Jill "xtingu" Knapp

Traveling musician. Singer. Road warrior in bursts. Dork. Easy to spot. Gauche eyeshadow fan. Unreasonably happy.

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I have a few things to talk about, but it's 2am (now 5:30am) and I'm now too tired... so I'm just going to leave videos of two songs from the Sunnyvale / Hot Breakfast!  house concert that happened in August in north Jersey.  (Huge thanks to Anthony Stramaglia for shooting and posting these!)

This first song ("A Thing to Get Through") is brand-new, and this recording was not only the song's very first "public" performance, it was also perhaps maybe only the 5th or 6th time we'd actually played/sung it straight through... Matt and I had learned it quite literally the night before.  It was a safe and friendly crowd, so I wasn't worried about making a mistake; I was more worried about crying in the middle of the song. (You can hear me start to get choked up a few times; you can just hear things tighten up and me make slight vocal adjustments to compensate.  Or maybe you don't hear it since I didn't use a mic, and/or maube you're not that anal about vocal mechanisms. Whatevz.  Anyway, getting choked up is normal and often happens when you lose a friend and you sing a song about the loss to a room full of people who loved him.)  Andrew (the songwriter and piano player) was Paul's (the friend who died) best friend, and they were VERY tight, and kept up their friendship via email since they lived on opposite coasts (Paul in north Jersey and Andrew lived in Portland, OR).  They are both gifted writers, and I secretly pray those letters/emails get published some day.  Heavy philosophy, social criticism, music analysis and theory, knowing thyself, etc.  

Anyway, the lyrics are below the video.


Below that is Video #2 for an old song ("The Job Song" a.k.a. "Get a Real Job") by our old band The Evelyn Situation. This song was written in 1992 for two women's voices and piano and guitar as an evil polka, and has been re-arranged over the years for 2 voices/one kazoo/two guitars/piano; then for one vocalist (me!) plus a 17 piece big band (the Industrial Jazz Group), all the way to this current stripped-down version of one voice, one piano (below).  The video for The Job Song is below the first one, and the lyrics (which are wonderfully clever) are below it.  (and yes, I was super-enunciatey. I didn't have a mic and I wanted to make sure everyone understood the words. I'd rather err on the side of over-pronouncey than mumbly. I hate when I can't understand a singer.)

A Thing to Get Through - - words and music by Andrew Durkin. (For Paul.)

Flying in to Jersey 
With the winter on my mind
I got angry at a stewardess 
Who was trying to be kind
My past was up ahead, and my future far behind
mm-mmm, mm-mmm, mm-mmm

If you had a fortune
Would you have been who you wanted to be
If you had a lifetime
Would you have used it to finally get free
If you had a second chance
Could you do now what you didn’t do
Or was life just a thing to get through

Some came from the beginning 
And some came from the end
Some I hadn’t seen forever
And some I might never see again
Help me, Jesus—is this anyway to treat a friend
mm-mmm, mm-mmm, mm-mmm

If you had a fortune
Would you have been who you wanted to be
If you had a lifetime
Would you have used it to finally get free
If you had a second chance
Could you do now what you didn’t do
Or was life just a thing to get through

Maybe you are laughing
From your attic in the sky
Maybe you’re that piece of clay
That finally learned to fly
Do you think we’ll ever know
What happens when we die
mm-mmm, mm-mmm, mm-mmm


The Job Song (words and music by Andrew Durkin)

This guy with horns said, "There's a cure for your financial state: don't do the thing you love, cause good things come to those who hate. I'm a powerful man, and though I think you're a slob, if you will flatter me, I'll get you a real job."

"Give up your dreams," he said, "Yes, that's the way to have it all. Look at your cousin Neil: he's young, he's rich (he's going bald). He may be dead in a decade or two, but he drives a porsche, and yes, you can drive one, too. Why don't you get a real job?"

Having just finished school, I'd never met his type before. "You're very kind," I said, "And yes, you're right, I'm very poor. But I don't see how your scheme could help me, And so I wonder if you might not tell me more. Why should I get a real job?"

"Well, don't you want to be like the people on TV? So bored and jaded and doing something that you have always hated? Just give in! How could it be a sin? The big machine must keep on rolling on... Why don't you get a real job?

For I have here in store each numbered casket for your generation: I've been waiting with anticipation! Truth, you'll find, is on the dotted line, so be a good sport. That's what life is for!"

Anyway. 

I have to tell y'all about the new consulting gig and Matt's music directing a show and me thinking about joining a christmas carol troupe for this holiday season to make a few bucks singing in malls, but that'll have to wait until the next post of One Post Wonder.

