As many of you may have heard, my older sister, Meg, is choosing to leave the band for a while and do her own thing.
I don't know how long "a while" might be. It could mean forever...or not. But I know that she knows she always has a place with us whenever she wants it, whether it's on stage, in the studio, or just writing songs together in the living room.
It's been a long (and amazing journey) of playing music together and creating. We started our very first band over 10 years ago in Utah!
I believe that she feels it is her time now: A time for love and discovery and art and adventure. (Even though she is leaving the band now, she is not leaving music. She will still write and create music, so keep updated with all of her ventures on her blog or twitter or face book).
(If you want to read about her leaving, go to her blog first).
She will not be touring with us in June. Instead, our friend, the amazing Jimmy Welsh from Boston is coming out to join us. I think you guys will really like him! He is a hungry musician and singer/songwriter, and I am very happy and honored/excited to have him come out with us.
Nick, Carlo, and Jonathan will be on tour with us in June. And yes, I know that many of you know via Meg's blog that Nick (our drummer of 7 years) and her are dating and have been for years. I hope she doesn't mind me answering such personal questions, but a few have commented to me asking if Nick is leaving and if they're okay. Again, I hope Meg and Nick don't mind me harping on their very personal lives, but you guys are our close fans so.... Nick and Meg are doing very well. (It was his birthday yesterday)! Woot woot. And to answer many questions, Nick is staying with the band and you will see him in June as well. He is not leaving. Nick supports her decision, as she supports him in his every day ventures. :)
I was not surprised when Meg informed us she was quitting. It was sudden and hit hard, taking the breath out of me, but surprised....no. She's always been a very independent woman, and has so many dreams and goals and aspirations that are different than mine. Even though we are sisters, and very close at that, literally and emotionally (she's 2 years older) we have always been very different. Even playing in Meg and Dia, we wrote our songs very separately. (For example, on a 12 song album, maybe 5 would be written by me, 6 by her, and 1 by both of us collaboratively).
It is now her time to grow in a new way. Away from the van and trailer, and days spent traveling on the road. Away from the fast paced race of Los Angeles.
You can expect new music from her, new jewelry designs ( I have her latest one...and it's awesome. Shhh! Surprise). And just anything involving art really. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised by anything Meg decides to do in the future. She's an adventurer. I'm ready for that phone call of, "Hey. I'm opening up a restaurant. I'm auditioning for a movie. I'm playing piano in the orchestra of a broadway show. I've started my own business. I'm interning for a dress designer...." Any of that. I wouldn't be surprised at all.
She's always been very talented and seems to always succeed in anything she puts her mind to. Dedication comes with ambition, to her. She's never been one to say, "I wish I could do that..." She just does it.
That's always been something I've admired in her very much.
Maybe years from now she'll want a "vacation" and come out on the road with us for a few weeks. Or maybe you'll see her on the road in her new musical projects on her own, or at a jewelry convention, etc.
Keep up with us all :) We're a band of 5 best friends with so many dreams (different and alike) in our paths.
Thank you very much for all your support and love.
I don't really know what to write about necessarily, but I do know that when one does have a blog, one should most likely keep it up to date.
I've been on tour for the past couple weeks opening up for The Fray.
It's been incredible, but the only thing I am feeling right now, with a 2nd show at Red Rocks about 6 hours away, is exhaustion.
I think back sometimes to my first tour. I was seventeen, I think. We didn't even have a van. We toured in a car. We booked it ourselves. We played in front of 0 people sometimes, literally. We played for 10 people in a bar. We played for 80 people at a house party. We drove a lot. I thought it was exciting. I didn't care about anything, I just wanted to get my hands dirty. It didn't bother me that we drove until 5 in the morning, only to pull over in a CVS parking lot. My parents loaned us money for gas & studio time. (We paid them back after 4 years). We slept in the park in Berkeley, CA on a drum rug. I woke up to a cop's boot in my side.
"Hey. Hey you! You can't sleep here. You can't even be here this early."
Early, I thought? It's night out. This is my sleep time. You can imagine their surprise when the bundle of blankets rolled over and a 17 year old girl peered back at them.
"We're playing a show here tomorrow. Can we just stay here?"
"No. You have to leave."
I woke up and rolled the rug back up. They watched me. I walked back to the car. My sister Meg was sleeping in the front seat, and our bass player was sleeping in there as well.
"We've gotta move," I said. But even then, I wasn't tired. I was thrilled. I was hungry for everything. I called up all my friends the next day and made up an elaborate story about how I almost got arrested, hand cuffed actually, but they let me go once they realized that I was a minor. Or maybe I even made it sound more incredible. Who knows. Bottom line is: I was having the time of my life.
Sometimes those memories float back to me when I'm feeling jaded. On the 13 hour drive to Denver I sat up front and listened to books on tape on my I-Pod. I looked at the flat country side of Kansas.
"Can we pull over? I have to pee." I say.
"Can you wait for a little bit?"
"How long's a little bit?"
