FTA Benefit Cover Show

FTA Benefit Cover Show

Flyer designed by Kate Bell (of Creek and Kills)

 

FTA is hosting our very first benefit show on Saturday April 2nd at Wonderville in Brooklyn. We went all out and made it a cover show featuring local musicians pretending to be The Ramones, Babes In Toyland (featuring yours truly on drums and FTA contributor Chantal on guitar/vocals), and Tina Turner. Yes you read that lineup right! You will never see that lineup happen except in the fantasy realm of a video arcade in Brooklyn so why not come on out and help raise money to keep this humble blog afloat??? It’s going to be a very fun night and we will be holding a raffle for some cool prizes (keep an eye on our social media for what we have to offer).

 

This fundraiser is to help bring in money to cover hosting and other expenses because if you haven’t noticed, the platform is currently ad free. I would like to keep it that way as long as possible, but it is not a free venture for me and has thus far been financed directly from my own personal money. I do love doing this first and foremost, and did not start this as a money making venture per se, but to be able to get some revenue coming in to cover expenses and maybe even eventually pay myself and the contributors is an exciting prospect. We won’t get there entirely from one benefit show, but every bit does help. There may come a time when ads become something that has to happen, but for now, I’d like to go a little old school and a little bit more punk rock and try some fundraising that way. There is nothing more classic than a benefit show so here we are!

 

The show is no cover (except for the songs!), so no one turned away for lack of funds, but we will be passing the hat for donations throughout the night and as mentioned, there will be a raffle for some pretty sweet prizes including a $50 Sam Ash Giftcard and merch bundles. We also have a donation button here on the site for anyone who is unable to attend the show but would like to make a contribution anyway. You’ll be helping this nerdy operation keep going and will be immensely appreciated! (Just scroll all the way down to find said donation button.)

 

Now go ahead and get yourself in the mood with a few songs you’ll get to sing along to at the show:

 

Featuring Maria Lina from Frida Kill as the legendary Ms. Turner.

 

If you’re ready to get screamed at AND see me smash the toms a lot, then this set is for you!

 

Featuring Queens punk Jessie Rodriguez (of The Loneliers and Jekssaira) fronting these iconic Queens punks.

Green Day’s “Dookie” turns 28

Green Day’s “Dookie” turns 28

 

Dookie is one of those albums that has been such a constant presence in my life that I can scarcely remember a time when it wasn’t just always there. It came out on this day in 1994, when I was just shy of my 13th birthday, so not only was it a formative time for me but also a pretty lucky time to be a pre-teen/teen just getting into rock music. It was a very special time with a vast landscape to choose from in both the mainstream and the underground. (Though if I had it my way, I’d have been born just a few years earlier so I could have been already a teen by 1990 or 91 so I could have gone to more shows and seen Green Day in their pre-Dookie days and of course Nirvana among others, but alas, I arrived in 1981 and that was that.)

 

My initial exposure to the band was, like many kids of the day, when I saw the video for “Longview” on MTV one day after school. If I had to guess, it was probably the same month the record came out, maybe in March, and it was not long before you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing the band on the radio or seeing the videos on MTV (in between and around coverage of Kurt Cobain’s tragic early death that April). Being a kid at the time with no source of income, and obviously no such thing as streaming platforms or YouTube, there was often a significant delay in me getting my hands on albums if someone else I knew didn’t already have it and was willing to let me borrow it to tape it. Surprisingly, no one I knew had a copy of Dookie so I couldn’t tape the entire thing and had to rely on taping what songs I was able to catch off the radio for a while until I was able to buy a copy of the CD with my Christmas money some months later (along with a copy of Hole’s Live Through This and Veruca Salt’s American Thighs). It was then that I could really dig deep into the full collection beyond just the singles that were receiving airplay. 

 

I eventually lost that original copy, but have listened to it countless times on streamers since (and definitely had MP3s of it along the way too), have absconded with a copy of the CD in a breakup, bought copies at thrift stores, and more recently finally got a copy of the vinyl LP picture disc. Even when most of the kids around me in that era grew out of punk or alternative rock or whatever term you want to ascribe to it really, that album just never left my consciousness. And sure the album went on to win a Grammy in 1995 and sell millions upon millions of copies, but its always meant much more than that to me; its always felt personal. Even when I go long periods without listening to it, it always still feels like coming home whenever I hear a song from it.

 

So with all that being said, I thought to myself recently, isn’t it time I do a song by song breakdown of the album? I agreed with myself (ha) so what follows is thoughts/anecdotes/memories on one of my favorite albums of all time. The band has said what many of the songs are about or what they mean in the intervening years but we all know lyrics are personal to the listener too and everyone takes away something different. These are just my interpretations and what they mean to me, you may think or feel something entirely different about these songs and that’s okay; You certainly don’t have to agree with my takes and I invite you to let me know yours in the comments. This is not intended as a monolith or anything like that, just a middle aged nerdy punks opinion on them. 

 

 

Burnout liner notes

Lyrics and artwork for “Burnout”

 

Burnout- Billie Joe Armstrong gets right to the point from the very beginning giving us the opening line: “I declare I don’t care no more…” and what a fucking way to start a record! I know Kurt Cobain gets most of the 90s slacker aesthetic cred even to this day, but if that line doesn’t sum up the 90s/Gen X experience, then what else does? Also what drummer hasn’t fantasized about nailing Tre Cool’s epic drum solo in the middle of this song? I know I for sure have. And the fact that he was 20 years old when he recorded it? Incredible! The one-two punch of the pairing of these elements still floors me to this day even after hearing it hundreds- if not thousands- of times now. 

