Friday, September 22, 2017

Jezebel Plays After the Take Back the Night March, Saskatoon, September 21, 2017

Text and photos (c) Robert Barry Francos

The Take Back the Night march is an event I try to attend every year in Saskatoon, help this year on Thursday, September 21, 2017. I don't feel I need to go into the reason why it is important, because if you don't know, you should. This year it was held at the YWCA Saskatoon parking lot, and walked over to the University and back (about two miles, total).

After the march, which had quite a few hundred people of all ages and genders, we met back at one of the rooms at the Y, and were treated to the music of local Saskatoon band, Jezebel. Yeah, I know, there are a few other bands with that name, but as I have not seen them, it's a moot point right now.

They had a nice contingent of fans at the event who danced in the back. Yeah, they were fun, that's for sure. They did a few covers as is expected for the crowd, including Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" and Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself for Loving You." And as they describe themselves as "Unapologetic Bridge City prairie pop punk; pulling no punches with knockout hooks, hard hitting melodies and heart-on-their-sleeve lyrics, it's no surprising they do a cover of Britney Spears' "Toxic." While they were well done, I actually liked their original material better. They have an EP coming out, and perhaps I'll get the chance to review it.

Terri Bear-Linklater: vox; rhythm guitar
Mik Mak Bowman: vox; bass
Jovan Larre: lead guitar
Breton Cook: drums

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Applying for Jobs by Computer or by Mobile.

Text (c) Robert Barry Francos / FFanzeen, 2017
Image from the Internet

It is bound to come, where applying for jobs by cell phone will be the common procedure. The level of technology at present day, however, makes that possible, but is it the most efficient?

Of course, the biggest attraction to using the mobile over the desktop or laptop is ease, and yes, being able to blast out your information to a large number of companies covers more ground. Having your resume and/or cover letter in your email and forwarding it is a snap. Even with that, there are more functional and possibly successful ways to proceed in your job applications.

When you send your resume and cover letter to a prospective employer, the email will indicate that it was sent from a mobile device. This tells the Hiring Manager some assumptive information. For example, it says that you are sending out resumes that are not directed to the company’s individual needs, but as a “pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey,” cover-all template.  They want to know you are willing to put in the work and research before you apply, and that you are self-motivated and proactive. If you want to stand out, it is better to individualize your resume and cover letter rather than sending a come one-come all version.

This is especially true for cover letters. Some people will type in a version of a cover letter into the actual email, but this is not as efficient in attracting positive attention as attaching a document that is easy to print out.

A proper cover letter should be dated, addressed to the company connected to the advertisement even if you have to look up the actual physical address in a search engine, and mention the position exactly as it is mentioned in the ad, including competition number if one is attached. Sending out a cover letter that is undated and unaddressed does not garner as much attention as one that is directed to the person and company requesting your information.

Many companies also have online applications, where the person looking for a job needs to attach a resume after you create a sign-in with that website. These cannot be sent from an email as of yet, so there is still a need for the physical presence rather than just a click on a phone.

Microsoft Word or other word processing software are not easily navigated on a mobile device, so it is better at this stage of the technology development to actually work on the application on a desktop or laptop.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

CHEAP PERFUME Fills the Air [1980]

Text by Marc Silver / FFanzeen fanzine, 1980
Introduction by Robert Barry Francos © FFanzeen blog, 2017
Images from the Internet

Cheap Perfume were a rockin’, all-woman band that was underrated in the New York Scene, and deserved better. I had the opportunity to see them a couple of times in 1977-78, and was happy to give them their due by publishing this piece. They have reformed a number of times, sometimes with the lead singer who had moved to the other coast, other times with the rest of the band filling in vocally.

Please note that this has nothing to do with the Colorado-based band with the same name, which was formed in 2015.

This interview was originally printed in FFanzeen, issue #5, dated August/September 1980. It was written/conducted by Marc Silver. I have lost track of Marc, so if anyone knows his whereabouts, please let him know about this!

Cheap Perfume occupies the niche of the top-drawing all-female band in New York. Their music is self-described as “power-pop with a rock’n’roll edge.” Performances are vibrant and chock-full of ass-kicking rock’n’roll. The majority of their material is original, but their unique covers range from the Beatles’ “Boys” to a version of the Tokens’ “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” complete with choreographed dancing in the aisles.

Brenda, the drummer, had recently crushed her ankle and was partying the time away in the dismal dungeons of the Metropolitan Hospital. Also present for the interview at the hospital were L. and Nancy Street, lead singer and rhythm guitarist, respectively. Sue Sheen [Palermo], bassist, and Bunny LeDesma, lead guitarist, were AWOL.

Brenda [Martinez-White]: In the beginning I created the Earth and the heavenly bodies. No, at the start it was Zoey, Susan and me. But I didn’t consider that the band.
Nancy Street: I noticed an ad in The [Village] Voice for a female vocalist and I said to myself, “I know just the girl,” meaning L. She auditioned and I tagged along.
L [Lynn Odell]: It was a package deal.

FFanzeen: When did Bunny join?
Brenda: Eight months ago.

FFanzeen: After Zoey left?
Brenda: Yes

FFanzeen: Did your material change much?
L: The material changed drastically. Most of the songs up to that point had been written by Zoey and her boyfriend, so we had to give those songs up.

FFanzeen: Who’s doing the writing now?
Nancy: Susan and I, and we’ve got friends who give us songs.

FFanzeen: How would you describe your music?
Brenda: It’s hard.
L: It’s pop. It’s definitely pop. It’s not punk. It’s not heavy metal. Pop pretty well rounds it off. It’s under the genre of New Wave, but certainly not punk.
Nancy: Power pop, with a standard rock’n’roll edge.

