Monday, March 31, 2008

it's ok, we love you anyway..

(this is sort of a continuation from my post yesterday)
during their US 2000 tour, pearl jam started playing it's okay, a song by a band named dead moon, as a tag at the end of daughter. the first time they played it was during their tour opener in viginia beach (i wore my tape of that show out listening to this song over and over), and there's a version of it from nyc on their 2000 tour dvd. the lyrics of the song that eddie sings are beautiful, and i remember that during the tour, people were saying that he was singing it as a way to tell himself that it was okay to keep going.

it's okay you don't have to run and hide away
it's okay, we've seen better days
it's okay, we love you anyway
this is my chance, this is my life
and my hope in an alley way
this is my chance, this is my voice
there may be no tomorrow.
this is my plea, this is my need
and my time to stand free
this is my time, this is my way
in a world that's never safe

one of the great things about pearl jam is eddie vedder's ability to get an audience to participate in a concert. i'm not sure how to explain it exactly - it's more than him getting us to sing along; he gets us to be emotionally invested (i don't think that's too strong a phrase) in the music. i have spent the past hour rewatching my 2000 tour dvd, and when i get to this song, there is something about seeing thousands of people singing "it's okay" at the top of their lungs that is just amazing.

i saw 4 shows during the 2000 tour and did not hear this song. fast forward to 2006, and they were again playing it's ok sometimes as a tag on daughter. i finally heard it live at the 2nd gorge show in july that year. when i first heard the notes of it at the end of daughter, i just closed my eyes and smiled. you have to picture this day - it was literally 116 degrees even after the sun had set. before he started singing, eddie said something about how the world is burning, they're bombing "the shit out of each other" in the mideast, and when you go to bed at night, you try to tell yourself that it's going to be okay. "but it's getting harder and harder to say that, so will you help remind me?" he changed the lyrics to this is our chance, this is our lives, this is our planet we're standing on. use your choice, use your voice, you can save our tomorrows... let's see it through in a world demanding of you

you know, i think that at its best, music is a cathartic experience. and that's what this song is to me - a chance to tell yourself, that no matter what is going on, it will be okay. you will get through this.

so, here is it's okay from new york in 2000. like i said above, i think that one of my favorite things about this song is the crowd reaction. seeing all those people clap their hands and sing along at the top of their lungs has to be one of the most beautiful things. i guess chasing moments like those is why i go to concerts in the first place.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

life is what you make it

i was going through some of my old cd's today, and i came across a recording of pearl jam at las vegas in october, 2000. this was their tenth anniversary show, and i flew across the country for it. i wasn't planning on going to this show - during the summer of 2000, while pearl jam was playing at the roskilde festival in europe, nine fans ended up being trampled to death. i don't exactly know why, but at the time, that affected me a lot. in a way, i guess it made me realize just how fragile life really is, y'know? the best advice my mother ever gave me was to fill my life with experiences not things. so that's how i try to live. i don't want ever to regret not doing something, if that makes sense.

the whole experience before the show was, in some ways, even better than the concert. i went to a pre-party with other fans from a pearl jam message board i used to read; i still have the rubber band bracelet (probably modeled after the rubber bands that ed used to wear around his wrist all the time) that says, it's instilled to want to live - 10 years of pearl jam.

the show itself was really fun. the best part was when pearl jam came out for the encore and people in the first couple of rows sang happy birthday and sent dozens of balloons onto the stage. it was a really great moment, because, a couple of months earlier, it had seemed entirely possible that pearl jam would never play another show again.

the second greatest moment of the show was when they played crown of thorns. ok, you have to understand some pearl jam history to know why this was so great. before eddie vedder ever moved to seattle, before pearl jam existed, stone (the guitarist) and jeff (the bassist) were in a band called mother love bone. the lead singer was a man named andy wood, who died of a heroin overdose just before their first album, apple, was released. crown of thorns was one of the songs on that album. some time later, eddie vedder - who was living in san diego - got ahold of a demo stone and jeff had recorded, put some vocals on it, and flew up to seattle. the rest is, as they say, history.

the lyrics to crown of thorns are absolutely gorgeous:
you ever heard the story of mr faded glory?
says he who rides the pony must someday fall
been talkin' to my alter, says life is what you make it
so if you make it death, well rest your soul

since 2000, pearl jam has played the song sporadically. here it is from the reading festival in 2006.

it's been wonderful tonight

i wanna race with the sun down, i want a last breath that i can't let out...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

i got your back, dear..

in 1996, seeing pearl jam was 23 dollars. in 2000, it was 25 dollars. in 2003, it was 35 dollars. in 2006, it was 50 dollars and in 2008, seeing eddie vedder solo is 75 dollars. that's quite an increase. they could be charging much more, however. GA tickets for bruce springsteen are 95 dollars (which is one reason why i'm not seeing him tonight at key arena. well, i lie, i hemmed and hawed until tickets were finally sold out. i even went by key arena today to see if there were any day-of-show tickets). i paid 90 dollars to see u2 for two nights in 2005. it was completely worth it. i would rather fill my life with experiences rather than things. but it just sucks that everything has to cost so much. even swell season tickets are about 25 dollars more expensive than they were in november (5 months ago! they just *had* to go an win an oscar)

this is awesome... i've had this song on my computer for awhile, but seeing a video of it is really great.

my favorite part is when glen smiles. i bet he's thinking of chocolate-covered nuts. (no one will get that except kristine :) it kills me that the video cuts off plateau.

