March 08 – Fan Power & Zippy pt 1

03/10/2009 at 8:52 pm | Posted in Just for Fun, News & Explanations, Zippy | Leave a comment

Some late night ramblings as I prepare to board a plane for a big scary adventure…I am eating spicy pickles (Vlasic, of course) and raw cookie dough. Not in the same bites. Ew.

…So I’m going on tour for the first time ever! To SoCal, Austin, and Houston. That means I get to come sing for you guys! For every CD I send off, I wish I could drop by the new owner’s house and hang out in the kitchen and sing some songs and share some stories. That’s honestly how I prefer to operate. Did you hear the one about the new sign they’re posting along the highway south of Anchorage: Beware of Falling Moose?

I’ll be playing some house concerts, some café concerts, some church concerts, and best of all, a real live Shindig. What’s a Shindig? It’s a party in someone’s backyard with a bunch of friends, good food and beer, and good live music. In this case, Marian Call and the Bedlam Bards. Ain’t nothing better. Want to have one? Call me. We’ll twalk, dahling. It’s easy. Just have a party, convince me you’re not creepy, and invite me to play. There will be much rejoicing. Marian is much better live.

[I ask my husband as I write: “What else is better live? I need a witty non sequitur.”

“Dolphins…the polka…ugly inbred puppies…” he answers.

“Skunks,” I announce.

“NOT better live, Marian!”

“But much worse dead. Relatively speaking.”

“You need to put this exchange in your blog.”


And yes, everybody, I do want to meet you. I really really want to meet you. So come to a gig! Set up a gig! I know how to run a concert; you don’t need to.  Just provide a space and I’ll be there. At this point I’m un-famous enough that I can play at your birthday party or in your living room or backyard. That may not always be the case.

Lots of you have asked if I will come and play in your hometown. The answer is yes — all I need to come play where you live is a small following (think 50-100 real fans) and a few little venues where I can make enough money to cover my costs. Do you have any idea how much power you, the fans, have to make live concerts happen? You don’t even know how awesome you are. Well, maybe you do, but you’re too nice to let on, out of politeness. Which I’m sure we all appreciate.

Something I want all you all to know: I bought a MySpace Friend Adder, used it for one day, and trashed it. I’m not gonna mass add. That might be a sacrifice in terms of exposure, but it just didn’t feel right in the pit of my stomach. I have to aim for connection over mass advertising, and honesty over image. It’s probably foolish, but it’s who I am. I’m keeping my operation small and personal for now. And I hope it keeps feeling that way even as it grows. Think of it as the Browncoat marketing model: relationship-based, fan-driven, very polite, yet aiming to misbehave and mess with the corporate status quo. That means I am relying almost totally on you — the folks who like my music — to spread the word.

The truth is, people like me don’t get signed to major labels. I’m too old (at 25!), my music is too weird, and I won’t behave like they would want me to. I’m an Innepennant. So that means I actually need you. And isn’t it nice to be needed? Thanks to you guys, in today’s world, I have a chance of not-starving even without a label. I don’t wanna be famous — just not-starving. I try to set realistic goals.

If you’re a starving artist yourself, and you can’t afford to buy an album, hey, I’ve been there. I am there. Instead, tell ten or twenty people to listen to the music and make them actually do it. And we’ll be square. If you e-mail me with proof of your efforts, I might send you free music out of gratitude. Or write an ode to your mother or something. If you need ideas of stuff to do to help out, I have a lot of them. Although I am a great secretary for myself (I type 120 WPM), I cannot do what you can do. My musician boss (me) and my beloved customers (you) are keeping me so very busy.

Hmm…this has not been an especially funny entry thus far, but I appreciate you reading all the way down to here. So what follows is the beginning of a short story I’ve been meaning to tell, in installments, to reward you. It is ALL TRUE.
The Saga of Zippy (part I)
A Cat of Great Character

Zippy on the rocks

Once upon a time, when I was a teenager, my family had this cat. It was someone else’s cat, actually, which was dumped on us when they moved away. And this cat was named Zippy. Zippy was a bad cat.

He wasn’t mean or scratchy, he was just scared of people and would flee the room whenever you entered it. And you couldn’t pet him because he had this skin condition. So we missed out on most having-a-cat benefits with Zippy. Also he drooled. A lot. We had hardwood floors — many guests nearly broke their necks slipping on Zippy drool.

His drooling and paranoia were only compounded when my father accidentally put him in the dryer for a few minutes. No, not on purpose! Zippy was white, the towels were white, Zippy was sleeping in the towels, Dad just fluffed them a little bit. And he felt duly guilty. Though I think the heat was on low. Anyway, Zippy was a little weirder after that (though no member of my immediate family, pets included, has ever been accused of normalcy).

Eventually Zippy died. We didn’t much notice. We had many many cats over the years, and there were many whose passing we mourned, but Zippy was not one of them. In fact, we forgot about him completely, until one day we were brought Zippy’s remains.

“Zippy has remains?” we asked ourselves.

The vet had kindly cremated Zippy and put him into a plastic bag inside a small floral tin, which you can see in the photo above. It looks a bit like a tea tin. Aside from the dryer incident, we are conscientious pet owners — however, we had no desire to keep Zippy’s ashes forever and ever. But what else can one do with a pet’s remains?

My family is the artistic sort. We’re all a little special. My mother is a painter, and she arranges objects in our house according to color and texture rather than function. So she put Zippy up in the rack of fine imported teas and spices in our kitchen. Those of you who like to talk in the theatre (Special Hell for you!) can see where this is going.

My brother was a counselor at summer camp when we retrieved Zippy’s ashes, and it was really a non-event, so no one bothered to tell him about the ashes or their proximity to actual food items. He came home one day after school to have some tea. And…yeah. He did not actually consume any of the beverage which he brewed, because he observed “a claw or a tooth or something.” He has never drunk tea to this day, almost ten years later. It makes him break out in a rash.

Mom decided that the cat had to go. So — of course — she and my father brought it to the church office Christmas party for the white elephant gift exchange. What else could they do? And so Zippy went home to live with the church secretary for a year.

Buuuuuut the cat came back, the very next day…you know the song.

End of Act I – break for commercial. Or rather, run the opening credits and then break for commercial. This is only the very beginning of the saga of Zippy. There have been few cats so overlooked and despised in life — and even fewer so beloved, and famous, so revered in death. Those of you who have carefully read my album liner notes may begin to suspect some of the uses we later found for our dear departed Zippy.

TTFN — and keep an eye out for concert dates!



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