A Ranty Rant on How Music Is Undervalued

My cheerful optimism - Sage Harrington

My cheerful optimism (not pictured). Courtesy of Daniel Zedda.

It’s been a weird year, in some ways. About while ago this happened and a Happy Gland Band video went sort of fungal. No, bacterial. No, virulent. No, viral. And I spent a bunch of energy trying to ride that wave as hard as I could, which led pretty swiftly to the fresh, warm spring wave of Gotta Get Outside And Plant Some Plants, rather than the rip tide of Oh Shit Look At All The Various Ways I Could Spend Hours In Front Of My Laptop I was getting sucked into.

Sometimes a girl just can’t deal with the idea of tweeting every goddamned thing that enters her brain. Okay, if we’re talking about me, it’s all the time. Awllll the timmme.

Things happen in waves (to further bludgeon you with this metaphor), and a bunch of stuff has happened lately that’s pushed me into this really private-feeling space. I don’t want to always be thinking about presenting myself to the world. I don’t want to be visible, all the time.

Social media is all about constructing this version of yourself that’s supposed to be attractive to people, and that pressure can just be exhausting. (By the way, maybe I should compartmentalize social media stuff more, the way Danielle Vincent does. Then maybe I wouldn’t feel the horrible weight of guilty avoidance weighing down on me at all times.)

Then, more things happened.

This ohsohilarious April Fool’s joke, for instance. Yes, you’re hearing the bitterness of one upon whom the joke was played and she was got and she talked about it publicly on social media and spent a really really long time drafting up a blog post about it before she realized that, hey, it’s April first and…shit. I mostly felt angry that I had spent over an hour wasting precious time in front of the computer screen, after I had so recently renewed this sense of Learning To Prioritize and Using Computer Time Wisely So That I Don’t Become a Cranky Musician Who Never Practices Or Enjoys Life!

But seriously, I wanna talk about why this April Fool’s joke is so funny. Because isn’t it hilarious to think that working musicians would be paid a wage comparable to that of people who have real jobs? Isn’t is just dandy that we’re basically expected to scrape by? Isn’t it awesome that what we do is so undervalued?

I met some amazing musicians recently who played their songs and performed beautifully and broke my heart and brought me to tears when I listened to their music and thought about what they had told about ageism, about needing to keep side jobs, about trying and trying and trying to make this career work.

These amazingly talented, lovely players, these two people who have spent so much to become such beautiful artists, these people who are reservoirs of beauty who, by doing their art, can open us up to the truths of life—we don’t even have the dignity as a society to make sure that they are modestly taken care of.

TRANSCENDENT BEAUTY—THAT’S NOT ENOUGH FOR US. We’ve gotta make sure that on top of doing their heartbreakingly beautiful things, they’re also serving the masses their faux-Italian-sized lattes, answering tech support calls, stocking groceries on the shelf. THESE are the things that are really valuable to us. Not education, not music, not art. Not people’s emotional well-being. It just feels so arbitrary and sad.

Clearly, it’s more than just the fact music is undervalued. This is a systemic problem that affects a whole hell of people harder than educated middle-class white chicks who play the ukulele (hey, that’s me). We could talk about the need for universal single-payer healthcare, about grave income inequality, about racism, about sexism. Inga, wanna chat sometime?

Ah, you guys, I feel so ranty and whiny and complainy, and I’m sorry for being such a bummer, but I just really needed to talk about this.

Also, April Fool’s Day is a stupid holiday.

Originally published at Pyragraph.com.

The Joy of Taking Breaks and Learning Something New

Sage Harrington, red nose clown

Me and my circus pals, Callie and Tasha.

Due to the crappy way I’ve been feeling lately (as discussed previously) I needed, just needed, to do something real. Something, er, analog. Something that did not involve pixels. Something that did not involve booking underpaying shows that I would struggle to get through.