what is up with weird music in stores? this afternoon, i was in bartell's downtown and heard float on by modest mouse, except it wasn't modest mouse, it was some crappy singer. and then i was in old navy and heard silversun pickups, except it was some strange mix of the song with a bizarre bass line added to it. quite unsettling, actually.

i went to see stoploss this afternoon. i'm not sure what i thought of it - the ending was very unsatisfying, however. the whole movie made me feel really uneasy, but that was the point of it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

watch me leave it far behind...

yeah, that's what i want to do today. tra-la-la. this is from one of the shows eddie did in west seattle (boo!!) this week. his voice sounds awesome. i can't wait until wednesday!

here's another singer i am liking lately: lisa hannigan, and she is from dublin (bonus points!) if you go to her myspace page, you can listen to some songs. i really like sea song (it reminds me of something, but i can't think of what...)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

i spent all day upon the words that i would write to you this day...

exhibit number two in why i love the frames. (scroll down to see number one). what a fantastic video.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

i'm pulling on the red chord

exhibit number one in "why i love the frames/swell season" - glen hansard. i'm going to copy and paste this whole interview, because it's too good not to. i found it on the frames messageboard.

But on the night of Sunday February 24, after two decades of stubborn graft, Hansard and his partner Marketa Irglova found themselves on the stage of the Kodak Theater in LA clutching the Oscar for best original song, ‘Falling Slowly’ from John Carney’s Once, the indie cinema dark horse of 2007.
The film, an unconsummated love story that rejuvenates the musical format by featuring songs rendered in credible, realistic settings, was shot in Dublin for about a hundred grand but made back more than $14 million worldwide, won Sundance and Independent Spirit awards and garnered ecstatic critical notices and praise from industry old boys like Steven Spielberg. That the song bagged a Grammy nomination has almost been forgotten in the Oscar fuss.
If he felt like it on the night, Hansard could’ve justifiably claimed to have eclipsed many of the acts he and The Frames adopted as avatars or peers in their various evolutionary stages: The Waterboys, The Pixies, Jeff Buckley – even U2. After all, it took Martin Scorsese 40 years and at least half a dozen masterpieces to get an Academy Award. Bob Dylan still proudly displays his trophy for ‘Things Have Changed’ on the piano when he’s touring.
“With this, there’s a sense of responsibility,” Glen tells me in the RTÉ television building the day after he and Marketa return from their awfully big Oscar adventure to appear on the Ryan Tubridy show. “It’s like, ‘There’s your fuckin’ award, now fuckin’ hold it, and don’t try to get off the hook. This is yours'.”
For Hansard, the biggest challenge was how to accept his new status as an item on the six o’clock news and a picture on the front of the daily newspapers. Two decades of self-financed tours and albums, of minor victories and major setbacks, had rendered him accustomed to operating in a default state of siege. But that night in LA, he finally transcended the various roles he’d been assigned over the years – eager young firebrand, Commitments apologist, dogged independent slogger, local hero/villain, leader of a people’s band who sometimes seemed doomed to play the bridesmaid abroad – and in one fell swoop he and his collaborators were at last awarded respect and recognition from the mainstream music and film industries.
“That aspect became evident to me about a week and a half ago,” Glen says when he takes a seat in his dressing room, a tad rumpled, but obviously still buzzing from the Oscar victory. “I was looking for a guitar shop – I knew I’d need new strings ’cos we were playing the Oscars – and I went into McCabe’s in Santa Monica. And T Bone Burnett happened to be in the shop the next day, and they mentioned that we were playing, and he came to see us play this tiny little gig, 120 people or so. But the next day we went for lunch and he said, ‘My two favourite bands in Ireland are Kíla and The Frames'. And I was shocked that he knew Kíla, but I was like, ‘You know who The Frames are?’ And he says, ‘You’d be surprised how many people know who The Frames are. There’s a lot of affection out there for your band, and has been for a long time, but people haven’t had any reason to step forward and say, 'Oh by the way, there’s a band in Ireland that no one’s ever heard of called The Frames and they’re great'. No-one’s ever had any reason to fly your flag, and now you’ll find people coming out of the woodwork who’ll know who you are'.”
Like the song says: “You have suffered enough/And warred with yourself/It’s time that you won.”
“I can’t help thinking Mic must’ve had something to do with this,” Glen tells me shortly before he and Marketa attend to Tubridy soundchecking duties. He is referring of course to his late friend and musical sparring partner Mic Christopher, who died as a result of a fall while on tour in the Netherlands back in the winter of 2001.
It’s too big a question for either of us to address under the current circumstances, but in some ways Marketa has inhabited Mic’s role as Glen’s busking partner and travelling companion (their version of Dylan’s ‘You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere’, a staple of Glen and Mic’s, appeared on the soundtrack of Todd Haynes I’m Not There.)
After they run through ‘Falling Slowly’ on Tubridy’s couch, there’s warm applause from the crew. “Are those the clothes they’re wearing on the show?” one tech says incredulously. “Are they not getting changed?”
Russell Brand’s producer calls Glen’s phone at one point, requesting a radio interview later that night. I tell him it’s time he changed his number.
"Too right," he says. "Everyone’s got it."
Including Bono, who texted the message “From a busker to an Oscar” mere moments before they performed at the ceremony.
Always an articulate and intense interviewee, this evening Glen is understandably a little more under-slept and prone to digression than usual, in contrast to Marketa, who despite her relative youth (she turned 20 two days before our interview), exudes a quiet self-possession.
The pair first met seven years ago through Marketa’s father, a promoter, cultural figure and independent newspaper publisher in the Czech Republic. Over subsequent visits they forged a collaborative relationship, but given the 17-year age difference, Glen was understandably wary of anything other than a musical tryst. Once, the story of a Dublin busker and Czech immigrant who forge a profound connection through their shared passion for music, changed all that.
Although John Carney took substantial formal risks in what is essentially a neo-realist film, including the gorgeous scene where Marketa walks the night streets singing ‘The Hill’ on her headphones, and a bittersweet sequence in which Glen watches old handicam footage of his ex-girlfriend to the tune of ‘Lies’, most of the film draws heavily on cinema verité, with the principals basically playing themselves. The crucial scene in which Glen teaches ‘Falling Slowly’ to Marketa is a sublime evocation of the shared intimacy of musicians and lovers.
“I had been falling in love with her for a long time,” Glen told Entertainment Weekly last year, “but I kept telling myself she’s just a kid. There was definitely the feeling we were documenting, something precious and private.”
