Ladies’ Rock Camp and the Birth Of Furious Yellow

Posted Posted in artsy fartsy, comedy, Gothic, music, portland

For many years, I have been playing mediocre rhythm guitar. I used to play with my band, Sadly Deluded, and I would tell jokes and play songs until someone suggested that I could just tell jokes and I wouldn’t have to haul a guitar around. I have always wanted to be a better guitar player, so I decided to force myself to practice guitar more by signing up for ladies’ rock camp. It didn’t actually work that way, and so I showed up with baby-soft fingers to play on for eight hours a day, which then hurt like bejeezus all weekend. My fault.

My former band’s logo, designed by the fantastic Francisco Garcia

Ladies’ Rock Camp is very fast paced- you show up, eat lunch, form a band, take a class for your instrument, and start writing a song. When asked what kind of band I wanted to be in, I couldn’t think of the term for the music I like so I just said “Mope Rock”. I still can’t think of a better word for the music I like.
Something strange about Rock Camp is the almost unremitting positivity and support of the other campers and staff. I think now that I have been selling myself short as a mediocre guitar player, and that I’m at least an average guitar player. It was kind of uncomfortable, since I am used to stand-up, in which all friendships are based on tearing each other down in public or private.
I had a moment I think might have been life-changing- we had been rehearsing our song over and over, and for a minute I was just playing it on my own, and I thought, “This doesn’t sound as good as it does with the rest of my band,” and that’s the first time I’ve ever thought anything of the sort.

We named ourselves Furious Yellow, and our lead bass player made us matching 1″ buttons.
We wrote a song about breaking up, and sketched out our first EP:

Title: I Am Furious Yellow


Confirm or Deny
The Blood Of These Whores Is Killing Me
Doublewide Coffin (a coffin built for two)
Let Go Of The Cremains
My Hands Are Made Of Meat
I Still Have Your Knee Socks From Thanksgiving

Fun Facts About Furious Yellow:

Three members from Cali, one from Idaho, and one Portlander
We’re so heavy, we need two bass players
Our lead bassist has been to Rock Camp four times, and features in an article from the London Guardian on ladies’ rock camp in 2006!

Two blue-eyed, two green-eyed, one brown-eyed lady.

Five band members, and THREE tap dancers! What are the odds?

I was given a rainbow guitar strap, which I thought was appropriate to use because although I am not gay, my Telecaster is at least bi-curious.
After the show at Satyricon, Furious Yellow was very tired and stinky and our fingers hurt, so we drank alcohol until we felt better.
If you like music and are a lady, I really recommend this camp. It is approximately the most fun thing ever.

Robyn Hitchcock Wants To Go Backwards

Posted Posted in music

OK, I like to stop in to the Museum of Robyn Hitchcock from time to time, and there’s always interesting stuff going on. Last time I was there, they had a flyer with a premade font, and my mind was kind of blown- the font was based on Robyn’s handwriting off the back of record albums, and it is called Fegmania! and you can get it here. But when an artist, or someone representing an artist, can find a font based on their handwriting to use on the internet- I don’t know, doesn’t it make you feel like your head is going back into your navel and you’re being reborn?

The Most Powerful Hairspray Known To Man

Posted Posted in comedy, fashion, gay, Gothic, music, portland, trivia, Uncategorized, vegan, women

I don’t know the last time I was just an out-and-out shill for something, but I was pretty excited to pick up a container of GOTH JUICE last weekend, the new hairstyling product from Lush. It’s purple, it’s powerful, and it’s inspired (along with a companion product called King of the Mods) by the fantastic UK comedy, The Mighty Boosh.  Each tub claims it was “Made from the Tears of Robert Smith.”

Confidential to Gabe Dinger and Pete Ellison: Robert Smith is *still* not a member of the Smiths. Oddly, none of them were called Smith, which makes them the opposite of the Ramones, who were all named Ramone.


I loved this product and used it when my hair was short, and then one day, I went to Lush to pick some more up and my friend Andrea, who is now the lead singer of Holy Grove and is great, had to comfort me because I was crying in a soap store.  Loving something means one day you will lose it.

Claims to Infamy

Posted Posted in comedy, fashion, Gothic, music, portland, Uncategorized

Although it is a couple of years old, I think this rendering of myself and my spouse at the center of the party in the pages of a sequence of Adam White’s Opi8 is worth sharing. I am depicted as my own midgetized version, but the dancing and haircut are spot on. Spouse is the tall fellow who looks like himself. Also pictured are author Tait B. on the left-hand side of the bottom panel, New York’s Billy K on the right at top, and the gentleman on the far left is Damian Ramsay, who left us last April but would have been 29 on October 28th.

1000 Years of Popular Music

Posted Posted in music, portland

Richard Thompson and his everpresent hat did his 1000 Years of Popular Music show at Portland’s Aladdin Theatre last night, moving through from the first known round (the extremely timely Sumer is Icumen in) to Britney’s pre-Federline hit, “Oops- I did it again.”

You haven’t really lived until you’ve seen a 57 year old folkie doing Britney moves.

The show hit all the high points for me, because it was like going to a rock show and a music history lecture at the same time. Also, attending a show with The Human Fly’s target demographic lets a thirtysomething and her husband, who still has quite a bit of his own hair, feel like the new hotness, as opposed to attending an Editors show, which lets us know that we look and dance like Jabba the Hutt.

The Boomers went crazy at his Beatles cover, and Spouse enjoyed his Easybeats and Henry Purcell.

I’d rather hear Richard talk about music than hear almost anyone talk about anything, and I’d rather hear Richard play guitar than anyone else do it. Also, as the Wikipedia article points out, the whole show was born out of RT responding to a Playboy request for 10 Best Songs of the Millenium as a total and utter smart-ass, which I relate to and admire.

If A Double-Decker Bus

Posted Posted in artsy fartsy, music, portland, Uncategorized

  Spouse had an exciting Johnny Marr sighting last week at his place of work: Marr was purchasing an XTC record and looked every inch the Modest Mouse producer.

Today was even more exciting when Spouse was driving down a major street and stopped short at a door swung open on a red Mustang, and found that he had almost killed the king of jangly, layered guitar. I’m really glad he didn’t.

Post 2: I’ve decided I’m going to keep all my nerdy Marr sightings here.  In the Spring of 2009, I got a call that Johnny Marr was at Nike, visiting shoe overlord Parker Green.  I was so excited, I hid in a cubicle and took very bad pictures with my phone.  He was travelling with his kids, who also got shoes, and as he walked out (towered by his children) a woman asked “Who’s that?  Is that the Jonas’ brother’s dad?”  Yes, that’s who it is.  It’s funny working somewhere that Kobe Bryant and Lebron and Michael Jordan regularly show up, but I don’t care until Johnny Marr appears, and then nobody else pays notice.

Dec 2010- I made plans for the Helium open mike with Stacey Hallal, picked up spouse at Crossroads records for dinner, and suddenly in walks the mushroom haircut of the Marr.  I froze like a rabbit in the path of a freight train.  I had to move away from him so that I would not start blathering smart-sounding dumb things about music.  He talked to Spouse about a record he was looking for, and that he had been working on soundtracks.  Spouse said, oh, how do you find that?  and Johnny said, well, you know I did a lot of the Inception soundtrack, and that went alright.