Tag Archives: Little Steven’s Underground Garage

A Wicked Cool Tour comes to a close: Soraia Tour Diary Final Entry

12 Apr

What a wild ride of rock we’ve had with ZouZou’s tour diary! What an absolute treat it’s been to get insight from the road via the badass front-woman of Soraia, and one of our favorite bands. All good things must come to an end, like this tour with Kurt Baker Combo, but here’s to more adventures on the road and more music from Soraia. Read ZouZou’s final tour entry below, we look forward to more, especially when the band goes to Spain to tour with Kurt Baker Combo again!

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Well,  we’ve come to an end to our three week run in the northeast and midwest USA with our label and tour mates, Kurt Baker Combo. It’s so sad at the end of tour, because you feel like you’re just getting in the swing of the movement, and it’s – all of a sudden – time to go home. And although there’s a comfort to going home, it’s not the same joy I get from being on the road. Which brings me to my point. And there’s always one – usually fifty that boil down to one. But alas—

It takes an interesting creature to be on the road. A gypsy. But a gypsy doesn’t mean you don’t have or want a home, it just means – for me – I love to wander, see new things, have new adventures, be surprised, and be in the moment. One of the greatest gifts of being on tour is being in the moment. You have to be. I’m never looking forward or looking back, I’m just here. Now. And I think that’s the most magical thing you can do in this skin. I don’t believe I’ve done that a lot since I was busy building experiences as a wee tiny thing. I’ve always added experiences to whatever I felt, but I don’t do that here. If I were to look back on the worst parts and the best parts of these past few weeks, I think that would ruin it all a bit.

What tour does for me is it makes me want to tour more. See more, Be more places. Perform to more people. Meet more people. Sleep less. Eat less. Play more.

But my body, this time around, let me know none of that was something I could do this tour. So even the sickness in the beginning was a great lesson in seeing and doing things differently.

My primary purpose out here is to sing. To be accountable to this group of people who took the time to make music alongside me, and to put passion into every ounce. The rest of the day has to be about putting that first. Whether the note or vocal be pitch perfect or shit–passion is the key to it all. There’s a saying that “People don’t remember what you did, they remember how you made them feel”. I never forgot that once it was told to me. I try to use my voice to be as free and as honest as I can be – where in other areas of my life, I may not do as well in that. But vocally—always striving for that.

Which brings me to another point: you can’t do it alone. My bandmates really took care of me. They understood when I was sick, and didn’t get annoyed or judge me for it. I can’t help but feel valued and important and a part of something much bigger. They didn’t add to my stress, but helped me come to decisions if my voice wasn’t there and helped give me a dose of reality when I wanted to believe my voice was fine. I rested because they told me to. I tried to recoup the best I could. Not just for me and the music and the commitments, but for them, too. And that–whatever that definitiion is–it is an absolutely beautiful thing.And this was the first time touring with another band—it was AWESOME.

We’ll all see each other again this fall when Soraia’s record comes out on Wicked Cool Records, and we hit Spain with our wonderful friends in Kurt Baker Combo. Until then, we’ll see you on the road all over the place again this summer. Check http://www.soraia.com/tour for all new dates being added.
It’s been an amazing ride….thank you for following along with me.
xx ZouZou

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Soraia Tour Diary: End of Week 2- Chicago, Dayton and D.C.

6 Apr

Tour Diary: End of Week 2: Chicago, Dayton, and D.C.

