I am sitting here writing without my little buddy by my side. Satchmo, my little dog that has followed my every step for the last 15 years, is gone. He was 17....I know! I was pretty sure he would live forever, as up until a month ago he would still try to devour any groomer that raised a clipper near him, and he would still take off down the street on his own little journey to pee on every tree in America. And he has been with me all over this country. I will never forget him walking behind a guy that had stopped to hit on me, and peeing on his leg without him noticing. What happens when we die? The question that has been here since the beginning. Where did he go? I can't imagine he would stray very far from my side. I am so grateful for my little friend.
Ashton Cassady was made and is now here, as of Nov 29th at 10:39 AM. A hell of a year. I didn't realize it had been that long since I wrote a blog but there you go. The cd "Losing Form" is done, EXCEPT for the artwork and packaging accompanying the physical cd...That is also done in mind, I am just waiting on a person with the skills to actually do the computer graphics....I do not have those!
SO...you can expect a cd that is my best yet quite soon...i know I have said that before, but this time I MEAN IT!
Pregnancy was hard for me. I went off of all anti-depressants to begin with...and at first it was okay! I thought I was good. But it takes a while for them to truly leave your system and the shit hit the fan....I spent a large portion of the summer under siege. Unable to bear waking up. So I went to the doctor and got back on a low dose of a med that has been around forever...they know that it cause the fetus no harm. It took a minute but my head came around. My spirit was happy. It is hard to manage a day not to mention your life with a 5,000 lb rock on your spirit, with claws from below dragging you further down. I researched it and depression can harm the fetus more than any med if left untreated. I didn't want to set him up like that. So I got meds and he is here now and he is perfect. Then I was huge and working in both a dog grooming facility and an after-school music program for troubled kids. I am learning! Not an easy thing to do (either really, dogs do protest being groomed). Then we moved and I gave birth at the same time. So I couldn't quite get it together to do the graphics and packaging. But I am at home with this sweet soul in a diaper on my chest and i am gonna just pay someone to finish the graphics. Sometimes that is the best way to go.
Rasputina does plan on touring this year, and I plan on a Polly Panic tour to support my new album. Details for all tours to be announced....It will be summer and fall before much of anything besides my cd becoming available soon. (I swear)
I hope that your life is going well...as far as I know it is the only one we have...
Very happy to say that I have finished all tracking for the new album. Mixing will start next week and I plan to have it out late spring? I am very excited about this album. It is raw, and it is good. Very exciting. I don't have any new Rasputina news, except not to expect any tours in the next little bit...Melora has been doing it for 20 yrs...it gets old...!
Outside of touring in Rasputina and finishing the new Polly Panic album I have been pleased to play in a few different performances...mostly Asheville's Poetry Cabaret and Seduction Sideshow...both featured burlesque and magic, the former obviously having slam poets and the latter putting on a huge production entitled "the 7 deadly sins"...and it was as interesting as it sounds. I played for rage. Perfect.
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sitting here thinking of what I should be doing right now. I wrote a long blog as soon as we arrived back in NY after the Rasp tour and my computer shut down at the end, before I posted...so all my pearls of wisdom and marvelous stories were lost. I was too irritated with the loss at the time to try and write it again. ANYWAY....Being in Rasputina definitely makes me work on my chops technically as a cellist,/////stuff I haven't really paid much attention too since music school some million years ago. makes me think about the interesting battle in the studied and analytical side of music versus the intuitive writing....the ones you can just listen to before they have ever been played. I think in the case of PP, I have always heard things in clips...flashes. But very often when trying to bring it out, it gets stuck. It breaks down somehow...Maybe all musicians spend their lives trying to get right, what they already hear. MY POINT! I am interested to expand the boundaries of song writing for Polly Panic. I have gotten a certain sound down very well...and I do soooo love that sound. But it is a small percent of what I hear...maybe because I know how to translate it better? I would really like to expand, but it is very hard to get out of the space you have made for yourself...Worked really hard to grind in until there is a space, and now I can't get out. HHhmmm. But as I say, being in Rasp certainly helps. For one thing, it gives hope. Trying to work without any hope is a little difficult. But here we are, hope and all.
