rocky horror, church, and abortion. (and new plymouth ninja in-store gig w/ peter jefferies.)
hola comrades….quickie-hot-of-the-presses-info for MELBOURNE: this february (sunday the 19th), i’ll be joining MEOW MEOW, georgia fields, wendy harmer, and virginia trioli for Women of Letters’ LAST-EVER show at the beautiful Thornbury Theatre before their big move to Northcote’s REGAL BALLROOM!!!
it’s an afternoon celebrating female talent whilst simultaneously raising funds for an animal rescue shelter. $15 in advance, $20 at the door (but it will probably sell out early go GET YOUR TICKETS NOW)…RSVP on facebook, tell your peoples, and we’ll see you there………
now, ze blog…
this morning i woke up and rolled around in bed grinning like an idiot and went back to sleep and woke up again and went back to sleep again and repeated this action approximately 6 more times and thought, every time i woke:
fuck i’m happy.
tour’s over, and i’m starting a new music chapter. here we go.
closing show of the dolls in wellington last night and it could not have possibly been better….i swear, it’s like someone dug into the deep fantasy area of my brain and tried its best to deliver everything in there on a fucking platter with rainbow edible garnishes in the past week or so.
playing the violent femmes with brian ritchie, john parish, and mick harvey. meeting PJ.
running into richard o’brien in a juice bar and duetting “time warp” and “science fiction” with him on stage that same night. yes, it happened, there’s proof on youtube….
jonathan, the bassist from the opening band (princess chelsea – who were stunning) learned the song in record time and also joined us for a rousing version of “fight for your right (to party)” by the beastie boys, which we’ve been doing almost every night on tour with a borrowed bassist (the best one was in adelaide, when a shy girl showed up to lend us her bass and we wound up coaxing her to play the part. magic.)
i’m only sad that youtube will never contain the rest of our night with richard o’brien, holy creator of rocky horror, which included him dropping non-stop wisdom and anecdotes about everything from the history of women’s suffrage in new zealand to his stance on the music history importance of “rawhide” to his theories about how “the rocky horror picture show” follows the form of a classic fairy tale; frank-n-furter as wicked queen, brad and janet as goldilocks. my god. the blessed man is almost 70, rocking STRETCH PANTS and absolutely rock and rolling through life, non-stop embracement of joy.
hero worship. except i want to be rocking kimonos and not stretch pants when i’m that age. who knows, maybe i’ll change my mind. here’s me and richard and brian backstage at the powerstation in auckland before the show…..
richard as riff raff in the original movie, 1975:
and no small feat: i got to make neil gaiman jealous, which i NEVER get to do. he’s a total fanboy for richard, and had interviewed him 25 years ago back when he was a teeny weeny unknown journalist writing for any porn magazine that would have him. i told richard that, and he beamed with joy….he’s a neil gaiman reader. life=love=life.
the next night in wellington, we decided to rip through “time warp” a final time, now that we knew it.
no richard to sing the part of riff raff, i took over, but we had about 50 people on stage time-warping-out and it was absolute heaven. holy christ i love my job.
here’s a clip of the mayhem:
and we made national news in the new zealand herald, whoo. photo by Roger Grauwmeijer:
and from the Hero Department: i have one more thing to kick off the bucket list.
peter jefferies (another teenage hero of mine who belongs to the POUND YOUR PIANO TO PIECES club….
long story short, he quit making music and touring about 10 years ago and became a teacher. i reached out to him when i booked this new zealand tour, and he invited me to do a workshop with the kids he works with at a music school in new plymouth, new zealand. so i’m renting a car and driving up to meet him in person for the first time.
he also chatted with a new local record store (yes, that is what i said. a NEW record store. a NEW. record. store. those are about as rare nowadays as a NEW rotary phone installation company) called Vinyl Countdown…and they thought it would be fun to organize a ninja gig, so i’m going to be playing there on tuesday at 5 pm. 109 Devon St. West, New Plymouth. COME. it’s FREE. click HERE for directions from the google.
peter and i have been emailing back and forth about it and he sent me an email saying “am i playing?” and i wrote back saying “holy shit, of course, if you want to, i would die.”
i’ve never gotten to see him play live. i know him only from my two beloved and played-to-death-as-a-college-student albums “electricity” and “the last great challenge in a dull world.”
