Archive for the “Jill’s Blather” Category

Blather and ramblings from your favorite bee girl (or stegosaurus girl, or ladybug chick or spaceman…)

Have you heard? We went to Italy!

It’s true. On March 6th, we played at the absolutely magnificent Teatro Manzoni, an 800-seat theater right in the heart of Milan. We sold out the show, and the audience was so gracious and beautiful.

After the show, the audience stuck around and asked for autographs. I sat on the lip of the stage, and as I signed the programs, people touched my hair. When I looked up and smiled, they reached up and touched and held my face– it was the most beautiful, moving thing. Unfortunately, I only speak third-generation bastardized Italian (think Sopranos), but we didn’t need words to know that we made a real connection.

The trip over the US and across the pond to Milan

The trip over the US and across the pond to Milan

IJG in Milan

Gathering

IJG in Milan

IJG in Milan

IMG_2559

IJG in Milan

IJG in Milan

IJG in Milan

IJG in Milan

IJG in Milan

IJG in Milan

IJG in Milan

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Reading Andrew’s post this morning about The Art of the Fill reminded me of a neat thing that happened a few weeks ago. I thought I’d share.

I wrote this on April 30th, 2010, so forgive the present verb tenses:

I had to go to the Claymont post office today to mail some stuff. As I was walking out, I heard some music blasting from someone’s car stereo. I walked through the parking lot towards my car, and I saw a mid-20s guy with long hair sitting in his beater with the windows down, unabashedly rocking out to In the Air Tonight. He was waiting for the big drum fill of awesomeness, and he was singing along in full voice, shamelessly.

I smiled to myself at his I-don’t-care-who’s-watching groove, and I walked to my car. But then I thought hmmmm… wait a minute.

I turned on my heels walked over to his open drivers side window about 35 seconds before the big drum fill (Well I remember…and I remember don’t worry…), and as he looked up at me I said, “Dude, I just need to hear the drum fill.” He gave me that 100% acceptance nod because he totally knew that this was a necessity. It wasn’t weird at all; no pretense. It just was two people about to ROCK.

And then… “The hurt doesn’t show; but the pain still grows / It’s no stranger to you or me!

DUD-DAT, DUD-DAT, DUD-DAT, DUD-DAT, DJAT! DJAT! / DOOM dugga djat-jat etc. etc…

I played some delicious air drums! He banged on the steering wheel!

And after a few seconds of the chorus had passed, I said “Thank you!” and he said, “Right on!” and I walked to my car to drive away, both of us wearing doofy grins of pure happy.

By the time I got my car started and my seatbelt on, the guy had gotten out of his car and walked over to mine to wave goodbye.

That was it.

I love people.

So with that said, what are your favorite drum fills? You know, the ones where you can’t turn off the song until you’re basking in the drumfill afterglow? These don’t have to be epic “quaalude thunder” fills; I also wanna know about the delicate pizzelles of drum fills.

  • So the obvious one is In The Air Tonight. Duh.
  • Durkin’s post mentions D’yer Mak’er by Led Zepplin… also fabulous.
  • Neil Peart’s killer fill in the intro to 2112
  • Misunderstood by Dream Theater — the fill from 5:31 to 5:40 is awesome.
  • But I’m also a fan of the gloriously simple fill that consists only of two simple quarter notes in Sundown by Gordon Lightfoot, about 47 seconds from the end of the tune. (Yes, Gordon Lightfoot. I love him.)

What else?
Talk to me!

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Lots of people ask me how I can be in a band that’s largely based in Los Angeles without living out west myself. The answer: The series of tubes known as the Internet.

I halfheartedly attempted to live in Arizona and California about 10 and 5 years ago respectively, but the east coast just keeps pulling me back. My family is here; plus I love the pace, the people, the accents1, the flipping of birds, the seasons, the architecture, and the lack of earthquakes (call me funny, but I kinda expect terra firma to be, well, firma). So, when Andrew moved out west and stayed out west, we had a conundrum: find a new singer, or buy a lot of plane tickets for me, because me living out west wasn’t good for my soul.

The good news is that my former “real job” included lots of travel– I was a road warrior for a good long time, and had racked up a zillion frequent flyer miles. Work paid for my work-related travel, and the frequent flyer miles yielded plane tickets for IJG-related travel. Worked out great for performing2, but what about rehearsing and recording?

Since IJG typically performs consecutive dates via tours rather than a date here and there, it doesn’t really matter much where I live. Andrew mails us .pdfs and midi files of the new tunes which we woodshed on our own. Then we all descend upon the city a day or two in advance of our first tour gig, we rehearse, and then we hit the road. Naturally the shows towards the end of our tours are the tightest, and there have been tours in the past when we’ve hit the studio immediately following a tour while the material still has that fresh road feel.

