Friday, August 31, 2012

Being an adult is STUPID!

Well, it's finally happened.

I've put Willy and I on a budget.

Nobody pouts like Shirley Temple!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. At the tender age of 28 (WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN!? I could have sworn I was 27...), I've put an end to our going-out-whenever-we-want, buying-whatever-we-want, random-trips-to-the-Renaissance-Faire ways. I took all those talents I have for planning shows and applied them to my normal boring blah blah day to day life. I made a spreadsheet in Excel. I calculated. I did maff. Why? Because I realized that it really sucks when your bank  account hits zero and you've got a week until your next paycheck. Because honestly, I'd like to actually put more than a few hundred bucks away. Because my poor car has been neglected for months, now.. and I kinda need him up and running for all these band things I've been borrowing Willy's car to travel to, lately. There's also the fact that Willy and I make pretty good money, and the fact that we keep bankrupting ourselves mid-week is irresponsible and embarrassing. I mean hell, we've got friends with kids now. All we've got is a cat, and you're telling me we can't be financially responsible because we've got an addiction to top-shelf vodka and costume pieces for the Renaissance Faire? C'mon. We can do better then that.

What real budgeting takes is some self-control, which, admittedly, we have very little of. Especially me. For some reason, it's a lot easier for me to not eat than to eat the food I bring to work every day. I guess I'm spoiled. I do my damndest to pack a lunch I won't feel guilty about, but at some point, that lunch just feels unappetizing. So I just gotta force it down and tell myself, "Shut up and eat that tuna! You're doing this so you can buy Guild Wars 2!! (And also fit into those jeans from 3 years ago!)" But it's not as easy as all that, so sometimes I just let myself go hungry and tell myself I'll eat it the next day. Because I am dumb.

Man do I miss being an irresponsible teenager! Or better yet, an irrisponsible college student. College was fantastic. I'm a multi-tasker, so I thrive on the kind of stress that homework/social responsibilities/a part time job puts on a 20-something. I think my mom said "get a job" all at once, which I actually laughed at. See, I've had a job every summer starting at 15, and then once I hit college, it went from every summer to just all the time. I did random stuff. I worked at Suncoast (before Best Buy ate them) in a mall, I worked at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, I was a teaching aid for elementary schools (2 different ones!) and I tutored at our school. "Get a job"... are you kidding!? I loved working! I loved it because all the money I got was pocket money. I didn't need a car because I took Metro. I didn't pay rent because I lived with my parents. They paid for all my food. All I had to do was go to school and goof off. And boy did I goof off! I still managed to get good enough grades that I found a job straight out of school. That's where the trouble hit me.

"Isn't this more fun than watching cartoons in bed?"
My first job was in Chantilly. It was a 1.5 hour car ride each way. I was so exhausted each morning that I got into a car accident during the first 3 months I worked there, and realized I needed to move away from home. At first it was a "during the week" thing. I'd go home on the weekends and live with my friend Joe during the week. Then I realized it was easier for me to stay there all the time, so I got my VA drivers' license, changed my address, became an adult.

The problem is that rent was so cheap that I never learned to budget. I had several things to think about... rent, car, car insurance, student loans. Not too many bills. The older I got, the more bills I got. Suddenly I'm paying for electricity, cable, a cell phone, a mortgage, HOA fees, gym dues... grown up things! Grown up things are horrible, but the thing about them is that they exist for comfort. I have cable. Why do I need to go out to entertain myself? I have vodka at home. I have a plethora of comic books, some unread. I even have some guy living with me I could talk to every once in a while! So in theory, I shouldn't need to add more expenses to my bills because I've got so much else to entertain myself with.

"Quit drinking and read me!!"
Unfortunately, I'm not that kind of person. I need to be out. So I either need to make myself look at the gym as a happenin' place where fun things happen, or I need to just shut up and sit on the couch and read all those Batwoman comics I've been hoarding before I make us both go broke with my expensive dirty martini habit.

Hell, I even bought my own martini glasses! And a shaker! Theoretically, I should be happy as a clam on my faux velvet red couches, lounging in a pair of animal-print pajama pants and an old band t-shirt I picked up in the mid-west while reading comic books and drinking martinis.So why aren't I? I'm spoiled. I'm really really spoiled.