FFanzeen: Who are the major influences in your songwriting?
Brenda: Mostly guys.

FFanzeen: I’ll ask you about that later.
Nancy: I’m influenced by the Beatles and the Who. Susan is influenced by…God knows…Frank Zappa, Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson, Southside Johnny, Greg Kihn…
L: Uncle Floyd.

FFanzeen: On stage, Bunny for example, is styled after Keith Richards.
Nancy: Very Stones.
Brenda: Very stoned!

FFanzeen: Do any of the rest of you ever mimic your rock heroes?
Nancy: I do try to do the Pete Townshend windmills.
L: And it looks ridiculous.
Nancy: But I try. I don’t do it very often and I’m not very good at it. But after a few vodkas…

FFanzeen: What would it take to get you to slide across the stage on your knees?
Nancy: I’d pass out before then. But really, I don’t try to emulate anyone.
Brenda: I have my own style.
L: Nobody plays like her.
Brenda: [to L.] And who do you try to sing like?
L: Well, my major influences are from acting. I’m very theatrical on stage. I move around a lot. I don’t just stand there and turn around in circles, like Debbie Harry.
Nancy: It particularly bothers me when you see a band who are obviously on a Who trip or a Beatles trip. There’s a band in the New York area where the lead singer is doing all the Roger Daltry moves, the lead guitarist is doing all the Pete Townsend moves, and the drummer thinks he’s Keith Moon. It’s disgusting. It’s stupid; I resent it. It’s one thing to have influences, but it’s another to have it completely take over your performance.

FFanzeen: This is the definition of a cover band. Have you played outside of New York?
L: We played DC twice; Upstate at Hamilton College [Clinton, NY].

FFanzeen: What were the audiences like?
L: In Washington, they’re pretty civil. They’re a little too civil. They’re boring.
Brenda: They don’t get into it heavily.
L: Upstate, forget it. We had to beat them back with hammers. It was like they had never heard music before.
Nancy: We played the Hot Club in Philly. They loved us. We beat them off with sticks.
L: They were all lesbians. We had to barricade the dressing room.
Brenda: We played a prison once, in Danbury, Connecticut.
L: They weren't wild about us. We were girls, and that they were into, not the music.
Nancy: It was a white collar prison; tax evaders.
L: Where Nixon should be.

FFanzeen: What makes you different from other all-girl bands?
L: Most of them don’t get any further than forming a band. There are a few that you hear about once or twice and then they’re gone.
Brenda: Do you know how hard it is to keep girls together?

FFanzeen: I know how hard it is to keep them apart.
Nancy: Cheap Perfume is very significant to each of us. It is the first and only band any of us have ever been in.

FFanzeen: On stage, it looks as though there’s no jealousy over the spotlight.
Brenda: We’re pretty good about that.

FFanzeen: But I have seen you run into each other on the way into the spotlight.
L: Well, Bunny needs a pair of glasses.
Brenda: We should hold a benefit for Bunny’s glasses.
L: She’s walked into my mic stand three times.
Brenda: But she never misses a cute guy.

FFanzeen: Being an all-girl band might be thought of as a gimmick, but it’s obvious that you’re serious about yourself as musicians. How do people seem to react to you?
Nancy: In the beginning it was a good gimmick and we never had any trouble getting gigs.
Brenda: People still come up to me and say, “You know, you’re pretty good for girls.”
L: At first they were right, because nobody had come anywhere near mastering their instruments. And now, although we don’t have it by the tail…
Brenda: – We have it by the asshole –
L: …We do pretty well.
Nancy: I’d like to think that the timing is right for an all-girl band. It’s more than accepted. Chrissie Hynde is the rhythm guitar player for the Pretenders. Girls are becoming more than just the lead singer.
Brenda: Nancy Wilson of Heart is a fuckin’ hot lead guitar player.
Nancy: I think that the lack of female musicians is a problem from our teen-age. It wasn’t accepted for little 13 year olds to be picking up an electric guitar.

FFanzeen: There were no role models.
Nancy: I think that now there will be a greater mix in the near future. There will be more groups like the Nervus Rex and Talking Heads.

FFanzeen: Unisex bands.
L: I’d like to think that we’re responsible for a lot of girls getting musically involved in the New York scene.

FFanzeen: Almost all of your songs are about guys and are sexually suggestive. Despite your musical social ability, it wouldn’t be outlandish to call this an exploitation or even a gimmick since you’re an all-girl band.
L: Most rock’n’roll songs are about guys, girls…

FFanzeen: Cars, money…
L: Sex, drugs. That’s all. They’re standard themes.

FFanzeen: I don’t buy that. All your songs are about guys, not any of those other subjects.
Nancy: They’re really not. Only one: “Tommy.”

FFanzeen: What about “Overnight Angel,” “Boys,” “Back Alley Lovin’,” “Todd’s Song,” and especially “Too Bad”?
L: “Too Bad”? No, you misinterpreted the song. It’s not about a guy, it's about missing a chance, about being in a situation where you know if you did it right, you could have it. Anything – a guy, a girl, money – anything. But you blow it for one reason or another.
* * *
Anyway, Cheap Perfume is a hot act with many surprises. They’re tight and fast and they’ll leave ya beggin’ for more. They’re avoiding recording until they get the right producer. Definitely a professional move.

As soon as Brenda is out of the hospital, Cheap Perfume will be gigging up and down the East Coast under the guidance of Spotlight Enterprise. I’m looking forward to it.