i am sitting on the starboard
of your only way
back home


follow janapochop at http://twitter.com

follow supermerchgirl at http://twitter.com


Subscribe in a reader

Jana Pochop
Jana Pochop
Promote Your Page Too

Join My Community at MyBloglog!
Add to Technorati Favorites
podsafe music network

Sunday, March 29, 2009

TV, Faces, Solos, Songs, all that stuff

Barrel. Stare.

Whew! It's Sunday already. I am staring straight down the barrel of a lot of things. No wonder my eyes seem so squinty. At the end of the barrel:

- My first live TV appearance looms on Tuesday. I'll be performing with the girls from my Monday night songwriting class at Red Leaf...Emily and Melissa and I had a stellar practice today and I am pumped. If you would have asked me yesterday I would have been freaked out. Now I know we're just going to play music and have fun like we always do, except it will be really early in the morning. In a TV studio. (FOX 7 here in Austin...I think they put these things online, too).

- We get to play hot Gibson guitars because Gibson is sponsoring our Red Leaf showcase on April 5th...and since we're going to be on TV we might as well all be playing hot Gibson guitars, right? The two I will switch between I am pretty sure total more in worth than my car. This is what it's like to be a rock star? I'll take it. Photos will come. But for now, can you say...Gibson Hummingbird? Mmmhmmm. (I told you it was worth more than my car).

- Dan has been drilling into me the next level of guitar soloing for about...oh, 6 years now. Or a couple months. Or more. And I take things and I ruminate on them and sometimes they don't pop out until they're really. I'm a really super awesome incubator. Sometimes that frustrates people, mainly myself. But anyway...I've been working on it and at practice this afternoon I had a breakthrough guitar moment...or hour...or whatever. I sang along with the notes and made faces and it works. I hope it's not too John Mayer-esque. Yes, I will make faces on TV if that's what I have to do to get the solo out the best I can.

- I have also been booking up a storm for The Boss. There were holes in the calendar for April and May and the thing about booking is that the more time goes by, the harder it is to book the dates closest to you. Which means you have to be ON IT. And knock on as many doors as you can until someone says yes. I've also been tackling booking a Pacific Northwest tour for the whole month of June. Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California...here we come. (Drop me venue names or places to play if y'all have them!)

We're coming for YOU.

- The weird thing is I get into this strange creative flow state when I am working on this booking job...because it's utilizing my history major brain to search out venues and research if they're good or not. It feeds my obsessions with maps because routing is key. It makes my big picture brain work hard to figure in timing, routing, money, and dates. I guess what I mean to say is I like it. Who knew I got a history degree to book shows better?

I guess that's a pretty long barrel. Boom!

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, March 27, 2009

How Tweet of You

I don't want to brag about my penchant for getting free things because I blog, but I mean...I have a track record. This time, however, Twitter -- which is all the news these days but I'd like to point out that I've been tweeting for quite some time -- has been the cause of my mailbox joy this week.

More and more companies are getting Twitter accounts, I have noticed, and it's neat to be able to reach them and say "HEY HEY HEY I LOVE YOU!" without filling out a customer service form or something. Because who has time for that? I always have time for a tweet.

Luckily, El Pinto salsa has a Twitter page. I love them because they are real New Mexican chile and salsa (and if you need a refresher on what "chile" is versus "chili" please read this because it's my magnum opus). El Pinto also happens to be available in Austin and Wimberley, enabling many pots of green chile stew and many breakfast burritos to be made. It's almost like being home.

This is only one jar because the other one is being refrigerated because I popped that sucker open already.

Anyway...I was tweeting away at El Pinto and they asked me what my favorite was...and I replied that their "Wild and Fiery Chipotle" is my current love. So they sent me 2 jars. In the mail. Heck yeah!

So thanks, El Pinto...and thank you social media. You bring us together and make my taste buds happy.

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 22, 2009

SXSW Doneness.