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Well into week two of tour now, I’m feeling more in control of my voice thanks to some help with getting some rest on Saturday, and also learning how to manage the swelling. I’m feeling way better than I did, though Saturday was a wake-up call since I’ve been hanging on to this infection for a few weeks now. Learning how to sing with a sick voice isn’t ideal, but it’s a reality I have to accept and learn to manage for a successful tour. One of the things I’ve learned from this tour- and there’s always a lot to learn each time.
So here we are, Saturday night in Chicago, and I know a good friend and music blogger who hasn’t seen the band in a long time is coming to the show. I’m excited, but also a little worried about how I’ll perform. Still, I can’t wait to play. I live for it. I have to tell you, it’s a super painful thing in every way–emotionally, physically, and mentally–to not be able to do what your absolutely love when the opportunity is there.
I won’t forget to be grateful for the voice I have, in all its wounds and all its glory. I didn’t know how much it meant to me–how much I value it– until this tour. Honestly, I didn’t.
So we go to Township on Saturday night. Great show, I fell off the stage (I do this more often than I’d like to admit–or generally just fall), but I know I put it all out there that night.  Only thing is: the band and I were separate because the best sound was in front of the actual monitors. That being the case, I stood out in front of the band–which made me feel a little separate, but was necessary.
Still, I put it all into it, and my friends kill it always. In a burst of emotion and frustration, I spoke to the small audience that was there: “I got the best band in the world. I love them.” It was how I really felt, and I’d wanted to say it for a long time. It felt good to finally let it out.
Great show, a little bit of a struggle again for me, so when the guys said they were going for a “Metal Burger” after, I joined them. Now, I don’t normally eat like this. I don’t. But that night–I needed a god damn good burger. So off went to “Kuma’s Corner” in Chicago: The “…Bar and burger joint with a heavy metal attitude….”
Best damn burger I’ve ever had, and all metal music. And their fries are to die for. No lie.
Sunday, we headed to Dayton, OH to play Blind Bob’s Bar, another familiar place since last tour, and a great place to play on a Sunday definitely. Amazing energy from the crowd, and a show I much needed, being the last few days were such a struggle. Really needed that gig–and we played some Hangman to lighten the load before set time.
Seriously, enough people were so acknowledging after the show. Dude, for real, that makes a show for me. When people come up after to personally tell you how affected they were, or how much they loved the show–man–it makes it all so worthwhile for me. Nothing beats that for me ever. So Dayton=win win.
Monday was a travel day off for getting to DC. It was super long ride, but great conversation and always fun with my band. We were staying with our guitarist Mike’s mom in DC, and we’ve been here ever since. Great show in DC at Slash Run Tuesday night. And we had a photographer from The Washington Post out, as well as meeting Brendan from Fugazi who now — I believe — is a serious Soraia fan. He loved it! And –of course — he loved our drummer, Brianna Sig, too. Always so great to see my band getting the attention I know they both deserve, and have earned so hardcore. They’re a tough bunch of characters in their spirit. So glorious. So rare. So precious and valuable. I can’t say enough about these ones.
Anyway, the DC show was immense–so another great show and so fun, and surrounded by people who care about us.
 
With all this said, I still have to admit it’s been tough having the thing foremost on my mind being vocal health. But it is what it is–and it’s getting easier to deal with and accept. And I know it’s only this tour, and I know it’s not forever, but sometimes your brain focuses more on what’s wrong than on what’s right…and that downright sucks.
Next stop are our last three shows, starting in one of my favorite places ever to see a show (I saw The Detroit Cobras there last about a year ago), and I’m super honored to be making our Soraia debut at WFMU’s Monty Hall.
Can’t wait to tell you about it in our next entry….
Signing off and both excited and sad about these last three dates of tour—talk to you guys again soon!
xx ZouZou
PS–While in Washington DC, we stopped at The Zoo before our DC show Tuesday night. Here’s some pics below from our trip. Just so you know—we have a thing for llamas, snakes, octopus, and pandas. Along with every other creature on the face of the earth….

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Soraia Tour Diary: Day 3

29 Mar

 

For the next couple weeks one of our favorite bands Soraia is touring the East Coast and Rock and Roll Queen / band leader ZouZou is giving us ultimate access to her tour diary. Check it out below and stay tuned for everything Soraia and what it’s like to be a badass rock singer (with an upper-respitory infection) as the tour progresses.

