We’ve got a special episode today, folks! I’m talking to Alianna Kalaba, drummer for Cat Power and bassist for FACS.
Alianna shares her story of how she started drumming and manifested playing for Cat Power. Then we get into some woo-woo goodness, and generally enjoy being middle-aged women who still feel like teenagers.
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Music. Welcome to All Up In My Lady Business. I am your host, Mary Nisi. On this podcast, I'll explore the fine line between having it together and losing your shit. Here I share my journey as an entrepreneur, a mom, a wife, a DJ, and randomly a beekeeper. I have no shame and no filter except the ones I use on Instagram. My stories of resilience, a little structure, and a lot of resourcefulness can show you how to take those same things and live your life with your whole ass. Thanks for listening. Music. All right, everybody, I am super excited today. I've got one of my dear friends. I call you an old friend, but we are old friends, old friends, old roommate, young old friends. Yes, we we've this is Aliana Calaba. And I don't even know where to what to do a bio for you. She's the hottest woman I know. Oh my gosh. Sorry, other women I know. Not to objectify you, just right off the bat. Aliana's a musician. What else are you doing, Aliana? Mostly music right now. And I might need to drink this beer because I just got really, anxious. Yeah, do it. It's afternoon. Okay, it's after 1230. Can everybody... I'm popping this open. Exactly. A little roadie Sodie, as we say. Yeah, mostly doing music right now. I did some like photo styling assisting. You know, That was my world for a minute when I'm not doing music. And then every other fucking job you can think of I've had. Yeah, I think you and I can both claim that. Right? But yeah, you are a hustler. But I feel like being like, you're a professional musician. Like, that's how you make money, being a musician. And I feel like that is not only a rare thing for people, I guess, at our age, to be a professional musician unless you're like, you know, Madonna. Does she even make money anymore? I don't know. I love that we just put ourselves in the same category as Madonna. You did, not me. I did. I did. I was trying to think of somebody cooler than that, but is there anybody cooler than Madonna? Yeah, I know. There's a lot. Sade maybe? Erykah Badu. Erykah Badu. Erykah Babu. Baboom. Okay. So Ali and I haven't known each other since we were like 21. I was 21. Yeah. I was probably a little older maybe. Maybe. I don't know. The hair? The hair. At that age, did it ever matter? We lived together. Yes. I shrunk your curtains. I washed them. And I shrunk them. But that's something you're holding on to that I have no memory of. Lest you need a better, I've forgiven you, I guess. Thank you. It's the long and short of that one. But yeah, we live together, and she is a musician. So where do we start? Well, I don't know. I play drums with Cat Power. I played bass with Fax, and then so many other musical projects, I guess, over the years. And did I see that you're on the Cirque des U record? I am not on the record, but I just played two shows with her. With Haley and Whitney from Match Us and Allison from Hell and Money. Amazing, amazing musicians. I was so honored to play with those three ladies in Circuit to You. So awesome. I only played two shows with them. And maybe possible things in the future, possibly recording, maybe Haley, if you're listening to this, put me in your vibe. We kind of talked about it. Manifesting. Manifesting. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I loved it. It was so good to play with these ladies. They're amazing. You've been playing music since I've known you, I think. At least close to what I know you. You started out, if I remember correctly, with We Were Gotsy. Was that your first? That was my first, yeah. The first thing I did. So how did you start playing drums? I think I know this story. Really? Okay. I guess I went to Lane Tech here in Chicago. And you can be like different majors. So I wanted to be a music major and I wanted to play drums. So that was my whole thing. I wanted to go to Lane and play drums. So I get to the music program and I'm like, I want to do percussion. They're like, no, we have too many percussionists. I'm like, okay, how about saxophone? No, we've got enough saxophone players. They're like, we're going to put you on trumpet. So I start playing trumpet in high school. I get braces and it sucks. Let me tell you to have braces and play trumpet. I was the biggest nerd dork. I had to put the wax in my braces to play trumpet. You know, so that it doesn't hurt your mouth. So me with braces and wax that doesn't come out and your lips still getting cut up because the wax doesn't help. I switched to euphonium, bigger, it's like a small tuba, play that. It was great. I learned to play these brass instruments. Anywho, during that time, I bought a drum kit off of my friend. I was probably like 19. And my mom at the time was so cool. We had this little apartment across the street from Lane. The building's not there anymore. It was across that viaduct that is also not there. It's down. So we lived above this workshop and she's like, yeah, you can practice in this room. So I practiced in this little room with my little drum kit, listening to Unwound and trying to like figure out parts on my own. Wow. That is an aggressive, like, Unwound being... My brother was a drummer. My brother is a drummer. My brother plays drums. And he would, we lived in a ranch style house and his bedroom was in the basement. And he would be playing along with Rush albums. And I could tell what album he was listening to by the drums that were coming up through the floor. That's really hard, but Unwound, that's some pounding. Well, I was just like, I was like, there's a woman and she's playing drums. That means I can play drums too. Like, she was like the first foray into like, I can maybe do this thing. I guess I was probably 19 when I started playing, and I just taught myself. Because I couldn't learn in high school because they didn't need any more drummers. So I would have done it sooner, but I had to wait until later on. That's crazy that they were like, you can't play this because other people are already doing it. I know. It was like a hardcore concert band situation. And you had to take lessons in order to play in concert band. They wanted specific instruments. But now I think back on it, I'm like, why the fuck didn't I just say, like, I want to play the fucking drums? Because I had to take lessons and pay for them too. And I paid for years of lessons with trumpet, which I never even did afterwards. Well, I'm sure you still got, you had to get there had to be some like music theory that crossed over between those two things. But I'm