Like a Beverly: Zone 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Let’s Go to Charlotte!

Songwriting in Narnia

Click HERE for Part One.

My boyfriend drove me to the airport.

We met on Craigslist this past July, but not in the way that you’d think.

I was diagnosed with a bad case of tendonitis the day before my 26th Birthday when dependent coverage stopped being a thing I could use, so I was pretty much on my own for treatment.  I placed some calls to physical therapists but everyone was looking for a few hundred bucks for an initial consultation AKA to confirm what the Doctor already told me: I had tendonitis and it would take quite a bit of stretching and waiting and not playing guitar to clear it up.   After a few days ignoring Doctor’s orders to try to ‘play’ it through, I came to terms with the fact that it would be anywhere between 3 weeks to 6 months before I could play again.

Sigh.

Two days went by before I realized that this was bullshit and there was no way I was going to just not do music for 3 weeks to 6 months.

I browsed through the musicians community page on Craigslist in DC.  I found an ad from a guitar player looking for a vocalist and I replied.  We went back and forth trading mp3s before scheduling a time to jam.  At one point,  he offered to meet me at a park to prove that he wasn’t a creeper.  I figured that the gesture alone was all the evidence that I needed so I went over to his place and we hung out for maybe an hour before something came up and I had to head out. I guess I was sort of flakey up front.

Lucky for me, Mike doesn’t scare easy.

The next time we met up I had three songs worth of words and melodies that I thought we could work through.  Neither of us really knew what we were doing so we sort of just sat there for a minute.

“I guess I could just start singing?”

Shyly, I did.

I was nervous but I kept going, repeating verses and choruses as Mike worked through things on his guitar.

By some magic — two hours later, we had our first three songs.

That’s basically how it’s worked since.

Some variation of one of us having something that the other one builds on.  Other times Mike will play some chords and I’ll think “I know what song this is!” and from there, and without changing them, I’ll take words and melodies that I’ve saved up and put them to his chords.

We both knew that we’d stumbled into something special.

When I got a call from my friends at Back Yard Fence asking if I wanted to play The Riverstone Rockfest– within days of meeting him, I asked Mike if he wanted to play it with me.

He was down!

First show!

So we set off to prepare for our first show. We had an hour of time to fill and about a month to fill it. We wrote a handful of songs and then worked on a handful of covers.  My tendonitis hadn’t cleared up quite yet so I only got to play on two songs.  I’m actually still building up strength nearly 6 months later and while I’m antsy to play more guitar, I also have to appreciate that not being able to play made me focus exclusively on becoming a better vocalist.

I’m not sure I would have otherwise done that because the truth is that never really wanted to be a singer.

I sang in choruses when I was a little girl but the thought of trying to get good at singing didn’t occur to me until I picked up a guitar. If I wanted my songs to be good I had to be good at singing them.  I was a downright bad singer when I started but luckily practice is a thing that makes a difference.

So after a ton of practice– with Mike at my side, we were ready to take the stage for the first time.

We were one of the first bands to play that day and while there weren’t a ton of people there for our set, we were pumped to go out and have a good time.  As our set ended and we started working our way off stage the event organizer Casey called us back for an encore.

Oh man, we had no songs left really!

We went back and played a work-in-progress for the first time since writing it a week earlier and miraculously managed not to make a total mess of it.

Just like that we’d done it, we’d played our first show.

We didn’t really have a plan beyond that initial show — and in fact were introduced that day as “Uh, Mike and Sara?!” –  but we both knew that this was a thing that we wanted to keep doing.

A few months later, with more practice and a stronger set, we played another Riverstone Rockfest.

This time as our band Music Bones.

I’ll have more to say on that, soon.

But for now; back to Mike.

So in addition to being a super gifted guitar player, Mike’s a pretty awesome human being.

Within weeks of us writing together a friend foreshadowed: “You’re going to fall in love with him.”

No way, he was my band mate!

Plus, this wasn’t an episode of Nashville, this was real life!

We kept writing together and started practicing with increasing frequency.

We had a lot in common so we obviously became friends and started hanging out when there wasn’t band stuff to do.

Still, a relationship was literally the last thing in the world that I was interested in and I made sure that he knew it.  Penis jokes, embarrassing horror stories from being single in New York, repeatedly talking up all the groupies we were sure to get when we hit the road, I held nothing back.