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10/8 '17 11 Comments
Wow. I remember the job song. Hearing it in a slow, mournful incarnation is very affecting.
Thomas Boutell 10/8 '17
I agree! And I could even stand to hear it slowed down further, a soft studio version with just the voice and piano.
Anne Mollo 10/8 '17
Thanks so much for giving a listen!

I'll suggest that to Andrew and see what he says... we're always up for trying new stuff.
No! I just meant, "Wow this song is so awesome I could imagine loving it in any style, from polka to sappy studio ballad."
Anne Mollo 10/12 '17
Thank you, thank you!
It blows my mind that you remember a song from a band I was in before I knew you. It blows my mind because I can't believe there was ever a time when I didn't know you.

Though, next year will be the year where I will have officially spent more time alivewithh you in my sphere than without. That's pretty fucking cool. I owe it all to Jeremy being pushy and They Might Be Giants.
Ah, their Horse With No Name era! Fun fact: their recent albums... Which are numerous, because of the influence of Jonathan Coulton's work ethic... Are all excellent.
Thomas Boutell 10/12 '17
Yeah, I love me some TMBG still. I love how they've grown with the times, taken advantage of the technology, and still stay screamingly relevant (to me, anyway). I bought Jeremy their Fan Club membership and he's been known to occasionally share the fruits. SO GOOD!
I remember the Job song too! I used to put it on mixes.
Eeeeeeeeee!!
“A Thing to Get Through” - I experienced solid frisson with full hair follicle involvement. Thank you for sharing that, and for, you know, bearing the existential burden required to sing that in the first place.
Robert Bryan 10/8 '17
Aw, thanks for listening. :)

I've been revisiting some other videos from that night, and there's one where I damn near lose my shit every time the chorus comes around. Full-on voice crack... but it just sounds like I'm a shitty singer as opposed to someone feeling feels. Oh well. I don't really care... the only people who can see those videos are people who know.

If I think about music too much my brain explodes from wonder.

 

HOLY  CRAP, the Southwest Air Eclipse Flight was awesome awesome awesome. Just so much fun! 

After we deplaned, a news crew from Channel 11 Alive Atlanta was interviewing people about their experience, and since I'm a whore, I jumped in front of the camera. Apparently I'm gonna be on the Atlanta news. Woot!

So if you watch this video, that's me at 1:36 in my ITMFA shirt kvelling. :-) 


The Channel 11 folks also asked us to write up our experience and email it to them with photos, so here's what I sent.

_____________________

Hi, Julie and crew!

I'm the Jill Knapp that Matt mentioned in his first email. I believe someone from your station grabbed a quick interview with me when we landed in Atlanta. (I have the spiky platinum-blonde hair with the blue streak and the big smile.)

We've attached some photos for you. 

We are an acoustic dork-rock duo from Wilmington, Delaware called "Hot Breakfast!", and we fly Southwest exclusively because of our earned Companion Pass status on the airline. (Companion Pass status allows us to perform all around the country in a buy-one-get-one-free arrangement, reserved for their most frequent flyers.)  

When we heard this flight was happening, we jumped on it specifically to see the eclipse from above the clouds!

Boarding the flight was super-fun-- the plane was decorated with a disco ball and colorful streamers, and the flight attendants were all dressed up with glittery wigs, glow glasses, alien antennae ("deely-boppers" for those of us '80s kids), and the pilot was able to bank the plane several times to let both sides of the plane get great views. Matt and I sat in the "LUV Seat," which is the exit row with only two seats in the row, so we had room to crouch down low by the window to see the eclipse, and we encouraged other passengers to jump in our row to get the great view, too! 

The vibe on the plane was so friendly, fun, enthusiastic. The Southwest flight attendants are always top-notch, but they went above and beyond today with custom eclipse-themed cocktails, eclipse and space trivia games, and glow-bracelets for everyone, and plenty of jokes and smiles. 

Sometimes the news will make you think that everyone is angry and there's no happiness in the world (and especially in our country). But this flight made me remember that people are almost all wonderful, curious, and fun. I admit, I needed this. :-)

This flight was absolutely everything we hoped it would be and more. 

Thanks for letting us report in!

Our very best,

Jill and Matt

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8/21 '17 12 Comments
\o/!

Were you laid over in ATL, or are you here-here?
Rabbit 8/22 '17
Just a layover for about 90 minutes, and during that time we had to get our bags from baggage claim and re-check in, due to some creative flight scheduling on my part. But we made our next flight with about 10 minutes to spare! Wooot!
Whatever they offer you ... don't feed the plants!
That soundtrack has been in my brain for a week now... and I am not complaining even a little. (It's mah favorite show EVAR.)
Of course it has, because it starts with a TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN! I need you and Matt C in my life to grok my Little Shop jokes ... and Jerm, but he is not on OPW.
My little Audrey II insisted on nursing for most of it.
Rabbit 8/23 '17
Feed me, Mama, feed me all night long. That's right!
May I touch the hem of your garment?
Thomas Boutell 8/22 '17
Mais oui!
Just watched the video - you look SO geeked out happy! Eeeee!
that's so awesome!!!! so how did you even hear about this flight -- did the airline send out a blasto to their elite passengers or something? :)
Jenn A 8/24 '17
excellent! so jealous...
Kate Haney 8/25 '17
 

I've decided that when I die, my headstone should make mention of the fact that I could sing pretty okay, and that I really like socks. 

