Friday, March 30, 2012

End of Tour Blog

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 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.
"Mmm hmm."
"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 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 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!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Show Time whether you're ready or not....

"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'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.

Lipstick. Check.
Hydrated.  Check.
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 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 job
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!


Dia Frampton

P.S. My sister Meg at 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. :)