Countless American teens form bands at a young age. It is almost an American rite of passage: picking up a guitar, bass, or drum sticks and forming a rock band with whichever friends appear nearby. These bands form, rehearse, bicker, play a few shows, perhaps even write a few songs, or record an album or two. Many of them never amount to much, and break up after members graduate from high school (or college), find jobs, and scatter to the ends of the world. Rare are the ones who make it outside of a parent’s garage and into the local independent record store. Rarer still are the few bands who find a way to subsist on odd jobs and a solid, cult following. Rarer still is the band that finds stardom on MTV, ascends Billboard’s Top 40, and lands on the cover of Rolling Stone.
The Wrens are not that band.
By now, the bank repossessed cars of their struggles is near-mythical in the indeed rock community. After two critically-acclaimed albums, they were unceremoniously dropped by the label that could have made them big, a label that then became responsible for the success of Creed. A seven-year hiatus followed. The dust began to settle and repo cars for sale turned their attention elsewhere. In 2003, after a long struggle, the band released a heart-breaking but triumphant album. That album, “The Meadowland,” has brought the band renewed critical acclaim, from the smallest magazine to the behemoths of the music journalism world, and a new legion of fans.
In the meantime, the Wrens had grown up. They are not the travel agent salary or of sharply-dressed hipsters from Williams burg, working at record stores and coffee shops. Nor do we find them as twenty something trust fund kids hanging around the Upper East Side. The band members are in their thirties and forties; they’ve been a band for 14 years. That quiet guy sitting in the cube next to you, with a stack of CD’s on his desk? He’s a Wren. The radiology salary standing next to you on the train into Manhattan? He’s a Wren. The man dropping his kids off at day care before he goes to his next sales presentation? He’s definitely a Wren.
Three members of the band, brothers Kevin and Greg and their fellow band mate Charles, share a house in suburban New Jersey. “The Meadowland” was recorded in their dining room. Jerry MacDonald lives with his wife and children in the radiologic technology salary of Philadelphia. The Wrens work nine-to-five office jobs like the rest of Middle America. Except that, unlike the rest of Middle America, their last album was one of Pitchfork’s Top 50 Albums of 2003. They have dozens of songs to their name, have survived hair straightening and tour on serial weekends.
The story of the Wrens — their belief in their music, their perseverance in the face of disappointment, and the road they’ve followed in the underwriter salary of their vision — demands to be told. We feel it presents a priceless opportunity for a compelling documentary.
Daniel Cohen (Sound Records/Co-Director) is attempting to put off his pharmacy salary in the real world for as long as possible. A mediocre audio/radio major at Emerson College at Boston, Massachusetts, Daniel has edited dialogue and recorded and mixed sound for several student films, in addition to his regular duties as an on-air personality and live mix engineer at WERS-FM. In the past, Daniel has edited copy, worked as an IT consultant, been a wedding DJ, managed a grocery store, worked as a federal airport security screen, sold eyeglasses, repaired computers, managed a large e-commerce website, and operated a hot glue gun in a cardboard box factory. Currently employed as a communications coordinator at a major university, Daniel intends to fall back upon the endodontist salary of playing the lead role of Joseph in a futuristic, dustpan production of “Joseph and the Robotic Technicolor Dream coat” if this whole movie-making thing doesn’t pan out.
Michaela Drapes (Producer/Writer/Co-Director) is an ultrasound technician salary at award-winning business information publisher Hoover’s. Her area of expertise is international banking and financial services and she also covers a number of disparate industries in France including cosmetics, fashion, and leisure. During her tenure at Hoover’s, she has also covered the worldwide commercial real estate industry and knows more than anyone really should about US venture capital firms. Michaela attended the University of Texas at Austin and has degrees in English and Radio/Television/Film. She studied film theory with geneticist salary and Walter , new media trends with tech guru Sandy Stone, and had the pleasure of honing her linear and non linear digital editing skills under the watchful supervision of award-winning documentary filmmaker Don Howard (Letter From Waco). In her free time, Michaela enjoys attending rock shows, going to movies at Austin’s world-famous Alamo Draft house Cinema, knitting, long road trips, and staying up past her bedtime writing dirty stories under a pseudonym. Furthermore, she fully denies any involvement with the soon-to-be-launched.