Well that was fun. The festival is over (thought I'm sure there's still plenty going on today because hey, it's the weekend). I took it easier yesterday though still packed in just about everything I wanted to see. The one bust was Rachel Ray's day party...because yes, she hosts a day party during SXSW. I wanted to see what the food would be like at a shindig like that and wondered whether she indeed made it all in 30 minutes or less. But when I got downtown the line was wrapped around the block and had to extend for two more. Popular, she is.

It was then I decided to take in part of the Film Festival at the Alamo Ritz right across the street. Stand in line for 3 hours for a party I might not even like or see a movie in a comfy seat? Right. I ended up at a screening of Luckey which was good but sad but good.

I emerged into the brightness in time to see Melissa Ferrick as part of the Mpress Records showcase. Whoa. As a singer-songwriter girl, of COURSE I had heard of Melissa...but I had never seen her live. She amazed. Her guitar playing was kick butt. He songs were real. I liked that.

Melissa Ferrick at the Hilton

So much that after a trip home and a nap (see, I also felt a cold coming on. Nice of it to hold off for the last day), I joined some friends for Melissa Ferrick's official showcase at the Hilton. And was blown away again. I like it when that happens.

Then we trucked it over to Stubb's to see the Indigo Girls. I had never seen them live either, which is probably a mortal sin in the world of singer-songwriters, though I am certainly familiar with their material. Great show, lots of new tunes from their new record. And who DOESN'T want to sing along on "Closer to Fine"?

Indigo Girls at Stubb's

So that's that. My cold is in full swing. Real life awaits for the time being.

I learned -- or re-learned -- a couple of things this weekend.

1. I love live music. (Duh). To be honest a lot of performing artists get really burned out on seeing other people play, and standing in loud venues, and the fact that it is a "conference" and everything. And there's a difference when you're watching a peer play versus someone you've put on a pedestal as a performing artist. Some people just get over it. I hope I never do. There's too much powerful stuff held in a person on stage with a presence and a message.

2. There's room for everyone if the performance, the music, and the presentation serves the song. Tori Amos walked on stage and kept us all rapt for an hour with a piano. Melissa Ferrick channels an energy with a guitar and her crazy strumming. Lisa Hannigan and Justin Townes Earle channel the same thing but in completely different ways. That's nice to know.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday SXSW

Blisters on feet. I think I walked 78 miles up and down 6th Street. But it was all good.

I awoke in a Tori daze and wondered whether I should even try topping that...but I got my butt downtown just in time to see Lisa Hannigan take the stage at BD Reilly's Full Irish Breakfast party. I think some of the real magic of SXSW happens at these day parties that kind of lump people together in tight venues based on things like...being from Ireland.

Anyway, I was familiar with Lisa from her days touring with Damien Rice and I had just purchased her album, Sea Sew, last week. The album is amazing and the live show was amazinger. She had her full band with her and the whole package was inspiring. She sings with joy. Period. That's all I want.

Lisa Hannigan in Austin

Then I found myself uncharacteristically without a plan...so I wandered in and out of several parties and scored some free stuff. I found myself back at La Zona Rosa and caught part of Gomez's set. And then I took a photo of the fence. There's crap strewn all over Austin right now, from show flyers to CDs to wristbands. In 3 years there will be no CD demos at SXSW and people will just hand out download cards. It'll save plastic and trees and space in my bag.

Posters on a Fence

At that point my eyes started glazing over from live music overload so I decided to head up north to my own gig with my good friend Emily Shirley. It was her gig and she let me crash it. So much fun to play with her, and she adds some sweet bass and harmonies to my tunes, too.


Then it was back downtown to see Elizabeth Wills play her official showcase at Mother Egan's. It was kickbutt as always. I had fun taking photos.

Elizabeth Wills SXSW

Elizabeth Wills SXSW

And then...I hoofed it over to the Victorian Room at the Driskill Hotel. Samantha Crane and the Midnight Shivers were playing and I enjoyed them quite a bit. Lucy Wainright Roche took the stage at 12:15 AM...and she was wonderful. I play her song Chicago (on Myspace for your listening pleasure) quite a bit because it's just so singable.

