Or Joni or Meg … two musicians I’ve been compared to and mistaken for. Really, I’m not complaining. Still, it makes me laugh when someone earnestly says “I love the nun costume” and I have to politely tell them I don’t live in Seattle and I haven’t written “You Make My Pants Pound.” I wish. In the 90’s Lisa Koch and I were confused for each other so much that I stopped trying to explain and simply said “thank you.”
Recently at a gig a woman excitedly told me that she hadn’t seen me play for years and that she especially loved my gym teacher song. I’m not Meg Christian either although I sure wish I could play guitar like that — maybe if I moved to an ashram and did yoga every day? Perhaps I just need to date Holly Near. Or, heck … practice.
A well-known visual artist once told me she was a big fan of mine and that she’d seen me play at the Michigan Womyn’s Festival in the 90’s. They’ve only booked me once – in 2004 – but I thanked her all the same. Can I still use her quote and just change the date? How ‘bout “Famous Artist thinks I’m Meg Christian?”
Back in the 90’s I used to do a song called “I’m Sorry” — “I’m sorry that you’re straight / Where do I send the card? / Living as a heterosexual / Really must be hard”
I found out it was a popular song with drag queens when one of them breathlessly met me at a bar gig in Ohio and confessed that it was her very popular signature song. She told me it was being passed around between queens all over the South. The rumor was that it was a secret recording of Ani Difranco or Bette Midler. I was flattered but made her promise to tell the other queens to maybe, I dunno, BUY a few CDs or at least, mention my name.
I quit doing the song a few years ago. Apparently it’s only funny if you wear false boobs and size 14 heels.
I can always tell when a CD reviewer has little knowledge of folk music because they’ll compare me to Joni Mitchell. We have little in common except that we’re both white, play the guitar, and are sopranos. I heard that she can no longer reach the high notes of her earlier songs, though, probably because she’s a longtime smoker. Joni, if you ever need someone to sing in the original keys, call me. I’ll need helium for that high note in “Case of You.”
Tell the comparison police to write me a ticket too. I also write CD reviews and while I can muddle my way through most genres I can’t always cite similar artists; otherwise all punk bands would get compared to Green Day and every metal band, AC/DC. I can still talk about the usual stuff like songwriting and arrangements. I just can’t say that the upcoming release from Dumpster Juice sounds like vintage Jesus Lizard. (Both are real band names. I found “Dumpster Juice” scrawled on a dressing room wall at a rock club where I once played. It was a real good gig.)
I’m not Lisa … or Dumpster Juice. You won’t find me at the aforementioned rock club but it’s likely I’ll be at a folk coffeehouse. I actually know “Case of You.” Pass the helium.
Photo above is Lisa Koch and me in 1993. Photo by Toni Armstrong Jr.