Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thank you 2010

As 2010 is drawing to a wintery, chilled close, we at Spanking Charlene headquarters thought it would be a good idea to do a bit of love inventory on the last year. It’s been quite the year!!

We all live to make fun of Charlene when at midnight on New Years she raises her glass and says with a very serious tone and very serious glint in her eye that “this year is going to be the best year ever” She has said it every year since we’ve known her and it doesn’t make us believe her any less.

In March 2010 we started working on our sophmore record with Eric “Roscoe” Ambel at CTS in their new space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We are pretty much in the home stretch and are hoping for a release of this record in the spring of 2011. We are ridiculously proud of this record and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.

In May we had the honor of playing the 10th Annual Joey Ramone Birthday Bash and Lymphoma Benefit at Iriving Plaza in New York City. It was a wonderful night, dedicated to a musician and innovator that changed music. Mo always tells me that this band would not exist if it wasn’t for the Ramones.

In October, we saw our win as “Best Unsigned Band” in America come to fruition, getting to spend 2 days in the studio with Steven Van Zandt working on 2 songs that will be released also in 2011. It was a great experience working with Steven.

In between studio weekends, we played, maybe not as much as we would have liked to, but we played as much as we could .

And YOU came, all of you, bad weather, rough days, whatever, people continue to show up and appreciate the music and us. So for that we are unbelievably thankful.

So as 2010 draws to a close we have a ton of thank you’s…..

First thanks goes to our band for all the familial drama that comes with being in a band and trying to be the best that we can be. We will always fight and scream and slam doors but we will also know what it feels like to play and be elevated to that place that only the 4 of us can recognize, where all feels liquid and magical, where connection to each other can take us up over the brim.

Thanks to our long time supporter, friend and producer Eric “Roscoe” Ambel who Charlene accosted with a demo “backstage” at Brownies in 2004. To this day we are still thankful that he actually took it home and listened to it. Roscoe gave us our first NYC gig and we haven’t looked back since. To have someone like Roscoe in your corner that you can rely on for anything and to talk you down from the ledge when you have had just about enough and to cheer like hell when you rock, it’s a very big deal and rare to find in a producer or even a friend. Roscoe has always been the 5th member of Spanking Charlene and we hope he will continue to be. So to Roscoe and the guys at CTS (Tim Hatfield and Mario Viele) we are eternally grateful.

Thanks to Scott Hueston, Steven Van Zandt and Wicked Cool Records for their hard work and integrity. Its not everyday you get to be in the studio with Steven Van Zandt and it was quite the experience. We’ve all heard the old “stay away from your heroes” but Steven could not have been more gracious and patient. He’s one of the good guys.

Lastly, thanks to the Lakeside Lounge for giving us a home and thanks so much to the group of talented musicians that surround us, join us onstage, keep us laughing and keep us motivated. Christopher Bryson, Genya Ravan, Mickey Leigh, MC Quat, Phil Cimino, Chip Robinson, Nate Schweber Jason Dole, Tara Elliot, Fletch, Professor Marcus Aldredge, Joe Cassady, Melissa Masser, Leslie, Alex, and let’s not forget Doggie!

So when Charlene once again raises her glass at midnight this year and once again says “this is going to be the best year ever” WE will believe her and we hope you will too.

Peace, Love and Soul,

Spanking Charlene

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It happened on the way to IRVING PLAZA...

On May 19th we were lucky enough to get the opportunity to play at Joey Ramone’s Birthday Bash. It’s a celebration of Joeys Birthday as well as a fitting tribute and benefit to raise money for Lymphoma, the raging beast responsible for Joey and countless others, demise.

The show itself was pretty unbelievable, all the bands were great and also the nicest, most gracious group of people backstage. Well except for one J But I will not mention names I would just like to say that if the only way to the bathroom is through a room that somehow you have taken over to have a last minute private rehearsal, 5 minutes before I go onstage, do not be surprised when I bust through your door and your band all nervously look at me and one of them manages to squeak out “this is private, we are practicing, you can’t be here” Please know that I will ignore you all, run downstairs to the bathroom ( when a girl has to pee, a girl has to pee) and when I come back through that room, I am for sure looking at you when I say “I’m sorry I interrupted your rehearsal and I’m not wearing the super decoder ring I need to be in here but stop being such a princess – damn” and then I get through the other door to the other dressing room where I am a hero for my outburst, and musicians with manic panic-ed hair are cheering, patting me on the back, offering me one more beer from the cooler.