I wanted to do real things with my real muscles, so I signed up for a circus intensive. Besides, I didn’t have any shows booked (I was tired of the pixels, remember?) so what else was I gonna do with myself? It was perfect timing.

What can I say about it? It was so much fun. It was beyond liberating to do something so new, so exciting, so beyond my brain’s normal functioning patterns. It was a six-week intensive with classes in all sorts of disciplines: aerials (fabrics and trapeze), clowning, physical theater, stilts, acrobalance.

There’s this thing that happens when you’re taking a fabrics class, for example, and you’re a beginner. The teacher shows you how to do something (and usually they show you about three different things you can do once you’re all twisted up in there), and you go, “Oh, cool, okay, I could totally swing that, that looks super do-able,” then you get up there, you reach for the apparatus, and you’re like, “…uhh…”

Everything’s gone.

You have no idea what to do, and feel totally lost.

This is really refreshing. I’m loving being a beginner. Not to say that I don’t feel like a beginner at music in a lot of ways—I totally do!–but it’s so exciting being at the very start (like, three months and counting!) of this aerial thing. What’s exciting about being at the very beginning is seeing your own progress. Because during one class you’re hanging upside-down, inexplicably not knowing which way is up (note to self: the ceiling is up), and the next you’ve totally got it: What seemed like an interminably long sequence of impossibly complicated tasks has somehow solidified. Understanding has come to the fore from a dark, foggy netherworld of confusion.

And when that happens, it is beautiful. It looks like this, but in your mind.

Rainbow, clouds parting - Pyragraph

Courtesy of kansasphoto.

I’ve got circus muscles now. I have upper body strength, which is something that I’ve never had any reason to develop before. Flashback to Sage’s early teens: At a summer dance intensive I attended, a yoga instructor referred to all us ballerinas as having “weak little dancer arms.” So, that’s been the image of my upper body strength I’ve carried for all these years. Until now.

Surrounded by wonderful women at this wonderful studio (by the way, I am totally going to keep taking classes up there—the atmosphere is just so dang warm and supportive), I’ve become stronger, more confident, and totally jazzed to keep learning the aerial arts.

The workshop concluded with a series of performances. I performed in a clown act (hence, the nose you see in the above photo) and a trapeze act. And, ironically enough, we choreographed our trapeze act to this steampunk song about the evils of the man who invented digital clocks. (It’s ironic because I didn’t choose the song—my trapeze partner did. Remember how I said I was tired of the pixels?)

And now I feel like a strong, tricked-out trapeze badass.

I took a fabrics class the other night and climbed all the way to the fuckin’ top—although I think it was maybe a little shorter than the ones I’ve become accustomed to climbing—I MEAN, it was the longest fabric ever and I just feel so confident, strong, and totally refreshed.

I’m so excited to keep going with this.

Originally published at Pyragraph.com.

White Imperialist Racism And Eyeglasses I Do Not Need

This is a blog post wherein I attempt to deconstruct the anxiety I feel about white imperialist racism and the purchase of new eyeglasses I do not need.

I recently finished up reading Inga Muscio’s Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil: My Life and Times in a Racist, Imperialist Society. I think everyone should read this book. It is a book about racism, yes. White imperialist racism. A book about how white imperialist racist ideology bleeds into pretty much everything we do and see. It’s a book about genocide, a book about sexism, a book about ecocide.

Oh Inga, how I love you. You give voice to the parts of me that our racist, imperialist society has tamped down over the years. There were so many moments in the book where I felt this keen recognition—this feeling of ah, that’s me. That’s a more badass, eloquent, educated me. Those are the thoughts I would be writing about if I were braver. Those are the kinds of critical skills I so wish I’d already been developing, but I hadn’t because I’ve allowed our, you know, racist, imperialist society to hack away at some of the more just wishes of my heart and soul. I’m talking about wishes of equality, wishes that I’d had the bravery to call BULLSHIT, for example, when my mom told me that yes, I had to go to college because there were just some hoops that you needed to jump through, or when the gross ex-boyfriend (soon to have a restraining order set against him, so I guess my family and I did have the bravery to call BULLSHIT) dragged me across his dorm room by the ankles.

