Warrior Woman Workout Playlist

Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated for your workout. Especially if you feel bad about your body or you’re in boring surroundings. I have a cure for you: The Warrior Woman Workout Playlist.

I’m warning you, this music is extremely high-energy and you will probably notice a difference in your body right away as you listen. Rather than drag your body unwillingly and lethargically through your 30 minute workout, why not glide like a gazelle or command your space like a warrior (or warrior princess).

This playlist will help set the tone for just that type of workout. I was on the treadmill at 3.0-5.0 miles for about 42 minutes with these tunes and I had a rockin’ good time. The majority of the time I was jogging, I only used the fast walk for warm up and cool down. All links go to iTunes.

Propellerheads Decksanddrumsandrockandroll I started off with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (feat. Propellerheads) – Shaken and Stirred – The David Arnold James Bond Project This really set the tone for feelin’ a little James Bond meets Samantha Stevens. I was ready to raise the roof after this one. The song is 9:20 so it’s almost ten minutes of total starpower. Here are the songs that followed. I was in the zone!

Demons by Fatboy Slim

In Britain – Punk and Disorderly (Deluxe Edition)

Bodhisattva Vow by Beastie Boys

You’ll Never Change Me by Chron Gen

Drop That Thing by Groove Armada

Teenage Kicks by The Undertones

Annalisa by Public Image Ltd.

Cool down song:
Believe it or not, Playpen by Social Distortion. This band is kinda “slow/fast” I imagined one of the slow mosh pits I used to see develop at their live shows.

As a side note, many of the samples that iTunes chooses for these songs is the set-up leading to the intensely fast part, don’t let that fool you.

Stay Positive by The Hold Steady on DJ GAL-VanIZed Jukebox

I learned a lot about people, life, power and music by being involved in the punk rock scene throughout the 80’s. The scene was relatively small compared to everything else that was going on in mainstream metropolis so you would usually see the same people over and over again at shows and it was pretty common to hang out with the people on stage after the show. The musicians and the fans had very little separation or distinction.

I have first hand experience seeing everyday blokes get high in the garage in the daytime and stand on stage in the night time. Some of them painted houses by day and played for admiring fans at night. They usually didn’t get much sleep or even have a place to sleep and food was somewhat of a luxury. I admired their determination and was entertained by their music but I didn’t really idolize them as people because I knew they were the same dudes who were dope sick in the morning and threw their smelly socks on the floor.

Stay Positive

Musicians are just people who are really creative and determined and many of them are humble enough to know that. They want to make a mark on their listeners and they want to be a spark of light for the youth. Now that the youth of the 80’s are old enough to have kids and grandkids, some long-time musicians are aware of their influence and their staying power and the ability to use music to teach and preach.

Stay Positive by Hold Steady is about that aspect of music and musicians, the undying and uniting force of music and music culture that gets passed on from generation to generation.

Read Lyrics to Stay Positive by The Hold Steady

I’ve got a lot of old friends that’re getting back in touch
and it’s a pretty good feeling yea it feels pretty good
I get a lot of double takes when I’m coming around the corners
and its mostly pretty nice its mostly pretty alright
’cause most kids give me credit for being down with it
when it was back in the day
back when things were way different
when the Youth of Today and the early Seven Seconds
taught me some of life’s most valuable lessons

There’s gonna come a time when the scene’ll seem less sunny
it’ll probably get druggy and the kids’ll seem too skinny
there’s gonna come a time when she’s gonna have to go
with whoever’s gonna get her the highest
there’s gonna come a time when the true scene leaders
forget where they differ and get ‘big picture’

cause the kids at their shows, they’ll have kids of their own
the sing-a-long songs’ll be our scriptures

We gotta stay positive
We gotta stay positive
We gotta stay positive
We gotta stay positive

Musical Interlude

When the chaperone crowned us the king and the queen
I knew that we’d arrived at a unified scene
and all those little lambs from my dreams
well they were there too

’cause its one thing to start it with a positive jam
and its another thing to see it all through

and we couldn’t of even done this if it wasn’t for you
We gotta stay positive
We gotta stay positive
We gotta stay positive


An iPod allows you to fit 1,000’s of songs in your pocket; whereas a Jukebox stays in one place and your selections are limited. What would you do if you only got to choose 52 songs to put on your iPod? What would the list include?

Jukebox Mary

Consequences of a Music-Less Life

I’m still curious and confused about the seeming lack of availability and interest in new, emerging, underground music. Maybe I’m a rare case. Maybe music means more to me than most but here’s my story of how a lack of music almost killed me.

