Wednesday, August 15, 2012

CTR News and Updates

I feel like now is a good time for me to let you guys know what has been going on around here. So much is happening. I'm sure everyone is busy preparing for the new season which brings school, new careers, new apartments, etc... Exciting for us, isn't it?

There has been some confusion about which site I'm going to use for my store (Goodsie or my NEW Shopify store) and which site I'm going to use to blog (this blog or the blog on my shopify website).

So, I'd like to clear up where my "spaces" are on the web right now. Firstly, let me apologize, I know I've confused a lot of people. Truth is, I've been toying with the idea for different store options and blog options didn't know what would be best.

This is what I've decided for the time being:

This blog you are reading now will continue to be where I blog. So please visit this page for new blogs and regular updates.

My online store will be my NEW website which you can visit HERE. I'll still keep the goodsie store open for a few more weeks, just in case, while I'm making the transition, since many of you might still visit that site to order.

www.chandlertherobot.com is the web address for my new store.

If there are any other questions, please ask in the comments below.

In other news, I just moved into a new apartment in Salt Lake City. I'm finally settled in. I found the nearest grocery store, redbox, and post office. I'm good to go. Ha ha. Kind of love it here. The fall is just around the corner and there are crazy events that go on every day just outside my house.

I'm also preparing for my first Trade Show in New York City, The International Gift Fair. I will be exhibiting and showing all of my Chandler pieces at the show. Nick is going to be with me. He's such a good boyfriend:) Also, if you aren't aren't connected to me on Instagram please follow. I will be posting lots of photos of Nick and I exploring NYC as well as Trade Show pics. ( I am "megframpton" on instagram.)

Also, I just released my newest edition to my CTR shop: Shifty The Soldier Bot. I've already received many inquiries to make a Marine and an Air Force bot as well. I'm currently working on some designs for those ideas.

Phew, busy, awesome month so far. What's been keeping you guys busy at the moment?

Honestly,
Meg




Thursday, August 9, 2012

5 Surprising Lessons I Learned About Being An Artist On a Major Label




1. Don't toss your keys to the pros when it comes to mixing your record.

To those of you who don't know how the "making a record" process works, after the song tracks are recorded, they are sent off to be "mixed" and then "mastered" before they are made into physical cd's or uploaded to itunes.  Without too much technical information that will make all of your eyeballs glaze over, mixing involves activities such as adjusting the volume levels, equalizing individual instrument tracks, and panning said instruments, etc… and "mastering" involves making sure all of the songs sound cohesive together as an album. I'm not saying that the very talented mixer dude didn't do a fantastic job on his own on our record. He did. I'm saying that, as an artist, I felt that my part of the job was done once the tracks were recorded. 

My only contribution to the "mixing" of our record was a brief phone conversation with the "mixer", patiently explaining to him that my main concern was to make sure all of MY back up vocals and MY guitar solos were front and center. I mean, come on.

 I listen to records today by bands like "Arcade Fire" and "M83" and am in awe by the "mixes" they have going on. I'm sure they were part of the mixing process from the beginning to the end, which is why their records sound so freakin' awesome! 

The artist is the one who "births" the song, let them make sure that the song's shirt is tucked in and his luggage contains all the essential items like extra underwear and writing utensils before he is sent off to college to fly on his own.

2. Don't be intimidated by the record label people and ask questions!

Now that I've had experience running my own business (Chandler The Robot) for about a year and a half now, I think I finally fully understand the mechanics of running a company efficiently and well. I hate to think of a band and music as a "business", but we should have at least understood the agreement between the record label and us as far as what they needed from us and what we needed from them. 

I think that I was so impressed by their buildings and well-dressed secretaries that all I could manage was dutiful nods of my head to their questioning and a need to keep saying "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for signing us and keeping us here." 

We were right to be thankful, but we should have not been so shy and made sure to ask what we needed to ask, contact who we needed to contact, and make sure that both parties were on the same page. It's really hard showing up to a venue in Iowa with no merch, running around frantically before the show wondering if anything was ever even delivered, pondering if it might be worth it to write out by hand our band name onto blank white Hanes t-shirts with black sharpie, since there was a misunderstanding with the label, and nobody bothered to work out the shipping details.

3. Don't expect that the label will do everything once you are signed and believe you can finally kick back and slow down your efforts.

Woo hoo! We are signed. Now we don't have to do anything, and we will sell a million records and tour forever!!!

Not!

Umm, welcome back to reality. The label did amazing things for us, but that was the time to REALLY push on the gas NOT take it easy. Being on a major label is kind of like surfing. The label is like the huge giant wave you are looking back at as you clumsily putter around on your surfboard. Right as the powerful wave is about to break under you and potentially give you the ride of your life, you don't just sit there like a kid selling lemonade on the side of the street, you paddle, man, paddle like a crazy woman so that the momentum will carry you through!