But, Inga, you exposed those ideas in your lovely book, which uncovered the germs of similar ideas in me, and there they are! Now, to just read the entire bibliography of Cunt, Blue-Eyed Devil, whichever book of yours I read next, and l shall watch those ideas fully germinate, growing into a veritable forest of pinko commie convictions within my heart! Mom will be so proud. (Maybe not.)

After I finished Inga’s book I got the summer flu. I suspect I got the summer flu due to some antibiotics I was on for bacterial vaginosis. Kill all the good bugs in my gut in the process of killing all the “bad” bugs in my cunt, and destroy my immune system. Western medicine at its best.

While convalescing, I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Small Wonder in three feverish hazed days. (Such a race through a book is unusual for me. Busy life and no time to hang out sniffling on the couch enjoying yourself, see.) Incidentally, especially after reading Inga, Barbara Kingsolver’s eco-friendly-motivated garden growing, left-wing leaning political essays seem positively tame.

So this is the fevered brain-space I was swimming in for days and days. White imperialist racism, bad! And it’s everywhere! It’s means government-endorsed autogenocide, ecocide, climate change. These things are caused by ignorance and greed! Shit is hitting the fan! And what can we do? What can I do?

Here’s what I did. I went about my business.

I went to the eye doctor, because I’m turning 26 in a week, at which time my parent’s insurance plan will no longer cover me. But, yay, Obamacare! for extending that timeline from age—what was it, 24?—to 26. You gotta use that shit while you still can. I had the exam. Then funneled me in from room to room and performed their tasks and deemed my eyes in almost the exact same condition they had been last year (and the previous year).

Then for some reason I put a pair of those fancy trial frames on anyway, and sat down with the salesperson. And then bought the glasses that I DO NOT NEED, because the glasses that I currently wear are of almost exactly the same prescription.

This is the state that I am in. Because I am a white, privileged, middle class person, I am in a state where I am able to agonize over how much waste will go into to the production of the glasses I will purchase even though I DO NOT NEED them. I can agonize over what the longer-term costs may be for the environment based on said unknown waste. I can agonize about what the workers conditions are like where the glasses are made, I can agonize about what toxins may or may not be leached into my face from the plastic of the frames or the anti-reflective coating of the lenses. I am able to agonize over whether or not they should put the slightly creepy dilation drops in my eyes (which temporarily paralyze the muscles surrounding your pupils so that the pupils remain open, with I-don’t-know-what-other-known-or-unknown-long-term-side-affects). I am in a state where I can agonize about what it will do to my bank account in the long term to spend $160 on a pair of glasses I DO NOT NEED that would have cost over three times that much without the coverage of the happy insurance of my parents.

I should probably mention that it has taken me up to this point in my early adult life to not feel a deep, cringing sense of remorse and fear for my future each time even the smallest amount of money is emptied from my wallet.

I can agonize about all the waste that goes on within the office itself—all the paper used, all the tiny little disinfectant wipes wiped on all the elaborate optometry equipment, I can agonize about gender equality in the offices—on why my doctor is male, but everyone else who works there is female. I can agonize about their respective salaries. I can agonize about race, too—on why, for the three years I’ve been going to this office, I have only seen one black woman working there, just this last time. I can agonize over how much energy is used to keep that place at frigid temperatures during the warmest summer months.

I can agonize about a hell of a lot of things in a very short period of time, realize I am a ignorant of the answers to basically all of my questions, and then go ahead anyway and buy the glasses I DO NOT NEED.

I am incredibly fortunate to have the luxury to worry about these things instead of the many other perils plaguing people around the world, often at the hand of our gross government (see Inga for more details).

