Saturday, November 17, 2007

Open Letter to Frank Black #2

I read today in Prefix Magazine that Frank Black (Black Francis) recently played a show and one of the only two Pixies songs he played was "Break My Body," which I decided to sing when we were asked to cover it for the Pixies Tribute record entitled Dig for Fire.
Anyway, I am so excited that he chose my jam to play live! Ivan says he doesn't think The Pixies even played it during their reunion tour.

If you'll recall, I posted an open letter to Frank a few months ago inviting him to dinner. Have not heard back from him yet so here's another one...

Open Letter to Frank Black #2:

What's up dawg?!
Congratulations on having a baby on the way! When are you guys due? I know you are excited!
I'm still serious about getting sushi together. I'll be in NYC at the end of November through December if you're in town by any chance. I'm starting to do stand-up again and I have a couple shows up there but I'll be free most of the time if you can hang!
Not much going on here in North Carolina... Ivan had knee surgery last week to have his ACL replaced so we're not touring right now. Working on new songs though.

Have you seen Boure Ultimatum? Everybody was talking about it but I couldn't go see it because I hadn't seen the first two yet. I finally did this week and they're pretty cool.

Okay, talk to you later.
Take care,

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Cutest Rosebuds

These little guys are cute cute cute. First is my nephew Jonas in an Ivan hat. His favorite song is "Shake Our Tree" which is funny because it was written for him. He picked the song without knowing that though.
I've never met the little guy with the tattoo but his dad sent us this photo and I want to write a song for him too. His expression is so, I don't know... forlorn? Lovesick? It's like a Smiths song.
We are helping to raise some sensitive young men here people!

Saturday, September 08, 2007


This isn't as good as when we saw "The Rosebud 5" on a marqee at Spaceland Ballroom in LA where we played that night with "PORSTATASTIC."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Macon Puns

Advertising this time of year is all about beating the heat with something. A product, in most cases. It started with a billboard for a sale on air conditioners: "Beat the Heat with Cool Summer Deals!!!" Then I started seeing it everywhere.

Yesterday I saw it on a hotel billboard. Like somebody is going to be on Capital Boulevard and just before he sees the sign, he thinks to himself, "Man, it is hot as balls out here. I wish I could rent a hotel room for the day to beat this heat... but I don't think it's in my budget..."

The variations on this ad get ridiculous. I saw a billboard that said "Beat the Heat with Gas Relief!" It was for a digestion-aide product that eliminates gas... the gas that didn't exactly create the heat problem... but isn't NOT contributing.

This is sort of a hobby of mine. Collecting these ads. I sort of already thought about moving to Macon, GA because they have the best signs. There's a used car lot called "Macon Deals" and that's a place where you want to shop because you know the guy has a sense of humor.

I thought I could move to Macon and rent a little office space where I'd come up with business names and advertising slogans. I could calll the business "Macon Puns" and everybody would know the deal and they'd say, "Yeah, she's funny and all, but she's also serious. And good at what she does. And attractive."
This is my fake business that I imagined, so you're probably thinking that I'm just making up these compliments about myself, but I'm not. I'm just really good at what I do.

Here. Let me illustrate. Because I can imagine that people have the desire to succeed in business but sometimes are afraid of going all the way and getting a kick-ass slogan, I already know I'm going to have to take the wheel at the presentation of the slogan and say,
"Guys, I hear what you're saying. But I'm telling you now, if you want to compete in today's marketplace, you'll go with the pun." They'll be all "I'm not sure if we're ready for something like this."
I'll have to reason with them. "Listen, you guys are good at animal husbandry. No doubt. But I know puns. It's my business but it's also my passion. That's why I know you need 'Macon Bacon'."

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The National is like, top 5.

Josh said The National is a great band--in his top 5. I said, "You mean like number 5?"
"Really!? Of all time?"
"Who was number 5 but got knocked off the list?"
"Spin Doctors."

That Spin Doctors thing never gets old for me. He says it all the time and I always fall out in hysterics.
I also heard that The National are very nice guys. And I thought, "That's what people say about us." Which, in our case is a lie because we're dicks. But I'm sure it's true about them.

Either way, we're excited to do some shows with them because their music is beautiful.
And... there aren't any Spin Doctors tours going out, so...

Tue Sep 4th 2007 Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore at the TLA
Wed Sep 5th 2007 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Thu Sep 6th 2007 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Sat Sep 8th 2007 Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
Mon Sep 10th 2007 Orlando, FL @ Club Firestone
Tue Sep 11th 2007 Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder
Wed Sep 12th 2007 Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree Cafe

Saturday, August 04, 2007

So Easy...