"Like...20 minutes maybe. The next small town's that far away. Otherwise, we'll have to pull over twice. We're running behind."
The boys in the band have been annoyed by my small "girl" bladder for years now. Hey, I can't help it. Us girls pee more often than boys do. Look it up. It's gotta be a scientific fact.....somewhere.
We got to our hotel at midnight. I stayed up till 3 to try to cram in "productive" time. Writing. Reading. Blogging. Studying. I was too tired though so I just wrote for a little bit and went to bed.
As I'm writing this it almost makes me sick to realize how this blog just sounds like a pity party. A list of complaints.
I don't want you to think that is my intention. It's not, at all. I'm just being real, to be honest.
People see me and say, "How is it being a big rock star now?"
I don't get that. Last week at a show in Florida, a gentleman came up to me. He looked about 40 years old. He was with his wife. I was selling CD's at our merch table. He looked at me, leaned over and said some magic words that almost made me burst into tears:
"I admire your work ethic."
I smiled, sold a CD to him, shook his hand gratefully and continued on hustling CD's as best I could.
"Dia Frampton CD's! 15$! Dia Frampton CD's! I can help anyone over here!"
I was watching a basketball game with Carlo (my guitar player) the other day in the green room. It was a very popular team against a team we would call, the "underdogs." The Underdogs were ahead. (I'm not saying which teams because people in sports get pretty angry. Hah.)
"How are the Underdogs winning?" I said aloud to Carlo. "Against Team X, they're winning? What the?"
"They're hungry for it," said Carlo wisely. He's always full of some kind of one sentence "words for the wise." He says little, but whenever he does speak, it means a lot.
Some reason, those words hit right at home. I'm still hungry I thought. I always want to stay hungry, too. (What an odd thing to say out loud, but it's true).
I remember getting tours and freaking out, crying, laughing, jumping up and down. The first ever "Real" tour my band got was Sugarcult, back when I was 18.
"What?!" I yelled at my manager. "We get to open up for Sugarcult!? I - I know them! They're on the radio. They've been touring for years. We...we get to OPEN FOR THEM." I muffled the receiver and let out a yelp.
I remember getting the Angels and Airwaves tour. We were on another tour at the time and our manager called us and told our drummer, Nick, first. I remember that moment so well. I was laying under a blanket. I poked my head out.
"What!!!!??? Tom Delonge's new band!? Are you kidding me!" I freaked out for a good few days.
Tours came in quickly after that. We played maybe...250-300 shows a year sometimes. We toured non stop all the way up until I tried out for The Voice.
We've performed in every state (some 10-40 times) minus Hawaii.
When we got the Blake Shelton tour, that was a reminder of how excited I used to get. I screamed. I called my mom. I called my friends. I did an embarrassing dance in my living room which no one will ever see.
But other than that, sometimes it's hard to NOT be Jaded. I've been touring for 7 almost 8 years now.
When my manager called us and said we got The Fray tour, instead of jumping up and down, I sat down and asked him a bunch of questions:
How much will we get paid per show? Is that enough over the span of days to pay for gas and hotels? Our sound guys out with another band. We have no front of house. We have to fly people to the first show in Kentucky....if we pay for those plane flights and shipping gear out, will we break even after the tour or be in the red? We have no merch. What about merch? How long do we play? Can we afford to take out a guitar tech? Can we afford a sound guy? Are you sure it's okay you loan us money? What about a merch guy? Sure, I can help with merch, as long as it's not too loud. (I've lost my voice a couple times yelling over loud music and crowds at merch tables. Yikes!) We don't have enough CD's for the first few shows. It's a 30 hour drive out to Atlanta with our gear. Can we make that in 2 days? What's the merch percentage at venues? The grand piano can't fit with the stage room provided, and we can't afford to buy a keyboard right now.... What piano would I play? Sure, if we can find someone to "intern" as a tech, we might be able to afford that.... and the list goes on and on.
The Dia 6 years ago would have said only 5 words:
"WHAT?! THE FRAY? SERIOUSLY? YES!"
Don't get me wrong, the list of questions up there would have to happen at some point, but not right away. There was no screaming with excitement. What the hell was wrong with me?
It kind of reminds me of dating in a weird way.
When I would go on dates or meet guys when I was younger, say 17 or 18, all I would ask my friend is:
"Does he have pretty eyes? Does he work out? Oh really!? He's a musician! Cute! Does he dress well?"
Now, if someone were to set me up I would ask:
Is he financially stable? A gentleman? Does he smoke or drink? What religion is he? Is he honest and respectable? Ambitious? Does he want kids? How many? Is he organized and clean?
How our perspectives can change. (Ok, ok. So maybe that was a weird metaphor). Anyway, the truth is, I love The Fray. I watch them back stage performing every night. I've learned so much from them. I'm so happy we took this opportunity. I'm screaming about it now to make up for the loss of screams I had earlier.