My glasses saleslady could sense my agonizings, I suspect, and told me that I was merely spending 43 cents a day on them for the next year. But you don’t understand… I moaned internally, there’s so much more to it than that. The earth, you know. The waste. The labor. The money. Plus, if I’m gonna make an investment in something for 43 cents a day for the next year, it might as well be something that has a better chance of improving life for me and everyone else than a pair of glasses I DO NOT NEED. Like some fund for pandas. Or zooplankton. Or a fund that would make sewing machine repair free to this badass self-employed cool-things-making woman.

Instead, I was handed my receipt, told the dilation drops had only worked for around twenty minutes, rather than the four to eight hours they should have, and had this extremely pointless conversation about those “disposable,” “one-use” sunglasses things you’re supposed to slip in behind your eyeglass lenses after you get your dilation drops. See, I DID NOT NEED to waste the resources involved in taking this little sheet of tinted plastic shaped charmingly like some fifties style glasses, because I had a pair of prescription sunglasses in my purse, and, as you might remember, the damned dilation drops had stopped working anyway. (My eyes, just like my heart, shall be paralyzed by ignorance no longer!)

We were almost at the end of our pointless negotiation, the glasses saleslady and me (I didn’t want to take the one-use sunglasses because it’s a waste of resources, and she had already taken them out of their little plastic sleeve and wanted to hand them off to me and be done with it), when she finally said, “You can just take them and if you don’t need them, you can throw them in the trash.”

I took them.

I did not need them.

I threw them in the trash.

And, clearly, I am still agonizing over it.

The Standing O Project: a new way for fans to connect with musicians

So there’s this website called the Standing O Project. It’s kind of like a hybridized musician’s funding platform, support system, and rich online membership community. Fans can contribute through a musician’s page (such as the Happy Gland Band’s page!) and get access to the entire site, which is chock-full of music and fabulously insightful interviews with great musicians from around the world.

With today’s relaunch, they’re offering a ten-day free trial of the site. Click through this link and hit the blue “Start Free Trial” button at the top of the page.

Or, hell, you could just skip that and go straight for the Fan Signup, and help us make a living making music! If you’d be so generous as to contribute any amount of money—any at all—within a week (by July 11), I’ll send you my very very first digital single, a cover of Regina Spektor’s Samson, for freesies. And if you contribute at least $10.00, I’ll send you my just-released Song a Day collection for freesies, too!

Just make sure you use this link.

Please and thank you, thank you, thank you for your support. We couldn’t do it without you.

Standing Ovationing-aly yours,
Sage

Releasing a cover of Samson—my first digital single

And, no, I don’t mean I’m getting rid of a finger! This is a recording I made on my very own, and after slaving over both a ukulele and a hot keyboard, things have happened! HarryFox.com has been visited. Pixels have been shifted, money has changed hands. Deals have been cut. Licenses have been licensed. Now I am proud to announce that this shit is available for sale on the interwebs.

iTunes!
CDBaby!
Bandcamp!
etcetera!

Thank you, and goodnight!

What’s Your Deal, Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay?

Originally published at Pyragraph.com.

I met Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay just last year, when we were booked at a tiki-themed bar on one of the first frigid Tuesday nights of winter.

Needless to say, the bar was nearly empty and I basically ended up performing for Brennen and Noel. They were a great audience, and when it was time for their set, Brennen said she understood that it was late on a weekday night and wouldn’t be offended if I took off before their set ended. Even though I’m kind of the old lady at heart (perhaps like the one Brennen wrote about in this song) who would rather have gone to bed than stay out on a frosty November evening, I had to stay. They were so great.

Also, really friendly. They told me they occasionally tour with a giant, slobbery redbone coonhound. I countered with photos of my chihuahua. 

Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay will be performing in Albuquerque, NM at DUOPALOOZA! this Sunday, June 8 at Marble Brewery.

I hope they’ll bring the coonhound.

