My Second Job at the Local Record Store

Naturally, if you love music as much as me, you want to be surrounded by it as often as possible. Although I am teaching myself to play bass and frequently attend concerts, they alone aren’t enough to fulfill and balance my hobby with my student life at school. So I got a second job… again.

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This isn’t the first time I’ve held multiple jobs at once. I already know how overwhelming it can be whilst trying to balance a course load and a social life… which is why I really wasn’t looking for anything. But when an opportunity basically falls into your lap, it feels like blatantly ignoring fate to deny it.

“You’re here every day anyway… would you be interested in a job if I told you it involved free music and dogs?”

After visiting my local record store so many times and becoming a valued customer, the owner picked up on my communication skills and music knowledge (AKA I can talk to people and I know a lot about music made before I was born.) Now, where my paycheck was once being drained has been replaced by free records for a few hours of labor and an the company of an adorable store dog named Chewbacca.

My music addiction is being  supported and my heart feels free. I have a little less free time, but it never feels like work. Finding old pictures and notes hidden away in our store’s books and sorting through other’s vinyl collections to decide what to keep is endlessly interesting. Music and novels are such a personal journey, and working with a diverse group of people’s belongings all day feels like I get to take peeks into other’s hidden worlds.  (And now I get dibs on Record Store Day Deals, bless.)

Find what you love and chase it friends.

Lessons Danny Clinch taught me indirectly

It takes a very certain type of person to inspire me. Usually, it’s someone who doesn’t intend to be inspirational at all, but rather someone who leads by example and lives with zeal. That’s why when I visited Danny Clinch‘s gallery in Asbury Park, and felt passion in the room the same way cigarette smoke lingers, I knew I would walk away with something meaningful. And I did. Here’s some things I learned from Danny just through observation:

  • We’re just ordinary people

*Humming- “we don’t know which way to go”*.  Danny Clinch has probably photographed you, your mom, and eclectic uncle’s favorite musicians. Seriously- the list is endless. Yet, despite the obvious cool-factor of listening, playing, and photographing music he gives everyone the same attention. Whether you’re Grammy-award winning talent, or a weirdo fan from NJ, Danny remains professional and kind. He seems to see people for what they really are, which is probably why some very well-known people can consider him a friend.  This showed me the value of character and being humble no matter where you’re at in life.

  • Harmonicas are a badass instrument

I seriously didn’t recognize this until I saw Danny go to town.

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I wish I could upload this snapchat
  • Hats are cool

Self-explanatory. Went out and bought my own in less than 24 hours of taking this picture. (I’m convinced it’s made me a better bass player?)

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#invisiblejazzcigarette
  • Kindness is the new black

Honestly, Danny didn’t have to give me the time of day. But he joked with me, signed his book for me, and made me feel like an old friend. When I told him I wasn’t going to be able to attend his band’s sold-out show, he even offered to try and help get me tickets (which I politely declined when I saw how insanely busy he was.) Between juggling two shows and a gallery at the same time he was still thoughtful. That really resonated with me. If you are capable of making someone’s day a little better, why wouldn’t you? The golden rule people… it’s still alive and well.

  • Follow Your Bliss

I don’t think I need to elaborate on how difficult it is to make it in both the music and art worlds. Our society discourages most from even trying at least three times a day. As someone who plays bass and paints for fun, seeing Danny’s happiness and his dedication was the reminder I needed to follow my heart. When you love a hobby that hard, it’s going to love you back. This re-affirmation to avoid wasting my life couldn’t have come at a better time.

Thanks for the reminder to chase what I love even if it’s not easy Danny… you’ve probably just saved me a ton of “what ifs.”

 

Stay gold,

The weirdo music fan from NJ

 

 

Brittany learns bass

Want to humble yourself in under a minute? Pick up an instrument. No- seriously.

I saved up my pennies, many, many pennies, and bought myself a standard jazz Fender bass a  few months ago (Mexican not American because my purchase already emptied my wallet let’s be real.)

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I started self-teaching myself tabs to songs I’ve always wanted to learn (i.e. Dead Kennedys, Pearl Jam, Cream, etc.) and thought it was all going really well. Then, just to solidify my progress I asked for two real lessons at my local music shop for Christmas. It only took half an hour there to realize how wrong I was about almost everything.

“I love how much you’ve learned! Now I need you to forget literally everything and do it right.” – an actual quote from my teacher.

I won’t continue lessons but it was a completely humbling experience to learn about correct form and how to really read music. I do everything by ear, but I can now see the value of actually reading music to prevent a plateau in development.

Words of advice given to me from a fellow bass player was, “know your strengths and weaknesses so you can own them and progress.” I thought that was brilliant. I understand that as a beginner what I may still lack in form and aggressiveness/confidence of playing, I share with an excess of passion, inspiration and rhythm. This instrument provides endless grooves and feels like a brand new outlet for me to express myself. (Side note- I just find it really hard to control my pinky fingers. They seriously have a mind of their own and it’s where all the stress in my hands filters to.)