In the 80’s I was a teen and a punk rocker. I was basically on my own after the age of 16 so I went to every gig I could, some times going to live shows 2-3 times in one week. Little did I know, this constant barrage of punk and alternative music was shaping my opinions, passions and politics on a deep level. Punk rock actually gave me wings. I admired the dedication and bravery of the musicians I went to see. I realized that I wasn’t the only one who noticed that some things are not right in the world.

I don’t have to tell you, no one wanted to hear what the punkers had to say in the 80’s. Most of the shows I went to had less than 100 people in attendance. When things got too big or too crazy, the cops were always there to break it up and take people off to jail. In some cases the riot squad greeted you as you entered the concert hall, just to let you know who’s in charge. Now, here we are, 25-30 years later seeing the teens of today listening to the music of the 80’s as if its something new and revolutionary.

May I interject here that the punk artists kids are listening to today aren’t just entertainers, some aren’t even technically musicians. Many punkers had no idea how to play their instruments when they first started. Many of them created hand-made fliers and had them photocopied free of charge on someone else’s photocopy machine. Most punks didn’t have contracts or agents. It was sheer grit, determination and persistence that kept the bands that you know about today alive. There are many, many other punk bands, some just as good or better than the ones you know about. The main difference is that some gave up and some didn’t. Punk legends like Mike Ness of Social Distortion exist solely due to determination.

Heres my beef: if the kids of today are listening to the music of 20 years ago, where are they getting the lesson of sheer grit, determination and persistence? Who is going to carry the torch and speak about today’s issues, most of which are the same as the issues of the 80’s, only worse. Why are the youth of today listening to anti-Reagan songs and not anti-Bush songs?

But I digress. I still haven’t explained how lack of music almost killed me. You see, when I was about 18 it was clear that my drug addiction was serious and I needed to do something about it. By the age of 21, I had been in several recovery programs and was beginning a process of wanting to change my life. For me, that meant I had to stay away from the old people and the old places. Gradually I began to slip away from my punk past and tried to be more “socially acceptable.”

The compelling need to “fit in” accelerated drastically when I entered college and eventually University. I found myself completely forgetting all about punk rock and gradually went to fewer and fewer live shows and even stopped listening to most of my records and tapes. I was proud of myself for a while, maybe too proud. I was reaching my goals and moving up in the world. I got a degree, then another degree, then another. In the process, I completely disconnected with my punk past.

I tried to fit in, get the jobs and connections I wanted. I was not connected with punk in anyway. I never had the opportunity to talk to anyone about seeing GBH at the Olympic Auditorium two times in one week or seeing the Ramones every year at the Paladium. I couldn’t listen to punk rock on the job and frankly, I found punk rock to be distracting to me and my goals.

Eventually music even began to annoy me. I was mad at the neighbors when they played it too loud. I saw myself turning into the cranky old drag that I encountered in most adults I met. I began running on auto-pilot. I listened to rap and hip-hop, maybe just because it was there and everyone else was listening. I was becoming noticeably depressed. I was training to be a therapist and sitting in meetings talking about “clients” who have “problems”. All the clients and problems were familiar to me, a part of my past.

I believed that each client I saw had potential to overcome whatever they wanted. I believed they could be whoever they wanted to be. Yet none of the ‘professionals’ agreed. I was shunned, not taken seriously and basically told “you’re just an intern, what do you know?”

On the one hand I was offended by the callous and careless way professionals talked about the people we were supposed to be helping but often I kept my mouth shut. When I did open my mouth, there was always a consequence. I was dismissed from more than one position for having an opinion. I tried to keep my mouth shut. I became more and more depressed. I chastised myself and thought to myself “why cant you just be like everyone else? Why can’t you just fit in and shut up?”

So, there I was, training to be a therapist and for the first time in my life, I found it completely necessary to take anti-depressants. I literally felt like I was going crazy and that was especially disturbing in light of the fact that I was supposed to be helping people!

Ironically, it was when I was “cleansing” my negative past that I found my soul mate and reconnected with music in a new and positive way. My husband, former owner of Zed Records in Long Beach was in the store when I brought in a stack of vinyl to sell. In the process of sorting, scanning and observing my records for their suitable re-sale potential, I sparked up a conversation with the man who would become my husband within about a year. He liked hockey, I liked hockey. He liked punk, I liked punk. We enjoyed each others company. But it would be almost 10 years before I began to realize the significance of our match and the importance of music in drawing us together.

In 1998 I experienced small reminders and nudges of who I was and who I could be but I wrote most of them off as the “idealistic, unrealistic, drug-induced fantasies” of the past. I would hear the nudging call to action in songs by Black Eyed Peas and A Tribe Called Quest but I mostly hid my love of hip-hop because fears like “what will people think, I should grow out of this, I’m just some old person trying to be cool.” Hip Hop and Punk were like guilty indulgences I hid from the ‘professional’ people in my life.

