rockstar in training: who’s the shit?

February 18, 2011

A new month is about to start and I am kinda thinking about shows for next 90 days. I actually need to sit on booking new shows for a minute because I’ve got a lot going on. Stuff like writing new material, finding a band and getting new promotional pictures done takes precedence over performing.  Wah, wah. Sad trombone.


Rockstar In Training:  Who’s The Shit?

The Chronicles of an Artist Who’s on a Quest for Rockstar Status

Words Pam Newman

Check out Pam’s last hot topic post, Nice to Meetcha


Pam on stage in training


I’ve been talking to a local photographer, Kate Eldridge. She has creative vision that is pretty much The Shit and exactly what I want to do for my image. Kate has some awesome ideas and it seems like she’s digging on my ideas too. I really think she’s going to create photographs that represent who I am personally right now as well as the image I plan on embodying post-transformation. I have some pretty cool pictures already, but Kate is going to use some Photoshop shit to make some really beautiful portraits.

I also think it’s neat that Kate has a professional connection to a photographer who took Janelle Monae’s pictures before she got crazy-big.



Check out this track from Pam’s former band, The Revenge of Ricky Williams


Kate and I are going to do headshots in about week or so and when it gets warmer outside, we’re going to do a whole big photo shoot. That gives us time to plan out hair, makeup, locations, specific shots, wardrobe and the whole nine yards.

Until that stuff is at least in-progress, I’d like to not play a whole bunch of shows. Why? It’s all about branding and marketing. Every show I play which isn’t properly branded behind the image I want to convey is going to confuse people. My plan is to ultimately be playing out with a band, too. I also don’t have any sort of recordings to give away/sell that aren’t of me with an old band yet, either.


I do really love playing out live, though! It’s my favorite part of the entire creative process, followed closely behind crafting lyrics.

With the full bands I’ve played out with, I never got nervous. Once there’s a drum kit, I embody an unstoppable force. On some level, even if it’s a huge crowd, or we’re going to play a new song, I always know that I’m The Shit. Not in some ugly Kanye West publicity stunt, “I’m The Fucking Shit and I smell just like roses,” kinda way. Just in a, “I know I’m really fucking good at this, and I’m going to win over any naysayers in 45 minutes or less,” kinda way.

Once I bought myself a wireless mic system, it was game over, man! I could run into the crowd! I could get behind the drummer! I could crowd-surf if I wanted to (I haven’t… yet).

I have a ton of confidence invested in my skills in crowd-pumping and running around like a sweaty rock-beast from the depths of Rockville.

Knowing how much of The Shit you are is extremely crucial in any performance art. You create the show, and the audience is hand-held through your creation. People pay to see a show, and I believe strongly that they should get just that. When you, the performer, are sold on your show any decent audience is also sold on your show automatically.

I’ve been playing out by myself since late summer of last year. It’s so weird. I’ve never had to actually play the guitar for my own music anywhere but open mics in the past. Playing an open mic was just a fun thing to do, and a way for me to test out new songs I’d written. The guitar wasn’t my favorite thing to do at first, either. So initially, I was really nervous playing out. It felt like I was being obscured by the guitar.

Feeling limited made me suck away some of my natural, “I’m The Shit,”-ness. I couldn’t high five people mid-song or really benefit from having a wireless mic system.

I’ve played out a bunch lately and hosted a few open mics. My confidence has since skyrocketed. People had fun. People were interested in what I would sound like sans-band, and OMG! Listener feedback says the newer songs I’ve written are The Shit!

All that Shit aside, I am still not completely thrilled about my performances at present. This is because I want a full band’s sound. Nothing makes people jump up and down like a great drummer. Nothing makes people wanna grind on a stranger like a good bass line. People need to enter with earplugs or leave with their ears ringing when they see my show.

There exists in my mind (and sorta on paper) a plan for an entire show experience. It’s not something I can presently create on my own.

So needless to say, it is past time to hunt for band members. But it’s not going to be a band in the way I’ve ever been in a band before. I would like to hear constructive criticism, and will totally take that into account. There are lots of things, musically, that I don’t understand yet. I do not, however, want to offer anyone else 100% equal say in creative control of my ideas. I’ve been a supervisor, and that’s generally a pretty good role for me if I can run things my way.

This is my project. It’s my name on it. I have to run it correctly, and take advice when appropriate, rather than let other people run it, and give my input willy-nilly.

The folks I’m looking for will have to have style, or be open to learning how to have style. Well, style in both instrumentation and fashion. Both are important.

It would be nice if they were Libras and Gemini or Sagittarians, too. I’m an Aquarius, by the way! My birthday is January 31st, FYI. Justin Timberlake and I were born on the exact same day.


They’ve gotta play with passion, put on a good show, and always sound virgin-tight. They need to be professional and not be addicts of anything but success. These magical creatures I’m manifesting will also be cool to have a drink with, and even tempered.

And above all, they’ve gotta know that they’re The Shit.

I know a couple of skilled dudes who would be willing to play with me, but they are either glued to Louisville or are in a bajillion other bands. I really would like to discover some people who want to tour, and have a passion for the kind of sound I’m after.

What I’ve been doing so far is just spreading the word by mouth. I’ve been dropping hints in the local music community that I’m looking for a guitar player, bassist and drummer. But as time progresses, I’ll probably put an ad on Craigslist, put fliers up in coffee houses or, well, something.

Keeping it Awesome Every Day!


Your rockstar in training,


Pam Newman