Kitten With a Whip / Blog

We're on CD Baby and iTunes!

We finally got our music available to purchase online at CD Baby and iTunes! “The Strength” is KWW’s first CD, featuring the excellent musicianship of guitarist and fellow songwriter Mark Cover, hard-hitting bassist Jason Ballard and dynamic drummer Rick Favale, all carving out solid grooves and catchy licks to the tunes I had written. This will always be a joyous milestone for us during the late 90’s San Diego alternative scene.

Music has been one of the best ways to help me cope. During rough and challenging times, I can count on playing with my band pals to pick me up and refresh myself for a new day. In fact, after gigs I feel so energized that I can’t sleep till two or three in the morning and really just catch a “catnap” before getting up the next morning feeling so alive.

It’s so great to have this recording of our songs. Some were written after a breakup to pick myself up and to share a newfound determination of inner strength no matter what happens. It was a time for contemplation and a time to get rid of obsessive demons that sap at one’s heart during times of sadness. The joy of playing songs like “I Believe in Me,” “JuJu” and even “Petty Things” can bring a catharsis above deluded feelings of abandonment and unworthiness. Most of my musings reflect and share a hope and a determination that things will get better.

I hope you will enjoy these recordings. Now with new comrades, we look forward to creating even more. Our goal would be to take proceeds from the sales and finish our next CD, which promises to be another exciting adventure into fun, groovin’ and contemplative music. - Audrey (P.S. We look forward to playing Art Around Adams and the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon this weekend!)

Swan Song for Portugalia

Portugalia, a Portuguese restaurant and venue in Ocean Beach, California is closing its doors after eight years. Soon Portugalia will be no more. One of the great things about this musical haven is the Wednesday night showcase for female-led bands and acts, Portugalia Wednesdays. Watching these singer/songwriters, my eyes are opened to a myriad of talent of so many different styles from acoustic, experimental, rock, groove, blues, country and even Tibetan bells. As these special chanteuses perform on stage, their songs are so good that it doesn’t matter what style it is, it makes me feel happy and feel at home. What else makes Portugalia feel like home? Promoter (and amazing performer) Tori Roze’s hugs, her hardy, Santa Claus laughs and her voluminous compliments about our set. The easy going atmosphere of an OB crowd of true music lovers and the singing sisterhood. The dark, old-living-room feel with murals of Portugal adorning the walls. Chains of Christmas-like lights strewn around the stage. Odd videos of Betty Boop and Bjork playing behind us as we perform. The scent of Portuguese pizza, beef skewers, cheesy garlic balls, beer and wine filling the air. I feel comfortable here because I can be myself. Whether it’s with Laura’s open mic or a booked gig, anyone who plays here can truly express themselves. Thanks, also, to Ben, who’s so wonderfully vigilant on the sound. I’d like to thank the chef/owner Jason Nascimento for creating such an open, unique and loving atmosphere for musicians’ talent to blossom. I hope you don’t shut down. Give it another chance and keep it going… We have the honor to be on Portugalia’s stage for the last time this Wednesday, May 18th. Portugalia will be closing its doors on June 1st. I hope you can stop by and see us, experience this one of kind venue and discover the secret of some of San Diego’s finest talent. Portugalia, 4839 Newport Avenue, (619) 370-5735 – Show starts at 8:30pm. Also featuring: Sydney Cohen, The Lovebirds, Francesca Valle, Katie Leigh and the Infantry. btw - Our current videos are shot here. -- Audrey

Kitten With a Whip Memories 1

HOW WE GOT OUR NAME: Co-founder and original guitarist Mark Cover asked his children’s book editor friends what would be a good name for our band? (Since we didn’t have a name at our first gig at Tio Leo’s, it seemed like time to get one.) After mulling over some children’s book titles, they came up with an Ann Margret movie title “Kitten With a Whip.” Not your usual happy-go-lucky movie for the star, “Kitten With a Whip” is a kind of dark, black and white film about a female juvenile delinquent (Margret) who blackmails a politician. Well, who said we were a candy apple band anyway? While some think our name is cute, others might say, “Ooh, la, la…” Really it could mean different things to anyone. (Let’s be clear, I do bring a whip to gigs, but rarely use it. It’s available by request…just kidding.) Some band members might say I’d use that whip metaphorically because I could be a stern taskmaster when it comes to the band’s originals. Usually we’re pretty democratic, but sometimes I know what I want. Kitten With a Whip. The best way I feel like a Kitten With a Whip is jamming along side the awesome musicians in my band. FUN FACTS: Guitarist Mark, a natural blond, decided to keep his bald look after dressing up as Gandhi for Halloween. He and I dated for about a year, and then two months after we broke up, we founded the band in May 1995. We got along famously and were really in sync with the tunes. Who would think that from a breakup of a serious relationship would emerge this simpatico union of creating music together? I wish all breakups could be as fruitful and harmonious as this. GOING TO THE TIKI IN A LIMO: Back when I was working as a part-time copy editor/writer for "The Filipino Press" and playing in the band, my car broke down. Luckily, my apartment manager, who was a disenchanted ex-lawyer turned folk musician, loaned me his outdated white limo to get around. I actually drove the thing! While it was a shock to the employees of "The Filipino Press" to show up in luxury at the National City office (which was actually a house) and an anomaly to drive to K-Mart in a limo to buy Christmas gifts (I wasn’t rich…), it was even more cool for our drummer Rick to drive us in style to perform at the Tiki House in P.B.--which isn’t much bigger than the limo-- and take up a nice chunk of their back parking space. It was like being in the big time. We are sending prayers and well wishes to the people of Japan. Take care, Audrey (3-15-2011)

Songwriting and Nature

A good friend once asked me how I write songs. Usually I strum on my guitar, sing whatever melody comes to my head with some nonsense words and record it. Back then, my boombox was my trusty friend in chronicling the development of my songs. As I improvised ideas, I always could rewind the tape and hear what I liked or didn’t like. Then I could take the verse and chorus and start writing words to it. Once in a while I come up with lyrics first, and through some mysterious serendipity, I come up with a tune several months later that seems to match up with the words. How this happens is anyone’s guess. A few months back, impressed by the Crash King’s song “Mountain Man,” I looked up their official website. There’s a quote from the lead vocalist/keyboardist Tony Beliveau on how to write songs that seemed kind of different. From www.crashkingsmusic.com: “When asked about how they (Crash Kings) write songs, it’s not surprising to find out most of their tunes start from keyboardist/lead vocalist Tony Beliveau. But for rock that can be at times quite intense, it is a surprise to find out where he starts. 'I visualize a place where I feel complete peace – usually a place of natural beauty, immersed in nature. Songs like “Mountain Man” and “Come Away” came out of me being out in nature. Most of the songs start with a chorus. When I find a strong chorus, I start building the song, writing verses and eventually a ‘middle eight’ comes. Then Mike, Jason and I work out the arrangement. It’s really important for us to make every verse, every bridge, every part of every song as important as its chorus.'” (Tony Beliveau) I remember one personal song inspired by nature. I finished writing “Paris Skies” after walking at the Carlsbad beach after a wonderful dinner at a seaside restaurant. I think the ocean walk helped me capture that blissful feeling of being in love. Although this song will be on our next CD, you can still catch us performing it at our shows. Our next one is at Portugalia on March 16th. The lineups for Portugalia’s Wednesdays seem almost magical with a mesmerizing variety of musical styles from female-led bands and artists. I hope you can catch us there on one of those Wednesdays. -- Audrey