I'm talking connecting with fans through social media, going out to really meet people and having great conversations after shows. Let fans know how much they mean to you, etc...

4. Don't forget where you came from.

I remember, during "Here, Here, and Here" we had it in our heads that we were supposed be the next Rolling Stones. When we made that record I didn't even know what rock n' roll sounded like. So, the stuff that came out of my head while I was trying to be Jimi Hendrix (when we all know I'm simply not) was just TERRIBLE. Warner Bros. signed us because of the success we had reached on our own by being ourselves and focusing on what we were good at. We had to go through a long loop to figure out that the very best we could be was who we were in the beginning. I'm not saying don't change and improve as an artist, but just don't force yourself to drink delicate wines and wear turtle necks if you really love Pabst Blue Ribbon and your oh-so-soft band tee from high school.

5. Do look back with grattitude OFTEN!

I heard from a friend, who heard from a friend recently, that another girl friend that we both used to hang out with (Have I lost you yet?) just started a punk band and is about to tour in Europe! I didn't even know this girl friend of ours knew the difference between middle C and a fork! I stared, stumped, at the friend who was telling me the news, and said, "That sounds SO awesome! I want to do that?!" And he just looked at me, and shook his head slowly and stated matter-of-factly, "Meg, you already did!" 

And I have. And it was fantastic, one of the most incredible life experiences I have ever had. 

It's so important to remember everything that we've accomplished and all the life we've lived.

Honestly,
Meg

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"Keep Calm and Carry On"

Thank you for all of your fantastic ideas you guys posted on twitter, fb, and my blog for a song title for my new song from "The Khaki Scouts" which will now be called:

"Keep Calm and Carry On" 

Thanks to @Judith Generoso. @Judith Generoso, you win any Chandler you'd like! (Please email me @ chandlertherobot@gmail.com to claim your piece:)

When I first read Judith's title, I simply liked the way it sounded.  Thanks to wikipedia I learned that this is where it originated from and what it meant:

"Keep Calm and Carry On was a poster produced by the Government of the United Kingdom in 1939 during the beginning of the Second World War, intended to raise the morale of the British public in the event of invasion."

Although, I don't love associating the song with an event as turbulent as a "war". I do love the fact that this saying was supposed to help everyone keep themselves together in the event of an "invasion". I kind of feel like some things invade my life sometimes, and it's important to stay focused and thankful. So, although this phrase doesn't literally encapsulate the lyrics of the song, it goes quite nicely with the sentiment I was trying to portray, and well...I just love it. 

Intensity 0890 on youtube asked:
"Can you give a small description on how this song came to you? Inspiration? Experience? Doesn't have to be detailed."


I can't dive really deep into this question because I'm about to move to Salt Lake City today (literally, I'm hopping in my full car to drive up there right after I write this blog!)

Basically, I wrote this song about how I feel about how I used to be a little more "wild" and "crazy" in my younger years. I toured a lot, moved around a lot. I was always meeting new people. Although life is a beautiful, new and crazy adventure at the moment, life now is exciting in a much more somber way. I guess this song is kind of about missing youth. And I know I'm still young, so it's about missing YOUTH, youth. You know, probably college days for many of you or maybe even high school. 

It's about, even though we are growing older, it's important to never stop saying "yes" to opportunities that might scare you (granted they are safe!) and to never stop exploring yourself and the world around you, even if you've piled on a mortgage, a car payment, and all those other adult responsibilities. It's still more important than ever to HAVE FUN!

Honestly,
Meg



Monday, August 6, 2012

The Khaki Scouts: Demo #2


This demo song needs a name! Leave your name for the song in the comments below. If I end up using your name, I'll give you a piece of jewelry of your choice. As always, thank you for listening:) (To download the demo on bandcamp click HERE.)



am  G    C
As I stand here now
Look into my eyes
am G F
Asked myself a thousand times
Lady why'd you try?

am  G    C
Not so long ago
Change my name each night
am G F
Play a different character
Fool them every time
F G C
I'd fool them every time


C
I want my spirit back
F
where did that woman go?
G C
She ran so far, so wide, to where the great wind blows
am
She always reached for higher
F
When fate grabbed from below
C
I wish she'd show up
G
I wish she'd show up
I wish she'd show

am  G    C
Life crashes in waves
and I say "Hey, I need a break"
am G F
I wave my arms and kick my legs
but I go under anyway. 
am  G    C
Where does that leave me now
my clothes tossed in a pile
am G F
I've got some songs and my guitar
And that'll last me for awhile
Yeah that 'll last me for awhile 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Introducing August's "First Thursday": "The Artist Bot"!

This month I would like to challenge everyone (including myself!) to unleash your inner creativity, even if you don't think you are "creative". How many times have we all tried to write that book, finish that song, start up our own youtube channel to share our unique ideas but always put it off? 