For weeks I was in top form. I felt all sorts of things, but I had no interest in entertaining thoughts about what those feelings actually meant. I sort of picked up on him doing extra friendly things but I brushed those off, too.

Then there was the time that we were driving in his car and he started super effusively, at the top of his lungs, singing along to one of my favorite Fall Out Boy songs from high school.

Talk about a move.

There was also this other time we got attacked by a dog while walking his dog Dixie and he pushed me out of the way and covering Dixie with his body to protect her.

Man.

They don’t make em like that anymore…

(Side note: Have I mentioned that we’re literally building our band out of Jane Hamsher’s basement?)

Brian Sonenstein being a producer, NBD.

Long story short– we landed in New York and on our first night, after more than a handful of drinks,  I kissed him and yelled at him for it.

I told him why No Doubt almost broke up.

He ignored me.

What about the groupies!

He ignored that, too.

I rambled about concrete hearts (did I mention that I can be SUPER dramatic after more than a handful of drinks?) and horror stories of why this was the absolute worst idea ever!

Lucky for me, Mike doesn’t scare easily.

Anyways what I’m basically saying is I’m one million percent in love with the other half of my band and he drove me to the airport to embark on this Beverly adventure with his own ticket booked to meet me in Atlanta on Tuesday night.

I don’t actually intend on saying much more about this in particular beyond what comes out in song lyrics (yeah I know, I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO I AM ANYMORE) but sitting in the terminal of BWI with a connection in Charlotte being the only thing between myself and Atlanta, I couldn’t help but think about how he’s a super important part of this story.

Beverly would actually say as much within hours of meeting him.

We’ll get there later– but for now, as the US Airways employee said into the intercom as I boarded the plane;

“Zone 1,2,3,4,5 Let’s Go to Charlotte!”

Mandatory airport french fries

 

Previous Entries; 

Like a Beverly: Starting Somewhere

Like a Beverly: Starting Somewhere

 

I first discovered Beverly on a list of female songwriters I stumbled across this Summer.

Beverly “Guitar” Watkins.

Up until that point I’d never heard of her.

The corresponding picture featured on that list was of a woman crouched down with her guitar.  A bona fide bad ass if I’d ever seen one.  “Don’t Mess with Miss Watkins”, it warned.

Boy, was I in for a surprise when I investigated further (see video above).

I took to google and came across video after video of a Miss Watkins absolutely crushing it on stage.  She’d sing. Then she’d solo. Then she’d flip her guitar above her head and sing and solo while playing behind her back.

Did I mention the part where she’s doing this at well over 70 years of age?

Currently rounding the corner towards her 75th Birthday, Beverly’s still trying to make it. Despite some turbulence along the way– she’s survived both a heart attack and lung cancer — she’s not letting anything slow her down.  She’s told me on more occasions than I can count:

“I’m only 74, I’m young” she insists “mine is a gift from God”.

Upon finding her on the Internet I reached out to The Music Makers Foundation — an organization that deserves all the recognition and praise in the world.  Their mission is to “support Roots musicians” and Beverly is one of the artists that they’ve taken under their wing.

I figured I could chat with her for an FDL piece– just a little something that could help contribute to getting her name out there.

I followed up and followed up and followed up and finally got a response!

Beverly was willing to talk to me!

The first time I called her it took quite a bit of explaining before she caught on to who I was.  They’d told her about me but she had a lot going on, a show in New Orleans on deck– gigs throughout Atlanta– awards to receive.

We dove right in and started just talking.  Well, Beverly did most of the talking; story after story of her life to date.   She told me about starting to play guitar when she was 8.  She told me about meeting Piano Red and going on the road. She told me about opening up for Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin and James Brown. She told me about being a single mother and when the band broke up.  She told me about working at a car wash to help pay the bills while she kept on making music. She told me about recording her debut album in her 60s.  She told me that music is what’s keeping her alive.

So for months we went back and forth–I’d interview and transcribe and take a stab at writing something. She’d call to check in on me and say hello.

Drafts became more drafts become overworked drafts.

The pressure was high.  Beverly was trusting me with her story and I didn’t want to mess this up.

Getting this “right” was super important to me because- beyond the fact that she’s more than paid her dues– my heart and guts and stuff need you know that she exists.

I grew up in the suburbs of Connecticut feeling all the pressure in the world to strike a balance between being myself and being dubbed the black girl who acts white. I grew up feeling pressure to act, and talk, and dress a certain way because of what I looked like.  I took a lot of those insecurities with me into adulthood and I spent years wandering and stumbling and trying to fight back.  I worked in fashion and politics and technology.  For the longest time I had the instinct to create but without the skill set.