We played Red Rocks yesterday. It was cold. After living in LA for a long while, and touring straight from Texas to Florida and then quickly up to Denver, I was not prepared at all for the cold. My throat felt like an ice cube as I walked out on stage. My fingers were stiff. I wanted to put on a good show, the best show, for all of those thousands of people sitting out in the rain. (Outdoors venue). It was...34 degrees I believe, and dropping as the night grew older. I let the uncomfortableness of the cold get the best of me. I got in my head. I could see my breath like little puffs of fog as I took in each breath to sing. I got off stage with a heavy heart. I didn't feel like I gave it 100%, and if I'm not going to do that, what the hell am I here for then?
I watched The Fray go out there. The lead singer walked up and down the stairs of the amphitheater. He sang his lungs out. He sang with the crowd. It was even colder when they played. It was raining harder. You wouldn't have known though....they were performing like the sun was shining.
I learned a lot from them last night.
And that's the key to it all. I'm still learning. I'm still taking baby steps to becoming the performer and artist that I wish to be; To be up there with the performers and artists that inspire me so much today. I'm still learning, and that makes this all okay.
Today we play Red Rocks again. I'm gonna give it 200% to make up for yesterday. And the 17 hour drive to the next show in San Diego? I'm gonna get some more books on tape, and remember every day to be grateful for where I am at, and even more grateful for my dreams and ambitions of where I hope to go, and who I hope to become.
I still have a lot of room for mistakes. I'm still learning. I'm still deciding what is and what is not worth it to me.
Music is everything to me. But when people say that, there is more. It's not just music. It's the 10 hour drives. The sleepless nights. Loading in our gear and setting it up in the snow. (Brrrr!!) The sacrificing of close relationships. Missing a friend's wedding. Missing a friend's birthday.
But, I decided the best thing to do is always stay positive, and remember what you are working toward. On a positive note, I get to be home for Mother's day tomorrow! I told the band, be in the van by 7 a.m. I'm driving us there! 10 hours from Denver to my small city in Utah, but I'm going to be there tomorrow at 5 p.m. eating dinner with my mom!
I'm exhausted right now.
But I'm so damn excited to play Red Rocks that I can barely hold it in.
I'm sorry that my "end of tour" blog is a few days late. The second I got home I slept the entire day, only waking up at 8 p.m. to eat some pho soup at my favorite cafe. Then I went back to sleep till noon the next day. I didn't realize how exhausted I was until the machine of tour stopped, and I could reflect, and put my tooth brush out on my bathroom vanity.
You accumulate a lot of stuff on tour. You pack a small bag at the beginning, and at the end, you ship 4 large boxes to your house since it's cheaper than putting them on a plane.
I flew around a lot this tour. I hate air planes. I hate the air on air planes. I hate that you can't move your arms or lean forward at all.
(I apologize in advance for the scrambled way this blog has already begun, and for how it will proceed. My head is still somewhat in a clustercuss, and this blog has no specific purpose. It's merely a document of how I am now, and how tour was, looking back.
I've been on a lot of punk rock tours in my day. I started touring when I was 17.
(Yes, yes...I know, I know. This is where the few cynical douche bag teens get outraged and fly to their twitter formats and say, "She should not have been on The Voice. She was famous! She had experience!" All I can say to them is, maybe if you came into Crumbs cupcakes a year ago in New York, and came up to the counter and said to me, "Yeah, I'll have a mocha, skim milk, no whip cream." Well, maybe you wouldn't be singing the same tune. Yes, I was on MTV for 20 seconds while "The Hills" credits were playing. So that must mean, like, I'm like, rich and famous right? You'd be surprised how bands do financially. But hey, that's another story. But YES, I had and have "experience." Although, to me, the word "Experience" doesn't make me think that I know how to work a crowd of 500, because I'm still learning. To me, "experience" means that I put aside my entire life, gave up countless relationships, did 2 years of school in one so that I could tour early, left my family, gave up on college, put my money into buying my first microphone....Yes, I have "experience." I suppose if you think somebody...maybe a 18 year old person who works at a Dentist's office and just...well...loved to sing and decided to try out for "The Voice," deserves it more than someone who slept in a car when she was 17, traveling the US, playing in bars and houses and garages and parks and anywhere that would listen, deserves it more because that person is "inexperienced," well, touche.
I'm sorry I went off on a tangent. The last thing I ever want to do is come off as a bitter person who is super defensive. It's just bothersome, especially lately, watching other people on the show get grief for "having experience." And I don't want to play the -who deserves it more - game either. Music is beautiful and freeing. I don't care if a girl who's 15 and has never performed anywhere makes it to the big time. If she loves music and cares about her art, she deserves it just as much as the band who's been touring and trying to "make it" for the past 20 years.
Anyway, back to tour. First off, and I'm going to keep this short, I want to truly thank Blake Shelton for taking me and the band on tour. His support went beyond a reality TV show. He is one of the most genuine people I know. Watching him perform (and his wife, Miranda, who would perform at some dates when she came out to visit), was an incredible experience. They're both so good with a crowd, so passionate about performing and singing and telling stories through song. I am truly lucky and grateful that I got to know them and spend time with them. I will always be forever thankful to them.
