Synchronicity…no not The Police

Amy Penwell

Here’s the setting.  A big, fat, huge house.

Big. Big. Big.  A Gorgeous evening. Marin county at the base of Mt. Tamalpias. Summer. Synchronicity is in the air. I got to meet Record Company Founder of small label, my friend Larkin Gayl just released an album off of. He seemed to adore fact that I was Irish/Italian. First kudos for just being me, good start. I have no expectations of being signed, (maybe a few hopes), but it is nice to get the opportunity to get listened to by someone who is trying to put real artists into the world.  Mixing art and commerce.

If Bono can do it so can we.

I believe it can work as long as it is balanced, and the feelings are mutual, though there seems to be more of an abundance of talent, than the cash it takes to launch them into a profitable career. My friend Chris and new aquantance John, (also at the party) are doing the same thing with writers. There is cool stuff brewing in Marin County, and if I have anything to do with it, it will merge in some way to birth a pioneering model of bringing the two together. (art and commerce that is).We really can’t do it alone! It takes creativity, smarts, patience, and integrity. Most of the people I am connected with have those qualities!

The evening was in honor of Larkins’ debut record “Two Hands”.
A beautiful record, a beautiful lady.

I will admit to being a jealous wench when she first got signed. I couldn’t help it. It helps to admit this. As I have stated in previous entries I believe we are as sick as our secrets. Harboring toxic emotions is cancerous. Giving people their proper respect feels good with a little practice, though it becomes most challenging when it appears that they are getting everything that you want. It’s just the fear of not getting what I think I need again. That fucker likes to rear it’s mangled head when I’m not paying enough attention to my own path. I believe people come along to mirror lessons to us. Through prayers, and late night livingroom confessions “Don’t shoot the messenger, just admit your jealous Aim” began to infiltrate. Prayers answered, thank you. That is what I call grace.
Larkin got signed because she if the real deal. She’s lovely on so many different levels, she’s not full of shit, and her music is meant to live life here on earth…. and yes Larkin is her real name, given to her at birth.

Oh yeah, and my cd release party  for my first album will be held at the same house in Oct. 18th of 08 with, or with out record companies! Mark your calenders!!!!!

The sober (myself) often need to get creative
when partying. While others sipping whiskey that was more expensive than my rent, out of fancy glasses over ice, from a wine room larger than my cottage (I notice all presence of all alcohol being consumed), it’s just who I am. I liken it to being a man in a room full of hot scantily clad women, with your wife on your arm, saying “No baby, all I want is you,”. You may even mean it, but you still feel….a bit….hot. The “super ego” just cannot prevail with out gargantuan consequence. For some it’s food, some it’s heroin, sex, shopping….the list goes on and on, as Erika Badus’ album questions “What’s Your Ism?” (Damn I wish that title wasn’t taken! )
Well Erika, for me it’s King Alcohol. I carry my “Ism” with me where ever I go, He will never abandon me. He’d like to see me dead, but like any good Jedi in training, I have learned to work with the dark side by accepting and  respecting it’s existence. A day at a time for 3129 days (but who is counting)I have been victorious.

Hence the night swimming.  I remembered that there was a heated pool over looking the redwood trees, under the stars. Mind you I was decked out in full make-up, red dress, matching fingers and toes. I was having a good hair night. I was willing to give all that up for the glorious high school feeling I got when we went pool hopping at 4 in the morning, but drunk. I was willing to look like Alice Cooper coming out of the sewer. I was willing to live the seventies Marin County fantasy…sober and faithful. It was the only time in my life that I was happy that Steely Dan was playing in the back round. I have no love for Steely Dan, sorry to offend. Supporting, schmoozing and swimming seemed to be the right mix. Luckily I wore boy’s underwear shorts under my dress, sobriety has made me modest.

So tonight I’m off to mix some songs down with producer Ben, to hand them off to friend and colleague Drew to hand off to record guy George. I’m going to ask him to talk me up, to remind him that the songs are from that Irish/ Italian girl with big hair and red dress from the fancy party.
Remind him that the world needs a dose of honest/passionate music right now. Who better to offer it up than that Irish/Italian girl Amy Penwell?
“I think she’d be huge in France!” perhaps. (I’m told they love women with deep voices).  Ireland would embrace, though I don’t know about this American place, (good song line consider it copy written!) maybe the coasts. America may have it’s head too far up it’s own ass to be ready for Amy Penwell songs, but who knows, maybe they’ll embrace something more than  kitchy love songs from Grey’s Anatomy,  horribly watered down pop rock sludge, or more sorry excuses for hip hop songs, selling ass tapping to 10 year olds…..a girl can dream.


Amy Penwell

The first time I heard “With or Without You” by U2 on the radio, I was in the passenger seat, driving around in Springfield Massachusetts with my older brother Rob. It was 1987. I was 13.