wondering what the femaleness of the whole thing, I think that representation matters, right? Like, right. And so, you know, like you looking at the woman from Unwound and being like, oh, there's a woman who plays drums. Like, I wonder how many women are playing drums because of that, or Georgia Hubley, or you know, like, you have to see women doing these things in order to feel like it's your thing you can do. I know. And I have to remember that too, because I've always been inspired by a lot of male musicians, etc. But to be reminded, like, yes, we want to see someone that represents us today. And it did take that. But then like, once you realize you can, you're like, oh, I'm human. And that person is human. male or female. They're just human and that human can do a cartwheel so I can do a cartwheel, you know? So if you bring it down to those basics after you realize you can jump you can kind of get over this, step of like Psychologically, you know being okay like I can do this because someone else can do this then you realize you can do anything, Yeah, if you're raised that way like I guess so Yeah, that's you. My mom was always very supportive in that way. I guess there wasn't a lot of like. Females that I looked up to in that way, you know. Especially when we were coming up like there were I mean you there was a riot girl There were things that were kind of you know Yeah. Definitely a female. But even that was polarizing. And you either fell on one side or the other when it came to that, I feel like. You either were super indo-vaya-girly, or you're like, I'm not that kind of woman. Like, it was so gross. It's just siloed. Yeah, it wasn't really me. I was kind of just like, I like this music. I'm not this because of this. It's like, I just dig this music, and it makes me feel excited. Yeah. So you buy your drums kit when you're 19. You're playing along with unwound albums, And then I guess, well, I met, let's see, Mike Bolts. Mike, AKA Lust, and we started going to shows. I got a fake ID with him and started going to shows at Lounge X. But I started working at this place called a surf shop where it's sports on Clark Street. And it was next to the coffee shop. I wanna say it was called Coffee Chicago. Yeah. That Eric Lau worked at? Yeah. Eric Lau, Tony Rolando, Gabe. So Tony worked next door from We Were Gotsy, and we started talking. He's like, I want to start a band. He knew Colleen, so that's when we were like, let's try to play music together. So that's how we started doing We Were Gotsy. And with Colleen. With Colleen Burke. Is she playing music? She is. I'm not sure if she's playing right now, but she was. She had a couple projects going on and she actually scores music for films and documentaries. And she never tells anybody. So Colleen, tell everybody next time when you were on Mary's show. I would love to have Colleen Burke on here. Yeah. I haven't seen her in years, but she's an amazing person. She's a great musician. She's a professional musician too. Yeah. Look at the... Professional musician. And so awesome that she's doing that. Yeah, and Tony has make noise modular systems. Like sequencers and synthesizers? Yeah, like... Yeah, well we were having a good time. And yeah, we did that for several years and did that in Chicago, decided to move to New York during CMJ. So I was like, let's go do this festival and then while we're out there, let's just move out there. I put that into their head. Did I ever tell you that? No, I didn't know that. So you go out to play CMJ and then you're like, hey, maybe we should live here and like, bring the band here. Pretty much. let's go do CMJ and oh by the way let's just move there. So we went to CMJ and literally it was in our van we took our gear and whatever we could fit with us in that van and I had like a suitcase a box and my bicycle on my lap and our musical gear and Tony and Colleen brought their stuff. And I moved into like this weird mansion house with Colleen into Jim White's bedroom apartment. That was our first. Jim White from the Dirty Three. Yeah. So you had a place to stay, you had a place to live. Right. I mean, that was such a renegade thing to do, the idea of like just picking up and moving to New York. I know. It was a place to quote live. It was, she had his room and I had like a closet bedroom slash attic space off of her room. It was like an attic, like slanted roof. One bare light bulb. One bare light bulb. suitcase, a sleeping bag, and every morning little mice would like, I could hear them scurrying around the edges waking me up in the morning. But I had nothing and I was like, this is amazing. I was so excited. What year was this? That was 2003. And how long were you there? I don't remember. I was there for like on and off like 10 years, I think. But I went from New York to San Francisco, back to New York, back to San Francisco. And then in 2017, I finally moved back to Chicago. What was in San Francisco? Well, my guy at the moment that I was seeing, who I was seeing for a long time, who was, with me for many years, Michael. But we met in New York. This is kind of a funny, weird side note story. You want to share? Yeah, give it to me. I met him in New York through a friend, and we're kind of hanging out, but not really. And I don't remember this, but he had told me later, he was like, yeah, I tried hanging out with you, but you didn't want to. And I was like, I don't remember that because I would have wanted to hang out with you. I randomly moved to San Francisco. I'm at an art show. And he's taking pictures of the art and I was like, Michael? And he turns around and it's him. And I was always smitten with him, so I couldn't believe that I am seeing him randomly at this place, this art show. And we just start talking and I couldn't believe he was there. Anywho, he's like, I'm going to this other show, do you want to come with me? I'm like, yes, hell yes. We walk downstairs, he gets on this motorcycle, and I'm just staring at him. And it's vroom vroom and like zooms off into this foggy San Francisco night and I was like, oh man, I'm hooked. So, from then on it was like we had never left each other after that moment, like went to the next art show with him and then we were with each other for like 14 years. Yeah, this actually all happened in the past year. Like how you were saying you're going, like major shifts and changes. Man, 2022 was fucking crazy. Everything shifted. Yeah, for you too. Oh, absolutely. And to the point where I'm like, I had like astrology reading the other day, because I was like, I'm like, I don't, I can't make sense of what's happening. And it actually was helpful if I wanted to believe it. Right. Be helpful. Well, it's funny, because I think about that, too, like reading your horoscope and all that. And a lot of times they are goofy. But so many times I've read them, and