Maybe we are overwhelmed by our jobs. Maybe we just can't find the time. Perhaps we simply are scared that we might fail or be criticized? 

Please allow me to be that pesty person who gives you a little nudge. I say DO IT, whatever it is! Finish it. 

To Order "Artist Bot" visit my ONLINE SHOP!

I designed this Artist Bot to inspire and encourage you on your creative journey. He will help you out of writer's block. He will be the reminder that there are other's who do believe in you, and that even if you fail, that failure is just another step closer to helping you achieve your master life plan. 



To the courageous artists of the world who have inspired us all! I tip my hat to you and release "The Artist Bot" as a small token of my awe and appreciation for the ingenuity and creativity that is waiting to be found and set free in all of us.

Bot is approximately 1 1/2" 
Includes a 29" adjustable antique silver chain with lobster clasps
Robot is made from alloy metal with a silver coating.
Price: $50.00
*Only 50 Painter Bots in existence as part of this SPECIAL "Limited Edition" design
*Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery beginning on the official release date (Aug 2nd.)

Honestly,
Meg

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Trip to Sunny San Diego

Spending some quality time with the fam in San Diego before I move up to Salt Lake for the fall. The weather is SO refreshing compared to southern Utah where we came from. The water was a bit icy today, but it was totally worth it to jump in and battle with the giant waves just to feel that rush of excitement.

 Time to have my sisters help me remove all the crushed sea shells from my hair! Anyone else go on a eventful family vacation recently?







Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Dip


I'm going to take a tiny breather from my retelling of the "Meg and Dia" story to talk about a little bit of what is happening now. I'm in "The Dip". One of my favorite business writers of all time is Seth Godin. I spent all of last night devouring one of his books, "The Dip", trying to search for answers to my personal situation. I kept hoping to flip a page and have the next paragraph say in big, bold, high-lighted letters, "O.K. Meg this is what you need to do. This is how you need to do it. And I KNOW this is the RIGHT decision." But I never found that paragraph, and so his book is only receiving 4.75 stars out of five from me.

"The Dip", writes Seth, is that place that a person arrives at after toiling for many years and getting past the fun, exciting part of the new activity where every aspect is going splendidly. All of you know what I'm talking about. Maybe you tried to learn the piano, or perhaps started cooking, or maybe you are learning a new language. 

Let's take "learning a new language" as an example. Of course, I'm a sucker for Paris, so let's say you want to learn French. Well, the beginning part is super exciting. You have a big grin on your face all the way to the book store to pick up Rosetta Stone for French. You spend the entire first two weeks drenched in all those pretty foreign words. Perhaps you even throw a little "I'm learning French" party complete with chocolate croissants and real sturdy coffee. You learn to say a few useful sentences which you constantly recite to your ever-more irritated pals. "Where is the bathroom?" "You look pretty." "Can I have some more, meatballs please?"

The Dip by Seth Godin
And then the dip happens… You know, the part where the learning process becomes REALLY difficult. Your new activity has lost its novelty. You begin to question whether you actually want to go through all the trouble, if it's worth it in the end. Maybe the Eiffel tower totally sucks in person and everyone smells like pasta sauce. Who needs that anyway?!

I've been in the dip when it comes to my guitar for about two years now. I never seriously would consider quitting, but the thought does flit momentarily through my mind...every day.

 Not many people make it out of the dip. That's why so many people drop out of law school and medical school. So many people accept mediocrity. 

Seth says if you can make it out of the dip, you are one of the scant few. The Dip is basically a filter that filters out the serious from not-so-serious. This creates scarcity and is the reason why the super stars of the world are SUPER STARS! They are "The Best In The World". When I spotted that phrase in the book for the first time, I flinched a bit.

The best in the world…

When I think of the best in the world, I think of Jimi Hendrix, Steve Jobs, Bob Dylan. You know, people who, if they didn't start the culture, were a HUGE contribution to it. Seth says, if you can't be the "best in the world" at what your doing, than he gives you full permission to quit. He doesn't suggest quitting in a condescending way or in a looking-down-on-you way. He says it in a very constructive, positive way. Sometimes quitting on the thing that you'll never excel at is the best thing you can do for your career, your relationships, your life, because it allows you to start working on that thing that you were meant to do. You ever heard of Steven King? Well, did you know he studied to be a doctor and went all the way through medical school, years of his life spent at the university, only to decide that cutting people open wasn't for him, and he'd rather be a writer?!


I'm not saying I'm going to even attempt to come close to what Bob Dylan was to humanity. I'm also not going to try to be "The Best I Can Be". Something about that phrase always rubbed me the wrong way. I don't know why. It always seemed like…a "cop out" for some reason.

I guess I'm saying, if your in the dip, really think about what you REALLY want, because maybe it's worth it to press on, and...maybe it's not.