(Blake & I on stage after performing "I will," or duet).
Anyway, yes, I have been on a lot of punk rock tours. This was my first country tour.
(Jonathan (bass player) and I getting ready for sound check).
I've never had more doors opened for me than on this tour. I heard this a lot, "Ladies first." It's kind of sad how surprised I was when I heard that, until a week in I got used to it. Most of the people on tour and in the bands are married. They spent their time jamming music and going to the gym and jogging and playing basketball when the weather was nice outside. There were no weird girls around back stage. It was a very classy environment. Something that is not easily come by. I've been on tours where the slimy guitar player from the band we were opening for was doing some chick not less than 2 feet away from me. The only thing keeping me "away" from all that was the tiny covering of my sleeping bag. Did he care or know that I was sleeping in the bus....well, no and yes. He was horny and she was a naive groupie and I was just some band mate that unfortunately had to be sleeping in "his terrority" that night, even though, I would like to think, my bunk should be ...well, my territory, right? So as you can see, there were a lot of times on tour where you feel anything but a lady.
And back then I was too shy and "too cool" to say anything. I didn't want to be the lame tight-wod (I don't think that's a real word) on the bus with all the bands, the person who ruins people's fun, and is like their parents. I was supposed to be cool...and one with "the dudes". I was supposed to drink more whiskey than they could, even though I couldn't at all and didn't like the taste. I didn't want THEM to disapprove of ME, did I? How ironic is that? That Dia is long ago though. If that ever happened again, I think a simple,
"Could you please go have sex with that scandalous broad out by the dumpsters of the venue BEHIND the bus, please, where you belong? Thanks," would do. Hopefully that would embarrass the girl enough that she might think a chance of herpes with her God-like guitar player could wait until she was of legal age.
BUT it seems like I was too afraid and embarrassed to offend HIM...so I kept silent like the shy, soft-spoken wimp that I was. Isn't life funny sometimes?
Anyway, I'm going off again. Needless to say, my first country tour was full of respectful men and women, (I met some awesome girl friends!) and full of musicians just wanting to share music and basketball skills.
I met Kory, Justin Moore's amazing and very young piano player. He just started writing string arrangements and piano for movies. He has the most adorable country accent. (He's from Kentucky). Once I finish some songs, I'm going to send them over and he's going to put piano and strings to them. I cannot wait! He is so incredibly talented. He also gave me his leather jacket when it was cold outside and I was walking to my bus. :) Rare.
There's Roger, Justin Moore's guitar player. I've never seen someone play like him before. Period.
There's Philip, Blake's piano player. Incredible, and the nicest guy ever. He's been married for a year now and gave me relationship advice that I really took to heart. "Timing is everything," he told me one night over my pineapple malibu and his whiskey. "Really, it is. Especially in the music business when you're traveling and working all the time. You've got to wait for the right timing. Then everything falls into place."
There's Gwen, whom some of you saw on "The Voice." Well, Blake took her on to be his back up singer for the tour. She is AMAZING, and I know will not be a back up singer much longer, although her and Blake's voices together sound like honey.
I could go on and on. Rob...what a bass player! Jenee....fiddle....always the sweetest person. Kevin, Blake's tour manager, who always made sure we were fed, had enough shower towels, and water bottles.
Let's just say, there wasn't ONE person on that tour whom I didn't love. What a classy group of people.
Then there's my band. The band I've been with for 6 years. Being with 11 people in one bus for 3 months can get very tiresome. Imagine NO privacy...literally. And it can really get the best of you, or at least it did for me. I'd be doing my vocal warm ups literally in the bathroom, since someone was playing nintendo in the front lounge, and Nick was doing drum pattern warm ups in the green room, and our tour manager was in the back lounge I-chatting with his girlfriend in Japan while printing out set lists and advancing shows. Most of the time the showers were gang showers, which was tiresome and somewhat difficult for my sister and I.
"Hey...anyone out there?" I would call from inside the large shower room with 10 shower heads.
"Well, I'm coming out to get my underwear. Close your eyes or you'll see stuff you don't wanna!"
So I'd run out in the little towel, that sometimes barely covered my bum, and grab my clothes. (There was no dry surface to set clothes in the shower room), and head back in.
But that's when you've got to have a positive attitude about things. (Something, that I admit, I didn't do very well consistently. I have a tendency to let stress and anxiety swallow me up and skew my perspective on things).
That's when I'd turn on all ten shower heads super hot until the room steamed up and start singing songs from "Wicked" really loud. I'd go dancing around in the fog, going from one shower head to the next, soap running into my eyes, and sing, "You can still be with the wizard! You can have all you everrrr wwwannnted!"