it's just like reiterated thoughts that I've been having or. Like, moving forward in a situation. Like, of course, like, sometimes it's kind of goofy, but you're like, oh, yeah, I didn't think of it that way. And not to think of it like stars and craziness, but like, goals or setting sights for yourself in certain horoscopes, you know? Well, what I thought was interesting is that there's like, you know, like, I don't understand it, right? Like, I don't, I don't, I haven't done any kind of like, real deep dives in my, I had a reading done a couple months ago by this woman, and I was guessing on when I was born, like the time. I remembered it being like 138 for some reason. And that's what I told her. My whole thing was based... She's like, this chart's gorgeous. Your life's amazing. Wow. This is like... You know, she's like, you know, telling me all these things like, if not now, when? Like your life is incredible. Like, I don't... I can't believe how good and beautiful this chart is. And she had said that March was gonna be a big, great time for me, March of 2023. And she said that they're – so Saturn apparently – Wait, 2023 coming up? Mm-hmm. Okay. And like Saturn apparently has been doing some crazy shit in everybody's – like Saturn's been an Aquarius for like the last – like it started at the beginning of the – like in March of 2020. And then it left for a little bit and then came back in. Okay. And it kind of fucks things up and like makes really crazy change happen. The last time this happened was 30 years ago, and that was when my dad died and I moved to Chicago. Oh, shit. So here's the thing. So then I realized that I don't really know what time I was born at. I always thought that time was just a cherry on top. Right, right. And the date's the most important thing. No, the time is the most important thing. That's specific, yeah. So I go to the Nebraska Vital Records Department thing, and I order a birth certificate, because, I don't have one. And it came to me, and I'd been off by an hour. And so I was born at 238, not 138. Okay, okay. So then I go to my friend Vivian, who I had... Do you know Vivian Hesedmylich? I don't think so. Anyway, she's an astrologer. I had her on my show a couple of years ago. So Vivian... I'd have to have a reading by her. She's amazing. She actually is incredible. So I text her, I'm like, Hey, how weird. How much does this make things weird? And she's like, it changed your entire chart. Everything is wrong. She does my new chart. She's like, why did I think you had an idyllic childhood? Because I'm looking at your chart and it looks like it was super fucked up. I'm like, Oh, it was super fucked up. And it probably thought it was idyllic because you were going off the wrong time. Now you got the right time. So but just the idea that she was able to look at my chart and be like, I thought you had a really good childhood. And according to this, there's no way you did. And I'm like, oh, no, I didn't make no mistake. It's just weird how... One hour. Or just the fact that she can see that. It's not like what you think of when you think of like astrology, and it's like palm readers or whatever. And it's like, they're just kind of telling you what they think you want to hear. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I did the same thing, like asking my mom, what time was I born to get your rising, to get your moon, to get your sun sign, blah, blah, blah. What are you? This is Gemini, sun, Aries rising, Gemini moon. So I think I'm like a double whammy Gemini. You're a double G? Double G! But here's a side, it's not really to do with astrology, but my whole life, we're getting like tweaky here, but my whole life the number 47 had come up, like whenever I would look at a clock, since I was like 18, 47 would come up as a clock, in numbers, whatever the thing was everywhere. And I was like, what the fuck is up with this number 47? was like something it's gonna happen when i'm 47 like i don't know if it's an omen a good thing or a bad thing i don't know what the fuck's gonna happen to maybe i'll die and sure enough like 47 happened in 2022 and like everything that i could possibly all the best and the worst and the darkest of the darkest things happened to me just through relationships and people no no deaths or anything like tragic like that. But I got into a really crazy dark place that got me so low. I don't even know how to explain it. But it was like a rebirth and brought me to a new place. Like, I'm so happy that it happened to me, but it was really fucking hard. And it's still hard. And I wish that everyone could go through this in order to like come out to the other side. But I also would not wish this upon anybody. So me seeing that number in my own head, there, this crazy thing that happened to me when I was 47. And my life has changed. And I think that I'm a different person now. So when was that? How old are you? I'm now I'm 48. So in 2022, I was 47. And all of this stuff happened to me, shifts and changes and anything specific that you can talk about? Or is it just sort of a dark malaise in your heart? I think that I met certain people that were catalysts for change. Just a shift in who I am as a person, a human, how I interact with other people. How much I want to give away of myself and boundaries. And realizing that I can't always be giving things away. I need to have people meet me on the same page and not just always give, give, give. So when you were in this dark, was it like a slick? Were you like in a depression, like in a funk? Well they call it like Dark Night of the Soul. And how long was your Dark Night of the Soul? I guess, I don't know if it's still kind of occurring. It's pretty, it's kind of over, but I guess that was like January of 2022 and what is it, February 2023. And so I probably, I would say, maybe last September was when it maybe got a little bit better, but it's still kind of there. But I think I'm much better now. But it, you know, creeps up on you. Yeah. I mean, I think part of it, I mean, you know, like the 47 of it all, like, I think there's power in that. Like, have you ever looked up angel numbers? Yes. Yeah. Okay, who stopped listening to your podcast now? You know, right? Angel numbers, click. Yeah. So, like, you know, I have never been a very spiritual person. And I've always just, I've never had a real relationship with a higher being or God. I mean, I kind of gave that up. When I was younger. And it was just sort of not a religious person, not a spiritual person. I was just like, when you die, it's just a dark hole. And for some reason, I was okay with that. I mean, you can't even have control over it. And then in the last couple of years, I've become, weirdly spiritual and really into the universe. I kind of opened my eyes and I can see the universe, like providing things to