Tag Archives: punk rock

guitar therapy

I try to hang out with my guitar a little bit every day because nothing really takes your mind off shit like noodling around on the strings until your fingertips are numb.  I put a lot of work into writing my own material, but no matter how much time and energy I expend on creating my own stuff, the songs I always end up coming back to and playing over and over again were written by other people.  I’m hardly a musician, but I guess I do have a little bit of a knack for deconstructing punk rock songs down to their bare bones — that’s what I do in Cunt Sparrer, and it’s what I’ve been doing lately when I get frustrated with my inability to come up with my own tunes.

So, for lack of anything else to post about, here are a couple of my super-rudimentary punk rock covers, which I record periodically and upload to my Youtube account, saraplayspunksongs:

“All This & More” (with apologies to the Dead Boys):

“Adult Books” (with apologies to X):

“Don’t Mess With Cupid” (with apologies to the New York Dolls):

As you can probably tell, I can only play a handful of chords, but I make do with what I got.  And what I got (as one of my original songs says) has got me to the gettin’ place.

My buddy Kevin Seconds liked my New York Dolls cover enough to ask if I want to record it and include it on a new comp he’s putting out for his upcoming Arms Aloft Musical Roadshow tour, so that’s pretty cool.  (Actually, it’s really cool…like, a-little-bit-beside-myself cool.  I’ve known Kevin for a couple of years now and he’s watched me make a complete drunken fool of myself in more than one southwestern state, but I don’t think I’ll ever fully get over being able to collaborate with someone who has been a huge icon to me for, like, my entire punk rock career.)

A comment I hear pretty often from girls, both here on this blog and out at my shows, is that they’d like to be playing music but they think it’s “too late” to learn or that they don’t have the innate ability they think is necessary to get the hang of an instrument.  I really get this.  I used to feel like this too.  I didn’t start teaching myself to play guitar until I was 20, and I was almost 25 by the time that Cunt Sparrer started performing.  I still don’t feel like I have much more musical skill than I did back on the day I took my old Daisy Rock acoustic out of the packaging, but the point is that over the years I’ve managed, somehow, to fake it.  Listen — I really don’t have any illusions about my talent or lack thereof, but I used to not know how to strum a lick, and now I can get a guitar to do pretty much what I want it to do.  And it feels good!

It’ll probably be several more years (if ever) before I stop correcting people when they refer to me as a musician, but I’m at least starting to get used to the idea that talent is what you make of it.  There are detractors — there will always be detractors! — but having the confidence to put your shit out there is seriously way more than half the battle, and you never know, it could end up dumping some cool opportunities in your lap.

I think it would be cool to hear from female musicians (and aspiring female musicians!) in the comments.  What are you guys doing and playing and creating and covering and recording?  What projects do you have in mind for the future?  Show and tell!

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l.a. zine fest!


On Sunday my best friend Jennie and I took our new music/art zine, Library Sciences, to show at the first annual L.A. Zine Fest!  We’re new to the zine world and we weren’t totally sure what to expect from the fest, but it ended up being the greatest DIY event either of us have ever had the pleasure of attending.  We were so happy to be a part of it, and the organizers really turned it out when it came to putting the whole thing together.  There were almost a hundred exhibitors from all around the country, and as you can see from the L.A. Zine Fest Flickr pool, the place was packed all day long.

What was really great about the event was the huge variety of incredibly talented people represented — everyone from Ayun Holliday of The East Village Inky and the trio behind Henry & Glenn Forever to local artists selling their print-and-staple comics — and how amazingly cool everyone was.  When Jennie and I walked in and saw all the girls setting up in their candy-colored tights and killer accessories, we felt like we had finally found our people.  The DIY spirit and sense of community was seriously inspiring.

Speaking of seriously inspiring, I can’t even tell you what a treat for the eyes this event was — everyone was dressed in cartoon style, looking effortless and completely delicious, and I was in total heaven.