Well, after the birthday party excursion I go to on Saturday night, I will make it my business to spend this entire Labor Day weekend at home! That's right, people! After I get wasted in DC, I'm gonna come home, hug my cat, and try my best not to go outside and spend money. I'll probably go to the gym. That's it. I swear. What? You don't believe me?

Yeah, me neither.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


So I think I thrive on stress.

I say this because as of right now, I'm a bit of a nervous mess. I've got a little bit more than a week until Metal Quest, and I'm stressed about a few things. I've made my lists and charts, but I'm always afraid something will slip past me! I've got a ton of things to do on the day of, like...

  • pass out flyers
  • pass out handbills
  • get beverages for bands
  • put together goodie bags for those who donated
  • make sure the programs get here on time (!!!!!)
  • make sure the bands go on, on time
  • actually PLAY THE SHOW

...alright, so that's not THAT much. Maybe I shouldn't be too stressed? The thing I'm really stressed about, to be honest with you, is attendance. I'm always worried that not enough people show up, and it is imperative that we have a decent crowd of people so that we can make enough at the door to cover the cost of having a venue. I'm not even trying to get paid, here. I just want to break even and make a few bucks to donate to the Hero Initiative.

But as it gets closer to the show, I get the inevitable "So I have some bad news..." from people who can't make the show. I can't tell you how heartbreaking that is, and scary. What if nobody shows? What if these bands have no crowd? I tried my best, but that's often not good enough. I've got to make sure this show is worthwhile, because I know what it's like to play a crappy show. Crappy shows suck. I do not want this to be a crappy show.

Please let this show be awesome so I can actually relax when it's done!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oh, bands...

So I've noticed a trend, when it comes to bands. Please keep in mind, this is not all bands. This is just some bands.

Okay, so here's the thing. If you offer a band payment up front for their work, wouldn't you expect that band to like... plug the show? Advertise the show? Get their fans hyped because HOLY SHIT, a promoter isn't making you sell tickets for once? Right? Wouldn't you try not to take advantage of the fact that this is a paying gig and actually try to make the show a success? Well apparently, some bands don't feel this way. Some bands see dollar signs and decide to just show up, play, and leave. No plugs, no ads, not even a Facebook post.

Well a great big FUCK YOU to those bands. Do you know how hard it is to put together a show from scratch? All for the love of music? Why are people so fucking selfish? When someone treats you decently, you should probably also treat them decently. Promoters do everything in their power to make shows a success, but we are not miracle workers. If you want your band to be a success, you should probably do your part and PLUG THE SHOW YOU'RE PLAYING. How can you expect to make any kind of leap forward if you don't even have the decency to plug your own show?

And furthermore, why do I let people take advantage of me in this way?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Where's that depression I was looking for?

Oh, there you are!

I'm not doing so well, today. Last night I decided that I was feeling thin enough that I could splurge some calories on two beers and the inside of a sandwich. Well, screw that! Went to bed, couldn't sleep, felt warm and feverish all night, woke up nauseous. Had a bowl of oatmeal to settle my stomach, and lo and behold, I feel like a big fat ton of failure. Yes, in less than 24 hours, I went from slender and confident to fat and miserable. And do you know what happens when you get all miserable? All of the things anyone has ever said that makes you sad comes rushing back. Like that time the guy you like said he had a crush on another girl, who's really skinny, and it made you excuse yourself to throw up behind a dumpster. You know, every day stuff like that.

Of course, I should note that for all you new readers out there (all 2 of you!), I do have bipolar disorder. And there is currently a family member in the hospital (who I will not discuss, due to privacy, thanks!), so there's probably more wrong with me than the .2" addition on my waistline due to the two beers and oatmeal. That being said, none of that truth makes me feel any better. And to be perfectly honest, when I get like this, there are very few ways in which I can make myself feel better. I can either go shopping, or eat something terrible for me. Either way, I'm boned. I've actually gotta go do some band work tonight, and tomorrow I've got a gig. Both of these things are highly dependent on my mood, and the way it is now, I'm not sure how I'm going to manage to pull through the next few days. You know when you're so depressed you get shaky and want to go somewhere and cry and eat frozen yogurt and throw up? That's what's going on, right now. I'm not certain if it was brought on by my behavior last night, or the bipolar disorder. I don't know if one causes the other. I just know that this is a low, and I'm not sure what the best way to get out of it is.

