PROTAGONISTA! drops in Berlin
PUNK GLOBE:It's been awhile since we have last talked. Tell us what you have been up to?
Meri St. Mary:Well, my new electronic EP PROTAGONISTA! Took me to Berlin and back... Twas a busy and amazing collaborative experience recording w/ Th' Mole (a local trip hop DJ/producer) massively talented and intuitive to work with, also the photographer Douglas Hooper was generous of spirit as well with his light writing and aura pics (famous in Burning Man world) ....I publish regularly in WTF... (poetry) and busy at the station.... Oh yeah, and so I guess in short I would say: been busy with labors of love! I don't have funding per se for my art projects and I don't have management or booking, so finding people who believe in me or my dreams is always a challenge and an experience....I also have to survive, you know, like everyone.... On a good day it's creative, on a bad day it sucks... BUT the harder I work the luckier I get!
"On a good day it's creative, on a bad day it sucks..."
PUNK GLOBE:Tell us about your radio shows on KVMR?
Meri St. Mary:The Underground Sound is my counter culture outsider artists punk spoken word interview show and Hallelujah Hollaback is my old timey Gospel show of inspirational music .... Go to KVMR.ORG lookup my podcasts or my website: www.meristmary.com for the link to interviews: Top 5: Keith Levene, Kira Roessler, Kathy Peck, Museum Of Death, Val Denham and loads more!!!
PROTAGONISTA! drops in Berlin
PUNK GLOBE:How long have you been at the station?
Meri St. Mary:I celebrate nine years on the air this year!
PUNK GLOBE:Tell the readers about the awards you have won for your work at KVMR?
Meri St. Mary:In 2007 I won the Rookie of the Year award and then 2011 I won The Night Owl for excellence in broadcasting. Both an honor and somewhat of a surprise, a very nice surprise to be recognized by your peers......
PUNK GLOBE:Your popular show The Underground Sound has been going strong for quite a few years. Tell us the secret to it's popularity?
Meri St. Mary:Yeah, I'm never sure about being "popular" but I think it's effective and the bottom line is I created it and stuck with it....It's a format for me to promote other artists I love, respect, dig, etc: I play what I love and always feel like a kid trapped in a room somewhere back in time when music was my only escape from oppression, maybe that resonates thru the airwaves (radio is often very solitary) also a big joy for me is recruiting and mentoring young kids in this community. Hard to believe but some of the same issues that we went through still exist and I'm into giving talented folks a start, also, I felt like why are you kids going to the bar, getting hammered, fuck that, come do radio with me. I'm very strict about no booze and FCC regulations and working the board, respect for equipment and yes having musical taste is imperative: yer not coming on my show to play dreck. There is so much obscure unheard of amazingness out there: Sometimes I would bring 30 kids in and maybe 1 would get certified but by this time I can say programming in the 10pm to midnight slots are really interesting diverse and 7/8 artists that got their start on my show have shows (some got awards too) !
Pre show Berlin
PUNK GLOBE:You also have a gospel show called Hallelujah Hollarback. How did that come about?
Meri St. Mary:A time slot came up the first Sunday of the month at noon and KVMR wanted a gospel show......I had to step up, it was personal for me. So it worked.. Also my biggest numbers as far as listeners (online & terrestrial cuz of time slot) well, I had an affinity for gospel music from way back when it was mandatory I went to Glide in SF for nefarious reasons, anyway, I couldn't go for the bible thumping but the music just brought me to tears, here I was this little white girl with funky hair clothes, no one judged me....it became my quest to find the best Gospel music so I went to the churches in Hunter's Point, Bernal Heights, The Mission....There was a nice lady who picked me up called me Sister Meri, her son had been a rapper and he was gunned down, she was so loving to me and drove me to hear the music, then brought me to houses where everyone congregated and ate food afterwards....I dunno, but that to me seems to be a damn good thang, so when I say we're gonna have a little church up in here that means Gospel music, to me.. Many amazing artists started in the Gospel, so my focus is the black scene from whence it was born in me: the WOMEN who toured in those days, and all that. When I met Wanda Jackson she told me she had a gospel record, I'd be interested in that, I asked her about touring as a woman back in the 50's, she had some stories but also had her daddy (as she said) then her husband who went on the road with her as manager/protector, etc.
PUNK GLOBE:Tell the readers the origin of the name Hallelujah Hollerback? Oh dear lawd Ginger, you know where that came from! OK, shall I tell it? I had just moved to the country a decade ago, I was rebuilding my life and we talked alot on the phone and watched TV "together" which made it fun (we should start a running commentary TV show on TV shows) anyway, as obsessions come and go so quickly we were hooked on some rapper wanna be show that had YO YO as a judge (female rapper I luv that Ice Cube produced back in the day) and why did we fixate on that kid from Davis, sheesh what a douche, a suburban white kid doing this ...Whatever, anyway, all I can remember was he said Hallelujah Hollaback over and over for anything/everything......So there it is, BTW the music programmer at KVMR could never get that name right, he always wrote the show's name as "from holler to hallelujah". Was that guy named John Brown?
