heartbroken and attractive

album cover art for “bubble & scrape”

via heartbroken and attractive — miss lisa g. french

who cares about valentine’s day? i certainly don’t, and i haven’t for pretty much most of my adult life. but you know what i DO care about? music and love songs and heartbreak and the crazy, weird shit that happens with all of that glorious mess. i see y’alls cute posts about valentine’s day on the social media and you know what? i am a lover not a hater and it’s cool. it’s also totally cool if you hate it! i think pre-packaged love is pretty lame but hey, we’re all flawed human beings who have no idea how to truly express ourselves most of the time. candy hearts are a good ice breaker, right?

you know what i think about every valentine’s day? it’s not chocolate or flowers or fuzzy pink handcuffs on sale at the 7-eleven. nor do i think about the shifts i worked at mediocre restaurants years ago, seeing couples fumble through uncomfortable dinners while blaming their misery on the people serving them food. every year, i think about seeing sebadoh on valentine’s day, 1995. in the 90s, sebadoh was my go-to for those rip-your-heart-out killer love songs. and “soul and fire” is by far one the best ever.

as the opening track on the album “bubble & scrape”, it’s perfection. even as i write this, i am listening to the album, after singing along with that opener thrice this morning. i’ll likely do it again before i finish writing!

i got turned on to the band by friends who played their albums while we smoked cigarettes and drew on walls and awkwardly flirted while talking about our dreams and crushes. the whole album is the pinnacle of that uncomfortable comfort in mutual like in my mind. i remember as if it was yesterday the time this cute boy put his headphones over my ears as he put on “think (let tomorrow bee)” and i felt a thousand different things rushing through my body. we didn’t even kiss that day. not yet, anyway.

so yeah, valentine’s day 1995. dallas, texas. the bakesale tour. i was nineteen, almost twenty years old and i was ready to sing my heart out along with lou barlow. i spent so many hours figuring out how to play their songs by ear that i was so excited to see their techniques in person. lou was wearing this awesome white tee shirt that said “HARDCORE” across the front. at one point during the show, he had a heart-shaped box of chocolates that he chucked into the crowd. i screamed with delight because i was nineteen and so confused about love and i got to sing my guts out to “not too amused.” it was one of my favorite music memories ever. i also vividly remember a guy in the crowd with just as much gusto who yelled “skull!” between every song until they indeed, played “skull” and we were so happy. we danced and sang every word and jumped up and down.

who needs valentine’s day when there’s sebadoh? i put together all the songs i have mentioned plus a few other favorites from the 90s for your pleasure. ❤

 

 

 

 

lollapalooza / englewood, co / july 25, 1992

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 1.29.38 PM

awesome #ticketstubstory from 1992!! thank you for sharing, @ojflow!!

#Repost ・・・
That was a delightful day 25 years ago.🎸🎷🥁 #lollapalooza
#lush #pearljam
#soundgarden #icecube
#ministry #redhotchilipeppers

  • ojflow Too lengthy to hashtag: The Jesus and Mary Chain.

 

music memories: a mixtape from 1997

for most of 2016 thus far, i have been completely soaked in memories from the 1990s. it’s a theme that i did not select, it came about on its own. why fight it? i allow the waves of memory to wash over me without being sucked into the ocean. it’s oddly therapeutic.

a few days ago, i got a text from my dear friend Judith with the following photos:

it was thrilling to see my own handwriting from so long ago! it had to have been 1997 when i made this tape, back when i first met her. we were both artists trying to figure out how to make that a career. we met at a mutual friend’s party in dallas and became friends almost immediately.

she mentioned that a card i sent to her arrived the same day she found this mixtape in her mom’s garage. it had been in a box since 2011. we even talked about this tape when i was in texas in january this year, so i was so tickled to see photos of it. it was strange to see nuances of who i was almost twenty years ago. some things truly never change.

