‘Jaded Azurites’

released January 16, 2018

Stream or download via bandcamp!


A spiel about ‘Jaded Azurites’

I was trying to write poetry and it was the hardest thing I’d ever done. I’d been a writer all my life but this was so different, I felt as if I were trying to learn to build airplanes. None of the skills I’d developed as a writer helped me—in fact, they got in my way. I used to talk to Mike Watt about it because he has the surest artistic instincts of anyone I know. He knows what’s real and never wastes his time with what’s not. I said, “I’m terrible at this, I don’t think I can do it.” He said, “I’m a Karen Schoemer believer.” Our tendency as humans is to discount the good things people say about us but I couldn’t discount that because I had already established absolute faith in him. I couldn’t give up. 

Mike was working with Oli Heffernan, who has a project called Detective Instinct where he gives home recordings to friends to write lyrics to. Mike was supposed to write lyrics for a song of Oli’s but he said, “Why don’t you write them?” So I wrote words and Oli liked them enough that he asked me to write another song, and then two more. Oli liked these four songs enough that he gave us six more recordings, and Mike said, “Instead of me doing the vocals, why don’t you do the vocals?” Detective Instinct with Mike Watt on bass released two 7” EPs: Schoemer Songs, with Mike’s vocals, and Falling in Lilacs, with mine, in December 2013 on Third Uncle Records. 

At some point we decided to do more songs together. I probably nagged him. I was like, “Come on, I want to do more.” Mike had bass ideas from his time with the Minutemen that for some reason or other never made it into Minutemen songs. He rediscovered and repurposed them, and sent them to me and I wrote words, sometimes adapting poems to their rhythm and structure. 

People say real poetry doesn’t need music, it has a music all its own. Yeah, maybe if you’re John Keats. Music and words are like water and air and I think they go beautifully together. Writing to music gives me limitations in terms of mood, tempo, length of line/breath, and I enjoy working within those limitations, finding words that complement the music. What can one say about Mike Watt’s bass playing? It is a voice of its own and I like the gentle side that comes out here. He’s one of the fiercest people on the planet but he—I mean, this is pretty obvious—has enormous sensitivity and range, not to mention phenomenal dexterity with the strings. A similar side comes out in his work with Kira Roessler in Dos—a similar poetry and economy. The project name comes from jadeite and azurite vintage glassware. Mike said, “Why don’t we put them together, Jaded Azurites,” and I like the combination—not, like, “oh, we’re jaded, we’ve seen it all,” but in the sense of duality, being two seemingly exclusive things at once: green and blue, loving and hating, present and absent, female and male, music and word. 

  1. 130 miles
  2. hotel la pinta
  3. I don’t understand your breathing
  4. a room with a prayer
  5. who’s a better drummer, keith moon or john bonham?

released january 16, 2018 

karen schoemer – vocal 
mike watt – bass 
all words by karen schoemer 
all songs schoemer/watt 
recorded during 2016 in new york and california 
produced by mike watt 
all photos by karen schoemer

copyright jaded azurites. all rights reserved.

Leash on the floor half eaten 
peanut butter sandwich 
on the back seat plastic toys 
juice box dollar store gizmos
What band is this? I let him
pick the music I hate when 
he drives apple orchard means
we’re almost at New Paltz 
abandoned house near Kingston 
just another half hour until
our exit I watch the cornfields 
race by broken stalks veins 
of blasted rock blackened plow 
humps along the shoulder 
the mountains whiz by like 
afterthoughts ideas we’ll never 
get to the uncharted territory 
of family billboards farm 
equipment slurry tube from 
a gravel quarry I hate when 
he drives the dog climbs on 
my lap huddles against 
my coat snaps if he tries 
to pet her

%d bloggers like this: