Jill "xtingu" Knapp

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

  • Followed
  • Follows you

Edit biography

Tonight (Friday) we'll be playing our first gig in a while. A band we love very much, The Honey Badgers, are having their album release show and asked us to open... and we were flattered since we're almost 20 years older than them. (We have this tired 'joke' about how they are the younger, more attractive acoustic duo who is also a couple with the band initials "HB.")  They played at our very first CD release show in 2013, so it'll be nice to return the favor.

Erin has a music degree in voice/violin, and her voice is like velvet. She cares so much about singing well, which I sooo appreciate, but she is also so effortless in it, which I am sooo jealous of. :-)  Her husband Michael is a science guy and a computer guy, and while not as musically-trained as Erin, he has such innate musicality and plays a zillion instruments, and their voices blend so, so, so well.  They play folk, but it's not sleepy folk. 

The show is upstairs at The Queen, but thankfully it's not a LiveNation show (it's just a rental) so tickets are not expensive because there aren't $73,938 in TicketMaster fees tacked on.  

Matt and I open the show at 8pm sharp, and we'll play a truncated set (35 mins). I'll also be singing lead on a Honey Badgers song during during their set, and then joining them on the final two tunes. 

We're looking forward to this show because we'll get to play two songs we don't get to play often at all... but since this is a folk/listening audience, we can bust out two songs that really reward the listener for paying attention to the lyrics. (Matt writes a great damn song. Playwright lyricists, man. Nomz.)

You can buy tix online only until 8am on the 15th (so 6 hours from now); otherwise you'll have to buy them at the door; there should be about 10 available at the door, I'm guessing.  The good news is that your ticket stub (or your ticket receipt if ya bought it online already) can be brought to the Stich House Brewery down the street on 8th and Market for 10% off your whole bill, before and/or after the show. Wheee!

Ok, going to bed. 


(PS: This is not me trying to convince anyone to go. We gauge our success on how many non-friends (organic fans) come to the show. I hate when bands make their money by guilting their friends into paying their rent, essentially. Not cool. Nobody owes me anything. 😊)


(PPS' My sleepy meds have just kicked in. I wanted to write about The Homey Awards that were tonight, and were fun. Will write more tomorrow.)

MORE
Ooo now I know where to invite the gang after future shows
The place is really great!
Is it still guilt if it's a guilty pleasure?

Some day SOME DAY, I will be kid free and in Delaware when you play and make one of your shows....what's the best way to see your schedule in advance?
There are two easy ways to keep up!

1) Our website:
http://hot-breakfast.com/shows/

2) Our Google calendar:
http://hot-breakfast.com/calendar/

We can also add you to our mailing list! We usually send things out quarterly/seasonally... but that requires people to kinda make a note about shows. Our marketing person is trying to get us to send out reminder emails closer to shows, but good lord I am so worried about over-emailing people.
 

I forget if I mentioned here this ridiculous musical undertaking we decided to attempt: We are putting on Delaware's very first Beatles festival, and this festival means that we are playing every Beatles song ever released (and even two that were recorded and never released) over a course of six consecutive nights... this means we do two albums per night, plus any singles that were released around those albums.  There is one night we're only doing one album, and that's the night we're playing The White Album since it's a double-album... and one other night we're playing three albums because that's just how the math worked. 

The festival started tonight, and we were kinda expecting the lightest crowd tonight since it's a Monday night, and since we just kinda figured this is their less interesting material.  But holy crap, we had 130 people tonight, and the theater only holds about 250... so it felt very full, and the crowd was very enthusiastic. One of tonight's audience members was actually in the audience when The Beatles played on Ed Sullivan!! GAAAH!!  After our show tonight she said she was so happy she came tonight so she could actually hear the songs, unlike the Ed Sullivan show where all she heard was screaming. :-)

We've been rehearsing this material since January-- two rehearsals per week -- one a vocal-only rehearsal, and the other rehearsal was with the whole band. 

The name of the group putting on this BeatleFest is called "The Rock Orchestra," which is an tribute show organization headed up by Joe Trainor and Matt Urban. Joe and MattU (not to be confused with 'my Matt' (aka MattC)) choose what tribute shows they want to perform (basically curating a season's worth of music), and then writes all the arrangements, and hires the right musicians to play it. So there's no set band member list to The Rock Orchestra... but they have an extensive Rolodex from which to draw. :-)

This BeatleFest takes 40 musicians to play all of this music as true to the albums as we can, once you get strings, horns, traditional Indian instrmentalists, harmonica, harp, even sound effects... all in addition to the core band. 