But I do know that I've got to get out of it, fast, before I wind up doing something stupid. Like eating a pack of peanut butter crackers.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Internal struggle!

Rosie Mercado
Every once in a while, I come across something that makes me feel pretty good. Empowered, even. That happened today when I saw the first episode of Curvy Girls, a reality show (shut up...) about plus sized models. One of these models, Rosie Mercado, is a hero of mine. She's a young beautiful mom of three who makes a living as a plus sized model. She's done my favorite clothes, Pin Up Girl Clothing, and stars in Curvy Girls. When I see her, I see hope for someone like me. I see how happy I could be if I accepted myself the way so many others have. That being said, it's no secret that I've put on 7.5lbs since I got down to 122.5 (that .5 is important!) a few years ago, and those 7.5lbs haunt me. Yeah, you heard me. 7.5lbs. Something that should be easy to take off, but isn't! I managed to get back to 128 a few days ago, just to sabotage myself with a jaunt to the Renn Faire. I allowed myself to drink beer, eat horrible fried food, all while dressed in tights and a 22" corset. Now, I wouldn't change a bit about my Renn Faire experience. I know it's important to treat yourself, so I don't regret doing this. The problem I have is with the fact that once I got back to work, it was back to my old ways of restrictive dieting. People, don't get me wrong. I love low-carb living, I am an advocate for it, I believe it's a good way to live a healthy life. My problem is that I don't follow my own advice. Under no circumstances does the Atkins diet advocate skipping meals. I do that because I'm crazy and for some reason it's easier for me to skip meals than it is to just bring food. That's where the internal struggle comes in.

I know I'm at a healthy weight. I know I look okay. But I always want to look better, go the extra mile, get back down to that 122.5 I enjoyed just 3 years ago. Imagine, just 3 years ago! I've got jeans I can't wear comfortably now that I wore all the time back then. I feel self conscious every time I eat something off-plan. I know I shouldn't, but I do. That's the trouble! Right now, I can say "Yeah, I look good, I don't need to starve myself!" but the moment I eat something off-plan, the guilt will swell. If only I could have this level of self-esteem no matter what I ate! And I'm not talking about binging on doughnuts, here. I'm saying, man... if I could just eat oatmeal in the morning like a normal person without it spiking my blood sugar and making me crave bread all day!

By now you must be absolutely sick of me whining about my eating disorder, but I have to say that from my position, it helps to whine. It helps when I put things in perspective. When I see the scale at 130lbs, I feel absolutely massive. For my 5' frame, 130 is HUGE in my eyes. But when I write it in my blog, I feel like a jack-ass. Seriously, I'm in the "healthy" weight range, I have no health problems (besides asthma, under control now), and I'm complaining about 7.5 measly pounds?? Yes, I am. I have that big an issue. I go back and forth between pro-ana blogs and fat acceptance blogs. I'm a part of both and neither. I've binged, purged, starved, and blogged and I still do all of it. I probably will, until I find some way to be happy with what I am, which will probably be never. In the meantime, I'm admiring plus sized ladies who are actually happy with themselves.

Doro Pesch
All this being said, I still want to be a successful musician, and we can't all be Adele. Or Beth Ditto. And metal isn't exactly kind to big girls, because lets face it, most mainstream folks expect all metal chicks to either wear a pretty tutu or dress like Lita Ford in the 80's. Hell, Doro's in her 50's and she's still wearing leather pants! Doro is one of those few female metal singers that I admire because she keeps writing, she keeps performing, and she actually makes music that I like. She's not overly girly like the newer metal chicks out there, she's a bad-ass in leather and studs. I look up to her. I want to be that kind of musician, but I guess I have to face up to the fact that I'll probably never look like her, and I have to make myself realize that's okay. Easier said than done, right? Could I be happy if I remained the same size I am, right now, forever? I'm not exactly sure. I think that the process of losing weight is addictive and for me, a little toxic. Once I'm in that vibe, I'm both happy and miserable, energetic and weak. But the same thing happens when I'm not trying to lose weight; eating whatever I want makes me feel lethargic, happy, sad, everything else. Where do I find the balance? I really don't know. It's times like this I miss my therapist!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Faire weekend!

