Monday, March 18, 2013

10 years part 2

Continued from Part 1

Jason and Steve had both played in a band called Logicseed that Brian and I had played shows alongside in our previous band Shovelfist.

They had come in to audition with us knowing the three songs on our Dumbcane EP and without hesitation they were instantly the other half of .bipolar.

After the Sammie win the News & Review announced it by falsely saying we had broken up. They wrote a retraction after I sent them a note about the lineup change but they never did an interview with us and I always felt it was a snub of sorts.

We quickly had enough songs to start playing shows and played our first show back (.bipolar. version 2.0) at the Pine Street in Livermore only 2 months later.

In August we started recording a new EP entitled Worn & Faded. It featured the songs Hand In Hand, Lopsided and Diotima's Anguish.  Diotima's to this day is one of my favorite songs that we've done. I wrote the lyrics about my life at 12 and 13 years old living in the high desert of Southern California and the struggle I had with my father and his wife at the time.
It's been nine years since I wrote those lyrics and they still make my stomach turn every time I hear that song.

The song writing with Steve and Jason seemed to flow so effortlessly. We were all in the same mind set and we knocked out songs we all loved quickly. We practiced three times a week and played shows as often as possible. Trying to get our new music out to anyone who would listen.

In October of 2004 we were able to book one of the most historical venues in rock history; The Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood.
One of the stipulations of playing the show was having to sell sixty tickets at $10 a pop or pay for the tickets ourselves.
Luckily Brian has a knack for selling tickets right before the show and we broke even. He even sold tickets to a writer who was there to review us. We also had some good friends who came with us and lived in the area. They helped us canvas the Hollywood strip and sell tickets to tourists before the show.

It was Halloween weekend, a Friday night and the crowd dug us. We put on a great show even though we were all nervous as hell. It was one of the few shows I shook all the way through the first two songs.  Back then I was still very unsure of myself onstage and didn't have much of a presence there. To be on a stage I know had once been graced by Jim Morrison, I felt completely unworthy.

Sacramento at this time started to get a lot of new all ages venues that doubled as churches. So bands like us had to sign agreements before we walked on stage promising not to swear, or blasphemise to the youth in the crowd. They would pray before we went on stage.

It wasn't really as bad as it sounds considering the shows were always packed and we sold more merch at those shows than any other time. One of my favorite shows of all time was when Ghostride covered Slayer's God Hates Us All, and no one knew but the other bands.

The bands within the scene at that time accepted us really well and we networked with many. Some of our favorites were Ghostride, Red Tape, Revolution Smile,  Abominable Iron Sloth, Save and Continue, and Burn Heal Scar. 

All of the bands coming out at that time were really talented and we felt so lucky to be amongst their ranks. 

We also started to get some love from 98 rock. They choose us as band of the month for March of 2005 and played us every week for the month. At the end of the month we got to play an acoustic version of our new song (at the time) Midway.

We were at our height. Good shows came easy and we had a solid following of fans at every show we booked whether in Sac. or the Bay.
We had more than enough songs at this time to work on a full length cd.
Even though we had a decent draw and played what we considered great shows we still weren't getting attention from any labels, and the band could barely pay for itself. We all had important day jobs, Brian and I were married, Steve and Jason had serious relationships and the band seemed to be put further and further in the background of our lives.
 So in the middle of recording the full length, playing lots of shows, Brian and I decided to release the pause button on our relationship and take the next natural step of being parents.
I was forthcoming with Jason and Steve; letting them know our decision and my plan that once pregnant I would only be away from the mic for three months.

We wrapped up the full length which we named "All remembering was in vain..." over the next few months. Then I found out I was pregnant. My doctor cleared me for singing for seven months into the pregnancy and I wasn't ready to slow down.

Steve and Jason started jamming with their old drummer and Brian was working on a side project as well. All agreeing that these would only be temporary projects during the scheduled three months of downtime for .bipolar.

We continued to play shows on a regular basis. We had two shows booked for one weekend in February and right before I got sick with pneumonia and with a 103 fever my doctor told me NO! I had to go home and rest or my body would choose me over the baby. So for the first time, and against my control my pregnancy had gotten in the way.

I think this was the sign that Jason and Steve took to make a decision that would change everything a month later.

Then we booked our CD release show for March 10th at an awesome new club in Downtown Sac called Junta.

With persuasion from my band members, one of them being my husband and child's father we had decided to make this my last show until after the baby. Forcing me to take more than the scheduled three months off as my baby was due in July.

We promoted the hell out of that show and the venue boasted a capacity of four hundred. I'm pretty sure that night we filled up the place with almost three quarters of the maximum.

It seemed that we had more people at that show than we had at any show prior. Friends were singing lyrics right into the mic with me and strangers were video taping some of our songs that would later end up on YouTube. When we were finished with our planned set the crowd chanted for more, we pulled off one more and then the crowd chanted my name as I crashed exhausted on the nearest seat.

I think a lot of those people expected that show to be my last, and maybe .bipolar.'s last, mostly because no one expected me to be able to pull off motherhood and fronting a band.

We slimmed down our practices to once a week or so. I needed to keep the conditioning of my voice up and we didn't want to lose interest in the many songs we had written together over our two years in this version of .bipolar.

 Little did Brian and I know that Steve and Jason had lost interest probably the instant I had announced I was pregnant.

Brian showed up at practice one night while they were moving their gear out of our rehearsal room.
They didn't say a word to him but left a note on his drum stool explaining that they "just weren't that into .bipolar." any longer.

I was crushed. The guys were like my brothers and I completely didn't seeing it coming. I had been talking to Jason almost on a daily basis like my best friend and he never once mentioned that they were losing touch with what we were doing or the plans that we had for after I returned.

This felt like being dumped. AGAIN. Each time this happened I would tell Brian. "I'm done" I didn't want to feel rejected every 1-2 years and be blindsided by other people's decisions that took my dreams, my passion, my blood, sweat and tears in their hands and flushed it down the toilet like it wasn't worth a shit to them.

But now, six years later I can see that they probably just didn't expect me to return to the stage and the mic after becoming a mother. They moved on with the project they had started and I dealt with the future of my band and not knowing if we would be able to find another guitarist and bassist while I was pregnant. It was hard enough to find musicians that wanted to be in a band with a female singer, let alone a pregnant female singer.

--to be continued....