ZOELAB DAY 147
Original Date of Post: January 25, 2013
I wasn’t even that nervous. Something in my body remembered what it felt like to perform rock n roll. My strings were rusty, and I knew I should have already changed them. It was our turn to go up. The stage was a mezzanine about fifteen feet above the restaurant, which was covered by a giant palapa roof. There were about a hundred or so people sitting, standing, eating, drinking. I had to climb a steep ladder to get up there. I was afraid I’d get vertigo, but all the pre-adrenaline in my body made it easier for me. After Obë, Marty and I climbed the ladder, and were up there on the stage, I suddenly had no idea if I could remember what we were supposed to do. But instead of feeling panic, I felt an in-the-moment calm. Presence. I had already decided to make my performance about fun, and not perfection. Because I knew I couldn’t have control enough for perfection. Isn’t that what rock-n-roll is all about anyway? Sticking it to the man-- letting go of convention, of correctness. It’s about feeling power through music. Feeling excitement, truth, rebellion, exaltation. The lights were in my face--blinding sunshine, warming me, highlighting me for a moment. Strapping on my guitar with the red silk chinese strap, the bravado kicked in. Then I really remembered the feeling--I felt, but didn’t think of, my first and last real gig, which was with Social Service in 2003--at Meow Mix a lesbian bar in New York City. It was as if the last ten years my rock-n-roll trajectory was on pause, and then someone just hit unpause. I did. Joan Jett, Carrie Brownstein, electric Bob Dylan, Velvet Underground, these are the musicians who gave me courage. And Marty and Obë too. And Tim Lang. And all the people there that night to hear the locals. And Caitlin Moran. And all the women out there who want to be counted in the worlds that don’t always include them. All the stubborn, adventurous women. To inspire we must be inspired. And it was with that spirit that I strummed my electric guitar, and then broke my B string on my very first chord. And we played our two songs--we messed up in places, and I didn’t sing all that well or into the mic enough, and we sped up too much. But none of that mattered, because we rocked. And, we were very, very happy.
I am pretty darn sure that there’s nothing more fun than performing rock n roll.