Liz O sings stories of love and lust, of gypsies and roving highwaymen, of rollicking through the desert in hot pink train cars. Equal parts sparkles and grit, bubblegum and whiskey, spectacle and soul, The Liz O Show takes you on a journey, one unlike any other musical artist has ever taken you on before.
Imagine a girl with the confidence of Madonna, the charisma of Katy Perry, and the flamboyance of Janis Joplin. Like Katy Perry, she inhabits her own cartoon world, only hers has more toys than candy, and pirates, and ponies, and a gigantic stuffed bear (Boppity), and there's a lot of fire and whiskey and maybe even a dancing skeleton or two. But even though she acts like a pop singer, once she starts to sing stories about her world, they're so poetic and visual and densely lyrical that you want to compare her to a folk artist like Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell or Ani DiFranco. But you can't exactly do that either, because when you listen to the music, it sounds more like Bo Diddley, or Chuck Berry, or Johnny Cash. You realize she's playing the blues, only really fast, and on a pink guitar.
That's the Liz O Experience!
Arriving in San Francisco with just a guitar and a backpack in September of 2010, Liz O quickly put together a band that reflected her vision of 60's era rock n' roll. She funded her musical aspirations by living in a tiny cubby of a bunk in the basement of the Adelaide Hostel-- bunk #8 in room Golden Gate. It was the first time she'd had so small of a space to retreat to, and as a result, she had no place to hide her dreams from the world. Slowly but surely, those dreams began to manifest into reality, with the band receiving funding for a debut album of Liz O's original music. She selected eight of her favorite songs, based on eight different archetypes and journeys from her life, and titled the album Golden Gate 8. She and the band went to work recording the album at a studio full of vintage equipment from the 1960's, with Liz O's goal being to emulate the sound and feel of a classic Beatles' album like Sgt. Pepper.
And just as the songs are about journeys, the making of the album itself became a journey, although not, perhaps, the rosy, romantic, smooth ride of a journey Liz O had imagined.
Three years beforehand, when she had first started playing music and writing songs, she had named her trusty guitar Persephone without knowing why. Persephone, as it turns out, is the name of an innocent young Greek goddess who was abducted by Hades and taken deep into the Underworld.
After the first few days of recording took place, and the songs sounded great but the fund-raised money had run out, that’s when Liz O felt like her own path to glory took a sharp descent as she had to face all the truths of reality that her innocent, idealistic self had not accounted for. Like how expensive it REALLY is to record an 8 song album, and how much more expensive than THAT it is to record an 8 song album on vintage equipment in a professional studio using analog tape. And how much more expensive than THAT it is to get it mastered and produced.
And also (and this is a big one), why not to live in the same place as you work and fall in love with someone who lives and works in the same place, and who is also in your BAND.
Anyway, it’s a story that, for all the detriment it did to Liz O’s psyche, would look very good on the big screen as a biopic or VH1 behind the scenes special. Because there’s sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and even some violence, and a smashed guitar (Persephone), and blood, sweat, and lots of tears, and a stuffed bear (Boppity), and running away and coming back and Liz O even slept on a storage closet on a roof for a period of time. And what made it all so challenging was that even when the world she had constructed was falling apart and every fiber of her being wanted to give up completely, she couldn’t, because she had promised the cd, and so she kept plugging away in the studio every time she could scrape enough money together for a four hour session.
And now, at long last, you have the finished result in front of you. It is the result of two long years of not giving up, of journeying through the Underworld and making it out alive, of living the rock and roll dream in San Francisco and forming a worldview, an aesthetic, a mission that is larger than just the album itself.
Golden Gate 8 is meant to be a healing work, an alchemy of ingredients to help you on your own creative journey. The call to adventure from the dream self of Sweet Tangerine, the fiery determination of the girl in The Train Song, the pure, vulnerable spirit of Break Me Down, the sassy confidence of Hot Damn!, the sly seductress of Magical Mist, the roving cowboy of Highwayman, the shy shadow self of The Bird in Norwegian Wood, and the saving grace of Adelaide… plus, what is waiting to be faced within the shadows.
After moving out of Golden Gate 8, Liz O lived in Janis Joplin's old apartment building in Haight Ashbury for nine months. At around the same age that Janis' musical dreams and career ended, Liz O's are beginning, and she vows to carry on the legacy of soulful, wistful, brazen blues singer however best she can!
Hopefully the album serves as an introduction into a world that you will want to stay in and explore as it expands farther over time.