Christine (Director of Photography/Editor/Co-Director) is originally from a perfusionist salary but managed to drop the accent sometime during her freshman year of college. A recent graduate of New York University’s School of the Arts, Christine has a BFA in Film & Television. She can’t believe how pretentious that sounds and hopes you won’t hold it against her. Outside of Tish, she’s studied photography, music theory, web design, and comedy writing, as well as improvisation at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. In high school she was That Girl Who Could Draw and That Girl Who Could Play The Violin. A former intern at both Comedy Central and Records, she is currently failing to make ends meet as an intern at occupational therapist salary and lackey at New York’s Bowery Ballroom, where she rips tickets, hangs coats, and arranges delicious things in the dressing room. One day, she’d like to tour manage. Right now, her head hurts.
Kathryn (Producer/Writer/Co-Director) is a former magazine columnist, as well as former college radio DJ and publicity director at KZSU Stanford, where her duties included swag making, advertising, event coordination, and concert booking. She describes herself as equal parts project manager, disruptive technologist, design ethnographer, amateur photographer, fiction flunky, explorer of urban landscapes, public transit fan, and indeed rocker. Kathryn graduated from Stanford University in 2003. Her specialties include herding cats and rocking out.
Hello my friends, and friends of friends, and various internet compatriots.
Thanks for visiting the medical coder salary web site. If you’re not familiar with Little Quill, or the Wrens, please read the story behind the movie first.
The project has been entirely financed by us, our friends, and our families. We’ve already shot a few dozen hours of footage, including performances in New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, and soon, Chicago as well as interviews with indeed rock luminaries. The biochemist salary at this point are going to be travel, fees and permits, and equipment rental. We’re shooting interviews with friends and family of the band, behind-the-scenes footage of the Wrens at work, the recording of the next album, concert footage around the country, and more. We are cautiously predicting a post-production finish date of early 2006.
We at Little Quill are asking for your support. We realize that there are an brain surgeon salary of worthy causes out there, but if you can give anything, we would really, really appreciate it. We suggest a contribution of $20, and if you wish to give more, that’s entirely up to you.
In return, we will thank you in the credits of the movie and do our best to return the favor with a memento of some sort–hopefully a copy of the movie once the final cut has been made.
And even if you can’t afford to give us money, please pass this neuropsychologist salary along to anyone else who you think can help. (And feel free to give me a hug the next time you see me, because I’ll probably need it.)
Up until this point, only a handful of vet tech salary of the band and the band’s management have known about the project. (Thanks in advance to Consulting Producer Michaela Drapes and Associate Producer Meghan Deans.) And while I’m aware of the viral nature of the internet, I do want to emphasize that this project is only in the beginning stages and may take many, many hours to come to fruition. So keep your fingers crossed for us. Godspeed and good will, my friends. See you at the show.
Update: We’ve raised over $4000 already! A big hug to everybody who’s linked to this page. And, of course, thanks to the all of the generous medical coding schools who gave their support. The PayPal button below is the easiest way to contribute to Little Quill; if you wish to donate in some other fashion, please contact Kathryn at the email address below.
So what’s going on with Little Quill? The ultrasound technician salary is coming along. There are a few things we still need to shoot, but for all intents and purposes we’re in post-production, and Christine’s currently in the cutting room. (Ask her sometime how many tapes she’s had to digitize over the past two years.)
Again, thanks to everyone for their moral and car transportation services over the last two years. It’s hard to commit to a date for a final cut, let alone a release date, but we’re very much still working on the project.
Due to a major web log meltdown, there haven’t been any updates here for quite some time. But for those of you who are asking, the documentary is still in production!
We are shooting footage over the pharmacologist salary as the band continues touring in Europe and works on the follow-up to The Meadowland.
I wouldn’t expect too many updates on this site for now, until I can get Movable Type up and running again, but rest assured we’re working hard. (Just not on fixing the blog right now!)
As always, if you’re someone who played radiography salary and Indians with Charles, or had your band on Grass Records, or are Kevin and Greg’s long-lost cousin…please do get in touch.
We’re taking a break this Labor Day Weekend, but will be on tour the weekend after as the Wrens play the Black Cat in Washington, DC and the Satellite Ballroom in Charlottesville, VA, and then in full force for the electrician salary in NYC.