I ask Glen to what extent the story predicted their eventual romance.
“I think ultimately John cast the film 'cos I guess he saw something,” he considers. “He cast Mar before he cast me, and Cillian (Murphy) was still on board then. And when Cillian pulled out, John didn’t jump on me immediately, he thought about a few different options. What was his name, the guy from The Tudors? Jonathan Rhys Meyers. And I’d suggested Damien Rice to him. I hadn’t suggested myself, only because of my whole Commitments experience, the last thing I wanted to do was act again. I just didn’t feel the need. But eventually John came to me and said, ‘I’d really like you to do it'. And I kind of knew it was coming in some way, and my initial reaction, as Mar remembers well, was, ‘No way. I don’t wanna do it. It’s too close to me'.”
Was he afraid of putting his real life on the screen?
“Exactly. My first fear was that the film would be viewed as a vanity project, made by the ex-bass player of my band, about me. What was embarrassing about it was that I was a busker, and there were aspects of John’s scripts that were based on me telling John stories: the guy stealing the money, the bank manager singing me a song, me getting The Frames together from people I met on Grafton Street, all of these things have happened to me in real life. And I was nervous, because if the film is rubbish, then it becomes The Glen Hansard Story from 18 to whatever. And the other problem I said to him was, ‘I’m 35. I’m too old to play this guy.’ ’Cos John’s original idea was the guy be 21 and the girl be 35. And what he ended up with was a mirror image of it.”
So when did they become a couple?
“We basically graduated April last year, when we went to America. I guess it would be a lie to say there wasn’t some kind of… John kept on saying to us, ‘I’m watching the dailies, and there’s definitely something’ – 'cos he wouldn’t let us watch them. He said, ‘I guarantee you two, at some point, will have a relationship'. And I said, ‘Dude, fuck off!’ Even though I guess I probably knew the same. But he kept jokingly calling us his Bogart and Bacall, cos John’s a total cinephile, so all his references are based in classic cinema. And he was right. It took a little longer than he thought. And I think he, what’s the word, not exploited, but used whatever tension there was. Like you say, there wasn’t a lot of acting.”
John Carney’s original marketing strategy was to tour Ireland with a 35mm print of the film and fill cinemas with Frames fans. When Fox Searchlight picked up the distribution, they adopted that travelling sideshow idea, and Glen and Marketa spent a month last spring touring the US in a bus nicknamed Air Force Once. The two leads would arrive in a town at dawn, do two or three breakfast shows, then conduct interviews with local press in a hotel room all day. An intense way to begin any relationship.
“Well it was,” Glen admits. “Fox Searchlight became the company for this film because they were the only ones willing not to change a single frame. Everybody else wanted some kind of compromise made about the storyline, a kiss at the end being a big one for a couple of people. But Searchlight hired us a bus, and me, John and Mar basically made a pact that because this film was so small and fragile, such an outsider, we were going to give it everything: ‘If anyone asks us to give an interview on the back of a Rice Krispies box, we’re doing it'.
“But even at Sundance, which has a very indie-er than thou atmosphere, we were thinking, ‘Jesus, our film’s a fuckin’ comedy compared to all this stuff here that’s really intense'. And yet, at Sundance, you had all these hardcore filmakers coming to us and saying, ‘Shit man, your film’s really good, you’ve nailed something there, I don’t know exactly what'. The word ‘authentic’ kept on getting mentioned. And ‘believability’. Which I think at the end of the day is all any film has going for it, whether it’s an $800 million high-budget Phantom Menace or whether it’s Once or Garage, the idea being that, if you believe the character, then the film has a chance.”
One thing often forgotten when someone like Spielberg namechecks the film is that the ’60s and ’70s Hollywood brats adored Cassavetes and Ozu and French and Italian new wave/neo-realist films.
“And you still feel it in Spielberg’s films. You look at Close Encounters: it’s an indie film with a huge budget. I love that Spielberg’s films always have that dysfunctional family.”
But despite the rave reviews and general air of goodwill towards the film (“We kept meeting people who wished us good luck for the Oscars and had their fingers crossed,” Marketa says) it wasn’t all smooth going. Because ‘Falling Slowly’ had been previously released on the last Frames record The Cost and also Glen & Marketa’s Swell Season collaboration, questions were raised about its eligibility for the Oscar. In the end, the AMPAS music committee deemed that in the course of the film’s protracted production, the composers had “played the song in some venues that were deemed inconsequential enough to not change the song’s eligibility.”
While the nomination hung in the balance, Glen found an unexpected ally in the form of Bono, who met him for a pint or two, captured his contribution to the Ronnie Drew tribute single on his mobile phone, and counselled him that, if the worst came to the worst, he’d at least get a song out of the experience.
So it came to pass that on the night of February 24 in the Kodak Theater, more than halfway through the 80th Oscar ceremony, Colin Farrell introduced Glen and Marketa, who delivered a gorgeous, orchestra-embellished performance of ‘Falling Slowly’, and received a response that verged on an ovation.
“The performance was easy,” says Glen. “We were in a room with 3,000 people, forget the cameras, this is what we do. Whereas when I look back to the speech, I’m like, ‘Fuckin’ hell, I actually wasn’t in my skin at all.’”
Did he even hear John Travolta announce their names as the winners?
“I just heard, ‘Glen'. That’s all I heard, and I looked at my mother, and she did this (puts hand over mouth) and I did this (puts hands over eyes) and she grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go. And I actually had to say to her, ‘Ma, I have to go!’ Because there’s a Tom Hanks DVD you get called So You’ve Been Nominated. I’d love to show it to you. It’s basically him in a nice theatre explaining: ‘So – you’ve been nominated for an Oscar. Well done. If you happen to be one of the lucky people that get called up to the stage, there’s a few things you need to remember. You’ve got 60 seconds from the moment your name has been called to the end of your speech. That includes the walk. So be aware of this. Don’t bring up a piece of paper, it looks awful on camera. Try not to thank everybody, because if you do you’re gonna leave somebody out, and those people you do mention are going to be happy, but the other 600 million people watching aren’t gonna be that interested. Try to make that moment something that means something to you, blah, blah, blah. But you’ve only got 60 seconds'.
“So me and Mar had a brief talk saying, ‘What if we do end up on this stage?’ And I was really reluctant to prepare anything, 'cos I’m so used to thinking on my feet onstage anyway, I thought, if by some chance it happens, it’ll be fine. But the one thing that I’d planned to say was, ‘Everyone who’s helped us, you know who you are, the only person I want to thank is John Carney'. Which I totally left out!”
