To celebrate the one-year release of her California country mini-opus, “The Winner,” Celeigh Chapman has a special gift for fans to commemorate the occasion.
Releasing a new music video for the song, “Might As Well Be Me,” on YouTube earlier this month, the Bakersfield singer-songwriter says while she’s had a few chances to breathe between promotional campaigns, her work is hardly done.
“I can't tell you how much love and support I've felt on this release,” she said during a recent interview from her Los Angeles home. “Getting the iTunes Country New Release front page was pretty awesome as well as the international airplay in Germany and the U.K., and the local spins with Valida (host of KCRW’s ‘The Lab’). It's also been really cool to see which songs resonate with people.”
In the new video, Chapman can be seen pulling up to an empty public park, before reaching into her car trunk for a rope and baseball bat. Singing directly to the camera, she strolls into the park, before tying a pink piñata in the shape of a cowboy boot to her rope. After stringing up the piñata and beating it to the ground, Chapman walks off into the distance.
“The idea for the video was mine. I had been wanting to do something special for the one-year anniversary of 'The Winner,' and (John) Spiker (the EP's producer) was in the studio finishing the next Tenacious D album, so I knew it couldn't be a new track and that it would be a visual of some sort. I knew I had no budget to do a big proper studio shoot, so I wanted to figure out a simple scenario that could be easily executed and with only one location or setup for the most part.”
Filmed by James Milner in Elysian Park near Dodger Stadium, the video’s quality is actually quite good considering the simplicity of the pair’s guerrilla-style approach.
“I had recently had a birthday and I was perusing downtown L.A. fashion and flower district for some party-planning inspiration and I came across the section where they have all the wholesale party supply stores. Those stores are just magical and flood you with childlike joy. You look up to the rafters and see a sea of rainbow crepe paper. The piñatas are huge, which makes me feel very small and nostalgic for park birthday parties as a kid in Bakersfield. I caught a large single cowboy boot piñata way in the back.”
After viewing the video a few times, I’m still having a hard time making sense as to why that poor boot gets beat down so badly. Is she playing a woman scorned? Is she sending a message to the industry? Or does she really just hate pink cowboy boots?
Chapman said, “If I tell you, what's the fun in that? Art is subjective so I never want to ruin what it means to someone else. However, why did I pick the pink cowboy boot? If you know why I wrote the song, I think that might give you some hints as to what my narrative and creative vision was.”
With the video in circulation and the promotional cycle for “The Winner” in cruise control, Chapman says she’s already working on a follow-up, collaborating once again with Spiker.
“We don't have a specific direction or project in mind like we did with 'The Winner,' so we're just going to allow the music to inspire us. That's one of the benefits of being an indie artist.”
While locals are still holding out for a Bakersfield show (hint hint), Chapman says conversations about Bakersfield find their way into the conversation no matter the place, which suits her just fine.
“Anytime anyone says the words ‘Bakersfield’ or ‘country music’ in L.A., somehow it either finds me or I find them. Just the other night I met up with some production folks to talk about a project they were working on that was going to feature some country songs and next thing you know I'm educating all of them on the Dust Bowl and the Arvin labor camps and California country and the Blackboard. I love giving people a different perspective of our city, our legacy and our impact on culture.”
You can check out the video for “Might As Well Be Me” at Chapman’s official YouTube channel, or visit celeighchapman.com. Don’t forget to hide your pink boots.
“I'm trying to uphold my reputation as a Beautiful Bakersfield Award recipient from when I was in fifth grade. Ha ha.”
Going Underground Records
Congratulations are in order for Bakersfield music hub Going Underground Records who celebrate their 17th anniversary in downtown Bakersfield in September. You read correctly, 17 years.
A second home to many a die-hard music collector, or casual fan to browse for the latest rare, out-of-print, or reissue classic vinyl, there’s nothing quite like a semi-regular stroll inside to remind you of the soundtracks to your life. From punk to jazz, to classical, Latin and old-school funk, if you still haven’t been in for a spin, you really should have your mojo checked. Going Underground owner Ron Ramirez, who's kept the doors open since 2001 no matter the state of the area economy, has rolled with the punches like the best of them. He was even able to expand with an L.A. shop on Melrose Avenue.
Just like the business's highly anticipated Record Store Day spring extravaganzas, Ramirez has something special in store to say "Thank You."
“As we head into our 17th year of business, we are very appreciative of all of our customers both new and old," he said. "To celebrate this amazing milestone we are having an entire monthlong sale, with each week offering new deals for our great customers.”
Have you started checking your bank account yet? Starting Saturday running through the end of September, Ramirez and staff will be keeping bins full with rotating deals to keep your housemates or spouse wondering where you’re going to put all these amazing new records you’re bringing home.
“Being a small business in this day and age is no easy task, so we are very grateful to still have our doors open and people shopping after 17 years," Ramirez said. "We will strive to be open and a great record store for many more years to come.”
Sorry, Angelenos, this celebration sale is only valid at the Bakersfield Going Underground Records location, 1312 19th St.
For more information, visit goingunderground.com or call 633-0111.
Mopey Lonesome at Aum Studio
Self-described "bluesy grungy indie-Americana soul" man Mopey Lonesome and his band, the Drunken Voicemails, want you to start practicing your best howls and join them at Aum Studios for a special recording session on Sept. 7 from 2 p.m. till everybody passes out. Just kidding, or am I?
“We will be recording gang vocals for our track ‘Howlin’ Just For You,’ where the fans and friends will be singing along to the final chorus, just as they are familiar with at the live shows,” said vocalist and frontman Evan Ross aka Mopey Lonesome.
“We will also be recording ‘howls’ or ‘awoos’ as we call them, to be sampled between verses for our track 'The Mopey Anthem (Doin’ Diamonds).' Yes, the crowd barks and howls like dogs for sirens.”
The recording project is part of Mopey Lonesome’s upcoming seven-song release titled “Volume I: The Way Out," slated for release just after the new year.
“We want you on the record howlin’ to our songs and singin’ along. We'll have whiskey and bacon at the studio, all free,” said Ross.
If you can’t make it to the studio, you can always contribute via the Mopey Lonesome dedicated hotline and leave a voicemail at 234-7369. According to Ross, it’s anonymous and they may use your message on future recordings.
“Make it sappy or incoherent or just vent,” he said.
Aum Studios is located at 1621 21st St. For more information, visit mopeylonesome.com.
Alastair Greene, 8 p.m. Saturday, O’Hennings, 1312 Airport Drive. Free; for 21 and over only.
Guitarist Alastair Greene is best known for his blues-based, soulful and melodic playing and his skills as a slide guitar technician. Greene’s latest solo release, "Dream Train," features 12 new originals plus a previously unreleased song written by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top titled "Nome Zayne.” According to a message from O'Hennings music booker KayKay Jagger, "If you ever make your way out to Oildale this would be the show to do it." Amen, sister.
“First Impression” comedy show taping, 9 p.m. Sunday, Sandrini’s Public House, 1918 Eye St. Free. 322-8900.
Bakersfield is invited to witness the comedy stylings of Curtis Taylor III and friends, plus be part of the festivities on the record, live and in living color. According to Taylor’s Facebook event page, the young comedian will "Open up about how he started a career in comedy, his family, his dreams in life and the awkward adventure of his creativity life." Also performing are comedians Joe Simpson, Alex Duong and L Boogie.