While reading this book, I had a huge moment of admiration for my sister, Dia Frampton. She's had a lot of success this past year, but even so, just observing the recent past tours she's been on, I know it hasn't been all cakes and ice cream... (o.k. maybe it has for her. Ha ha. But you guys know what I mean!) She'll never stop, and that's why she's going to be "The Best In The World" some day:)

So, I'm just hanging out in the dip today. I'm thinking about setting up camp in the very bottom of the dip, maybe set out a "welcome rug" outside my tent and hang up a clothes line. 

While playing my guitar today, going over and over the arpeggios of a "Dawes" song I'm working on, my whole body started rocking….back….and forth…back…and forth. It was like my guitar was holding me like I was a little kid and telling me, "Listen Meg. Listen to how beautiful and sad this melody is. Let it hold you for now."

Honestly,
Meg

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Khaki Scouts

Consider this a "soft introduction" to my new musical project. I've only made a very rudimentary outline in my head of where this musical project will go. Right now I'm putting together a few demos and getting myself back into the swing of things.

Even though nothing has been "polished", I still wanted to share what I'm currently working on to keep everyone in the loop.

I like the name "The Khaki Scouts". Anyone seen Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom"? Excellent movie. I'm sure this band name has already been taken in Australia or somewhere. Oh well.

Once Nick sets up his home studio, we'll pull out the big guns and do this the right way, but for now, a demo really isn't a "wrong" way, right?

Please fill free to download a free version of this demo:

 http://thekhakiscouts.bandcamp.com/track/a-million




A Million:

F am Bb C

Do you know how long I've dreamed and schemed
All those sleepless nights how hopeless it all seemed
There were times when I could almost taste the future 
years ahead where I would be someday

dm Bb F C

And I was scared and you were there to tell me "Don't you dare stop trying"
You held my face the words escaped "You'll be o.k.  I'd never  lie to you

F Bb gm C
Don't sell my dreams
There are some things money can buy
But it can't buy everything


I won't change my mind
Go ahead and name your price
Give me a million a trillion
And I'll wave it good by
Bb F gm C

Oh

F am Bb F second time C
I admit sometimes the other side tempted me to try to understand
But all it took was just one step outside the way I've always thought, the way I've always planned
dm Bb F C
The truth is there's no other way. I have no choice, but the one I've made.
Sometimes there's pain. Sometimes trouble
I can't help loving what I do each day  


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Paying Your Dues


Nick joined the band. We found a bass player shortly after. Dia and I considered ourselves extremely lucky to be joined with two very motivated and capable dudes. Ryan understood what he liked to call "The Scene". He knew the right bands, the right people, and the right way to butter up his connections. 

He actually booked our first tour all by himself utilizing the mysterious powers of Myspace to connect with bands such as "Lydia" from Arizona and "The Higher" from Las Vegas. (Anyone remember those guys?) We coordinated with these other bands in our region of the U.S. to "show swap" and give each other the names and numbers of local promoters and venues.



All of the pieces of our journey seemed to fall together quite nicely. We continued to sell Dia and my first demo cd. We  found a lead guitar player, Kenji, online to complete our band. (The internet is such a magical tool, wouldn't you agree?) Kenji now enjoys radical success playing guitar for Bruno Mars, which is quite incredible actually. Good for him. I'd be happy just to be Bruno Mars back up dancer! Um…o.k. let's not go too far. Ha ha. Basically, we simply packed up our belongings, our really terrible musical equipment that we didn't really know how to use yet, and hit the road in my Infiniti SUV.

Yup, no van. No trailer. I'm not even sure how we fit a whole drum set along with all those amps and our luggage in my vehicle back then. (Yes, this is the same vehicle that I drove throughout my college days and wrecked in that Smith's parking lot.)

When I think  back to those first tours we did I have to sigh a lot, and that same twirly feeling that you get in your stomach when you develop a crush on that special someone (you know the feeling!) begins to tornado through my abdomen. That first tour just seemed so simple. So happy. I don't think we hardly sold any cds. We traveled along through Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, and up through Washington and Oregon. We played in small coffee shops, bars,  and even a lot of parks, parking lots, and people's houses. I think  we drew 20 people at the most to each show, the average being about five to ten. Five to ten! On the last tour I played opening up for "Blake Shelton", we played for five to ten THOUSAND!

I wouldn't have traded in that experience for a cute little house with a white picket fence. (Which is what I'd like most in the world right this minute, so that's saying a lot!)  We used to sleep in Wal-Mart parking lots and wake up before the crack of dawn to use the Wally Mart restroom to brush our teeth. On the last tour I did the band on the Blake Shelton Tour had two giant green rooms complete with catering and a liquor bar. My how the times change, right?



I remember bringing out a friend on tour once, who insisted that she needed to shower. So finally, I had Nick pull the van and trailer over in a strip mall complex right up to a Starbucks where I proceeded to explain to my friend the mechanics of a "sink shower". I won't go into detail in my blog, but I'm sure you guys can imagine how this experience works…

We made so many great friends in those early days. If we had a bad show, we simply laughed it off because there wasn't any pressure. Who was there to be upset about a sour note? The two guys at the bar quarreling over who hates their construction job the most? 