I’ve been Matt Pinfielded…. and it was good....

If like me you were ever a fan of 120 Minutes on MTV and 101.9 RXP you know who Matt is and he could not have been anymore sweet, funny, charismatic and all around charming. He delighted us with old Joey stories and gave us one hell of an intro.

Lots of people at the show said the sound was amazing and one in particular said that when Spanking Charlene hit the first few chords of ‘I Hate Girls’ the wall of sound that came out went through the crowd like a wave, the bottom halves of everyones body was vibrating and he instinctively grabbed his balls. And that kittens, is why we love rock and roll J

We had the best time on that stage and when the set was over I briefly considered handcuffing myself to something so they couldn’t get me off but there will be many more stages and much more fun so I did indeed let the curtain come down.

As a musician, hell as a human being, its sometimes so hard after a gig like that. You are on such a high for a day or two and then CRASH, SPLAT back to the business of being a mortal. Day jobs, laundry, bills and trying to keep your spirit alive enough to write that next song, get to the next gig and find that high you only find when you are on stage with a microphone in your hand.

At risk of this blog being too much of a rambling mess… NEWS…

Spanking Charlene is in the studio out at the new CTS in Brooklyn with producer Eric “Roscoe” Ambel at the helm. More news to come on just when and where you all can get your hands on the new stuff, which if I do say so myself sounds UNBELIEVABLE.

We’ll be at the Lakeside Lounge, Saturday June 19th at 10:30PM with a batch of new songs and ready to blow the roof off of our beloved Lakeside. Please come out, have a drink and let NYC know that you enjoy LIVE music and venues like the Lakeside need to be here.

Lastly, many thank you’s to the many people who keep us going, entertained, and sorted out at all times. Thanks to Jules Rousseau, Mickey Leigh, Photographer fantastaroo Daniel Root, Christopher Bryson and Waxed Paper Press and Eric Roscoe Ambel.

As always, Peace, Love and Soul – Spanking Charlene

Sunday, April 4, 2010

In the Studio....

Just a quick update to let everyone know what Spanking Charlene has been up to since our last post... Also, many, many thanks to everyone who sent kind words regarding this whole debacle with Wicked Cool Records. As I said in our last post I have no intention of not moving forward and continuing to make great rock and roll just because it seems I have been had by the man. I'm a worldly girl, I've been had by the man before, probably more than once and I'm usually on top. or wait .. I mean I usually come out on top ;)

So we are moving forward and what better way to move forward then head back into the studio with our favorite producer - Eric "Roscoe" Ambel at his new studio space in Brooklyn

We went into the studio thinking we could probably get 2 -3 songs put down and mixed but low and behold 2 days later we had 3 mixed and 3 more waiting for overdubs. We are in the process of figuring out how to get the music out there - perhaps an E.P. - and are super excited for everyone to hear how great everything sounds!

Here is a teaser.. Roscoe made this video of us listening to a playback of one our new songs "Booze and Pills" I can't figure out how to post the video so just follow this link damnit....

We've got lots of shows coming up.. we'll be at the Pattenburg House in Pattenburg, NJ with Joe Cassady and West End Sound on Saturday, April 10th at 9PM

Back at the World Famous Lakeside Lounge on Saturday, April 17th t 10:30PM.

Celebrating Joey Ramones Birthday at Irving Plaze ( Fillmore whatever) on Wednesday, May 19th 7PM - tickets available at Live Nation.

Look forward to seeing you at the next gig....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

And the winner is... Spanking Charlene!

Have you ever played the card game “Bullshit!” I have and for the life of me cannot remember how its played, what the point is, I just remember feeling the joy of screaming the word “BULLSHIT” Its fun, its freeing. Just try it sometime, in times of crisis, those times when you don’t even know how you ended up backed into a corner, when you feel like the whole world is fraudulent, just yell BULLSHIT – you’ll feel better I promise.