Once I got an iPod, things really began to change. Once I was able to easily carry the soundtrack of my life in my purse, able to listen to the Buzzcocks followed by Snoop Dogg and chased by Social Distortion anytime, anywhere; I began to transform. My dreams re-awakened. Lyrics of power, being yourself and letting go of concern for what others think lifted my soul.

I began to tell people, “I used to be a punk rocker.” I described my spiky blue hair and my shaved head. Some people laughed, some people said “cool”, others were entirely speechless, still others said “no way” as they stood there with their eyes bugged out.

The familiar lyrics and sounds of the underground began to stir something within my soul. I began to remember who I really was. I stopped caring about what everyone thought. I started to think about what I want for my life rather than what society wants for my life. I began to realize the traps I build around myself and how the mainstream society reinforced the validity and ‘rightness’ of those traps. Sometimes I was pissed off. Other times I was shocked. Sometimes I was sad but mostly I was determined. I was determined to revive the 16-year-old punker in me. I was determined to take her out of the closet and say look world, here I am so $*& you!

I could go on and on but mainly I have a deep, nagging fear and this is why I’m writing this long post. If the youth of today have no role models to show them how to be independent, to start their own businesses, to live free of corporate oppression, what on earth does the future hold in store for us? Will it be a rehash and reinforcement of the same old, same old? Will George Orwell’s 1984 be a reality?

Remember, most of the popular anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications on the market didn’t even exist in the 1980’s and now they are being passed out like candy to many people as a cure-all for the ‘problem of depression’. Rates of depression increase in society and pharmecuetical companies become more powerful. What if the depression is from oppression? If so, all the pills in the world aren’t gonna help.

Listening to music that’s 10, 20 or 30 years old makes about as much sense as reading newspaper articles from 30 years ago and claiming that you are informed and educated. The time is now, with the advent of instant information for all of us to step out of our boxes a bit and look at what’s new while continuing to enjoy what’s old. I think we need to listen to the message under the message.

Punk is more than just a bunch of rebellious, belligerent youth with a lack of classical music training. Punk is a movement and a statement about deciding to be who YOU are not what society determines you should be. Right this moment new music is being created by new people. Some of them will be huge one day, others will fade away but if you’re sitting at home listening to the same stuff your parents listened to, you’re missing out on the real-time experience of history in the making.

(Me and the Black Eyed Peas in 1998. They played at a record store inside Universal Studio Walk, about 30 people were there to see them….if that. Truthfully, most people were there to see Kobe, a well-known soccer player, BEP just happened to be the “opening act.” If you were paying attention to alternative radio (KCRW.com/Chocolate City) you could have been there. I will tell you this: NOBODY except me asked for their autograph and to take a picture with them. I have the Behind the Front album signed by the entire band.)

I’m so grateful that I had all the experiences I had in life and Im grateful for the opportunity to experience first-hand how plain, ordinary (and sometimes downright untalented) people say “I don’t care” and go for it anyway. And guess what, it ends up that it doesn’t matter if someone is good or not. As long as you are clear about who you are and don’t give up, you will make it. That’s the message under the message. Do you hear it?

(This article was originally written in 2006)

White House Concert Showcases Diverse Musical Talent

First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a workshop and concert with classical musicians, young and old, as part of the White House Music Series on November 4, 2009.

The audience consisted of what First Lady Michelle Obama referred to as “classical music superstars of tomorrow” in her opening speech. She spoke about how “The White House is the people’s house. It’s a place that’s steeped in history but also a place where we like to start new traditions and to bring people together in different ways because nothing mixes old and new quite like classical music.”

She commended the musicians on their dedication to achieve musical excellence and said, “It’s through that struggle that you find what you truly have to offer to your instrument or to anything in life”.

“You’ll learn that if you believe in yourself and put in your best effort, that there’s nothing that you can’t achieve. And those aren’t just lessons about music. These are really lessons about life” she said.

The concert featured Sharon Isbin on guitar, Awadagin Pratt on piano, Alisa Weilerstein on cello and Joshua Bell on violin. These musicians are considered the best in the world and have been playing their instruments since childhood.

This hour-long concert featured an eclectic mix of musicians and music lovers. The attendees were young and old, male and femail and ranged a wide spectrum of ethnic diversity yet they were united by a common love: music.

Each of the musicians is clearly passionate about and connected to their music and their enthusiasm shines through during their performances. You simply don’t want to miss Alisa Weilerstein on cello at 40:55. She truly embodies what it means to be in the moment of creativity.