And, as has been widely reported, when Marketa stepped up to the mic to say thank you, the orchestra cut her off. However, during the ad-break the show’s producer Gil Cates asked host Jon Stewart to bring her back on to say a few words, an almost unprecedented move in a show as tightly sequenced as the Oscars.
Glen: “We arrived in to all these cameras and people shaking our hands, and next thing Mar was gone, taken off to the other side of the stage. She thought she was going back on during the ads just to say thank you to the room.”
Marketa: “Jon Stewart had said to me, ‘It looked like you were in the middle of a special moment, we didn’t mean to cut you off'. So I walked on totally confused as to what was happening. Luckily I managed to get something together that made sense.”
She’s being modest. What she delivered was an unscripted crie de coeur: “This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling, and this, the fact that we’re standing here tonight, the fact that we’re able to hold this, it’s just to prove no matter how far out your dreams are, it’s possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don’t give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are. And so thank you so much, (those) who helped us along the way. Thank you.”
Glen: “You fucking nailed it. I got up and I was just a gibbering mess!”
The rest of the evening afforded some bizarre photo-ops. Marketa shaking hands with George Clooney. Glen with the Coens and Michael Moore. Glen’s mother Catherine with Ringo Starr. So who impressed them the most?
Glen: “There were a couple of people there where you look at them you just go, ‘There’s someone who’s absolutely radiating self, completely magnetic'. Viggo Mortensen had that sense of himself. Daniel Day Lewis, he’s a man who’s operating on his own level, he’s totally comfortable in his own skin. You look at someone like him and you say to yourself, ‘There’s a guy who makes a film every eight years and wins an Oscar for every one of them'.”
They didn’t, perchance, happen to meet Cormac McCarthy?
Glen: “I did, yeah. I met him on the way out with the Coen Brothers. To be honest with you, he came up and introduced himself, and whatever was going on in that moment, it didn’t hit me. It was about two, three seconds later I suddenly went: ‘Cormac McCarthy’, and he was already talking to someone else. It was a warm transaction, but the moment didn’t land.
“But we were lucky in that we met Frances McDormand, and she loves the film. And Frances is married to Joel (Coen), so we ended up hanging out with the Coen brothers, who are very shy. Frances is so different, she’s so warm, and she sort of pulled me and Mar into the group. I went up to them at the luncheon, and although Joel Coen had said, ‘I really liked you in Once’ which was a fucking amazing thing to hear, and John Carney freaked out when he heard that, they’re still very shy guys, there’s no real conversation. I’d loads of Lebowski questions I wanted to ask him, because there’s this theory among Lebowski-ites that Donnie doesn’t exist, that he’s a figment of Walter’s imagination. And every question I asked him, he’s like, ‘Nah'. It was kind of trying to pry open the paint tin; you have to come at them from a different level.”
Marketa: “Laura Linney was super nice to us. We met her at the lunch and everything, and she was a great support, she said she’d seen the movie and she and her husband were rooting for us, so when we walked onstage she was very happy for us.”
Glen: “Such a great woman. She made a comment at the party to me, which was like, ‘It’s so rare in this business where the one that everybody wants to win, does win'. It was so palpable in the room. When they showed the clip from ‘Falling Slowly’, the fuckin’ response, for me and Mar it was just amazing. But you get the sense with the Academy… It was their way of giving Once a nod, because they couldn’t give it best film. I mean, I think they could’ve but…”
There’s a hierarchy. They can’t snub the Coens on top form, or a film as epic aThere Will Be Blood.
“Yeah, exactly. Once was gonna go for Best Screenplay or Best Foreign Film or something like that. So it seems to me that the Academy really wanted to acknowledge Once somehow, and the best thing to do was put the song up. And I’m not belittling the song, I’m really happy that it got the nomination, but it seems that they wanted to give us some kind of recognition.”
Plus, to be honest, the competition wasn’t up to much.
“I have to say, as an artist, I don’t want to sound egotistical, but I kind of felt like we definitely stood a chance in terms of the fabric of what a song actually is, the distillation of some emotion that’s put into rhyme and music, a distilled moment. I thought the August Rush song was really good, but I have to say I thought the Disney songs felt like they were… there was definitely the sense of machinery off them, that sense of hit the right buttons.”
So now they’ve got a big stick, what are they going to do with it?
“Exactly nothing, I think, is the order of the day. A few people asked me, ‘Are you going to move out to Hollywood?’ ’Cos the night after, there was a bunch of scripts, offers to make music for this film and this film and this film, and I was like, ‘Fuckin’ hell, this is what happens!’”
Is it true Glen was thinking of studying film in New York?
“I’m still thinking of it, yeah. There’s a certain camera I want to learn, an Arie 60, which is an amazing old 1930s or ’40s camera, and so I’ll do that when the time is right, just because I’d love to make a film at some point myself. But it’s a bit like the Commitments thing where people are saying to me, ‘This is an amazing chance – what are you going to do with it?’ And I find myself saying the same thing I said back then, which is, ‘Well, it’s not my world'.”
“It’s almost like, because we have an Oscar now, we’ve nothing to prove. Whatever you do now, you’re off the hook or something. For me it’s freedom. (To Glen) Do you feel that way about it?”
Glen: “I kinda do and I don’t. I have this weird relationship with it, a very Irish thing. You get something like that and one half is made of gold, the other half is made of lead. It becomes a ball and chain as well as a victory. It’s a classic Irish attitude. I woke up the next morning totally anxious, do you remember?”
Marketa: “Yeah. ‘What does this mean?!!’”
Glen: “‘Do we deserve this?’ Just questions, questions, questions. And then at some point I was like, ‘Fuck off Glen! Just enjoy this. It’s an amazing thing'. It’s weird, because when we got famous for five minutes back in the days when The Commitments came out, I felt absolutely no connection to it, I rejected the whole experience because I felt there was no artistic input on my behalf, so therefore I didn’t deserve anything, I deserved none of the praise that the whole band was getting. And it wasn’t that I didn’t like the film: I love the film, I think the film’s fucking brilliant and people always get me wrong when I speak about it because I always appear bitter. Not at all. I just rejected the experience 'cos it wasn’t mine.
“I mean, the first thing I did was give the Oscar to my mother and said, ‘There you go, that’s yours'. And me ma has brought it to the bingo, all the kitchen staff of the Holiday Inn on Hollywood Boulevard have pictures of my Oscar! I don’t even have it now, my ma has it, she’s bringing it in tonight. Even on Tubridy, it’s like, ‘So where’s your Oscar?’ ‘Well, you’re gonna have to ask her!’”
God bless Mum. Later, Catherine Hansard hands over the statue long enough for Graham Keogh to take the cover shots. Glen and Marketa, holding an Oscar.
Bob was right. Things have changed.
“I think most of the things in our career that have been positive came from busking,” Glen told me in 2003.
He had no idea.