Because we're playing these songs in release order, tonight was the "simplest" material, so we only needed the core band tonight.  But we've been rehearsing in release order, too... so our most recent rehearsals has been the REALLY complicated stuff requiring all 40 players.  We had two final rehearsals this weekend... Saturday was sound-equipment load-in, and Sunday was all 40 of us... and we played all of the hard stuff (we're even doing "Revolution #9" live!)  We intentionally left the stage set up with all the (empty) chairs for the strings and horns, all of my 73,000 percussion instruments were out on display, MattC's guitars and saxes and keys were all set up, even though we don't use them until Wednesday.  We really want the audience to watch and feel this stuff build in complexity as we move through the Beatles' catalogue and timeline. 

So tonight when we got to the theater for Night 1 of BeatleFest to play "Please Please Me" and "With The Beatles" and the surrounding singles, only the seven core band members were needed, and we were like "Where is everyone? Oh, wait, it's just us tonight!"  

We've got Joe Trainor singing mostly Paul McCartney's parts and also playing piano and keys; we've got Brendan Sheehan playing guitar and singing mostly John Lennon's parts, Rich Degnars on drums (he's amazing), Josh Dowiak on bass and some vocals, Joey Lopes on lead guitar (he is freakin' awesome), and then Matt and I are the utility players.  (Utility players are people who can sing and play many instruments, so they play whatever is needed.)  I sing backing vocals on almost everything (I sing lead on a few, too) and I play about 22 different percussion instruments (everything from simple handclaps to timpani and anvil and concert chimes to a motorcycle exhaust pipe), keys a few times, and I also handle all the sound effects (think the animal sounds in "Good Morning, Good Morning").  Matt sings whenever we need 4-part harmony (and he also sings lead on a few), and he's playing guitar, bass, sax, keys/piano, and percussion. 

Tonight was an easy night music-wise, and tomorrow night (Tuesday, Night 2) is also just the core band again because we're playing two more " simple" albums: "Beatles for Sale" and "A Hard Day's Night" (plus some singles).

Wednesday night (Night 3) is "Help!" and "Rubber Soul" (plus some singles). Wednesday night is when Matt and are the guest singers, so we sing lead on a few songs. This night is also when more band members arrive... Indian musicians arrive, some horns and strings...

Thursday night (Night 4) s the big night where we do three albums (‘Revolver’, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and ‘Magical Mystery Tour’) and also the point when all 40 musicians are on stage through the rest of the festival!

Friday night (Night 5 of 6, also Matt's birthday):  Tonight we only play one album, which is "The Beatles," aka The White Album. It's a double album.  We'll also play any singles released during that time. And once we tackle that, we're brought to closing night, which is "Abbey Road" and "Let it Be," plus the singles. And that's it!

During the show, we have fun projections as a backdrop that sorta gives you an idea of what "era" of The Beatles we're in (in Hamburg, the Ed Sullivan stage, their psychedelic stage, the rooftop, etc... and we have another projector with a slideshow that displays the song name, album title, and a counter that counts up the number of songs out of the 215 we've played already.  

I'm really proud and excited to play this music with these people-- it sounds great, and best of all everyone gets along, so it's been a very joyful experience!  It's also been exciting new really exciting to feel how the songwriting got more interesting and complex as The Beatles' progressed, and also to note how they were able to do all the things they wanted to record thanks to advances in recording technology.  

There was more I wanted to type, but I've forgotten because I've fallen asleep a few times while typing this... haha... and it's now 3:55am so I'm gonna post this now. 

MORE
7/17 '18 8 Comments
These shows sound amazing. Do your best Norwegian Wood for me, and Maxwell's Silver Hammer for Mr. Archer. <3
Thanks! Tonight is Norwegian Wood-- that actually features me and Matt (along with Day Tripper and Ticket to Ride.) Maxwell's Silver Hammer is tomorrow night-- I love that song!
I am not normally a tribute show person, but this would absolutely have drawn me in, especially the White Album night. Alas, I'm in Virginia Beach for the week. So I shall console myself with sun, surf, sand and ludicrous amounts of cozy time.
Thomas Boutell 7/17 '18
Both are equally magical. Have a fabulous time, sir!
It is absolutely killing me that I can't be there (or give Robbb the gift of being there). I hope you all break all of your legs!
Michele Grant 7/17 '18
Thanks, babycakes! It's very strange not having you guys here... you are both missed very much!
This sounds like so much GD fun. I can feel the glow from here.
Anne Mollo 7/19 '18
Damn, that sounds fun!!
Kate Haney 7/24 '18
 

Home Alone...