If you’re thinking about picking up an instrument, please do it. But, like me, be prepared to suck for a bit. Perfectionists beware- I basically went numb when I realized I was doing almost everything wrong, and when I realized 5 year olds were better than I’ll be for a while. However, you practice more than just music. You enhance your determination, your focus and your passion. The notes begin to feel like your actual voice… pretty enlightening honestly.

If you’re thinking about picking up a bass, I suggest watching videos of Jaco Pastorious to see what awesome looks like, and joining the many resources available to you such as Scott’s Bass Lessons. It’s an online community of tons of bass players from all over the world helping each other- it restores your faith in humanity while helping you sound better.

If you play bass and have anything you’d like to share- message me!

-Britt

 

How Following My Favorite Band Around the Country Alone Changed My Life

I’ve been obsessed with Pearl Jam since I was 11 years old. I’m still not sure how I got into the band, no one in my family or age group was a fan, but being born in 1995 had always made me feel cheated somehow. Not being able to experience the band’s younger, angrier and intimate shows because of my age drove me crazy. It furthered my desire to make up for lost time by going to as many concerts I could afford. At age 16 I finally was able to go to my first PJ show and dragged my dad along. He wasn’t the happiest parental chaperone when, even before the band came on, two people behind us were already throwing up and another reached in front of him to offer me a joint. He hated every second, but it was everything I  hoped for and more.

Flash forward four years and I am still obsessed with all the music that guides my emotions daily. When I saw the 2016 tour dates released, I knew this was my year to finally get another live experience. At 20 years old I clearly don’t need a chaperone anymore, but none of my friends wanted to go along with me to see the shows either. At first I was hesitant about going alone, but after the recent death of a friend who valued living in the moment, I knew it was an experience I couldn’t pass up. I wanted to see the world while I still could and hear my idols play along the way. Here are my memories from each of my trips:

 

  • Nashville- Pearl Jam played a show at Third Man Records with Jack White and I happened to be on a family vacation in the area. I wasn’t lucky enough to get inside, but I hopped on the back of a bike wagon and sped to the recording studio. The biker thought I was crazy and adored me for it as I shouted out directions from my iPhone “Turn left! Please pedal like your life depends on it, if you’re tired I can take over!” I got there just in time to see the band as they left the studio, and got to meet new friends who let me see their memorabilia like the private show’s setlist. My craziness to get a piece of the musical action allowed me to see a part of the city I never would have otherwise.

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  • Fenway- Driving to and from Boston for 10 hours in a day couldn’t have been more worth it. Night one of Fenway was hot, crowded and wonderful. The passion in the air was contagious and as Eddie belted “the waiting drove me mad” every single person was bouncing along to Corduroy like their life depended on it. As the lights twinkled from thousands of phones across the stadium to Better Man I knew it couldn’t be the last Pearl Jam experience of my summer. The pinnacle of my musical existence was in the works knowing Wrigley was just around the corner… and I was going GA.

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  • Wrigley- Do you ever feel more accepted by strangers than peers who have known you for years? That was my entire Chicago experience. Even before boarding the airplane I found myself trading show stories with people I had never met but instantly connected with because of the concert t-shirts they were wearing. People gave me their numbers and were sending me advice of where to go while visiting all week. I explored the Cubby Bear, had my first deep dish pizza at midnight, and flirted with the guy dressed up like a pirate on a sailboat. Every day leading up to the show I met new friends in the Pearl Jam community. We waited outside of Murphy’s for hours as the band recorded on the bar’s rooftop. People waited in merchandise lines for entire chunks of the day. And then before I knew it, the night I had been thinking about for months was about to happen… Night one of Pearl Jam at Wrigley field.
    • I sprung from my bed at 7:30 a.m., and would’ve woken even earlier if it wasn’t for an email saying fans couldn’t start lining up before 9 a.m. Most people would probably think that standing alone all day in the torrential rain would sound awful, but I was trembling with excitement. By the time I arrived I was about 40 people back in line. I brought two ponchos, a folding chair, a protein bar, and a book. The first hour I was shy and reserved. I didn’t talk much and listened to the amazing stories of those around me. But as the hours went by, I realized I was sitting with friends. People were offering snacks and beer, extra ponchos when the other was soaked, holding each other’s places in line, and talking about experiences they had with the band that changed all of our lives. I was sitting next to people from California, South Africa, Oregon, Colorado, and Texas. It wasn’t until half way through the day that my friends realized I was there alone. When I shared my age I was naturally met with “Aw you’re such a baby!” comments. But to my surprise, that quickly turned into respect for what I was doing. My group of new friends took me under their wing and said we would all stay together. I was having heart to hearts with people I just met, in a city I had never been to before, and I couldn’t have been more content.
    • Come showtime we rushed to the stage. We were greeted with more rain but at that point everyone was so excited that, as long as the band could still perform, it didn’t even matter. When Pearl Jam took the stage my heart was full. The energy in the air of 40,000 friends coming together for music was intoxicating. I pointed at Mike as he shred on the guitar throughout the night cheering him on, and when he pointed back I was in such shock that he nodded and laughed assuring that yes-it actually did just happen. I got great videos of Mike playing behind his head in front of me and Eddie screaming the lyrics to Porch above our cheering heads. I even was able to throw myself to the ground fast enough to get one of Mike’s guitar picks. Because I got such good footage (it must be a millennial cellphone thing) everyone around me gave me their emails to exchange concert videos. I left with a smile from ear to ear and friends of all ages to text about the awesomeness we just witnessed. In the following days, my friends that were lucky enough to go to night two as well sent me tons of updates and livestreams so I could feel like I was there.