 

Having A Blast- This is one of those songs that I think, okay maybe these lyrics wouldn’t work so well today, and I have mixed feelings about the violent nature of the whole strapping-a-bomb-to-yourself-to-hurt-other-people with thing or making light of that in a song. That being said, looking under that surface of blowing people up etc, the underlying theme of frustration and wanting not so much revenge, but to feel seen and validated is something anyone can relate to; that’s what I’ve always taken from the song and interpreted it as. I’ve found myself often pondering these words, even well into my adult life:

 

Do you ever think back

To another time?

Does it bring you so down that you thought you lost your mind?

Do you ever wanna lead a long trail of destruction

And mow down any bullshit that confronts you?

Do you ever build up all the small things in your head

To make one problem that adds up to nothin’?

 

And that right there points to me that no, this kid doesn’t want to blow people up, he just wants to not feel so damn frustrated about life; we can all empathize with that because we have all been there at one time or another. One can hope we all have evolved –  and that male expressions of frustrations/disillusion/dissatisfaction specifically have evolved – in the last three decades to convey feelings like this more productively. Aside from analysis on the lyrics, I’ve always loved the vocal delivery in this song which really shows off the range Billie Joe has and the way he and Mike Dirnt so effortlessly harmonize together. Musically the band is locked in so tight, chugging through the verses, with Tre Cool’s drumming again shining through with those splashy cymbal hits in the chorus. 

 

Chump- If there was one thing a lot of bands did well in the 90s, it was conveying angst. Green Day may lean a bit more towards the “boredom/I hate you” side of things rather than the “I hate myself” side but it is angst none-the-less. While I wasn’t bullied to the point of trauma as a kid, I did have my fair share of kids who picked on me (perhaps because mean kids and bullies always seem to be able to sniff out weird little queers before we can figure it out ourselves) and this song definitely gave a voice to how I felt about a lot of it at the time. It still does when I find myself doubting things and wondering if I’m “relevant” or other such feelings of inadequacy in the face of how I think others are perceiving me. The build up/fade out instrumental jam into “Longview” still gets me each and every time too. 

 

Vinyl picture disc A-side

 

Longview- I was not a teenage boy in 1994 or at any point thereafter, so I admit that it escaped my notice for many years that this song is pretty much entirely about masturbation. Yes, I knew it was a PART of the song since it’s mentioned directly, but it always struck me more as a bored slacker anthem which it definitely is, but I always figured, I don’t know maybe he’s playing video games or reading comics when he’s bored and then does a little of that on the side too. But oh no, it finally dawned on me, he’s been jerking off this entire time! It seems a little ridiculous now to admit that I didn’t realize that way earlier but again, I was a shy nerdy barely teenaged girl who was not in any way thinking of sex at the time this was released and I guess it just never occurred to me until much later the whole entire thing could be centered around doing the deed with yourself. Of course this song also contains one of the most iconic rock basslines of the 90s and probably of all time. Which, as the story goes, Mike Dirnt came up with on acid one night. 

 

Welcome To Paradise- This is absolutely top three favorite Green Day songs for me, and in my top favorite songs by any artist period. It just hits every single element of what they do best and wraps it all up in one song. The frantic drums, raging guitars, nimble bass, killer vocal harmonies – I can seriously listen to this song ten times in a row and not tire of it at all. This is about the band’s experiences in and around Berkeley/the East Bay, but a few shifts in words, and it can easily apply to a bored and confused kid in a small town in NJ in the early 90s for sure (or anywhere). And certainly to a grouchy ass adult living in the NYC of the 2020’s too, particularly the line “It makes me wonder why I’m still here…”

 

The breakdown of this song I think really is an early foreshadowing of their later move away from being a lean power trio to that of a band that, yes does often stick to its established style in many ways, but that is also willing to experiment within that framework. It is particularly evident in the guitar work here, with several tracks layered on top of each other, building something far bigger than what is on the earlier and rougher recording of this song that appeared on Kerplunk, and shows a band that was learning to come into its own in a studio environment for the first time. 

 

This video is labeled a little oddly…it is an official video and I am assuming here the footage was likely purpose shot in the 90s or maybe was just concert footage that has just been very well edited (though I never saw this video back then that I remember). It is also tagged as being from Kerplunk but this is definitely the Dookie version of the song

 

[Speaking of re-records…“409 In Your Coffeemaker,” which originally appeared on 39/Smooth, was also re-recorded during the sessions for Dookie. While this also resulted in an improved version of the recording, I just don’t find it to be at the level of the distinctness between the two versions of “Welcome To Paradise,” which sound so radically different to me. The re-record of 409 is better but it really just sounds like a mere updated recording. The record company and band might have agreed with this sentiment which may be why it was left off of the final edition of Dookie and was only made available as a b-side of the UK version for the CD single of “Basketcase.” Because of this, many American fans, including this one, didn’t know of its existence until much later]

 

“409 In Your Coffemaker” from the Dookie sessions

 

Pulling Teeth- This is another one of those songs that I don’t think has aged as well lyrically. I know it’s probably not meant to glorify abuse and sure the tables are turned with the traditional dynamic of the abuser vs abusee, but something about it just rubs a little bit the wrong way. Perhaps it was BJA’s attempt at opening a dialogue around this subject, something that not a lot of folks were doing in that era, and I can certainly see there being a lot of good in having these discussions. But the song never really went any further so maybe it really was just a cheeky song about a guy being beat up by his girlfriend. I also find it’s not their most interesting work musically so I tend to skip this one more often than not. Still, I don’t find it a total blemish on the overall work since while not the strongest track, it’s still a solid B. Not bad amongst a collection of so many other heavy hitters. 