ticketstubstory_mixtape_tracklist

these are still, to this day, some of my favorite songs in the whole wide world. as i looked at the track list, it became clear at what point in my life i made this mixtape. this was when i began to feel a major heartbreak coming on. i was in love with someone that didn’t feel the same anymore. you can almost hear the longing as the tracks play.

below, you will find the digital version of this fine mixtape with all the tracks in the same order as the original. i like to think that 1997 has come back around to remind me of who i am and what i always dreamed of; being an artist, seeing the world, meeting people who bring unconditional love and joy into my life. i have all of these things now. today, i am the happiest i have ever been; it has nothing to do with a job, a lover, or possessions. it came when i let go of who i thought i was supposed to be and embraced who i truly am.

i hope you enjoy this trip back in time with me. now, i must get ready for a road trip to the desert to create more music memories to share with you. ❤

 

ticket stub story number four: radiohead — nyc, august 2001

ticketstubstory_4.png

the mythology of new york always appealed to me, even though everything i knew about it only existed in films, photographs, and folklore. if you were to ask my thirteen-year-old self where i thought i would live as an adult, i probably would have told you new york city. i wanted andy warhol’s new york. i wanted the velvet underground and joe dallesandro and deborah harry and the factory. i guess i was born too late.

in august of 2001, i was chatting with some friends at a bar in chicago and it was decided that very night that we would fly to new york to see radiohead. we had no tickets for the concert (sold out) and no idea where we were staying. i think i had about $100 in the bank and i had never done a spontaneous trip quite like that. i was scared to death. no plan? no money? a city larger than chicago that i had no idea how to navigate? but i had to do it, something in my bones told me i had to.

at that time, flights would sometimes be incredibly cheap, so we were on our way to newark before you knew it. it was late summer, hot and humid. one of my travel companions had some friends that met us out at a bar. they were tall and leggy in stiletto heels, such tiny, delicate birds. i felt like a blubbery pile of sweaty flesh next to them.

the dynamic of friendships among young women always had a competitive edge to it. hell, sometimes, it still does. now that i am older and wiser, i see how i never learned to handle those feelings of insignificance brought on by its good buddy comparison. most of the social dynamics in school was so exhausting and ridiculous to me that i was just fine being different than the popular kids even though it meant feeling ostracized. whenever those awkward adolescent feelings start to creep back in, i get anxious like a motherfucker. fight or flight takes over everything and all rational thought disappears. my body aches to run away, to take flight, but no. fight always comes first.

all night long, from one bar to another bar, and then to a dance club, i felt hideously out of place. but all of that ended once we got to max fish. now that was a bar i could get into, the vibe was just right. even meg white was there, drinking whisky and playing pinball. the white stripes were still so new that summer of 2001 that i felt like the coolest girl in the world just to be in the same room as her.

the next day after wandering the city, i managed to get myself to where the ferry would take us to liberty state park. i still didn’t have a ticket, but somehow, it all came together in just a few minutes. i found someone selling a ticket, got on the ferry and was on my way to see radiohead for the first time.

the sun was starting to set and the light was changing as we coasted along past the statue of liberty, passing a joint around as i snapped photos. i marveled at the manhattan skyline as the sunset painted a wash of pastels onto the shining metropolis. my eyes drank in the scenery as every terrible thought i had about myself the night before melted away into the water beneath us.

kid koala was the first act, followed by the beta band, and then radiohead played. i was alone for most of the night, moving around the crowd, watching everything from different vantage points, taking in the music and feeling my skin tingle. thinking back on it now, that trip reminded me of how fun it is to travel and see live music. i vowed to do it again soon.

here is the setlist from that night:

the national anthem
morning bell
airbag
karma police
knives out
packd like sardines in a crushd tin box
exit music (for a film)
my iron lung
no surprises
dollars and cents
street spirit (fade out)
i might be wrong
pyramid song
paranoid android
idioteque
everything in its right place

like spinning plates
lucky (false start)
you and whose army?
how to disappear completely

true love waits
the bends
the tourist

when i got home to chicago, i had a couple rolls of film to process, but they slipped my mind. i ended up not getting the film developed for a few weeks. as i looked through the photos, i froze. the manhattan skyline was bathed in that perfect light, exactly how i remembered. it was just a few weeks after september 11 and i was looking at photos that had the twin towers in the background.

as i was compiling the setlist above, i did a quick search for photos from that show and found this beauty below. i was listening to “the tourist” when i found this. it just seemed perfect to end this ticket stub story with it.

