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."


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:

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


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:)


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.


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."


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


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!