Lucy Wainright Roche

And then I went home and slept like a rock again.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, March 20, 2009

South By WOOHOO!

Day two is done, and I should be getting ready to go plod around again for day three...but blogging comes first. Rule number one for being Jana: blogging ALWAYS comes first.

I guess it all started Wednesday night when I ended up at the Gibson Showroom for the Austin Music Awards after party. Porterdavis is Best Roots-Rock Band...because they are...so there was celebration. Deadman, Slaid Cleaves, and Hayes Carll played among others and them were good times.

Yesterday got off to a good start when I turned in my notice of not renewing my lease on my apartment. Now I actually have to start packing and throwing stuff out for reals because it's...REAL. Eek!

I made my way to 6th street, found an excellent parking spot, and wandered in to Waterloo Records. I was there early to see Justin Townes Earle. Luckily there's lots to look at. I did not buy anything, though, as tempting as it was. The weird part was the I, the CD junkie, had the thought many a time of, "I'll just download it." Poor brick and mortar. Part of it is probably the thought that anything I buy will have to be moved down 3 flights of stairs in a month. I digress...

The only thing I knew about Justin is that he's Steve Earle's kid and he's a legend in the singer-songwriter parts so I thought why not? I was so impressed. Justin's a great musician and his songs are great and his presence is charming.

Justin Townes Earle at Waterloo Records

Then I had a couple of options and they were on 6th Street so I trekked quite a few blocks East from Waterloo. The weather was perfect and there was already so much going on for 1:30 in the afternoon. I knew Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines were doing a Gibson showcase, but I had no idea what time they were playing...so I decided to try that party first and just see. Lo and behold I walk up the stairs at Maggie Mae's and Terri and Lloyd are sound checking. SCORE. They did 4 songs and I was thrilled because it's been months since I've had a Terri show fix.

Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines at Maggie Mae's

Afterwards Brandon, the manager for porterdavis who also works for Gibson, hooked me up with this sweet wristband.

Wristband = Liquor
Dear Brandon, you are my favorite.

That got me into the VIP lounge where Terri and Lloyd were being interviewed.

Interview in the Gibson VIP Lounge

After that Randy Rogers and Mark Jungers played followed by Bruce Robison with my buddy and Red Leaf teacher Kevin Carroll on guitar. Bruce is a great songwriter and the likes of the Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw, and George Strait have covered his stuff.

Bruce Robison and Kevin Carroll at Maggie Mae's

Then it was over to Artz Rib House for Elizabeth Wills and a Diet Coke. And some photo fun.

Two Elizabeths?

Elizabeth Wills at Artz

And THEN...then...Elizabeth and I headed over to La Zona Rosa to see about some Tori Amos. We cruised in with good parking karma and there wasn't a line to get in. We found a spot on the left side of the stage and planted. Perez Hilton introduced her which is maybe my first encounter with a blogger celebrity in real life. And there was TORI. I got to see Tori in college and she converted me into the type of fan that will forever buy her albums on the first day of release. My shortlist of artists like that is well...short.

The thing that I love about Tori is her stage presence and musicianship. She's a classically trained pianist and an impeccable singer and when she's in the room, you're watching her. Her command of the audience is one of the best I've ever seen from anyone. Always observing. We got to hear 3 new tunes from her new record and also some classics like "Crucify" and "Cloud On My Tongue" and "Silent All These Years." Yeah.

Tori Amos at La Zona Rosa

And I went home and went to bed and now I need to do it all over again.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Congrats Dan!!

Hayes Carll playing!

Deadman playing an afterparty

Yay for being on the list!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Porterdavis rocks the Saxon Pub


Registering at the Austin Convention Center

Monday, March 16, 2009

T-Minus One Day

...until I score my SXSW wristband.