Soraia by Mark Weiss
I have to start my first entry by saying that I haven’t been this sick leaving for any Soraia tour EVER. So I started out Thursday morning feeling run over by a cement truck: with an upper respiratory infection from Hell. As a singer: a little terrifying. Slightly. I knew I had a voice, I just didn’t know how it’d work. So there we begin our trek to our first show of tour in Dover, NH.
We got to the club and met up with Kurt Baker Combo, who came from Spain to do their US tour with us around their release. Great guys all around, and no problems there. Easy enough. Pretty quickly, the club filled up, which is always super inspiring.
When it was our turn to play, I was anxious about my voice–but MAAAAAAN. I couldn’t wait any longer. It’s my favorite part of all parts of music. ABSOLUTELY.
The show was KILLER. A few songs in and I knew I had the voice wailing like I know I can! FREEDOM. What a great show, and what a great way to start out tour.
The next night was a big show for us, because we knew a ton of people were coming, including a good friend who found our music through Little Steven’s ‘Underground Garage‘ (who – by the way – also is hosting our tour along with Wicked Cool Records), David Fricke. David is a senior writer at Rolling Stone Magazine, as well as the host of his own show on SIriusXM’s The Spectrum, called ‘The Writer’s Block‘. Definitely check it out. So good.
Anyway, we knew he was coming,  having wanted to see the band for a while now, and we knew our label and distributors would be there, along with what was sure to be a packed house. Newly on tour, this was an important night for us: we could feel it.
And it was. We played to a packed house.
We hit the stage and F-I-R-E. SWEET FIRE. I felt like a thoroughbred horse breaking stride right out of the gate. YES I DID.  Halfway through our set, I remember growling “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” to a group of guys in the front row, who screamed it right back at me. The exchange was intense. They maybe had no idea, but they were giving way more back to me than I was giving them. Fucking beautiful. One of the most invigorating nights of the past year. The crowd’s energy was THERE. The night was incredible.
Picture one of those nights straight out of 70’s CBGBs, or at least what I feel it would’ve felt like. All my heroes in one room – even if they weren’t physically there –  a massive thrust of virgin energy. It was that good. I was awake and new. Nothing can stop me.
And so, off to Philly for Tour Stop #3….
xx ZouZou
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Soraia tour + Tour Diary: Playing Milkboy in Philly TOMORROW!!!

24 Mar

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ZouZou the badass band-leading babe in Soraia (and our best friend) has started her tour with Kurt Baker Combo and will start a tour diary through us to give you the inside scoop of life on the road of rock. The tour, sponsored by Little Steven’s Underground Garage and Wicked Cool Records, stops in Philly tomorrow night to electrify your Saturday night at Milkboy, one of our favorite venues. Don’t miss this epic rock show in the band’s hometown! Tickets are $10 here and $12 at the door. The show starts at 8PM so make sure you are there on time to check out the opening bands…you do not want to miss this lineup!

 

xx Cher

Less Than Zero: An Interview with ZouZou Mansour from Soraia + Album Release Show this Friday at Milkboy!!!!

30 Sep

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Back in January, I heard a song on Little Steven’s Underground Garage that rocked so hard I stayed in the car until it was over even though I arrived at my destination. I took a picture of the band’s name to remember to look it up later, somewhat ashamed. How have I never heard of this badass babe from the 70s named Soraia covering The Kinks song “(I’m Not) Like Everybody Else”? To my surprise, when I googled the musician, it turned out to be a band, and a current one, from my hometown of Philadelphia. I immediately found out who was singing and reached out to ZouZou Mansour the powerful, earth-goddess vocal machine who sounds like she’s from another time. We soon met at a coffee shop for an interview. I wanted to know everything about her life and her band, and I was pleasantly surprised at how raw, honest, and open she was. ZouZou’s story not only moved me, but it ignited the fire and passion I have for music talking to such a strong, influential woman in the industry.

In honor of Soraia’s album release show and music video shoot at Milkboy in Philly this Friday, I am releasing our interview in three parts over the course of this week. Read part one below and buy your tickets to this Friday’s show and music video shoot now here! Tickets are only $10 and with The Good Excuses and The Droogettes opening, you do not want to miss this epic night of pure rock’n’roll.

