JEAN CAFFEINE PRESS (ODDS & SODS)
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Facebook Appreciation Page
"slanted and enchanted" - Jedd Beaudoin, popmatters.com
"A fully realized creative vision..." Micheal Toland, Pop Matters
"If she weren't considered in the upper echelon of sainted local singer-songwriters before ... she just took her place." Margaret Moser, Austin Chronicle
re: Ideé Fixe CD
"Austin's cowpunk goddess unleashes a seething, soulful catharsis of a rock'n' roll album.
A quote from Towne's Van Zandt
"I don't care what anyone else says, Jean Caffeine, I am a fan."
letter to the editor
"It's people like Jean Caffeine that single handedly killed live music in New York"
Austin American Statesmen
"A cross between Brenda Lee and Patti Smith."
re: Knocked Down 7 Times, Got Up 8CD
San Diego Union Tribune
**** (four stars)
On Ideé Fixe, Jean Caffeine1s second solo disc since dissolving the AllNight Truckstop some years back, longtime Austin singer/songwriter moves
farther away from the kitsch and nouveau country stylings of her pastand dives unflinchingly into mature, caustic, hardboiled song craft. In fact, Ideé Fixe heads outtoward the claustrophobic yet searingly rocking soundscapes exemplifiedby records like the Rolling Stones1 Exile on Main Street and Patti Smith's Horses... (Luke Torn)
"Jean Caffeine's Only Happy When it Rains"
We're sitting in the "organized chaos and decaying splendor" of Caffeine's small South Austin home, amidst the loosely arranged litter of books, records, and Mexican folk art.
Overseeing it all is an impressive portrait of Loretta Lynn, which looks to be the work of the Rev. Howard Finster. What's spilling out of her hi-fi's speakers is a recently-recorded, almost Patti Smithish take on Marianne Faithful's "Guilt" with considerablymore power chord ballast than the original.
Hard to believe anyone could add more venom to one of Broken English's more snakejuiced tracks, but Jean Caffeine has, and it has as much to do with the instrumental muscle as the vocalist's mindset. It's true: Jean Caffeine has assembled her finest unit in19 years of music-making, fine enough to make this writer regret pursuing health and rest rather than another night on the tiles.
The track also brings to light another truth: As we go to press celebrating the release of a new Jean Caffeine album that abandons her old yuk-filled, pre-y'alternative twang rock for a moodier,angrier, and more sombre tone, she's switched directions yet once more. Jean Caffeine wants to rock again."Something's changed," Caffeine shrugs on her back porch, banging her shoe nervously against the iron patio table as crickets chirp away in the dusk. "Lots of things changed. So, I changed..." by Tim Steagal
In concentrating on a batch of songs dealing with the fallout from a soured relationship, Jean Caffeine flirts with the possibility of making a Southwestern Exile in Guyville or even (yikes!) a Texas Jagged Little Pill. Fortunately, the turf she treads upon with Knocked Down 7 Times Got Up * is closer to the hallowed ground of Lucinda William's 1988 eponymous LP, that of an independent woman in her 30s who's been betean up by love and who knows she deserves better.
Suffice to say, this is basically a lyricist's album. The music tends to be plain (though not unmemorable) acoustic-based rock 'n' roll, often starting with the stole strum of Caffeine's guitar and finishing up like Beggar's Banquet. the one shining exception is the ornate closer, 'Watching the Clouds', which producer Lars Goransson turns into a Spector-esque mood piece, finishing off the otherwise arid soundscape with a cavalcade of sound-like ending a dry, dusty day with a rainstorm. Nice touch. It almost makes one feel like maybe there's relief around the bend for the songstress."
"Jean Caffeine's latest album emanates a sort of slumber-party ambiance, which i s simply to say that its female voice balances innocent dreams of girlhood with the intimate reality of womanhood. Caffeine has long demonstrated this knack in her varied and interesting musical career -- What's so pleasing is how Caffeine's already deft songwriting seems to mature even as the album's 12 listed tracks progress. When she sings, "Drop-kicked and sucker-punched a couple of times, some scrapes and bruises but I'm okay/Had the stamina to go all ten, to raise a kid but I'm still on my own and it's still along way home/I'll never be a featherweight but I've got a couple of moves that noone's got..." it's such a winning combination of wry, worldly wisdom and guileless ingenuity that it seems unfair to saddle her with a "must-see" demand. If that's the way to get you to listen to her sly groove, however, so be it. (Sunday, Hole in the Wall, 10pm)(4.0 stars) - Margaret Moser
GECKOS IN THE ELEVATOR OR KICKSTART THIS!