I'm gonna be really irresponsible, this weekend. Instead of staying home for band practice and laundry, I'm gonna go to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Fair and have a grand old time. Willy and I have this thing with Renn Fairs.. we've got to visit each of the closest ones at least once a year, perhaps twice, to make use of the excessive amounts of costume bits that we've collected over the years. Personally, I've got four steel-boned corsets, one of which I have never worn before. The newest addition, and my current fair staple, is this red leather baby I've been using for... wow, has it been three years already!? Crazy... and I've tried to use the other ones for new outfits, but none of them have the same punch, yanno? I've basically tailored all of my outfits around my favorite colors, red and black, and now it seems I've painted myself into a corner because EVERYTHING I WEAR IS RED AND BLACK!

As I type, my nails are painted black with red glitter. I CAN NOT BE STOPPED!

Anyway, that's what's happening this weekend. Renn. Faire, lots of beer.

If you'd like to know where I got my corset from, the lovely people at Red Falcon can help you out! I'm not sure if they sell the corsets online, but they do have other stuff.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lose/Lose situation!

I wasn't planning on blurging today, if only because I was feeling some writers block. I spent last night cooking (marvelously, as usual) and working on a flyer for Metal Quest. Not a lot went on except one thing; a craving. A horrible horrible craving. Well, not really so horrible, but horrible for me because I'm very hard on myself when it comes to food. What was this terrible craving, you might ask? Frozen yogurt. Gaddamn it, I love that stuff. Covered in strawberries and mangoes, no less! I know, I know, I'm a monster... but when you're trying to control your sugar cravings, it's best not to give in to these urges. Or is it? Who the hell knows. I wound up making ratatouille, steak, and mushrooms with some caprese salada. A bit more tomato than I would have liked (stupid sugar, you hide everywhere!!) but no frozen yogurt.

Well, I came across this article during my daily reads about how Feeling Bad About Your Weight is Making You Fat. It's a pretty good article, and a few key points in there are right on the money.

Teen participants were asked to comment on how they perceived themselves on a scale of thin to "chubby" or "very fat." Fast forward to a decade and change later, and 60% of the normal sized girls in the study who thought they were fat had actually gone on to become overweight twentysomethings. 

Researchers surmise that the discrepancy between long-term health effects on girls and long-term health effects on boys is due, in part, to the fact that teenage girls who think they're fat will do terribly unhealthy shit in order to "fix" themselves. Eating disorders are an extreme example, but researchers noted that girls are more likely to do metabolism-screwing things like skip meals, deprive themselves of food, and eat unbalanced diets. 

Looking back, my ex-sister-in-law's dress is pretty great.
Ummmm yeah. Pretty much all of that is right on the money. I recently looked back at my pictures from elementary school. Guys, I've been called "fat", "ugly", ect. since the 2nd grade. I have never once seen myself as an attractive person, let alone "normal". Well, after looking at a picture of myself when I was around 10, I suddenly realized that I wasn't all that fat. At all. In fact, I was pretty normal looking, physically. Do you know what wasn't normal? The giant t-shirt I wore to cover myself from neck to knees because I thought I was so fat nobody should have to look at me. I feel bad for the kid in that picture. I remember being in the 4th grade, weighing in at 100lbs, and I remember thinking how fat and heavy that must have been. It's painful for me to look at myself like that, knowing just how miserable I felt about myself. I want to look at myself at 10 and say, "Hey, I know you'll never believe me, but stop covering yourself up like that. You're not ugly," because maybe if I could have believed that, I wouldn't have developed such bad habits.