me. Like almost always, my number's like 753, my address growing up was 753. Was 753 Palomino Road, that was my address when I was growing up. And like when I look at clocks, it's always 753. Or like, or I'll be like, yeah, or I'll be like, there'll be like license plates in front of me that have 753, or I'll be by a cop car and 753. Like 753 just keeps popping up in my life. And like I was- And I was at the Empty Bottle for the first time since the pandemic last week for that chisel show. And there's a Chicago cop door that's hanging on the wall. Yes. It's like hanging from the ceiling and it's got like stickers and shit all over it. Yeah. And I go and I look at it and that door has been there. Forever. Like always. I don't remember a time when the bottle didn't have that door in it. Right. And on the bottom left corner of it in like, you know, like those like metal, those metalish letters that could be address you put in your mailbox or whatever. It said 753. And I'm like, has it always said 753 on that door and I never noticed it? Wow. Well, here's the thing. That's when I like to keep things light because like when you get a red Nissan car, then all you see are red Nissan cars. You know, if you have a certain dog, that's all the dog you see. So I agree with, I was the same with that 47 number. And there is a part of me that truly believes that that number is there for me, but also, are we noticing it because it is a number for us? And that's when it's like taking it seriously, but also not taking it seriously, you know, keeping it light and neutral, but in your mind. One of the things that kind of realized I was in Panama for a yoga retreat a couple weeks ago, as one does, and actually, this is a good question to ask you because you're someone I've known for so long. And like, I don't know, we've kind of always had a special relationship, I feel. A special relationship. So when I was younger, when I would see things like yoga retreats or people being into astrology or living in a comfortable place with sheets that aren't scratchy, I would be like, these people are sellouts. Or I had a critical way of looking at that, like, what kind of dipshit goes to another place to do yoga for a week? Just sort of things like that. And like the last, when I just went on this trip, it was magical. I actually said out loud, our good friend Amy Maranari was on the trip with me and I said to her, I'm like, I think I'm in a good place for like the first time since like 9-11. Like I actually feel like I'm in a good place. I had this thought that I was like, has the universe been showing me snippets of what my life was going to be? And I was kind of a, like a bitch about it and super condescending because I couldn't imagine a world where that could be possible. Right, right, right. Yeah, I think when you talked about manifesting earlier, like, I never realized what manifesting was before. I thought it was like a selfish thing to manifest, to want to manifest something for yourself. And like, in this past year, sorry to get all hippie dippy here. No, we're doing it. I just told you that the universe was showing me I was going to be into yoga when I was younger and I was like, what kind of loser does yoga? So thanks universe. Oh, right. But I realized like manifesting is like not just for yourself, but it's for everyone around you because when you manifest for yourself, you're also doing it to give to other people. When you realize that you can receive things from people or the world, you can give that back to other people. And it's like a pass it along kind of thing. You know, if I can get this, I can share this with somebody else. And that was something that I didn't understand. And I think growing up in Chicago, too, like Midwest, we were never supposed to sell out, quote sell out, you know, like, you're supposed to do music because you loved it. If you made money, that meant you were a sellout. You weren't supposed to want to make money playing music, even though how else are we going to make money and survive? And as we get older, you're like, well, I need to make money in order to keep playing music. So it's okay to ask for some money in order for me to keep doing this thing that I love. You know? I mean, in many ways, it's like putting on your oxygen mask first. Exactly. Yes. No, because you can't help other people if you aren't. In a good place. But if you're manifesting shitty things, like if you're like, you know, Ron DeSantis, like anything he's, I don't believe anything he does is for good. That's a bad manifestation. Right. Or like, I want cake just for me. I want chocolate cake all the time for me. I'm manifesting chocolate cake for myself. No one else gets to eat it. Like, it's not about that. But it's interesting because my friend Claire, we were talking about manifesting and she's like, you have to be very specific when you're manifesting. I can't believe we're having But she was saying that you have to be really specific in your manifestations, because if you don't, it's like almost like be careful what you wish for. Like if you're like, I wish for more wishes, and then all you do is just like wish in a wish hole or whatever. So like, it's like if you're going to manifest like, I want to be the drummer in Cat Power, you have to be like, but I have, you know, like, but you didn't specify you needed two arms and then all of a sudden you lose one of your arms, you're like a one-arm drummer for Cat Power. Like, you know, that... Wait, here, this is a side note too. No, but it is. Like, be conscious when you are manifesting. It's not just like, blah, blah, blah, I need a beer. I want this beer. It's like, be. Conscious of what you're exactly what you just said what you're asking for. But this is a funny side note, because I was talking to Mike lust slash bolts. And he reminded me, in my 20s, when we were listening to cat power and moon pics, he's like, Aliana, you told me back then that you wanted to play for cat power. And I was like, I did. He's like, Yeah, you said we're in our 20s. Like, you said I want to play for Cat Power. And I never said that. I didn't. That wasn't something I said about like every band. Yeah. And I don't remember saying that, but I said it. And then here, 2012, I started playing for her. So. Support for this episode is brought to you by By Sparrow for everyone, the hair creator. You might remember that I had founder Susan Flaga on this podcast back in season two, episode three. Anyway, I absolutely love my hair cream. I actually remember Susan literally making the formulas in her kitchen and like, it's really fun to see something go from an idea to an amazing product. And I really love this one. I have kind of fine curly hair that needs something to like pump it. Up. But like, I don't know what it is about my hair, but it turns every single thing