Toastmasters Theme: Your Favorite Music for Holiday Cheer

I was recently the Toastmaster of the day at Agape Toastmasters and it was only a few days before most major December holidays. Since I’m such a music freak, I chose the topic “Your Favorite Music for Holiday Cheer”.

I created a playlist for the meeting on my iPod and brought my speaker doc to the meeting. At various points throughout the meeting I would play a snippet of music that was holiday oriented and coincided with something else going on in the meeting.

Our Table Topics master, Rhonda Fields was great about integrating music into her table topics of the day which included:

1. “Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light. From now on our troubles will be out of sight…” What would it be like to have your heart be light this Holiday season? What creates that lightness for you? Are there any troubles that you would put out of sight?

2. When you were a child do you remember your senses reacting to the holidays? Please share with us any smells, sounds, songs, images that you remember and how you felt about them?

3. What can you tell us about Rudolph the Reindeer’s background, his relationships, that glow thing going on with his nose – and anything else you know that might give us the true story about him…

4. If heaven and nature were to sing – as they do in the lyrics of the song “Joy to the World”– what would that look like, feel like, sound like to you…

5. If you were the God-parent to a 5 year old child who had not been around music much, what holiday song might you teach them to sing with you and why? What would that be like for you?

6. The first time you heard the lyrics to “Jingle Bells” – where might you have been? What was your world like at the time? How did you feel about that song, or any holiday song – and what was it like to be you back then?

7. If you were to pick a subject for a new holiday song that might open your heart, what would it be about? Tell us more about that song – the lyrics, the sound, the feeling…

8. If you could create the sounds, smells, images of a holiday afternoon that personally brought you joy, no matter what the rest of the world was doing – what might that be like? Please tell us about it…

9. If you could have a well-known singer, or any other person, (dead or alive) sing a holiday song to you, who would that be? What song would you choose? What locale would you choose and what would that experience be like for you?

10. In the lyrics from “The Christmas Song”, we are told: “Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe help to make the season bright. Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow will find it hard to sleep tonight.”

What might make the season bright for you? What makes your eyes all aglow? Has there ever been a holiday season that was brighter or more “all aglow” for you – and why?

I’d like to use music again next time I lead table topics. I was thinking I could play a snippet of music and speak some lyrics to get the topic started then let the unsuspecting Toastmaster get creative and add her/his own twist to finish it off. Have you tried using music in your table topics or speeches? If so, let us know about it.

the automatic music explosion

Max - Drummer from The Automatic Music ExplosionThis face demonstrates the excitement and carefree spirit of the automatic music explosion. I was working the guest list at last night’s Derby Doll bout so I met the drummer, Max earlier in the night. He and his wife were so kind and patient. Eventually, I suited him and his entire band/guest list with purple arm bands so they could use the “staff” bathroom behind the stage.

These guys travel in a pack and even have their own dancers who danced in the front of the group and later passed out buttons, stickers and tiny fliers listing upcoming gigs. Their flier also says: “We want to play at your high school.” I would highly recommend that you hire this band if you need someone for a high school event. They are high energy and seem to pull on the best aspects of rock and roll from the 70’s to current.

I think this is a band parents and kids alike can enjoy. In fact, I just realized, they have a Ramones feel. Look at how many parents and kids love The Ramones equally today. But there is something about seeing bands like this when they are young, fresh and full of vinegar that is unparalleled. I saw The Ramones in the 80’s and 90’s which is quite different from what you’d see if they were all alive and together today.

the automatic music explosion at the Doll Factory in Los AngelesGreat as they are, these pictures can’t even begin to convey the excitement this musical group extracted from the crowd. The audience for this band was by far the largest, most energetic and enthusiastic I’ve ever seen at an LA Derby Doll bout. The group commanded attention and the intesity eminating from the stage captivated the audience. The singer, Jodie thrusted large, poster-sized signs above her head and engaged the crowd in activities such as bobbing ballons to each other overhead and screaming the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 and the words, “fight, fight, fight” at the top of our lungs.

The show ended with the singer smashing her tamborine on the concrete floor. Anita Kill leaned over and yelled in my ear, “at least its cheaper than destroying a guitar.” “Yeah”, I screamed back. I was dancing the entire time. Laura Palm-her, who is evidently a friend of the band (and who I owe a kiss and a hug for hooking them up) was dancing on her skates with the singer. Several other Tough Cookies joined in the festivities.

Here’s a video of The Automatic Music Explosion at the Kiss or Kill show at Safari Sam’s in Hollywood.

Here are some of their song titles:
Law of Attraction
Roller Derby
A Girl Like U