1. What’s your act?

Some nice quotes about us will hopefully do:

“Noel and Brennen are great songwriters.” —Guy Clark

“Before the World Was Made is a witty, heartfelt record of dusty barroom shuffles, sassy two-steps and ethereal country-folk. It’s informed by the vintage duets of George Jones and Melba Montgomery, as well as the more modern pairing of John Prine and Iris DeMent.”  —Chicago Tribune

“Before the World Was Made is a delicious mix: raw, retro country plus sweet irony. That’s apparently the specialty of Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay, the Austin-based duo whose debut is hilarious, sentimental and profound, usually all at the same time.”  —CMA Close Up

2. Tell me about your backgrounds as artists/performers. 

Brennen: I grew up in the midwest playing country music with my brother Seth. I moved to Austin in 2002. I worked on my songwriting there, played music with lots of fantastic people and eventually started collaborating with Noel. We made our first record together in 2013 and are now touring the country in our car with our redbone coonhound.

Noel: I started playing in bars when I was 15 years old. I had a band with my brother called McKay Brothers for a good little while. When I was a young songwriter I played a show with songwriting legend Guy Clark and he took a shine to my songwriting, took me under his wing and has been in my corner ever since. I’m most happy traveling and writing songs with Brennen.

3. What was the worst gig you ever played? Dish all the juicy bits.

Noel: One time my brother and I got booked at this crappy place in a town called Yantis in North East Texas. Having spent lots of time in South Texas I’ve written several songs that are in both English and Spanish. It only took one of those before the 20 or so people in the bar were standing in front of the stage expressing their extreme dissatisfaction at our cross-cultural offering.

One particularly meth-addled looking fellow kept saying, “Why would you do that?” over and over again. I thought these folks were gonna kill us. It was a sufficient ruckus that the cops showed up. I was pretty disappointed when they left. We had to jump through some hoops to get paid but we did. We rolled up the gear in record time. We made like a bakery truck and hauled buns down the road “muy pronto!”

4. Who are your favorite performers at the moment?

Loves It!The Carper FamilyThe Cactus BlossomsSilas Lowe.

5. What’s the most helpful tip you could share with aspiring performers?

Brennen: Be nice! Your fellow musicians are your friends.

DUOPALOOZA! is Albuquerque’s favorite (and only) music fest of duos, and it’s happening this weekend. Featuring:

Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay
Todd and the Fox
Alex Maryol Duo
Sage and Jared’s Happy Gland Band
BaBa

Sunday June 8, 1-9pm
Marble Brewery
111 Marble Ave NW
Albuquerque, NM

Photo courtesy of Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay.

You Are Cordially Invited To Look At This Duopalooza Poster

And then attend Duopalooza!

duopalooza poster

Sunday June 8th, 1:00-9:00pm
Marble Brewery
111 Marble Ave NW
Albuquerque, NM

Announcing Duopalooza!

You are cordially invited to DUOPALOOZA!

It’s true; it’s a thing. It’s Albuquerque’s favorite (and only) music fest of duos.

And it’s happening Sunday June 8, 1:00-9:00pm, at Marble Brewery.

Here’s the deal: the Happy Gland Band noticed that something was awry in the land. The cosmos were astir, our chakras were imbalanced, the Happy Gland Dirigible listed slightly to the right. It was a terrible time, indeed. How could this ever be solved, we wondered? As Jared stroked his thinking rabbit, I took out my pen and newsboy cap. Moments later, we looked at each other in astonishment as we simultaneously cried:

DUOS NEED THEIR OWN DAY IN THE HOT ALBUQUERQUE SUN!

Just like George Michael the Chihuahua does!

So, we got a handful of New Mexican duos and one fabulous Austin/Nashville-based duo together, and we’re throwing a party.

Free admission for those who arrive by dirigible.

(Free admission, also, for those who arrive by foot, car, bicycle, or camel, but don’t tell that to the folks who piloted the dirigibles. Those who come by blimps pay an exhorbitant parking fee yet to be determined.)