Soraia TBird and ZZ (Beth)

“I grew up in an upper middle class family. My father was Egyptian and my mother was Belgian, so they were both from other countries. I remember very early having the idea that I couldn’t tell people about my family life because it was very secretive. There was a lot of domestic abuse, a lot of yelling, a lot of uncertainty, a lot of adjusting to people’s moods from an early age and sensing people’s moods. Which I think helps me- it’s a gift and a curse. You know, because in relationships- not so good, in music- great. It’s a good way to work with an audience and change their mood. But several suicide attempts as a young person, just feeling hopeless, and never really telling anyone about them. But I remember when I found music: it saved my life. It absolutely saved my life so many times. No matter what happened or what was going on at home, this all happened through high school into when my mother died. I was seventeen. Music was my way of detaching from the pain of watching people I love self destruct. I always had this feeling that I could control them in some way and fix them. Music was the one thing that I did for myself that I found joy and solace in and always gave me a sense of hope. So music to me is something I not only honor, but I always hear Joan Jett say, ‘it’s like a religion’. For not many people it is, but for me it’s absolutely a religion. It’s the one thing that made me feel safe, made me feel joy, made me feel every mood that I would squelch in every other way. You know, songs have done that for me.”

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“I’ve always been attracted to female artists more so, even though I listened to a lot of male artists I was always a fan of songs more than bands. Though in high school I was very attracted to a certain type of band. I loved raw bands. I loved melody. It’s like what I liked hearing was the opposite of what I liked seeing musically. I loved melody. I loved melody (she emphasizes). I loved stories. I loved all genres. I just loved songs. There wasn’t many artists I didn’t like growing up. I did listen to popular radio I would say until…I remember Nirvana being so big at one point and all those bands of that ’92, ’93, ’94 period being such a big influence on me. Because it was so different than what had come before it and I remember just thinking, ‘I found something that spoke to me’. There were so many great female fronted acts like The Breeders at the time, the song “Cannonball” I’ll never forget that song. Just great music in the early to mid 90s and that’s kind of been my biggest influence on my writing and on me getting in touch with a lot of things that are darker inside and accepting those parts. I don’t have to be happy all the time. Its okay. But I never really thought of music as a career except I always was a drummer. In high school I started an all girl band and it was ‘we were going to be famous, we were going to be huge’ we just learned cover songs constantly. I played drums because I wanted to be a singer, but I had this belief which I thought you were either born to sing or you weren’t. My voice was so masculine was so low, that in my high school it was considered not a very good voice. I don’t know if that message was said to me or if I just thought that because all the girls who got the parts had those ‘high voices’, she sings out before joking, “I can’t even reach that note. So I thought well I’m never going to be a singer but I still want to be in music so I’ll play drums, I loved playing drums. That’s how I started out and it was until a birthday I had I remember I was playing drums for a band and that’s when I started singing because their singer didn’t show up. So I just jumped.”

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“Growing up music always gave me comfort, but there was a period where I got really lost after my mother died. At 17, I made a conscience decision the day of her funeral that I was going to stop doing the right thing and doing anything good and if there was a god in the world it wanted nothing to do with me. So I was going to do everything to destroy my own life. It was a very conscience decision on my part to pick up drugs and alcohol. When I picked up I picked up hardcore. I didn’t pick up and dabble. I wasn’t there to experiment. I was there to get lost. Because I felt so much. Most artists feel very deeply and most humans do but especially artists. I think they tend to feel weird about their [sensitivity], because it’s not the common sensitivity. It’s hard to deal with life on life’s terms often, but at that point I didn’t want to feel anything because everything I felt was pain. So drugs and alcohol helped me to squelch that. But it also led me down a lot of bad roads. That part of wanting to die and everything, I felt bad and it kept following me around. The people I got involved with and the things that happened to me have made me into the singer I am today. It’s a blessing, first of all that I survived it, and second of all, I have a message, and it’s a strong one. I think it comes through when people hear my voice, they hear it and they’re either attracted to it or repelled by it,” she laughs. “Hopefully attracted to it and it’s just a deeper [meaning] when you go through stuff. That’s why I that lotus. It grows through mud and becomes beautiful. I feel like you can take anything that happened and make it into beauty.”

Stay tuned for part two of my interview with Soraia tomorrow and listen to a new track from their upcoming record Less Than Zero “Radio Sister” below.

Come out to Milkboy this Friday for Soraia’s Less Than Zero record release show with The Good Excuses and The Droogettes opening at 8:30 PM. Tickets are $10 and you can get them here.

xx Cher

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