 

Radiohead in Black & White With WTC in Background - Imgur

brain radio: vipassana

at the end of december i went completely off the grid up in occidental, california for a 10-day vipassana meditation course. i’d been working toward something of the sort for awhile, strengthening the bond between my mind and my body, learning to live in the moment. never had the time to unplug quite like this though: 9 of the 10 days are spent in complete silence without distractions. no phones, no computers, no writing, talking, gesturing, singing, dancing, or even physical contact. we lived like buddhist monks, really.

the hardest thing about it was not having music to listen to. i was aching for nick drake one morning as the sun rose, glittering like gold leaf in the trees. i wanted to belt out lines from “me and bobby mcgee” as i listened to my footsteps squishing in wet leaves and mud. instead, i let my brain play these songs as i meditated, wandered, and soaked up my surroundings with the full capacity of my senses. it was magnificent.

naturally, i had to make a playlist. it’s just what i do. so if you are curious about what kind of music plays in the brain of one who cannot speak or sing or listen to music, you are about to find out!

enjoy, and may all beings be happy.

ticket stub story / december playlist

winter in southern california is pretty gorgeous. foggy mornings, sunny afternoons, perfect sunsets. we’ll get a few days here and there where it’s cold enough to wear a big bright scarf and a jacket, but no need for layers. not like the UK. oh, man did i get cold while i was there.

welcome to the december playlist! you will find songs that i heard while traveling, folks i saw live, bands i got turned on to (avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche is a MUST), and other songs that struck my fancy. enjoy the tunes and see you in 2016!

 

 

brain radio: “last christmas”

december 26, 1990.

i was a fifteen-year-old vegetarian kid in a smiths “meat is murder” tee shirt (that i wish i still had). i was on my way to london for the very first time. this classic Wham! song was playing in the airport or possibly on the plane as we were boarding. i think of it every year at this time, it was playing in my head a whole lot while i was in the UK recently. the holiday lights were out, shoppers filled oxford street, and i felt like that same teenager, full of wonder, ideas. this song always ends up on my holiday playlists.

this music video is so of the time. look at that hair!

 

this year, to save me from tears, i am spending the holidays in northern california at a 10-day vipassana meditation course. it will be my first holiday season away from all distractions to go deep into mindfulness. exciting! scary! challenging!

there are a lot of stories still to share from the UK adventures and even more groovy happenings coming in 2016 so don’t be a stranger, ok?

happy holidays to all!

cover songs: “the promise”

until just a couple of days ago i had been traveling for just shy of three whole weeks. for an american, that is an eternity. the longest i have traveled was that road trip back in july of 2014 that lasted for a full month. that felt different though, it was all so familiar. texas, chicago, friends’ houses, family. now that i am back i had a lot of stories to catch up on, as in the stories i watch on my laptop.

last night, while watching the leftovers, there was a scene in a “honky-tonk” and this song began to play. i recognized the lyrics immediately, but it took a few lines before it sunk in what song it was.

once i realized what song it was, a wave washed over me and i was taken back to the 80s. what a song, what a time. i won’t give away any of the story, so no spoilers here. just enjoy this great cover version by sturgill simpson and the original song below, by when in rome.

any memories rise to the surface for you upon hearing these?

brain radio: “let it happen”

who is your favorite band or musician at the moment? if you know me, we have probably talked about my favorite band of the now, tame impala. this morning and many mornings since it was first released, i awoke with “let it happen” playing on my brain radio. it’s something of an anthem for this time in my life, particularly the last year or so, when i finally started getting in touch with what i really what from the universe and what i want to contribute to it. the hardest part is staying true to that and not deviating from that path.

when this song first came out, i had it on my phone and listened to it on a walk in my neighborhood. the sun was shining, i walked fast, along with the beat. “all this running around, bearing down on my shoulders.” i’ve been so sick of the hustle, selling my marketable skills to the next bidder. i just want to share stories and ideas and things i make with the world, not just the things i do to pay rent. “something’s trying to get out, and it’s never been closer.”

this is a wild time to be alive. listening to music keeps me from getting too lost in the sadness of the world and reminds me of the beauty that exists.

why don’t we just let it happen?