And here are the lovely people whose arms we have twisted to play at this show (but not too hard, because we still wanted them to play their instruments):

Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay
Todd and the Fox
Alex Maryol Duo
Sage and Jared’s Happy Gland Band
BaBa

Come have The Supper Truck supper and Marble Brewery beer.

Sponsored by Pyragraph.com.

Sunday June 8th, 1:00-9:00pm
Marble Brewery
111 Marble Ave NW
Albuquerque, NM

“Samson,” Regina Spektor cover with chord transcription—Plus, a story of The Nature

It was a fine spring evening, not very long ago, when I traipsed and trudged into the bosque with perhaps the world’s shittiest microphone stand. The sun was at just the right angle, providing the perfect amount of light to ensnare baby rabbits, but this was no time for such things. I heard them scampering, far off; up to half a mile off, in fact—my ears are that well-tuned to the paws of baby bunnies; softly thumping away from my fearful footfalls, but they needn’t have feared me. That day.

For, that day I had entered the bosque for other reasons. The “city” of Albuquerque had tired me with its tiresome citylike ways. The traffic noises, the enormous trucks, those crazy kids with their rap music blasting out of their crazy souped-up cars, all a-clamor, rattling the world’s biggest mic in the world’s shittiest mic stand in the world’s least soundproofed home, all coming to life just at the moment I turn the mic on.

(There is a wool blanket hanging on the window next to me, for “soundproofing” purposes. Why? Because I am able to trick myself into believing that it’s helping. Kind of.)

Every crunch of gravel, audible. Every thump of the car-shakin’, rump-thumpin’ bass, buzzing. Every rev of every motor—yes, all the motors, each one—humming in my microphone.

It was intense sonic frustration that drove me to The Nature. And, ah! Such dangers I faced! Wood ducks, waddling through the aforementioned dry and crunchy leaves. Plagues of ninja crickets. The palpable, viceral—evisceral, even—sensation that a person might happen upon me playing a Regina Spektor song in the midst of the bosque.

Not to mention the dappled sunlight and deadly spines of some plants. Oh, and the traffic noise. Because there was some of that happening in The Nature, as well.

Yes, I braved many dangers.

And here, now, please let me present to you something that I hope can be of use to you in your next ukulele-weilding, high-flying, adventure-loving, suspense and anxiety-filled naturey experience: a somewhat sloppy transcription of Regina Spektor’s Samson that I pieced together with help from The Internet and my very own brains.

Learn it and uke hard.

 

Samson – Regina Spektor

B       B/C#     B/D#      E
You are my sweetest down-fall

E    F#          G#m      F#       E
I loved you first, I loved you first

B       B/C#   B/D#     E
Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth

F#      G#m     F#         E
I have to go, I have to go

E/B                  E E/B
Your hair was long, when we first met

F#  G#m         B
Sam-son went back to bed

B                   E
Not much hair left on his head

F#     G#m      B                     B           F#
He ate a slice of wonder bread and went right back to bed

F#    G#m       B                    B              E
And history books for-got about us and the bible didn’t mention us

B       F#     G#m                  E
And the bi-ble didn’t mention us, not even once

B       B/C#     B/D#      E
You are my sweetest downfall

E    F#        G#m      F#        E
I loved you first, I loved you first

B        B/C#    B/D#    E
Beneath the stars came fallin’ on our heads

E              F#       G#m            F#       E
But they’re just old light, they’re just old light

E/B                E
Your hair was long when we first met

F#  G#m      B
Sam-son came to my bed

B                 E
Told me that my hair was red

F#     G#m      B            B           F#
Told me I was beautiful and came into my bed

F#      G#m       B
Oh I cut his hair my-self one night

B                             E
A pair of dull scissors in the yellow light

E                B
And he told me that I’d done alright

B      F#         G#m                E
and kissed me ’til the mornin’ light, the mornin’ light