Above are the really fabulous Emi of Pygmy Hippo and Marie of Agent Lover, whose ensembles I basically killed myself over from the second I saw Emi’s polka-dot headscarf and Marie’s hot pink knee socks.


Sheika of OMGcow.com was there with a ton of incredible comics and was basically a total beacon of adorability in her bright yellow dress — you couldn’t help but be drawn to her table!  And she drew a really cute portrait of me in about two seconds flat:


So cute!


Grissel, above, was at the fest with Never Press, and I loved her retro printed dress, nude fishnets and cute little flats, not to mention that hair (and her super sweet personality)!


Sylvia of The Doktor Is In was one of the first people I saw when I walked into the fest, and I was immediately drawn to her amazing tone-on-tone outfit, which reminded me a little bit of Velma from Scooby-Doo (a style icon if I’ve ever seen one).  I got to pick up a couple of her zines and I really love her self-deprecating sense of humor and straight talk.


And how cute is Sarah, above, who was at the fest with No More Geeks?  Girl is serving some modern indie Mia Farrow and I like it.

Thanks to our friend Emilio of Aperture Priority for the fisheye photos!

To our huge surprise, we sold out of the entire first run of Library Sciences Issue One!  We listed more on Etsy today and are really looking forward to putting out our second issue and participating in a lot more events like L.A. Zine Fest.

Not too shabby!

january mood board

I’m really loving your new year’s resolutions, guys…don’t forget, you have until Wednesday to get yours in and maybe win some really cute jewelry!

Here’s a mood board I put together reflecting some things that are interesting and inspiring me stylistically this month.  It’s always interesting to put all the pictures I’ve been collecting on Pinterest and Tumblr together in one image to get a sort of aesthetic overview.


I guess my mood boards are always pretty similar: glasses, glitter, guitars, punk rock icons, cartoony style, Pop-art-bright makeup, and the desert (the tiny canned ham Airstream above is from the Hicksville Trailer Palace in Joshua Tree, somewhere I desperately want to be this year).  Also, how great is the Black Flag “TV Party” tattoo flash in the bottom right corner?  I’m not sure who the artist is, but as both a Black Flag fan and someone who spends a lot of tine zoning out in front of the boob tube, I’m pretty obsessed.

For your time:

ALL RIGHT!

on the road again

I’m going to be gone for a couple of days playing a handful of shows with my band Cunt Sparrer and the incomparable Kevin Seconds of 7 Seconds.  I’ll be back on Wednesday.  If you’re in any of the following locations you should come out!

Tonight (Sunday 11/13) at the Bunkhouse in Las Vegas:

Tomorrow night (Monday 11/14) at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe, AZ:

Tuesday night (Tuesday 11/15) at the Slidebar in Fullerton, CA:

The shows are going to be a rowdy good time and Jennie and I have matching stage outfits that we love to wear, so come out if you can!  I’ll be back to posting when I get home on Wednesday.

my leather, my love

If I could be said to have a signature piece in my wardrobe, it would definitely be my cropped motorcycle jacket, an item I reach for so often that I simply refer to it as “my leather.”

A quick perusal of my tagged photos on Facebook turns up more pictures of me in my leather than not.  Clearly, I love this thing.

Full disclosure: my leather is not actually leather.  It’s a leatherette motorcycle jacket from H&M Divided — not very punk rock, but I don’t care.  I got it on sale for $19.99 about four years ago.  It was the only one on the rack, it was my size, and it is perfect in every way.  (I like to think it was fate.)  I’ve come close to losing it a few times and every time I do I have heart palpitations.  Without my leather I’d be lost.

A standby leather motorcycle jacket is nothing original, especially if you hang around with people who have punk in their past, but what I appreciate about people and their leathers is how they get personalized over the years with studs and paint and patches and pins.  Personally, mine is dripping with flair, and it makes me laugh because most of the buttons and shit on my leather are pretty silly.  From afar it might look like anyone’s pinned-up leather jacket, but when you get close up it’s totally completely me.

