Mystie Chamberlin (Just Another Folk Singer / Teh Typos) snapshot at Memorial Day BBQ 05.30.11 in Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Laurie Joachim.
I can’t remember my actual introduction to West London musician, Adam Masterson. We met before I began playing music myself so it must have been sometime in 2007 when he was in New York. However, I cannot pinpoint the exact date in my head like I can for many things (it is indeed a creepy habit, but I cannot help it). I believe our acquaintanceship sprung forth out of recognition in the East Village nightlife scene, wherein we would notice one another in the company of mutual friends and welcome each other with a nod.
On May fifth of that year, I remember catching one of his performances downstairs in Niagara‘s Tiki Bar, which has since been renovated and is now a cocktail lounge bar called Lovers of Today. Prior to the renovation, musicians would play in this somewhat hush-hush lei lounge and the low-brow much-a-muck would congregate the dark, subterranean cubicle. The night I saw and heard Adam there, I was swept away and ultimately inspired by his poignant songs, which emanated from gruff voice and lone acoustic guitar. I instantly fell in love with the rustic lyrics, whimsical melodies, and expressive dynamics of his song Avenue Walk. Continue reading
In November of 2007, I half-jokingly started a band, ThrowAway Grrls. I quietly harmonized and plunked the bass while my friend crooned and thrummed the guitar. Along with two other friends attempting percussion, we practiced for a few weeks in a desperate attempt swiftly to master our instruments for a premature show into which we had managed to charm our way. We were scheduled to open for a few tribute bands on a sold-out Saturday night at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City, but as soon as we walked into the upstairs club for our first sound-check, all our feet froze to the floor. We knew we were ill-prepared; we did not even know which amp was for the bass and which one was for the guitar. We only prepared four slap-dash songs, but with the help of a patient sound engineer, we persevered! Although, I must admit, for those 15-20 minutes, I wobbled like a gelatin dessert.
Around August of 2009, I grew frustrated with the constant, suffocating stage fright. Until then, I averaged a show or two per month. I spent hours with my head in my hands wondering what ways to overcome my cowardice. At the behest of an ex, I slammed one fist into the other palm and challenged myself to play 100 shows to remove forcibly the fear through repetition and experience. I did not give myself a deadline, because I was unsure of how to count a performance. However, I eventually decided to count any time I performed in front of a crowd of strangers, anything from an open mic to a proper show.
Beginning that September, I counted 15 prior performances. As much as I pep-talked myself to be non-nonchalant and reiterated that I did not care what others thought of my lack of technique, the thought of making a fool out of myself overwhelmed my convictions. Fortunately at that time, I re-read Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, which not only inspired me, but also helped me feel less inferior since I realized that I was no better or worse for trying than were my peers. By January 2010 I reached performance number 65, and throughout the month I played 25 more times including one of my personal favorites, an “in-store” performance at Never Records, a fake record store. Continue reading
Continued from previous post “She’s Got Greta Garbo Stand-off Sighs…“:
I arrived at Manchester Piccadilly rail station, but could not find the Boy so I called him from a nearby payphone. He said he was running about 25 minutes late, but one of his mates would give me directions to his flat if I did not want to wait.
I did not want to wait. His mate was difficult to understand over the phone. I learned then the farther north I went in England, the stronger the accents sounded in my ears. His mate kept saying stuff that sounded like, “Yah tek bus numbeh forteh two or forteh free an’ keep gooin’ and gooin’ then yah see some ‘Ouses and yah keep gooin’ and gooin’.” I interruped him, and asked him to just tell me the name of my stop.
What I heard was gobbledygook. I asked him to repeat. He did, and I still did not understand. Ahhnspaahk? Something that sounded something like that?
After asking him repeat himself a noticeable frustrating (at least) eight times, I made him spell it out for me, then I felt like such an idiot. Continue reading
Poster for Alphabet City Soup 08.09.10 by Christine M., originally uploaded by Just Another Folk Singer.