So the first show on 1.30.09 at Public Assembly was awesome and went better than I ever could have expected. I guess putting on rock shows is the same as putting up theater shows: everything MUST fall apart a couple days before so that it WILL come together magically on stage. Literally on Thursday I could not sing and I was definitely worried about how well some of the songs would go, but after three days of vocal rest, I warmed up in the bathroom at Public Assembly a few minutes before we went on and my voice was back. Not perfect, but back enough to sing well.

Our openers, Emily Stern and The Spanish Channel (that’s two separate bands), were awesome and had great shows. We got an awesome crowd in there and by the time we went on stage it was a pretty packed house. I counted about 35-40 people that were just my friends alone, so that was amazing. My friends are the absolute best!!!

Also, one girl had accidentally come to the wrong venue but decided to stay and hear us just to be nice, and she ended up loving the show, so that was great!

The show itself was excellent. The band sounded awesome and we pretty much got every song just right. People were saying they thought we’d been playing together for a long time–HA! If they only knew. And people also said they assumed some of the songs were covers because they swore they’d heard them on the radio, so, frustrating as it is that my friends didn’t know a bunch of my songs, it’s awesome that they think they’re good enough to have been covers! 🙂 It’s good to see people are finally buying different songs on the album on iTunes, because I’m proud of all of them and I want them to get heard.

Also, I was finally able to let go and really move and interact with the crowd while performing the songs. I think it makes a big difference to have a full band behind me because it makes the songs a lot more danceable and get-into-able. People also were saying my songs were really danceable, which is great because that’s the direction I want to go in, anyway.

I think my goals for this year will be to 1. Delegate my work (right now I’m doing EVERYTHING from songwriting to promotion to booking to publicity etc etc and that’s why there are experts for that) and 2. Network hardcore till I really find and use all my connections to get things to the next level. I can work as hard as I want on my own, but it really takes collaboration with others to make things happen.

The fabulous Chris Hanley, who took all my pictures (including the one on top of this blog) and helped me shoot a lot of my videos, will be editing the raw footage together from the “Come Home To You” shoot we did a few months ago in Montana. That will be really helpful. And I’m getting closer and closer to just breaking down and spending the money for an Ariel Publicity campaign, because I really just need to get the damn word out already about my stuff, and I think it’s just too hard to get all the coverage you want on your own. That might have to wait till I have more danceable stuff, though, but we’ll see. I am so jealous of those bands that just magically become indie darlings, but maybe I’m crazy and there’s a PR machine behind all of them, too. There probably is. Nothing, nothing, nothing happens in this business magically. It all takes work work work!!!

Recently, I played another show for the middle school students at my K-12th Grade alma mater, The Spence School in Manhattan. Hands down, this is the best audience I’ve ever had. Two years in a row now, they’ve blown me away with their enthusiasm for my music, and it makes me feel so, so good. Last year I was so excited because after I played they were all so interested in knowing where to get my music etc etc, but this year blew last year away. Here are a few highlights:

-During “You Don’t Have To Worry,” some girls put their arms around each other and began swaying back and forth to the music, spontaneously! There was also clapping along to the beat.

-When I said I was going to play “Chocolate Cake,” there was a cheer like you can’t believe. They were SO excited for it, and this was 9 months after they’d first heard it. Amazing.

-When I sang “Chocolate Cake,” THEY KNEW THE WORDS! They knew ALL the words, and they were dancing and singing along all in unison–it was amazing!

-When I said “I don’t know if you’ve been following what I’ve been up to over the last few months, but if you have, you might know this next one–it’s called ‘Texas Boys,'” they SCREAMED with excitement. They all knew about it, they knew the words, and they wanted to sing along. So I brought a couple of girls up and they sang it with me!

-One of the girls actually made me a customized “Texas Boys” cowgirl hat, complete with a homemade “I ❤ Texas Boys" sign on it. That’s my first fan gift ever! Amazing!

-After the show they all wanted my and Socrates’ autographs, and we each signed a LOT of them. I love that.

So, Spence middle schoolers are the best. If any of you gals are reading this, thanks again! You made my day and I’m so happy you’ve got this old Spencie’s back!

And I’ve completely lost my voice. From a cold. Right before a show. As usual. God. Dammit. So I’m on vocal rest and drinking brown smoothies made of banana, orange juice, spinach and beets (trying to maximize the natural vitamin intake), as much straight orange juice as possible, sleeping as much as possible, and apparently, blogging as much as possible. Ha. But anyway, thank god the gig is 48 hrs away and not 24, because I think 48 is doable for getting my voice back.

Anyway, in case you’re not one of the 1,333 people I’ve already reminded 100 times about the show, here’re the deets:

JC Cassis live! (with Emily Stern and The Spanish Channel opening)
JC takes the stage at 8:40pm
Public Assembly
70 North 6th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
L train to the Bedford stop

Hope to see you there! The band has been kicking ass musically and we’re also really having fun together which is amazing. They’re such sweet, talented, dependable people and I feel so lucky to be working with them. Last night at rehearsal was hilarious. We had two members who were deathly ill with colds, one of whom later got a horrendous nosebleed, the practice room was too cold, then too hot, and always too loud, and yet we still couldn’t hear each other, someone fell off a heater and bruised his butt, one guitarist had carpel tunnel syndrome, I was so sick I had to do some songs lying down, and we ran through Oasis’ “Wonderwall” and Weezer’s “Undone (The Sweater Song)”–my favorite song in 5th grade!– totally spontaneously and told funny stories about Rivers Cuomo going to Harvard with two of us (me and our bassist, John Ames.)

It is sooooooooooooo good to be in a band again I can’t even tell you.

Also, you will need to prepare yourselves for the hilarity that happens when we all dance while we’re playing songs. Watch Lee-Sean, our keyboardist, especially. Dude is funny. I can’t think about it when I’m singing because I start laughing uncontrollably. I will have to steal some blinders from a carriage horse and do the show with those on. Ooh, that’s a good idea for a gimmick.

Ok, whatever. Go to the show, ok?

The difference between an ok life and a great life is hard work.

Whatever lofty goal or big dream you have in life, it’s going to take some hard-ass work to achieve it.

The best thing you can do for yourself when pursuing a goal is immediately throw out the idea that it will be easy or happen fast. Because it won’t and it won’t.

Accept the fact that anything worth getting only comes after a lot of hard work, and get to work.

Here’s some of the work I’m doing right now: making music, making videos, leading a band, booking shows, friending hundreds of people on Myspace each day, performing as much as possible, practicing and learning new skills and songs on the guitar, trying to get blog publicity, and on and on and on.

A little work every day adds up over time to a lot of goals reached. A lot of work every day accomplishes even bigger goals even faster. The work is never going to end, so get used to working constantly. Once you reach your goal, you’re going to have to work to stay there, and work even harder to get beyond that point. So get comfortable with the idea of hard work every day. Because there really is no alternative if you have any ambition at all.