A guide to my leather in ten easy steps:

1. Cunt Sparrer badge.  Nothing wrong with a little self-promotion.  I guess it’s kind of lame to wear your own band’s pin but I’m proud of my band and I’ma sport it.

2. Cramps pin.  One of my favorite bands of all time and like the only pin on my leather that would actually be at home on anyone else’s.

3. Vintage Slayer “War Eagle” tack pin.  My friend Katy stole this from a metalhead ex-boyfriend she had long ago and gave it to me as a gift (attached to a sick ’80s dress) a couple of years ago.  It’s heavy duty and badass and people try to steal it from me all the time.  Back off and get your own, dudes.

 

4. “Too Much Politics” button.  I got this at Paxton Gate in San Francisco (a seriously fucking rad shop) when I was up there with the band earlier this year.  I love the little dude in his coffin because this is basically how I feel whenever people start going off on political tirades.

 

5. “Fuck Harry Nemer Week” political badge.  I found this at the Cypress College swapmeet along with a handful of other weird treasures.  Who is Harry Nemer and why was there a whole week dedicated to telling him to fuck off?  I Googled him, but nothing comes up.  This is such a weird little piece of history that I will never understand, but it’s an awesome fabric-covered pin and people always want to talk about it.  I wish I knew what it was all about.

6. All Of Me lenticular pin.  OK THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST THINGS I OWN.  I got it at the same swapmeet table where I found the “Fuck Harry Nemer Week” pin and when I saw it I pretty much lost my fucking shit.  All Of Me starring Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin is one of my favorite movies and when I found this pin I had just watched it a couple of days before.  When it’s turned one way it shows Steve Martin’s face and it says “Why Not Take…” and when you turn it the other way it’s Lily Tomlin and it says “All Of Me.”  SO CUTE.  It always confuses people.  A few months ago when I was on tour with the band my drummer Jen turned to me and said “Dude, that pin is weird.  Sometimes that chick looks like Steve Martin.”

 

7. JonBenet Baphomet pin.  People always think I am creepy because of this pin but I don’t care.  It marries two of my weirder obsessions — the occult and freaky child pageants.  It was made by Less Than Zero, a really sick Etsy shop based out of Sacto.

 

 

8. FabuLisa pin.  This is my friend Lisa Nguyen, a seriously incredible and vibrant woman who passed away far too soon last winter.  She had the greatest style of anyone I’ve ever met in my life and I love having this little piece of her with me every day.

9. Black Fag pin.  Black Fag is an “Absolutely Fabulous” Black Flag tribute band that Cunt Sparrer plays with a lot.  They are fucking amazing and hilarious and I am desperately in love with all of them.

10. Red sunglasses.  A band of cute boys gave us these at Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas.  What else do you need?

In summary, I love you, leather.  Never leave me.

never comin back

Items from Etsy for when you feel like lighting a candle and reading Ham on Rye

1.) Abject Birth “Valley Of The Dolls” t-shirt, 2.) Burger & Friends vintage deadstock Minnie sunglasses, 3.) Mass Media “I Didn’t Go To Work Today” patch, 4.) Sleazy Seagull Bukowski t-shirt, 5.) Retro Stash vintage patch, 6.) Tizzalicious mushroom studs, 7.) Maggie’s Farm vintage midi skirt, 8.) Vegas Rebel distressed leather flask, 9.) My Little Fisheye Shop lighter necklace, 10.) My Little Fisheye Shop studded friendship bracelet, 11.) Peaceblossom Candles skull candle.

Man, even when I’m feeling moody it looks like a Valentine.

seattle soundfest

I had such a killer time at Seattle Soundfest!  Four nights of playing shows, drinking beers, seeing bands, meeting amazing new people, and nonstop partying!  I rented a house with my band (Cunt Sparrer) and my friends in Bad Cop/Bad Cop, and it was definitely a weekend to remember.

Cunt Sparrer played at the Funhouse on Friday night (the following four photos by Shawn with the Sunbreak):



The Cro-Mags fucking killed it.  One of the most brutal shows I’ve ever seen in my life.

It will take me several days to recover.