 

Basketcase- I could devote pages and pages to this song but instead, rather than going off the rails, I’ll keep this one brief. Suffice it to say that this is another top favorite song both from Green Day and overall, and another perfect showcase of every single killer element of this band encapsulated in one song. There is a reason it is one of their most popular songs to this day- even more so than any of their other hits or even the singles off of the wildly successful American Idiot that followed a decade later. I played it at a DJ night not long ago and every person in the place immediately and viscerally reacted, singing along word for word. After all, who can’t relate to lyrics like “Sometimes I give myself the creeps, sometimes my mind plays tricks on me” and “Am I just paranoid, or am I just stoned”?

 

The original artwork for the UK version of the “Basketcase” single (also used in the special edition 7inch box set that was released in 2009)

 

She- The true staying power of a record or a song is the fact that it’s always there for you to return to, throughout many phases of your life, and that you can always relate to it. And nothing is truer when I think of this song. “She…she screams in silence, a sullen riot penetrating through her mind” has penetrated through my own mind during countless bad days and crappy situations. And how could I not find perpetual comfort in “Are you locked up in a world that’s been planned out for you? Are you feeling like a social tool without a use?” because, trust me, I do often feel this way and find comfort in the lyrics, even as a supposedly put together 40 something. This song also is another place for the rock solid rhythm section to shine together, particularly with Dirnt again showing how strong his bass skills were even then at a mere 21 years old.

 

Sassafras Roots- Here’s more of the bored slacker aesthetic which as we know by now is a lot of the lyrical framework of this bratty magnum opus, but it still never gets tired for me. Some may view this as a throwaway song, but it’s one of my personal standouts and aside from the strength of the singles and most iconic tracks, this is a really solid track holding down the back half of the album. The way Armstrong and Dirnt harmonize on the “may I waste your time too?” as the songs reaches it peak still gets under my skin even now. 

 

Vinyl picture disc B-side

 

When I Come Around- This song always felt like Green Day at their most “alt rock” and I never really read it as a punk song***. That’s not to say that is a bad thing at all, and it is an enjoyable song, but I can admit it’s not really amongst my top favorites by them. Given that I really think they have a lot of other songs that are stronger, I found it interesting to discover in my research for this piece that at the time, it was their first song to go top 10 and the most successful song of the first phase of their mainstream career chart wise. I don’t really pay much mind to that kind of thing but I thought for sure it would have been “Longview” or “Basketcase”. I have also felt at times that it almost doesn’t even feel like it fits into the overall hyper energy of the rest of the album and has always seemed like a wild card so it being the most successful single of the album feels a bit weird. But then again given the year it came out and what else was popular at the time…I suppose it does make sense since it appealed to an audience more used to slower tempo and less hyper offerings.

 

Everything else aside, I don’t dislike the song, I just think it’s a bit of an oddball in the full context of this album. It’s a damn solid song and whenever it comes on, I still find myself singing along and immediately thinking of the music video for it…which at the time it came out I didn’t really like much because I preferred videos where you could see the band performing rather than lip synching and/or acting something out. I recently re-watched it and while I still like performance videos better, I can find a place in my heart for this one now. The band looks soooo young and the fashion is soooo very 90s, how could I not have warmed up to it a little by now? (future Green Day touring guitarist Jason White appears in the video making out with his girlfriend too)

 

(***I famously am not much of a pop punk fan and often get “but you love Green Day,” though honestly, I don’t read them as a pop punk band and never really have. I think that is probably because I discovered them in the era of alt rock and through that lens first rather than through the punk scene so I’ve always had a place in my heart for them as a 90s alternative band.

 

Sure they are poppy yes, but they don’t have a lot of the hallmarks of the pop punk genre overall either and to me have always had a grungier edge to them. Maybe pop grunge or something is a better term? Because I don’t read them as power pop either.

 

Though all this being said, I am obviously well aware that they came from distinctly punk roots ethos wise and of their connection to Lookout! and the East Bay scene. And though I never experienced that scene first hand, it has been well documented, so I’m confident in saying it definitely seemed like it was a scene united more by “punk as an ethos” and friendships built within a community than strictly adhering to “punk as a sound.” Their mention of this scene and their connection to it, particularly early on in their mainstream success, was what opened a wider door for me to explore these things myself and directly lead to me discovering many underground punk bands and zines which I still regard very highly in my life even to this day. I can say the same for Nirvana and several other bands of the era that led me to backtrack through the scenes they came from that I otherwise would have had absolutely no knowledge of or access to)

 

 

Coming Clean- Another ode to confusion and disillusion, this album is packed full of angsty tales of all sorts. This is another one that may be tempting for some to classify as “filler” but has never felt that way to me. It is in fact quite the opposite and I’ve always found inspiration in it. “17 and strung out on confusion, Trapped inside a role of disillusion” having heard this song as a pre- 17 year old and now as a post 17 year old for many many years now, trust me, you don’t need to be 17 to feel the impact of those words deep in your soul. Over the years it has been said this song is an allusion to Armstrong’s bisexuality and I for sure know many queer people (myself included) who have taken comfort in the lyrics and found strength in their coming out processes through them as well. 

 

Emenius Sleepius- This song talks about the betrayal and sickness (literally and figuratively) of realizing a friend isn’t who you thought they were and really I can’t think of too much that is more disappointing than that. Be it a friend, a family member, a coworker or otherwise, it’s always a huge let down and bummer when you realize you’ve been hoodwinked by someone you thought you could trust. I return again and again to songs like this because these feelings never really go away as we age, we just hopefully get better at processing them. This is another one of those songs that people don’t usually think of first when this album comes to mind and one that might also be tempting to refer to as “filler,” but I would point you to the one minute mark where the breakdown begins and some of Tre Cool’s best drumming of the album hits, paired with some of Dirnt’s finest bass work too. “Filler” my ass, this song is a rapid fire banger and a drastically underrated classic.