That's me, in the hat. ...and the home-sewn flares.
Like, for example, binging and purging... binging and starving... starving... excessive dieting... the kind of things that aren't good for anyone, let alone someone with a history of bipolar disorder. It's no wonder I wound up gaining so much weight in middle school and high school! I'd starve myself one day, binge the next, ect. ect. I played sports, and I know I was in pretty good shape physically since I was able to swim and win without being too winded, but I wasn't a great athlete. I was just okay, and that's not bad, but I felt bad for not being good at absolutely everything. I felt bad because I was a good singer, a good little actress, and my grades were even alright, BUT, I wasn't good looking. That's what I thought, and I felt like it made me inferior, regardless of anything else. How sad is that?? Even though I'd starve myself in front of people I didn't know, I never thought things would change. It my mind, I always thought I'd be fat. The reason I didn't eat was because I was embarrassed to eat in front of people. So I wouldn't eat in front of boys, but I'd eat when I got home. That's a bad habit to get into, because it just made me super hungry. What happens when you're super hungry? You eat whatever the hell is near, and for me, that was carbs and sugar. High school.

What you see: Meat; What I see: ARM FAT
Well I'm not in high school, anymore. Clearly... I'm 28, and I lost a bunch of that weight ten years ago. It's been ten years and I still feel the same way I did when I was 18. And I can just imagine, twenty years from now, I will be telling myself the same thing. I'm not so shy anymore (no more giant t-shirts, unless I go to bed..), but I never wear shorts and I never wear short skirts and I never wear... well, a lot of things. Plus, I won't let myself eat frozen yogurt, for god's sake. How very sad, that I'm 28 and I still think the same way I did when I was ten years old. I'm not overweight, just like the kid in the picture, but I will always feel overweight, like the kid in high school. Do you know how hard it is to look at a recent picture of myself and not focus on that arm fat? DO YOU? It's quite hard, but I'm trying. Especially since a relative recently had to take me aside and tell me I was being silly for judging myself so harshly (people read this thing?!) and I was so embarrassed by all my whining. WHAAAAAA I WANNA BE SKINNY.

So, in conclusion, that article I mentioned way at the beginning of this blog post is pretty legit. Think bad things about yourself, do bad things to yourself. Think good, do good! Makes sense, right? RIGHT! Now, treat yourself right. Do it. it.

Yeah, not so easy, is it?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chameleon powers activate!

I've always said that if I could be a superhero, my name would be "Redline". As in... when I sing so loud, I "redline" the microphone. I imagine I'd have Banshee-like powers, that I could fly and scream the skin off of people. Lately, however, I've noticed that I have another superpower; my uncanny ability to change my appearance and blow people's brains. This weekend, for example, I attended a wedding. As you can see, I managed to clean myself up... do my nails... do my make-up... make my hair less uhhhh.... poofy? And throw on a dress I bought for the occasion. Well, it went over pretty well, it was a lovely day and a lovely ceremony, and I had a couple of lovely martinis that made me feel quite lovely indeed. After some nice dancing and family fun times, Willy and I piled into the limo his parents rented for the occasion. The limo driver asked where I was from, because apparently, he thought I was Indian. Well, fancy that! I think that's the 3rd time someone has thought I was from India. I've been categorized as a lot of things, in fact! Indian, Egyptian, Native American, white, Italian, Armenian... the list goes on. For those of you who don't know, in terms of colors, I'm exactly 1/2 white (my mom is Spain, specifically Catalan) and 1/2 brown (my dad is from El Salvador, descended from the indigenous Pipil tribe), so my skin has this slightly orang-y yellow-y caramel color and I've got a big Euro-nose.

So far, the only people who have guessed that I'm Salvadorian are actual Salvadorians. They know something is up, though... they always do. They kind of give me this, "...are you Salvadorian?" while looking at me skeptically. When I explain that I'm Spanish on my mom's side, they get it. However, and here's the kicker, you can tell the difference in American and Latin American culture right away because there have been several people I've met that seem impressed by this. I remember one dude, when I told him where each of my parents were from, thinking my dad had won the jack-pot. (He's never seen them argue, LOL) The sad reality is that Latin America is still harshly racist. As in, pale skin is considered waaaay more attractive, and is often an indicator of social status. Do we have that in the US? Absolutely, but we're a lot more quiet about it. People in Latin America don't shy away from the truth; people with pale skin tend to have it easier, and people with dark skin are routinely discriminated against. It kinda sucks. I feel bad for people who react so favorably to my "pedigree" (I'm mixed, I don't really have one!), because of all things to admire in a person, I don't want it to be my skin color.