that goes goes into my hair into like an oil slick. And so I have like a million tubes of like every cream that I would use once and it would just make my hair like oily or flat, but this doesn't. And I can use it when my hair is wet or dry and reapply it on top of it and it doesn't weigh my hair down. I can like use it and like not wash my hair the next day, which is really hard for me to do, because my hair gets kind of gross quickly, but it doesn't get very gross quickly with this product. So I'm just, I'm like, you know, I specifically I'm talking about my needs. If you follow them on socials, Susan makes these really fun and weird little videos that show how it can work on non-woman in her 40s with curly hair archetypes. It's vegan and cruelty free, free of synthetic fragrance, and it's clinically tested to be safe for sensitive skin. And it's designed by a stylist who wants better options for sensitive people. You can find them at SparrowForEveryone.com and use the code LADYBUSINESS for 10% off your first order. I said it and then here 2012 I started playing for her. So how did that happen? Well, I knew Greg Foreman, who was in Delta 72 because we were gotsy played with them. And then I knew Jim White. From Dirty Three, because Colleen was hanging out with him. So we met through that way. But anywho, Sean... Side thing, do you know that Colleen met Jim White? Colleen and I were in England doing a British romanticism, like a three-week trip to England through – we went to college at DePaul together. And it was a painting and poetry course, a three-week long in England. And we went and we were like, oh, the Dirty Three are playing, how fun would it be to go to a show and we went to that show to see them play and that's how we met Jim White and that's how this whole thing happened. Wow. Just an inside project. That is so crazy. Yeah, I don't think I knew that story, that that's how she first met him. We met him studying British Romanticism in painting and poetry in England. Wow. I'm glad that's on tape now. Yeah, on the record. It's in the history. It's on the record. Yeah, I remember meeting him at Lounge X with her and him asking to borrow my drum kit and I was like, oh my god, he wants to borrow my drum kit, blah, blah, blah. OK, sorry. What was the question? You were talking about manifesting. Oh, you were saying how Cat Power happened. Yeah, so she was doing the Sun album. She had just recorded it, and she was planning on touring it, and she wanted to get all females for the band. And so I had met her super briefly at Neil Young Bridge School benefit. They had done earlier, like, I don't know, a year previous or a couple of years previous. And so, she remembers meeting me then, and I remember her actually meeting me. I met her, I guess that was like in 2003 or 2004. I remember like seeing her at this basement bar across the street from Max Fish in New York. And, actually, there's a couple times. She was in this bar, and I was like, oh my god, it's Shawn Marshall. She didn't know who I was. And she had a bunch of roses in her hand. I've told her this story. And we kind of crossed paths and she handed me a rose. And I was like, I can't believe I just got a rose from Sean Marshall. And I saved that rose forever. It's in a book, like, dried, like, you know, saved somewhere in my somewhere. But It's like, it's like the Bachelorette, but better. Yes. So, that was one time. And then I remember, like, meeting her with Jim White while she was walking her two doggies. She was getting out of a cab in Brooklyn and, like, my vision, you know, when you have, like, these deep visions of someone and you can picture it still, she's getting out out of the cab with these two beautiful doggies. And I'm like, oh my God, it's her again. Anyway, so she was looking for a female band. And we had to try out. We went to LA and tried out. And ultimately, she chose me to play drums. And I guess that's kind of what happened. And do you play on the records too, or do you tour? I've just played on this last record, the last record that she did. So I toured with her for her previous records. And then just this last one is the first one that I've recorded with her. But I've been playing with her since 2012. So what's the difference as somebody who's been in van touring, and then I have to imagine that touring with cat power is a bit more posh than, or maybe it's not. What is the world of mid-level indie rock stardom like? It is quite posh, I must say. So it's a bit higher than rolling around in a van. Hoping to find someone's floor to sleep on? Yes, a floor next to a stove. Are you in a bus? We're in a bus, yeah. We have a tour bus. And stay at nice hotels and get our own rooms. And I don't have to share with other boys and share one bathroom normally. Yeah. It's interesting, because I'd go on tour with Cat Power. And then I was also doing Facts, too, in those times. So you get off this big tour, and then you go on this other tour that's completely different. But it's also awesome to do both because. You know, it's like you have to be you have to be solid and like humble like I, Never want to get like, you know, I don't know big in your britches or whatever. Yeah soft and like always. No matter what it's like genuinely appreciate the things that are coming to you and, Also, both of those types of experiences give you a different way of playing like totally you're closer to the audience when in facts I have to imagine. Yeah, but also, like, what you're going through, like, that last tour in 2022 was really hard. It was just a hard tour physically, travel-wise with Vax. And so, but that mentally does something to you when you play live, too. Like, you take all this crazy energy that's like anxiety, sadness, anger, whatever, and you put it into these shows. And like, you just put it all in, because that's your only outlet. So even though it can be painful or hard, like, that's what this music is, is this outlet for all those emotions. So if everything is too easy, sometimes you can become too relaxed and in a state of neutral zone. And sometimes you want to have that energy or whatever feelings you're having and put that into your music and how you're playing live. It's like the energy of youth, right? When you're growing up or whatever, is to get to this point of being in a comfortable place. You struggle, you struggle, you struggle, and then you get this comfortable place. And then I think you just sort of like, you know, you just plateau and you just kind of like, and then you like, you know, you stop doing things and you gain weight and you don't see your friends anymore. And then you're on blood pressure thinners or whatever. And then, and I don't ever want that to happen. So like just the idea of you being able to tour with Cat Power and then the fact, in fact, we should probably give