Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cyber Launch Party Day 24: The Ballad of Liza Graves

Welcome to Day 24 of the Ballads of Suburbia Cyber Launch Party! For all of the details on the party including guests, the daily contests and the grand prize drawing be sure to read the information at the beginning of Day 1's blog. However since this is the last week, there is one slight change to the rules... WINNER FOR ALL PRIZES THIS WEEK AND THE GRAND PRIZE WILL BE DRAWN ON MONDAY AUGUST 17!

Today's Winner:
Each day I am announcing the winner of the contest that was posted one week earlier. Today's winner gets a copy of Ballads of Suburbia and some Ballads taffy from me! And that winner is... Auds07 from LiveJournal! I will email you for your address shortly! Remember to enter the rest of the contests from last Friday on!

Today's Guest:

Now, I'm super psyched to bring you today's guest blogger who went to extra effort to get me her really amazing ballad while she and her kick-ass band were on tour with Social Distortion.... I'm talkin' bout the one and only LIZA GRAVES OF CIVET!

If you've been following my blog for awhile, you know how much I adore Liza and Civet. I haven't been this into a band since I discovered the likes of Social D, Rancid, Hole, and Nirvana back when I was like 13.

If you haven't been following my blog, well here is the lowdown on Liza:

Liza Graves sings (and plays guitar!) for the femme fatale band Civet (check them out here!) And when she's not out touring/recording and generally trying to change the way women are perceived in music she does a bit of blogging/ modeling/ musical collaborating/ creating/ running her indie label (callgirl records)! She also is a VJ on Altitude TV which you can check out at

Lastly, I cannot recommend Liza's blog enough. If you ever wanted to know what life is like for a real rock 'n' roller, you must start reading She's not a name-dropper or a kiss-ass, she just tells it like it is.... As she is about to do in this ballad.

The Ballad of Big Sister: Liza Graves

I am many things in my life… a rock n’ roller, a writer, a lover, a vj, an occasional dealer of weed (in the great state of CA where it’s legal), but most important, I am a big sister. In the grand scheme of things I have an even greater job and that’s shaping the lives of two growing human beings! I like to a think I had a hand in who they have become and I will be there to always take them through the tough times. If I’m lucky my little brother will be there to walk me down the aisle…, someday…not soon!

My little brother Joe is 15 and smarter than me (or so he thinks!)…he’s one of those kids that just was given what he wanted all his life…he’s gunna get older and land some girlfriend/wife/significant other to take care of him all the way, I can feel it…my job is to teach him to love and respect women. I like to think he respects his sisters….He’s had a bit of a bad upbringing, bit it’s not unfixable. For a 15 yr old he’s got his head on pretty straight! He totally doesn’t think I’m cool at all…There’s plenty of kids who would love to be able to say their big sisters play in a rock band, oh but not my brother….he’s into other things, like that Screamo/Hardcore stuff…Our convos go something like this “Joe! I just landed a Social Distortion tour, do you wanna come see us?” Joe, “Naw, that’s cool man….when are you gunna play with Saosin?” I swear he likes bands I’ve never even heard of which makes me feel either a) really old or b) really uncool….ha ha….

On warped tour recently I was able to introduce him to the toothless singer of that band “The Devil Wears Prada” who I didn’t even really know at all….I had my ALL ACCESS pass and this desire to impress my brother, so I made it work….I think he thought I was pretty cool after that (for like a day!) Someday, I tell myself, someday I will do something that bridges the little generation gap we’ve got going on. I’d love to get him on the road to tech for us, but I don’t think that would ever really work out. I mean, would you really want to tech for your two older sisters?

Did I tell you my brother is cool? He is, he’s one of those eternally cool kids, not the socially awkward ones, I look at him and just think, “how come YOU get to go through high school that cool and we were totally suffering as awkward ugly ducklings?” Someone definitely hogged the “suave” gene in our family!!! I wanted to include my brother in my tale because he doesn’t get enough attention from us, we are always on the road…I recently got to hang out with him in Seattle at my grandmas and he flew through Stephanie’s new book…which also focuses on a sister/brother relationship. Joe, am I cool yet?