Matt is in NYC right now with BT, seeing Phish from super-fancy box seats at Madison Square Garden.  He sent me photos... ooh la la!

It's weird having the house to myself.  This afternoon I was working on some new songs that Durkin sent me in prep for our house concert we're having in NJ Saturday night, and these new songs are heartbreaking and wonderful.  Durk is flying to NJ tomorrow, and we're gonna get together Friday to work on these tunes and then present a joint house concert on Saturday night; 30-ish minutes of Sunnyvale tunes (Sunnyvale is the name of the Durkin/Knapp/Casarino project), and 30 minutes of Hot Breakfast!  I'm excited.  

Anyway, just as I was wrapping up working on these tunes for the afternoon, my pal James texted me to tell me he was back home from his solo cross-country-finding-America jaunt, so I invited him over to sit in the backyard and eat cheese sticks and grapes on the swingy-chair.  It was such a perfect day out... maybe 82 degrees, not a lick of humidity, light breeze, no bugs... just glorious.   I love James so much. 

Guest DJs

Matt Casarino and I are going to be the guest DJs on Hometown Heroes on 93.7 WSTW tomorrow (Sunday) night from 8-10pm.  We're filling in for Mark Rogers who goes on vacation for these two weeks every year.  It feels really great that he asks us to fill in for him.  I guess that FCC Radio License I got in 1991 is actually useful for something. :-)

Anyway, if you're in the Delaware / DelCo / South Jersey listening area, you can tune in to 93.7FM.  If you're not, you can listen in on the web: go to wstw.com and click the huge, blue LISTEN LIVE button.  And if you can't listen live, you can listen to the podcast at which is usually up around lunchtime on Monday (download it from  wstw.com/hometown-heroes/ ).   

Hometown Heroes spins local, original music from Delaware, south and central NJ, Maryland (Baltimore and closer), SE PA, Philly, and even into the Lehigh Valley.  

If you do listen live, feel free to text in to say hello (text 56221), or comment while we're on the air via the Hometown Heroes Facebook Page.  

Or not.  We're not the boss of you. ;-)

That's it for now!  Gonna work on these songs a bit more.  OK bye.

MORE
8/5 '17 2 Comments
Two it's not enough to rock...
Good times!
 

Hit a home run with Verizon Residential and a bunt to first with Verizon Wireless today. It's been a Verizonny day. 

In a nutshell, Verizon Residential came out (and was on time!) this morning and they confirmed my diagnosis and remedy, because I am awesome.  So yep, turns out the ONT (optical network terminal) wasn't getting power from the outlet, and was only getting power from the BBU (battery backup unit).  The tech was awesome and took one look at our 10-year-old ONT/BBU and immediately said "I gotta replace this shiznit," at which point I said "Whoa whoa whoa, Amigo... the new units don't have battery backups, so you're not allowed to replace it because I have a landline that relies on the battery in the event of a power outage." And he was like, "Holy shitballs, you're right, which is weird because you appear to have both technical skills and boobs."  Yes, I get that a lot. I understand. It's an anomalies in your home and native land of DelCo, where everyone has Rodney Anonymous' accent.  Anyway, he replaced the power supply and didn't charge me anything, and said "I just gotta warn you though... a sales guy is gonna call you and they're gonna try to get you to upgrade your FIOS. Right now you have 256MB Up/Down, which was bleeeeeeeeding-edge speedy 10 years ago, and now we've got Gigabyte Up/Down. So just brace yourself." I asked if I was in any danger if I didn't upgrade... like, was I vulnerable to some nutty exploit, and he said "Nope, none that I can think of. As long as you keep your router firmware up-to-date and don't keep default passwords, you should be OK."  So, yeah. I call that a win for now.

* * * * *

The bunt to first base happened overnight last night when I tweeted to VZWSupport about a problem that has been plaguing our neighborhood and environs since May 2014: We had a freak hailstorm in May of 2014 with baseball-sized hail that got me and my neighbors new roofs/siding/car bodywork/etc.

(see cool photos of hailstones and damage to my house and car: https://www.flickr.com/photos/xtingu/sets/72157645237393142/ )

It also knocked out the Verizon cell tower that serves our area, and since that very afternoon, cell reception for everyone around here has been shittastic... you either have baaaaaarely one teeeeeeny bar of signal or none whatsoever, or you have to go outside to make a call. (This is why I still have a landline.)  Various neighbors have called VZW to complain over the years, and Verizon resolved the individual Incidents (be selling signal boosters to people who complained) but never addressed the Problem of fixing the smashed tower. So after I tweeted VZWSupport last night, they called me today and I was able to explain to the rep that it wasn't just me and Matt experiencing this, but it was over 200 customers in the area, many of whom are switching (or already switched) to Sprint.  She said "Holy crap, we'll get someone out there within 5-7 days!" Which seems like a long time, but we've waited three years, so what's other week?

