Ask Alice came together in 2008, via Craigslist and forming the band had nothing to do with the “Casual Encounters” section. Annie Parkhurst (spits), AJ Anderson (riffs) and Laura Jennings (hits) of Ask Alice, admit that they have had their on again and off again moments (still not casual encounters), but AJ shared that “Each incarnation of Ask Alice has been exciting and quite enjoyable. This time around, though, we are having a lot more fun and not taking things too seriously.” Last May, they made their fans and Long Beach proud by hitting the stage again and they are going strong with ambitions of putting out a new EP this year, having many local live performance opportunities for their fans to attend and they also have some surprises in store with new music that reflects their years of song writing experience and honing of their instrumental abilities to make what is “definitely an evolution in Ask Alice’s sound.”, per Annie. Oh, and the dolls…If you haven’t already heard, Ask Alice is rocking 2014 with a residency at the Doll Hut in Anaheim every Thursday this February…starting this Thursday, Feb 6th.
Like many bands, Laura told the age old story of band burnout the first time around where “we played a bunch of shows, anywhere and everywhere we could. I think we just got a little burnt out. After some time went by we all really missed playing together so we decided to get Ask Alice back together.” Having learned their lesson, they still plan on playing a bunch of shows but will be more picky about it and want to offer up a bit of variety when it comes to the venues and festivals or events where they commit to perform. With their residency at the Doll Hut this month, they have made it clear that they also want to offer up variety when it comes to the bands that will be playing with them on any given night, as Annie shared, “What’s super cool about the Doll Hut residency is that we’ve been able to book each night with bands that we love, making each night really special and unique.” When asked how the residency came about, Laura had to admit that “Luckily, AJ has some amazing hookups.” In fact, AJ works with “Mac the new owner of the Doll Hut…so Ask Alice has good rapport with the Doll Hut. All we had to do was hint at a residency and it was ours.” I have actually noticed that a number of bands are doing the residency gigs nowadays and Annie provided some insight that “Residencies give bands like us a temporary home, which is nice considering most bands are just wild packs of nomads.”
On more than one occasion during the interview, Annie referred to sex and the band, but it isn’t what you think at all. Or, is it? Craigslist? Hmmmmmm… “Being in a band is like being in a sexless relationship. Sometimes you hate each other, sometimes you’re best friends.”…“Unlike most all-guy bands, none of us have actually slept together. There is no Fleetwood Mac’ing in Ask Alice.” What are you trying to say, Annie? Jeez…way to take all the fun out of it, by squashing what could likely be the fantasy for many of your fans. For the record, the first quote is in relation to Annie talking about their previous experiences and the band getting back together. However, the second was about something that their fans and Long Beach don’t know, but between the reference to bands being like “wild packs of nomads” (a.k.a. gypsies) and “Fleetwood Mac’ing”, I can’t help but think their might be a little love for Stevie Nicks there. I could be wrong or it could be a freudian slip thing. Come on, Annie, just confess that you love Stevie…we won’t judge. All joking aside, actually these girls love to joke and they enjoy being around each other, whether music is involved or not. But, really, when is music never involved?
All bands have those “Doh! moments” on stage and I have even seen AJ fall on more than one occasion, while performing in the SAME night. However, when it comes to being embarrassed by whatever could possibly happen on stage, she said, “That’s what my hair is for….to cover my red face!” And, speaking of hair, Laura loves to call AJ, “Hanson or mmmbop because she looks like them sooooo much!” For Annie, playing a guitar and singing can be a double whammy in increasing those embarrassing moments on stage, to the point where she exclaimed, “Oh God, when are we NOT embarrassed??? I forget lyrics ALL the time. To my own stupid songs. What a loser. Maybe I should get a wireless headset and start walking through the crowd like Wynonna Judd!!! “I saw the light in your window tonight…..”.” However, I think my favorite recounting of a “less than flawless moment” on stage for the band was from Laura and a show they had at the Prospector, where “It was our friends’ birthday, so we played a few of her requests. When it came time to play her number one request, Tambourine, right before the song started, Annie broke a string, AJ’s guitar strap broke off and I didn’t have my shaker or tambourine. So here we are fumbling through one of our fan favorite songs with me air playing a shaker and tambourine, Annie with broken strings, and AJ somehow propping up her guitar. It was a sight to see for sure.” Air shaker or tambourine? Is this another Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac reference? Way to reduce the cool factor…actually, Laura is an awesome drummer and I bet her air drumming would be more “rock star quality” than a shaker or tambourine could ever be.
When asked if they all have nicknames for each other, AJ put the brakes on and said “Are you trying to split the band up again? Ha!”. Nooooooo!!!! That is the last thing I would want to do, so next question, topic, anything…ummmmmm, I got it! When asked what they would say to Long Beach and their fans, AJ, Laura and Annie responded respectively, “Thank you for your constant, continual support and loyalty for the past several years…Our fans make all of our hard work worthwhile…Stop asking us to play Free Bird!!! Jezzzz.” Ah, Free Bird! I admit that when I saw them play a few weeks ago, I did make that joke…I did yell out “FREE BIRD!” at the end of their set.
If you get this threesome talking about the Long Beach music scene, they all share similar sentiments where “Long Beach is the best city to play”, “LB is home” and “There are so many great venues”. Those are facts, so I can’t and I won’t argue with them about any of it, because it is easy to understand where Annie is coming from when she said, “ Every venue we play here is like playing for the home team. Alex’s Bar, Que Sera, Prospector, Clancy’s, DiPiazza’s, the MadHaus…the list goes on and on. It’s the perfect location to get our OC friends and our LA friends in one central place.” They love Long Beach and they consider it home (for at least 2/3s of them anyway…way to be the loner, AJ), which allows for them to rock a little extra hard at every show in Long Beach, in front of crowds full of fans, family and both new & “soon to be” Ask Alice groupies.
Besides offering up some great shows at the Doll Hut this month, Ask Alice wants to share their new video of their song LOADED and offer up a free download of their album. Wait a minute! I need to go download the album…ok, I am back….and so are Ask Alice. 2014 is offering up a year of music evolution, while starting what could be a Long Beach rock revolution for these ladies who will make it clear that they are not having just another “come back”, they are making it known that this time around they are here to stay. So, put down those dolls, grab some guitars and a drum kit, and join Ask Alice at the Doll Hut in Anaheim this month…but, don’t yell…FREE BIRD!!!