 

 

ticket stub story / november playlist

 

november. it’s finally cold enough in los angeles to have a heater on at night. two pairs of socks if you’re feeling extra chilly. coincidentally, i am wearing socks i bought on a trip to london back in…well i know it was for my 28th birthday. so it must have been 2003. i hang on to the randomest things. you know, like ticket stubs. and memories.

ticket stub story is officially two weeks old today, and it’s been invigorating to write about these moments in my life and hearing about others in the process. while writing about the ticket stubs, music memories, and brain radio activity that i’ve shared so far (and some that i am writing now), there was always music on.

welcome to our first playlist! on it you will find all of the songs mentioned on the blog so far as well as a few that will be mentioned in stories to come. heck, i’ll probably add a lot more to it before the month is over.

i hope you are enjoying everything so far, i am having a blast with this. so much more is coming up: some travel, some live music action, and of course, more stories. let’s listen to some music!

ticket stub story number three: bloc party — chicago, march 2005

the jacket i wore that night, along with the ticket stub and buttons from the show.

the jacket i wore that night, along with the ticket stub and buttons from the show.

2005 was an interesting year. my 30th trip around the sun began in february and i lived in the wicker park neighborhood of chicago, right there on milwaukee avenue in the middle of the action. “the crotch” we lovingly called it, that intersection of damen, milwaukee, and north avenues. summers, winters, we were all over that crotch, soaked in whiskey and vodka and rock and roll.

i frequented reckless records as they were only a couple of doors down from my apartment, often picking up issues of NME to find out about the latest music from britain. even as a teenager i was obsessed with NME and melody maker and was turned on to a lot of music because of those magazines. bloc party was likely an NME discovery back then, we didn’t have apps like shazam and i wasn’t looking at blogs that much since it was still the myspace era for me and most of my friends (we were too old for facebook).

i went to this show alone if i remember correctly. i watched the drummer Matt Tong in total awe. if you’ve ever seen bloc party live when he was still with the band, you probably get what i am talking about. he straight up destroys the drums live. he was soaking wet with sweat from the slaughter of the performance, it was fantastic. i’ve always had a thing for the rhythm section. see a show with me, then wait and see how long it takes before i comment on the drummer or the bass line. seriously, try me.

about a month after the show i went to costa rica on a whim. i was working at the pontiac cafe at the time and i was making a fair amount of dough in a short amount of time so i bought a plane ticket and went to costa rica and i think i spent all of three days planning everything. on the flight, i had my headphones on listening to the stations that were provided by the airlines and then a song came on that stopped me right then and there. in the air, above the clouds, “so here we are” came on, a bloc party song that was one of my favorites from their album, silent alarm. (i need to get that on vinyl, now that i think about it.) it’s a killer song, and it was just what i needed to hear at that moment.

i was really unsure about my life, i had graduated from art school four years earlier, i was waiting tables, i wasn’t making art (of my own), i had an unrequited crush, i was drunk a lot because it was chicago and that was what you did in wicker park in 2005. i watched a lot of six feet under back then too, which explains why i was very introspective. (i still love that show deeply.)

to get to costa rica from chicago, you have to fly to miami first. in the airport, i went to the bar and had a mojito and nervously fidgeted because we didn’t have phones to stare at back then when the uncomfortableness of traveling solo seeps in. it had been awhile, i hadn’t been able to afford much travel since moving to chicago seven years prior, but i managed to get to the UK, amsterdam, and now costa rica.