For this new (currently unnamed) disc, my vocals were recorded separately, just like we did with LEEF (2008). Andrew sent me .wav files of a very rough mixes of the band via yousendit, and I brought ’em on a thumb drive to the studio and recorded my vocals over top. I asked Andrew to make sure Tany’s previously-recorded vocals were pretty high in the mix so I could be sure to line up with her articulation and phrasing, which is more important than ever given the new vocal style we’re trying. The output of my sessions was a single .wav of my nekkid vocals, one for each track, which Andrew would drop into ProTools (or whatever he was using) to mix it all down.

For our 2008 disc LEEF, I recorded my non-live vocals at Lollipop Recording Studios in south Jersey with Jason Ruch, and also at Studio Crash in Philly with Sean Smith; both studios are fabulous. For this current disc, I recorded all of my vocals at Studio Crash across two sessions; one with Michael Harmon (Studio Crash’s owner), and another again with Sean. All three engineers are terrific and total pros.

This new (currently nameless) disc is being produced by Andrew and the fabulous Chris Schlarb in Los Angeles as I type this. It’s very exciting, and I can’t wait to hear how it all comes out. Stay tuned here for details and previews of the new disc!

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1 OK, except the Philly accent. I swear, that accent is like nails on a chalkboard. “Hoewme?” Don’tcha mean “home?” Gimme a Nicky Newark north Jersey accent any day.

2 Keep your eyes peeled for a future post re: “How does a 17-piece band fly to all these places without going broke?” As The Industrial Jazz Group’s honorary travel consultant, I have plenty o’ tips.

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Your 134th favorite singer and good ol’ pal Jill has a side hobby: painting silly things.

Hello Ninja (thumbnail)These silly things are going to be featured in an art show in Philly’s Fishtown neighborhood this month, at the Philadelphia Book Company. Tonight (December 4th) is the art opening, and it’s all very exciting. Hard to believe something I created is going to be part of Philadelphia’s First Friday, which is the city’s monthly art loop.

If you don’t live in Philly, you can still check out the artwork by going to http://artwork.jillknapp.com. You can peruse the paintings (as well as some detail photography of classic cars– yet another hobby) and even buy a print if you want. Prints are cheap and they come in many sizes via speedy delivery, not unlike your mom. (I have no idea what that means.)

You may find it amusing that the name of the company I chose to host my artwork website is called smugmug.com. Yep. It’s true. You can’t escape the smug.

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Around 1980, my cousin Billy often used the word “biffit” to describe “10 pounds of x in a 5 pound y.” 1

Ever since our band broke the 10+ member barrier, The Industrial Jazz Group has had to figure out how to deal with the challenge of playing in smaller places. It’s fun to walk into a venue and do the mental tetris to figure out how we’re all gonna fit. Even though we have trombones and music stands and a keyboard and furiously gesticulating singers and dance moves and such, we always manage to make it work, and also to make it super-fun.

Friday (10/16) we played at The Green Line Café in Philadelphia and despite the teeny space, we ROCKED it. That was most definitely a biffit: 20,000 pounds of awesome crammed into a 5 pound bag… and by “5 pound bag” I mean an 80-square foot slab of floor that required the trombones to stand on the windowsill so they could play over the heads of the trumpets, and 9 tunes crammed into a 40 minute set. And by “20,000 pounds of awesome” I mean that our show contained booty-shakin’, hootin’ and hollerin’, audience-member smoochin’, and a big-time bangover the next morning. Or: to paraphrase Durkin: “On a 40-degree rainy night, we had the place rockin’ so hard that the venue had to turn on the air conditioning.” Oh hells yes!

On Saturday (10/17) we were invited to play at Galerie St. George, which is an old, huge, beautiful home on Staten Island that’s been turned into an art gallery. Despite the lipstick on this (absolutely gorgeous) pig, this show was still at its essence a house concert. You might be thinking, “How on earth can a 17-piece band play a house concert?” The answer is: With awesomeness, baby.

This event was another biffit: We stuffed 17 people, 15 music stands, a PA, a keyboard, and two mic stands into a 120-square foot center room of this house. Only the band could fit in this room, but the the audience sat in the surrounding spaces and they had a great time, goshdarnit. So did we! It was probably the most unusual setup we’ve ever had, and it was cool figuring out ways to engage the audience. I got to resurrect the signs by parading them around the house, which was good fun. I’ve missed those signs, and I plan on using them for most of our other gigs on the tour. Keep your eyes peeled!

IJG at Galerie St. George

Anyhoo, tomorrow (well, technically today as it’s 12:16am EST, despite what the header might say) we’ll be on a big, beautiful stage in Brooklyn at The Bell House. I’m very excited to share a bill yet again with Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, and to experience for the first time Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra. The show starts at 7:30, and IJG goes on around 9. Can’t wait to see you there!

But now: Sleep. Today was a full day of mystery-gigging and bacon-cookie-making, but I’ll tell you all about those at another time.

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1 Where x = dingleberries and y = bag.

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