The big news in Jean Land is the August release of "Geckos in the Elevator", a cd many years in the making which was recorded in two countries, three cities and four studios!
So many wonderful folks were involved with the record. For starters: Chuck Prophet, J.J. Weiseler, Mike Trebilcock, Ned Daugherty (Mushroom), Rusty Miller (Jackpot), John Kovachs (Eggmen), Ava Kovachs, Thor, Mike Rittenhouse, Lars Goransson, and Rob Halverson are some but not all of the key players. Penelope Houston, and Julie Lawler Grady, Rae Billing & Chelle Murray, Dave Pomfret graced the tracks with some great guest vocals.
Jean's set her target on the bullseye of finishing and releasing her cd which was accomplished thanks to fans, friends and family (all anyone needs for a happy life) she had a successful Kickstarter campaign which funded the pressing, mastering, and a wee bit of a PR as well. Space Baby is doing the print PR and Team Clermont are doing the radio campaign. TeamClermont on Twitter
Along with gal pal, Cyn Mallard she worked and and reworked the cd art, and she still had typos! Here's a proper thankyou shout out to Mike Trebilcock, Ned Daugherty and Moongirl Karen. (They will know what I am talkin' about) The artwork might look familiar to some. It was originally created for her similarly titled art show at the Carnegie Gallery in Dundas, Ontario Canada.
TWIT OR TWEET
Now I am a twit. tweet tweet. Follow me and I will try not to lead you astray.
( I don't know how to do the widget thing, but I'll bet you do).
LIKE ME. YOU REALLY LIKE ME
Jean Caffeine Appreciation Society Fan Page.
Some live videos of Jean and friends and videos of stuff I like, pix from gigs, bio, etc. Show some love here and friends are actively seeking hosts for house concerts in the States and in Canada and I know my Canadian musical pals are up for playing 'em too.>
The QEW is my muse.
The past couple of weeks were spent with friends old and new in Canada. I played two NXNE shows in Toronto and sat in at my fave bars, This Ain't Hollywood in Hamilton, ON and at the the Communist Daughter with John Borra and Screaming Sam. One of the many highlights of my trip was getting a Screaming Sam made tapping tambo and getting a mini percussion lesson from Sam. (link to sam video?) I don't know why but I seem to always write songs on the QEW. Several songs from my new "Geckos in the Elevator" cd had parts composed while driving on the QEW and this time was no exception.
I had a blast playing with Canadian running buddies, Mike Trebilcock (Fry Truck and Killjoys) and Tom Altobelli. (Altobeelays) We played and laughed and laughed and played some more. Love rehearsing on Tom's grandparents back patio. (Thanks for for the iced tea and the pizza, Nonna.
At NXNE we Shared the bill with some cool bands, Nive Nielson and the Deer Children (Greenland, Canada) and the Driftwood Singers (LA). Check out some photos from that night. The Driftwood singers play old timey ballads and roots, they harmonize beautifully and they look straight outta on old sepia photogragh or silent movie. Would like to catch them again so I could start to hum along to their tunes. Nive Nielson is hard to catagorize, the band is and to me has a Tom Waits kind of vibe. The set list is very diverse, from cheery to moody and dynamic Nive has a killer smile, other worldly, and side woman, Lisa Gamble, in her Café Bustelo t-shirt provided a lot of drama, musicially on saw, trumpet and other mysterious distortions.
At NX, I saw a great film, William S. Burroughs: A Man Within at NX and met the filmmakers and Micheal W. Phillips Junior (programmer of Chicago Film and Music). I fell in love with Burroughs all over again. Who doesn't love a cat lover? And a gun toting octaganiarian one to boot. Not that I love guns. I've already stolen a Burroughs line from the film and stuck it in a new song. That puts me in good company with faves Patti Smith (tag) and Iggy Pop who have used Burroughs references in their work.
Another cool filmed that played at NX was Kevin Tripplett's, Blaze Foley's Duck Tape Messiah. We were lucky to have a mini home screening at my cat sitting digs and I had gotten to see it at the Casbah in Durham, NC along with a set of Blaze songs performed by my friend, Gurf Morlix.
BULL CITY NEWS
Jean spent the past year or so in Bull City: Durham, NC as O's mathematical plus one.
The year was a patchwork quilt of art room volunteering, substitute teaching and a wonderful five week songwriting residency at a local public school. Jean facilitated the most wonderful collaboratively written songs including, "Polar Bears", "The Fish and the Squid" and "Chores". Suggest songwriting workshop to your PTA at your children's school? I'll come and do it. It could happen.
