Darc Kontinent: Fan Letter and Highlights

Dear Darc Kontinent,

I love your band. I wish I could follow you on tour wherever you go. I wish that you could give a concert every week at my house and the neighbors would come to see what the commotion is and then I would charge them $20 or $55 to see you because they’d hear how awesome you are and would want to get as close to your band as possible. Who wouldn’t?

Can I please be a roadie? I’ve always wanted to be a roadie of a band that knows more than three chords. I could help carry guitars, but not amps. Amps are too heavy and then maybe you’d be arrested for child labor. Except that I’m not a child. I’m a grown adult that loves your music so much. Even though you’re a cover band, so it’s not technically your music, I enjoy your music beyond description. I could try to describe how I love your music, but then, what if I succeed?

Your concert Saturday night was off. the. hook. 24 songs! How impressive. I could tell everybody like the songs you played, and of course everyone so talented. The bass player was bobbing his head to the beat, and it was awesome. And the drummer was pretty cool. I sat next to his wife, and she said the he would look at her and shake his head whenever he messed up on his part, but nobody could tell. The lead singer was funny. He’s got real stage presence. His cutoff jeans and Converse shoes were exactly what a lot of people wore during the ’90s. But I didn’t wear anything like that. And then the rest of the band wore flannel shirts, because apparently the ’90s was a second Ice Age, even after the Cold War was over. The ’90s were weird. But they were some of the best years of my life. Thanks for taking me back to that time.

Can I say that the pizza was great, too? Roy’s makes excellent pizza, and if people happen to find themselves in Ephraim, Utah, I hope they make the effort to fully enjoy the fine establishment of Roy’s Pizza. They have salad, pasta, and ice cream, too! Pretty much all of my favorite foods, except cookies. Maybe they could put cookies on the menu.

Your ’90s show was so amazing. But I think I’m going to get everybody on the band a pair of JNCOs so that next time you do a ’90s show you’ll be more prepared. You’ll look the part even more. If I were your roadie, that’s what I would totally do.

The one guitarist to the right of the stage has a nice falsetto, and I like how he tied his flannel shirt around his waist for variety. Variety is the spice of life. That and cayenne pepper.

Darc Kontinent, I’ve been wondering if you could tell me more about the one guitarist. You know, the one who doesn’t move while he plays. The one who follows all the way through a strum to fix his sleeve. He also plays the mandolin. He’s so cute. His solos are impeccable, and I want a closer look at his unkempt yet sexy platinum blond hair. (He has black hair and a zebra bandana in the poster. Which is also very sexy.) He’s SO mysterious! While I love your band, I’m in love with your guitarist. I remember that after your concert last year around Halloween, this guitarist and I went to his place, and we made out for 3 or 4 hours. He totally swept me off my feet. He’s a real rock star.

Thanks again for another awesome show. I look forward to more of your shows and being your roadie!

Sincerely,

An adoring fan

— P.S. Here are some parts of the show I recorded.

Potluck Jam Session

People brought food. They brought instruments. We ate. Some people decorated Easter eggs. Then, we  played and sang and had a jolly old time. Here’s a sample of the coveted event:

“Wagon Wheel” – Old Crow Medicine Show

“Mariner’s Revenge” – Decemberists

“Engine Driver” –  Decemberists

“We’re Going to Be Friends” – The White Stripes

“Hotel Yorba” – The White Stripes

“Silver Lining” – Rilo Kiley

“Hallelujah” – Jeff Buckley

Oh, the instruments:

guitars
tambourine
bongo drums
harmonica
ukulele
saw
glorious voices

Right now, I’m full of food and socially content. It’s time for bed.

Addendum to Band Log, 10/13/09

Here’s the original post.

My goodness, that was a month ago. I guess it’s about time to include the song. Some people have wanted to hear it. Alicia edited the single track and emailed it to the band on October 24.

Here’s a smoking photo of the band, via Alicia’s camera. Dang, I miss those girls:

Here’s Alicia’s take on that evening.

Enjoy!

Beirut, “Postcards from Italy” – Mechanical Violet Cover

Band Log, 5/18/09

Tonight was our first band practice. It actually went as well as I expected, which wasn’t bad at all. We had all four instruments there, and we had communication and commitment to practice.

And I just have to say, it felt good making music with other people again.

I feel fortunate that a trumpet is in our band, just because we’re in the same key. Plus, she’s a musician (she has an actual degree), and she can give me tips. She taught me a little bit about blues and jazz today, and we did a little bit of call-and-response with a relatively easy chord progression.