Ignorance is bliss. Innocence is hard to come by these days. I will lock those first shows in a box and keep them in a safe place deep inside heart until…until forever all right! I'm sure all of you have many "first" experiences in whatever field you are in that were tough, but necessary to get you where you are today. I would love to hear about them in the comments:)

Honestly,
Meg

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Weekend Instagram Photos







Hope everyone had a lovely weekend! It was great to get outside. I didn't end up writing any songs on our camping trip, I did however skip a rock 6 times and learned what kind of leaves the pioneers used for toilet paper. And yes, we did try to cook beans on my car engine... FYI that doesn't work. ha ha.

Cheers!
Meg

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Asian Drivers...Need I say more?


Dia drove up to Salt Lake City, bringing with her precious cargo: the 995 demo cds we had left from our first and only printing of the "Our Home is Gone" record. ( I think my parents bought 2, and we maybe sold the other 3 cds at one of our hometown shows.) 

I promised Dia a band, an entire west-coast tour of booked shows, and an interested and flashy manager by the time she dropped her suitcases on my doorstep. Truth was, all I had waiting for her was a cold spanish omelet and hours of unfinished English homework. 

She didn't complain at all. We settled into a routine in SLC, eating, sleeping, and then repeating. I think I must had dropped out of college about the time she came up. I knew a few adventurous girlfriends around town to cause trouble with. I started dating someone, became relatively serious, relatively quickly, so he took up a lot of my time as well. 

Everything changed one day after an unfortunate accident in the Smith's parking lot. I had gone around doing some spring cleaning, finishing up some errands: laundry, grocery shopping, and what not. For some reason I remember being in a real intense rush after my grocery shopping. After I loaded in my bunch of turnips and whole milk into the trunk, I turned the keys in the ignition, and without even glancing up into my rearview mirror, zoomed out of that space like an aircraft late for a tea party. I slammed into a poor innocent woman's car searching for a convenient parking space. (Please, hold your "bad Asian-driving" comments please… Heard enough of those.)

Of course, the woman reacted violently and swiftly, calling the necessary authorities along with her concerned husband. "Yes, yes. I'm fine. What? Yes, she is. Well, she's one of those- " At this point, her voice lowered. She must have been trying to explain to her husband that the offender in question looked to be a scroungy ragamuffin in her late teens, looking to be as lost as the next wandering musician, and that they shouldn't be too hard on my crushed soul or she'll just keel over, or something close to that effect, I'm sure.

Needless to say, I got off easy. The cops came, they wrote me a little paper thingy which I crumpled up and tossed in the back seat. If my memory serves me correctly, I think the lady, whose day I had ruined, actually waved goodbye while I drove away from the crime scene. 

My friend Steve happened to call me on my drive back to my apartment. I explained to him the dire situation that had just taken place. He had just the anecdote. "You need to drive to "Price Autoshop" in South Salt Lake. Ask for Nick. I've actually been wanting you and Dia to meet him for awhile now. So maybe this is a good thing. He's a fantastic Drummer Man!"

So, I picked up Dia and some demo cds to meet this "fantastic Drummer Man" and perhaps score a deal on my busted bumper before my parents flip out  next Christmas break. We pulled up to this curious family-owned operation, walked through the entrance gate to spot a casual looking young man with his legs lounged up on the desk. In the memory I've sugar-coated since then, I redirected this scene with  him wearing long overalls on and chewing straw between his teeth. In real life, he wore a full-body, one piece, American-blue jumpsuit with the name tag "Price Auto" neatly fastened on his left breastpocket.

Ya'll already know this guy. And yes we ARE currently dating, and yes this is our "how we met for this first time..." story:)
He must have been expecting us. I swear he jumped straight over the desk with his legs that went on forever, light as a feather and acrobatic as a circus performer. Without an ounce of shyness, he walked right up to my sad bumper and gave me an immediate estimate of what the cost of a new bumper for my make and model would be. After hearing that frightening number, I decided that I thought the huge chunk missing in my bumper was kind of cute and rather endearing actually, and I had grown quite attached, and I'd rather not get it replaced after all. 

The conversation turned to mine and Dia's musical dream. We both became starry eyed while we told our new friend what we intended to do with our lives. He didn't seem skeptical at all like we thought he would be. We sold Nick a cd right out of our trunk. 

At the end of our explanation, Dia paused, and looked at Nick right straight in the eye. Her voice took on a solemn tone, and some melodic and suspenseful background music began to play as she took one step toward Nick and shook a stiff finger in his face. "Now, we are really serious you hear? We need to know that you are with us, ALL the way. We plan on traveling many moons across America to sing for people, to show them a little somethin'."