My partner in crime aka my sister aka Suzi Homewrecker, on the other hand, I like to think I was actually responsible for turning out…She was doing great in school and was in a mock “sorority” as well as an active member of the cheerleading team….typical wannabe all american girl (in high school you’re never who you want to be)…I put a stop to that real fast!!! As early as 14 I would have her sit in for a song or two at civet shows….she still was blond, but I had all intentions of handing her a bottle of black hair dye, a guitar and an official spot in my band as soon as she was old enough. “Old enough” came sooner rather than later, she was officially drafted at 15.….just 15! I meet kids now in bands as young as 17 and I just can’t even wrap my head around someone that age being able to tour….It’s mind blowing and I have no idea how she did it…The period she entered the band in was crazy too….We weren’t just playing backyards anymore, we were starting to actually get somewhere….Suz and I had just schmoozed our way onto a coveted spot at DISASTER RECORDS (Duane Peters’ label) and had started feverishly writing. My sister and I pretty much single handedly penned the Massacre album…granted she was still a little young and inexperienced to be writing great epic rock songs, she definitely was my sounding board. I can remember sitting in my room being the bossy older sis, “Suz, play this!” so that I could write my solo over it. I’ve always written better with someone around, and my sister seems to have that magic something to get the good stuff really flowing. I’ve always felt like that though, not soley in music. Suzi has always brought out the best in me, the crazy fearless side….I like that when I’m around her I feel like I’m 20, not 25...she keeps me young….ha ha….

Suz and I have been though the ringer together and I’m proud to call her my best friend….There was even a time when my bad rock n’ roll influence actually started to sent her down the “road to ruin“. It was about 3 yrs ago, we were on the road with my sisters boyfriends band the Breakdowns (now the Strangers). She’s gunna kill me for telling this one, but I think it illustrates a really big point….that no matter who you are, or where you are, family comes first. We were all feeling a little cocky, it was our first tour in a while, we were getting in a little bit of late night “boy trouble” at a Motel 6 in Sacto….We had played a great show and split off into our separate groups at the hotel. I started feeling like something was seriously, seriously wrong…Like, I just knew…I jumped out of bed (one I probably shouldn’t have been in anyway) and ran to find my sister at the party room in the Motel 6.….Sure enough, there she was, my little 17 yr old partner in crime doing lines of coke with some serious bad influences. I was livid….more than livid I guess I was just scared. Being scared makes you do some seriously fucked shit….I grabbed her out of the room and pretty much pummeled her…I couldn’t stop screaming….Everyone said it wasn’t a big deal, but you know what? I knew better. I knew deep down that if I didn’t make sure she knew that this wasn’t ok NOW, it would happen again. I was fully responsible. I brought her into music. I put her in this life so early….and granted I set a really different rock standard of no drugs and no sleeze, it was still my fault that she was around those people at the Motel 6 at age 17… That night I had to make the choice of my sister, or my music….and all I could think was, “I don’t want to do this without her” …So after I gained control of myself enough to stop throwing punches at her and her bf (sorry Dave Stucken!) I told everyone we were leaving and threw her “good time” having ass in the van. We drove straight home without stopping…I knew that that in itself was a statement. That I would NOT put something like the band in front of her, that nothing was more important in my life than family and a cancelled tour was just one of the sacrifices I was willing to make to make sure she turned out alright in life. It worked. She doesn’t do drugs and although she pretty much grew up with the opportunity to be a big bad rock n’ roll kid, she’s totally got a good head on her shoulders. She’s respectful, she’s driven and she is one of the most amazing people I know…Granted we still argue about things like who the best Beatle was or whether a Fender or Marshall head gets better sound, for the most part it’s smooth sailing…and the best part of all of this is, I get to tour with my sister/ best friend…

Balance is the ultimate struggle in my life….I have to balance my relationships with my career….my rock career with my day to day job, my ego with my down home personality, my “Ms. Liza Graves” with “Just Liza“, my family life with my road life. In the end its definitely my family that keep me grounded. I like to give my sister and brother credit for keeping me grounded, reminding me that at the end of the day there’s nothing like family, that’s for life yo!