There's a slightly more locked-down social media site called "NextDoor" which is a neighborhood message board that somehow verifies you actually live in a certain neighborhood before it lets you join. This "Damaged Verizon Cell Tower" has been a very sore point for a looooong time, but I'm suddenly a hero today for telling everyone in our surrounding neighborhoods that this might FINALLY get addressed. I am cautiously optimistic, hence a bunt to first base.  I'll keep y'all posted... I'm sure you're all biting your nails wondering how the cell reception is in North Wilmington, Delaware. 

Other than that...

Music Stuff This Weekend

We've got two gigs this weekend. On Friday (6/23) we're playing this neat town festival called Smyrna At Night. Smyrna, Delaware is a cute town about halfway down our tall skinny state that has a street festival every summer where they close the main drag, have a ton of vendors, food trucks, bands, and stuff all night. We're playing an indoor venue at prime time, from 8-9pm at a place called The Drunk'n Baker, which is a bakery that makes booze-infused treatz.*  Should be fun, even if I won't eat their boozey snax.

The second gig is the next night (Saturday, 6/24), where we're playing in our Billy Joel Tribute Band at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, on the big stage downstairs. Show starts at 8pm.  I sing lead on a few things, I sing backup on a zillion others, and play tenor and also saxes, and a crap-ton of percussion. It's a blast, and I love playing this music with my friends... it's an 8-piece band and we make a good racket. If you're in or around Philly, come on out if ya want. We'd love an audience. :-D

On Sunday we'll do a belated Fathers Day up at my folks' place in NJ and we'll stay with them for a few days. It'll be nice.

So that's the news. 

Riveting, I know.

Ok, bye. :)

____

Seven dollahs, get a big bagga treatz!" (Inside joke. Sorry.)​​​​​​

MORE
6/22 '17 9 Comments
"Seven dollahs, yah get a big bagga treatz!"

I fuckin love you. Have I mentioned that recently, cuz I do.

Laughed out loud in my hotel. Hope I didn't wake the neighbors.

Also - Nice work with Big VZ - both counts. I love that the kid tried to warn you of the impending call from the sales droid. Because of COURSE there's going to be a call.

And the cell tower? That seems like it will be a MAYJOHR win if it happens.

Your customer complaint fu is so VERY much stronger than mine. Remind me to have you come with me the next time I have to deal with VZW...
Matt Lichtenwalner 6/22 '17edited
Sometimes autocorrect is good. "Also sax:" now my favorite typo
Thomas Boutell 6/22 '17
So I wanna say I am proud of you for taking it to the man and getting good service ... and I am, but the fact that getting honest, helpful service from a vendor who YOU PAY is a victory, not a commonplace occurrence ... that makes me sad.

Yay you!
Boo Corporate America.
*pumps fist in solidarity*
I'll be there is Smyrna with my (most likely cranky) 6 yr old in tow. Hoping to finally meet you!
Ursula Sadiq 6/23 '17
Wait ... Ursula and Jill, you've never met?
That makes sense considering the timing, but still, it feels weird.
Jill I saw you through the window - but kid was extra cranky melting down, so we didn't come in. . . . some other day!
Ursula Sadiq 6/23 '17
No worries at all! Just saw this now that we're home, so I wasn't on the lookout and didn't know to be disappointed. :-D

But get this-- your name was totally brought up tonight! Kristen Halversen (new last name is Pickering) was there and her super-talented son Brody joined us as an intern when we recorded our last album. Kristen said to me, "Hey, I didn't know you know Hamlet! We were in the honors program at UD together!" And then started naming people we knew, and she mentioned you, and I said that we hadn't yet met but were probably going to any minute. IT'S LIKE I WAS PSYCHIC.
Told you.
 

We're not able to attend M&M's brightly-colored wedding, for we have a previous commitment involving a 50-year anniversary and people who want us to make music at it.

I am very sad to be missing an opportunity to be with my beloved PhilaDels all at once, but alas, neither event was ours to reschedule. 

I am hoping photos will be taken, and I am hoping that those photos will be viewable someplace other than Facebook... but I figure that latter-bit is a bit much to ask for. 

In other news, Matt and I did some of the Wilmington Art Loop this evening, and after we got home we listened to Noelle Picara's brand-new EP which she just released today (I dug it) and then I felt the need to paint. Being around so many artists made me wanna paint. So right now I'm working on "HELLO, PINBALL."   Painting a circle freehand is a bitch... it keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger as I try to even it out.  I didn't wanna trace a plate or use a compass, so, this is what I get.

