Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Get Over It ...

Tuesday is the worst day of the week for me and my colleagues at Now in Salt Lake magazine. It's "layout day." While us three staff writers like to joke that it's the day we whip out our bikinis and lay under the sun, the truth of the matter is that our real "layout day" is not nearly as relaxing.

Layout day for us means laying out our publication and getting it ready for print. The day is filled with stress, a lot of swearing and short tempers but it ends with us being really excited about the print edition that will come out two days later.

Today, I decided to make this layout day a better one by getting up and going to the park to jog/walk with my dog. I got up bright and early and kissed Daveed goodbye before he was even ready to leave for work. This never happens unless he is off track from school. He always leaves before I do and when he does, Dylan (the dog) and I are curled up in bed with Lestat purring between us.

By the time that I go to work, I felt great and was ready to face the day. I think that the early-morning exercise actually helped. The downside was that I was absolutely starving all day and I realized that I needed to stock up again on my healthy snack foods.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted and so ready to come home but I decided that instead, I would do more exercise by going to boxing class. I work out at MMA 21 in Salt Lake City, and I love it. I had been working out there two-three times a week but now a days I am lucky to get there once a week. Tonight was my first time back in two weeks.

I got my ass kicked and was yelled at for not punching the bag hard enough and I kept thinking, "don't they know how tired I am?" That's when I realized that even if they did know, they wouldn't care. These guys are hardcore, some of them former and even current UFC fighters and to them, my light jog/walk in the morning followed by nine hours of editorial design work at a desk and then 40 minutes of boxing was nothing. These guys live for the next fight, the perfecting of the next level in combination routines and to them, I am more than likely a comedy sketch on the bags than someone who has potential to kick someone's ass one day.

So, there you have it. My realization that no matter what you are going through, or how tired you are or feeling sorry for yourself, there is someone out there who really just doesn't give a shit because they are right there with you and are taking themselves to the next level rather than focusing on their hard days.

In reality, I have no idea what my classmates or my trainers are really thinking, but when I look around and see them working their asses off and pushing themselves to the next level of toughness, I feel a little more motivated. And that's why sometimes, it's good to just tell that whiny voice in your head to shut the hell up. And once you do that, move on to the next obstacle.

(Photo for today's blog is an iStock image)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Looking Back at Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons

Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons is a Portland-based jam band that has a huge following along the Pacific Northwest and especially in Utah. I was introduced to the band many years ago by an ex-boyfriend who may not have been the best of guys to date, but who had pretty good taste in music.

My first encounter with Jerry Joseph happened long ago when I did a phone interview with him for an article that I was working on. Joseph was on the road and he was a lot of fun to talk to. The phoner went on for quite awhile and I had some great laughs throughout it and thanks to his ability to tell great stories, I was able to write a pretty decent article on Jerry Joseph and his band of Jackmormons.

At the end of the interview, Joseph asked me to come and say hi to him at his show. So, I did. I will never forget that experience because his reaction when I introduced myself was pretty funny and served as quite the ego stroke. His eyes kind of bugged out and he asked, "You're Autumn Thatcher?" I laughed and told him that yes, yes I was. He then proceeded to say, "Sorry, I am just not used to reporters being so attractive."

I was flattered and embarrassed and feeling a bit awkward so to get rid all of those feelings, I toasted a shot of whiskey with Jerry Joseph to a fun interview. For awhile after that experience Joseph and I remained in touch. He would let me know when he was coming in to town and I would come and say hi and check out his show, which was always a good time.

It was thanks to this connection that I got to experience meeting the one and only Bob Weir, of The Grateful Dead. It went like this: prior to the show, Joseph invited me to come back stage and I said hi to him and his bandmates and we caught up for just a minute. Out of nowhere, Joseph said, "Autumn, this is Bob Weir," and when I heard the name, I tried to make sure that my jaw remained shut. I turned around and sure enough, there was Bob Weir, white beard and all, standing backstage at what is now Bar Deluxe. I shook his hand and smiled, telling him that it was nice to meet him and trying to play cool. In my head however, I was thinking, holy shit! It was a very brief meeting and I only had time to say "hi" before it was time to go out and watch the show.

