am such a Bon Scott girl. I do find myself humming "dirty deeds done dirt cheap.." far too often. (neckties...contracts...high voltage)

While in Australia, last year about this time, we went to the big AC/DC owned Cherry Bar, meow!

please only take these if you can use them. to win, tell me your favorite AC/DC song!

Reminder: ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT IN MY GIANT TOUR SWAG AUCTION. guitar picks, backstage passes, tshirts...

meanwhile, tonight, Husband is taking me to the very romantic oceanfront spot MOONSHADOWS in Malibu. (yes, the place where Mel Gibson had his meltdown...) May your hearts all be chocolate!

Monday, February 10, 2014

item #41: big LOT of tour swag/picks/passes

i have been a roadie for over a decade. this is item #41 in my "swallowing diamonds" clean-out-treehouse project.

a collection of tour swag from several of my tours.

8 never-stuck-on-human backstage/working passes from:

8 guitar picks from Zombie, Cheap Trick, Megadeth, Godsmack. I especially LOVE the Universal monster one.

xox John 5 and Piggy D!

plus a bonus mystery yellow pick-- WORLD TOUR on front, *secret on back.

3 tshirts:

one from Zombie/Megadeth (this is surely a bootleg--as a merchandiser i hate bootleggers, not condoning in any way) 100% cotton XXL size.

one from TOOL 2007 from the great UPSTAGING trucking company this sadly doesn't fit my sad self. 100 % cotton in size small.

one from EAGLES tour 2005 a "girly" style tee, in size XL.

one concert ticket from one of my favorite tours EVER: Zombie/Slayer.

i love souvenirs. please give these good homes...

CLICK HERE FOR EBAY LINK.

If any artist I work with protests me selling this, i will remove. lord knows, i love & respect these people.

these are just things I have collected over the years, that I would like to sell to give money to my favorite tiger refuge, Valley of the Kings.

It's winter and they really need funds to keep the big cats warm and fed.

auction only offered in US of A-- sorry, too much $$ to ship overseas.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

item #36: some double plus goodness from TORI AMOS tour

item #36:

Oh, the wonderful memories from this tour-

This is the Tori Amos crew jacket from the 2002-2003 US tour for Scarlet's Walk, all hand made in England.

This is a navy blue pullover, very soft fleece hoodie, supertoasty warm.

Has hand-sewn patches on the back, front and sleeve. The rough sewing is on purpose, meant to be like that, all our jackets had variants...

EBAY LINK IS HERE.

I will throw in a Scarlet's Walk DVD complete with stickers, Scarlet's map, lyric chest, postcards-- just missing the music CD in it, someone made off with that--but you probably already have the music, if NOT, you best get to finding it, friends.

For "Amber Waves" alone, get that album! That was my decompression song forever.

That tour was magic-- I couldn't easily find photos from it, but there's one from T's bday- a couple tours later.

Good homes only, because man, I loved this deep blue hoody.

Swallowing diamonds means cutting throats sometimes.

(item #36 in the project, one thing a day out of our little over-stuffed treehouse!)

as always auction starts at 99 cents, but sorry, I can't offer this one for overseas shipping. I have already under-estimated most of my shipping costs (and i ship ALL the time, doh!) and shipping overseas is no guarantee of arrival- at big heavy cost.

proceeds from this auction will benefit the good cats of AVALO SANCTUARY. That's where my friend KING LEAR now resides.

ALSO, i put another one of the Neil mugs up for bids.

CLICK HERE FOR EBAY LINK.

I am finding ALL kinds of treasure in the treehouse archives. stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

2 shows in one day: The Black Keys

i love NYC.

especially in the wintertime.

Did two one-offs with the marvelous band and crew of The Black Keys. I met Colin, my production manager, and I sincerely hope we work together again, what a champ. He got us radios in one phone call, on SuperBowl weekend. That's a trick! The whole team was dreamy. Thanks miss Red, for letting me fill in for you.

The band played a full set at Roseland, the crowd went wild. The Roseland, sadly, is slated to be torn down, replaced with a 47-story apartment building.

The crew here told me Lady Gaga will be the last to perform, at this legendary spot. I am sad to see it go. Have done numerous shows here over the years, so many memories, right across from the dreaded Letterman load in.

Being in NYC during SuperBowl was a trip. I walked down the street and took a wrong turn right into a giant sea of football fans, I accidentally got into the Times Square of it all!

At the Howard Stern load in, there were so many old friends, guys I haven't toured with for years. At one point, I turned to my left and was elbow to elbow with a still-stunning Steven Tyler. My childhood passed before my eyes--

Wendy's wristband...

for after show food, I ordered the mighty PieFace for the crew, didn't even know they had American outposts, had only had these beauties while in Australia. delish!