 

In The End-  A lot of the themes of this record could be perceived as the follies of youth or teenage concerns (since the band was barely out of their teen years when these songs were written and recorded) but remember what I said about staying power well into adulthood? I could say it really for any of these songs and it was why I found myself turning specifically to this romper after the end of several relationships in my life – both platonic and romantic – with people who really embodied all of the traits of the subject of Armstrong’s ire in this song. These themes are always universal and vapid narcissistic people are always part of our lives so it’s nice to take some comfort in a bratty sing along to convey exactly how you feel about it all.

 

The original back cover of Dookie before the Ernie doll was airbrushed out over fears of a lawsuit

 

F.O.D.- If “Burnout” is a killer way to start a record, then “F.O.D.” is an even more killer way to finish it where every sentiment of every other song is compressed here in the final track. It would have worked fine for me if it was just the first acoustic half and really how would we have known there was more to come if the band chose to stop there? But they didn’t stop there and when the song massively explodes and the distortion and rhythm section kick in, it all flies around like shrapnel to drive the album home. All of the other pain, frustration, rage, ache, and yearning expressed throughout the course of the album comes to a boil here to nail the point home one last time. I’m hard pressed to think of many other albums that start and end so perfectly and have so much strength bolstering them in the middle.

 

I’ve had this burning in my guts now for so long…. 

 

Slays me every damn time.

 

(I know it’s technically not part of the song and a mistake, but I love how you can hear Tre drop his drumsticks on the floor of the studio at the very end as if to say, “that’s fucking it, I’m OUT!”)

 

(I did a very bad acoustic version of this at a birthday show I was having some years back when I foolishly entertained the idea briefly of trying some singer-songwriter stuff. I was terrible at it and fortunately realized pretty quickly, but I can say I did have a lot of fun singing this with my then boss in the room)

 

All By Myself- I almost left this one off but then figured, what the hell, why not? Dookie came out in the heyday of the hidden track era and I have to say, I always thought this song was silly filler and after hearing it a few times back then, I’d just stop the CD after “F.O.D.” or go back to the beginning skipping this one all together. Now in the era of streaming it plays immediately after the final album track and I still think it’s silly filler, but every once in a while I do find myself chuckling and letting it play through. 

 

Live in 1994 (music doesn’t start until just after the 9 minute mark)

FTA’s Favorites of 2021

FTA’s Favorites of 2021

 

 

Here we are, the very last day of 2021 and it was…a year. Ups and downs, ins and outs – suffice it to say, it was a pretty wild year. And throughout that year, A LOT of incredible music thankfully came into the world to help anchor us when times were hard and uplift us even more when times were brighter; I myself don’t know where I’d be without some of these releases. To celebrate this weird and wild year, I asked everyone on the FTA crew who wanted to contribute something to send in their lists on what moved them this year.

 

These lists come from each individual contributor as their own, so they serve more as personal snapshots into what we were all listening to and loved rather than a definitive list as one monolith called Full Time Aesthetic. We all have different tastes and things we love and we all bring just a little something different to the table to coalesce into our own slice of music nerddom on the internet. This blog truly is a sum of its parts and I am so lucky for everyone who contributes to it, all of whom have chosen to do so graciously and passionately, in fact that’s what makes me the proudest and most excited about FTA.

 

And while it’s true there have been many ups and downs as the world of music continues to navigate the pandemic, and even with things taking a darker turn again this last month with things being very precarious once again, I am very much looking forward to seeing what 2022 brings. I am hopeful for the world of music in both the DIY sense (which is where you know my heart always has and always will lay) and into the indie rock realm at large, that more incredible and vital music will be released and that somehow, some way we will be able to enjoy that music live. But you know that no matter what happens, this rag tag band of music nerds will be sharing plenty of our thoughts about music new and old with you.

 

Also on that note, I’d also like to say on behalf of all of us, thank you for reading this blog and supporting us in the first year of our existence. This project started out around this time last year as a pretty random idea I tossed over to Jenifun and it lived just among the two of us for quite a while. We spent some time getting it ready to go before it launched at the very end of June and we are just about seven months old now. The amount of amazing support in that time has been incredible and while there are still a lot of goals I have for this project, just where we have gone so far and the talented group of people contributing to it have made me beyond happy and grateful. So now, without further ado, our favorites releases for 2021!

 

All lists in no particular order/ranking, again it’s stuff we all really loved and that resonated with each of us. Let us know what you think in the comments!

 

Kate Hoos– Editor In Chief

 

**released December 2020 but I included it because FTA didn’t exist yet and it was released too late for it to have made other 2020 lists. Also it rips.

 

Jenifun- Webmaster

Nick AD- Contributing Writer 

 

Chantal- Contributing Writer

 

Ellen Qbertplaya- Contributing Photographer

 

Ray Rusinak- Contributing Photographer

 

Amanda Meth- Contributing Writer

 

Emilio Herce- Contributing Photographer 

Q & A with Sub*T

Q & A with Sub*T

Sub*T (photo by Kenzie Davis)

 

 

While the past two years haven’t been easy for most of us, some musicians have found that it was the perfect time to hole up and get creative. And with the magic of the world wide web, even bandmates on opposite coasts can collaborate remotely.

 

That was the case for new band Sub*T, which formed in a mosh pit in the summer of 2019. Grace Bennett and Jade Alcantara decided they wanted to climb out of the pit and make their way to the stage. They just had to write some songs first. Oh, and they had to learn how to play guitar. 

 

Grace went back to Brooklyn and Jade went back to Oakland and they sat down with their guitars and started writing. During the lockdown, they shared files back and forth and their particular sound was born. Taking cues from Liz Phair, Veruca Salt, and other 90s alt-rock women, they crafted infectious, driving songs with layered vocals and crunchy guitars. 

