Official Blog

Welcome to The Januariez blog! You can find news and other information about the band here! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Unforeseen and the Unknown

I've always conceived of rock music as ageless. It keeps you young. It keeps you moving. And age is something that is more determined by attitude rather than an actual number. The more you age, the more you stiffen. And I'm not talking absolutely about the body; the mind has to solidify first. I also conceive of all music as unifying. The true artist wants nothing more than to share his/her art with the world while embracing the art of other fellow artists, regardless of genre. Well, this is what I would like to believe. Perhaps I'm a bit of an idealist.

Enter the open mic at the Greenbean in Greenwood. The Greenbean is a non-profit coffee shop in my neighborhood. Its open mic occurs the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month from 7-9. It is advertised online as an acoustic open mic. Fine. Holly and I play rock music, but we do acoustic sets, too. And open mics for us are great practice for playing live and, in our case of late, dealing with the unforeseen. (Though I had a feeling about it, but I'll get to that in a minute.) The open mic was run about a group of, I'm guessing, baby boomers. One of them was dressed in a teal and black striped shirt and had green hair, so I imagined these guys to be "young".

The first four acts consisted of the guys who were putting on the open mic or their friends. That's cool, I thought. They were silly hippie types. I gave them my attention and listened to their songs. Then it was time for me and Holly. We had three songs prepared to play, you know, the standard open mic set. We opened with 16, and I sang my heart out. But as you know, the song 16 is not a happy hippie song. It is about a woman regaining her strength and purpose after an abusive relationship. We finished the song, and though everyone clapped, I could feel tension rising in the room. Not something I feel very often. Then we played Tables and Chairs, which is just a sad song about the realization of personal worthlessness. We finished the song and were getting ready for our final song when the guy running the open mic quickly stood up and told the audience to give it up for us.

WHAT? Wait a minute! We were in the middle of our set. I said, "I thought we had 3 songs." And then one of the friends came up and said we were done cause they were running out of time. And then, the MC told the audience that they had to move things along cause it was 10 minutes to 9 and that they close at nine, but by my cell phone's time, it was 8:06. I sat there in disbelief. Like it really wasn't happening. I didn't understand. Then all the guys running the open mic were up there clearing the way for us to leave.

We walked off to our table where my husband, Ron, was sitting.

We all sat there shaking our heads as the next act went on, which happened to be one of the guys that had been on right before us. He was playing AGAIN. Not only that, but his lyrics were insular: full of inside jokes for his friends-the very ones sitting there running the open mic. One of the open mic guys came up to us and in a condescendingly polite tone said, "Thanks for playing some rock n roll". This is about the time Ron said, "Open mic my ass! This is a closed mic. There is only room for these people and their friends." I looked at him, and asked, "You think we were run off?" Ron answered, "Absolutely you were run off. I sat here and watched the whole thing go down." At this time, the guy after us finished and then the guys running the open mic, who had already played earlier with some of the other guys, got up to sing some covers from the 60s.

I knew something felt weird earlier. We went into the coffee shop around 3pm to find out about the sign up time. We got some tea and sat down. After a few minutes, I considered backing out. I told Holly, "I hope they don't run us out of here." And then, I thought, no, we'll be fine.

And then, there we were at 8:30 pm, just finished playing some powerful songs. And we played really well. And no one wanted to talk to us afterward, which is usually the case. No one asked about the songs. No one asked about my voice. No one said anything except that one guy thanking for playing rock n roll. I looked up at the stage and some guy dressed in a graduation cap and gown was on stage talking about being the Professor Know it All. Holly found a back exit and we left. As I was leaving, a guy in the kitchen told me, "Great job tonight!" He really looked at me. It was sincere. This guy was also very young.

Now it is the morning after, and I'm still sitting here trying to wrap my head around all of it. I don't understand exclusion. I never have. I grew up around it down south. Everything is so segregated. And I didn't understand it there either. That's why I moved here to Seattle. There are many ageless folks here. It's easy to stay young here. I know plenty of musicians the same age as these guys, but who are way younger. You know? Of course, I know people in their 20s who have already stiffened in their thinking. Last night seemed so surreal. I didn't expect it. And I didn't want to accept it, because it doesn't fit my ideal of music. But these people are aged. They are stiffened. And they don't like anything different or new. That's why we were run off. We made them uncomfortable. And isn't that the heart of all exclusivity? Fear of the unknown?

I'm glad we played that open mic. Each situation just makes us stronger!  I hope we jarred their minds loose.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

No Open Mic Tonight!

Hey everyone!

This is just a quick note to let you know that Holly was in a car accident about an hour ago, and so we will NOT be playing the open mic at Conor Byrne tonight. We really hope this doesn't cause any inconvenience for anyone.

Holly is okay, just a litttle shaken up. The next two open mics are good to go, and we will also be playing Greenwood Elementary School's Rock n Roll Fundraiser Saturday, March 5th. That event starts at 5:30. It will be held in the Commons at Greenwood Elementary School 144 NW 80th Street 98103. $5 suggested donation.

Anyway, sorry for any confusion, and we hope to see you in the next week or so!

Jane and Holly


Green Bean Coffeehouse Seattle, WA Thu Feb 24 11 08:00 PM  
Darrell's Tavern Shoreline, WA Wed Mar 02 11 08:00 PM  
Greenwood Rock n Roll Fundraiser Seattle, WA Sat Mar 05 11 05:00 PM  
> See More / Details

Thursday, February 10, 2011

January News for February

Hello all!

First of all, we want to thank everyone that has been out to see us play over the last month! Your support means everything to us! If you missed us this month, and would like to see what we've been doing, we have posted some live video from the the Skylark on 1/26/2011.

