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Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Who is Janice?

*Original post January 1, 2010*

I am just your average 34 year old gal with a boyfriend, a beautiful son, a happy (but grumpy-looking) cat, and a piano that looks like a fireplace. I work in San Francisco, where I lived for more than twelve years before moving to San Jose where there are huge tracts of land...

I'm a musician. I started first with piano at age 2, then worked my way through every instrument in marching band by the end of high school. Not that I could play most of those instruments now, mind you. Point is, I was the ultimate band nerd. I even went on to study music at San Francisco State University.

Through out my life, certain music has stuck by me through thick and thin like old friends. The Smiths have been a soundtrack to my life ever since I first heard a third generation cassette copy of Rank as a freshman in high school. I lived in a small desert town of Joshua Tree, CA and there were no radio stations of interest (unless you consider classic rock and country music interesting). The way I was introduced to almost all of my favorite artists was by word of mouth. Any time you heard something cool, you'd pass around cassette tape and make your own copy. I still have cassette copies of Depeche Mode records that someone's big brother used his mom's stereo to copy for me... and I, of course, shared them with others. Ah, pre-internet file sharing. It's my generation's equivalent to old people talking about how they walked to school up-hill both directions, backward, in a blizzard.

When I first heard the Smiths, I was hooked on the melodies, the guitars, the way Morrissey made sense of the jumbled things I was feeling. The lyrics have something that everyone can relate to in one way or another. Johnny Marr is a genius on guitars. I've seen so many guitarists attempt to replicate his guitar parts and they are pretty mind-boggling. I mean, for starters... which guitar part do you even choose to practice?? Each layer upon layer of guitar parts is amazing. Andy Rourke's bass lines rock as well. I love how the bass had its own unique space within the music to create yet another melody line. Out of everyone in the band, poor Mike Joyce on drums is probably the most overlooked. But where would those songs be without the beat? (ok, you're right. The songs would still be amazing.)

These were the songs that I listened to through my formative years. The music that saw me through good times and bad, from sneaking out of the house late at night (eeep, sorry mom and dad), to recuperating from a 2 year bout with a muscle disease, and now singing the songs in the car with my own family. These songs have been in my life for the past 20 years.

I started this blog because I love music. I needed a goal for the new year and I wanted it to be something that involved singing as often as possible. I used to do more layered and intricate recordings back when I had all the time in the world but now that I have more responsibilities, music has taken a back seat for a long, long time. Too long. With a toddler pulling on my shirt constantly, it's all the more important to make a little time for myself to do what I love.

The year is 2010 and it's time to reconnect to my "inner musician." She's kinda dusty.

So here goes...
*2020 Update*

I thought I would share with you some oldies as we head into The Smiths Project songs. After high school, I was briefly with a band who also loved The Smiths. Here is a song we recorded when I was about 18.
Made of Cinders

Recorded by Cipher in 1994

Lyrics by Chad Murray (sp?) who I never really knew very well, guitars by John Given who is still the best guitar player I've ever worked with, and Nathen Lester with the awesome bass and recording skills. Growing up in the desert of Joshua Tree in the 80s and 90s, there was no internet, just kids who spent time doing things that interested them. It resulted in some incredibly talented kids who are still doing amazing things today. A lot of them who are still doing music as well. Maybe it's time for a reunion?

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