Archive for August, 2013

What have I been up to for the past year?

Posted on: August 29th, 2013 by gretchen 1 Comment

Hello People

It’s been a really long time since I updated this website.  I have a very ambivalent relationship to the internet.  On the one hand I avoid it and my computer in general at all costs and on the other hand I get sucked down rabbit holes as easily as the next guy, looking at cameras on ebay and reading reviews of things.  I mean, I totally love consumer reviews.  I could do a staged reading of some of my favorite Yelp and Amazon reviews.  Regular folks are funny!  But I also really like being outside and I’m not very good at cleaning up my office and making it a nice place to hang out and be on the computer all day updating my website.


Messy Desk


But this school year of 2013/2014 I am going to have to make my office a nice place to be.  Because I am finally going to sit down and reissue all of my back catalogue from all of my old bands.  I am really going to do it, people!  I must!  I must finish up this homework!!!  I’ve had the pleasure of being in such great bands with such great people: Meat Joy, Two Nice Girls and Girls in the Nose.  But if you weren’t around back in the day then you don’t know those bands.  And that’s a shame.


Must be reissued


I’ve been going to Dougherty Arts School for photography and darkroom classes.  This has been a long cherished goal of mine and I’m so happy to report that studying photography is as amazing as I thought it would be.  I really love getting to be a scientist in the darkroom and play around.  I was certain I would grow up to be a scientist when I was a child, and getting to experiment in the darkroom is satisfying some of that part of me.  I will hopefully have a show in the fall with my friend, Deb Norris.  It’s so great to be 50 years old and still taking classes and still learning stuff.


The Pod in winter


Shot with the new Pentax


Printing ancient negatives


Gretchen’s Disco Plague (It’s Infectious!) has been doing really well.  We had some amazing shows last spring before I left town for the summer.  We even had our first ever kids’ show on Mother’s Day and it came off even better than I could have dreamed.  We look forward to performing more kid’s shows in the future.


Fusebox Festival


Also, A Joy Division Cover Band had a great run of monthly shows earlier in the year at that favorite venue, Cheer Up Charlie’s.  We have a great new bass player, Claire Hamilton, and she has really revitalizing us.  We had the pleasure of sharing the bill with A New Order Cover Band.  That double bill makes for an excellent Sunday night, I must say.


AJDCB Rhythm Section


Feeling the love


Ann and I traveled a great deal this summer.  We went to Scotland for the first time for a really fantastic festival.  Ann is becoming quite the superstar with this new book of hers.  We also went to Amsterdam and had a blast.  Neither of us had been there in a very long time and it’s changed quite a bit.  Even more stoned than ever.  I don’t partake, but regardless, we really enjoyed biking all over in a town where bikes rule and cars are second-class.  Plus we got the surprise treat of seeing a Come reunion!


The name says it all.


European sights


We also went to Ann’s homeland of British Columbia for a couple of weeks.  Wow!  I hadn’t been in nine years and I was blown away by its beauty.  They have rain forest there!  In Texas we have drought.  But they have rain.  And they have really great trees.  Big ones.  We did a lot of hiking and I was quite affected by the nature.  It’s so different from my homeland.  The proliferation of conifers is a bit unsettling to me, but I think I could get used to it.  I especially liked Victoria, to my surprise.  There was just something great about the town of the “newly wed and nearly dead.”  I bought a Pentax K1000 for $2 at the Goodwill and it works perfectly.


The classic self-portrait


I then found a 28mm lens for it for $20 in Campbell River.  And Victoria has a super sweet camera store called Camera Traders, which has the vibe that I wish every camera store had.  I don’t know, I just sortof fell in love with BC.  It didn’t hurt that we were staying at Ann’s aunt and uncle’s place that looks like this.  Not bad, huh?


Victoria, BC


We ate delicious homemade muesli every morning and did lots of sightseeing.  I like how Canada is another country but they still speak English.  Because, unfortunately, English is the only language I know.


Ann's Grandfather's Library in BC


We also went to upstate NY for most of July.  We rented a house on a road where maybe 6 cars passed every day.  In Austin we live a block from I-35.  But upstate all I could hear every day were the tons of birds just doing their thing.  It was remarkable.  And it had some really deep effect on me that I don’t know how to articulate but that was very profound.  All that gorgeous nature.  Chipmunks playing around on the porch while I wrote every morning.  A bird nest full of young ones right there by the front door.  Crystal Lake (which is in fact a crystal green color) a scant 7 minutes away.  We went into NYC a few times to see some performances and buy stuff, but many, many days we just sat on our porch and chilled out listening to the bird songs.  Wow.  What a life.


The beloved porch


Upstate NY is so lovely


Crystal lake where we swam all the time


While we were upstate I turned 50 years old.  That is inconceivable to me but according to the agreed upon rules for measuring time on this planet, I am indeed 50 years old.  So far as a 50 year old I have fallen down in the street for no good reason, stopped sleeping as much, referred to myself as “old” in conversation and received no contradiction, and stopped caring so much about certain things.  I don’t even know how to describe what those things are, I just feel like I don’t fucking care as much.  That part is quite a relief, actually.  I feel a certain lightening and diminishment of psychic pressure.  And maybe even less fear.  But still plenty of irritability.  But that may also be attributed to the fact that it’s 100 degrees plus here in Austin, TX and I do not do well in the heat.  Good thing I’ve given myself this assignment to sit at my desk for hours every day working on my reissues and my archive.  There’s AC in my office and believe me, it is on.


Toiling away at the age of 50


There are rumors that there’s going to be a 7” record of some old Meat Joy songs put out by a new punk label that a radio station is creating.  I will keep you posted about that.  I will keep you posted about all of these new reissue developments as they develop.


Meat Joy


For example, did you know that I put up some ancient live Gretchen Phillips Xperience on Bandcamp?  I want to capitalize on the fact that my BFF Thor Harris is a big internationally touring rock star with Swans and Amanda Palmer and back in the day he was my main man drummer.  I further want to capitalize on Jo Walston’s cult status in The Meat Purveyors.  I want to pin my wagon to their star or however the hell that saying goes.  Check out the Bandcamp stuff.  It’s raw but perhaps interesting to you.  I enjoyed putting my stuff up there and indeed plan to put more stuff from some of my other bands up for your perusal.


Thor Harris, my BFF


The inimitable Jo Walston