The reason Mr. Coleman emphasized learning scales and arpeggios? Jazz and blues. I have to thank him for that. I’m not good by any means, but I certainly have a deeper appreciation and understanding of music beyond notes on a page.

Practice is essential. It’s critical. There’s always time for it.

We decided to go over “Postcards from Italy” by Beirut. It’s such a great song, and I think it matches our instruments quite well. We also want to work on “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver, as well as Ingrid Michaelson’s “Be OK.”

We seem to work pretty well together. There doesn’t seem to be any one leader, but that may change with each song.

Yeah. Practice was great fun, and I love learning and harmonizing and picking out my part.

Can’t wait for our next practice.

Then? We’ll start calling practices “rehearsals.” Then we’ll play for an actual audience. Then we’ll start recording and mixing and editing our stuff. Then we’ll start booking gigs. Then we’ll tour New England then the Eastern seaboard. Then most likely Utah. We’ll sell CDs and t-shirts. We’ll have roadies and groupies and get addicted to Diet Coke and party into the wee hours of the morning. Our 2nd album will only be marginally better than our freshman attempt and we’ll get “this” close to breaking up, but we’ll stick it out and take some time to rework our favorite songs and polish the ones we’ve written ourselves. Our third album will be a huge hit, so we’ll have to take time out, as VH1 will want to feature us on their next “Behind the Music” series. So, between that and the charities we’ll advocate, we’ll squeeze out some time for us to visit our families. 30 years from now, TimeLife Music will make one of those infomercials with our music as a part of an early 21st century “eclectic band” collection. And I can’t wait for our band to perform on Lawrence Welk. That’s when we know we’ve made it big.

I really love our band.

Band Log, 5/14/09

I could subtitle this post, “The Company I Keep.”

So, our band came up with a list of possible songs to cover. Again, these are just possibilities:

1. Rainbow Connection by Kermit the Frog
2. Skinny Love by Bon Iver
3. Postcards from Italy by Beirut
4. Leaving on a Jet Plane by John Denver
5. Closer to Fine by Indigo Girls
6. Ice Cream by Sarah Mclachlan
7. Samson by Regina Spektor
8. Creep by Radiohead
9. A Cake song
10. Some kind of jazz song
11. Love Shack by the B52s
12. Apologize by One Republic
13. Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bob Marley
14. I’m All Out of Love by Air Supply
15. Come As You Are by Nirvana
16.Wonderwall by Oasis
17. Homeward Bound by Simon and Garfunkel
18. Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
19. Good Riddance by Green Day
20. Give Me One Reason by Tracy Chapman
21. Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne
22. Tom’s Diner by Suzanne Vega
23. Songs by Becky 🙂
24. Songs by Eleece 🙂

Let’s also not forget songs by Alicia. Because seriously, that girl can write a song.

A band member sent this list to the other band members, and the following short email thread resulted. Be warned, the content might be offensive. But it also might be funny. Also, I’m keeping names out of this one. Also, “Reply to all” is a very useful feature.

Message 1: We all know (or if we don’t then we do now) that i am not a Muppet fan but i am willing to do whatever.. but…we all do realize that by covering this song we will instantly be known as the mechanical lesbos….right? bahahaha which hey, i’ve got a boy toy so i can defend my sexuality to the masses…because oh there will be masses…we’re going places ladies…and we’re getting there fast!!!! boooyaaaaa!!!!  rainbow connection here we come!!!! maybe we could change our name to the mechanical rainbows….i’m just sayin,….

Reply 1 to Message 1: Let’s not forget the lesbos who’ve covered this song, like Sarah McLachlan. And Jason Mraz. I didn’t even make the gay connection to the rainbow part of the rainbow connection, because my mind is too far caught up in the nostalgia of the song. I had a crush on Kermit when I was younger. And up through last week. Of course we can scratch the song completely. Goodness knows we don’t want to get called to perform it at a wedding, say, in IOWA.

Reply 2 to Reply 1: sarah mclachlan is a lesbo!? i’m so out of the loop… i don’t even know who jason mraz is….

Reply 3 to Reply 2: Sarah WAS a lesbo. I think pre-Lilith Fair and during. Then she got married to her drummer and had a kid then got divorced. Totally kidding about Jason Mraz. Because men can’t be lesbos, unless they’re women dressed as men who like women. We don’t need to be sexuality apologists; we’re way too cute to be lesbos. I mean, who cares if our conversations are riddled with innuendo and we tend to touch each other a lot?

