I moved to San Francisco in 1995 with a 20 year old's dream of starting a rock band. Through craigslist.com, I located a drummer (who was also a stripper- smokin' hot but she couldn't keep a steady beat), an Irish guy who liked my music but really wanted to do his own "better ideas," and a bass player who just wanted to silkscreen some original band t-shirts. We never played anywhere besides a liquor store basement on Mission Street.
After my Christmas jobs at the mall ended, the guitarist told me he had started temping downtown and so he got me an interview. I had NO office skills, never used a computer, and flat out lied in the interview about being able to type. Before they could test my skills, they got an urgent request for someone to stuff envelopes so I volunteered. A few hours later I was working in downtown San Francisco in an office with a sleezy guy who chased cable cars on his lunch for exercise. The company asked me to do some data entry so I stayed on and quickly taught myself to type by signing up for Yahoo mail and emailing friends.
My next assignment was a receptionist at video game company downtown. I was seriously obsessed with the band The Sundays so I spent most of my time emailing friends on the fan mailing list. We came up with a plan to make our own tribute cd which was really exciting to me since none of my music had made it past my friend's ears. This was going to be a doorway to a music career! So the guitarist and I recorded a song together and I also did one on my own- just me and a piano. On Earth was my first cover song ever. We sent in our submissions on a high quality VCR tape. Someone from the group mastered all the submissions, the person who had a home color printer (ohhh, FANCY!!) printed out the inserts and someone else put it all together and sent them out to everyone. It was a real passion project considering this was well before the world of mp3s and affordable digital recording equipment.
This was my contribution:
The cd actually earned me some fans and for a while I had people following my progress asking what I was going to do next. The fact was, I just didn't know how to proceed. I did some music for myself, put a few tracks online in fabulous Real Audio (remember that?!?!), and it all went nowhere. Over the years, life happened- work, school, social life, boyfriend, and then my first child. I wrote about ten songs in ten years.
Flash forward to 2009, two good friends died 5 weeks apart in unrelated incidents and I was devastated. I thought about their lives and what they had left behind for us. I thought about my friend Nancy who always said, "Do what you love and some day there will be a job in that for you." Even though she wouldn't be around to see it, I finally decided to take her up on that offer. I was going to spend all of 2010 singing.
James Roday, star of USA Network's Psych and a loyal Smiths fan, heard from his makeup artist about The Guardian article on The Smiths Project (incidentally, the exact same day i lost my job). He said something like, "Oh my god, I know her!" and immediately contacted me. You see, way back in the day, he had a band who contributed a song to a little internet tribute cd for The Sundays. The world truly is, as he put it, "smaller than a baby porcupine." But I would have never known that was him all those years ago because that was in an internet land before time- before user icons and pictures and Faceplacing and U-Booking.
This year, James worked with Tears For Fears' lead singer Curt Smith on Psych, so he told Curt about me and we've since met in person to discuss possible future collaborations. Curt is an amazing musician and I never thought my music would reach his ears. I feel like I'm living in a dream. If anyone had told me that ANY part of this story would happen, I would not have believed it. It seems that Sundays cover still might be a door leading to a music career...
I'm so glad I held my ground to submit my On Earth cover even though the guitarist didn't want me to (since it didn't include him). I'm proud that I decided to stop giving up on myself, and I'm eternally grateful to James for remembering me all those years. As it turns out, he had more faith in me than I did this whole time.
So James, since Girlfriend in a Coma is your karaoke go-to, this one is for you. Your support means the world to me and I can't thank you enough.
Oh- and in true Psych style, there are a few things hidden in the song.
Can he solve the mystery?
James Roday and Dule Hill singing with Curt smith.