Today's Contest:
Really, there could only be one prize I could offer to go with that blog entry and that would be a copy of my book, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone. I wrote that book because I dreamed of the day a ballsy woman would rule the world of rock. Liza and the ladies of Civet are exactly those kind of women. Not to mention the book is about family loyalty, whether it be the family that you are born into or the family you form from your friends.

So leave a comment to enter. Tell us about your sibilings or if you're an only child, friends or cousins who are like siblings, and the influence they have on you.

As usual there are ways to rack up a bunch of entries:
+1 for commenting
+1 for blogging/tweeting/etc about this blog
+1 for becoming a follower of Liza's blog, because it is bad ass
+1 for spreading the word about Shooting Stars Mag's HUGE Ballads of Suburbia contest
Just note your additional entries in your comment. Winner will be chosen at random on Monday August 17

Tomorrow is the last day of the party!!!

Prove what a hardcore partier you are by sticking it out to the end. I'll have some final words and prizes for you guys, so please come back to check it out!


Punk Rock Girl said...

Civet WON'T be opening for Social D when I see them in Oct., and I'm SO disappointed! Hole is playing on the radio as I write this, and before that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Spinnerette. Girls today are lucky to have role models like Liza, Karen O, Brody Dalle, and even Courtney. Nobody like that was around when I grew up, and no older siblings. But I did have older cousins who got me into good music early.

little miss gnomide said...

Hot chics and sibling love. Awesome. I love my younger brothers and would give up anything for them too. This is a great ballad and what a kickass band.

Michael said...

Me and my older brother stephen have been at the hip since I was born. We went through every faze together: Power Rangers, Pokemon, Star Wars (something we still love), James Bond, Dragon Ball Z, and every other possible thing a child would enjoy in the late 90's.
When he first entered high school we didn't hang out much anymore. I started getting into hip hop and he dove into sports. It was around seventh grade that i got into Punk Rock, and him into metal. This common bond in rock music really connected us.
Stephen started hanging out with the 'freaks' at his school, and for once, he actually let me hang out with him and his friends. While I was also began to get involved in the North Carolina Punk scene, I also spent time with his Emo/Goth buddies.
I'm 17 now, and in a hardcore punk band, and me and my brother, in college, are still fairly close. I could have tons of stories to tell, but that would get long and no one would really care haha.
Me and Stephen's "theme song" is Don't take me for granted by Social D

Diana Dang said...

I have one younger sister who is only ten years old. I think I am more of an influence on her than she is for me because I am much older (and wiser haha).

Something I got her into is drawing. I am a terrible artist but I absolutely love collecting art. The moment that she was able to pick up a crayon and draw, I started gunning her down and telling her to keep drawing as much as she can. Hopefully by the time she gets to high school, her art will be lovely. Of course, the main reason is for me to get free art. But hey, she's getting an A in art right now because of me.

I have blogged about the bash on my sidebar!

Melanie said...

Sometimes I feel so disappointed that I don't have any siblings. Seeing this awesome pair of people is one of those times. :)

Erica said...

I have an older brother and a younger sister - My brother and I are closer than my sister and I - we both like the same music, and that kind of stuff. My little sister and I don't have as much in common and I think that's what's part of the barrier between me and her.

Name: Aine said...

1. Commenting: I'm 26 with one little brother (23). He always thought he was hot stuff. So much so that he insisted on riding the bus to school when he could have ridden with me.

2. Tweeted (Aine82)
3. Now following Liza's blog
4. Spread word about Shooting Stars Mag's HUGE Ballads of Suburbia Contest

Robby said...

Civet are so totally awesome.
As are you.
Thanks for doing this whole Ballads thing. I need to read your book(s.) All these ballads are so inspiring.
My sister is sleeping in her room a room away from me. She's 20, six years older than me, and just a few months ago she started dating this guy. Now she's not home a lot. When she is it's not for long. And we used to fight. But now we get along so well. And i'm so happy she's in my life. i'm so happy she's finally happy.

runningforamsterdam @ hotmail . com

Llehn said...

I have two brothers. We are a very typical Asian family. We don't communicate much when we were younger but now that we are adults, I try to reach out to them more.

