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Friday, April 30, 2010

Reflecting on Melinda Hsu

It has come to my attention that Melinda Hsu's family is considering using a Smiths Project song at her memorial. I am honored at the mere consideration. My heartfelt condolences go out to all of Mel's family and friends. Regretfully, I did not know the great Mel Torment other than she was the most loyal of fans and the best reviewer of every Morrissey concert on the planet. Dedication, strength, kindness, and love flows freely from her every word.

My own Smith's Project was born from the sadness of losing several close friends in a short period of time last year. The thing that struck me most was this: Everything you do in life becomes the gift that you leave behind for your loved ones. Your only true goal in life is to do that thing you were put on this earth to do. Whether it's getting back to singing, helping those in need, getting good grades, or devoting your life to being The Girl With The Heart On Her Sleeve for Morrissey, you must do it.

The best way to remember Mel is to carry on her passion into your own life's work. Let her dedication inspire you, think of her daily, breathe in deeply, and sing your life- just as Mel did.

Donations for the family: Here

Morrissey's beautiful tribute to Melinda Hsu on Here

Mel Torment on Here

Monday, April 26, 2010

Girl Afraid

Album 2: Hatful of Hollow
Track 13: Girl Afraid

This is my first use of a tremolo guitar pedal. Johnny Marr uses it a lot, most notably in How Soon Is Now. In fact, I also used the octave pedal on this one as well. I really wanted to capture some of the rock aspect of the music and using the pedals brings me one step closer. If there's anything that continues to perplex me, it's how to incorporate more of Johnny's guitars that I love so much. I am continuously trying new ideas and, although I'm still searching, these experiments have brought me to some interesting places. Whether or not I am able to get more Johnny-ness into the music, I'm glad for this creative push to try new things.

As I was singing this song, I remembered there was a woman known online as 'Girl Afraid' and I was wondering if she was out there somewhere listening. It turns out, she tracked me down a few weeks back and has been very supportive of The Smiths Project, so Dani, this one is for you.

Photograph of Ana Gomez VillafaƱe by Lam Nguyen, both dear friends of mine.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Just Announced: Live Performances May 21-23 in Southern California

This morning on Indie 103.1's Breakfast With The Smiths, Jose Maldonado invited me to perform live with The Sweet and Tender Hooligans for the Unhappy Birthday concerts they do every year on Morrissey's birthday. Proceeds go to a local animal charity as their birthday gift to him- which I think is just SO awesome.

For ticket info, go to

I'm looking forward to my first Smiths Project gigs and to seeing you all there.

Thank you to Jose and the Hooligans for this opportunity!

Monday, April 19, 2010

This Night Has Opened My Eyes

Album 2: Hatful of Hollow
Track 10: This Night Has Opened My Eyes

This was a tough one to sing, lyrically speaking. I have a hard time singing about dead babies. CAN'T IMAGINE WHY. But that is the power of Morrissey's lyrics. He brings things to light that most people would shy away from and he creates an open door to ponder issues- even for a minute- that are uncomfortable yet all too real. I love that music can take control of us and make us feel or think differently. There is more power in music than most people realize.

If you haven't guessed, I'm also a big fan of Laurie Anderson. She is such an inspiration to me. Her concepts, her art, her music... she is one of the most creative women in our lifetime. Women like Lady Gaga have her to thank for really putting some innovative ideas into the music and performance art world. This song is, of course, my nod to Oh Superman.

Me in 2005 by my love swank106

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Accept Yourself

Album 2: Hatful of Hollow
Track 12: Accept Yourself

I should be posting This Night Has Opened My Eyes this week but after listening to it, I don't feel that it's ready. I'm having trouble accepting it as it is. Of course, the next song oh Hatful is Accept Yourself. Go Figure. Obviously, I am having trouble with this whole acceptance thing. Sorry, Morrissey. I'm trying! But I do like my shoes today...

“Swimming in Broken Mirrors” Digital Photograph, Self Portrait, 2004
Caryn Drexl,

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

Album 2: Hatful of Hollow
Track 9: Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

After high school, I worked at Walmart in the dreaded snack bar. Man, what an awful gig. The "grilled chicken" sandwich with "fries" consisted of a frozen prefabricated-chicken-breast-shaped patty, always the same size and shape, with stamped-on grill marks. We would add to the plate some microwaveable "fries" that came frozen in a box. Each fry had its own fry-crisp compartment for a total of exactly 30 fries. People would eat there every day. The truly knowledgeable regulars knew that for .25 cents more, you could get "extra" butter on popcorn. They would stand at the counter happily watching us squirt butter-flavored oil (said so in big letters) all over the already nasty pop corn. My co-workers were named Jane, Janie, and Janet. I could go on and on.

One day, I was on my lunch break, sitting in the car as to avoid EVERYONE, and this song came on. Why do I give valuable time to people who don't care if I live or die? You got that right. After my lunch break was over, I walked back inside and said, "Yeah... I quit."

Me on the left, 1993-ish I'm pretty sure this was one of our "worst food ever" contests because I can tell there are pickles in my nacho dish...