Which brings me to another thing I hate about tour. Clothes. I don't mean this in a perverted way at all, but one of the most freeing things about being in your own apartment, is the freedom to walk around and cook eggs and toast in the morning in your underwear. To sleep in your undies. I can't stand sleeping in clothes. My shirt crumples up underneath me, or it tightens in my arm pit as I turn on my side, etc. Yuck. I hate it. I've decided that whoever sleeps IN clothes is weird, and is not to be trusted.
I learned that I've got to chill out a little bit. If we had to go into a radio station in the morning at 8 a.m. I stressed out about it the whole previous day.
It's an 8 a.m. performance...that means I'll have morning voice unless I wake up at 6 a.m. and start warming up...but I don't get to sleep till 2 a.m. usually, so that means I won't get any sleep at all and then I'll have more morning voice. And they want me to sing THAT song...that songs more challenging then others..and it's so early. They're going to think it sounds weird acoustic!
And so on and so forth goes my brain. I hope someday that I can start to care less what others think, and just do my thing. Just be me. I know Blake would be ashamed, if after all that he taught me, I didn't pick up on that! He has such a love of life and people. He doesn't care what people think of him. He said it once, something like, "I've always been who I am...and now that more people are taking notice of me, it's like...some people want me to change, but no, that doesn't make any sense to me. I'm going to stay how I am." (Don't quote me on that! I can't remember exactly how he said it! All I can remember is how it hit me.)
Well, I have to go now, cause I have to take my dog to get her nails trimmed and her teeth brushed. (My mom's dog that is). So, I don't really know how to formally end this weird, random blog. I'm sorry for how unorganized my thoughts are. I think it'll take me a few more weeks to get myself a little bit centered. It's time for me to practice Korean with my mom. Take my dog on daily walks. Start writing songs and short stories again. Re-draft my novel. Get back into shape and into yoga classes. Cook. Catch up on movies and TV series.
I really cannot wait to write a song again though. I really burnt myself out while writing "RED." I feel like my well of creativity was running dry for a long while there. But I'm starting to feel it again.... it's that moment when I realize, "Hey, I have something to say...." that a song starts building up inside of me. I'm not going to take this baby to any big time producers or let another song writer "fix" the chorus and make it bigger. I'm just going to write it for me, on my acoustic guitar, and save it in my journal for when the next record comes along. I'm not going to let anyone touch this one.
Now reading: Ishmael by Daniel Quinn (for the 2nd time)
Last watched: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (I'd give it 4 stars, even though I don't think I could watch it again...it made me feel kind of sick inside).
Last cooked: Korean burdock root, kimchi, lotus root, and seaweed soup
Last called: Jonathan (bass player) to ask him about relationship advice
Last shopped: Yesterday. I got 2 outfits for my twin sisters birthday coming up soon. I also took them to get their brows and lips waxed...it was a ...slightly painful birthday present. But hey, it's never too early to teach good hygiene.
Last craved: Lemon custard from my favorite spot in Utah
Need to do: Clean my room. Do my laundry. Finish my painting of the women on the beach with their umbrellas. (I really like Jack Vettriano paintings so I'm copying one!)
Get a frame for my Tim Burton "Stain boy" poster. Shave my legs. (It's been 3 weeks). Clean my sink and toilet. Buy floss and face wash. Garden my plants!
"So what can we expect from a live Dia Frampton show?"
This question, for some reason, seems to be a very popular interview question, besides the "How has your life changed since The Voice?" (Answered that one about...a million times already. Ha).
It's a hard question to answer because, I don't want to say what I'm really thinking when they ask that question:
"Uhm....I don't know."
No one coming to a show or asking the above question wants to hear a flat out, "I don't know!" But the truth is, I really don't, and I think that's the beauty of a live show. You really don't know what to expect. It's organic. I could totally butcher a song, forget lyrics, trip and fall on Meg's guitar cable.... The mood of a live show changes all the time. The mood of the artist changes all the time. That's an important factor to take into mind as well.
There have been a lot of shows where I have "lost myself in the music." Shows that have been the best night of my life, where I've been genuinely smiling ear to ear, just so grateful to be on stage and even more grateful that the crowd seems to be just as happy as I am and also responsive.
But there have been other times, many other times, where that's not the case at all.
Like yesterday, I was grumpy and sick, my nose running, a full body chill, a cough that wouldn't be suppressed by all the Halls drops in the world, a sore throat, and...WHAT? I have to go out and sing in front of a crowd of people and pretend like I'm having the time of my life?
There have been shows where not so great things have happened. I remember one show a few years ago, where my boyfriend and I of 1 and a half years had a terrible fight, and after a 2 hour phone call of tears and exasperated yelling, we broke up. Then my tour manager popped his head in the door and said, "Get your in ear monitors on! You're on in 20 minutes." What?
Or what about the time we played a show up in Canada where 4 policeman stood guard at the side of the stage (during our entire set), waiting to take our dear Guitar player in for questioning. (Long story, but he was completely innocent...very long story). That was definitely not a relaxing show for him, nor anyone.
What about the show I had the worst period cramps in my life....
The show where Meg went to the hospital, drove to the venue, played the show, and then went back to the hospital.