Ashley said...

I only have one older sister who is in college currently. We don't get along too well right now, but I'm hoping that our relationship will grow stronger..

+1 Became a follower of Liza's blog.

+1 Posted this on my sidebar at


Ashley said...

+1 I posted the Shooting Stars Mag Contest on my right sidebar at

throuthehaze said...

I have an older sister. When I was a kid I wanted to be just like her...that drove her crazy!
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Sara said...

Great ballad! I hope your siblings read it!

I have two sisters, one four years older than me, and one two years younger than me. We're all very close (when we don't fight!) and we share the same sense of humour! My sisters are some of my best, and closest, friends, and I'm so glad that I've got them!


WordVore Prod said...

Great ballad...I love the pics!
+1 for commenting
+1 tweeted about cyber party
+1 follow Liza's blog
+1 tweeted about SHooting Stars contest (ProdElektra)

I'm gonna miss the party!

Kristen said...

I have an older and younger sister. My older sis is only 18 months older and my younger sis - 10 years. So, it's an interesting situation. My older sis has grown up quite a bit from when we were kids - she used be selfish, obnoxious and constantly arguing. Now she's a wonderful mother, wife, and sister.

My little sister is just starting high school. It's hard to connect, but I'm trying to be there for her to reach out to. She's starting to deal with some issues that aren't cool to talk to with mom and dad, and my older sis acts like a mom to her as well. So that leaves me. I love her and I hope she'll do well in high school. :)

Blogged about your blog/cyberlaunch party:

marina said...

so, recently my friends and i have decided that our sort of imaginary band was gonna get serious and i'm the singer. i also have alot of stage fright which is really ironic because i said i wanted to sing. but it's emily from IWBYJR and brody and joan jett and now liza that are the reason i actually sing rather than run out of the room and hide somewhere. and i've thought about doing that. they did it, and they were great, so why not give it a shot myself?


Stephanie Kuehnert said...

I'm loving all these sibling stories. Keep em coming!

And Marina, I am so psyched that Emily from IWBYJR could inspire you to front a band, that is awesome! I also agree Liza is a great inspiration too!

marina said...

and also,
dear michael,
hello dear! you probably won't read this. but, don't take me for granted is the HaVoK theme song and that does not consist of just you and stephen. i wanted to make a note of that. [=
love, bean.

and i'll go ahead and explain HaVoK (HVK) to the world for fun. HVK stands for hurleys versus kents because me and my sister, the hurleys, always battle our boyfriends, the kent brothers. and when my sister and stephen got together we decided we needed a group name since everyone's together. and we became HaVoK so it was a full word. the song was chosen because it fit best and sounds wonderful. (and yes, you can laugh at the sisters dating brothers thing if you want. every so often someone says "it's like the partridge family!" which is always unsettling because they seem weird..) that's all.


Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Bean, I love that story! And I think it's cool, sisters dating brothers. And Don't Take Me For Granted is like the IWBYJR theme song (besides of course for the song IWBYJR) so it's all cool :)

Lori T said...

Hi Liza~

That was an awesome ballad and I have to agree that it is family that does keep us grounded and helps to remind us who we are and where we came from. From your ballad...I could feel that love that you feel for them. You are all very lucky to have each other and how cool to be in a band with your sister.

I have one brother and one sister, both of which are younger than me. I really do consider my sister to be my best friend and I love them both beyond words.

L said...

First of all...that was a sick ballad! and second, I have a brother who's about 5 1/2 years older than me so we don't have a real close relationship(him being in college and all), but I love him(most of the time) and I used to love hanging out with him, I still do somethings even though he's a real pain.
+1 I posted a link on my sidebar about this blog
+1 link to Shooting Stars Mag's HUGE Ballads of Suburbia contest on my sidebar:


Paradox said...

I've never really had friends who are like siblings, but I've always had a strange connection with a cousin I've only met a few times. And we don't really keep in contact either. Yet, somehow we seem to be interested in the same things at the same time (anime/manga art, polymer clay creations, ESP, other religions, etc.) I haven't seen her in 5 years, so I don't know if it's continued... but I wouldn't be surprised if it has.

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com