How Carina Round got... Into My Blood
Music is the driving force in my life. While I listen to a variety of genres (jazz, blues, world, bluegrass, folk, among others), my music of choice has always been 'rock' and it's many offshoots. Especially, the catch-all labeled 'alternative'. For most of my music listening years, males were far more prominent than females. The earliest female that made me stand up and take notice was Janis Joplin who has been, at least, a minor mainstay ever since. Grace Slick and Linda Ronstadt were other early faves. But, other than those, I'd be hard pressed to come up with more. I listened briefly to Suzi Quatro, Olivia Newton-John and Juice Newton but none really stuck with me. Enter the late 1970s and the introduction of punk and alternative music.
This new music was like a breath of fresh air. In addition, it opened my eyes to just how cool female singers and musicians were. That they offered a new perspective. Chrissie Hynde was the first to catch my ear but the likes of Debbie Harry, Patti Smith and Tina Weymouth, were drawing my attention. Hot on their heals came Excene Cervenka, Poison Ivy, The Bangles, The Go-Gos, Lisa Germano, Scrawl, Rickie Lee Jones, Salem 66 , Kim Gordon, Suzanne Vega, Throwing Muses, Donnette Thayer, Kim Deal, Marti Jones, Hope Sandoval, Tori Amos (to name a list of some of my favorites). These women were fuckin' cool!!!
One single event in 1993 solidified my opinion of women and music... I saw PJ Harvey for the first time. I immediately had to have her records. While the 1990s had an incredible range of male music, my belief is that it was beginning to stagnate. I wasn't hearing too many innovative or unique sounds coming from the guys. But the women I was hearing were making these incredible new sounds. In the late 1990s, I began to collaborate musically (as well as other artistic endeavors) with several female friends of mine. They opened my eyes to additional female musicians, Ani Difranco, Loreena Mckennitt, Shirley Manson, Beth Gibbons, Bjork. This also led me to the eclectic likes of Diamanda Galás, Bessie Smith, Billy Holiday, Sheila Chandra, Patsy Cline, Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, Karen O. But, PJ Harvey remained forefront.
That is, until 2004...
...when I first learned of Carina Round.
I had seen photos of Carina but, at the time, had no clue who I was seeing. I frequent PJ Harvey internet forum boards. As with any music oriented forums, other artists are often discussed. One day, some folks were raving about a singer named Carina Round and compared her to PJ. First off, I found her name quite interesting (made me think of 'careen around'). The posts in the forum thread offered much praise for her music and provoked my interest. Thus, I clicked the link to her website. I very much liked what I heard and did some internet searches to see what else I could find out. That was all it took. Although I didn't really know it yet, I was hooked.
Apparently, I had seen them somewhere before but didn't know who I was seeing.
Now, I just needed to find her albums. I was able to download a few live tracks to hold me over until I finally found The Disconnection at, of all places, Best Buy. In addition, I managed to find a few videos (remember, this was before YouTube) which gave me some insight into her exciting stage persona. One particular video, an extended live performance of "Let It Fall" in San Diego from May 2004, really sucked me in. Not only did this performance kick ass but she was also quoting one of my life-long favorite artists, Iggy Pop... "so messed up I want you here"... indeed!
Frankly, I didn't find her to be too much like PJ Harvey at all. They both have expressive and extreme vocal ranges. Their music tends to be introspective, both dark and light as well as predominently guitar based. Their stage presense is quite animated (except when PJ plays guitar). They're both British. They're both attractive and brunette. The ingredients in the mix are similar and I guess the overall finished product could be called similar but I still feel the end difference is enough to nullify any comparison.
I also managed to find The Disconnection EPK which offered a little insight into Carina's personality.
I found The Disconnection to be a rock-solid collection of songs. I guess I could see the comparisons to PJ, guitar driven, edgy, dark, introspective, observant, crafty and Carina's incredible vocal range. While the end result was similar to PJ's style, I didn't really find it sounding much like PJ. But what I did know was I liked it. I REALLY liked it and it received repeat spins (often, several in a single day).
I couldn't find The First Blood Mystery in any stores. I ended up having to get it on eBay and it didn't disappoint. I loved it as much as The Disconnection but, it was different. It had its own unique texture. Recently, it has become the one I listen to the most. I am completely blown away by "How I See It" through to "On Leaving". Carina was clearly giving PJ a good run for her money as my favorite female artist (ask any of my friends, that's a grand statement). And, if I may add my male perspective, this was all wrapped in an great package.