Nick didn't lose eye contact the entire time Dia recited her soliloquy. After she finished, he kicked a pebble in the dirt, hiked up his cargo shorts a little, and with a quick and efficient nod, he huffed, "I'm in."

Honestly,
Meg


Thanks to everyone who pre-ordered! All Stupendous Chandler pre-orders/orders will be shipped out tomorrow morning:)

xo
Meg

Wednesday, July 4, 2012



Jade and Nick are both in town for 4th of July weekend. We've been busy eating red, white, and blue jello, staying up late catching up on "Modern Family" episodes, and enjoying my mom's delicious authentic Korean BBQ.

More Meg and Dia stories and new Chandler designs coming soon!

Honestly,
Meg

Friday, June 29, 2012

I Like Girls Who Wear Abercrombie & Fitch

Another blog post of the next chapter of my "Meg and Dia" Story Series. For the first few chapters read these posts: "Here", "Here", and "Here". These posts about how my first band started out, the process of "getting signed" by a major label, all the ups and downs.


Dia and I performed a few more times after that gig at The Electric Theater. With our practices becoming more and more rare and our enthusiasm tanking, I decided to pack a bag and try the "college" route.

 I placed a stack of neatly folded jeans into my suitcase with my father's voice echoing from down the hallway, "You're only young once. You ought to keep at it." I shrugged off his advice and reached up for a few photos on my wall that I wanted to bring with me to my dorm. "You're going to regret this. You really don't need to go to college." I glanced up from my packing. Really? What kind of father gives his child the advice NOT to go to college. I had to convince him over and over again that I needed an education to find a real job, a steady income. I needed stability, and my sister and my little dream and our gigs around town weren't going to give that to me.

Of course, I didn't want to leave Dia to fend for herself at home while I went off to college. I realize now, looking back how hurt she felt and abandoned at my leaving. I tried to play down the enormity of my decision, because although I would never admit it out loud, leaving Dia was one of the hardest parts about my "grown up" decision. I held back tears and succeeded in my goal of showing no emotion. Why I couldn't have simply given her a huge hug, balled my eyes out, and asked her to beg me to stay, I'll never know. 

I basically lived in a closet for a year, sharing half of the tiny space the University liked to call a "dorm room" with another really religious girl who frowned upon my cut-off jeans and late curfew. (I actually ended up becoming really great friends with her.) I did all the college "activities". I attended some really lame parties, drank a beer on a rooftop in the middle of the night with strangers, fell in love with a tortured artist, and flunked Political Science. 


You know, it's true what they say. The professors at the U of U really do give their students personal attention. I remember one afternoon, while away on a weekend trip, my Political Science professor called my cell phone. My service was terrible, so I called him back on a pay phone. There I was, in a parking lot in who-knows-where listening to my professor tell me that I "didn't give the class my all" and he knew that "my new girl friend I was hanging out was trouble", and that he was prepared to let me take the class over again for free. And I didn't even know he knew my name the whole semester!

I worked at Abercrombie & Fitch while attending college. Aside from one really good friend who I could talk to about dreams and personal aspirations, I could never quite find my stride in retail. I passed the time avoiding the automatic perfume sprayer thingy from the ceiling. (I'm very sensitive to smell!) My boss would catch me in ten minute intervals darting behind display tables every time the pungent scent misted from overhead.

I had my epiphany, if you will, while working one of my afternoon shifts. I played a game in my head, listening to the repetitive techno music and trying to figure out the chord progressions of the songs and the intervals of the vocal melodies. That day, I'm not sure if the  smell became a little too much for my sensitive nose or if thinking about Biology finals made me anxious, or standing at the entrance with that plastic smile on my face reciting the same tired line, "Have you heard about the new Emma flares?" was the straw that broke the camels back.


All I could think was…

Really?

What am I doing?


This is what my life has come to, huh?

After my shift I ran out of my place of work with all the little people who live inside my brain jumping in triumph. Later that evening I called Dia. Our conversation went something like this: 

" Dia, you have got to get up here?"

"What? Why? I'm still in high school."

" I know, but high school isn't that important!"

"You're starting to sound like dad."

"So."

"So. I'm not coming up there."

"School isn't quite what I thought it was. My job, although I'm grateful, is not what I'm supposed to be doing with my life!  We need to start playing music again. I've written a few songs. We'll find a new band. Just come up here... Please?"

"No."

"Please? There are cupcakes in Salt Lake..."

"Okay."

Honestly,
MEg



Thursday, June 28, 2012

July's "First Thursday" Design Pre-Order Begins Today!

So I released the first batch of "Stupendous Chandler" Keychains in May when I was on tour with my sister, Dia Frampton. Before I left I wasn't able to have all of them ready. That batch sold out during the pre-order before the actual release date.

I'm releasing the rest of that batch and a 2nd batch to make up for that! 50 are available this time:)


Available in my CHANDLER SHOP!

