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  • Interview with Jay Austin Seals

    Tawnee Kendall: For Her Own Sanity

    Interviewed by Jay Austin Seals


    Jay Austin Seals: Put these in the order that you think best describes yourself: Singer. Guitar Player. Performer. Songwriter.

    Tawnee Kendall: It would probably be: performer, singer, songwriter, guitar player.

    JAS: At what age did you find yourself gravitating towards performing music?

    TK: Oh my god… four, three? My parents tell stories about how I would be putting on performances; they always said I sang before I could talk. It would creep out my babysitters that I would be singing in my crib when I was really little, before I spoke words.

    JAS: As an individual performer, how do you “Rock”?

    TK: The most I identify with rock, performance wise… is with classic rock. I grew up listening to The Doors, Led Zeppelin, and Elvis Presley. A lot of these front men were really dynamic, super big performers. That was how my parents and I connected… over these performance styles. That for me has always been one of the biggest things, in regards to rock, how impressive and dynamic all these performers were. And they were on the edge of history… setting a precedent for things that had never been done before.

    JAS: How do you “folk”?

    TK: My mother grew up all over the south and her mother was in a bluegrass band, so my mom grew up playing and singing folk. My mom and dad have a lot of similar musical styles, but my mom heavily influenced me with folk and country. I grew up singing Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton. I loved Allison Krauss. So folk is definitely in my blood.

    My parents always stressed that music is the most important thing. When I was going to college, they stressed their desire to put college on hold because they truly believed my talents were with performing and singing. They saw the passion that I had for it. Oddly enough, I still went to college and did music on the side. My parents believed that my purpose in life was to be a musician.

    JAS: Tell me what these artists bring to mind:

    JAS: Patsy Cline

    TK: Her effortless soul and storytelling… She precludes all the fads that our on the radio… having all these trills and being all over the place vocally. She has really powerful simple melodies and the way she uses her voice. I don’t think people perform that way anymore. How she’s influenced me is… trying not to get ahead of myself, just really trying to think about what the message of the song is and the power of the individual note… less is more… there is so much power in an individual note if its being sung about a storyline that carries a lot of weight and history. Being able to sing that in that one note with power has more of an impact than trying to figure out how to put all these bells and whistles into the song.

    JAS: The Doors

    TK: Jim Morrison is one of the most impressive performers. All the things and videos I’ve seen him perform in, he is completely and utterly lost in the song. Its almost like there is no self awareness of who he is or who he is in front of. He is the complete vessel of portraying the story. I love that! I love that he can get up on stage and stop thinking about everything else, and just let this music pour out of him.

    I frequently try to do that. When I’m on stage, it doesn’t matter if I’m making a weird face or I’m falling over something or being contorted. It’s the fact that is what your body is feeling at that moment the music is going through your body. He was definitely an eye opener for me in that respect.

    JAS: Neko Case

    TK: For me, it’s her writing style. She has some pretty powerful lyrics. She and Jim Morrison are similar in the way that they write. They have the ability of describing tiny little elements that are so specific about whoever or whatever they are singing about that you are almost transported into whatever storyline they are telling because the details are there. And they use them in such a calculated way that you almost feel like you’ve taken on their story yourself, even if you have no shared history or way of relating. She’s just a really impressive lyricist, not to mention just being a really phenomenal vocalist as well. She definitely has the power of story.

    I try to understand her similar mechanics in describing a story. Making sure that the story is broad enough that you can relate to it.  You can sense what is cooking on the oven or the way the fabric felt on skin. Adding in those contextual details are very important.

    JAS: Joshua James

    TK: He is a phenomenal, incredible storyteller. He also has this ease of not letting the structure of the song be so rigid. He allows for a lot of emotions to seep in.

    JAS: Martha Wainwright

    TK: She, and really all the Wainwrights, has this beautiful, theatrical element that they add to the music. I really love that.

