I started writing songs in my late-teens. Without access to a band or any instrumental prowess, I just sang them a cappella, dreaming that one day, they’d bloom into legit songs. Somehow.
Not long after JR and I started dating, I wrote a song for him titled Mi Rata Podrida (I meant it in a loving way). I gave him the song for his birthday, along with printouts of others I’d written over the years. He was appreciative but didn’t quite know what to do with them, so he signed up for guitar lessons.
About twenty years later, we started making music with our friends Chris and Brevis.
When we first got together, the country was in lockdown. Weekly band practice was pretty much our sole in-person interaction outside of grocery stores and our homes. We’d often comment on how we lived for Tuesday nights – a bright spark in an otherwise dreary, worrisome time. Throughout quarantine (and a variety of other unpleasant life events in the coming years), I found infinite catharsis in the simple act of screaming into a mic while engulfed in a sea of pounding drums, driving bass, and power chords.
Our first practice space looked like a haunted kill room. (Note the stained plastic sheeting behind Chris in the photo below.) From my position at the mic, I’d stare across the room at creepy portraits of little girls who were definitely ghosts (you can see them two photos down). It was terrifying, but we loved it…until we got kicked out for being too loud.
Our first fan was a darling dog named Bella. While we played, she’d lie on the floor in a circle of blasting amps, perfectly content.
Bella is a badass. I mean, just look at that mohawk. She never would’ve even considered telling us to turn it down.
(Although we really should. We’re all losing our hearing.)
Our first gig was for seven people in the guitarist’s backyard. After we played, no one said a word about the music. It was very awkward. A year later, we played another backyard show, this one for about twenty people. It was way better in that folks actually acknowledged we’d just performed songs. Many of them even said nice things.
After writing and practicing together for a couple of years, we grew tired of the crappy recordings captured on our phones, which were essentially in-your-face drums with melodic mumbling in the background. We found an amazing producer – Matt Williams at The Eagle Room – and recorded nine of our songs in one day. I think Matt is used to more polished musicians, not a bunch of grungy rockers who decide after three takes that it’s time to move on. But we were stoked with the results, and a few days ago, after a healthy dose of Matt’s magical mixing and mastering, we released our little album, Dark Circles.
I’m glad the me who started writing songs 30 years ago didn’t know it would take this long to get them out in the world, because she would have drowned in a puddle of tears. But the me of today is feeling pretty snazzy about the whole thing, especially since I just learned you can ask Alexa to play our songs, and she does it. How cool is that?
I mean, you know you’ve really made it when even Alexa knows who you are. 😏 😆