Then I found music.

I was 24 the first time I picked up a guitar and I only found the drums in the last year.

Now, music isn’t a choice for me.

There’s life before it and there’s life after and there’s a split second in between when something snapped and I knew my life would never be the same.

I will always do this thing because I have to.

Beverly knows a thing or two about that.

She called me a few weeks ago to tell me that she had a performance in London that she was flying to in mid-November. Then she mentioned super casually that she also had a brain aneurysm that the doctors were going to operate on in December.

I met her for the first time this past Monday in the waiting room of an Atlanta hospital just hours before her stent procedure.

She danced her way into surgery.

Don’t mess with Miss Watkins.

I thought of that picture standing with her in ICU a few hours later.

She was already antsy to get back on stage.  “Just get yourself better,” I told her, “I’ll keep practicing while you do.”

Without skipping a beat her eyes tightened and she responded super seriously:

“You better.”

Beverly’s given me a lot in the last few months that I’ve known her.  She’s pushed me and coached me on and reminded me time and time again of the power that comes with just being yourself. She’s showed me what it looks like to love and trust and place faith in an absolute stranger. As soon as her health clears up, we’ve got all sorts of adventures dreamed up.

I’m nervous about this.  I might as well say it out loud and upfront.  But I’m also emboldened by the magic that’s brought me this far.  Finding Beverly wasn’t an easy journey but as I was reminded by some graffiti on the bathroom wall of Northside Tavern last night:

Smooth sails do not a strong sailor make.

It’s been a long road getting this far and as nervous as I am– I know that you’ve got to start somewhere.

So here we go.

I’ll be posting her story and recapping this trip to Atlanta here on Firedoglake.com over the next week or two.

I couldn’t have made it this far without the support of FDL and Jane Hamsher specifically– so I also want to start out with a heartfelt thank you to her and to all of you for reading this far.

Let’s get messy.

#likeabeverly

 

Photo Credit; Flickr user johnmcnicholas

 

Listen to What the Drums Say: Jasiri X Memorializes Mandela

The video tribute above comes from Jasiri X who’s taken to music to reflect on the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

In the chorus he raps:

Then I looked over the horizon and saw Mandela in a sun that was rising
He said listen to what the drum say, we are all gonna be free one day

When I looked over the horizon and I saw Mandela with wings he was flying
He said listen to what the drum say, we are all gonna be free one day

There is a history of music inspired by Nelson Mandela.  He has left a profound legacy, the outpouring of love and admiration in light of his passing is a reminder of just how much of an impression he’s made.

And this profound impression spans across generations and countries and peoples.  Nelson Mandela is truly a person of the ages whose impact cannot be understated.  Jasiri’s song beautifully captures that fact and yet goes future.  In honoring Mandela’s legacy– Jasiri also poses a challenge to all those left to carry his torch that’s worth reflecting on as we mourn the loss of a great leader and celebrate the life of an extraordinary individual.

I emailed Jasiri to ask about the inspiration behind the song and he replied:

I believe Nelson Mandela is one of the greatest revolutionaries that has ever lived. When he started to get sick, myself and the song’s producer Agent of Change, wanted to pay tribute to his incredible leadership. I always have wondered why we give so much admiration and love to Nelson Mandela, but so few of us are willing to make the sacrifices he did, to effect a world that still needs revolutionary change. I imagined what a conversation with him would be like and what he would say. I believe Nelson Mandela would have great faith in our generation to carry his ideas and make them a reality. We are all gonna be free one day.

Until then– Rest in Peace, Madiba.

 

“My America Don’t Stand For This”: Esperanza Spalding’s New Song, Video, Takes on Gitmo

Esperanza Spalding is a total bad ass.

If you’re not familiar with the Grammy award winning multi-instrumentalist then allow me to help make your Wednesday.

Spalding is an accomplished jazz musician who plays with a lot of heart.  She started playing violin at age 5 but she truly found her groove, and subsequently her sound, upon discovering the bass at age 15.  A ton of hard work, a Grammy and a few records later, she was doing no big deal things like jamming with Prince and playing with Stevie Wonder at the White House.

Now she’s channeled her musical prowess into an empowering anthem that strives to be for something.

That something being the American values, principles and laws that make the concept of indefinite detention without trial – and thereby the very existence of Guantanamo Bay – completely indefensible on our watch.

Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., encouraged by her band members, and supported by various human rights organizations Spalding captured her feelings not only through a song but a fact-laced video that spells out what’s going on, why it’s important, and how you can help. The video encourages viewers to contact their representatives and the song is a rousing cry as to why they should.

As Spalding sings

I am America

And my America

It don’t stand for this.

We are America

In our America

We take a stand for this.

Speaking to MSNBC, Spalding clarified that she hadn’t written a protest song– rather she’d created an invitation to participation:

It’s such a gift and a joy to be engaged in the process- in our democratic process, and I think maybe we forget that we each really can do something. You know, it seems like an overwhelming issue and any overwhelming issue gets solved by slow continual person-by-person action so that’s the invitation.

She went on to specifically address personal power and it’s role in this project and others like it:

We’re powerful individuals.  Each of us have a lot of power in us to contribute to positive transformation of the world we live in and it’s a celebration of that-  a celebration of we don’t have to sit her and let unpleasant things happen under our nose. We can celebrate this freedom and power that we have to make a difference.

Writing in the LA Times Spalding went even further to explain her inspiration as well as her hope for the project getting into the nitty gritty legislative details of how and why that power matters”

If the Senate and the House of Representatives agree to the Guantanamo provisions in the defense act, the few prisoners in the detention center who face charges could be prosecuted where it makes the most sense, in federal courts.

Radio Music Society (and friends) made “We Are America” because we believe that, while not all of us are called to the front lines like Martin Luther King Jr., we can all support our elected officials in doing the right thing.

The entire project is amazing and it accomplishes its job, as described by Spalding, in that it helps to raise consciousness around what’s happening and why it matters.  In a little over a decade 779 men have been illegally detained and 164 remain imprisoned despite the fact that well over half of them are cleared to leave. What’s happening is wrong but what happens next has yet to be determined.

The video’s call to action spells out what you can do:

Call the US Capitol Switchboard 1-202-224-3121 to connect you to your two Senators & your Congressional Representative

Tell Them:

I am your constituent and I want you to support closing Guantanamo

Indefinite detention and unfair trails are illegal, un-American and unnecessary.

The video, done in collaboration with ACLU, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Human Rights First, includes cameos from  Harry Belafonte, Janelle Monáe and Stevie Wonder, while also highlighting statements from President Obama, Senator John McCain, Colin Powell and former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen to spell out why closing Guantanamo is the right thing to do.

All that’s lacking is the courage and political will to do it.

That’s where we come in.

Watch and share the video and join the conversation online by tweeting @EspeSpalding or with the hashtags #closegitmo and  #weareamerica.

 

I’ve been told and I believe.  Aint no justice aint no peace

 

Destroying The Princess Machine: Toy Company Remixes Beastie Boys Song, Advocates Toy Choices for Young Girls

The toy company GoldieBlox released the absolutely best thing on the Internet this week.

The spot consists of three girls assembling a Rube Goldberg machine while simultaneously reciting remixed lyrics to the Beastie Boys song Girls released just in time for the holidays.

The remix takes this Beastie Boys verse

I like the way that they walk

And it’s chill to hear them talk

And I can always make them smile

From White Castle to the Nile

And turns it into

You like to buy us pink toys

And everything else is for boys

And you can always get us dolls

And we’ll grow up like it false

It’s time for change

According to Brett Doar, the lead architect on the project also known for creating the Rube Goldberg machine used in OK Go’s video for This Too Shall Passthe build required a crew of 5 working for over two and a half weeks.

The sentiment expressed in the video is not just a company angling for page views– it’s at the heart of the GoldieBlox philosophy.

Founder and CEO Debbie Sterling is a stunning example of practicing what you preach. She holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and sees the depressing statistic that only 11% of world’s engineers are women as an opportunity to, in her words, “disrupt the pink aisle”.

The GoldieBlox website is unapologetic about their mission and they have no interest in burying the lead:

At GoldieBlox, our goal is to get girls building. We’re here to help level the playing field in every sense of the phrase. By tapping into girls’ strong verbal skills, our story + construction set bolsters confidence in spatial skills while giving young inventors the tools they need to build and create amazing things.

GoldieBlox is here, clear about what they want, and people are responding.

Last year the company launched a successful kickstarter that blew its $150,000 goal out of the water garnering $285,881 in pledges.  As of this writing the youtube video for this spot amassed over 7 million views and show no signs of stopping.