And now, everything else!

The EP is up online. You can listen to the songs on Facebook and ReverbNation. If you haven't become a fan yet, please do! We can keep you updated with pictures, video, and last minute details (like when I got sick a few weeks ago!) The EP has not been officially released yet, meaning no artwork has been put together and nothing has been sent for duplication. And I know I said we weren't going to duplicate, but it looks like plans have changed. We'll let you know when those are finished. Until then, we've been bringing homemade copies to the open mics and giving them away for anyone that signs the mailing list. Once we get some artwork together, the songs will be available for download online.

Holly and I are preparing for a trip to LA. We're headed to the 2011 ASCAP I Create Music Expo. We're really super excited about this. It's been years since I've been to LA, and neither one of us has been to a huge networking conference such as this. Plus, I have some family and friends there I've not seen in a great while! The event will be held in April.

Finally, here is a list of the upcoming open mics:

Sunday 2/20 at Conor Byrne (21+ acoustic set)
Thursday 2/24 at the Greenbean Coffee House (all ages acoustic set)
Wednesday 3/2 at Darrell's Tavern (21+ electric set)

We will continue these open mics until we find a bass player and a drummer.

And finally, I am putting on a fundraiser for Greenwood Elementary School's arts and music program. Please consider attending, Here are the deets:

Greenwood Rock n Roll Fundraiser
feat. Gavin Guss and TBA
Saturday March 5th, 2011
Doors at 5:30pm
Show at 6pm-8pm
Please dress in your best rocker attire!
$5 donation

103 NW 80th street
Seattle, WA 98117
in the Commons
food and beverage available

Hope to see you soon!
Jane and Holly

Monday, February 7, 2011



Thanks for finding us here! I know some of you are brand new, and others have been with me since the beginning. Either way, I'm just gonna start in the usual fashion-at the beginning.

My name is J-knee. I was born and raised in central Arkansas. I've been playing music most of my life, beginning with my first live singing performance at age 3. My grandparents were both singers and involved the local arts community. I participated in all the plays and learned basic music theory in elementary school. At age 11, I joined the school orchestra as a cellist. The following year brought me my first guitar, and I began teaching myself piano the year after. At 16, I started learning drums, and at 18, I picked up the bass.

A month after I turned 20, I took a one way bus to Seattle, WA, but I ended up living in Tacoma. (This is an entirely different story that I won't attempt to discuss here.) I met many great musicians and friends in Tacoma. I played guitar in a band or two, but there were so many guitarists that I decided to focus on bass. I played bass in several bands in Tacoma, most notably Dr. Inme.

A few years later,  I bought a van and decided to travel. I had hoped to do this with a band, but I'm really hard to get along with (at least had been). So I went on my own. Months were spent living in my van traveling down the coast and in the southwest. I stopped in my home state before heading toward the east coast, but I got stuck for a while.

Old friends, nostalgia, and a broken down van tethered me to my own roots for long enough for me to join a couple of bands as bass player and a guitarist. I played bass in an (almost) all girl cover band called Red Sister Planet, and in some weird experimental band called Band for All Seasons. I also played guitar in another band with Skeeter Thompson from Scream and Bircho from Trusty and Black Eyed Vermillion. The latter was an absolute mess.

At one point, I was playing in 3 bands with different roles. That's when life happened. I played my last show at 8 months pregnant. I attempted to continue playing after my oldest son was born, but it was almost impossible for me. Looking for a creative outlet, I enrolled at the local university.

For the next few years, I studied philosophy, English, and creative writing. I also got married, had another kid, and moved back to Washington. Believing that my life as a musician was over, I had become focused on teaching and writing. And after I graduated, I found some freelance work as a writer, but it was all in the porn industry. And you know, it just made me kinda sick after a while.

At this point I had 2 kids, a college degree that seemed worthless, hadn't played any music in a few years, and I was completely depressed. I didn't even know who I was anymore. It's sad to say, but it is so true, when you become a mother, you really forget who you are for a few years. And some people never get past that. I mean, the only thing that seems to matter is keeping that baby alive. My youngest was getting ready to start kindergarten, and I was totally lost. I asked the universe for help.

Not a few months later, a gig teaching guitar to young girls fell in my lap. I even tried to turn it down, saying I was out of practice. But they insisted I teach, cause I had experience teaching. My co-instructor was Laura Viers, who was such a positive influence. She was almost like a guidepost reminding me of which road to take. It was then that I reconnected myself with my love of music. I spent the next year going through old recordings and getting my playing back up to speed.

From then, I began writing music again, this time with confidence in my lyrics. I started looking for people to play with, tapped my old friends and connections, started hitting open mics, taking voice lessons, and then went on to record a solo EP under the name Nancy Frieko.

Throughout my life, I have battled with mental illness and drug/alcohol abuse. On again/off again. Most of the work I did as Nancy Frieko was spent under the influence of alcohol. As of New Year's 2010, I have been sober. I spent all of last year laying low and weeding out my life. I recorded 3 songs with some friends (Dee and Ross) from London, and I began playing live with my friend, Holly.  Holly and I now perform as January.

Which brings us to here and now! Holly and I have been performing weekly open mics while we search for the rest of the line-up. As it stands, Dee, will be joining the live band indefinitely come late March. We are very excited!

We are also in the process of finishing up artwork for the EP. I know. I know. I said I wasn't going to have anything put together, but it looks like I need to now. I really didn't know what was gonna happen with all this. I just wanted people to listen to the songs and love them. I didn't care about the rest. And now, well, people are listening and loving the songs, and I'm a little behind! eek!

So, stay tuned! The updating is ongoing!


Check out music from January