All right, so I've been reading and it seems like the panels are not be accessible with a crew wristband for SXSW. Which is what I am getting, I think. I'm new to this whole "paying attention" thing, haha. There is quite the slew of different badges and wristbands and platinum things and such. Which is totally fine because:

a) I plan to spend all of my Thursday waiting in line to see Tori Amos if I have to dangit. I assume there will be a line.

Tori. Amos.

b) Susan said, "Um...shouldn't you be teaching the panel on Merch?" Haha one day. One day.

That does not make the music-seeing planning any easier...I hope to maybe try to fit in Joe Pug and Lucy Wainright Roche and Nellie McKay and Lisa Hannigan and John Gorka and oh yeah Tori Amos. Part of me just wants to wander around and see what I see, though.

Scheduling makes me itchy because I do it for a living.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Home Is Where Your Stuff Is

I moved into my current apartment in Austin last May, and my lease is almost up. I just picked up the paperwork to give my 30 days' notice. Sorry, apartments. You've been pretty nice except for the time you cited my friend Jim for "littering" his porch when in actuality a patio table and some plants are not "litter," really. I digress.

The opportunity has presented itself to live a little closer to one of my jobs - "on site" if you will, and it also happens to make huge financial sense. Starting in May I'll be part-timing it in Austin in a rented room (not an apartment with a lease) and then other-part-timing it near the nifty town of Wimberley, Texas. The Boss has offered the use of a trailer on her property (next to a river be still my heart), so when I'm not sitting in the van going somewheres, that's where I'll lay my head...when I'm not laying my head in Austin. It's a little pieced together, except I've been living in my current place half time already it seems, so this isn't going to be that big of a shift except I'll be cutting my bills big time. This makes the frugal nerve in me twinge with joy.

So I have about a month and a half to sort out my possessions and see where everything goes. My essential furniture will fit into my Austin room, since I pretty much live in one room anyway. I had a studio my first 2 years here and upgraded to a one bedroom...except I still just sleep and work in my bedroom anyway. The living room has been a good...bookshelf holder.

It means Getting Rid of Stuff which is simultaneously daunting and exhilarating. I mentioned that I helped The Boss clean out her shed last week (partly so I can put some of my stuff in it), and you see how much you have that you don't really NEED to have. I know for a fact that there are things in my apartment I have not touched since I moved them up the 3 flights of stairs to get them there. Ouch. Away it goes. Except I might take some books back to New Mexico to live with Mom and Dad for a while. Books are great, even when you don't have anywhere to put them for the moment. Haha, Mom and Dad! Surprise!

I'll admit it, it's not a typical living style choice, although...whatever. I have friends in grad school who live in student housing, and I have friends who have chosen to travel the world and sleep in hostels or huts in Africa. There is no typical in your 20's, I suppose. I think the chance to snowball some credit card payments and save up for making EP 2 is a good one, and the flexibility to tour some more with the Boss will only add to the experiences that will make up EPs 2, 3 and beyond.

So that's my long winded way of saying...email me if you want a 13" TV, haha.

If home is where you hang your hat...well...

Labels: , ,

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Oh Nancy Drew

One of the good things about working with Susan Gibson is that she's full of wisdom. I've learned things like...duct tape stuff to your dashboard so it doesn't move around. How to make awesome soup. How to make a good campfire. Important things like that.

The other day we were cleaning out her shed (which is not a Merch Girl duty but is entirely related and I will get into that in a future blog post), and Susan handed me this little gem:

Now, I've read every Nancy Drew book there is to read of the old school variety, and a lot of the subpar but "hip" newer ones that came out in the 90's. Nothing beats the classics, though. This book is full of advice gleaned from the whole series.

I've decided she would have made a great Merch Girl because she's a fast thinker and has the right tool for every occasion...while still appearing calm and collected. If Nancy Drew rocked a MacBook and an iPhone there would have been no criminals left in River Heights, USA after the second book.

Some of the more prescient quotes:

"Moxie and a good sense of balance are essential when crawling on a roof."

"When pinned down by a large canine, instruct friends, family, even random passersby to direct a hose on the beast."