a little back. It's a super group of Chicago area musician wonderkins, Brian Case and Noah Leisure. They're so good. You guys are so good. I play bass in that band. Which is also amazing that you like rotate instruments. Like you are living this rock and roll dream that I think is incredible. But I think it also is like with Cat Power, you get to have this really lovely time, but you also get to remember what gets you in in the first place. Totally. I mean, I always try to like remind myself to have a child mind. Like always look at everything like when you were a kid, like everything was so fresh and so new. And remind yourself, it can still look that way. There's so many people I feel like I'm talking to at our age and everyone's like, I'm so old. I know someone that just turned 40, he's like, I'm so old. You fuck that guy. I'm fucking old compared to you. Anywho, it's all your state of mind. And to look at things with a childlike mind keeps it totally fresh. But I will also say, with Sean, she always keeps every show so fresh. We're always on our toes with her because she's always trying to improvise. Oh, really? And yeah or just like switch things up and never dial it in. Does the setlist change every night? We sometimes will have the same one for a while. Sometimes she'll come in and literally five minutes before the show we figure out a new setlist and it's songs that we know, but sometimes something will be pulled up. And I think that that is also super important in order to stay excited and be kind of nervous and sweaty. Like you're sweating and your heart's pounding because you don't know what the fuck's going to happen. And I always say it's like doing improv, like you used to do, like getting up on stage, you don't know what's going to happen. And it could be the most amazing thing or it can completely fall apart. And whoever's in the audience gets to have that. You share that with the audience. I mean, it's really gotten sucked out of the music industry because it's like, you know, when you go to a bigger show, like if you go to see a Beyonce, there's not going to be a whole lot of variation in the show because it can't be because there's just too many people involved. And so the other night when I was at that chisel show, not to keep talking about the one rock experience I've had in a long time, just because they're, you know, but it was incredible. All the guys were in like these white outfits and they had these weird silver masks on. And it started out, it was pre-recorded, but all the people were pretending like they were playing and then slowly one musician would actually start playing along and then the recorded part would fade out. And that was, that happened throughout the entire show. And there was this guy that was dancing and doing crazy dances. And I was like, I haven't seen a show that is this purely art. Yeah, yeah. In ages. Yeah. Were they called puny humans? Yes, they were called puny humans. Okay. And I thought I had seen Ralph on stage, but I couldn't tell them Damon Locks was doing this. I think I saw Damon doing it. I was like, what are these things? I've been seeing all these like cool ass people that I haven't seen doing stuff in a while either. I mean, speaking of chisels, just a bunch of old dudes. You couldn't tell what's happening because it sounded pre-recorded, but then like the, trumpet, there was a trumpet player. But then like, it was like, is that real horn now? Like I can't tell what and then it was, but it was being replaced. And it was, it reminded me where you, I think you might've even been there. There was a cheer accident show that was, this was probably 25 years ago. It was at the fireside bowl. It's your accident as a band from here in Chicago. I think I heard they're still around, but they did a show where they started playing a song and then they had to stop. They're like, wait, wait, wait, wait, we need to start over. I did something wrong. And then they got a little bit further in and then another person in the band was like, Whoa, I fucked that up. And they basically played and started over the same song for 45 minutes. Wait, and this they wanted to do? Was that part of the act? It was what they were doing. Okay, okay. So the whole show was one song that they had to keep starting over. And it was like, it was one of the most incredible things I'd ever seen. It was truly like art. And as I'm watching the time, the puny humans, I was thinking about this chair accident show. But I was also just thinking about how art has gotten so commodified that that kind of freedom to do things like that has been kind of erased because you have to make money. Right. I think about that all the time. I always bring up Mount Shasta and Jesus Lizard and Bobby Kahn and these groups back then that were like weirdos, like weird music. And they did weird shit. But it was so alive and genuine. You never knew it was going to happen. Yeah, and I'm always looking for that. I don't want to see the perfection. Of course, it's amazing to see perfect music and people who are super talented, but I want to see someone take a chance, you know? And I kind of miss that. I did see this one band, Celray, C-E-L-R-A-Y. They're from Chicago, a female front woman. She reminds me of David Yao, but in her own way. It was like a crazy it was awesome like I saw them at this outdoor I forgot what it's called but this guy puts on these shows I think it's called like generator shows like underneath these viaducts in Pilsen just randomly it's like we're gonna have these shows outside so these a couple bands play this band Selray and it's. Just an amazing like of the moment taking chances and not trying to be too cool but cool because that's just who they are you know she wears clogs and And she's fucking stomping around and she's a hard ass and also just her own being. And it's super exciting. And it's, I mean, but the thing is that she grew up at a time when there was always cool women doing stuff and doing it big and publicly and... I guess, yeah. I mean that's what's tricky too, like it's a new world of like, like how we were saying like to have someone that's representing you or people you could look up to. There's definitely more now and there's so many amazing female musicians today younger than us that are just like, wow this is awesome and cool. And I'm curious like if we had that back then when we were younger, like would that have changed our view. We had no outlets to do that or people to teach us in the same way. You know, at least you looked at drumming and you were like, I can do that. Like, I don't think I ever got the message that I had what it takes to be a musician. I don't even think it was like, I can do that. It was like, I have to do that because, I need to eat and I need to breathe and I need to play music. Well, and that's who you