Berlin for PROTAGONISTA!
PUNK GLOBE:The radio station recently moved into a new building in Nevada City. Tell us about that?
Meri St. Mary:Yes, that has been years in the making and is an amazing space... I mean for a small town our station is posh, really swank and that's been hard for some folks who started out 38 years ago in a shack on a mountain, but growth and change is always a challenge. We went completely digital boards & I was 3 years working with this system (BTW I was the first female to broadcast out of studio B on the digital board in old station) we still have turntables (MUST) and CD players and our library is extensive: the push for all digital all the time is a preposterous idea. Analogue, vinyl, etc. having a comeback? Excuse me it never went away! But I digress...the building was an enormous amount of fundraising
PUNK GLOBE:We all know you had success as an author tell us about that?
Meri St. Mary:Well my book YOU TORE US is out of print, I'm lucky I have one...I went to town promoting that book and did a lot of readings: from squats, to salons, to book stores, etc. I feel strongly about the work and the words, the poetry scene is thriving and there is inspiration abounding, so yeah, that was a good one....I love the cover art on that one: I used a sonogram of my uterus for the back ground and Maggie Ehrig artwork ...I was pissed off that some Republican decided the "uterus" was a bad word, filthy, offensive...I thought, how can that be? We all come from one, then I had surgery to remove my uterus that had fibroids, it was traumatic: So I used my disability in my art and it is my subversive wish that at some point some Republican holds my book in their hands and loves it......
Cover story PROTAGONISTA!
PUNK GLOBE:Any plans on a second book? yes, actually it's written, I finished it awhile ago & it is prose...a series of short stories that intertwine....I don't wanna give too much away, but I have been working with a small publisher in hopes of starting my own publishing company for this first release....it's an adventure or misadventures, if you will.....anyway, knock wood that we get this out in 2015....
PUNK GLOBE:Tell us about your shows in Germany?
Meri St. Mary:Berlin was simply vunderbah and I took a big risk going all that way to perform in a format that was completely new to me....Using a machine with all the backing tracks (which are extensive), it worked! Yes! That city is magic pure and simply I cannot wait to go back and am pondering perhaps a year in residence there. I stayed with Berliners who are female journalists and they were so nice to me as well as intellectuals, I felt respected as an artist and love the European vibe. It's so do able and diverse....it feels like a dream right now and it really was: I'm hooked on Berlin! Love it!
PUNK GLOBE:How is the music scene in Nevada City?
Meri St. Mary:There is tons of music happening in Nevada City, I mean all the time.I'm selective about it, but damn, it's cool.....Had a brilliant record release at The Curly Wolf, and I mean that to say most of the packed little joint were musicians/artists. Also alot of people come play here, I mean it's beautiful.... Also the music festivals are huge: Celtic, World, Bluegrass.......KVMR is in all that as well.....PROTAGONISTA! is the first time I collaborated with 100% local artists in every aspect: powerful juju going on! Really proud of this work!
PUNK GLOBE:You will be playing in Los Angeles in early August. Tell us about that?
Meri St. Mary:I'm so excited to be playing at the Digital Gold opening at MODA Hollywood gallery on Sunset/LaBrea.....I can't wait to play the space and be a part of first digital gold art as concept and viable art as well as my digital one woman show Protaganista! And old friends I love I will see....Please be my date! Adrianna is coming from Nevada City! Holy Shit...there is no excuse for people in LA not to be there!
"I can't wait to play the space and be a part of first digital gold art"
Me by Eric Rad old HP flyer
PUNK GLOBE:Who else is on the bill playing?
Meri St. Mary:The art opening is at 9PM and the music starts at 11PM with yours truly, then Carmela (electronic luxe cemetary pop) and otheryoung musicians!
PUNK GLOBE:Give us all the details about your show at Moda? Location, time, cover and any added information we need to know?
Meri St. Mary:Paul Picasso Hollywood Presents Digital Gold at MODA 7190 Sunset Blvd August 1st 9pm (there is a $1,000 prize?) Fuck I wanna WIN! Oh and it is free!
On film set Nevada City
PUNK GLOBE:You recently went to see the fabulous and ever so talented Storm Large. Tell us about the show?
Meri St. Mary:It was Killer, I hadn't seen her since the 90's at Bottom of the Hill (in person) Wow she is so fierce, talented, raunchy but kept it clean but real : she was sweet and fun too, it's official I luv her! She said "I haven't seen you in 5,000 years how are you?" ..... The crowd was upscale lots of oldies and some young uns...... When I went to the loo I overheard some local girls saying "ooohhhh I wanna be just like her" ... Not a bad idea, ladies! Get going!
PUNK GLOBE:Any last words for Punk Globe readers?
Meri St. Mary:BE YOURSELF! IT IS THE BRAVEST THING YOU CAN DO...Oh and don't trip on the things that brought you down, focus on the way you got up! Luv you GInger and thanks Punk Globe!
Photo shoot Nevada City