wow, he swears a lot.

Monday, March 24, 2008

if it could be undone, what would it cost?

.. i love this song. i had forgotten how much i like the foo fighters, because their last couple of albums have done nothing for me, but their first two records are really great. this song is one of the first songs dave recorded, i believe. i think the story is that this was supposed to be a nirvana* song, but don't quote me on that. i first heard this on a radio show pearl jam did in 1995 called "self pollution radio." eddie vedder played some songs from a demo dave grohl recorded - i still have the tape of that show, as a matter of fact. i listened to this song over and over. i remember eddie saying something about listening to this song while he was driving, and just wanting to take the car off a cliff. take that however you want, but i think it means that it's a good song. this video has everything - long hair, cool guitar playing, crowdsurfing, and a long part in the middle you might want to skip.

*dave was the drummer in nirvana. pat smear, who plays the guitar in this video also briefly played guitar in nirvana.

four things about me

A) Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. sandwich maker in a bagel shop (the worst job i've ever had).
2. substitute teacher in public schools (no, i take that back. THIS is the worst job i've had).
3. kindergarten teacher (the best job).
4. preschool teacher

B) Four movies I would watch over and over:
1. once (and i already have).
2. dirty dancing (heh. i love it, what can i say?)
3. almost famous
4. singles

C) Four places I have lived:
1. bangor maine
2. marlboro vermont
3. tacoma washington
4. seattle washington

D) Four TV shows I watch
1. lost
2. jericho (which is about to be cancelled. boo!!)
3. gilmore girls
4. american idol (one of my many guilty pleasures)

E) Four places I have been:
1. italy
2. england
3. vancouver
4. los angeles

F) Four people who e-mail me (regularly):
1. my mom
2. nicole
3. kristine
4. the showbox (not a person, but they email me show listings every week)

G) Four of my favorite foods:
1. pizza
2. carrots
3. toasted bagels
4. mint chocolate chip ice cream

H) Four places I would like to be right now:
1. a concert - preferably pearl jam or the frames
2. ireland!
3. wandering around downtown seattle without a care in the world
4. ireland!!