are. It's almost like, you know, when I realized that I could be DJ being a job. You know, like, I mean, it's not like I like, well, I guess I'm gonna get that office job that I've now that I've turned 23 and a half or whatever. Like I've never had, I came from a pretty, I mean, I think we both came from pretty non-traditional upbringings. And you know, my mom was a single mom and you know, I mean, I understood working. But I didn't understand how to make my life my own. Like life was something kind of a thing that happened to you like, oh, I got all these kids, now I gotta get a job and I have to work really hard and life's a slog. And my mom had her first kid at 23 or 22, whatever. So way, way too young. Although it's not too young, but it's too young. And then she went on to have five more. And so I didn't have my kid until the day before I turned 39. So I led a very different life than a lot of people do. You live a completely different life than most a lot of people do. I guess, what number kid are you? Five. I forget. OK. OK. Five out of five. Five out of six. Five out of six. Okay, all right. Kind of a baby. I'm kind of – well, there's – well, no, I actually – I am – so, because there's the four above me, they all were born like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Then there was five years, and then there was me, and then two years, and then Robin. And so, apparently, when you look at those like birth order books, and like who fills what role, if there's a five-year break in between generations, it's like that younger kid is the older kid, is the oldest, because in birth order, it kind of resets in five years. Interesting. So, even though I'm the fifth youngest, I'm the oldest compared to Robin. Like, Robin sees me more as an older sister than she sees my sister Nancy, even though Nancy's the oldest, because they're so far apart that like... Right. So, you're not like the oldest to everyone, just the oldest to Robin. Yeah. Because that's who I only met. I don't even know if I've met your other siblings. I feel like I only met Robin. I mean, they're great in their own way. They just don't really come around. Yeah, yeah. But yeah, so, upbringings that are totally different. Same. Single mom, no dad, only kid, me. So different world. But when we're growing up, you don't think of it as it's different than someone else. I thought like, oh, this is how everybody is. Like, doesn't everyone want to be on the road? Doesn't everyone want a tour? And I remember asking my cousin, my younger cousin, hey, you want to come and like sell merch with us? Because that was my dream to like, go be on the road. He's like, no. I don't want to do that. That sounds terrible. And you're like, but you get to like, meet people every night and sell t-shirts. He's like, no. Yeah. And you're like, what is wrong with you? How can we be right? Well, that's when I kind of realized I was like, oh yeah, people don't like doing this. This is not something that everybody likes to do. And I still am realizing that today. So, like, our normal lives, quote normal to you and me. You know, whatever, how you were raised in your life, that's not how everybody was. And I didn't know that either. You said something earlier on that I kind of want to come back to when you were, you say, you know, like, your 47 idea and like how you went through this really dark shit. Dark night of the soul. The dark night of the soul, your own individual dark night of your soul, and you wish that everybody could do that. And I think that everybody, I think this is, that's what a midlife crisis is, right? I mean, isn't that kind of- Well, that's actually what Colleen told me. I think so, or no, Mario Cladis, another friend told me, they're like, isn't that a midlife crisis? And, And I thought that it was, and it's not quite a midlife crisis, because I mean, I guess maybe it's partially defined by that, but is a midlife crisis like... Digging out things, figuring out things that have been buried deep. I think there's been a cliche about the midlife crisis to try to almost like, minimize it. Like, almost to make it seem like a joke. Like, oh, he bought a Ferrari because he's having a midlife crisis or whatever. And I think that that's a way for people to kind of not have to really think about what's happening in those moments. And like, I think that, you know, your 40s is a weird time because you're not a young person anymore. And like women over 40 are invisible. You know, like- I still feel like a teenager though. Yeah. And I think that's part of the problem. I also feel like a teenager in my brain as well. Like we weren't raised right. Actually, we were raised as perfectly as we possibly can. But I think that a lot of people get into a dark place in their 40s because they are figuring out like, what does it all mean? Like, do I need to start believing in astrology? Like, what, But you know, like, where does it, what's all going through? And I don't think people necessarily go through and unpack and figure out what those things are. And then on people on top of it, women on top of that have perimenopause, which I have been, I know I talk about it way too much. I talk about it too much. It has been such a motherfucker for me. And there's so many symptoms and things that happen to women when we're going through this change that don't get discussed. And you don't know that this is actually a thing that most women are dealing with. We just don't know because we've all been told that being a woman, like women are psycho or like my mom went through menopause and became a bitch and it's like she didn't become a bitch. You just stopped treating her with respect or something. But my point is, is that you did the work, you know, like you went into this dark place and you're like, okay, this, this is not my normal place in the world. Like I'm a positive person that does cool things. And then I get pulled into a, into an abyss and then it's like, okay, what can I do to out of the abyss. Instead of just accepting the abyss as like your state. I suppose, yes. And I think like ultimately, I think I've always been kind of a spiritual person throughout my life, but not in like a, I always tried, I knew there was something more that I had to figure out. I knew that like there is a deeper meaning to all the things of this world, but I didn't know how to tap into that. And I didn't know exactly what that was. And sometimes that is going to a punk rock show. That is just as spiritual as like, wanting to meditate, you know, in different ways. And it doesn't have to be peaceful in order for it to be a meditation necessarily, or a sinking into something. So, I think I was always kind of searching for how to find true joy and happiness. We all have our ups and our downs, and I'm definitely in that genre of being super low and being