The show where I was in one state, and my little sister was back in Utah in the emergency room for a high risk case of pneumonia....the doctor saying she'd have to sleep in the hospital for a few nights with the "red alert" on her?
The show where all 5 of us band mates got in a huge fight the day before and were barely talking to each other...and then we had to go out and play together?......
Most people don't think about these things when they're watching a show. Not because they're ignorant, but just because...well, you just don't.
I sure as heck don't think about those things when I'm watching my favorite band.
And that's just it. Both parties don't think about those things. There is a secret ingredient us musicians should always keep in mind: Respect for the audience.
I enjoy it when an audience is captivated in my show (If I'm lucky! :)). I enjoy it when they're singing along, my lyrics engraved in their minds. I enjoy it when they laugh at one of my dumb jokes. When they politely wait outside the venue for doors to open. When they come early for a good seat. When they yell out a song request. When they cheer. When they get lost inside one of MY songs. It's an amazing feeling. They give so much when they come to a show. And that's why I (and my fellow musicians) must give back.
That's why every night when I go out on stage, I leave everything behind me. All my worries, frustrations with life, an argument with a boyfriend, missing my mom, sickness, fatigue, even hunger! Haha. There have been times when I've gone out on stage wishing for a delicious sandwich! Ha. When did I last eat...what?...5 hours ago!? But the crowd is the reason I dress up, pin my hair up, put my lipstick on.
It's just like when you've been in a relationship with someone for a while and all of a sudden, you stop caring. I'm not saying that you aren't allowed to sit with your loved one in your sweat pants, pony tail, & no make up on. (Aw, that sounds so nice right now). But sometimes when you're with someone for a long time you end up dressing like that all the time. You stop going to the gym, forget or don't care to shave your legs, to put his favorite perfume on. I mean...you've been together for so long it doesn't matter right?
Wrong. Or at least I think so. It's important to "get ready" for your significant other. And take that and times it by 100 and that's how important it is for me to "get ready" for the audience.
Vocal warm ups. Check.
Curled hair. Check.
No alcohol. Check. (I don't mind drinking on stage for other artists, but I have seen some artists that have been so drunk they can barely make it through a song...and that...to me...is very disrespectful to their audience).
All my worries, cares, and grumbling...that's put away in a cupboard for the one hour I'm on stage. Because that time is yours and mine, together. For music. That one hour is for us to forget about everything else. I'll leave my cares behind if you leave yours:
Your mid term paper that you haven't even started on yet
Your rent payment that's due soon
You just got laid off from your job
Your girlfriend dumped you
You just got out of rehab
You have a head ache
You lost your wallet
Your dad never praises you, but always brings up the bad things
Your parents are getting a divorce
You're trying to quit smoking and your hands are shaking
I never thought about YOU guys! I never thought that, hey, maybe someone in the audience is having a terrible day but decided to come out to the show anyways! Maybe someone in the audience is feeling sick, too. They're here. They are smiling!
Let's make a promise from here on out. Live music concerts are a time to close your eyes, forget all your cares, and sing the lyrics to your favorite song louder than the person on stage.
That's what I do when I go to concerts.
When I go to a show of a band I love, I'm the girl in the back singing and screaming out all the lyrics loudly, waving my 5 t shirts I bought (The last show I went to, I spent $250 on band merch! Ha! I love being a music fan). I'll be the girl checking the seat next to me every 2 minutes, making sure no one took any of my 4 vinyls I bought. The girl making friends with the people next to me (or annoying the hell out of them). The girl who's happy to be there with a band that I know is also happy to be there!
Cheers to live concerts!
P.S. My sister Meg at www.chandlertherobot.com released her 1st Thursday pieces today of Herman the Nerdbot necklaces. (She releases special limited edition pieces the 1st Thursday of every month). Catch March's necklace online before they're sold out. :)
A day off on tour is a very precious thing. On tour days kind of seem to blur together, and the simple luxuries you have at home are no where to be found.
I was talking to Andre (Our merch guy) on the bus the other day, and asked him, "Do you like touring?"
He sighed. It was 1 a.m. He had to stay up late counting out merch quantities with the venue and giving them their cut. (At most shows, venues keep a percentage of merch sales. The standard is usually 20%). Random fact. :)
"Yes and no," he said. "I miss my family a lot. I miss out on events. Ya know, birthdays, art festivals, mother's day. But I like traveling a lot. I like it too when I'm surrounded by good people."
I smiled. "I miss silly things."
"Like what?" he asked.
"Well, for example, on tour it sucks brushing your teeth. It's like...you have to go into the bay of the bus to get your suitcase out, dig for your toiletry bag, get your toothbrush out of the weird container, dig for a water bottle in the ice chest, and then brush your teeth outside with your one water bottle to last ya the time. At home, it's like...the toothbrush is hanging out on the bathroom vanity by the toothpaste by the sink!"