B      F#         G#m E
and he kissed me ’til the mornin’ light

B       F#     B

F#  G#m         B
Sam-son went back to bed

B                  E
not much hair left on his head

F#     G#m      B                     B           F#
Ate a slice of wonderbread and went right back to bed

F#       G#m        B
Oh, we couldn’t bring the columns down

B         E
Yeah we couldn’t destroy a single one

E                        B
And history books forgot about us

B     F#/A#     G#m                E
And the bible didn’t mention us, not even once

B       B/C#     B/D#      E
You are my sweetest downfall

F#     G#m
I loved you first

What’s Your Deal, Sage and Jared’s Happy Gland Band?

Sage Harrington and Jared Putnam of Sage & Jared's Happy Gland Band

{This was originally published at Pyragraph.com in anticipation of the ReLaunch Party we’ll be playing this coming Saturday, April 26, at ArtBar, 8 p.m. Peri Pakroo was kind enough to write us up this very swell introduction. Also, Happy Easter!}

If you need stimulation of your happy gland, look no further than Sage & Jared’s Happy Gland Band.

Sage and Jared make me happy just looking at and being around them (Sage has been my kids’ babysitter for a few years now, plus she wields editorial awesomeness at Pyragraph; my kids are friends with Jared’s kids; I could go on), but hearing them play music together makes for mega happiness.

Before the Gland Band formed not quite two years ago, Sage Harrington was already a well-loved singer-songwriter in Albuquerque, both solo and with various other acts. Her voice is just plain arrestingly beautiful and her songs are funny, some darkly so (“You Are a Terrible Person” comes to mind), with progressions and melodies that remind me of Regina Spektor (whom Sage sometimes covers, and so, so well).

Jared is the bass player in the perennial favorite filthy mangy jazz band from Albuquerque to KazakhstanLe Chat Lunatique. Jared also writes darkly humorous songs about love, death and cockroaches, so he and Sage were destined to join forces, with an assist from two tiny dogs with pink hair.

Sage & Jared’s Happy Gland Band will be unleashing happiness upon Pyragraph’s ReLaunch party, and we’re feeling positively engorged.

1. What’s your act?

Sage and Jared’s Happy Gland Band! We are awesome because of reasons. It probably has something to do with the ukulele, the upright bass, the singing, the singing chihuahua, the supper, and the other dog with the gaping, rotten maw and pink mohawk.

2. Tell me about your backgrounds as artists/performers.

Sometimes our background is a nice, neutral taupe. Sometimes we opt for a lively neon orange to lift us out of the doldrums, during those rare cloudy Albuquerque days. The majority of the time, however, I go for the ’90s laser beams (example) while Jared prefers a green screen, so he can project whatever he likes on it, thusly.

3. What was the worst gig you ever played? Give me all the juicy bits.

It was an early spring morning in 1982. We were still recovering from the show the night before playing for the Pinball Machine Workers Union Local 409 Biannual Convention in Olathe, Kansas. It was a great show but we all had a few too many Zima and Creams. We were at the Johnson County Executive Airport prepping the Happy Gland Dirigible for what should have been an easy flight up to North Platte, Nebraska for the third annual Wig, Toupee and Merkin Workers Association Gala Event.

Sage had just finished checking pressure levels in the rear ballonets, and I had just completed the preflight checklist for both engine nacelles. Everything appeared to be in proper working order. We were cleared for take off by air traffic control at 8:50am. The wind was in our favor as we untethered our trusty old airship and rose skyward. I started the propellers and we set a course northward as the morning sun shone through the starboard portholes, warming our tired bones.

George Michael, our tiny shivery chihuahua, found a small oval of warm light on the floor and made it his own. Daphne, our other dog, wheezed. We had been aloft for no more than an hour when, just as Sage and I were finishing signing a pact to never drink Zima and Cream again, we heard a loud POP. It had come from the engine on the port side. We looked out the porthole and to our horror saw that the propeller had seized up and was billowing smoke!