    JAS: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals

    TK: So, she’s probably the one on this list that really gets the grit across. The hardest thing to convey about my music before a person has seen it is how raw and gritty it is. She’s so sexy in the way she delivers stuff. She’s doing the growls and its all very sexually enticing and that’s a different sort of power in and of itself.

    JAS: It seems the word “shy” is not in your design and you seem to have a lot of fun with your appearance, from the way you dress to your tattoos. How do you feel this plays into your role as a performer?

    TK: Um, yeah… I definitely don’t try to go unnoticed (laughs). I’m kind of in the business of being recognized. It’s funny, the reasons that I dress like I do and have tattoos is not for shock value. When I was younger I would always paint my face and wear costumes to school. It always seemed more fun to be dressing thematically, almost like playing a character. You go up on stage, that day you’re a superhero or your from the 1920s and being able to channel that kind of emotion and energy in a certain way…  for me, it’s always been about playing different parts and accessing different parts of your own emotions and desires and personality traits. It’s a lot easier to do that when you’re portraying an actor or a character. Like Grace Potter, more than it being sex appeal, it’s a confidence in my body and in my own skin. When you’re a kid and you’re dressing up in costumes, it takes a lot of bravery to be able to step outside and not let the criticism get to you. And now, it’s not like everyone thinks the way I dress and the way I act is great. There is still criticism, but it’s my confidence in myself that allows me to be sexy and what allows people to receive me as being sexy sometimes because there is a sex appeal that’s not negative because it’s based from a calm center.

    JAS: As a writer, when are you in your wheelhouse… When writing personal tales or observations on the world around you?

    TK: It’s definitely easier for me to write from a place of pain and personal experience. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately (laughs) I’m in a super happy place. So I’ve actually had to reinvent the way I write music since I have an amazing partner, I’m happy at work, and I have a great family. There’s not a lot of depressing areas to pull from right now, so I am trying to do a lot more… which I think is a better option for a musician, being able to reference your own personal experiences and be able to take from that and also be able to look at the world around you and see what other people are going through… to be able to tell their story as well. It shouldn’t be an entirely narcissistic point of view.

    JAS: On a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being humble – 5 being proud, where would you like to see the tone of your bio fall?

    TK: I say right in the middle honestly. I’m certainly proud of my music, but I’m not disillusioned about where I am or where I come from or how far it is that I need to go.

    JAS: Is this art for the sake of art, or is it a destination you’re going for?

    TK: I would love to play music for as long as I possibly can and have people still interested in listening to it. I think I personally would enjoy having elements of fame… because that would mean that now music is my job, and that’s what I want to do. I would much rather be on a stage every single day of my life than being at a desk. I can tell you without hesitation, when there are days when I’m not doing or focused on music, it’s not a good day for me. It’s almost like it’s not an option. I really want to be doing music… for my own sanity.


  • Deli Magazine's Artist of the Month!

    Thanks to everyone who voted for The Hangover Brigade to be the SF/Bay Area artist of the month! Read the Congratulatory post on Deli Magazine!

    Lead singer, Tawnee Kendall's, beautiful and commanding voice coats The Hangover Brigade's saucy folk country pop music sensabilities with great ease and medolious style.

    We're so grateful for your support and love, and are honored to be representing Bay Area artists!

    We're saying "thank you" by sharing a preview of Any Way I Can Get It, a track off our up-coming EP. Hope you enjoy it!

    Come celebrate with us at our next show (with Plastic Arts and The Creak!) at Neck of the Woods on November 9th!

  • Great news! We've been recording some new tunes for you! We went into the studio earlier this month to record our sexy song, Any Way I Can Get it. Here's a one minute preview of our up-coming release! Special thanks to our sound engineer, Jacob Winik, over at Tiny Telephone recording studios for giving us a perfect recording of our beloved song.

    The Brigade and "Any Way" was also mentioned in a brilliant write up by Victor Casillas Valle of Deli Magazine about our show last night with Tall Sheep, Vela Eyes, and Ultra Violent Rays at Monarch.