Jean trolled the Durham Farmer's Market feeling less guilty about her carnivorous cravings by buying pastured pork and locally raised bison burgers. She switched her coffee beverage of choice to cortados and has been annoying barrrista's everywhere to see if they can make her one. People are so serious about pork products here. I was offered a slice of bacon in my bloody mary! J and O have had the best neighbors in Northgate Park and they have been thrilled to have so much Mexico in the hood, especially LA Monarcha paletaria.
On the creative front, Jean exhibited in December a one woman show at Joe Van Gough and at two Pop Up Shows, in August at a benefit for the Excelsior barber shop, and this June at a Pop up show benefit for the Scrap Exchange at Monkey Bottom.
Jean also landed sideman extrordinaire, Julian Cochran for weekly home hootenannies and some N.C. giggin'. Julian is a utility man: a great guitar picker, singer, he plays a mean banjo and bangs around on the piano some. He also could make you a mean smart phone AP too or he could teach your kids how to. He's the master!
AUSTEX: NOW YOU SEE ME, NOW YOU DON'T
Jean spent the 09-10 school year in the old stomping grounds of of Austin, TX, punctuated by a musical residency backed by Danny Harvey at Whip In, East Indian beer store and Parlour Café.(N'maste Yiall). She also played at Roadhouse Rags which is a great clothing store/outdoor venue where they can do a live recording of you, off the board. While in Austin, she swam outdoors, drank beverages at the "Daily Juice" and recorded with Rob Halverson at Treeworld Studios and Sounds Outrageous.
Sad that I was out of the country for screening and celebration of Rick Linklater's, Slacker's 20th anniversary. Dang I feel old now.
Just to clear up any misconceptions: The Madonna Pap smear scene is NOT ME!!! That's Teresa from the Butthole Surfers. Although we bear a physical likeness, I am not the girl in the poster. I am a mere dead body run over by my own son, (well my son the movie, who I coincidentally met the night before the filming, but that's another story for another time.) I hear there's a Slacker 2011. Would have been funny if I could have been run over in that one too.
This spring Jean, Paul Martinez and Chelle Murray kicked off SXSW week by playing an amazing house concert at Casa Savage, the house of artist Cathy Savage and her family. House concerts are the way to go. The entertainment comes to you. The audience loves it, the band loves it The artist makes a little money and sells a little merch an nobody is computing while you play. YAY and most people aren't checking their phones through the whole set. Remember what gigs where like before smart phones? This is the way to go guys and all you need is a house, or a house a p.a. and a couple of mikes for the deluxe version. Think about it. JC
Our story begins with Jean as a percolated percussionist, drumming The Urge, an aptly named all girl band. It was
1978, the "Summer of Hate", in San Francisco, the city of peace and love.
In 1980, this damsel moved to New York to become a fabulous nightclub D.J. and stumbled
upon Club 57, church basement which was a clubhouse to Downtown celebrities such as the late, John Sex, Keith
Haring and Wendy Wild where the Ladies Auxiliary of the Lower East Side (founded by Ann Magnuson - star of stage,
screen and Bongwater) were banging on percussion instruments and hanging up meat bones in preparation for their
"Rites of Spring Bacchanal". Jean joined on drums and Pulsallama was born.
Pulsallama toured the East Coast as well as England and opened several shows for the Clash. They
released a controversial, yet comical ditty, "The Devil Lives in my Husband's Body", for London's
Y Records which was a hit on alternative and college stations. Pulsallama was beloved for their
rhythmic cacophony, theatrical stage antics, props and costumes, and their primal, yet glamourous
absurdity. They had lots of fun, got their picture in Interview magazine and had 15 minutes of fame.
All good things must come to an end, as did Pulsallama, when their record company ran out of funds during the last
stages of recording their Mark Kamins produced/Butch Jones engineered album. Jean formed a group, Clambake,
with some Austin expatriates, Cathy Crane , Liz Gall, and Holly George (now Holly George-Warren, of Rolling Stone
and Option fame). The prerequisite for being in Pulsallama was knowing how to play Johnny Cash's, "I Walk the Line",
and the Zero's, "Wimp" in addition to original songs by all four songwriters. Another band ahead of its times, yet
a beat behind, Clambake fell by the wayside, leaving it's Alex Chilton-mixed E.P. collecting dust.
Sensing that Austin would be a better place for her rural rock, our heroine moved to Texas where she found
happiness in swimming holes and watering holes, playing "electrified porch music and garage country" for 6 years
in honkytonks, beer joints, back porches and alternative lounges as Jean Caffeine's All Night Truckstop.