We could use our laminates to get into the Foos show on the pier, but I was so tired from walking (upper west side to lower east side) I lagged. Sometimes, you just can't do it all.

I did sneak in a quick visit to my favorite bar in the city:

now I am back home, getting ready to process all the new David Mack prints, here the alien space twins help me with the poster tubes...

they work for tuna.

Friday, January 31, 2014

NEW PRINT: NEIL GAIMAN/DAVID MACK: "I will write in words of fire..."

Whie we call this NEW version of the I WILL WRITE WITH WORDS OF FIRE...it's not.

This is the actual version that Burton had tattooed on his back, the color scheme that David chose & illustrated for him. A skin friendly script written by Neil Gaiman.

burton photo burton_zpsfd1a2d38.jpg

They are a hand-numbered, limited edition of 500. a dreamy hand pulled print run in 11" x 17" full color, the design really pops at this size. David has even numbers, we have odd. A Libra split! A Valentine's arrow in to the heart.

Printed right here in Hollywood, California. These are offered unsigned and will be $25.00 until Feb 4 midnight PST, when they will go up to $38.00. CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOURS.

By the way, to track down these travelling men, it's a full-time job-- that's why they are unsigned at this time.

 photo 436a1a94-d008-41bc-a4bc-a0e5e6003563_zps1f87bda5.jpg

here are some past photos of the original version, long since gone. THIS VERSION WILL ALSO GO QUICKLY!

Neil reads the tattoo poem.

A PORTION OF EACH PRINT PRICE WILL GO TO BENEFIT THE GAIMAN FOUNDATION.

in 2012, Neil and his lovely daughter Holly started a program to benefit those championing the written word. The foundation supports freedom of speech, and literary education, generally doing good where it can. The CBLDF is one place they are directing their funds, we are all working together.

here is the entire text of the beautiful poem Neil composed:

I will write in words of fire.

I will write them on your skin.

I will write about desire.

Write beginnings, write of sin.

You're the book I love the best,

your skin only holds my truth,

you will be a palimpsest

lines of age rewriting youth.

You will not burn upon the pyre.

Or be buried on the shelf.

You're my letter to desire:

And you'll never read yourself

I will trace each word and comma

As the final dusk descends,

You're my tale of dreams and drama,

Let us find out how it ends.

-Neil Gaiman

Saturday, January 25, 2014

some Boston goodness: GODSMACK!

Neil was in town this week, so great to see that bearded wonder. However, I was derailed by work and sick so am behind on the one-thing-a-day out of the treehouse project i have engaged with myself to do aka SWALLOWING DIAMONDS.

here is Neil reading his beautiful collection of COMIX BOOK from Mr. Denis Kitchen of Kitchen Sink Books, back in action under the Dark Horse roof.

item #22:

the item #21: the glass kitty cat must not have been found by a swallowing diamonds reader, because no one sent in a photo, so I am giving the GOLDFISH POOL print by David Mack to faithful twitterer @Mattncoley who has been my cheerleader for awhile. He (they) have encouraged me in the project and spread the word. i call it karma- enjoy, Matt n' Nicole w/my thanks!

item #23:

another one of the Neil Gaiman quote mugs is back on ebay: CLICK here, it's got ONE MORE DAY.

comes with 4 Chinese New Year chocolate dragon coins...go and bid, right now, it's only a measly 5 bucks.

item #24:

FREE! this lovely musical tribute to Neil: with tracks by Ego Likeness, Tori Amos and that hotty Voltaire. just put in the comments, some new (or old) music you are listening to, that i might like.

I really need some new music.

item #25: a two part GODSMACK tour swag package over on EBAY, click here.

My first tour was the mighty Boston-based Godsmack on a bill with the Deftones back in 2001.

We were out on 9/11 and that brought about the end of our tour.

Am putting up for auction a two-pack of embroidered goodness:

1. a 2001 tour swag shoulder bag with about a zillion pockets, never used.

2. a Dickies-brand work jacket with two pockets and two lovely embroidered logos, this one was from the 2006 tour Godsmack/Rob Zombie. it is a size small, and I wore it proudly.

Sully! What a sweetheart. I believe in a voice like that. One of my favorite tours, and in fact, the tour I met my beloved roadie husband and dear friend Red.

i'll throw in an old pass and setlist if i can find...

this auction is only available in the States, because it's going be a heavy send. starts at 99 cents, as all my auctions will.

(sorry the photos look so crappy, i need to learn to photograph clothing items)

as always, thanks for playing.