J) Four things I am looking forward to this year:
1. eddie vedder in vancouver
2. swell season in san francisco
3. swell season in seattle
4. pearl jam or the frames playing in seattle??

Sunday, March 23, 2008

i came across an old interview with pearl jam today, where eddie talks a little bit about the audience/performer interaction at a concert. in every good concert, there is at least one moment (usually more) when you look around at everyone else, and they're all singing along at the top of their lungs, and you realize that, in this moment at least, you are completely and utterly happy.

It feels like they've forgotten who they are in the crowd, you've forgotten who you are up on stage, and it's like this pure exchange of rock & roll. Sometimes as the lights come up and everyone can see each other... I've said it before, but I'm always just amazed that everyone is agreeing on something at the same time.

i can't believe this is the last week of march already. i am so excited about april! eddie vedder, the swell season, and.. the dalai lama? he's going to be in seattle in the middle of the month, and you have to request tickets online (they're free), which i did, and they sent me an email saying that they are trying to accomodate everyone's requests, and will let me know next week if i can get tickets or not.

i went to see a really awesome movie today called "in bruges." it was funny in a very dark kind of way. colin ferrell is in it, and i think that he has never been better. i had no idea he could be so funny. all in all, it was really good. i recommend it. after the movie, i went grocery shopping. why is it that everytime i go to trader joe's on a sunday, they seem to be playing weird music? today it was straight up by paula abdul and like a prayer by madonna. both of which i used to love. and i had no problems thinking of the lyrics to those songs, and they are now both stuck in my head. life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

and he still gives his love, just gives it away

so, pearl jam's playing some shows on the east coast in june.

Jun 11 West Palm, FL Cruzan Amp.
Jun 12 Tampa, FL St. Pete Forum
Jun 16 Columbia, SC Colonial Ctr.

Jun 17 Virginia Bch,VA Verizon Amp.
Jun 19 Camden, NJ Susquehanna
Jun 22 Washington, DC Verizon Center

Jun 24 New York, NY MSG Arena
Jun 25 New York, NY MSG Arena

Jun 27 Hartford, CT Dodge Amp.
Jun 30 Mansfield, MA Tweeter Center

i would love to see them in boston again (or the two shows at madison square garden! but those tickets will be a pain to try to get), but i also kind of want to wait to see if they announce any west coast dates. i think they probably will, but one never does know with pearl jam. argh. what to do, what to do???

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

the freckles in our eyes are mirror images

...and when we kiss they're perfectly aligned.
this is from one of ben gibbard's solo shows at the showbox last spring. the other people on the stage are jenny lewis (rilo kiley), jonathan rice and dave bazan

death cab's new album comes out in may! i listened to one of their new songs online - i'm not sure what i think of it. it's alright. i love transatlanticism, but i'm not crazy at all about their last record. we'll see. i also want to check out chris walla's solo cd. so much music, so little time...

Monday, March 17, 2008

it's the end of the world as we know it

how amazing is this? these are the cliffs of moher in ireland. i've always wanted to go there. someday.

rem's new album comes out april 1. reviewers have said that it's their best album since new adventures in hifi, which you might remember, i LOVE. so, that's very exciting. this is one of the new songs, living well is the best revenge, from a show they did in dublin a while ago. i like.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

in a world that keeps on pushing me around, i'll stand my ground

and i won't back down.
i can't wait to see him in vancouver.

let's put our heads together, and start a new country...

march is a horrible month. it just is. it's long, it's dreary, it's almost spring but it's still cold and rainy. plus, with the time change last weekend, i have felt even more tired than usual. although it's nice to have light in the evening, even if only so i don't have to worry about being run over when i get off the bus after work...

yesterday afternoon, i went to the seattle art museum. i've been meaning to go to the roman art exhibit, but i hadn't yet. it was really fascinating. i will be the first to admit that i normally have a very short attention span for art museums, but i spent over two hours just in that exhibit! and i want to go back because i'm sure there are things i missed. the exhibit is called "roman art from the louvre," and the artwork is from as far back as the first century BC. it's amazing to look at a sculpture and realize that someone made it in 2 AD, or whatever. incredible. but now i have to add the louvre to my list of places i want to go. i've never particularly wanted to travel to paris, but now i think i do, just to go there.

i watched last week's episode this weekend, and am now thoroughly confused. first, i am not convinced that jin is dead. the show obviously made it seem that jin's story line was a flashBACK while sun's was a flashFORWARD. but i'm not sure of that. maybe he is working for ben, like sayid and micheal (how awesome is it that micheal is the "man on the boat?" i KNEW it!).

it also occurred to me that many of the characters' names are taken from philosophers who dealt with the question of free will. we have rousseu, desmond hume, john locke. i don't know much about philosophy, but the show becomes really interesting when you think of it as posing the question, do we have free will or are our lives determined by fate? (yes, i realize i am thinking too much about this). thinking about it this way, desmond becomes the most important character, because he's the one who has so far done all the "time traveling." remember that episode when he first went back into the past and met the lady who told him that he has to go back to the island, because it is what has to be, and you can't change fate. but desmond seems to start rejecting that idea when in "the constant," when he goes back to the past, gets penney's phone number, and then calls her from the island. he wants to fix what he did wrong in the past. the question is, can he do that?