The company is currently competing for a coveted (free) ad spot during the 2014 Superbowl. (more…)

Celebrity Race to Space: Lady Gaga Announces 2015 Space Show

I don’t know about you guys but I’m super excited by the prospect of going to Space. Even more so after renowned scientist/ tweeter Neil deGrasse Tyson’s epic twitter live-tweet of the movie Gravity and all the things the movie got wrong.  At a certain point you just want to check things out for yourself.  Seems to be the case for many pop stars who have the means to shell out the one bazillion dollars (tickets actually go for $250,000) required to board a flight into orbit.  Among them, Justin BieberMiley Cyrus and Ashton Kutcher have all called dibs on some of the first commercial flights into space.  Never one to take a backseat, Lady Gaga announced plans yesterday to actually perform in space, in 2015.

Rolling Stone reports that the show is part of the Zero-G-Music Tech Festival- done in conjunction with the launch of NewMexico’s Spaceport America- and that Gaga will have to rehearse for a month to adjust to the change in atmosphere.

Speaking with Vanity Fair, space expert and managing editor of Space.com Tariq Malik weighed in on the acoustics of the future space show warning that “there will be a lot of background noise with the rocket engine and fans whirring”.  Beyond that he also noted some of the complications that come with singing in space:

The most difficult part, for anyone, is going to be the launch. She will be in a rocket and will have to withstand the initial G-forces. Once she gets up into space, gravity drops away, and it can be really disorienting. I took a zero-G flight this summer, and it was a big surprise when we tried it out. She’ll have to prepare for space sickness because she won’t want to sing if she’s throwing up all of the time.

Gaga will be flying on a Virgin Galactic Flight, founded by Richard Branson.

Her announcement doesn’t come without some controversy.  Today questions arose as to whether or not fellow Virgin Galactic ticket holders Beyoncé or Justin Bieber might manage to sing in space first. The celebrity race to space is fully underway 13 years after Brittney Spears performed on ‘Mars‘.  Charity Space Auctions have also come into fashion as of late, with one super rich dude shelling out 1.5 million dollars to board a flight alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.

Clearly none of these people have seen Event Horizon.

The proceeds from that particular charity will be going to the Foundation for Aids Research.

Space Race, space demons and the heart of the ship aside, the moral of the story is pretty clear – reach for the moon, even if you miss HOLY SHIT YOU MIGHT LITERALLY GO TO SPACE.

(more…)

Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Has Disappeared

Without much fanfare Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda (Nadya) Tolokonnikova has disappeared.

Her family has yet to hear from her following a prison transfer on October 21st.

Originally reported and announced on November 1st– today marks the 19th day that her husband Pyotr Verzilov has been in the dark as to her actual location.

Verzilov has information that leads him to believe that Nadya has been moved to a Siberian prison as a sort of punishment stating:

“They do not have the ability to put on the usual psychological or physical pressure they can use with inmates because of the high profile of the case. So they have chosen this as the punishment instead.

Nadya launched a widely covered hunger strike this past September protesting prison treatment. She’s currently serving a two year sentence for “hooliganism” after her band Pussy Riot performed an anti-Putin song inside a Moscow church.

As the New York Times reports, the initial hunger strike was called off after Nadya’s hospitalization ten days later, at which point she was under the belief that she would be transferred to a new prison.  When the transfer didn’t take place she attempted another hunger strike and then disappeared.  Her family has been told that she’s being transferred to a new prison and while it’s not unusual for inmates to go without contact during a prison transfer – Nadya’s family should be informed of her new whereabouts within ten days of her arriving – the nature of her case and fact that Russian authorities don’t take kindly to dissidents makes the past 19 days of silence particularly deafening.

The BBC reports that yesterday Amnesty International intervened to urge Russian authorities to allow Nadya contact with a lawyer and to give her family information on her whereabouts.  Her lawyer Irinia Khrunova has filed an appeal with the Russian Supreme Court but also confirms that she has not been able to speak to Nadya because “they are hiding her.”

Speaking to The GuardianRussian human rights ombudsman Vladmir Lukin says that he’s been told by Russian officials that Nadya is in “satisfactory health” and was transferred to a new prison.

Still, those reports have not been confirmed by her actual family who is still frantically trying to contact her. Verzilov is continuing to post updates from Twitter through the handle @gruppa_voina.

A petition from watchdog.net demanding information on her whereabouts currently has nearly 37,000 signatures.