up. We have go up, go down. So I was always searching, and in my 47th year, is when I realized what I had been searching for, I finally figured it out. Do you know what it is? So, it's really being comfortable with every emotion that you have. Like, sit with your sadness. If you say sadness is an emotion, happiness is an emotion, and you put those on the same shelf, you can look at it a different way and know that like, one is not going to last forever. Happiness is not going to last forever because something will bring you down. That low point is not going to last forever because something's going to bring you up. Up and know that we go through flow cycles. And the other big thing is letting go of control for me. I always try to figure out and have control over every situation. Once I was able to let go of control of not being able to predict what's going to happen, and expecting certain things and letting things flow however they're supposed to be, like, not trying to talk to someone and get an answer out of them, let them come to you when they're ready in a way. Like, let people go and then you see what they really want to do, you know? I take everything too personally. Like, that's- Yeah. I do that too, yeah. Yeah. And my friend Claire gave me this book called The Four Agreements and. One of them is don't take anything personally. Like, no one does anything because of you. And I was like, that's dumb. That's not real. That can't be true. And it's like, oh, wait a minute. I don't do anything because of anybody else. Right, right. Yeah, when you're thinking outside of yourself towards other people, you totally see, oh yeah, of course it's not because of them, but to us, Yeah, everything is personal, but not everyone thinks of you. That way. Yeah, no one's thinking about you. And I think about how much time I spent in my 20s and 30s thinking everyone hated me or everyone's thinking about me or everybody doesn't, no one likes my shirt. Or they think I'm dumb or I'm a spaz or I'm too loud or I'm too drunk or whatever. No one gives a shit. Like, no one's thinking about you. Right, right, right. At least not the way you think they are. Yeah. And I guess for the most part, I think I normally didn't really care, but of course there are times, specific people that you care about that you will take personally their judgments upon you, whatever. Yeah. This is a quick story, but I remember reading about some girl or hearing this story. This girl was in a dance class. Okay, this is just a little side story, but she's like, I took this dance class with this teacher. She was amazing, and she was having her own recital. So you know, she gave me this postcard with her dancing on the front of it. I had been taking classes with her for months and months, and she's like, I wanted to go to this recital. I looked at this postcard, and this dancer, her arm was missing from her elbow down, and she never noticed that her arm was missing this whole time. So, this is what I'm saying, it's like, when you think that people are judging you or see you in a certain way, most of the time, people don't even see those things. This woman was missing her arm, and her own dance student didn't even notice she was missing an arm. Like that's how much people don't notice. Like if they're gonna see your beauty, dancing, they're not even gonna notice that your arm is missing, let alone like a stray hair or a weird shirt or a hole in your pants or whatever. Well, and it's just the idea that that dancer never let that thing get, that never stopped her. It didn't keep her from dancing. And she was such a dynamic, amazing dancer that like missing a limb wasn't even going to make her, you know. And that she was so dynamic, no one even noticed it. You know, she let this thing, this beauty come out of her. And when you do that with yourself, no one even notices the other little things that, we so like zoom in on the magnifying glass on ourselves. You know, no one else notices that. And I have to remind myself that too. Yeah, I mean, no one's perfect in this, but you know, you can get through it. This has been amazing, Ollie. Yeah. Thanks for talking to me. Did we even get into any touring? I don't know. I feel like if nothing else, people got an idea of two mystical middle-aged ladies who marinate too much in their youth to... Youngins. We're not old ladies. I know. Age is just a number. It's just a number. So, okay. So, you're in... So, Cat Power. Yeah. Is she touring this year? We're gonna go on tour in August. A US tour. That's all I know so far. Something else will come up and hopefully a couple other projects may be recording with CircuitDU, I hope. And then my blessings will be filled. And anyone else who needs a drummer, or a bassist, or a singer, or a piano player, or a hip hop beat maker. You heard it here folks first. You get your beats made by Aliana. Okay, so they can get you on the internet, I suppose, someplace. Aliana Click Mob? I guess. Instagram. I'm not really on most social other things. I don't even know what else exists out there. What if you were on TikTok pointing at words? I don't, I want you to say, I don't know what you're talking about. I know what the TikTok is. But pointing at words, I'll do that for you, Mary. Yeah, no one else. I'll start a TikTok just for you pointing at words, like random words on the street. Where it's like, no, it's like, it's like, it was a thing. It was a thing that made me hate. It was like a thing that was happening on TikTok right when I discovered, when I found out what TikTok was and I was like, I hate this. It's like, it'll be like, self-esteem. It'll be like, I'm fat. I have pros feet and it's like pointing at all the things that they hate about themselves or something. I don't know. I know what you're talking about. I will start that for you. Please. But just for me. Well, Aliana, this has been incredible. Thank you so much. I love you. I love you. Sorry for shrinking your curtains. All right, I don't forgive you. Okay. Okay. Bye. Thanks for listening to All Up In My Lady Business, a podcast from a Mary Nisi production. It is written by me, Mary Nisi. It is edited by Amelia Ruby with Softer Sounds. It is recorded at the Toast & Jam offices in Logan Square in Chicago, Illinois. And it is also sometimes, recorded in the attic of my house in Evanston. You can find resources and links from this episode in the show notes at all up in myladybusiness.com. And if you enjoyed this episode, and you did, smash that subscribe button and send it to somebody who's ass could be a whole lot wholer. Oh, and also if you're the kind of person that reviews things on the internet, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. It really does help people find the show. And don't forget, whatever you do this week, do it with your whole ass. Thanks for listening. Music.