Rarely, at first listen do I fall in love with the albums that change my life forever. This was slightly different. I had been waiting for what seemed to be an immeasurable distance between the live EP “Wide Awake in America” which came out in 85’, Peter Gabriel’s “SO” record in 86’ to this eerie, quiet, drawn out guitar note, steady bass and tambourine build, that was to become an odd regular on the radio.

Remember it was the mid- eighties. A time of really bad glam metal, especially in Western Massachusetts. It was Motley Crue, Poison, Cinderella, Dokken.
Thank God for Daniel Lanois; masterful producer of “So” and (along side Brian Eno)
“The Joshua Tree”. He REALLY helped save my impressionable years. Thank you Daniel.

Though “Boy”, “October”, “War”, “The Unforgettable Fire”, and the “WAIA” EP tided me over, I was getting ……… itchy. “WAIA” had become four songs of sadness, especially the first track “Bad”.

My father had just passed from a massive heart attack just after a wretched separation from my mother, I had switched schools 6 times in a year and a half, and one of my siblings just got out of a psych ward. I had already begun to sneak cigarettes, entered a tumultuous love affair with King alcohol (who kicked my ass from Massachusetts to California), and driven around stoned, listening to Ozzy Osbournes’ “Bark at the Moon” in a Buick Regal. Yes, too much, too fast. I was tired.

“The Joshua Tree” was a life preserver, a harbor, a refuge, and became my life sound track. It transported me. It balanced me. It gave me some sort of force that kept me grounded to the life I so needed escape from. It gave me an example of pioneering through the drone of popular music, being passionate and reserved, and unguarded anywhere, with anyone, and all at the same time. It gave me a standard, and became recorded proof that music could change and heal if created and offered with complete abandon. It aided in recovering, and inviting those parts of me that were hiding in recesses I didn’t know existed. It has given me the courage to choose a marriage type of relationship with writing and music as my path.

These are the things you wish you could say to those who create your life sound tracks. Who affect you in intimate ways, who seem larger than life, but who are really just like you and me; very imperfectly human.

Maybe some day I will. Who knows, maybe I just did. Thanks guys-


Amy Penwell
(sometime in 07

My sister Stephanie and I had a major dork out session with photo booth again. We both lean toward the side of addiction with what ever we enjoy. Right now it’s photo booth. You can enjoy our latest geek frenzy on my “pictures page”. She brought my to 17 year old nephew Gage to my neck of the woods to see Rage Against the Machine and Public Enemy this weekend in San Francisco. He seems to be ever so slightly following in this little aunties foot steps. He too has a fire under his ass for music and loose leaf green tea. He too is getting his braces off, getting his drivers license, and going to art school his junior year of high school, we have the same nose, and yes, he too is going to see Rage for the first time around the age of 17. My momentary contemplation of going to the show was accompanied by a flash back…… It’s 1993. It’s an abandoned airport outside of Providence RI. It’s the second Lollapalooza and I am in a mosh pit at high noon. Rage is in mid set and everyone is screaming at the top of their lungs “FUCK YOU I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME”. I am in heaven.

I, being one of the few females in my immediate area feet naively secure for a moment…empowered even, amidst all these boys until some beefy, baseball capped chump smacked me on my size 42 inch wasted, Etne wearing ass. You might ask yourself was Amy a little chunky at 18? Well, not exactly. You see it was the early to mid- nineties. I had a thing for boys on skateboards (still do… I married one) and was dating one at the time, and wearing his cloths regularly. I still have the size 14 overalls he bought for me at Sears in 92′. For some reason he thought I looked hot in clothing that should have been used in a “before” shot. One that one would be held up with pride after losing 40lbs. ( I didn’t start wearing cloths that fit me until 98′)……..where were we….Oh yes, ass on the ground, dirt in the eyes and the probability of getting my head crushed. I was not so gracefully rescued by my boy at the time and we were quickly back to screaming obscenities with great joy and anger…..end of flash back.
Though it would appear that this is just another money making reunion festival I suspect that with the exception of reality television staring Flavor Flav all the bands should be up to par. Even though I almost lost my life the last time I saw Rage in SF a couple years later; they put on one of the most exhilarating, shows I have ever seen. Perfect for 17 not for this 33 year old girl who hates long lines in concert parking lots and drives a Volvo. Okay maybe, but I think i’ll sit this one out. As for my nephew I think he’ll be stoked on the ass kicking, on Zach jumping around like he has pogo legs while screaming his gloriously vengeful, George Bush hating anthems. Just another in a long line of rites of passage I get to share with him a little. I’ve moved onto narcissism in front of my computer with my sister ready for the highlights on You tube.