Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sometimes I'm glad I never "made it" in the music world

 When I started out playing music I never expected it to last more than a year or so. I was pretty terrible and had very little stage presence but I loved writing my songs and performing them. I met so many wonderful people who became my good friends and I just found myself playing music year after year. Lately I've been thinking about how people would ask me about not "making it" in the music business and telling me things like I should lose weight or wear different clothes. Or that I was too old! (I started out at 26) But I never planned on "making it" in the music business and sometimes I actually feel bad for musicians who do. I played music with a great group of people.  We toured all over the place in broken down vans. We never argued about money because we had none. I never had to think twice about any songs I wrote and what genre it would fit into and what radio format would play it.
 Right now I am in the midst of making a record that I am so excited and proud of and I have enjoyed the process so much.  When it gets closer to the release date I will give many more details about how it was made and who is on it. But I do have to say that I am unbelievably thankful to have all these wonderful musicians play on it. It is just nice to have artistic control and to make the album that I want to make. I have really talented musician friends and access to a recording studio. What more can I ask for! In the end this record needs my stamp of approval only. There is no record label telling me that I can't put a punk song on the same album as a country song. So what I'm really saying is I'm very lucky to have played music for a long time while keeping my musical integrity and friends.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Rock and roll is happening again!

Hello again! It's been awhile since I've been writing but this page was becoming too much like a retrospective biography so I decided to come back to it when I was busy with music again. I am happy to announce that I am busy making music again! YAY! Last year I felt inspired  to make a new CD and I've been working on it for a few months. I am not fond of recording and I would rather play a million live shows and completely avoid the recording studio. So this time I decided to take a different approach to recording and make it as fun as possible. I gathered some new songs and called a bunch of musician friends to help me out. We've been having a blast hanging out, eating pizza and doing a little recording too. All the recording is being done old school on reel to reel...no autotune, no computers. Believe it or not, people actually made recordings before computers..really good recordings.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Can't help but respond...

I found this article on my facebook feed this morning and I couldn't help but respond http://www.metalsucks.net/2008/06/17/the-top-39-annoying-things-that-local-bands-do/
My husband and I have a collective 30 years of performing in venues that depend on local musicians and we came up with a list of annoying things club owners do and say to local bands. I really hoped it would top 39 but we only came up with 7:
1. We're going to charge a large door fee and give you 10 percent...but we need you to give us 20 percent of your merch sales.
2. We know you're the band that filled the club tonight but we can't pay you.
3. Sorry for putting you on first before the doors open.
4. Here's some tickets. Sell half of them or you can't play. BTW we can't promote the show.
5. The sound guy and the guy running the show won't be there until 8 but we need you to load in at 4.
6. We're going to have to charge you for tap water, even though you are in the band and need to drink it during your set.
7. My favorite was having the club owner  introducing himself to all the guys in the band and neglecting to shake my hand or give me the food and drink vouchers. I don't know if he thought a woman couldn't be in the band or maybe we don't need to eat before a show. He also neglected to turn my guitar on through the monitor or house PA so apparently we can't play guitar either.


I could only come up with 7. If I could have topped 39 I would have quit music long ago. If you read the entire article you will learn that this club went out of business.That being said, for every 1 jerky club owner, I have met 20 really nice, grateful and supportive ones. As a way to dwell of the positive I've listed some of my favorite and nicest places I've played. There are a lot from the south. I'm not sure if that's because of the southern hospitality or if I was just really road weary and a free meal seemed super nice.
My favs in no specific order:
Perks Norwood Ma
Sully's Hartford, CT
Soule Homestead Middleborough, Ma
Beale Street Tap room Memphis, TN
Acoustic Coffeehouse Johnsonville, TN
Norms Nashville, TN
Grady's Tavern Manchester, CT
Twilight Tea Room Brattleboro, VT
Rain Desert Cafe Danielson, CT
Narrow's Center for the Arts Fall River, MA
Wool Radio Bellows FAll, VT

the and band...somewhere on tour.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Let me clarify something