Honestly,
Meg

Monday, June 25, 2012

Altitude Design Summit

O.K. So most of my posts are about jewelry and music, but I thought I'd share this bit of information with you guys, since I've been getting a few questions about how I started my blog, and about the photos I take, and yadda yadda.

Now, I'm no master. I'll state that right now. One of my favorite things about making jewelry and having a blog is how I'm continually learning about all aspects of being a blogger/designer.

I already told you guys about my mentor Christi Friesen when it comes to making jewelry out of polymer clay. Now, I'd like to share a website that I used quite often to take online classes from when I was touring and on the road to continue my learning process.

They have a whole new lineup for July. You can visit their website HERE, if any of you creative nerdy types are interested in doing some online learning of your own during the month of July. Hope you can find something you are interested in, and may we always strive to learn something new!

These are the classes that I'm looking forward to taking:

"Photoshop For Bloggers"



"A drab, disappointing photo can overshadow all the great written content on your blog. Could your photography skills use a little help after the fact? Are you at a loss when you see the letters RGB, DPI, and CMYK? Why don’t your photos look as good online as they do on your computer? In this class, Photoshop expert Mike Loveland from Nicole’s Classes covers the basics of web images, including choosing the right resolution and improving the overall appearance of your photos."

"Blogging is more than just photos and ideas, it’s about pretty layouts and typography. Basic graphic design elements will be taught with a visual blogger’s needs in mind to help you create the prettiest styled layouts, style boards and collages you can minus the graphic design degree."


#thanksbing for making helping to make these online classes available for all of us to enjoy!


Honestly,
Meg

I Know Jon Cheese


Playing music for the sake of playing music is a beautiful thing, even after an artist is still recovering from a small defeat. So, Dia and I booked ourselves a gig on a Saturday night at The Electric Theater without the Jade Harbor band backing us up. 

We packed our arsenal of songs and sang our hearts out for an audience of about 20-30 preoccupied students.  Although we enjoyed performing, the excitement for us took place about 10 minutes after we finished when the headlining band began their foot-stomping set. A display of musical theatrics that our small town had never experienced before. Do you guys remember Limbeck? They used to be a Doghouse Records band. In my young  eyes Limbeck was the real deal. 

They tumbled out on stage, belligerent, sweaty, road--worn in all the right ways. They just sounded so together and smooth, like a real rock n' roll band. The lead singer even had that "thing" that all lead singers seem to possess. At that moment I stole a sidelong glance at Dia and then up at the singer on stage, secretly scheming how I could rip a few holes in her jeans without her knowing and perhaps get her to stop brushing her hair for a week or two.  

Back then I would have given an arm and a leg to be able to travel in their beaten-up, 15-passenger van, heck I'd give up half my limbs to even sit shot gun around the block with all of the band members hanging their arms out the window, cigarette smoke hot-boxing our conversation. (A decade later, I feel slightly different about traveling via van and even more intense about cigarette smoke, but back when I was 17, those smelly bench seats called out to me with a vengeance!)

After Limbeck finished their set, Dia and I took our places behind the merch table, arranging a few demo cds and  two horrible t-shirt designs on the folding table near the entrance of the venue. The task proved difficult because a pair of ankles clad in worn sandals kept stomping around in our very compact space. I looked up at the man hopping around on the table. His giant pirate mustache muffled his hollering, "Limbeck CDs! Two for 10!" With every hoot and yell his head dramatically swooped back and his auburn, curly-hair waved around excitedly. I didn't know if I should be concerned for his safety. He looked as though at any moment he might slip on a cd or t-shirt and fall to his doom.

Usually Dia and I, wearing a sweet little expression on our faces with a "please sir?" in a Tiny Tim voice usually does the trick when it comes to selling a cd or two at the merch table, but we didn't have a prayer to outshine this energetic salesman's techniques. Really? Running around ON the merch table? There has got to be a "fair practices" rule book for touring bands somewhere!

"Excu-, Ex-, EXCUSE me SIR!" I nudged a few people away from the merch table to attempt to bring sanity to our selling space. "Would you mind stepping off the table? I really don't think that it's fair for you to be calling attention to yourself in such a manner."  He seemed to not even notice me. "Err…" bright-eyed and glowing with this bright  orange aura he finally responded, "Hmm? Oh yes. You know, you guys were just… great. Just fantastic. I've done a lot of touring in my days, and I've just never seen… Just so different. I can't really explain…" "The name is Jon Cheese," he tried again reaching down his hand. I stood up on my tippy toes to shake while introducing myself and Dia. 