     The Hangover Brigade brings a jam band feel that brings out lead singer, Tawnee Kendall’s power-driven vocal capabilities. Their song, “Any Way I Can Get It”, brings out the talent of the band, and their music is an experience itself that captivates the listener in a trance and doesn’t let go.

    Be sure to catch us at our next gig at Milk Bar in the Haight on September 26th with Cassandra Farrar and Moonlight Orchestra!

    xo - THB

  • One of the funniest parts of singing Exit Strategy is announcing it. "Next up is our latest love song called, Exit Strategy." Everyone always assumes it's about ditching your love, but it's about something much more rewarding. 

    Crowds, especially full of strangers, give me a sense of unease. I'm never sure which way the room will pull. I'd rather be tucked away on my own, or in my present case, with my love. Rooms full of unfamiliar energy beg me to escape them. And from this feeling, Exit Strategy was written.

    The song is about having someone so dear to you that you can rely on them to provide you an exit, not only from a room full of iniebriated irrelevants, but from situations that pain you in life. Past heartache, baggage, and bad impressions are all released from you when you have a true love. New love provides an exit for things that ail you.

    With exits, come new entrances. For The Hangover Brigade, we have a lot of new 'entrances' coming our way. We've been working hard to play more venues, connect with different bands, and create new music.

    I'll be co-hosting a SF Radio show, Shindignation, tomorrow (Tuesday, July 16th) from 8-10am PST. I'll be sharing some of my favorite songs and talking about some of the following topics:

    • Living with a pantsless existance
    • The unbearable cuteness of bunnies
    • The importance of taking innumerable self portraits
    • How The Hangover Brigade is the world's most important band of all time.
    Don't miss it! Tune into RadioValencia.fm tomorrow morning to hear it all.

    In addition, we have a ton of shows booked. We love seeing you at the shows & rocking out with you. Check out our EVENTS tab on our Facebook fanpage and start marking those calendars!

    All our love,

    Tawnee Kendall

    /The Hangover Brigade

  • You may have noticed the string of covers we've been posting lately--favorites include "Queen of the City" by Joshua James, "No Diggity" by Blackstreet, and "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers. We've been filming covers for a couple of reasons:

    • Our summer schedules have been erratic with travel, making it difficult to book shows & practice regularly.
    • We generated a lot of interaction with our fans and followers because the content was familiar. (It was wonderful chatting with you all!)
    • We were testing out how to gain more subscribers and views on YouTube.
    As much as we love singing other band's songs, we love our songs best. We're passionate about our music and, possibly even more so, performing our music live in front of all of you. We live to be on stage and truly cherish the connection and energy shared whenever we're rocking out in front of a crowd of our supporters.
    We mistakenly got called a 'cover band' in an article recently, and while it was momentarily humorous, it was also very telling. We've strayed too long from what is the core of The Hangover Brigade - our original content.
    We're working on writing more original stuff, with a greater goal of recording our first full-length album around end of year. 
    To all of you who know us for our proprietary sound, thank you for loving us for who we really are. We are forever endeared to you.
    To those of you who are finding us through some of our cover material, welcome! We're glad to have you. Now sit back & let us entertain the face right off of you.
    Be sure to connect with us on Facebook, or check out the Calendar tab of our website. We have some great shows on the docket (like our show with Ultra Violent Rays, Vela Eyes, and Tall Sheep at The Monarch on August 22.)
    xo - Tawnee
    and the rest of The Hangover Brigade
  • Well, the spell of writer's block has passed. This is The Hangover Brigade's first new song in a year.

    After having a conversation about needing people whom you can depend on to get you out of situations--be it a conversation at a party, or a bad spot in your life--I wrote this love song called Exit Strategy. It's about wanting to be someone's everything. To be whatever they need, even if it is just an exit strategy.

    Yesterday marks the first bit of press that The Hangover Brigade has had! I was interviewed by Autostraddle in their music segment called "Almost Famous." The article talks about everything from bunnies, to dubstep, to my future autobiography, Two Hats, No Pants.

