My husband Adam annointed Suzan Koc “my Wife” a number of years ago when I had asked him to choose between this dress or that one or something like that. Actually I think I wanted to know if my butt looked flat in a pair of jeans. He told me his opinion. And then I questioned it. So he said…”Why don’t you ask your wife.” I knew exactly who he meant.
Every girl should have a Wifey. Whether she has a spouse or not. (Similarly, every guy should have a Bromance).
Suzan came into my life in 1997 right when I had a baby. Boy, was that timely! She was working for Hit & Run Music, the publishing company to which I was signed. That was a long time ago.
We’re not publisher/writer anymore — I’ve gone on to write other things and Suzan teaches but we’re still “Laverne and Shelly,” “Thelma and Louise,” “Lucy and Ethel.” And because of that we’re often asked to festival (the verb) together.
Last weekend we ventured off to Pine Mountain Club a secluded community about 60 miles north of Los Angeles tucked into some awesomely beautiful landscape. Half desert, half forrest. Which means bears. I can’t believe there are bears so close to Los Angeles. I confiscated the tic tacs, the fiber Gummies and my emergency jar of Jif from the trunk of my car! Yeesh. Ya can’t be too careful.
On Saturday night I performed Confessions of a Serial Songwriter LIVE! Pine Mountain hosts retirees (who appreciated the part about hot flashes in writing sessions), and a younger crowd (that relates to “Who You Are”.) They all share a love of music — listening to it and making it.
I’ve found that one person in every audience falls asleep during the show especially if the temperature in the room is warm, the show starts late, and the crowd is…well, closer to my age. Hopefully that person will be sitting next to a pal who pokes them when they start to tip over. I’m happy to report nobody fell asleep on Saturday night! That’s a good sign.
There were special performances by residents and guests — Kevin Quinn, Steve Hill, Steve Kramer, Dave Nachmanoff and Michelle Shocked who sang some of her folk favorites and talked to us about the decline of copyright value. :( Preach Sister! The word is spreading.
In Suzan’s Sunday Song Shrink Session (how’s that for alliteration?) she critiqued original material in her Suzan way. She suffers no fools. Calls you out on the stuff you were thinking instead of feeling. Watch out! And of course, inquiring minds wanted to know…what comes first the melody or the lyric? It’s never the same, right? And it’s different for every writer. And it’s different for every song. For me, in the words of Lennon and McCartney, it’s most satisfying when they Come Together. Melody and lyrics always feel more married when they do.
Suz and I look at festival going as an opportunity to give back, share experience and of course spend time together, catch up, and….enjoy each other’s co-obsessive behavior. For instance, we spent a good part of Saturday and Sunday going back and forth into town (15 miles each way) determined to correct the air pressure in my tires after getting warning messages on the dash! But it’s tricky. Because after tires are hot the numbers change. We’d get back to Pine Mountain and they’d be low again. Or high. So back into town we’d ride. Finally, Suzan Googled Mercedes and got some answers —all the details apparently, are on the inside of the fuel cap. Who knew? But that’s how we roll. We get things done!
Considering the event, our weekend was filled with ongoing songwriting-centric conversation that continued during a hike on a trail appropriately named “The Enchanted Forest.” While thoroughly charmed by the painted trolls and hand-made rock arrangements, we got back to the subject of what comes first.
Here’s Suzan’s take:
She’s right. As usually.
Thanks for having us, Pine Mountain. We hope you enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed you. And each other!
If you want some Song Shrinking with Suzan click here. But be prepared for the truth!