As a post punk rock wannabe-country gal - she put her Yankee Jewish spin on a brand of country more akin to the
Stones "Faraway Eyes" or Rod Stewart's , "What Made Milwaukee Famous" than Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man".
Caffeine's All-Nite Truckstop
Caffeine's All-Nite Truckstop consisted of mainstays Mick Buck and Dennis Ku, and included at times Seth and
Amy Tiven (Dumptruck), Mark Rubin (Bad Livers), Charlie Llewellin (ex-Gourds), and a veritable cast of thousands.
The Truckstop covered a lot of ground, playing the SXSW 4 times, N MS, BID in Berlin, Harbourfront in Canada,
High Sierra Music Fest in Calif as well as East Coast Stints, and Southwest club dates and radio performances.
Her epynonomous CD came out on the German Blue Million Miles label. Her second cassette only venture, "Hard Work
and a Lot of Hairspray" included Austin tracks produced by Gurf Morlix and other tracks backed by Dumptruck,
recorded at Studio Red in Philly. The title track, was a Diesel Only/SOL 45 and the B side, "Hoedown in the Sky"
was featured on the Diesel Only Truck Stop CD. Jean appeared as "Roadkill" in the movie, Slacker. Furthermore if
you listen carefully, you can hear the strains of "Jesus is Coming Soon...'' in the movie.
NORTH OF THE 49TH PARALLEL
Jean spent the past few years north of the 49th in Ontario, Canada. She had a prolific
time art making, writing songs, and gigging as a folksy duo with Hamilton homeboy,
Mike Trebilcock (formerly of the
Killjoys) in and around Hamilton and the GTA. Miss Jean played at NXNE 2007 and 2009 and at
legendary watering holes the Communist's Daughter and the Cameron House with locals,
Rae Billing and
John Borra and
Screamin' Sam Ferrara and with touring acts like Peter Case and Baskery.
Jean Caffeine is also a visual artist doing printmaking and mixed media.
She worked as an animator in Richard Linklater's, "Walking Life" also made a cameo in
the movie Slacker. (You must look very carefully.) She has had solo art exhibitions
in the States and Canada. In July of '09 Jean moved back to Austin and is teaching art
and woodshedding new music.
(A Captive Audience - Toronto 09: Jean Caffeine strums one about back in the day after Alejandro Escovedo's
concert. Photo by Steffen Paulus.)
Brick by brick, Jean has been slowly laying down a foundation for a new release,
tentatively titled, "Love Letters from Laos", her first in many moons. Jean recorded
tracks in Hamilton, ON at Chatham Garden Studios, with the two Mikes (Birthelmer and
Trebilock) which are currently being augmented and remixed in Austin, TX with
Jean also recorded some fab tracks at Decilbelle Studios in San Francisco California
with Chuck Prophet producing
and J.J. Weisler producing. (Chuck was in the band
Green on Red in the 80's has a long standing solo career. Recently, he co-wrote all
the songs on Alejandro Escovedo's Real Animal album.)
Check out the tracks on Myspace
(Jean at Decibelle Recordings Studios in S.F. with Penelope Houston and Chuck Prophet. Photo
by Oliver Diaz Espinosa.)
ADIOS WINTER, HELLO ENDLESS SCORCHING SUMMER
Although she moved to Canada kicking and screaming, our heroine seemed to leave the
same way. Now there are lots of new friends to miss.
Jean is currently residing back Austin, picking up where she left off joyously
reconnecting with friends, mixing and gigging a bit and and putting in a lot of hours
at the day job and stuck in traffic. Jean loves her Austin but is wondering why it is
starting to look so much like California? Where is the Smart Growth, baby?
Jean has also been spending quality time in Durham, N.C. a funky little spot with a
lively local art scene, a great music store, Piedmont blues, a seemingly endless
supply of mandolin players, an excellent coffee house, a great fresh market and
real Mexican restaurants. Add some cuddles and a cat. What more could you want?
Well a gig, maybe.
Thanks to the folks who have helped out along the way including the
photographers - see creds below. Thanks to
StylinDESIGN for the site.
Home Page Main Image: Sabrina Armani
Home Page Photo Strip:
1. Shannon McIntyre
2. (montage) Jane Levine/Brian Alesi
3. Jane Levine
4. Sabrina Armani
5. Photo booth pic archived by Andrew Dyken
1.2.3. Sabrina Armani
4. Dave Hirsch
5. (Truckstop in Memphis, probably by long lost band member or Misty or Kristy White
6. (Jean and John Lydon) by Joe Stevens published in the New Musical Express
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