It's 5:54am and time for beddy-bye.

Xo

MORE
6/3 '17 5 Comments
once again, you're going to bed at the same time i'm having my morning coffee. :P

we will miss you so much today!!! i was looking forward to seeing you. but duty calls, as they say! xoxo
Jenn A 6/3 '17
It is the natural order of things, our opposite sleep schedules!

Have a blast, safe travels, &c!
Sorry to hear we won't be seeing you hon, but I get it. Have a good show!
Thanks muchly! Have a great time and cut a rug for those of us unskilled in such feet-feats.
I will make sure that you get to see everything you'll want to see. (Which sounds like I'm being filthy...)

"Being around so many artists... ...HELLO PINBALL"
I can not tell you how happy you just made me. I very much look forward to seeing it!
 

I am jealous of Thomas Boutell ​​​​​​'s fancy bullets he used in an earlier post. I don't know if my bullets here will be as pretty and diamondy as his. Let us try in a listo!

  • Last night (Thursday May 25th) was a bittersweet night... about 73 million musicians and singers and players* played over 6 hours of music in a huge, free concert on both stages as we said goodbye and thank you to World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington. World Cafe Live pulled out of The Queen because it was bleeding money despite all their efforts to keep it in the black, and last night was officially the venue's last night, so all of the bands that were known to be Queen favorites were on the bill and we threw a Thank You and Goodbye show to give the venue we love a royal sendoff.
  1. With that many bands and players/singers, there was no way to give everyone their own time slot; so we created these giant "supergroups." For example, Matt and I told everyone they could use our saxophone-playing skills -- so two bands (Shytown and Vinyl Shockley) took us up on that as we bulked up their horn section -- we played one song with each of those two bands -- easy peasy.  And then The Joe Trainor Trio became JTTwelve (!) because Joe added a sweeeeeeet five-member horn section, he added a guitarist, and three women on backing vocals, so Matt played sax for that, and I sang backing vocals. 
  2. We were sent the charts for the two songs ahead of time, so Matt and I had time to rehearse them at home. But last night once we arrived and met the two other horn players for Shytown and Vinyl Shockley, they handed us a stack of music for a bunch of other songs and said, "Just watch us for cues," and away we went! Sight-read it on stage, no time to play through anything before we went on. I LOVE THAT.  And to sweeten the deal, these guys would even throw in the occasional "horn section moves" which were a blast... nothing too nuts... but every once in a while we'd do an intuitive choreographed "pop" and it looked cool as shit.  It felt SO GOOD to just jump in, feel trusted by strangers, trust them as well, connect into their neural network and be a horn section.  God, I love being a musician.

It was a magical, bittersweet night... and I'm so happy to be part of the World Cafe Live community.  

(And I'm also very happy to hear that we now have an "in" with LiveNation... but that's a topic for a different day.)

[Edited to add on Saturday: The muscles/tendons in my left forearm that control my left pinky (The G# key, as well as all the sub-C notes on a sax) is nice and sore, as are my hands and the muscles in my neck. I friggin' LOVE playing Moose (my tenor sax) but lorrrrdy these hands hurt afterwards. Totally worth it, though!]


---------

* There is an important difference between a singer, a player, and a musician.  Just because you can carry a tune or play an instrument does NOT mean you are a musician. Can you arrange a song? Can you tell me what a diminished chord is? Can you tell me the difference between dorian and mixolydian modes? Could you music direct a show? Could you write the parts out for all of these other instruments?  No? Then you're not a musician.  Words have power.  Please do not appropriate the title of what so many of us have trained so hard daily for DECADES to achieve.  


(x-posted to xtingu.dreamwidth.org)

MORE
5/28 '17 7 Comments
I didn't use standard listo bullets. I just pasted in some Unicode diamonds. The End uses diamonds in their own design, so it felt apt.
Thomas Boutell 5/28 '17
Ah! That 'splains it!
Can you just use html? Like, could I do the ol' "&bull;" and get a bullet?
oh PLEASE tell me there's video of all of this! i was so bummed i couldn't get down there for the show, it sounds like you kicked your usual ass! <3
Jenn A 5/29 '17
EEEE JENN IS HERE! [Clicks ALL his "give keys" buttons]
Thomas Boutell 5/29 '17
LOL - yeah, I pretty much just had the same reaction.
Also? Welcome aboard. It's good to see you here.

Also also? I'm with you on the whole "Christ, I hope there's video..."
Jenn! Yesyesyes! Be here!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️