"Don't force your date to go to a ballet or other activity that may not be to his liking if was knocked unconscious earlier in the day."

"Don't say "well" all the time. It's far from well."

All right, kids. A Saturday morning chuckle to start the weekend. Carry on, my fellow sleuths...

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Plotting Panels

I'm back among the living. This morning my throat does not feel like it's trying to take a vacation and walk out of my neck, so we're doing ok. It's grey and cold and rainy here, just when I wore a t-shirt multiple days in a row. I'm cool with that.

I am going to have a crew pass (badge? wristband? I dunno how that works) to SXSW next week. WOOHOO! The lovely and talented Elizabeth Wills, who I have been semi-stalking because I love hearing her sing, is hooking me up. She's got a SXSW Showcase, so I'm going to be a monkey in all my glory and help her out for that gig. And the rest of the week...I'm gonna try and hit up panels about promotion, gigging, blogging, digital music distribution, and yes...MERCH. This is a conference with a panel about merch. The love.

Here is some Elizabeth Wills for your Wednesday...her voice is pretty much like if you hiked up a mountain in Switzerland and then found some bubbly spring that no one has ever discovered and there was a wildflower field next to it, and maybe some puppies romping around. It's pure like that.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I got the sick on me.

I think sometimes it's appropriate to put up a photo of pop art monkeys instead of anything else, is all.

I'm a sick kid. I have been oddly cold and unable to regulate my temperature for a couple of days. I mustered some perkiness for a very fun gig last night at the Irie Bean with Stephanie Delk (where my good buddy Katie sang one of my songs better than I can which is awesome). Then I found myself buried under 4 blankets and a sleeping bag with the furnace on and shivering. So I did what any self-respecting stubborn patient would do and called my college roommate who is in med school. She's way far into med school, so she's a doctor in my book. When you say things like, "I was falling asleep standing up today watching colonoscopies," you are a doctor. Anyway I'm supposed to alternate Tylenol and ibuprofen and DRINK JUICE THANK YOU.

I hate juice. I just do. Grapefruit and pomegranate and cranberry are about the only types I can muster down my throat.

Thus ends this whiny, non-musicfied post. Because I have days like that, people. Tomorrow will be better!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Dallas Oh Dallas

Warning: due to the graphic nature of this post and my ability to take close-up photos, some content past this point might not be suitable for people who get really icky and squeamish about blood.

I noted last night that my week is divided into my "work week" at the music school which is 3 days, and my "work week" as tour monkey which is the other 4 days, and while I refer to the latter as my "weekend" it starts on Thursday. People get confused when it's Wednesday night and I say, "I made it to the weekend!" Which is not to say I don't work on the "weekend"...but somewhere there is a delineation of time. Anyway.

Dallas Traffic on a Friday
Hello Traffic. You must be in Dallas.

suSANG! played an opening set at Uncle Calvin's Coffeehouse in Dallas on Friday night. We got there early and sound checked and hung out in the greenroom.

Foot and Guitar
Their carpet was nice on stage. I noted that while I took this.

Amy was with us and we messed around with the 3-panel mirror backstage.

Merch Girl At Work

Then...disaster struck! A broken string during soundcheck. Time for Tour Monkey Duty. Now, I have no issues changing strings but if any of you have never done it before, you should be aware that getting pricked by the sharp end of a guitar string is a unique pain that is capable of throbbing for hours and causing me to bleed everywhere. I've done it more than I care to admit. Not always, but sometimes. Guess what?

Occupational Hazard of String Changing

Three Faces
Primpity primp primp! Yay for cool mirrors!

Many Mirrors

Signing the Artist Guestbook

They have a neat backstage guestbook for the artists at Uncle Calvin's, and Susan has never turned down a pile of markers. She set to work on a self portrait. The end result was excellent and gave props to headlining act Pat Donohue. That will sell to the Louvre for millions one day, I bet.

Backstage Artwork

Labels: , , , ,