SO, he said he’d play with me at the record store.
he hasn’t played live in 9 years.
what the fuck is going on around here?
just kill me.
something astounding happened in auckland as well.
zanni’s a beautiful free-style-style-rapper girl who’s accosted me at every signing and gig i’ve done in auckland to the point where i’d be sad if she DIDN’T show up and do a beautifully filthy dirty little rap for me at the end of the signing line. we saw her at the library ninja gig, where, by the by, i crowd surfed for the first time on top of a group of SEATED people. I discovered that while it WORKS, it doesn’t work QUITE AS WELL as doing it with a group of sweaty-crowded-standing people, as people aren’t able to shift and use their legs to support your weight. (LIBRARY NINJA GIGS ARE EDUCATIONAL…photo by sarahisinsane):
zanni found me at signing and delivered a very disturbing but very hilarious and well-executed one-minute song (think le tigre meets die antwoord) and i told her she should perform on stage with us, that i’d just slip her in-between songs during our set. then she pulled me and her friend aside; said she wanted to talk. she thanked me for my support of occupy. and she told me that in three days she was getting an abortion. i felt a deep connection with her and we talked a while, me about my experiences, her about hers.
and this would all be a brutal breach of trust if she hadn’t down something absolutely astounding: she took the stage that same night and by way of introducing her song, told the assembled crowd of 700 people what she was about to go through.
it didn’t smack of attention-getting or poor-me drama, it just felt like a bold statement, and she mentioned how the song “oasis” had helped her. then she delivered her song to the crowd. bam. i felt so many things in that moment. proud of her, because it takes extreme fucking guts to get up in front of a group of 700 people and say something so personal, but also proud of the band, and proud of the audience….because we’ve collectively created a space where something like that can happen. this really is a special fucking things we have, it’s a collective of people who really trust each other. i see it again and again at the shows….people take care of each other JUST BECAUSE they’re THERE, and they’re dolls/amanda palmer fans, and there’s a moral code of honesty and sharing and awesomeness.
also, it was thrilling and profound to have richard o’brien in the audience for that moment.
if you don’t know anything about “the rocky horror show” or the community, it’s hard to explain. but that film and the tangled, ongoing community are unlike anything else. and it was HUGE to me as a kid. i remember watching my older brother and sisters putting crazy make-up on in the bathroom to “go to rocky.” they were teenagers. i was 9, and too young to go. and as far as i was concerned, they were headed to xanadu, to paradise, to heaven, to whatever place there was where people get made-up and dressed-up all crazy-like and bring bags of toast and rice stuff to a movie in order to throw shit at the screen. i knew who i was, i knew what i wanted, and i knew it was THAT. i couldn’t fucking wait to join a world where shit like that happened. one of the most devasting moments of my life was convincing my parents to let me out alone at night on our family summer vacation to london when i was 15. i’d been fantasizing about going to the live, LONDON, rocky horror picture show for MONTHS. in fact, it was the only thing that excited me about going to london, because other than robert smith, it was the only thing i really cared about in the UK. i took the tube by myself, found my way to the theater….and the show was fucking sold out. i was, as they say, GUTTED.
rocky horror has been a universal umbrella under which generations of punk rock theater freaks have bonded in weird solidarity.
it’s the closest we get to a religious experience, a shared myth, the epic story we know by hear…it’s church.
more importantly: a haven where all is possible….where you don’t dream it, you be it.
when zanni got up and told her story at our show, with richard there to bear witness, making her statement and singing her crazy song, i felt it all coming together.
the church gets passed down, finds its own soundtrack, but the general rules and regulations stay the same: a space where the outsider is the insider, where the unusual is celebrated instead of judged and mocked, where we crush fear and worship at the altar of Get Your Freak On. all the shit of life, the pain, the sorrow, the loves lost, the health issues, the relationship problems, the jobs lost, the friends and families dying before our very eyes, we don’t come to this holy place to FORGET about it.
on the contrary, we come to celebrate, to yell at the top of our lungs about it, scream-share it, throw the burden on the ground and dance around it….finding solace there among our brethren.
all the pain and all the joy all together in one beautiful mishmash puddle of This Is Life and We’re All In It Fucking Together.
and this is why we do what we do.
do i sound like a hippie?
let me fix that
this is it.