Saturday, January 2, 2021

THE BOOK IS BARE - a SOAPGIRLS Journal Entry - Part III - January 2, 2021 Eclectic Arts

Part III

Happy New Year to all!

In some ways a new year can be a reset like it is for some people every new year. This one is a bit more “meh” because we’re bringing into 2021 what we dealt with in 2020. I prefer to start something new whenever I put my mind to it. It doesn't need to be January 1st.

I mentioned on my socials (FB mainly) that I intended to write Part III of this series and then call it good. But then on NY Eve morning, I read/watched Sam’s posts about the no NY Eve celebrations in South Africa bullshit and that inspired me to not put an end to this series. I’ll continue adding to it as time and schedule permits.

As always - this is one person’s opinion or perspective. Written in one take.

Mark D. Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

(there actually is another Mark Sugiyama - from Seattle no less - thus the D. I use sometimes - the bastard)

PART II (opens in new window)


I don’t know what it is but for whatever reason, I rarely have everything set up “correctly” to watch one of the live-stream shows from The SoapGirls. I’m sure some of you have it on your television(s), your laptop/tablet, and maybe your phone.

I’m usually a lame-o and have it going on my laptop while I’m doing work (usually due to the time - noonish over here in Seattle).

But New Year’s Eve worked out perfectly for me. Or so I thought.

I haven’t slept well in years but particularly this past December it’s been bad. I know - look into cannabis Mark - I’ve had several people tell me that - especially since there are pot shops on almost every corner around here.

On December 31st, I was particularly lethargic when I eventually started shuffling around my home. God damn is it raining hard right now as I type this (Saturday night at 8:21pm). I can hear it raging outside my home. A winter storm. But I digress.

I knew The SoapGirls live-stream was scheduled for around noon. I had time to go do a few things prior. So, I went outside and walked to check my mailbox, noticed a cop car turning around at the dead end, walked back to my car, and got inside. As I started it up, a cop car came into my lot (it’s a small lot with about eight spaces). He basically blocked me in so I couldn’t back out. I was like is he there because of one of my neighbors or was he checking something? Nope. He was just parked there for a good 15-20 seconds as I looked back at him.

He eventually backed up and onto the main street, leaving me a gap to drive up and out of my parking lot. I got to the main street and just waited, staring at him. He didn’t motion for me to go ahead or anything. So I just stared at him until he drove away, with me following him down the street. WTF?

This has never happened to me before. It was bizarre at first and then it started to make me angry. I know it’s crazy but I jokingly wrote elsewhere maybe this is some sort of fucking weird osmosis trick that’s going on between South Africa and here.

“Sleep with your mask on” - I watched the video Sam posted and then the band played it during the live-stream, too. Like I wrote in one of the earlier Parts of this series, I didn’t realize just how bad things are in some countries. Or in this case how insanely ridiculous things are. And then to enforce it with police and militia. Am I the only one that feels like that? That I thought I had a handle on what was going on but I really don’t. Maybe the rest of you reading this are more worldly than I. Let me know. I’m curious.

Needless to say, my morning didn’t start off so great. But, I came home, got the live-stream going on my television properly, had the sound up, had the chat up on another device, and was ready to rock in the New Year with The SoapGirls (their timezone of course).

Like all of you SoapSuds, I felt immediately better once the stream started. It’s such a gift as a band to have that sort of effect on the fans. I know it happens with other bands too - but there is something special with The SoapGirls. While I didn’t completely forget about the police harassment earlier, for the most part I was in another place for 2 plus hours. A better place.

And maybe it’s just me but the breaks during the NYE live-stream due to the potential threats of the police showing up due to that same pesky neighbor were cause for alarm (or maybe Calls for Rebellion ...). The breaks reminded me a little of a found footage horror film. Playing music and then going silent because the band could hear the dogs barking or Redd trying to see what’s going on and reporting back.

Of course I’m glad things didn’t get out of hand. And by the time any enforcement did arrive in the area the band was done with the music.

What a way to usher in 2021 - fucking awesome to do it with The SoapGirls at midnight with fans around the world but with the added 9pm curfew/no parties/sleep with your mask on bullshit hanging overhead.

For almost the last five years I’ve ushered in the New Year by covering the Seattle band Thunderpussy. It’s always a great time - sold out shows at The Showbox at The Market (holds about 1000 fans). This year of course Covid fucked that all up but the band decided to do a low key jam from their rehearsal space - The Labia Lounge (yes, you read that right). Not the best quality but it was still fun. So, I rang in the New Year with The SoapGirls in one timezone, and Thunderpussy in my timezone. When tours are viable for all bands again - The SoapGirls and Thunderpussy would make a fucking dynamic double bill!  Back bends for days (Molly - singer for Thunderpussy - is also known to bend often during their shows)!

New Year’s Day I caught like 40 minutes of the show in real time as it started late and then I had a commitment at 1pm pst so I had to jump off and check things in the replay. And today the 2nd - it was even worse timing wise. I had scheduled my first livestream virtual interview of the new year at the same time as The SoapGirls live-stream. My guest was in France too so I was trying to accommodate her schedule but damn - poor planning Mark.