I know I'm just being silly now, but after a few weeks of tour, the thing I miss the most is just having everything conveniently out. You need toe clippers, well, they're right here in the bathroom drawer! No big deal! You don't have to pull 7 other people's bags out to find your bag stuffed in the back of the bay to grab those suckers out.
I hope you don't take this as me complaining about tour. Because, obviously, I choose tour over any of the other stuff, from the small things like toothbrush convenience, to the big things, like missing my very large family at home in Utah. But everyday I would choose tour. Being up on stage is something I wouldn't give up, even though sometimes I get so nervous it scares the crap out of me. I still want to get right back up on the horse. Sometimes people ask me, "How did you overcome your nerves/fears." My answer to that: I haven't. I don't think I ever will. But what I have got control over...is how I let the nerves and fear control me. They're still there, lurking in the shadows, but I'll still go out on stage with a smile and a big middle finger to them. Sure, you're still here...but so am I.
Now, moving on to the present. Today is a day off in Ohio. I wake up in my bunk. It's hot. Someone's snoring. The humidifier is on but I can tell there's no water in it left. It sounds funny. The lights are all off. I peek out. Everyone's curtain in their bunk is closed. No way! Am I really the first person to wake up today? I look at the clock on my phone. 9:45 a.m. I am ALWAYS the last to wake. (Granted, I'm usually the last to go to sleep too. I've been busy with Korean Rosetta stone so I can better understand my momma)!
Wait a second...if I'm the first up...that means that I have a chance to be the first person in the hotel room...meaning, I COULD BE THE FIRST PERSON IN THE SHOWER! That's enough to even pull me out of bed. We have 9 people with us on the bus. 5 of them, myself included, are band. Andre- Merch dude. Rob - Tech. Chase - Monitor tech. Robert - Tour manager. We only get 1 hotel room. (Hey, we're on a budget here!) So...after 9 people get in one hotel room...the chances are, it doesn't look or smell that great later on. The 9th person to get the shower is never a happy person. Especially if all the guys shave in the bathroom. Geez, they leave their hair EVERYWHERE!!!
I quickly put some warm clothes on, get my laundry bag (Yes, laundry is a must on every day off!) and run into the hotel. I spot Meg on my way in.
"Why are you up?" she asks astonished.
"I want to take a bath....am I the first one in the bathroom?" (After one person has gone...baths are a no no for me. I just can't.....ew).
"Yup you are."
"Excuse me," I say, as I scramble toward the elevator.
And as I'm sitting in the bath tub, a slather of honey on my face, (Home made mask!) and a little bit of lavender oil in the water, I think to myself...Awww, this is the life! How grateful I am for this bath!
I hear the door click open.
"Hello?" I call out.
"Just me," Meg says. "Take your time."
Oh, I will. I do. I think about all the things I have to do on this special day off. A day off is a time to go to the gym, find some healthy groceries, wash and fold laundry, reorganize the messy bus, clean sheets, write blogs to you!, think of songs to cover, wear no make up (yes!) and watch my favorite gooshy mooshy chick movies in the back alone. Days off are nice days to have some time to yourself.
I turn on some more hot water. And all of a sudden I get really excited. I'm on tour!!! I'm on tour with Blake Shelton!!! I got to watch Miranda Lambert perform yesterday during his set. What a performer and singer! I feel like I've been learning so much this tour just by watching these people that I look up to so much. I don't think Blake will ever know how much it means to me that he's taken us on tour. If I truly expressed my feelings to him everyday, I'd just get annoying. It would be me bursting into tears screaming, "Thank you, thank you, thank you." But really...at the end of the day, I couldn't be more happy to dig in the bus bay, dig in the toiletry bag, and dig for the water bottle to brush my damn teeth!
P.S. 97.5 WQBE played me song "I will" the other day on radio. I then quickly tweeted to my followers, "Please call the number to the radio station and request the song again." I later called up the station to say thanks for playing it. They told me that they had never had so many consistent callers asking for a song in a long while. They said I have great fans. It was at that moment that I realized how awesome you guys truly are. It almost brought tears to my eyes. I love you!
P.S. My new merch store just finally opened! "RED" vinyls are now available too! Here is the link!
I woke up this morning to a text from my little sister:
"Hey. Do you have any good ideas for Valentines for Jordan? (Her boyfriend). I'm not sure what to get him or what to do... Thanks."
Then of course my best friend calls me up. She's been with her man for 3 years now.
I don't know what to do....I already got him art supplies for his birthday a couple months ago. There's nothing that he really ...needs....What do you think I should do?
At first, talking about Valentines' day made me feel a little bit grumpy. Ok, fine. A lot grumpy. (Nice grammar Dia. High five).
I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, opened my bunk curtain and slithered out of my bus bunk. The humidifier in the hallway had been knocked over a couple of times in the night due to the bumpy road. The carpet was soaked, hence, my socks as well. (These aren't just any socks people. They have little faces on them and look like gophers. Yes, they make wearing socks way more fun. Yes...sometimes I am a child). I walked to the front of the bus and peeked out of the window. Pennsylvania. Tour date...number 23? 15? 30? It's hard to keep track of days on the road. Our rider of dried apricots, apple cider vinegar, hummus, cups, plates, almonds, coconut water, etc. had arrived already. I looked back at my phone and frowned.