One whole year has passed since Spanking Charlene won the title of “Best Unsigned Band in America” A lot went into that contest for us, “When I’m Skinny” was played on a radio show on Sirius radio’s Underground Garage, fans voted online and this went on for a year. Over a thousand bands to start out with, voted down to 3 best unsigned bands, then a big show at Pianos in NYC. We waited all night to play and when it was finally our turn we were very aware that we were underdogs. (could have been the 2nd bands fans booing us before we even hit the stage that made us keenly aware ) and we threw down, that’s all that can be said. Whatever it is that makes a band really great, the magic of knowing you can rely on the 3 others to ebb and flow and have a glorious time doing it, was there, it WAS magic. So to hear those words.. “and the winner is.. Spanking Charlene” was an unbelievable moment that none of us would give back. It meant that all the things we had worked so hard at, all the money that was spent on this band, the writing, the arrangement, Charlene and Mo sitting across from each other with pen and paper to begin with and screaming & throwing things in heated argument by the end of the songwriting “session” was appreciated by Steven Van Zandt, someone who has been in this fickle industry for years and knows what good rock and roll is, LIKE US!! And the prize!! Who wouldn’t want to be signed to such a cool label – Wicked Cool Records.

One whole year has passed. Babies have been born, friends hearts just stopped working for no good reason, songs have been written, drinks have been had and long cold lonely nights endured. It’s a rough time in music, we have all talked about it, read about it, tried to figure it all out. Jobs have been lost and promises broken.

We didn’t expect to win this contest and be onstage at the Grammys this month but we expected… something, anything. Can I say honestly that we’ve gained NOTHING from this experience, no I can’t say that. When it comes down to it, we are just 4 people who like to write and play rock & roll, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t want to get paid for it. But until we can, fuck it, we are just going to have a good time, surround ourselves with people who love our music, the same people who keep coming to our shows and the producer that pushes us to be better. We are all the better for it.

Worry not, we have plans… recording new material, more gigging, more merchandise and more fun on our own terms. We will not be denied. We will not bow down to the man. We will continue to do what we love. Are we bitter? Not so much, maybe wary is the better word. But revitalized is the best word. Re-energized. Ready to kick some ass.

Ready to scream BULLSHIT and move onward and upward.

To quote the late, great Patrick Swayze.. “Nobody puts baby in a corner!”

One whole year has passed and Spanking Charlene is STILL the best unsigned band in America.

Peace, Love and Soul – Spanking Charlene

Friday, October 9, 2009

I am giddy with excitement. My first issue of Miniature Donkey Talk magazine arrived today. I am afraid this will only further fuel my obsession with these adorable diminutive creatures, but what the hell. Life is too short to live it without miniature donkeys; don't you agree? I need to check into the NYC laws re farm animals; how cool would it be to take my miniature donkey out for a walk down 2nd avenue? Or have her tied up outside a cafe while I sip coffee and munch on a bagel.

Speaking of animals, we had a great time playing the Pattenburg House last week with our buddies Joe Cassady & The West End Sound, Mike, Melissa, Nicole and the rest of the crew. Too much fun. Well maybe not too much, but just enough.

Got tickets to see Mr. Dylan in November at United Palace Theater. I am ashamed to say I have never see him live. It's time.

Our great friend Daniel was visiting this week from Sweden. Always great to hang with him at the Rodeo Bar & Lakeside Lounge. He and Mo are going to see Bruuuuuce tonite at Giants stadium. Should be rockin'....


Saturday, June 6, 2009


Over the last few weeks every time the band finds ourselves all together, Eric says "hey ya know someone should really blog something...." We all agree, nod vigorously, and convince ourselves people care to read about what Spanking Charlene is up to. and then none of us do it.... Like songwriting, someone (I am still not sure who - Mo or Eric) made a rule that we should have a new song every time we play at the Lakeside Lounge. Sort of a challenge/writing exercise if you will. I know everyone works differently, I've taken the classes I get it but I can't really write until something comes to me and I know ALOT of people see that as lazy but when I force myself the songs that come out are not so great. Mo is prolific, always writing something, always has a melody or a riff or something he is working on, the kind of thing he gets up in the middle of the night, locks himself in the bathroom and records. Me not so much, its a work in progress. But I'm with Neil Young, when your muse is available do whatever you can to chase it and keep it, even it means disregarding plans and friends/family. Its important. So this past weekend when I felt I was being chastized and forced to sit in the "writing" chair with my pen and paper, I lashed out at the "man" whoever thought of this dumb ass rule of a new song every month, I roared and my band excused me. ( for this month) and now the "someone should really blog" YES - someone should and here I am.