I am not scheduling that many Polly Panic shows right now (by which I mean none, unless with a performance art group or the right musical circumstance). I want to get my new cd done in early 2017, and hopefully get in on some other shows....with aerialist or burlesque dancers....I love those shows. But I have spent years playing shows that very few people attended and it WEARS ME OUT!! I don't know how to get it where I need it to be, but I know that doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting something different to happen is usually a waste. so i am gonna try a different way. Ideas always accepted.
We are in Denver, CO. Everyone but Jericha (the merch girl) has been sick. I thought I had escaped it until 2 days ago...then. body weighs a million pounds, throat hurts, the works...but we had a day off yesterday and I slept for close to 24 hours. Amazing. So I am not as sick as I could be I am sure. At a cool place tonight called Syntax physic opera. I had a cool interview for PP come up in Anti-Bellum magazine. Its very good, and Melora put it a link up on Rasp Facebook, which is very thoughtful of her.
We had our first show last night, kind of a practice show for me. smaller and less intense. Which was a good thing. The music itself is very hard, but I was getting through it. AND then...my pick up on my cello goes out. All we get is hissing...no cello going through whatsoever...so everything kind of stops and everyone waits patiently while I fiddle with cello...sound guy runs onstage to help. Check all chords, connections, everything. Finally gets down to the pick up on my cello, there was no other option. Melora is amusing everyone through all of this with her humor, as she does, But they finally must continue without me. So I run off stage and get another battery for my pick up, and different chords...that is not the problem. Finally we mic the acoustic cello and I continue. But the really funny part is that while I am trying to fix the cello, one strap on my dress breaks and my boob is almost out...almost.
It was very entertaining and really funny. Good for first show....Now...the tour. Fix cello and try to make sure boob doesn't fall out on stage. !
Today I begin traveling, heading to (roughly), Albany NY. Once there, will practice for a week with Melora of Rasputina, music I have listened to and loved for over ten years...probably closer to 15
I usually am driven to write a blog update when feeling sad and overwhelmed. This time is different....happy and surreal...and a little anxious of course.
This will be a journey taken in day by day, a moment at a time. The music has been the kind that you can ride around in the car, feeling like your world is over but its okay cause there is this song you can hit repeat and play at top volume...The kind that is your only friend and the only comfort place. The kind that doesn't need words. The cello holds it all. That is what this music is, and has been, for me. I have been working, since I auditioned and got in to Rasp, to make sure that my hands know the parts, so that we can put the parts together and the whole song will take the lead and the players and their parts (xept melora of course), fall away.
I guess its safe to say I am excited.
When I come back I will be finishing my own album and doing shows and press, and as many Rasputina Shows as they will have me do. But that is on the other end of the Rainbow as far as I am concerned. Because, right now, I have to pack!! And hit the road.
I will be updating frequently! Stay tuned and get to a show if you can
I have fabulous news. Starting in October, I will be in Rasputina. This is incredible for me, as I have been a fan and admirer of Melora for more than ten years. And of course this can't do anything but be good for Polly Panic. But outside of that it is one of those life things, that you never forget. The link to see the tour dates is below
I am going to get back to practice now....
Winter will be over soon and I will be going into the studio for a 3rd album (title?). I am excited but the need to get shit together is pretty powerful.....songs are coming together and it would be easy to rush it.... The Album itself will probably be out in the fall, unless things somehow go faster than expected, which never happens. I also have help this time with booking tours, and that is huge. I also have help with web presence and marketing because I am now with Goldship Records. So. I have balls in my corner! That cant be a bad thing.