    Last night we played The Hotel Utah Saloon for the first time ever. We played to a great and rowdy crowd. It was our first time playing with our new bassist, Joe Hickey, and I have to say -- Joe is what the band has been missing. All the songs now have the weight and grit that they deserve. I love this band so much; it's such a riot getting to play for all of you. Thanks for everyone who come out, sing-along, scream, even amicably heckle us. We adore it.

    We played a new cover, too! Alex Clare's dub-step version of "Too Close". Joe Hickey got to kill it on beatbox. Who says an indie folk-rock band can't cross over into electronica? 

    We'll be back at The Hotel Utah on Friday, April 19th for what is going to be a truely fantastic night. We're going to be playing with Blisses B, Dad's LPs and Cassandra Farrar and the Left Brains -- the same group of bands we played with at my CD release party at Cafe du Nord last May. I can't wait to get everyone back together. Get drunk with us on the 19th, so you can cure your hangover with the proper 4-20 techniques.

    Come hang out with us at our next show on February 28th at 50 Mason Social House!

    Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

    xo,

    Tawnee

  • Join us. Download us. Love us.

    The good news is, you can now find The Hangover Brigade on Twitter and YouTube! The other good news is, we're going to start making more videos of our songs, covers you want to hear, and other Brigadeer shenanigans.

    There's only good news here.

    Have you heard our song, "Any Way I Can Get It" yet? It's not so subtly about carnal cravings. I performed this song at Homophonic this past Saturday and the audience went crazy for it. I have to admit, it truly is one of the best feelings to see people physically react to a song. Some were cheering, some were laughing, some looked uncomfortable, some were taking photos and video. It was an all-around fantastic day.

    The song isn't on our EP, In Between Spaces, but Jacob & I recorded a quick (and dirty?) version of it & it's available for FREE DOWNLOAD on Soundcloud! Be sure to get it!

    Keep it sexy, San Francisco. xo, Tawnee

  • We are The Hangover Brigade. And we're happy to know you.

    There's something different about 2013. Maybe it's a reignighted passion -- a determination.

    We've kicked off 2013 in proper fashion: by promoting more, booking more shows, and sprucing up this here website! We already have a few shows in the works at Hotel Utah and 50 Mason Social House (check out the Calendar tab for more information). Also, we're working with one of our favorite comic artists, Beth Dean, to get an awesome gig poster for a show we're planning in April. So exciting!

    We've also gained a new member to our band! Introducing the marvelously talented and wonderful Joe Hickey on Bass and the occasional beat box! We had our first practice of 2013 last night & it was positively perfect. We're learning new covers that are sure to delight you (thanks for giving us your suggestions on Facebook!), as well as writing more & constantly improving your favorites off of our EP, In Between Spaces.

    One of the most sought-after songs, Any Way I Can Get It, isn't on the EP -- but, stay tuned! We're polishing up a great recording of it for you & we'll be releasing it FREE! The best price!

    Last year we were "Tawnee Kendall and The Hangover Brigade". Now, we are The Hangover Brigade, and we're happy to know you.

    -Tawnee

  • Before I left on my year long adventure traveling around the world, I worked with friend and producer Kyle Caprista to come out with my third EP. On October 5th, 2017 "Release The Ghost" will be coming out and here's a 1 minute preview of the first song off that album, called Keep The Rain. 

    Funny story about how this song came to be. Kyle and I were writing this song one dreary, rainy night in SF. We were perched up in my living room, drinking a little too much tequila, and Tyler (my husband) was trying to install a new security camera outside our house by drilling clear through the wall. Kyle asked him, "how will you keep the rain from pouring in?" 

    Something inside me clicked - it sounded so perfectly poetic. I started furiously jotting down the lyrics and singing the hook, "How do we keep the rain from pourin in, pouring in, pouring in?" 

    The song was finished by the end of the night and it's practically been stuck in my head ever since. 

    I hope you enjoy it!