What have we been up to? Well on Friday, May 29th we went to the Bowery Ballroom to see one of our favorite bands.. X. If you don't know who X is, please find out....

We love X, we've all seen them numerous times and always have a great time at their shows. This year it seemed the crowd was a little older ( as X is a little older) but it was great to see really young kids in X t shirts moshing away in the front. They had some sort of contest where the fans could vote for the set list so they did a couple songs I had never heard them do live before. Such as "Johnny Hit and Run Pauline" a song that if it accidentally comes on in my IPod shuffle I scream, its the kind of song that makes you want to hide under your bed, its a GREAT song but an anxiety inducing one. The band was great, the openers were okay ( not easy to open for a band like X I imagine ) but I couldn't help noticing that Exine didn't look so good, just not herself, though she sang her ass off and sounded better than I have ever heard her. But we were all surprised when this statement was released a few days later...
What a blow to such an incredible woman. Our heart goes out to her.

Saturday May 30th we went to the Lakeside, also a place that if for Gods sake you haven't been - get there. Every person who I have ever taken to the Lakeside falls in love with it. If you want hipsters and what the hell else ever walk over to 11th Street and go to that Pete Wentz Bar Angels and Demons or is it Angels and Guys who wear eyeliner... whatever. The Lakeside has become home to so many people I know, it's comfortable, like your favorite pair of jeans and I have never in the many years I have been going there have I seen a crappy band play there and they have music every night and its free, so the odds of there being atleast one crappy band would be high right? nope no such thing..
But I digress, we went to see Chip Robinson and the Roscoe Trio. (ooh and Doggie on the drums filling in for Phil Cimino) If you know me then I have sure told you how much I love Chip Robinsons new record Mylow, I have a new favorite song from it every other week and continually hear things that I didn't hear the first 100 times I listened to it. Eric "Roscoe" Ambel our good friend, producer, fixer of all things broken, cycling monster and supremo make your socks fall off musician played his baby blue guitar ( a guitar I thought was white because I have never seen it in the light and he being the sweet person he is, never once corrected me when I continually referred to it as the white guitar) and even with a fill in drummer, the band was amazing. There is something about seeing a great band that makes you want to be a better band. When Roscoe is blasting away and Chip is stomping all over the stage, its clear to everyone there that they are lost in the music and when you are witness to that you just go right along with them and get plenty lost yourself. And that my friends is a GREAT SHOW. I also should mention that our very own Alison Jones plays with the Roscoe Trio and held it down with the monster bass quite nicely. I don't ever really get to see Alison play, since she is standing next to me on stage and I'm not looking right at her so its fun to see her onstage holding her own.

So whats next on the horizon for Spanking Charlene while we wait patiently from orders and instructions from Wicked Cool Records.. The Lakeside Lounge of course. We will be playing there on Saturday, June 13th at 10:00pm. This is an extra special show for me of huge proportions for one reason and one reason only. There will be a McPherson in attendance. Yes, my older brother Shannon is flying in to NYC for 2 days to see his little sister. YES, there are 2 of us, yes it is scary. If you see him, say hi... He'll be the 6'4' red headed guy with the tattooed arms. ( i believe they call them SLEEVES?) Girls - HE IS SINGLE but be gentle because while he may look like a heavy metal biker bouncer guy, he's actually a pretty laid back, quiet guy. I'm super excited for him to be there and I could tell you tons of stories about how the music I heard coming from his bedroom, influenced my life in a bajillion ways... Please come by and meet him, he's that important :)
See you at the Lakeside Lounge on Saturday, June 13th at 10PM.

xo C

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I should have included the link to Bill's book...

Go out and buy it!