It has been a long time since I have been to a Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons show and the whole reason that the previously mentioned memory surfaced in my mind is because as I was doing the music calendar for Now in Salt Lake magazine, I saw that Joseph and his Jackmormons will be returning to SLC on Thursday, October 6.

I know quite a few people who are diehard Jackmormons fans and who even travel abroad to spend weekends at the beach with the jam band and from what I hear, it is always a good time. I myself can say first-hand that the guys put on a great show and are worth checking out. And you never really know who you will run into.

Check out Jerry Joseph and his many side projects here.

Speaking of Female Music Writers...

Shortly after I posted my little blurb about not knowing too many female music writers, I ran across the cover story for the August "Style" issue of Spin magazine. And what do you know! It is a story about a female musician (St. Vincent) by a female writer, Julie Klausner.

I ate the story up not because it was written by a woman but because it was very well-written and I am excited that I came across it. On a side note, St. Vincent is playing in Salt Lake in October and I am desperately trying to get an interview with her. If I do get the interview, I only hope that I do half as good of a job as Ms. Klausner did. I encourage you to read the article here.

I also found Klausner's website and wow, she has quite the resume and on top of it all, she's funny too. Check her out, you won't regret it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Being a Chick and Writing About Music

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to take part in a teleconference with Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge of Blink 182. At the time, the band was getting ready to embark on their reunion tour promoting their newest album, which was released earlier this month.

I was a big Blink 182 fan during my late teens and was pretty excited that not only are they back with a new album, but I was going to be a part of the interview.

Teleconferences are my second to least favorite way to interview a musician, my first least favorite are email interviews. The thing that sucks about teleconferences is that you only get to ask one question and if you are lucky, you get two. These type of interviews usually happen with big time musicians. For example, I have done a teleconference with Katy Perry and Kings of Leon. So, you get the idea. Nonetheless, I was more excited to be able to listen to the interview and even ask a question than I was concerned about having to wait my turn while reporters across the nation took theirs.

I decided that I would take this opportunity to listen to how other writers interviewed. While I think I am pretty good at interviewing, I know that there is always room for improvement and being that I am no longer in school, this appeared to be a great way for me to learn.

As I listened in, I began to take notice that there were hardly any women asking questions. In fact, in the hour and a half-ish that I was on the teleconference I could count the number of women reporters on one hand. What?! After that interview I started picking up music magazines and began paying attention to the names of the journalists. I am noticing that similarly to the teleconference, the names of female writers focusing on music are few and far between.

I wonder why that is, exactly? I know some really amazing female writers and a lot of them know their fair share about music. Yet, when you begin to take notice of the journalists writing about music out there the bylines belong to men.

I do not have the answer as to why this is but I hope to be the exception to whatever music writer rule there is out there and be among the women who get their byline next to stories in national music publications. I have done enough articles to know that I can definitely hang with the guys.

I do not think that overall, editors are making their decisions on who writes what based on gender but I do intend to continue proving that chicks can write about music too. And guess what, they can even be smart and attractive too! I'm just sayin'.

In the meantime, check out the article that I did on Blink 182 after that teleconference.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Better Late Than Never, Right?

The writer in me is irritated. Firstly, because it took me so long to create a blog. Secondly, because I am creating a blog.

It's not that I have anything against blogs it's just that I have kept a journal since the age of eight. I am currently writing in my 16th journal and by currently, I mean about once every couple of years. The thing about journaling is that it is a way for me to let out my frustrations with the world around me, or write about nonsense until the root of what I am really depressed about is revealed.

These precious notebooks were filled up with words written through eratic emotions and it was special and sacred because it was between me and the journal. No one else was or is allowed to open those books and scan their pages. Blogging opens up my crazy mind to the world, or at least anyone in the world who chooses to read what I have to say. The privacy that I have with journals is non-existent in the world of blogging.

Alas, modern society wins and I finally created a blog. In this space, you will find links to articles that I have written for print and much more. I will write about my experiences interviewing celebrities and will give you a behind-the-scenes look into being an entertainment writer. It is going to take a lot of time, I have been writing for over eight years now so putting up my favorite pieces of the past is going to take a minute. But hey, I can type a lot faster than I write with a pen so maybe there is something to this after all. Time will tell. In the meantime, here I am blogging world. Ready or not.