He hopped down from the table, tumbling backward into one of the merch bins, knocking over a member of Limbeck, who didn't seem at all festered by the impact. Mr. Cheese folded his arms on his chest and leaned into the table. "I want to help you guys. I'm just a merch guy. I don't really know…much. But I want to help you. If you ever need anything. If you ever have any questions, give me a call." He handed me a ridiculous looking business card with his face drawn out in a cartoon complete with the signature wild hair do and mustache. Such curious words to hear from a complete stranger. Well, at least he had a business card. I guessed that that was something. 

Visit his website HERE


The rest of that evening Dia and I learned a little more about Mr. Cheese and his travels with Limbeck, and although he seemed a lot to take in, being from a mysterious and faraway state like New Jersey, we both decided: we liked him.

So, I kept his card in my wallet for the next 8 months, and just like the guitar in its case under my bed, there it stayed collecting dust.

Honestly,
Meg



Friday, June 22, 2012

Director In The Sky


We started small, taking tentative little steps forward, dipping our toes in the water, making sure the temperature felt o.k. While we busied ourselves with band practices and local performances, my dad kept an eye out for opportunities outside of our small town. He never tried to play the part of "super manager-dad", the character you hear about who paces back and forth in the kitchen in his sweat pants, cigarette dangling from his lips, cell phone tucked between his shoulder and earlobe. He simply loved us. We told him the dream we held for ourselves, deep in our hearts as starry eyed pre-teens, and he listened. 

He quickly located a music conference in Los Angeles called "Taxi", a company that takes independent writers' songs and "supposedly" finds placement for them in movies and video games etc… He called the conference an opportunity. Dia and I called it…something else, but regardless, my father never failed to drill home the reasons why we so desperately needed to attend these events, "You never know who you'll meet…"

 Dia and I enjoyed ourselves. We met a few friends, developed a crush or two on a few young fellow songwriters, and didn't take much of what any of the "industry experts" said too seriously. That is to say, until we attended the last panel of the event which consisted of all the songwriters bringing along their little demo cds to the show to be judged. We shyly handed our demo up to the intimidating panel of judges. Four "professionals" shared the judgement duties in order to comb through the anxious crowd quicker. We ended up with a pleasant looking woman. "She won't be too hard on us" I whispered to Dia before we stepped up to the plate. She smiled down at us, popped on her cd player's headphones, and proceeded to listen to our masterpiece with a totally blank expression. Dia and I squeezed each other's palms and shared a quick nervous glance. 

After about 30 seconds into the track, she set the headphones down and gave us her two cents, which we didn't quite know to accept as bad news or good news. "I don't know if it's just because I've been listening to really bad music all afternoon…but I think this is really great!" My dad pounced on the opportunity to go for the hard close of his sales pitch. He reiterated all of the details of our short history as a huge local hit, buttering up some of the details for effect. She handed us our cd back. My dad gave her our card. He shuffled Dia and I out of the conference room. Once we passed through the double doors, he leaned in between us with a glimmer in his eyes, "She's the one! She's the reason we came!"

I know you've all heard the advice: "It's all about the connections". I've heard this so many times, my stomach churns on cue when I hear the phrase. So please, save yourself from hurling when I say, "It's all about connections!" That being said, I'm sorry to explain further that this advice sort of turns out to be fruitless at best. 

You see, you can't go out yourself and find these so-called "connections". They find YOU.

Just like my dad said, she did call as if prompted by some mighty director watching the scene from the clouds above shouting to his production assistants, "O.K. They've just unpacked their bags, and they are so exhausted. Ring telephone NOW!" That call marked the beginning of an adventure which included in no particular order, a real demo cd complete with real studio musicians, a meeting with a major record label (woohoo!), professional photos, a signed management deal. A whirlwind of a journey which ended up being the first of many false starts. Success is never an easy road. Wish I could have yelled up to that director in the sky, "Come on, man! Throw us a bone, already!" to which he would have shouted back in fury, "What in the Hell do you think that just was?!"


Well, where's the "calm before the storm you mentioned in your previous blog?" you ask. 

A scene took place. A small, biting blip in my memory. Before the new manager lady would take on Dia and I as her clients, she flew out to Utah to watch an intimate performance of "Jade Harbor". She shook her head after the show. "The band has to go." she said softly. One of the biggest regrets I have in this life is letting them go. Did we not understand loyalty back then? Did we not understand heart? I guess not. We allowed fiery visions of fame and fortune to get the best of us. So we wrapped up our little band in a little paper boat, set them in the water, and watched them float away.

I wouldn't call our experience with her a "failure". She shared a kindness and hope with us that  set Dia and I in the right direction. One time, she drove us out to the west coast. Dia and I sat on the sands with hopeful eyes as we sang our simple melodies to the passing skateboarders and toned, sun-tanned mothers pushing strollers. Our manger lady dropped the only lonely dollars into our beat up guitar case. She was the only soul on the beach who bobbed her head and listened to what we sang and actually enjoyed what she heard. She believed in us, but as only the big directer in the sky knows, the timing wasn't right. 

"Cut! Change scene!"

Honestly,
Meg