Kid Rocking out to System of a Down

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I don't really need to say anything but, just so it's clear, this is a pretty spot-on dramatic interpretation by a baby... in a diaper. My favorite part is in the beginning just as the drums are coming in and Reese gets way serious.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Volvo Tour

Ivan and I have romanced the idea of doing a two-piece tour in the fall in the old Volvo. We used to be able to tour in anything. We did a tour in the Volvo three years ago and when we played Detroit, there were around 9 people there and Meg White was one of them. We were hanging out after the show and she walked out with me to put the records in the car. I said, this is the tour bus. She said, "Yeah, when we started we toured in Jack's old Escort so I know all about it." She was so fun and we just got along so well and had so much in common. I'd been so proud of touring "small" and if there's ever been a success story for making something "small" into something kick-ass, it's the White Stripes.

Then we moved into a mini-van and I felt like that was big.

Then our little family grew and on our last tour we were five people on stage plus Josh and Tim L. And so we needed a big Sprinter. It was huge but it's a diesel engine so we got excellent gas mileage and, since we ran it on biodiesel, I didn't feel too bad about it. And, for me, it's a lot of fun being in a van with a thousand men.

But then we started talking about the fall and some last-minute shows that are coming in right now and how we should do them... and we're really in love with the idea of doing them as a bad-ass two-piece, in which case we could maybe take the old Volvo. Now the main question is, whether or not it will make it around the country again. So we decided to do some road testing...

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Is there anyone who can help me locate this painting? It is wonderful isn't it?

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ivan Enters 2008 NBA Draft

We were in Whole Foods in Houston recently and Matt came up to Ivan and said, "Man, you have to go to the produce section right now. It will change your life." Ivan's first thought was, "There must be a huge, seedless watermelon sculpture over there!" Watermelon is Ivan's favorite thing and a sculpture... I'm sure that WOULD be lifechanging for him.

It was actaully Hakeem the Dream. Ivan introduced himself and talked to Hakeem for a little while, but not too long. Later, in the van, we said, "How was it!?" and Ivan said, "I've never been star struck in my life but, that was Hakeem the Dream! Do you know what I'm saying!? I had to talk to him." Everybody went on for a little while about what they thought of Hakeem and, at length, we all agreed that not only is he a legendary player, he's also a gentle giant.
It got quiet for a little while and then Ivan said, "Meeting him in there made me realize something... I could have dominated in the NBA."

Everybody thought that was great. We all laughed because, Hakeem is choosing oranges and Ivan's sizing him up.
I pointed out that Hakeem is HUGE. Ivan said, "Yeah, but I've played guys like that before. I played Erik Dampier who is big like that and those guys, you can go right up under them." He said, "I sized him up in there and I know I'm a good enough athlete to play at that level."

So, America, we are hoping you will do everything you can to help get the word out about Ivan entering the draft for next year. The Bowery Ballroom knee injury should be heeled by then and, if not, just another conversation topic for the guys over at Sports Center.

In other news, Ivan finally got a seedless watermelon today.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Oscar the Boxer

I've been following this guy for a long time now. This is my favorite video of him. I love him.

Friday, June 15, 2007

What's it going to take to get you into this van today?

San Diego

Portland, Hot Chip, Bare Feet...

Hot Chip came to our show last night at the Doug Fir in Portland and I was so excited to meet them because I love their music. You know how it is after the show—everybody is tired and we have to load out and all that, but we did get a chance to talk and visit a little and they were really nice guys. They’d just flown in from London for their US dates that start tonight. I wish we could have stayed to see them tonight in Portland, but the drive to San Francisco is so long.
Didn’t see M. Ward there. (You still on tour Matt?)
I grabbed a bottle of champagne from breakfast at the Doug Fir for the trip today in case we have time to stop in the redwood forest.
My shoes were in the car and I just couldn’t make myself put the boots back on so I walked out of the room and crossed the parking lot barefooted with the booze, a stack of plastic cups, and a box of tissues I took from the room for the long drive with a van-full of boys with the sniffles. I was looking pretty homeless when everybody decided to leave their rooms all at once and I ducked as quickly as I could behind some bamboo so as not to seem like some kind of crazy woman--but ducking always makes people look way sketchy. In my defense, I am in the business of creating magic at night--not looking cool in a daytime parking lot! So, I heard doors opening and I naturally thought, "Hot Chip! Hide!"

California--Great American Music Hall

Photo credit: Jake Thomas

Listening to Buck Owens in the van now on the way to San Diego. Driving through Bakersfield where my mother grew up. I must have something of the west coast in my blood and I’d like to think it’s the sunshine, but just now I’m thinking that it might be the smog. I’m not tired, I just have smog in my veins.