and to make it all a little bit more complicated in my brain, i found an article online about someone named benjamin libet (hmm.. similar to benjamin linus??). he was an american scientist who devised an experiment where people would have EEG's placed on their heads while they did a simple task - such as pushing a button. basically, what he concluded is that there is brain activity before awareness of action. so, there is no such thing as free will. hmmm....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

the garden angel

i just finished reading a book called the garden angel. it was one of those books i just randomly picked up in the library, but ended up really liking. it has basically two main characters, a single, 20-something year old woman named cutter and an older unhappily married woman named elizabeth. elizabeth and cutter become friends - and that is really all there is to the story. except there's a lot more, of course - the things that happen to them, while seemingly bad at the time, end up changing their lives for the better. that's what i like to think (and do ultimately believe, although sometimes it's hard), life has a way of working itself out. i don't mean that things always end up good - because they don't - but that what's supposed to happen usually happens. i have to believe that the universe has some sort of grand plan and that it will somehow come to pass. perhaps that's not true, but it helps to get me through the day sometimes.

anyway. back to the book. which was good until, oh, the last 20 pages or so. and then it seemed like the author was just in a big hurry to tie all the loose ends up. i hate when that happens to a book. but the endings are always hard, i suppose. beginnings and endings are never easy.

i wish i knew how to post audio on here - because i'd love to post the song i was listening to on the bus ride home tonight. do you know how sometimes you listen to a song, and it just seems to fit the moment? for whatever reason - it could be because you are really happy, or really sad, or lonely, or.. whatever. and then songs also carry memories - there are certain songs that i listen to that give me the unpleasant feeling of being a teenager again. or that remind me of a certain mood, or a certain person or place. what is it about music that does that?

so i thought maybe for my own entertainment, i'd pick out one cd at random and write a little bit about it. so my album for today is... one beat by sleater kinney (2002). i don't remember when i became a sleater kinney fan - it was probably some time when i was in college, because i remember going to see them at a festival in northampton, mass. i will be the first to admit that, during high school and college, i was obsessed with all things seattle. i loved pearl jam and nirvana, i thought rain and clouds were the best, and i drank coffee even though i hated the taste of it. i couldn't wait to move here. so i'm sure the seattle connection is how i heard of sleater kinney...

so, anyway, there you go. that's my confession for today. but, i love sleater kinney regardless, although they are no longer together (they went on "indefinate hiatus" a couple of years ago). one beat is not my favorite album by them; i'd give that honor to all hands on the bad one. i saw sleater kinney live four times - at the aforementioned festival in northampton, at the capitol hill block party, at the showbox, and my personal favorite, in 2001 i saw them play with patti smith. that also happens to have been the first concert i saw in seattle.
here's entertain:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

i knew all the rules, but the rules did not know me

i was listening to the into the wild soundtrack on my walk home tonight. man, i had forgotten how much i love that. i think i want to watch that movie again, as a matter of fact, if only because the music goes with it so well. if you haven't seen the movie, you should, and if you haven't read the book, you should read it whether you like the movie or not.
Everyone I come across, in cages they bought
They think of me and my wandering, but I'm never what they thought
I've got my indignation, but I'm pure in all my thoughts
I'm alive...

also.. how funny is this, and i am totally out of it because i have no idea how i didn't watch this until just now, but here is eddie vedder's video for guaranteed. what a gorgeous song. i cannot wait to see what kinds of stuff he does on his solo shows.

Monday, March 10, 2008

you won't disappoint me, i can do that myself

i played the saint, but a saint i ain't

this is easily my favorite song from the newest frames record. which i'm not crazy about, but i am crazy about this song

Sunday, March 9, 2008

ear worms

.. that's what the author of this is your brain on music calls those song snippets that get stuck in your head (most often, they're unwelcome). right now, my ear worm is video killed the radio star because, for some odd reason, that's the song that was playing in trader joe's while i was grocery shopping this afternoon.

speaking of food (who doesn't love food?), i've been meaning to write about my favorite author, barbara kingsolver. well, she's not really food, but here's the part to do with eating - her newest book (well, i guess it's been out since may or so) is called animal, vegetable, mineral, and it's about her family's decision to move from their home in arizona to a farm in virginia, where they ate all their food locally. meaning that what they didn't raise themselves, they bought at local farmer's markets. well, they allowed themselves exceptions - most notably for me coffee and tea. those are 2 things i wouldn't be able to live without, and i guess they decided that also.

i saw barbara kingsolver speak in may at town hall and it was amazing because 1) she is my favorite author and i wrote a huge thesis about her books when i was in college and 2) her story is genuinely interesting. she doesn't pretend that trying to eat local is always an easy thing, but she does write about why she thinks it is important for the environment, for your health, and for ethical reasons. plus, her writing is really funny; there is a hilarious chapter about the mating habits of turkeys.

the combination of seeing her speak and then going to hear al gore speak about global warming inspired me to try to eat as many local things as possible. that's much easier to do in the summer, of course, but even in the winter, i'd say that 80-90 percent of the produce i buy is locally grown. every saturday, i go to the unversity district farmer's market (it's open year-round) and i have even started to try some things this winter (like kale and my new favorite food, brussels sprouts) that i never would have touched before.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

girls rock!