One thing that really pulled me into Carina's music is how close to home her lyrics hit. Certainly, the music is great and her voice is incredible but I rarely take too much notice to lyrics. However, Carina's words really meant something to me. In fact, two songs in particular had a rather profound impact on my life. I prefer to keep those titles to myself but suffice to say, they changed my way of thinking about certain things.
Also, around this time, I managed to download Carina's duet with Miles Hunt, "Four To The Floor". The male/female counterpoint was excellent. If her two albums had been vinyl records instead of CDs, I would have probably worn out the grooves. A few more live performance downloads held me over but, nearing the end of 2005, I was anxious for a new album. This would be the first Carina Round album that I would have the opportunity to anticipate. By this time, I was certain that Carina's music would be a favorite for the rest of my life.
Anyway, the wait for new music wasn't too long (or so I thought). Soon word was out that Carina was recording a new album in the U.S. Info began to trickle out and whet my appetite. Soon, new songs appeared on her website but the album never materialized. By this time, the YouTube rage was in full throttle. Here I was seeing the new songs but I wanted the album. However, the wait fueled my anticipation.
In 2007, I finally had Slow Motion Addict in my hands. By this time, I had a clear idea of Carina's music and performances but I still had not seen her in person. Surely, Slow Motion Addict would remedy that situation with a tour. Indeed, she was scheduled to play in probably the closest city to me, Cleveland, Ohio.
A friend and I went to see Carina in Cleveland on Sept. 12, 2007 but it was at a venue neither of us were familiar with and I had neglected to get the precise address. We easily found the area but simply could not find the venue. When we finally found it and got in, The Cinematics were on stage and, presuming Carina was the headliner, we figured we had made it in time to see Carina. We saw Carina sitting over by her merchandise table and walked over to say "hi" and check out her sales items.
For one of The Cinematics last songs, Carina jumped on stage for some harmony vocals. I thought, this a nice little appetizer treat. However, when The Cinematics were finished, it became evident that the whole show was over. Much to our dismay, we soon learned that Carina had already played. To verify, I asked Carina if indeed she had already played and she said the word I didn't want to hear, "yes". I expressed how bummed I was and mentioned that we had driven far, got lost, etc., etc. Carina replied, "I'll just have to give you a personal performance, then".
I couldn't believe my ears. That would be fuckin' cool! I had seen and loved her acoustic performance of "How I See It" on YouTube and new the treat I was in for. I looked at her sales items and bought one of her limited handmade CDs. I had grabbed a particular one but Carina grabbed another one saying, "This one's my favorite. Take this one" (details on the discography page). She autographed the CD with a personalized comment (see below) We chatted a bit, I thanked her and waited. My friend had trouble believing she was going ot play for us so I asked Carina if she was serious. Sure enough, she said she was and added, "just hang around until the place clears out a bit". Wow!!!
It says, "Chuck! (e's in love...) x x Carina Round"
For those of you who don't get it, she's referencing the Rickie Lee Jones song, "Chuck E.'s In Love".
We hung around chatting a bit with Carina and Svend (the drummer) when, after a bit, she grabbed an acoustic guitar and walked up to us. She asked what we'd like to hear but, since the place was still a bit noisy, then said, "Let's go out here" (to a little outside courtyard area). We gleefully followed.
My first request was "How I See It". The YouTube video showed me what a great guitar player Carina actually is and I would love to see it performed right in front of me. I thought we might get only one song but after the first song, she asked what else we'd like to hear. I must admit, I felt a bit embarassed at not knowing all the titles. I know the songs and the lyrics but titles are often the last thing I memorize about a song. I did know "Let It Fall" (which is one I would want to hear) but she played five songs and I had to request most of them by lyric not title. One was "Ribbons" which she said she hadn't played in a long time (and she almost forgot the words to the last verse but pulled it off great). At first, it was just Carina, my friend and me but after a couple songs about ten other people wandered out. The singer and the guitarist from The Cinematics also came out and did one song which Carina sang along with. Although we missed the real show, this little treat was absolutely fabulous. It was a cool, clear, starry night (about midnight hour) and the courtyard was basically concrete and glass so the acoustics were great. She sounded incredible.