We played the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. It was magnificent.
Everybody was very nice to us—they made us all a wonderful dinner, they have a great lighting person, an excellent front-of-the-house sound man, and an attentive monitors man with beautiful eyes. Above is a photo of the venue before the show, and then three photos of us on stage being hella cool. Obviously.
The atmosphere is the best thing about the Great American. Try to imagine the most decadent party you could have gone to 100 years ago and this is the place. The colors are red, gold, and magic. For musicians, this is the Sistine Chapel.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cat's Cradle

Here's a photo Tim took of the show last week at the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill. I love the stars hanging above the stage. I didn't notice them that night but Tim's perspective accounts for a lot I don't see.


True or False: Land of Talk kicked ass last night.

Tonight Ann Arbor. In the dressing room right now. "Nirvana" is written in blue painter's tape above the door. Something about that surprises me. Not that I'm in the dressing room Nirvana was in because they played a lot of these venues when they were our size, but more because I guess I think of them as a band who might not have had the energy for putting their name all over dressing rooms. You know? I picture them as a band who would roll out of the van hung over, come in and have a drink, sound check, nap until doors, drinks, play, then pack and leave for the hotel where they might leave a bunch of beer cans and drug odds and ends laying around. But apparently they were the kind of band to tape their name around. Unless somebody else put it up. Chris? What's the true story here? Dave?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Upstate NY

Just driving through Albany area, listening to the Breeders. Is this not the perfect pop song in the end of everything?
Spitting in a wishing well.
Giorgio has been driving the whole trip until now. Matt just took over and there was a back and forth about cruise control. Some people are for it. Matt’s against it. It got quiet for a while and we were all just looking at the hills when Giorgio said, “I like cruise control because sometimes my foot gets tired.” Matt said, “Yeah, that’s how it is with pussies usually.”
Josh left the tour to go home today like he’d planned on doing. The plan was that he’d just go for a week but by the end we all realized that he’d have to come back and at least do the west coast with us. So he’s going home to normal life for a little while and we’re going to Canada. He said he’d have to email the “tips” address at Pitchfork that The Rosebuds’ merch guy “Is going to do the west coast after all.”
Are we the only band that has a merch guy that people blog about? I’ve read about Josh in blogs—about how nice and funny he is. When we play shows without him, people who have seen us before ask about him.

East Coast

We’ve been making our way up the east coast and are headed to MA right now. I was told to try melatonin for getting to sleep on tour. Might have taken too much because I’m in a sort of dream state today. We are in Memorial Day traffic and there’s nothing to look at. We make a lot of how close people sit to their steering wheel. One woman was so close to the wheel that there were at least six different fatal scenarios floating in the van having to do with proximity to the airbag. Giorgio: “No, it’s just that the bag won’t be able to fully inflate.”
Josh: “Vertebra man. That’s the way to break one. That’s the way it happens.”
Justin: “Crush her fucking chest man that’s for sure.”

Passing through Yonkers I remembered a trip Saskia and I took to the big city when we were in college. We drove up to Yonkers so we could meet another friend and stay with his sister. She lived in one of those yellow Yonkers apartments. We’d been warned by Saskia’s mother not to talk to anyone because of muggings and murders. She’d been a writer in NY in the 70s and told us all about the crime. As we walked up to this woman’s apartment building a man wearing a baggy blanket-coat affair shiftily whisper-hissed “White trash white trash,” to us as we passed.
The apartment was really nice because the sister of our friend was rich from exotic dancing in the city.


Tim Lytvinenko took this photo of us in the photo booth of the venue. The camera in the photo booth wasn't working very well with all of us in there and Tim stuck his arm in to get this shot and we all loved this photo and we said, "Yeah, that's great! Let's do it again!" and put more money in the photo booth. Then we said, "What are we doing!? Tim, you just take more of the good ones!"
From left to right: Justin, Giorgio, Kelly, Matt, Ivan, and Josh. Justin plays guitar, Giorgio plays bass, Matt plays drums, Josh is in charge of everything.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ivan's knee

I'm sure some people noticed something was going on with Ivan's knee last night at the Bowery Ballroom show. He really hurt it playing basketball recently and he reinjured it last night on stage. Too many leg kicks, too much jumping around. So he crawled off stage. Today it is pretty bad--he won't be able to walk without something. We plan on continuing the tour as of now though.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Conway Twitty

Conway Twitty's bus went down my dirt road when I was 10. I was the only person to see it.