I had never been to Chicago but I immediately fell in love. It almost hurt to leave and go back to New Jersey… there’s so much of the world I want to see. I knew it was risky to go to all of these places at my age, but they were without a doubt some of the best days of my life thus far. I still keep in touch with my fellow Pearl Jam fan friends and we plan to meet up at future shows. One of my videos even made it to the band’s official re-cap video! The entire experience showed me the importance of really living. If you want to do something, do it. Besides obviously needing money the only thing you truly need is passion. Life is too short to be afraid to go out and explore or to live without vigor and excitement. Don’t stay stagnate and just go through the motions. Go follow your favorite band, meet people, discover new places, and live a life you won’t regret.Screen Shot 2016-09-11 at 11.24.05 PM.png

Makeup VS. Professionalism

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The other day I had to take a professional photo to spice up my LinkedIn profile. As I was touching up my makeup and taking off my eyeliner to look “more professional” something inside me started to really get ticked off. Why is makeup so frowned upon in the professional world? The photo turned out fine but I cannot stop thinking about it.

Sure, I can understand maybe not going overboard to the point of distraction but why does a little wing and a pop of color on my lips make me less desirable to hire? A small line on my eyelid will not stop me from doing a great job and communicating well with others!

I guess it’s the same idea as tattoos in the workplace, but winged eyeliner is a part of my identity at this phase in my life. I know this is a short and off topic post from my usual stuff but I was just wondering what you guys thought about this. How much makeup is too much makeup? Let me know what you think!

XO,

Brittany

Color Change and Consequences

As you may have noticed on previous posts I just recently dyed my hair. Not simple highlights or low lights but a complete and utter change. So much so that people don’t recognize me at first glance. I was told how drastic the transition would be, but sometimes you just need to start fresh in a new chapter of your life, ya know?

I digress, the decision was to go from being bleach blonde my whole entire life to a darker shade of red. Obviously, a lot has changed besides my appearance, so I thought it might be helpful to share some things that occurred as I embraced this new and ferocious color.

FROM LIGHT HAIR TO DARK; THE TRANSITION BEFORE AND AFTER

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Here are two ridiculously posed selfies of me pretending to be a model. They were taken the day before I got my hair dyed and the day after. I asked to look like Scar-Jo in the Avengers…super happy with the results.

Precautions to take;

  • You’re going to need a new eyebrow product. Try as hard as you want but the color just won’t look right with the new hair-do.
  • Re-think lipstick shades. I can still rock a red, but the shades of red have changed majorly
  • That go-to bronzer might not do the trick. Your skin will appear lighter in color and you may need to invest in something new… excuse for a makeup trip am I right or am I right?
  • Your old “color” changes- I used to look best in blue and red for everything. Although they still look decent, shades of purple tend to compliment me now
  • Your hair dye might stain towels and sheets! Be extra careful
  • Personality change- honestly this might just be me, but I found with my new color certain personality traits came to light. I’m not as bubbly as I was as a blonde, maybe it is because I’m being taken more seriously than before (the sad truth) and I can see my quirky side becoming more dominant. I love it.
  • Natural hair change- I noticed the darker color, while making my hair healthier, consequently weighed my hair down and changed its natural state. My once curly hair looks a lot more wavy now. #TeamBeachyWaves
  • Invest in color saving shampoo! Stop those beautiful locks from fading.

These are just a few things I thought important, but overall embrace your inner-beauty and know that no matter the color your lovely self will show through! Spread the self-love my friends.

XO,

The new ginger Brittany

Fun Encounters

Random semi-celebrity encounters are always fun, aren’t they? I know this is a random post, but I had the chance to meet and talk with Chris Distefano and Andrew Schulz from Guy Code last night after seeing their comedy show at my school with Nicole Byer from Girl Code. They were all super sweet…even after a boy from our school heckled and basically ended/ruined the show.

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I have to say, I was quite amused to find out that Andrew and Nicole hate Melanie Iglesias. Apparently the first thing she said to Nicole was that it’s “so hard finding clothes being so thin.” Nicole, knowing Melanie recognized her as the largest one in the room, thought that was unnecessary. Nicole also claimed Melanie and Lisa Ramos “are too dumb to even hold a conversation.” Meanwhile, Andrew just came right out to the audience and stated, “I hate her.”

Just thought it was funny they were so blunt about it. Killed so many obsessed boys’ dreams. I appreciated their realness and how kind they were to random strangers. Andrew was definitely high though. Great night.

XO,

Brittany