Maybe it was all because of a disgruntled mermaid. In our song Sad Beach, she’s trying to clean up the ocean with a vacuum cleaner and a chorine potion. Not long ago, I was vacuuming… and suddenly thought about that tattered, old, songwriting notebook.
I turned off the vacuum, dug to the back of my closet, and pulled out an aqua sparkle vintage hatbox that had survived a move to Colorado and back. It is covered with stickers: San Fernando Drag Strip, Rev Horton Heat, Misfits, a House of Blue All Access pass. Everything was still there: guitar pedals, old set lists, flyers, and garage-sale-Barbie doll heads that I used to attach to the tuning pegs of my Silvertone guitar. Sure enough, there on the bottom, underneath it all, was the forgotten journal. It contains little stories I had written, from which the lyrics of my songs were born.
These vignettes are where the songs started, conceived from a single idea, like all of us, before they really came into their own; wisps of melody that played in my head as I drove my 1961 Valiant on the streets of Los Angeles, songs that lived in pieces as we plugged into amps and out into a bass line and around drums packed tightly in a car and down my arms carrying a heavy guitar amp in heels; melodies fused with sweat and camaraderie and laughter. We played them from set lists written quickly in lipstick at Club Dragonfly, The Garage, Jack’s Sugar Shack, the Troubadour.
When a song is truly finished, it is made up of pieces of your life.
These songs would not have come alive without the brilliant magic of Teresa and Kelly. You barely realize how amazing and precious something is until one day you look back at it—in my case, it was a band we called dragsterbarbie.
After so many years, we all met up again not long ago, in the still-futuristic-sounding year of twenty-sixteen. We sat eating Mexican food, kicking around ideas and old memories. The next thing to do, like any reunion, was to plug in and play. And that is the story of how dragsterbarbie became a band once again.
San Diego, 2016