Get Up Get Out Video Shoot

This is our first official video shoot with people, a set, cameras and all that. You should know that we are very stubborn and this makes us think we can just do everything ourselves. This doesn't always produce positive results, but whatever. Inventing the future is always weird because you don't know what people will decide to do with your ideas. The point is, we decided to forego all the great directors who had really solid ideas. We didn't know what we were waiting for, but we just couldn't commit to working with anybody we didn't already know. Then Charles Story--our long-time friend who plays bass and recently played with Ivan at the Great Cover Up at King's--said he could do it. So we started talking about ideas and ways to make it happen and Charles totally became our hero. So we put him in charge. Then he said, "No, I'm not in charge." Then I said, "Charles, you are the director." He said, "No, I'm just gonna..."
"No Charles. You're in charge."
Anyway, he's a nice guy so we agreed on a compromise: We won't call him "The Director" and he will be in charge of everything and direct and produce the video.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Open Letter to Frank Black

We were asked to cover The Pixies' "Break My Body" for an upcoming tribute record. It seems natural that Ivan would sing it since it's Frank singing lead on the original, but I think I should sing it! If Ivan sings "Break my body, hold my bones," it's one thing. But I think if I sing it...
The bottom line is: This is a woman's song!

Okay, open letter to Frank Black:

Do you think it is possible that you wrote this song for a woman? "I'm a belly dancer" isn't even the only thing I'm talking about here. Frank, just let me know if you don't want me to sing it. No, don't do that. I really want to do it. Or try it at least. If it sounds horrible, I'll let Ivan sing it after all. And also, do you eat sushi? I want to take you out to dinner. Or you take me out to dinner because there's a good place called Waraji here in Raleigh. But they have other stuff too if you don't eat sushi.

Ivan among his people

In Moscow we saw a news article in a local paper about our show and it was in Russian so I couldn't read it but I kept seeing the names "Kelly Crisp" and "John Howard" in the standard English alphabet. And I realized, they've translated Ivan's name from it's Russian form into it's English form. Funny.
After the show, a group of people were calling to Ivan to come over and one said, "What is your name!?" And Ivan said, "My name is Ivan." They all looked so baffled. Then the guy said, "Write it. Write it." He gave Ivan a piece of paper and Ivan wrote his name and showed it to them and they all laughed and said, "EEEEVONNN! It's Russian!"

Friday, March 16, 2007

Facts about Furies

1. The record is self-produced.
2. Some real drums sound like machines (!!!) and some machines sound like machines.
3. Ivan's bass lines sound like Bill Withers to me.
4. The songs are 100% totally made up.
5. I was born in the future, so how could this be about my family?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Columbia, SC Setlist

On our way to SxSW. This is the setlist for the show tonight. We are hanging with Beach House tonight at the old hotel in Columbia so I better get out of here. See you soon love.

Hold on to This Coat
Cemetery Lawn
Back to Boston
I Better Run
Shake Our Tree
Waiting for the Carnival
Leaves Do Fall
Lights Went Dim
Night of the Furies
Kicks in the Schoolyard
Drunkards Worst Nightmare

Monday, March 05, 2007

Russia, you are a cold lover

It was the coldest week of the winter in Moscow. Here you see Mr. Justin Vernon with a note from Eau Claire, WI. Below is a wonderful and dark image of the cathedral with the steam of the power plants aglow. And then, as we take the stage, we fall in love with the people and find them beautiful, enchanted creatures of the ice. We sang, "Blood and love tonight!" and a man tore his shirt off and a girl, across the room, climbed onto another man's shoulders and began to scream and then it all happened.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Furies

The Furies were Roman goddesses named Tisiphone (avenger of murder), Megaera (grudging), and Alecto (constant anger). They were born from night and they punish crimes on Earth that go unpunished.

Russia in February

We have been invited to go to Russia for a show in February.
I wish I could read this in the original Russian, but here is a translation of an Aleksandr Pushkin poem called The Prophet.

Tormented by spiritual thirst I dragged myself through a sombre desert. And a six-winged seraph appeared to me at the crossing of the ways. He touched my eyes with fingers as light as a dream: and my prophetic eyes opened like those of a frightened eagle. He touched my ears and they were filled with noise and ringing: and I heard the shuttering of the heavens, and the flight of the angels in the heights, and the movement of the beasts of the sea under the waters, and the sound of the vine growing in the valley. He bent down to my mouth and tore out my tongue, sinful, deceitful, and given to idle talk; and with his right hand steeped in blood he inserted the forked tongue of a wise serpent into my benumbed mouth. He clove my breast with a sword, and plucked out my quivering heart, and thrust a coal of live fire into my gaping breast. Like a corpse I lay in the desert. And the voice of God called out to me: 'Arise, O prophet, see and hear, be filled with My will, go forth over the land and sea, and set the hearts of men on fire with your Word.'