Matt bought me a pair of new socks the other day called "Heat Holders." I think I may have heard them advertised on the radio, but maybe not. But either way, Matt bought them for me and SWEET HOLY GOD LORDT ABOVE THESE SOCKS ARE THE MOST MAGICAL THINGS I HAVE EVER PUT ON MY FEET ALL CAPS. I have incredibly sexy cankles that swell up, and by 3pm pretty much every pair of socks that I own are digging into my shins and then they roll down an inch, and then they dig in there, and they roll down an inch, and by 6:30pm my lower legs look like a hand grenade. Very sexy. But these socks are big enough where they don't dig into my legs, but they don't fall down either. 

The inside of these socks are like brushed soft yarn... like long yarn... I don't know how to describe it, but it's like having your foot engulfed in the virgin baby hair of Scandinavian angels. And if your feet sweat, somehow these socks keep your feet reaaaaaaallly warm, but never damp. They are pretty much the perfect thing. I have the feeling they weren't made to be worn with shoes/boots, but maybe just worn as slippers around the house maybe... they're really thick. But I threw on a pair of boots over them today and when I took my first step I squeeeeeed audibly and started making up songs in dumb voices about how I was walking on magical clouds. So put these effers on your holiday gift list, and ask for nothing else, because no gift you get will be better than these. I got the fuschia/cerise striped ones. They make me stupidly happy.

What else is going on...

If you haven't watched John Oliver's final 2016 clip of Last Week Tonight, it is very much worth the 25 minute investment. If your 2016 has sucked as much as everyone else's has, then you will especially like the final five minutes of it. 

What else is going on...

I have pretty big and not very funny confession to make, but I will make that confession in a friends-locked post because it's not for public consumption... so if you're not logged into LJ or if you don't have an account on OPW, you're outta luck.

What else is going on...

Matt and I have been recording a Christmas EP, and so far we've got four songs done out of the five. The song titles so far are "Everyone's a Child When it Snows," which is not particularly "Hot Breakfasty" in that it's not funny or dorky, but quite sweet and a touch precious even... but we're OK with it. Next is "Don't Get Me Anything," which is an upbeat fun thing which parrots my anti-noun stance on gift giving... and please for the love of God, no more gifts for my damn inner child... I'm forty-fucking-five and I don't need toys. Up next is "Christmas is for Believers," which is also not particularly funny, but has Matt's clever wordplay and also a very honest, even-handed and kind way of approaching what could be a controversial topic: non-Christians who celebrate Christmas. The song we recorded tonight is called "Clean Blank Slate" which starts off saying something like "It's January 1st and everything magically resets and all the bullshit that was going on last year just disappears," and then the rest of the song is saying, "Yeah, wouldn't it be nice if it was like that, but it isn't." When we were recording the backing vocals, we got the idea of burying a subliminal message in there... so we added some lyrics waaaay low down in the mix, and I'm really proud of what we did and how it came out. We have one song left to record called "The Holiday Shift" which has a similar feel to our 2013 hit "An Idiot for Christmas", and is about a person who has to work on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day for the sales, and how they feel about it. (Spoiler: You might think it's a horrible thing, but our hero actually likes the extra hours and overtime pay, and is happy to have an excuse not to hang with his family.) We're releasing this new Christmas EP on December 17th at a show at World Café Live at the Queen at our "Hot Breakfast! & Friends Present: A Very Dorky Christmas." It should be super-fun!


Allrighty, that's all I got for now. Tune in soon, true-believers, to an LJ post near you for my big ol' secret confession. 

xo!

x-posted from xtingu.livejournal.com/

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11/24 '16 6 Comments
The new ep sounds like my kinda thing.
Thomas Boutell 11/24 '16
I think you'll like it... especially once I point out the seekrit Easter eggs in "Clean Blank Slate." :-)
I am excited. Ted will also be excited. Having worked on holidays for many years, I am particularly excited, and my heart is warmed.
Lindsay Harris Friel 11/24 '16edited
Yaaaaaay! I like Friel-sibling excitement. :)
Christmas doesn't excite me, but I love socks and I love you!
Two outta three? I'll take it!

Love you right back, babycakes. :)