Jeff Tapia (of the kick-ass Seattle bands Rat Queen and Razor Clam) was probably least likely to be voted Prom Queen. Many years later, she is still thinking about high school, and that's OK. So am I. If you’ve listened to my last two records (Jewel Case and COOL/LAME), you can probably glean that I always felt like an outsider looking in. I still do. I always felt like a weirdo, which is what led me to punk rock at a young age (and landed me onto the truant officer’s “Bad Girl” list).
For Jeff, it was a different story, one of conformity and rejection of true self. One of chunky early 2000s highlights and trying to please. Jeff (who goes by pronouns ‘they-them’ did not rebel till much later in life. Now you can bet they are making up lost time with glitter beards and soaring pop punk gang vocals to spare. THIS IS JEFF’S TIME, PEOPLE. GET THE FUCK OUTTA THE WAY.
Perhaps that is why when we first met, I recognized something unique and powerful in Jeff, a sense of “fuck trying to be cool” that felt really visceral and youthful. They exuded a sense of vulnerability and confidence all at once, like the lost kids I first met smoking cigarettes behind the school during study hall. I kind of think Jeff is going through a new teenage renaissance right now in their early 30s! Jeff is a punk star on the rise, with guts, talent, and gumption. But that does not mean it’s all been an easy ride.
See, what's cool, what's SO not and who is snickering behind your back (or is that just paranoia?)...the pressures of the ladies or boy’s locker room, never really go away. Today, Jeff and I talk about finding an authentic and real sense of belonging in DIY music, dealing with anxiety and depression, the glory of 90s pop punk, and why Jeff, named themselves "Jeff."
You won't want to miss the incredible meet-cute story of how Hayley and Jeff became instant friends. We should have a romantic comedy written about it. Yes--Jeff truly is a superhero in disguise! Plus, hear lots of songs from Rat Queen's newish album, "Worthless!"
And now, an update from your gal pal Hayley!
What have I been up to? Oh god! Well, I went to Berlin and Prague over Christmas and New Years and worked a lot on my book while I was there (my book is a constant source of struggle: to get it written, to tell my story, and to not feel like a hack). In the meantime, I wrote this thing about not being served butter in a Prague restaurant. I really need to do a full on podcast or a bunch of posts JUST about this insane 3-week solo trip with my sister. There were so many insane moments and beautiful realizations…it just feels like a dream or a hallucination. I recommend everyone try to do a Christmas in another country, with just one family member. It was intimate and precious and intense and I feel like I got to know my sister (and myself) even better. Plus, there were so many meats and cheeses. SO, so many!
Made a new music video for my song Before the Blitz with an axe, a bottle of ketchup, and and old 45 (used as a ninja star). I did a little mini CA Valley Tour with Dirty Limbs earlier in March that was insanely fun - shout out to the Fatty Cakes gals for coming out to support in Fresno. My BUST Magazine story on Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries dropped recently, and I am proud of the fact that I can continue to lift up musicians who deserve (but are often not afforded) the Limelight. This road goes both ways. I want to give as much if not more than I get. After all, what is this crazy game we’re all playing? There is no end-of-the-road. We are just on this weird path together. Look around you, not just above and below you, but NEXT to you. Give that band a hand. Support that artist. Just be nice. It goes a long way.
Speaking of nice people, Hayley and the Crushers will head back out to Southern California with Dirty Limbs this May 10-12, so come out and crush with us!
(Takes a big breath of air) And the nicest news of all——OhMyGodYouGuys I am going on a 10-day Midwest Tour through 8 states this April 25-May 7! This is largely thanks to kind midwestern soul Dougie Tangent of The Putz/Devious Ones, who basically booked the whole thing out of the goodness of his pop punk heart. I was on a few really cool podcasts recently and I have been really overwhelmed with the radio play and reviews of COOL/LAME. Sometimes it really feels surreal. Is this real life or just fantasy?
The Crushers went into the studio with Bart Thurber in Oakland at House of Faith to record seven new Crushers songs last weekend with our new drummer, Benjamin Cabreana, who—even though he has had no formal recording experience—fucked up way less than Dr. Cain or I! He actually did a really great job and killed it. “Red light fever” is real, people, but our boy Ben doesn’t have it.
I am feeling that buzzy feeling I get in my gut when a project is nearly ready to share. We record again next weekend and (with any luck) that will be our third full length in the can! It is always so weird when you make a record, because it takes like a year (or even a lifetime) of musing and thinking, then this rush of writing, then BAM it just gets captured and that’s what you get. There is a sense of reality that crashes down, and you realize that THIS is the moment and it has to happen now or never. It feels exhilarating and frightening and fun!
Wishing you an exhilarating frightening and fun adventure, whatever that means to you. Thank you for listening and for prodding me to get another podcast out. I know. I was on such a roll, then dropped the damn ball. I vow to keep this train chugging along. We all could use a little more sparkle.