 

After months of writing, they recorded and released their first singles “Boxing Day” and “Too Soon Too Long” earlier this year. Then they converged in Nashville and recorded more tracks with Alicia Bognanno of Bully. The duo released their four-song EP So Green on Nov. 19 and will play their very first live performance Nov. 21 at Elsewhere in Brooklyn. 

 

Alcantara and Bennett sat down with Full Time Aesthetic to share how it’s been going. 

 

 

Sub*T (photo by Kenzie Davis)

 

 

You say you have a lot of 90s influences. What is it about the sounds and culture of that era that speak to you?

 

We are really inspired by the 90’s.  For us the music has a sense of nostalgia that we really associate with our music and lyrics that we really love. I think it’s also because it’s kind of this era that can’t and has not been replicated since. We just want to create music that makes us feel the way the music we love so much made when we first heard it. Also, so many bands with women… especially when it comes to singing style we always felt really inspired by their vocal delivery.  

 

What was it like recording with Alicia Bognanno in Nashville? Why do you think she was the right producer for you?

 

It was a completely comfortable, vulnerable, empowering situation. We have been a huge fan of hers and we really admire how different she is and how she has always followed her own path when it comes to her musical sound. She also knew exactly what we wanted this EP to be as soon as she heard the demos. We recorded it in her house with her dogs, her snacks, her books and gear and we felt really at home. It was really special and we feel so lucky to have had that experience.

 

Sub*T

Sub*T (photo by Kenzie Davis)

 

What new sounds did you explore with Alicia?

 

Alicia has a ton of experience with producing, engineering and performing live so we really got to play with guitar tones in a way that we hadn’t before. We also had some inspirational songs that she could really help us channel when it came to how we recorded. There was even some pre-work we did where she even helped me (Jade) explore new things with my vocal delivery and timing.  It was so much fun and we can’t wait to hopefully do it again to see how else we can explore these things. 

 

You’ve said that you both share a strong vision for Sub*T and want to remain a duo. Can you tell us a little more about that?

 

I think we both realize how lucky we are to have found each other. And how hard it is to completely trust and believe in someone else. Especially because we are both extremely stubborn and really have a vision for what we want. Alicia also gave us so much perspective on this. We write our lyrics and arrange our music and even do our own visuals. We are really passionate about having really fun and stand up people around us, but we know at the core we are always Sub*T.  

 

You have your first live performance coming up this week! How do you think performing live is going to affect your songwriting moving forward?

 

Absolutely. We are shocked at how good it sounds to hear our songs live. We want to have a huge presence as a live band so we are really figuring out what works. Right now we have been rehearsing with one of our best friends playing drums and another friend playing bass. It’s also really cool to just note things that are slowly evolving as we play them. When we recorded, you know, we didn’t always think about having to sing and play at the same time…or how we would reproduce the sounds on the EP. But we’re so excited to keep writing songs to play live. We actually just wrote a new song for the live show because we really had a vision for how it would feel to perform it. 

 

How are visual art and aesthetics important to you?

 

This is really 50% of Sub*T.  We’re both visual artists. Grace is really good at editing and creating videos. We both love collaging and Jade is constantly in Photoshop making new things. We love that we can incorporate that into our music and will always do that in the future. 

 

Sub*T Table For Four

“Table For Four” artwork

 

Is there anything you haven’t done that you’d like to try?

 

We really want to go on tour. We want to travel so much and meet new people. We have a zine coming out soon to go with our EP.  

 

What advice do you have for any aspiring or emerging musicians out there?

 

Honestly just do whatever sounds good to you. It can be scary knowing nothing. But if you just start, it can and will happen. That’s what we did! 

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

 

We have two shows coming up! And we can’t wait to keep making music. 

 

So Green is out now on all major streaming platforms

 

Sub*T will be performing on 11/21 at Elsewhere and 12/3 at Union Pool

 

Q & A with Shawna Potter of War On Women

Q & A with Shawna Potter of War On Women

Shawna Potter at the 2019 launch of her book, Making Spaces Safer (photo by Kate Hoos)

 

 

 

Shawna Potter is the front woman of the explosive and vital feminist hardcore band War On Women. The band is currently on the road supporting Bad Religion and Alkaline Trio for their first tour back after the pandemic halted everyone in their tracks. She took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about on life on the road, what she and the rest of the band have been up to, and more. Scroll down to see what she had to say.

 

 

 

War On Women performing in 2019

War On Women performing in 2019 (photo by Kate Hoos)

 

 

 

You just played an acoustic show recently, prior to the start of the tour supporting Bad Religion and Alkaline Trio, how did that feel to be back performing again after the pandemic?

 

 

It felt good, like an actual show. Those first few live-streamed acoustic things were cool to try at first, but they don’t compare at all to playing in front of real live people. I was also happy to have a lower stakes situation to remember how the fuck to perform again in the first place. My big takeaway lesson was to shut up and sing. (You win this round, misogynists!)

 

 

War On Women’s latest album, Wonderful Hell, came out almost a year ago now even though obviously you haven’t been able to tour it yet, are you excited to play those songs for audiences now?

 

 

It’s been officially out a year, actually, but yes, I can’t wait to see what weird dance moves my brain comes up with for “Aqua Tofana.”

 

 

 

Cover art of Wonderful Hell

 

 

 

What are you most looking forward to being back on the road? How do you keep yourself sane with the downtime/tour self care routines?

