Jennifer Grassman Goes A-Haunting
Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prior to the HPMAs, we had taken to only interviewing HPMA nominees for this spot. And what a great, grand, gloriously exclusive party it was. Now, the qualifications have been ratcheted up a notch: For the next few weeks, we're currently only accepting applications from 2010 HPMA winners who are not already AOW alumni.
Yes, it is super-exclusive now. Did you know that more people have been to the moon than won HPMAs this year? It's true, or it actually might not be. We didn't bother to look it up. But it'd be neat if were. Somebody please email NASA and find out. Thanks.
And we're kicking off the Winners Only back-patting with Best Keyboards honoree Jennifer Grassman, winner of Best Keyboards. Hit the jump to read about The Cucuy, why she totally expected to win and how you can audition to be in her next video.
Rocks Off: The thing we're most immediately curious about is that single, "The Haunting." If we're to understand it, you're basically saying that you're The Cucuy, is that right? Or a jilted girlfriend or something? We're so confused.
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Jennifer Grassman: I'll have to write a song now about The Cucuy and dedicate it to the Houston Press. Seriously, I'm inspired. That's brilliant!
is about a relationship that's gone awry. I think most women have experienced the phenomena when you're talking to your husband or boyfriend and suddenly realize that your words are not registering with their brain. Their focus is on their magazine or video game, and they're giving you automated canned responses, like, "Oh, really?" and "Uh-huh."
So the woman in "The Haunting" feels like a ghost; someone invisible that can't be heard, even though she's real and present. It's actually a very tongue-in-cheek commentary on the communicational differences of the sexes.
RO: When your name was announced as HPMA victor, what was the first thing you thought? You didn't really look that surprised, is why we ask. You had a very discernible "I Was Totally Expecting To Win This Award, There Was No Way I Was Losing To These Talentless Hacks" look about you.
JG: I think I didn't act surprised because I'd psyched myself up so much. I expected to win, but I also expected to lose. I wanted to be prepared to go up in front of all those people and accept the award, but I also wanted to be prepared to go home awardless and have a cup of tea. What you saw was my game face!
In all honestly, there are so many phenomenal musicians in Houston that I can't believe I really deserved the award, and I'm honored beyond belief at the recognition.
Jennifer Grassman sings "Over the Rainbow" at last week's HPMA ceremony.
RO: Your husband Jason Lee Greenberg was also nominated for an award, right? But he didn't win. How often do you remind him of that fact?
JG: Daily. Just kidding. Actually, I do remind him that he was nominated. That, in and of itself, is such a great honor. It means that according to music fans, you're one of the Top 5 Best in Houston, and that is an enormous compliment. I'm very proud of him. He's the world's Best Guitarist in my book.
RO: Also, at the show there was a brief period when the Grandfather Child guys were apparently caught unaware by the fact that they were scheduled to perform, so you grabbed the mike and started singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." Is that status quo for you? Like, whenever there's an awkward moment, do you just bust that song out? Like if you're get in an elevator and you and another person reach to push the same button at the same time, do you just immediately start singing that song?
JG: Yeah, it's kind of like that Carpenters song, "Sing, sing a song/ Sing out loud, sing out strong ..." More seriously, I was bummed out that I hadn't been booked to perform. I love performing so much that for me to watch other people perform and not be able to is like making a cat watch another cat eat a piece of bacon. It's just not fair.
Also, I felt really bad for the announcers who were desperate to fill the dead space. Craig Hlavaty had been reduced to handing out dollar bills, one of which I accepted; I should frame it and put it next to my award. So, just for fun, I got up there impromptu, and thank God, remembered the lyrics!
RO: You're opening for Jon Vezner pretty soon, right? How's that?
JG: That was a very pleasant surprise. I got an email from the booking agent who asked me, "Would you like to open for a Grammy Winning Songwriter and Recording Artist?" and I was like, "Hmmm, let me think about that one .... Yes!" He's married to Kathy Mattea, you know, another fabulous artist. The concert is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 25, 7:30 at Dosey Doe in The Woodlands. All the info is on my Web site.
Find more information about Grassman, hear more of her music and learn how to audition to be in the video of "The Haunting." online at www.jennifergrassman.com.