I went inside the arena and took a cold shower. Jonathan (bass player) said that if you turn on all the sinks in the bathroom and all the showers in the shower room (Yup, gang showers), that it gets luke warm. Eh, tepid would have been acceptable, but I think all the warm water was used up before me. Being number 7 out of 9 to shower comes with consequences. I need to start waking up earlier.
However, the point of all this, is that after the cold shower, I felt an odd change of heart about the dreaded Valentines' day. I know, I know. You can tell me a million times that it's "just another day" or that "the flower companies invented it for money" but to me, it is a reminder of love and being loved. But putting that aside, I decided to channel all of my negative energy, into positive energy for my sister and my friends, and maybe even you! Now my "single and bitter" emotions shall hopefully dissolve once finished with this blog. And low and behold, I'm already getting more cheery. I love to help people plan things, especially for people special to them. So, with that being said......
I've always thought the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, just like my momma used to say. However, don't think this counts you out boys. Whenever a man has made dinner for me.... he's definitely gained some points in my book.
Presents are all fine and dandy, but if you are lucky enough to be with your special someone on this special day, I think you should buy some candles and rose petals, dig out your lace tablecloth, and wipe the dust from your antique candle holders.
With that being said, here are some of my favorite recipes that I have gathered over the years. (No, I didn't create any of them...and no...not all of them are vegan...but I cheat...sometimes!) I hope this inspires some creativity when you're thinking of your Valentine this year! XOX - Dia
P.S. I don't know why some words are blue. Haha. Ignore them!
In a saucepan, heat up the cream with a sprig of thyme, chopped garlic and nutmeg.
While cream is heating up, butter a casserole dish. Place a layer of potato in an overlapping pattern and season with salt and pepper. Remove cream from heat, then pour a little over the potatoes. Top with some grated Parmesan. Make 2 more layers. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Sprinkle some more Parmesan and broil until cheese browns, about 5 minutes.
Note from Dia: Make sure you slice the potatoes REALLY thin. I use a machine to do this. (I'm a cheater). Dried thyme is fine, but if you can go the extra mile, scale your neighbors fence, outrun their dogs, and pick a fresh sprig from their garden, it makes a big difference. I bake my gratin covered with tin foil for 45 minutes, and then remove it, add cheese on top so that it crisps, and bake another 15 minutes. (One time I had to bake this baby for an hour and a half, so check to make sure it's completely done and the potatoes are soft before turning off the oven). This is fool proof boys! You got this!
This next one is SUPER easy! I Promise. And very yummy....who doesn't like pasta?
Creamy Farfalle with Asparagus and walnuts (Giada De Laurentiis)
6-8 servings (If you have 7 girlfriends or are from Utah this might be perfect for you!)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the farfalle and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender and most of the juices have evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and saute until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the farfalle. Stir in the mascarpone and nutmeg and toss until the cheese coats the pasta, adding the reserved cooking liquid 1/4 cup at a time to moisten. Stir in 1/2 cup of walnuts. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mound the pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and remaining 1/4 cup of walnuts. Serve.
Dia's notes: I love nutmeg so I add just a tad bit more. But the recipe portion is legit too! It's kind of a sweet, simple pasta, so if you were looking for savory, this might not be for you.
Now, we both know that you can't seal the deal without desert! And if she/he doesn't like desert...what in the heck are you doing dating them?!?
If you live in LA or NY you may have heard of Magnolia Bakery. Magnolia bakery is a delicious bakery which is pretty popular for their cupcakes and cheesecakes, however, I think their banana pudding is off the wall! If this doesn't make them yours forever, I don't know what will.
Magnolia’s Famous Banana Pudding
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 3.4 oz package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)
3 cups heavy cream
1 12-oz box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (recommended brand)
4 cups sliced ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
1. On medium speed of a stand mixer or in a small bowl, beat together sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Sprinkle pudding mix over the liquid and beat well until all the powder has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Cover and place in refrigerator until completely set, about 3-4 hours or over night.
2. On medium speed of a stand mixer, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in set pudding mixture until blended and no streaks remain (the mixture should be a pale yellow color).
P.S. before you do step 3. I personally don't layer the bananas, cookies, etc. but just mix it all together, light and fluffy, in a big bowl. But I know you're going for presentation here so... move onto step #3.
3. In the bowl you wish to serve the pudding in, arrange 1/3 of the wafers on the bottom of the bowl, they may need to overlap to fit.
4. Then one third of the bananas as the next layer.
4. Then one third of the bananas as the next layer.
5. Then one third of the pudding mixture, repeat three times in total, until you fill the serving dish.
6. Save any bits of the wafers for garnish. Cover tightly and place back in refrigerator for 4 hours to chill. Garnish with crumbs and bits of the wafers.