 

 

I’m most looking forward to rocking the fuck out! This will be the first time we play songs off the new album and I cannot wait. And touring has been my life since I was 14 years old so it feels very familiar, comfortable, to get back to it after all this time off. It was harder to plan of course, I was out of practice dealing with all the logistics pre-tour, and that’s always the worst part, but we pulled it off. It can be tough, too, but yeah having routines helps. On off days I try to jog or workout, and I’m an avid cross-stitcher which keeps me off my phone (sometimes). And this tour I actually have some work I need to do, but in a fun way? For example, I’m doing research on theater intimacy choreography, hoping to add it to my repertoire of services I can provide. We’ll see if I can stay off my phone long enough to accomplish anything.

 

 

What did you get up to during the time the pandemic forced us all to stay inside?

 

 

Oh wow, well first I want to acknowledge I was very lucky that I didn’t lose anyone close to me, and I was able to survive until unemployment kicked in, which was just a total chance thing. So I accomplished some things that would absolutely not have gotten done otherwise. By being home and not constantly touring or planning for the next tour, I was able to buy a house during that sweet spot when rates were low and it was still a buyer’s market, finally getting out of an apartment where the rent just kept increasing. Once I settled into the new place, I had dog-fever and was able to adopt a sweet and complicated 3 year old pit bull named Rosie that benefits from my ability to work from home. I’ve been conducting virtual safer space and bystander intervention trainings, doing feminist consultations, and I even started a podcast called But Her Lyrics… It’s a great excuse to interview cool and smart people, experts in their fields, about the things I sing about. I get to talk to the band about writing and recording our songs and explain the inspiration and meaning behind it all. To help support that I have a Patreon where I share bonus content and pictures of Rosie, of course.

 

 

 

War On Women performing in 2019

War On Women performing in 2019 (photo by Kate Hoos)

 

 

 

What music/artists/books/podcasts/shows are you excited about right now?

 

 

This is a very incomplete and inaccurate list, but I have been watching Squid Game, and falling asleep to Bojack Horseman (somehow it’s a perfect show to decompress in my bunk after a long day), I’ve been listening to Jessica Pratt “Quiet Signs” to chill out, and now that we’re on the road I have no time or patience for podcasts or anything mentally challenging.

 

 

In keeping with the mission of your book, Keeping Spaces Safer, what responsibility do you feel venues have in keeping artists/fans/employees safe in the realm of COVID precautions? And concurrently, what role do artists play? What can fans do?

 

 

My book, Making Spaces Safer, definitely does not specialize in human health and safety issues, but it does touch upon how many venues and groups already have systems in place that are so normalized we don’t even think about them: signage about how to help someone who is choking, fire extinguishers, defibrillators, and now even Narcan for fentanyl test strips. So the book argues that adding identity-based harassment to our concept of public safety is not only worth doing, but that it can be done simply and cheaply, becoming normalized like anything else. COVID-precautions are similar. There’s a bit of a learning curve, or even inertia maybe on the part of those in charge, but once best practices are decided upon they can be added to current routines. From what I’m seeing so far, clubs have great policies about masks, hand sanitizer, etc, but they are unable or unwilling to enforce them strictly. So a club with a mask requirement might have about 30% of the audience actually wearing masks while we play. That’s scary! I would like to see more enforcement, and more audience members taking their own health and the health of those around them (including their favorite touring band that they just paid money to see!) more seriously, and more headliners requiring the clubs they play to enforce mask wearing and proof of vaccination or recent negative test to get in. 

 

 

Can you elaborate a bit on your work as an educator/consultant to venues and how that has been received and how can that translates out into other applications?

 

 

Well I’m lucky enough to just work with people who want me, right, so no need to go into a hostile environment. So it’s been going really well, people seem to be benefiting from the easy system I provide to handle complaints of harassment and try to prevent it from happening in the first place. If someone can’t afford to hire me for a private training, that is what my book is for, people can absolutely go DIY with safer spaces. I also teach bystander intervention (generally and for the workplace), and I don’t see the need for these trainings going away any time soon, unfortunately. If anyone is interested in hiring me, they can reach out via shawnapotter.com.

 

 

 

War On Women performing

War On Women performing in 2018 (photo by Kate Hoos)

 

 

 

We made it through the Trump regime (barely it feels like), but what next? How do we keep up the fight when naturally a lot of people tend to let their guard down during Democratic administrations thinking we are past the worst threat? How do we avoid lulling ourselves into a false sense of security?

 

 

This is a tough one, especially because we’re dealing with crisis-fatigue, but I think not only is Biden is fucking up enough to warrant our attention, but so many Republican-run states are hell bent on stripping away the basic rights of anyone who is not rich, white, and male. So there is always more work to do. But when we feel overwhelmed we can always look local and tell your representatives what you want and don’t want, and make sure to vote every single election if you are someone privileged enough to not have your voting rights challenged all the time.

 

 

And to follow up on that, how do you stay inspired/fight fatigue to keep doing the work you’re doing in the wake of the terrible things that keep happening all the time (the horrible abortion restrictions in Texas, continual violence against women/gnc/BIPOC/queer people, etc etc etc sadly….etc etc etc) How do we stay focused when sometimes, all of that can be very overwhelming? What do you do to work in self care to make sure you’re okay but still keep up the fight? Is it okay to take breaks sometimes?

 

 

I have BEEN on a break, so yeah, it’s necessary. I think recognizing where I can have the most impact and just putting my efforts there has been helpful. I can’t do everything, but I can do something. Right? And that will be different for everyone, which is good. And also knowing that the urgency we feel looking at social media is often false, so taking some time for yourself is fine and necessary to get back to it as your best, full self.

 

 

One of the things I love about your lyrics, and their delivery, is that while they address very serious topics, they are often very sarcastic and have a lot of snark and bite. Political sarcasm is not easy to pull off but when wielded correctly, is a powerful tool to get the point across to audiences. Was this a conscious choice to approach these difficult subjects this way or is it something that just naturally happened when you started to write lyrics for this band? 

