3.8.01 :: Website Launch!
Ellenshapiro.com finally launches, after quite a number of delays. If you’re looking at this, you know you’re all right.
1.5.01 :: Psychadelic Goat Records Winter 2001 Newsletter
Man, fall 2000 was one of the busiest times in my life. Want to know why? Read on.
1. SO TELL US ABOUT SEATTLE!
Okay, so for those of you who don’t remember, I got invited to play at the Rockrgrl Music Conference 2000 in November out in Seattle. This was, far and away, the most fun I have had in years. Basically, it was 200 female or female-fronted acts (ie with a female lead singer) from all over the US and the world. If I remember correctly there was even a couple of acts from Denmark. The showcases, in which I played, were basically venues for all sorts of acts to come out and make noise and try to make their fanbases larger. The conference was basically a series of speakers and panels on various topics in the music biz. The conference was very well run, and both of the keynote speakers Ronnie Spector (from the Ronnettes) and Amy Ray (from the Indigo Girls) were very good. The panels were really interesting, and I ended up learning so much more useful stuff in one weekend there than I have in the last two years of just trying to sift through everything myself.
2. WELL, THAT’S GREAT. BUT WHAT DID YOU DO?
I played a 25-minute set in a Starbucks, which was kind of ironic, since I’ve worked there the last couple of summers and had sworn I would never walk into one again. So that went straight out the window, though I must admit I actually found their egg nogg lattes <gasp> good. I think my set went quite well, and I managed to pull off the fastest string change I have ever made in my life, as I only had one guitar with me. I was first in line since the entirety of people that have heard of me are probably on this mailing list, so it’s not like I played before a screaming arena of thousands. But there were more people there than I thought there would be, thanks both to my ability to cajole a bunch of musicians from Chicago who were out there and my dad’s ability to cajole some friends of his who lived out there (thank you Daddy).
3. SO DID YOU MEET ANYONE FAMOUS?
Actually, yes, I did. I met Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, to the extent that saying hi and shaking someone’s hand can be called meeting someone. I met Shannon Curfman, a 15-year old blues phenom who I’m convinced is the next Bonnie Raitt. I met Kate Schellenbach, the kickass drummer from the sadly defunct Luscious Jackson. Vicki Randle, the percussionist from the Tonight Show, played later in the evening at the Starbucks I was at, and she and the person she was playing with were really damn good, though they have no CD as of right now. I also met a woman named Melissa Ferrick, who is not as famous, but basically if you know her music, you love her music.
4. SO DID YOU FIND SOME COOL OTHER MUSICIANS THAT WE’VE NEVER HEARD OF BUT YOU RECOMMEND? (if you don’t care, skip to #5)
Hell yeah. A few links and explanations for ya:
- Ellen Rosner is a really phenomenal songwriter from Chicago and a very cool person to boot, and her album, The Perfect Malcontent, is extremely good. She was in the process of working on a new one when I last spoke to her before winter break.
- Brooke Fox played right after me at the Starbucks, and her CD, Nightlight, is also extremely good. She was in Nashville for a couple of years, but she’s now in New York City, so if you’re there, keep an eye out, because she’s quite good.
- From my lovely hometown of DC comes one of the funniest, dirtiest, most affecting songwriters I’ve heard in some time. Esmirelda is a real character, and she can make you fall on the floor laughing at the most inappropriate things or really move you, depending on her mood. Not for the faint of heart or sensitive of ear. Like me, she says fuck a LOT.
- Summer Chance is another one of the Chicago people that I met out there, and she is also a really nice person and an excellent musician. Her CD is a bit more low key, but it’s very, very good.
I met a lot more very, very good people, but these are the ones that I highly recommend, and if you want a list of others, please email me and I’ll send it along. Everyone there was extremely nice. I don’t think I met one person there I didn’t like, at least among the musicians.
5. SO OVERALL, HOW WAS SEATTLE?
Kickass. I’m so going back next year if they let me, which I really hope they do. For further coverage of all the stuff they did, check out http://www.rockrgrl.com [Ed. note, 2013: Now sadly defunct] and they’ve got some coverage of the conference on there.
6. COOL. SO WHAT DID YOU DO FOR THE REST OF THE FALL?
I was in school. I did schoolwork, schoolwork and more schoolwork. I really put my nose to the grindstone this past quarter, and while I found that when I do that I can get very good grades, it also means that I have no life. Personally, (I’d like to point out that my parents don’t agree with this stance) I’d rather have a life than numbers on a sheet of paper, so I will not be working myself to death again this quarter. However, I did manage to start…
7. THE WXRU MONTHLY CONCERT SERIES
What in the hell is WXRU, you might ask? It’s the small radio station that’s run out of the basement of my dorm, and I am the Program Director. Basically what this means is that I make up the schedule, try to get people to actually do their shows, and find ways to promote the station. With this one, I’ve ended up accidentally doing blatant self-promotion as well. What happens is that myself and another random songwriting type person from Northwestern will each play a 90 minute set in order to try to hype the wonderful webcasting of our station. The station is on Sunday thru Thursday nights from 8pm-1am Central Time, [webcasting got nixed by the RIAA. jerks.]. You need either a Winamp player or a Macast player to hear the stream. If you don’t know what these are, email me and I’ll attempt to explain. My own personal show, Skinny Dipping in the Mainstream, is on Sundays at 10 (central time).
7. WHAT’S WITH THE NEW LINK ON YOUR EMAIL SIGNATURE?
Ah, someone noticed! When I was in Seattle, I learned of a lovely internet company called CDBaby.com, which is an online distributor of CD’s. And unlike most internet companies right now, they’re actually hiring people and making money. They’re basically a big consignment record store: you give them your CD, you tell them to sell it for $10 or however much you want to sell it for, and they keep a portion of that and give the rest to you. And unlike my other online distributor, they actually pay me within a reasonable period of time. So I’m starting to send all my website traffic to them, since they’re very nice, very helpful people, and they sell my CD cheaper than most of the internet places except buy.com, who sells it for the same price, but who I’m afraid will be going out of business any day now. CD Baby is basically the indie clearinghouse, so if you like independent music, definitely spend a couple of minutes piddling around on their site, because you might stumble across something cool. My direct link is http://www.cdbaby.com/ellens.
8. SO WHAT HAPPENED TO ELLENSHAPIRO.COM?
I bought the domain name, and right now it’s directing people to my mp3.com site [which no longer exists, thanks to the internet bubble], but I didn’t have the time to actually put together a site as I spent a lot of time digging my way out from underneath a giant pile of work. However, by the time of the Spring Newsletter, it should be up and running, as one of my classes has a Web Design section, and I’ll be setting up es.com as that project. Hopefully it will be very cool, and it will officially be unveiled with the Spring Newsletter.
9. THIS IS THE ENDING…THE ENDING OF OUR STORY…THE ENDING…
So that’s it for the Winter, I’m sorry there wasn’t a tremendously large amount of news in this Newsletter, but like I said, I spent last quarter with my nose plastered to the grindstone, so there wasn’t a whole lot of music stuff. I hope everyone is doing well, and if I haven’t heard from you in a while, drop me a line, I really do like to hear from people. The Spring Newsletter should have a lot more interesting stuff in it. Hope everyone has a good winter, and I hope you don’t all spend it digging out from nine zillion feet of snow like we’re going to in Chicago.
Much Love To All,