I have struggled with depression way down deep for a long time, my whole life? As have many people, so if you are reading this you might have been in the hell that I have been in for 2 WEEKS!! Like any other withdrawal, but it wont stop. Even heroin lifts its murderous hug after a few days (at least the physical part).
I have been on a certain anti-depressant for about ten years, for several years now at the maximum dose. For many years and off and on throughout I have wondered if I had to be on it or if If i should have taken it temporarily to begin with. I am a recovering alcoholic who was extremely self destructive in my teens/early 20's. Since about the age of 17 or so I have either been drinking (not in 8 years now) or medicated with pretty powerful anti-depressants/mood stabilizers. I do think medication helps lots of people have better lives, but I also think our society is over medicated and that we look for answers to everything in some sort of pill, to at least repress the "demons".
I have been afraid for years to go off of the medicines, afraid of the immediate withdrawal/depression period, but more terrified that the extremely depressed, uninterested, sleeping,terrified to wake up me was the only me there was.
So after wondering for years what would happen without it I am without it. It was kind of an accident. I went to the nurse practitioner, (state run health center- I have no insurance-welcome to being a rock star) and explained that though I don't feel depressed, I have spent years in a kind of "dampened" state. Not really interested in much (not in the depressed way though), going along filling in the blanks and doing okay but lack luster, outside of rare excitements, romantic or otherwise....I told her about all of this and I said I wanted to try something else cause I am at the maximum dose and I feel like it is just a kind of useless brain chemical so i move along like a computer, rather than the real thing.
She decided to try me on something else, and said I could just switch the medicines. I had thoughts in the back of my head that this is not the medicine to fuck with, but she was saying what I wanted to hear, just stop, easy...done. Come to find out the other medicine does not increase the serotonin like the first one. It does nothing at all with serotonin (brain chemical helping us all not jump off of cliffs). So here I go.
That was almost two weeks ago. I have been in a living hell, worse than (many say) withdrawal from heroin or alcohol because it will not stop. Will not stop. Will not stop. I am going to put a link that has the list of withdrawal symptoms (http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2014/03/12/effexor-xr-withdrawal-symptoms-how-long-will-they-last/)
. Insane. Pure hell. Did i say that?? Major Highlights being BRAIN ZAPS, inability to stop crying, no sleeping, mimics the flu (i actually went to walk in clinic after a few days because I had developed an upper respiratory infection on top of the withdrawal and thought I had the flu. That was after day 3, I thought any withdrawal from meds would be over by then), constant extreme nausea, vertigo, electrical zaps throughout body, and the list goes on. Out of body experiences....
Slow climb out. Still nauseated and teary but the brain zaps have gone away! Really it is better. I was on effexor and I now know that it is among the worst to withdraw from.
I can even sit in my apartment and do something, like right now!, without curling up in a ball and crying, and hating the deafening silence. The only ongoing effect at the moment that is really hard to deal with at the moment is that I feel like someone has gutted me, all the time. Constantly. and they gutted me with a dull spoon and I am using a ice pick to try and climb out of a mine-shaft.
What to say....OMG??
I am not dismissing medication as a great help for millions. But it is not the only answer and you really have to know that you really need it. I need to find out.
The only part that I am afraid of now is that the clawed out feeling in my gut wont leave. Or that I will sink into a major depression. We shall see. There are things you can do to help yourself. (before the major depression, almost impossible once in it), like health and EXERCISE (major), HELPING PEOPLE/ANIMALS, in my case I need to go to AA, and what you love....In my case that is music of course.
SPEAKING OF WHICH!
I have missed about 2 weeks of work booking shows for spring, but come hell or high water the cd is coming out and lots of touring to be done! I am excited without the meds in the song writing/performing area (as long as swamp of major depression doesn't hit), it seems like an "edge" is surfacing somewhere, though I was never really short on it to begin with. But a certain clarity I guess...
Thank you for reading this. Even writing it all out helps, and if you read this and you battle these things also I hope it helps. I really do.