 

 

Oh I’m just snarky, I can’t help it. I am glad to know that you can tell I’m doing it on purpose, though! If I analyze it, I could argue that adding some sarcasm deflects any potential critiques of taking ourselves too seriously, you know that classic insult thrown at feminism in general: no sense of humor. But I also have no problem admitting that I’m not such an expert in every subject I sing about or care about, so I wouldn’t want to feel like I’m full on lecturing anyone. Can’t say that about all men in punk!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know Brooks (lead guitar) is now playing guitar in Jawbox, and you both also run Big Crunch Amps in Baltimore. Everyone else has other projects/pursuits going on too, what are some of the things Sue (bass), Jenarchy (rhythm guitar), and Dave (drums) are up to outside of the band?

 

 

Ah, well Jenarchy is in like 1,000 other bands, so check out their Instagram to see what all they have going on. Dave plays guitar and sings in a band called Black Lung, which tours when we’re not. Sue has just been busy being a computer scientist and working on some sort of database for COVID-related info? Can you tell I didn’t actually understand what she told me she was doing? Frankly it’s a wonder that we’re ever able to get anything done, but I think we all value this band and what it stands for and make sure to make time for it.

 

 

Anything you’re working on that you can share? Have you been working on new music?

 

 

We have, but thankfully it got interrupted by going on tour! So we’ll start messing around with new stuff early next year, I’m sure. We technically fulfilled our contract with Bridge Nine so we have the option to work with another label, but we’re not sweating it. We’ll just see what happens. I’m also reassessing how I want to use my Patreon, if I should continue my podcast, or what. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shawna Potter is the front woman of War On Women, the author of Making Spaces Safer, and an educator. She hosts the podcast But Her Lyrics…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Few Days With Frank Turner

A Few Days With Frank Turner

Frank Turner performing at Crossroads 10/3/21 (photo by Ray Rusinak)

 

I am not going to lie, with the possible exceptions of Jeff Rosenstock, The Menzingers and PUP, Frank Turner is my favorite live act out there today. It pained me terribly to have not seen him onstage in 2020 and when 2021 started out, it didn’t really look like I was going to get to see him this year either. But then I received my Bands In Town notification that he was playing Hammerstein Ballroom at The Manhattan Civic Center in October. Hmmm, that’s an ambitious venue for him, I thought. Well as it turned out, he was coming across the pond as an opening act for Counting Crows. WOW, that’s a cool lineup…I mean, for people of a certain age, “who doesn’t love Counting Crows?” 

 

Of course seeing Frank Turner as an opener wasn’t my ideal way I’d want to be seeing him after nearly two years, but what the hell, we all can’t be beggars and choosers. The trouble was, the date conflicted with a previously scheduled appointment.  DAMN!  Ah but shortly thereafter, a second show was added, the concert gods were indeed looking after me. NOT…the new show was also on a date which I couldn’t make. “Oh well, it’s just not meant to be” I thought. And then a more complete headlining US tour was announced, but the closest city was in Hershey, PA and that date was no good for me either. I figured I must have really pissed somebody off somewhere along the way.

 

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and I get another Bands In Town alert, “Frank Turner has announced new shows in your area.” And sure enough Turner (or more probably his booking agent) scheduled two shows in one day, one at Philadelphia’s Underground Arts on a Sunday afternoon, and a second show that very same night at Crossroads in Garwood, NJ. Crosswoods lands a lot of great artists to play their very small venue in the middle of nowhere New Jersey (they recently hosted Laura Jane Grace there). This is thanks to concert promoter Andy Diamond, who presents shows at the venue consistently. Crossroads was actually the last place I’d seen Turner back in October of 2019, and that night was also the second half of a double header show after a matinee at Jersey City’s White Eagle Hall

 

Needless to say, I was STOKED, with a capital S.T.O.K.E.D. Waking up on an unseasonably warm October Sunday morning, it was a beautiful day, one which the immortal Ernie Banks would have proudly declared “Boy, it’s a beautiful day—let’s play two!” I headed down to Philadelphia and arriving at Underground Arts with a good amount of time before opener Kayleigh Goldsworthy’s set was scheduled to start, I found the room to be almost completely full already. Looks like I wasn’t the only one craving some Frank Turner. Goldsworthy’s set was, as always, a perfect prequel to Turner. 

 

Kayleigh-Goldsworthy performing

Kayliegh Goldsworthy

 

Shortly after Goldsworthy finished up, Turner walked onto stage with his Sleeping Soul’s bandmate and multi instrumentalist, Matt Nasir, who was joining Turner on this tour as his vocal harmonizer, mandolinist and on stage straight man. In any event they took no time to warm up and jumped right into Turner classics, “The Ballad Of Me and My Friends,” “If I Should Ever Stray,” and “Long Live The Queen,” which will always bring a tear to my eye; at this point as much out of joy as for sadness.  All told the set was decidedly much more of a “greatest hits” set than he usually does at these impromptu solo shows while on tour as a supporting act, but this was just fine by me however, after waiting two years to see him live again. 

 

Turner did manage to mix in a couple of new ones from his upcoming FTHC album though, “Haven’t Been Doing So Well” and “The Gathering,” both of which have already been released as singles. There was an altogether new one called “Imperfect Tense” as well. All in all it seemed obvious to me that Turner was still getting back in the swing of things after having been off the road for almost two years. For a guy like him who is ALWAYS on the road (this was show number 2560 for him), I was curious how the longest layoff of his career would treat him. Performers are much like athletes after all and they get out of shape when inactive too, both vocally as well as physically. In any event, while it was clear he was still getting back to fighting shape, nothing prevented it from being a fantastic Sunday afternoon.