Today marks Nadya’s 24th birthday.

We hope she’s heard from soon. (more…)

Julian Assange Opens for MIA at Recent NYC Concert

Julian Assange made an appearance as the opening act for MIA at her New York City Terminal 5 show this past weekend.

Appearing via Skype and citing that he was there in support of “the most courageous woman working in western music,” Asange delivered a ten minute speech on topics ranging from privacy to freedom of the press, shouting out the reporters who were in exile as a result of their press coverage.

The audio to emerge from the event is a bit hard to hear but in it Asange regrets not being able to attend the event in person explaining that he’s been deterred “because your government sucks.”

Despite some chatter during his remarks– the crowd seemed attentive throughout, cheering him on as cameras and smart phones flashed throughout the arena from fans eager to broadcast his appearance through social media.

While MIA and Julian Assange may seem like a bit of an odd couple, the two have collaborated before, most notably with MIA writing original music for Assange’s political TV show The World Tomorrow. WikiLeaks has also previously tweeted that “MIA is the Julian Assange of pop music.”

The artist is certainly no stranger to taking on the man.  She’s currently being sued by the NFL for flipping the bird during her 2012 Super Bowl performance and this past August when her record label told her to “darken” up her album, warning that it was too positive- she took to Twitter and threatened to leak it saying;

“If interscope takes longer i can always leak this next week and make a new one by the time they are ready.”

That got their attention.

Her new album “Matangi” was released November 5th– click here to check it out.

Angel Haze Remixes ‘Same Love’, Resulting Track Is an Ode to Self Love

Angel Haze is no stranger to leveraging her platform – and her art-  to tackle uncomfortable subjects.  She’s also no stranger to remixing previous works to say something totally new and necessary in a way that only she can.

Case and point: the artist’s remix of Macklemore’s hit single Same Love.

From The Heist, Macklemore’s incredibly successful  second studio album, and collaboration with producer Ryan Lewis,  the original song has a lot of heart.  It’s received wide radio play and praise, including the VMAs for best video with a social message.  In a recent blog post describing the importance of the song, Macklemore said:

Every song I’ve ever put out, I have believed in.  But Same Love was different.  It was a moment that was way bigger than us.  Watching teenagers come up to me after shows, with tears in their eyes, gasping for breathe in attempts to find the right words to explain to me that they came out to their family after hearing the song…that reaffirms everything.  That.  Right there.  That is the reason why I do this.  That is no publicity stunt.  That is no calculated move.  That is art affecting the quality of people’s lives, the way that other artists influence mine.

Fan love and commercial acclaim aside, Macklemore has also received considerable grief for the song with some questioning the merits of a straight artist creating a gay rights ballad.

I can’t count myself among those kind of critics.  I was introduced to Same Love by a gay solider whose sincere and pure appreciation of the song was evident when she asked me if it’d be okay if she replayed it during a car ride that we shared last spring.  She was a friend of a friend and I didn’t know her but in her explanation of the song I knew that the song had impacted her.

I wouldn’t want to take that away from anybody.

Buzzfeed proclaims the remix “finally does justice” to the original song.

I don’t know about all that.

That said, this Angel Haze remix is wonderful and important for its own reasons.

Leveraging the same chorus as the original song –  featuring vocals from out artist Mary Lambert - Angel delivers a powerful account of her own struggles with her sexuality.

She begins the track with a warning to her mother, saying: “Hi Mom. I’m really scared right now- but, I have to…”

From there she holds nothing back.

I’ve transcribed her verses as best as I could: (more…)

RIP: Lou Reed

Musician Lou Reed has died at age 71. Reed, a founding member of the Velvet Underground, shaped modern rock music, influencing punk rock, art and rock & roll.  The Velvet Underground were a vital part of Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable (Warhol produced the band’s debut album), and gained a cult following in the 1980s.

Named after a salacious 1960′s book exposing the underground S&M scene, the Velvet Underground’s avant-garde music  combining raw energy and desperate themes cemented their mark on 50 years of music.

Reed who suffered from Hepatitis C underwent a liver transplant earlier this year. He was married to musician Laurie Anderson at the time of his death.

Reed’s ambiguous sexual persona and drug use made him a hero to the disaffected, while his musical explorations from the VU to “Transformer” “Metal Machine Music” and “Sally Can’t Dance” showed the range of his musical courage and talent. Reed famously said

My bullshit is worth more than other people’s diamonds.

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