That being said, I seem to be pretty good at blending in because of it. I imagine that this, plus my acting skills, would make me a pretty good spy! But man would I get tired of not being able to tell anyone...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

It's all about meeeeeeee...........

So the first thing I did this morning (after waking up at 4:30, and then being kept up at 5:00 by the cat..) was weigh myself. Another pound down! Oh hell yeah! I can't tell you how elated that makes me feel. After watching that SOB scale just sit there, unwavering in his decision that for the past several weeks I remain just a hint under 130lbs. That shit killed me, frustrated me, but hurray and huzzah.. I'm down 2.5 whole pounds. Yeah, I'm celebrating 2.5 pounds. It might not seem like much, but trust me.. I'm 5' tall. 2.5lbs is a lot. If you don't believe me, I have a visual of what one pound of fat looks like.
Yeah. One pound of fat is actually a lot. Now, could that 1 pound possibly be a mixture of fat and muscle? I hope not.. I've been working my ass off to eat more protein and do muscle-building workouts, so I'm praying it hasn't been for no good f'ing reason. That the weight is coming off about as slow as me in the 100m butterfly (haha, swimming joke!) is further proof that this is probably actually fat, and not just some random water weight. SO I'M GONNA CELEBRATE, GADDAMN IT. Even if this comes after a day of not eating enough (yesterday, I hardly got up past 1,000) and right now I'm still under 300. I'm having a tough time reaching my daily calorie requirements, because believe it or not, people on low-carb diets do not binge on bacon all day. In fact, it's so f'ing hard to get my protein requirements, I'm tempting to internet-slap the person who suggesting my kidneys might be suffering from too much protein intake.

Now, I know that to get down to my goal, it's gonna take more agonizingly slowness. I've got to cut back on the vodka (I'm only drinking once a week, again! ..for now.....), I've got to eat more (It's haaaaaard) and I've got to pack my own lunches more often. If I can do all that, I think I'll be alright.

Oh, and I gotta drink more water... which reminds me!

Glug glug glug..........

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Oh great... you too, sleep!?

As if I needed something else to be stressed over, now I'm having trouble sleeping.

Ah, sleep. The one thing everyone should be good at. Unfortunately, I've got a few things against me. First off, my neck. I've got a tiny neck and require a tiny pillow.. but not too tiny, or my damaged neck and back muscles will be messed up throughout the night and I'll wake up with pain from all those rear-endings I had in my Celica.

God I miss that car.

Odin; the world's fattest most annoying cat.
So I've got all that neck pain, and then there's the cat. The gaddamn mother fucking cat. People, I love my fat-ass cat. But he's an asshole. He starts meowing around 5:30 AM, a full half an hour before I even need to be up. Some might say that he'll stop if you ignore him. Those some are dead fucking wrong. Odin is the most persistent little shit I've ever known in my entire life, and all the cuddles and lap purrs he gives me will never make up for his annoying ass. So I've got him yeowling in the AM (and no, I can't lock him out because he opens doors and his litter box is in our master bathroom..), but that's not all.

For some reason, I keep waking up around 4 AM. Every. Single. Morning. This wouldn't be so bad if I could just manage to go the hell back to sleep, afterwards. Unfortunately, all I seem to do is lie there. I know I'm tired, and I know I need to sleep, but sleep won't come. Eventually, however, 6 AM does indeed come, and when that happens I'm so tired I can barely function. So what the hell am I supposed to do? I go to sleep at a reasonable time, like a good girl, at 10 PM so I can get my (much needed) 8 hours of sleep. I wind up not sleeping until past 11, and waking up at 4. :/ Sometimes at 2, too. This is in all kinds of different scenarios; working out before bedtime, not working out at all. Eating 2 hours before bed, eating 5 hours before bed. It doesn't matter, it happens every time.