This blog is going to make me sound old and stodgy but that's ok because I kind of am. I need to clarify what it really means to be an indie musician. Lately, i've been hearing these national touring famous musicians being called"indie." It kinda makes me mad because if you are signed to a major label, have a booking agent for every continent and just played the main stage at Coechella...you are not an indie musician.
You are an indie musician if you:
1. Get a second job to pay for your album.
2. Go on a two week tour with a nap sack full of peanut butter crackers or a duffel bag full of store brand diet shakes.
3. Play your butt off at a show with an audience of 5 and those 5 were the other band playing that night.
4. Tie your muffler back on with a low E string to get home from a show.
5.  Play divey bars where you wish there was chicken wire between the stage and the audience.
6.  Promote the heck out of your new youtube video and are psyched to have 200 views.
7. Are overjoyed to see a monitor on stage.
8.Waited in line for 2 hours in 100 degree weather to maybe play a song at the Blue bird cafe.
Please support your local independent musicians and don't call them sell outs if they someday do end on the main stage of coechella because store brand diet shakes are gross!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Little Perspective

I think it is the nature of most musicians to feel unsatisfied. It's easy to feel like there is so much more you can do, more you can accomplish... more shows, more fans, more likes on facebook, more cd projects. This feeling of dissatisfaction can become really frustrating. Lately, I've been contemplating getting back to playing solo music. (I've been very fortunate to play in The And Band with some really great musicians and friends and it's been pretty easy to keep the ball rolling when there are other people involved.) But for ten years I played solo, driving all over New England at all hours of the night to play gigs. Then I took a few years off. Getting back into this scene has been really frustrating. I feel like the game has changed and I don't really know the rules and it seems like I'm right back where I started.
But today I remembered how this whole "rock and roll" thing began. It was really just a little challenge I gave myself to see what I could do, how good I could write and sing and to see where this crazy ride would take me. I never expected to play music for more then a few weeks, let alone a decade. When I was in high school I used to have this T-shirt that said "it's not the destination, it's the journey that counts." I wore that t-shirt until it fell apart! I know it's a really cheesy saying but if you are a musician and you constantly focus on the destination you can drive yourself crazy. Some of my fondest memories of this musical journey actually have little to do with music. It's been the people I've met and the places I've been that I've enjoyed the most. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want more gigs or even a hint as to how to go about getting them but lately I've been writing really honest songs and that is very satisfying even if I only have one gig on my calendar and a few fans.
Bluebird cafe Nashville TN


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Songwriting

As some of you all know, the band that I'm in..the and band has an annual Christmas Eve Eve concert at Grady's Tavern in Manchester, Ct. (I think this year is the 4th annual) We do some Christmas songs pow punk style but this year Mike Anderson and I decided to write original Christmas songs. Mike left my house one night and 30 minutes later I had a text from him saying he wrote his christmas song. (and it is awesome) I had the chorus of my song half written and I really liked it but that was all I had for weeks.  Then I wrote the first verse but then kicked around ideas for the second verse for what seemed like a month. It took two months of ideas coming to me in the car or while I was vacuuming or doing the dishes. Finally, I had a notebook with arrows and circles and words but it became my song.
This got me thinking about songwriting and what the process is for me. I've heard some people say that if it isn't written in 3 minutes it's no good. But I enjoy the process and I like drawing it out and milking it for all it is worth. That means a lot considering I am the most impatient person. There is something about crafting a song word for word and line by line and putting it together like a puzzle that makes it so fulfilling and when it was finished I felt like I said exactly what I wanted to say.  (On the flip side...I wrote another song in 3 minutes and now I have to go back and learn it.)
Here is a rough demo of the Christmas song. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
http://www.reverbnation.com/lisalawrence?profile_view_source=header_icon_nav

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Do we actually play in venues on tour?

As I'm going through my pictures from tours I realize that I have very few, if any, pictures of me or the band playing on stage in front of people. Most of the pictures and videos are clips of us hanging out in the van or hotels. It's hard to take pictures of yourself while playing onstage. Here are some of my favorite "playing music just for the fun of it while on tour" pics.
That's Travis on the flu tour. We were in Philly and he started playing the guitar in the van while it was parked on the side of the road, waiting for the gig to start. Unfortunately, we were parked near some kind of government building and we were told by a police officer that you can't play music near a government building.
That's Mike on the and band tour practicing in the hotel in Johnson city. Please note the sideways hanging picture in the background. This picture was taken right around the "rock and roll happened" incident (see first post).
That's a picture of me practicing in our hotel in Nashville. I practiced every song I knew. (I actually had to go to my own website to refresh my memory on some of them) It came in handy because the next night I went to see a band but the band canceled and I just happened to have my guitar in the car and I played instead!