... that's the name of the movie i went to see this afternoon at the seattle film festival's theatre (i had never been there before, it's in mccaw hall at seattle center. very nice space).
the film is a documentary of a summer camp for girls in oregon. for one week, girls aged 8-18 can attend this camp and play music. they form bands, write a song, and perform at the end of the week in front of other campers, friends and family. it's playing through march, and i would say it's definately worth checking out. and bonus points if you can spot the pearl jam poster hiding in the background during a couple of the scenes. plus, if you see it this weekend, you can enter to win a fender guitar.

so, when did you start getting into music? some of my earliest musical memories are listening to my parents' records. i would wait until they had gone out for the day, and sneak down to the basement (where the record player was) - my mom and dad's collection pretty much consisted of bob dylan, bruce springsteen, leonard cohen, van morrison, joni mitchell and fleetwood mac. not bad.

i started really falling in love with music in 1992. that was the year pearl jam sang "jeremy" on the mtv music awards. i wasn't even allowed to watch mtv, but i remember going into the living room, closing the door, and sitting right next to the tv with the volume down really low. the next year, pearl jam did "rockin in the free world" with neil young on the same awards, and i don't think my life has been the same since.

so, here's my video for today. i bought this band's cd today at easy street, even though i told myself that i won't buy anything this month. they're called bell x1 and they're from ireland. i think i'm a little bit obsessed with everything irish at the moment.:) a quick check of their website tells me that they are playing in seattle march 30 at the nectar lounge. i have no clue where that is. but i might try to figure it out.

my swell season ticket for oakland came today! that makes me ridiculously happy.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


this is hilarious (well, and sad that people felt the need to do this).. my mom sent me this link. marlboro, vermont (where i lived for 4years when i was in college) put george bush and dick cheney on an arrest list. this is from the article:
BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) — Voters in two southern Vermont towns passed articles Tuesday calling for the indictment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney for violating the Constitution.
More symbolic than substantive, the items sought to have police arrest Bush and Cheney if they ever visit Brattleboro or nearby Marlboro or to extradite them for prosecution elsewhere — if they're not impeached first.

In Brattleboro, the vote was 2,012 for and 1,795 against. In Marlboro, it was 43 to 25, with three abstentions.

"I hope the one thing that people take from this is 'Hey, it can be done,"' said Kurt Daims, 54, who organized the petition drive that led to the Brattleboro vote.

Monday, March 3, 2008

makes much more sense to live in the present tense...

this is from a webcast PJ did in 2006. seeing this makes me totally excited to see pearl jam again for the first time in a long time.

my favorite albums part 1...

there is a radio station in seattle that has this thing called "desert island discs," where you pick three cd's that you would want if you were stranded on a desert island. so, here are my 3 picks. i decided to make one from each of my favorite bands. the first 2 are definate, the 3rd kind of goes back and forth...

pearl jam i think i'd have to pick no code. this album got me through some tough times. it came out in 96, when i had just turned 16 - a crappy age to begin with. that was also the year my grandfather died and my best friend moved to california and back again but decided not to be my friend anymore. so i guess, in a way (as strange as it may sound), this cd became my new best friend.

i'm not sure i would recommend this album to anyone who has not heard pearl jam before - a lot of people say that no code is the record that they made to distance themselves from all the hype that surrounded them in the mid-nineties. it's kind of an experimental album, with some songs that stretch the boundaries of the idea of a "rock song." in a good way, i think. no code also contains one of my favorite songs, in my tree (which is where the title of my blog comes from). another of my favorites is present tense. the song is basically just eddie and mike mccready playing together. i just listened to it again now, and there is a part at the end when mike's guitar playing makes me cry. it's beautiful.

and the lyrics! oh man, the lyrics are one of my favorite parts of pearl jam - just like my other favorite singer, glen hansard, eddie vedder can amazingly beautiful words. and then when he sings them.. that's just the end. i'm totally hooked forever.

1996 was also the year i went to my first real rock concert. this was during the whole time pearl jam was taking on ticketmaster (where are they now, when fees make a 37 dollar ticket 52 dollars?), and so they were playing smaller venues. they played at the civic center in augusta, maine that year. i actually really hardly remember anythng from that show, i think i was just so in awe to be finally seeing this band i had loved for four years. i do remember that there was a lunar eclipse that night, however, and during black, eddie pointed that out. (god, i'd love to find a tape of this show)

the frames this is really hard, because the frames are such a good live band (like pearl jam) and their albums don't always live up to that. but with that said, i think i'd probably say my favorite record by them is dance the devil. i really do love every song here - especially seven day mile. like eddie vedder, glen hansard is an amazing writer and storyteller. i've heard glen say before that seven day mile is about having an obstacle in your path and deciding to walk all the way around it. i think a lot of frames songs are about one of two things - finding a relationship with god (sometimes i need a revelation) or coming to peace with your own place in the world. i can definately relate to both of those quests.

while i'm talking about the frames, i also just have to say how much i love the violin playing. the violinist, colm, is incredible. it really adds a lot to the songs. plus a rock band that has a violin is just cool. right? right.

u2definately achtung baby. gosh, i don't even remember what year this came out.. i can remember listening to this album over and over during my first year of college. i don't really have much to say about it, except that i guess i like it because it's so different from their other stuff. i don't consider myself a huge u2 fan, but i do like them a lot, although their newest albums don't do much for me.

the other album that i could swap out for this place would be new adventures in hi fi by rem. i know this isn't the record most people think of when they think rem (automatic for the people), but this is where it is for me. my favorite song here is new test leper : "you are lost and disillusioned" what an an awful thing to say. if you're not familiar with
mid 90s era rem (monster and new adventures), you really should check them out.