 

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner at Underground Arts

 

After the show, we fortunately had enough time to kill before having to make the drive up the NJ Turnpike for the next round, so it was a no-brainer that we stop at Joe’s Steaks and Sodas for the obligatory Philly Cheesesteak (Wiz, not provolone for the record). The hour and a half drive up to Garwood, NJ was uneventful (largely due to a cheesesteak induced semi-coma). We got to Crossroads around 7:30 PM to find a line of people wrapping throughout the parking lot like I’ve never seen before.  Understandably, with Vax and ID checks required, entrance into the venue was taking a bit longer than usual. In any event we gained entrance relatively quickly and soon found a nice spot up front, stage left. For those who’ve never been, Crossroads is a SMALL room, with a low stage and for sold out shows some of the sight lines can be challenging.  

 

Kayleigh Goldsworthy came on and immediately seemed to be much looser and relaxed than she appeared that afternoon.  We would find out during her set that that comfort level had something to do with shots of tequila which were done in between shows. If I failed to mention it earlier, she is such a pleasure to see live. Your first impression upon seeing her is of this sweet and charming singer/songwriter…which she most certainly is. But then she starts telling her stories between songs and she can make a longshoreman blush. Anyway, her evening set was great. Lots of old nuggets mixed in with new material from her forthcoming album, as well as one song which she promised would never be recorded or released and which would probably never be played live again after this night called “I Want To Party With You,” a song about the loneliness and desire for human interaction during Covid. Let it be known that from the reaction of the crowd, not releasing it would be a mistake.

 

Turner hit the stage along with Nasir around 9:30, opening up with his coming of age epic, “I Knew Prufrock,” and then followed the afternoon’s setlist pretty closely. He moved the new song, “The Gathering,” up in the queue and dropped “Long Live The Queen,” but otherwise it was the same. That being said though, it was the same, but much better now that he was warmed up. Like Goldsworthy, Turner appeared to be much more relaxed and comfortable (Crossroads can have that effect on artists, it’s that kind of room…or it might have been the tequila). 

 

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner at Underground Arts

 

The next shift from the afternoon was the replacing of “Imperfect Sense,” with a different new song called “Fatherless.”  Let me say right now that this was the tipping point of the show for me. The song has to do with Tuner’s relationship with his father, something he has not particularly addressed throughout his career.  And the song flat out R.O.C.K.S.!  Sunday night it was obviously performed acoustically but it still came across like a blitzkrieg. It makes me fear for my mosh pit life when he plays it with the full backing of the Sleeping Souls.  At this point, let me just say that from what I’ve heard thus far, the upcoming FTHC doesn’t appear to be anything less than a punk rock tour de force. The rest of the evening stuck to the plan set out earlier in the day, which was just fine by me and the rest of the packed out Crossroads crowd.  

 

The half hour drive back to Staten Island was sweat soaked and blissful, having spent my day experiencing what I’d been dreaming about for the duration of lockdown.

 

For what I thought was my last Frank Turner show for the foreseeable future, it would be plenty to hold me over until next time. Sure there were the two Hammerstein shows coming up, but I couldn’t make either one of them, or so I thought. I had to work on Tuesday night, but as it turned out, what I thought was a conflict on Wednesday was actually happening on Thursday and all of a sudden I was free for the show, thus I was Hammerstein Ballroom bound Wednesday evening for Frank Turner Round III.

 

Finding a parking spot a mere three blocks away from the venue was the first omen that it was going to be a good night. The second was running into Derek Zanetti of Homeless Gospel Choir and Doug Murphy, Turner’s sound guy and general tour jack of all trades on 8th Avenue as I was walking to the ballroom. As I entered the hall I was pleased to see that the room was about halfway full with Turner due to hit the stage shortly. Clearly playing an opening set is different than being a headliner in that respect. At just about 7:30 sharp Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz appeared onstage and introduced both Frank Turner and Matt Nasir and they proceeded to commence the evening’s festivities with “If I Should Ever Stray.” Three shows and three different opening songs. Again, the set was heavy on the “hits”, something which you’d expect a seasoned artist playing the role of opener to do.  

 

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner at Hammerstein Ballroom 10/6/21

 

It was funny however that on Sunday, Turner had joked how it was comforting to play to crowds that actually knew his songs because this hadn’t been the case thus far on the Counting Crows tour. Well the looks and inquisitive stares which came in my direction as I sang along (rather loudly) to most of his songs sure made me appreciate what he’d said a couple of days prior.  I was surprised to get yet another new one from Turner called “Little Life,” which he performed while Nasir was on his “union break.”  This one has me highly anticipating the release of FTHC.

 

Closing out his set with what has to be his best known song outside of Frank Turner circles, “I Still Believe,” Turner had finally succeeded in getting the entire room to sing along to the chorus:

 

Now who’d have thought that after all,

Something as simple as rock ‘n’ roll would save us all.

Now who’d have thought that after all,

Something so simple, something so small.

Who’d have thought, that after all it’s rock ‘n’ roll

 

Yes indeed, in times like these, who WOULD have thought that something as simple as rock n roll could save us all?

 

Scroll down for pics from all three shows (photos by Ray Rusinak)

 

 

KAYLEIGHY GOLDSWORTHY 

Kayleigh-Goldsworthy performing

Kayleigh-Goldsworthy performing

Kayleigh-Goldsworthy performing

Kayleigh-Goldsworthy performing

Kayleigh-Goldsworthy performing

Kayleigh-Goldsworthy performing

 

 

FRANK TURNER

 

At Underground Arts

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

 

At Crossroads

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Crossroads

 

At Hammerstein Ballroom

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing

Frank Turner performing