I panicked and started screaming and breaking plates over my head, but fortunately Sage kept a level head.

“Get a grip!” she implored. “We just gotta set her down! We’ll get through this!”

“You’re right.” I said setting down the Falcon Crest commemorative plate I was just about to smash against my skull. “We just need to kill the other engine, release some hydrogen, and set her down gentle in the nearest clearing.”

We scanned the ground below us and saw the perfect spot. We were descending a little too fast for our liking but we finally got her under control and actually made a decent landing, considering the circumstances. The clearing we were in was actually a large courtyard in what appeared to be a university of some sort. As we disembarked down the gangway we saw a man with an eyepatch walking towards us. He walked up to me and held out his hand to shake mine but missed.

“Welcome to the New South Heathrow School for the Blind in One Eye. I am the Headmaster, Dr. Plimothy Danderfield-Ortega.

“Pleased to meet you, Dr. Danderfield-Ortega,” Sage offered. “We are Sage and Jared’s Happy Gland Band. It seems we have had a minor engine catastrophe, but were fortunate enough to find this courtyard to make an emergency landing. We mean you no harm.”

“Harm, schmarm!” said the headmaster. “Why, your landing here couldn’t possibly be more fortuitous!”

“Oh, is that so? How do you mean?” we said in unison.

“Well you see, tonight just so happens to be the night of the New South Heathrow Sadie Hawkins Dance, but the band we hired cancelled! They are called ‘Lola and the Primates’ and they specialize in what they call ‘Grungyachi’ which is a blend of grunge and mariachi. But they just called and said they won’t be able to make it because they all have mono. Does Sage and Jared’s Happy Gland Band play ‘Grungyachi?’”

“Of course we do!” we said. “Asinine musical genre mashups are our specialty. Although, we are not sure what ‘grunge’ is. Are you sure it has been invented yet? It’s only 1982….”

So we ended up playing the gig. The entire school seemed to have a great time, but we had some sound issues: There were WAY too many mids in the monitors and Sage’s mic stand was stripped. WORST FUCKING GIG EVER!

4. Who are your favorite performers at the moment?

Well, the Aluminum Corporation of China (ACC) is always a strong performer, and a great member of our portfolio, currently. Wouldn’t think of getting rid of it, except for, you know, the despicable use of energy and water that goes into shifting all that earth around and destroying all that nature just so all that cash can be shifted around, too, from the poor to the not-so-poor, to the not-at-all poor, like us. But when you’re cashing the checks, you forget about the little birdies and whatnot and just buy the securities, liquidize them when the time is right, convert it into bullion, and seal it away in your Swiss bank account. But I digress.

We were really into mortgage-backed securities until we realized they had become toxic, which was unfortunate. Tesla, too (TES), ranks up there. (Not this Tesla.) Really, though, my pet performer (which is doing fairly well at a decent enough rate of growth) in our portfolio currently is Integrated Dirigible Exteriors, Interiors, and Internal Systems Incorporated (IDEIISI).

People are always down on boring, boring bonds—I actually like to use bond facts to drive away unpleasant people at meet and greets at our sold-out stadium performances—plus, they make me feel really patriotic inside, just like the USO girls do. I just want to dance some American dances when I think of the bonds.

5. Thanks for playing the Pyragraph fundraiser. What’s the most helpful tip you could share with aspiring performers?

Most valuable tip anyone’s ever given me: Always bet on the fourth horse from the left in the third race, but only after the appropriate number of Pimm’s Cups, which may vary for each individual. This is an art, not a science, and therefore completely unexplainable. You just have to get pretty drunk, that’s the main requirement. Also, you could just bet on the one with the stupidest name.

Sage & Jared’s Happy Gland band does website and Twitter and Facebook, and YouTube here and here.

Photo by Amy Black, owner of the Supper Truck