To combat this exhaustion, I've been drinking coffee and Rock Star (as needed), and now I'm afraid I have a caffeine dependency.  As in, when I don't drink coffee, I get a headache. Or maybe that's just my neck pain traveling to my brain? Who knows! All I know is that I'm really tired of being really tired.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A quick note about kilts...

Kilts. I love them. I really do. Look at this guy. Could you imagine him in anything else? It's kinda hard for me to, after seeing him like this!

Friday, August 3, 2012

No wonder we're so used to starving!

What do you call something that isn't really news but you want to share? I don't care, but here's some: being a musician is financially draining. Yep, it sucks. The deal is, you're either someone's rich kid (Rebecca Black), someone pliable and willing to be molded into a creation (Britney Spears), or you're both very talented and very lucky, so someone with a lot of money decides to invest in you. Adele.

If you are none of these things, then it's likely that being a serious musician will be a huge drain on your wallet. Of course, it doesn't have to be! You could always record things in your mom's basement using a single microphone and pirated software. You could always just play in bars once a month, as a hobby. But if you plan on going anywhere and you have giant dreams, then odds are, you're going to want some professional recordings and some professional materials to promote yourself with. So whip out the check book, buddy... it's gonna be a long ride.

First of all, I'm really lucky that my band isn't a bunch of deadbeats. SUPREMELY lucky. The fact that all my band mates have jobs, a car, show up for practice, and donate to our cause financially might sound like it would be normal, right? Musicians should all pitch in, right? AHAHAHAHA! That's so funny! Because they don't. Most musicians, especially metal musicians, are a bunch of pompous deadbeats who won't put their money where their mouths are. Because their mouths are too busy spouting off about how talented/amazing/metal they are. Seriously, metal musicians are asshats. Or they're too young and unestablished to be able to help out financially. Or they're terrible musicians. Having auditioned around a hundred bass players, drummers, and guitarists, who either suck, don't come to practice, or are dead broke, I basically hit the jackpot with my band. That none of them do drugs or are alcoholics is just another thing to thank the Dio for.

But even with all that help and all that wonderful teamwork, it's often a numbers game. Who pays for what and when. Being married and no longer on my own, my money isn't just my money. It's our money. And while my husband gets that I have a responsibility to my band and myself, I can't just throw as much money as I want toward recording and junk because, as adults, we have financial responsibilities. Like... a mortgage. Car bills. A cat. All these things pile up, so at the end of the month, if I have any amount of money that can go toward the band, I'm ecstatic. Let me give you a few examples of the (often ridiculous) things we need to pay for:

  • Album Art
  • Album Printing
  • Recording Studio Fees
  • Gas
  • Hotels
  • Instruments
  • New Goggles 

All of these things are required in order to achieve any kind of success, without the help of some millionaire sugar daddy pulling our strings in the shadows. Paying for it all can be a challenge, because while we've all got jobs (sorta), we're also all adults. So that mortgage? They've got one, too. And dogs. And cars. Which means they're in the same boat I am, and while it's a much nicer boat than the deadbeat shithead metal musicians I've met in the past, it's still a small boat. Maybe a 19'. Good enough to go fishing on the bay, but you're not gonna go around the world in it.

That brings me to last night's filming of our Kickstarter video. We're already doing a campaign on IndiGogo for Metal Quest, which has been at least 30% successful at this point. In a few days, we'll be starting a Kickstarter campaign to help the band finance our new album. I spent most of last night's rehearsal time recording a video with info on our Kickstarter campaign, which was fun, but whenever you try ventures like this, the big questions remains... will this thing work?? Who knows! We can only hope and pray that we have enough fans out there who will actually help us finish this album. It's an expensive thing, making a professional sounding piece of music, and while we're perfectly okay with going bankrupt over this album, the money in our bank accounts and savings will only take us so far.

So, lets see where this goes! I guess if we end up starving to finish this thing, at least I should lose a few pounds!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Because why bother?

Disclaimer: I have nothing against any of the bands I will be discussing. I'm also going to jump around on topics. You may now continue.

