Tag Archives: what i’m up to

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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odds and ends

I haven’t gotten many outfit photos lately (shocking, I know) so I did some quick drawings of a couple of things I’ve worn in the past few days:

What I wore for a girls’ night last weekend with some of my friends — Blood Is The Neck Black tank top, a buffalo-check wool peacoat from Gap that I’ve had for a couple of years, skintight leatherette pants and black suede platform heels.  I looked a little fancier in person than in the drawing above…but not much, honestly.


On Sunday I went with some friends for a picnic at the gravesite of our friend Lisa, who passed a year ago. She was a fabulous, flamboyant dresser with a penchant for dramatic skirts and outrageous hats, so I figured it was only appropriate to try to dress in Lisa fashion, in a sheer skull-print blouse, floor-length jersey skirt, floppy wool hat from Forever 21, and big sunglasses.

    

I’ve been kinda under the weather the past few days so I’ve just been laying low, messing around with my lap steel guitar and totally devouring 1Q84 on my Kindle.  I’ve got a friend coming into town for the weekend tonight and another coming out next week so I’m enjoying my last few hours of downtime before what’s sure to be a hectic but fun few days ahead.

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.

working hard or hardly working?

I’m stoked to be pretty much moved into my new workspace!  Today was another day of organizing and hanging and running around, so I was going pretty laid back.  It’s also finally starting to get chilly out, which is nice because coats and boots are my favorite.

H&M Divided coat and beret, Forever 21 top, Cheap Monday jeans, Frye boots, GoJane glasses.

I bought this shirt a while ago under the impression that it was long and loose-fitting (that’s how it looked on the model), so imagine my surprise when this boxy crop top arrived.  I’ve grown to like its weird shape with my higher-waisted stuff.

Also this yellow coat is my favorite.  I was on the hunt for a mustard-colored heavier coat for the colder seasons and when I found this one in the Divided section at H&M I lost my breath for a second (seriously) because it is exactly what I imagined, and cost half what I’d paid for the Missoni for Target coat that did not fit the bill at all and was subsequently returned.

The beret is also from H&M and I’ve been wearing it a lot lately; I fear I’m becoming a hat person.  I’m aware it looks a little ridiculous but that’s kind of what I like about it.  I feel a little like Judy Funnie when I wear it.

And here’s the beginnings of my little workspace in the new studio I’m be sharing with my dang ol’ friend Jennie:

Getting everything organized and having a place to work is already making me feel so much more productive.  I got a couple of new Hippie Speedball designs done in the past couple of days that I want to share with you guys soon, and some other things in the works as well.  Having a place to do it all, and sharing it with one of my favorite people in the entire world, is going to be pretty rad.

office space

For the past four months, I’ve been operating Hippie Speedball out of my kitchen, and it’s starting to get a little out of hand.  So I’m really excited to be moving into a studio space with my friend Jennie this weekend — it’s small, but having a place to spread out my work and get everything feeling a little more professional is going to be hugely motivating.

In reality, I know the space will be pretty bare bones for awhile, nothing glamorous (I’m broke, after all).  But here are a few things I wish I could have right away — some more attainable than others:

1.) Half my work is printed out on millions of pieces of paper that are currently stacked in random piles on the kitchen table, so a standing file with some drawers like this one from CB2 is going to be a must when I move.

2.) I’ve always had this fantasy of owning a Louis ghost chair, and Lexington Modern has a cute knockoff for under $100.  I don’t know how comfortable this would actually be, but it is adorable.

3.) I talk on the phone while I’m working on the computer a lot, and trying to cradle my smartphone between my cheek and shoulder while I type is unreliable and leaves blush smudges all over my touchscreen.  I really want one of these old-school handsets that connects to your cell phone via USB — I would have receptionist flashbacks in a good way.

4.) I spend a ton of time emailing files to myself right now so I can print them on separate computers because can you believe I don’t own a flash drive?  I want this one because it’s Hello Kitty and it can hang on my keyring where I know I won’t lose it.

5.) I’m obsessed with fonts and hand-drawn lettering.  I would love to have Hand Job: A Catalog of Type on my desk for reference and inspiration.

6.) I just really like this fist pencil cup from Urban Outfitters.  All my black Pilot Varsity pens (obsessed) would look great in there.

7.) In my new space I’m going to have easier access to my apparel in the screening stages and I’d like to have an instant camera so I can photograph and share what I’m working on with people without having to use the computer.  The Fujifilm Instax is exactly what I want.

8.) This is an oversized eraser that looks like a balloon poodle.  Sort of Jeff Koons-y, no?

9.) I’d like to be able to do my invoices and things on an old typewriter — maybe that’s a little precious, but I’ve always loved them and it would be nice to have a reprieve from the computer screen for a while every day.  Etsy is crowded with them; I like this simple midcentury Sears model.

10.) I’m selling this drawing of mine as a super cheap print and I want to frame and hang one over my desk so when I’m feeling like I can’t do anything I can look at it and remember at least I can draw naked ladies and little cat faces.

11.) This Ikea desk with built-in shelves is perfect.  I need it!

 

my glamorous life

I really hate doing laundry so I let it pile up until I absolutely can’t put it off anymore and then I stuff it all into the biggest H&M bag I have lying around and lug it all over to the laundromat, which is right across the street from my apartment.  Convenient, right?  It also conveniently leads to situations like this one when I’m walking back home with my bags of clean clothes (which for some reason always seem to take up more space than dirty ones):

Sometimes I would kill to have my own washer and dryer.

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.