Finally, she stood up and said, "How was that?" I could have asked her to go on forever but I didn't want to be greedy. I thanked her profusely. I reached to shake her hand but she gave me a hug. We chatted a bit more then said our goodbyes.
I'm still bummed that we missed the actual show but this was a very special little treat (which lasted about 45 minutes) and a memory I will cherish. It was such a wonderful treat and speaks much for her integrity and dedication to her fans.
Thank you, Carina.
By the way, I mentioned to her that I learned about her on a PJ Harvey forum. Her reply was, "I'm so tired of the PJ comparisons. She's not even one of my influences." However, I've heard Carina mention a PJ cxomparison in an interview or two.
Additionally, some of the other people were taking photos and videos of this impromptu performance. I would REALLY love to see them!!! If any of you read this, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have searched and searched on the internet but, to date, nothing has surfaced.
Due to personal commitments and geography, I was unable to see her when she toured with Annie Lennox but she appears do be planning additional U.S. dates in 2008. I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to see her then. I am so jealous of the folks who got to see her in the early days in England. You should consider yourselves lucky.
At least I got to see her on stage when she stepped up to sing with The Cinematics. Seen in these pics (taken from her MySpace page). We were standing right behind the photographer who took these photos below. Actually, I think it was the same photographer who took some photos of the acoustic performance. Thus I'm suspecting the photos do exist somewhere.
My goal for this website is to promote Carina and her music. Hopefully, because of the popularity of my Beatles websites and the popularity of my name worldwide because of those Beatles websites, people will visit and investigate this site, find Carina and her work interesting and begin to buy her records. If I've helped sell at least one record, my goal will be satisfied. But please, go buy ALL of her records. You won't be disappointed. Also, spread the word about this vital and vibrant artist.
Chazz Avery - November 2007
ADDENDUM - May 2009:
In May 2008, I finally heard from Carina about this website. She remembered me from Cleveland, "I remember you from the show it was really sweet" and she was thankful for the website, "...everything is great with the site... hope you are well and thank you so much for your support. I really do appreciate it". I was pleased that she liked the site. Until I heard from her, I had a bit of concern. You never know how an artist might respond. Now, her mother, Pamela, even writes to me. Hopefully, the site has been helpful to both fans and Carina. I've tried to make it THE Carina Round archive resource on the internet.
13 May 2009
Los Angeles, CA - The Hotel Café
This was Carina's Things You Should Know CD release show.
Carina was gratious enough to have my friend and me as guests for this show.
This was my first opportunity to see Carina perform on stage.
And, she afforded me a large amount of time to discuss my website.
It was a fabulous night.
Ironically, this was one year to the day after I first heard
from Carina about the website.
The woman in the right photo is my friend, Angel.
She was the friend with me in Cleveland in 2007.
June 24, 2009
New York City - The Living Room
My wife, Jeni, and me hanging out with Carina after the show.
Her manager Melissa shot the photo.
In the right photo, Carina shows the butterfly necklace
Jeni gave her to match her dress.
ADDENDUM - 2016:
As a result of communications about this website and other things, as well as spending what amounted to a few hours with her in 2009, we began to get acquinted. Over the next few years to date, I'd say we have become friends but geography keeps it distant friends. Her mother and I still write on occasion. Carina asks me for rare recordings. I had to help her determine that she included all songs on a comprehensive compilation CD she was putting together. We jokingly dig at one another now and then.
March 21, 2010
Lorain, Ohio - Palace Theatre
This was my first Puscifer show.
That's me to the left of the left photo waiting to chat with Carina.
17 November 2011
Lakewood, Ohio - Civic Auditorium
Carina with my copy of her single "The Last Time".
19 November 2011
Detroit, Mich. - Royal Oak Music Hall
I was turning my head as the shot was snapped.
Waiting for Carina to finish chatting with other fans.
This was my son's first concert. Carina told him, "It's all downhill from here".
We didn't shoot any photos with her.
17 July 2012
Chicago, IL - The Beat Kitchen
This time, just snapped a shot of my wife with Carina and
Puscifer's bass player, Matt McJunkins.
But, hung out with Carina, too.
27 October 2012
Chicago, IL - The Beat Kitchen
I had to attend this show alone.
Luckily, I ran into my favorite Carina fan, Mel.
She shot this photo for me.
Carina produced a video for her song "You And Me" assembled from video submissions from her fans.
She chose my clip which is seen at about the 2:50 point.