Reply 4 to Reply 3: i’ve got it…. our name should be the asexual rainbow that likes mechanical violets.  cause i’m asexual… there i said it…

The End. I’m not sure you could put together any other combination of LDS single women in New York City and get the same dynamic. It’s fascinating and scary and thrilling and wonderful and blessings abound and burst into my beating, grateful little heart.

So, does anyone have other suggestions for song covers?

Band Log, 5/13/09

So, last night was our first band practice. It turned into more of a band meeting, because we hadn’t yet decided on a name. We tried various voting methods on Monday. Closing our eyes and raising our hands didn’t work, but we narrowed it down from 16 to a number smaller than 16. Then we used open-eyed voting twice to get the choices down to two: Mechanical VIOLET and There Will Be Singing. Some of the other options were:

1101111 – The binary code for our combined ages. Maybe we’re dorks.
Flashing Headlights – Because of … night traffic. Yes.
Maybe More
Harmless Threats
A Clarinet, Ukulele, Trumpet and Tambourine Walk into A Bar
Comment dit on “awesome”?
La Porte – Kind of like The Doors, but singular and female
(The previous two refer to all band members (re)learning French.)
BEAM – Acronym of our first initials
Daisy, Clyde, Trumpet, and Lola – The names of our instruments. Um.
Bohemian Bad Butts – except replace butts with another word. That rhymes with classes.
A444 – Just a little sharp.

Anyway, back to the final two: We ended up voting for Mechanical VIOLET. Which is a pretty great name. And it’s a real color.

Do you know what else happened during this band meeting? It was like some rite of passage. Becky’s roommate was filming us because we’re turning the band experience into a documentary, so it kind of felt a little bit like a reality show. The good kind, not the skanky kind.

Yet.

For some reason we went around the room confessing to how many guys we’ve kissed. Naming names and everything. And trying to make sure we erased certain footage. And while everyone was taking her turn talking, I quietly played “Kiss the Girl” from the Little Mermaid.

So. Practice.

We went through Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”

Then we played Guitar Hero. Because that totally counts as practice.

Then we stayed up later than any of us intended and talked.

You should probably know if you’re going to be rubbing friends’ feet, don’t just rub one foot. People, make sure you give me your other foot.

I didn’t get home until after 1AM.

And at least we have a band name.

This is already so much fun.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire; Lyre, Lyricist, Your Words A Mirror Kissed

I know I love Patty Griffin, but I’ll spare you this time to tell you about the Indigo Girls again. “Ghost” is one of the first songs of theirs I fell in love with, because of the story it tells, its haunting lyrics and how they so masterfully meld to the music. I’ll just post the lyrics here, the way they appear on their website:

there’s a letter on the desktop that i dug out of a drawer the last truce we ever came to from our adolescent war and i start to feel a fever from the warm air through the screen you come regular like seasons shadowing my dreams and the mississippi’s mighty but it starts in Minnesota at a place where you could walk across with five steps down and i guess that’s how you started like a pinprick to my heart but at this point you rush right through me and i start to drown and there’s not enough room in this world for my pain signals cross and love gets lost and time passed makes it plain of all my demon spirits i need you the most i’m in love with your ghost i’m in love with your ghost dark and dangerous like a secret that gets whispered in a hush (don’t tell a soul) when i wake the things i dreamt about you last night make me blush (don’t tell a soul) when you kiss me like a lover then you sting me like a viper i go follow to the river play your memory like the piper and i feel it like a sickness how this love is killing me but i’d walk into the fingers of your fire willingly and dance the edge of sanity i’ve never been this close in love with your ghost ooooh… unknowing captor you’ll never know how much you pierce my spirit but i can’t touch you can you hear it a cry to be free or i’m forever under lock and key as you pass through me now i see your face before me i would launch a thousand ships to bring your heart back to my island as the sand beneath me slips as i burn up in your presence and i know now how it feels to be weakened like Achilles with you always at my heels and my bitter pill to swallow is the silence that i keep that poisons me i can’t swim free the river is too deep though i’m baptized by your touch i am no worse at most in love with your ghost

***

I’ll probably continue on my thoughts about lyrics later. But for now, I have to get ready for band practice. Oh. Did I tell you that I’m in a band? Trumpet, clarinet, ukulele, and tambourine. Yeah, I know. You don’t have to say how awesome we are. We already know. I think we might actually agree on a band name tonight.