So I'm doing my usual run-around of the internetz yesterday, and I come across an article about a new band that was signed to Century Media; Destiny Potato. No, I'm not kidding, that is their name, and I am linking you to their Facebook page because despite the fact that they're on a major label, they don't have an official website. Their music is something of a mix between Djent and Evanescence. Clearly, I am not a fan, but this isn't unusual. Record companies sign people I don't particularly care for all the time. No, what caught my eye was this part of the article:

"Just a few months after we officially formed the band we got an opportunity to play our first show at Euroblast 2011 where we met some boys and gals from Century Media as they came to hear/see us play. Not long after the fest we got in touch with them and after months of negotiations we are finally here and really looking forward to an amazing collaboration with all the great people in and around this label."

Jill Janus of Huntress
Yup. Just a few months after officially forming the band, they get signed to a major record label. Why? Have absolutely no idea, but it's likely one of those "we knew someone" stories. That's how it always is. That's why Huntress, with former Playboy model Jill Janus (who is classically trained), who nobody knew of, managed to release their very first single and album on Napalm Records without so much as an album or a demo. Because it's not what you do, it's who you know in this business. I'm not saying Huntress doesn't have great musicians. They're actually pretty good! But there are a thousand other bands out there that are "pretty good", and have been involved with the scene for a decade or more, and you'll probably never see them on a major label because they either don't have a marketable look, or they just can't get a break.

Which is where the term "why bother?" comes from.

Sometimes, as an artist, you ask yourself... why bother? What is the point of all the sleepless nights, the hard work, the blood, tears, and sweat, when people who don't work half as much as you have suddenly get signed to major labels? What's the point of rehearsing for weeks and weeks with nothing to look forward to but a crowd of twenty guys and maybe one of their girlfriends? Why bother?

I'll tell you why.

Because I think that even if the entire world doesn't know what we do, we know. Is it hard work? Yes. Does it destroy relationships and break families apart? Sure! But we do this because we love it. Because the music is a part of us, and if we never get famous, we'll at least know that we created something great. We never wasted our time trying to please other people with pop or something we didn't particularly care about. We never made ourselves sick trying at fame. I'll tell you guys something, fame is a disease that people will waste their entire life waiting to catch. There are routes to fame, and they either work, or you spend years traveling them only to find yourself empty handed at the end. So why bother with all that nonsense when you could spend that precious time in your life making great music? Why waste all that energy being something your not for a dream you might not even get to experience?

Maria Brink of In This Moment
I'm not the kind of person to do that. When a former band mate told me that I should try to be more sexy, I was annoyed. When that same band mate told me that we should be studying In This Moment, because they're famous, I was annoyed. When someone's dad tried to give me advice on songwriting ("you should write a song about having sex with another guy!"), I was annoyed. I would much rather put all my time and energy writing good quality music that I actually want to perform than write something stupid that will turn heads and maybe make a million dollars. I'm sure money solves problems and brings happiness to some, but I'd rather have a great song and a great set of musicians to work with.

One of the things that irritates me about being compared to these women is that I have never in my entire life been a skinny blonde. I strive toward fitness and being a healthy weight, but there's no way in hell I have the ability to strut on stage in a pair of heels and a tiny skirt. I just do not have the physique for it, and when people tell me that this would be a good way to market myself, all I can think is... "are you out of your gaddamn mind?!" Would it catch the attention of people? Sure! Would that be a good thing?? Probably not. I'd rather keep it safe and be comfortable enough to actually perform than worry about whether or not my thighs look too fat in this goth tutu. So even if I wanted to just do whatever I can possibly do to be famous, I can't. I'd have to spend way too much time forcing myself into anorexia to fit into a certain ideal to actually make any music, which I've always considered to be more important than looking a certain way.

Am I bitter about the whole thing? Sometimes, sure. Sometimes, bands like Destiny Potato will piss me off. But hey, there's something for everyone. Some people are lucky in some areas. Nobody has "all the luck". They might have a record deal, but I have my band, and nobody and no money could ever replace my band. Or my husband. Or my cat.

So why bother? Because I love it. Despite all the annoying crap, I love it.

But please don't ask to see my boobs.