that trip to costa rica re-invigorated my love for travel. on the flight, Kele Okereke sang to me, “i figured it out” and i wrote it down in a notebook. i still have it somewhere. i knew right then, on that airplane to costa rica, that i needed to make a big change soon.

i was going to have to leave chicago.

music memories: “always something there to remind me”

through the process of writing about the next ticket stub from the collection, memories were sprouting out from everywhere. it took me back to dallas again, i’m guessing 1997. i was madly in love and in hindsight, i had no idea what to do with that emotion. the handsome fella said something back then that stuck with me over the years.

i forget where we were or what was going on at that time, but i thought it was sincere. he said, “If we ever broke up, I’d have to leave Dallas…it’s like that Naked Eyes song.” okay, maybe it was kinda cheesy. whatever, it’s a fond memory and i am keeping it that way.

i sang this song out loud in my apartment at 4:45 this morning and i loved every moment of it. i wish i could have found the original music video but all that is out there seems to be this one. it works!

 

 

this is the first of many music memories to come. we’ll be sharing stories about songs, albums, bands and all that jazz that takes us back to that feeling, that place, that time.

brain radio: “save a prayer”

for as long as i can remember, music has played in my head constantly. sometimes first thing in the morning, the day begins with a tune. other days, a full track list can be created from the songs that pop into my thought stream. i eventually started calling it my “brain radio” and posted a few on twitter with #brainradio and even kept a running playlist.

today on the ol’ brain radio, we have “save a prayer” from the wonderful, dreamyliscious duran duran. i know exactly how this got in there too, i watched the eagles of death metal performing this with duran duran in a video just the other day. it’s been on my mind all evening so let’s time travel back to 1982 and get lost.

ticket stub story number two: pavement — chicago, june 1999

ticketstubstory_2

it was a warm night and i was moving fast from the el to the show, still adjusting to night walking alone in unfamiliar territory. fresh from dallas, texas less than a year before, i was living in the heart of the loop in one of the dorms of the school of the art institute of chicago, so i wasn’t that familiar with the northside. it wasn’t my first time at the metro either, but i am kinda hilarious with directions.

i was broke most of the time back then, being an art school student and all, but i knew you could save on crazy fees if you bought tickets directly from the metro’s box office. i ended up buying two, one for each of the two chicago dates. it was my first time seeing pavement so i was super stoked, so much so that i beelined right over to the front of the stage. i had a crush on stephen malkmus and his haircut that burned with a fury. up near the front, i giddily danced and sang along and occasionally hollered for “range life” but alas, they did not play it that night. they were playing again the following evening, so i still had hope.

this is what they DID play that night (according to setlist.fm):

Here
Cream of Gold
The Hexx
Kennel District
You Are a Light
Major Leagues
Father to a Sister of Thought
Speak, See, Remember
Shady Lane
Platform Blues
Ann Don’t Cry
Trigger Cut
Grounded
Folk Jam
Spit on a Stranger
Frontwards

ticket stub story number one: how it all began.

ticketstubstory_1

a little over three years ago, i thought about starting a music blog but that quickly became far too much to do at that time, so it was put on the back burner. now that i have the time and i am writing a lot more, it’s time to start swapping stories.

my collection of concert ticket stubs is one of the few things that has traveled with me across the country for almost twenty years; from my hometown in dallas, to chicago, to los angeles where i have lived since 2006. the collection has grown a whole bunch over the years! from time to time i find more amongst my belongings and add them to the collection. occasionally, i stop and look at a few, each time completely transported right back in that moment.

there are a few which have stories that will take me a week to write and others that can be summed up in a paragraph. this one right here, from november 1, 1993, is one with an epic tale. i considered making it my first entry but really, this ticket stub defines what this whole project is about. music. sharing stories. connecting. i am dying to find out if anyone else out there was at this show and what they could contribute to the story!

ticket stub story is about our collective live music story. were you at that show? did you see another show on the same tour? share it! this is going to be a lot of fun, and i am so thrilled to share these stories with you. i hope you enjoy reading them!