Have I mentioned that my left ear is really fucked up? Over a month now. It looks like I’ll be having some more doctor visits in the next week or two. It annoys me and scares me a little if I’m being truthful.

So where does that leave me for this Part III?

Humor. Let’s write a few paragraphs about that.

I have never, ever interviewed guests that had such a wild and fun sense of humor. And I include Sam in that mix too as she has said some funny ass things - during the interviews and definitely during the live-streams. I can’t remember what she said just the other day but I was actually laughing out loud.

The old saying laughter is the best medicine is so true. For some of the survival job interviews I’ve done recently, they actually ask do you consider a sense of humor important. I always say of course - you’d go bat shit crazy if you didn’t laugh about a lot of the shit going on (I may have phrased it more professionally but you get the idea).

And you can always look at someone’s intention when they’re joking around with you. If it’s malicious that’s one thing, but if someone flips you shit in fun, just flip it back. I know I’ve been zinged more than once during the virtual interviews with the band - particularly the second one. You may have noticed Mie zinged me good early on and I just continued to smile and not say anything back. Part of that is because I’m used to being respectful to my guests but the bigger part is that I usually knee-jerk to insulting someone’s mom when someone zing’s me. But there’s no way I would disrespect Sam like that so I just kept my mouth shut. ;)

But more importantly - that means the guests are comfortable with you enough to do that - knowing you won’t take it the wrong way. I know I mentioned that Doyle flipped me all sorts of shit the last interview I did with him a few years back - in good fun. And that’s because he recognized me, knew I had interviewed him a few times before, and that I requested that Alex (Doyle vocalist and Cancerslug wolfman) carve the C S initials into my flesh right in front of him (which I mentioned during one of The SoapGirls interviews). In other words - it's a good place to be when the zings or shit flipping happens.  It's a compliment.  

So, if you’re reading this - what got you into The SoapGirls? How did you first discover them?

And if you’ve had the good fortune to see them live, how many times have you? What memories stand out? Let me know in a comment or a direct message. I’d love to hear about everyone’s soapy sudsy journey.

I miss live events. Sorry, I just had to type that.

On a more positive spin, my Soap Suds t-shirt arrived this evening! I don’t have a working washing machine to shrink it in but that’ll sort itself out eventually. I’m a little perplexed by what items come from where as this was printed in PA but shipped from NV? I kept getting emails and USPS texts about it. Whereas my Hate Breeds Hoodie came from China last month. And my EITR 2CD came from the UK. No worries whatsoever - love the items so far! And once I have a steady income (I don’t make much from doing Electic Arts - shocking I know) again, I know another order will be placed. Or two. Or three.

I’ve been thinking about where would be a good venue for The SoapGirls to play here in the greater Seattle area (assuming all the venues remain - some have already closed for good during this fucked up pandemic lockdown). Based on style of music, size of venue, draw, etc. - I think The Funhouse/El Corazon would probably be the first stop. They book metal/punk/alternative bands there. It used to be the Off Ramp where some of the grunge bands played in the early days so I know Millie and Mie would dig that aspect. Same building, different name is all. The Funhouse is the smaller stage on one side of the building, El Corazon is the bigger stage on the other side of the building. You can walk between the two so there is bleed over when both rooms are booked. I was covering a pop singer at The Funhouse a year ago - anytime her song finished, you’d hear this loud metalcore coming from the El C side of the house. I think she was annoyed by that but I found it funny - and ventured over to watch the pit/bands when I could.

The Highline up on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Smaller place, books metal/punk/alt bands - many of the underground variety. Smaller place but could be a viable option.

The Sunset would be the perfect size but it’s in Ballard (NW of Seattle - if you are familiar with the reality show Deadliest Catch - some of the ships are docked in Ballard when not in use in Alaska). Ballard is more hipster but they have a ton of venues and eateries/bars on Ballard Avenue. Good walk in potential. Holds about 200. Shitty place to photograph a show as the lighting always sucks but that’s me being nitpicky. I saw Guitar Wolf from Japan there and the place was a fucking sweatbox (sold out)! One Hell of a gig! It also has some grunge history. They usually book more indie/folk/local bands there but occasionally a rocker will get booked. Low stage, very easy to interact with the crowd, etc.

Yes, I fully admit that I’m nostalgic for fucking live events right now, tonight, on this rainy and stormy Saturday. And if you’ve had the privilege of seeing The SoapGirls live - cherish those memories. At least you have them - many of us don’t. Yet.

This is a good time to pause this Part III entry. Thanks for reading, I love comments, and I’ll see you all soon with Part IV.

Much love to Mie, Sam, and Millie,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

"HEART IN BLOOM" Official M/V!  (it's moving in the right direction with views - keep sharing people)

Virtual Interview - Part III - DECEMBER 2020

Virtual Interview - Part II - NOVEMBER 2020

Virtual Interview - Part I - OCTOBER 2020

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