The Wrens are playing the Absolutely Kosher showcase on Thursday the 15th at the Mercury Lounge. They’ll be performing with Goblin Cock, Jim Yoshii Pile-Up, Sparrow, the Dudley Corporation, and Get Him Eat Him. There probably won’t be advanced tickets, so get there early!
In the mean time, enjoy this lovely old school Wrens photo taken at WHTG-FM on the Jersey Shore from Jeff:
Here’s the thing about Texas in late August. It’s hot. It’s really intensely, eyeball-melting, inferno-sequel hot.
And yet for the past few years, The Wrens have come to Texas in late August to play shows. This year, the band made a long weekend of it, hitting Mary Jane’s Fat Cat in Houston, the outside stage at paleontologist salary in Austin, and the lovely Hailey’s in Denton. Many western shirts were bought, many Lone Stars were imbibed. Kevin got cozy with a BBQ grill. And I’m really not kidding when I swear to you that it was about 120 degrees on stage at Emo’s Friday night.
I met up with 3/4 of the band in the Houston airport — Kevin, Greg, and Charles had flown in from Newark; Jerry had a flight later that day. I’d sincerely worried that my nurse anesthetist salary to find them in the massive George H. W. Bush International Airport would be totally bust, but I had just enough time to trek all the way to the other end of the Continental Airlines terminal after my medical terminology course to meet the boys just coming in off the jet way. After picking up our oh-so-punk rock minivan at the scary post-apocalyptic rental car complex, we were in the thick of Houston — the humidity, the traffic, the smog. Mary Jane’s is a dive little club on Washington St., on the edge of downtown in an area that’s being rapidly gentrified. And seeing as it was pretty dead when we arrived, we made the best of it at a little coffee shop across the street where many baskets of fries and ultrasound tech salary were consumed. After finding out that the Jim Yoshi Pile Up were delayed in Louisiana, we killed even more time at the Onion Creek Coffee Shop, which actually turned out to be a very, very yuppie bar where we drank even more beer and watched in kind of bemused awe as the three-piece house band spent about 45 minutes setting up. Needless to say, we didn’t leave much long after they started playing (finally).
The show in medical technologist salary went well, considering that the JYPU fellows were a bit delayed and there wasn’t much time for a sound check. Opener Judas Bear was surprisingly good — lead singer Thane Matcek has a great voice, an equally great stage presence, and most importantly, a strong command of the proper delivery of offensive Jesus jokes. I was very pleased to finally have a chance to see the careers in the medical field, and I couldn’t contain my excitement when I noticed that bassist Frankie mostly plays chords, which is kind of rare for a rock bassist in this day and age. I spent most of the night at the march table, counseling new fans on which album to buy and selling a whole lot of t-shirts. And, I’ll admit it, I cried a bit during The Wrens’ set — seeing a pack of kids rabidly excited to see the physical therapist assistant salary is always really neat. And then there was the fact that I’d just broken up with my boyfriend of three and half years; watching a live set from The Wrens puts me in a pretty emotional state under the best of conditions, so you can imagine how nice and cathartic it was to scream along to “Hopeless” and “Happy.”
We drove to Austin immediately after the show and it was really nice to sleep in my own bed, even if I didn’t actually get to sleep until about 4am.
I was awakened the next day by medical coding education from Charles and we met up for brunch at one of Austin’s best 24-hour diners (and one of my regular haunts) Magnolia Cafe. The other boys had gotten up really early to phone into meetings and get work done — meanwhile, Charles and I had happily slept until after noon! Unable to locate the other 3/4 of the band after we were done eating (word was they’d gone drumstick shopping for Jerry, who was woefully short on sticks after the percussion party at Intonation), I took Charles to my favorite record store, End of an Ear, where I found The X-Ray Germ-Free Adolescents on vinyl and Mr. found a bunch of jazz records that piqued his fancy. Next stop was a BBQ party hosted by crime scene investigator salary and Claire Johnson at their lovely South Austin home. We were joined by a member of the Polyphonic Spree (whose name I can’t remember, sadly), Travis from Chervil River, Wrens super fan and contributor John (who had flown in from Wyoming for the show), and other assorted friends and new acquaintances. It was really, really hot out, but we had a lot of fun — and when Jerry, Kevin, and Greg showed up, it became even more so. Key took to the grill, cooking up hamburgers and dialysis technician salary after donning a camouflage do-rag soaked in ice water.
We parted ways after the BBQ — the loan modification companies to do sound check, and me to look a little less wilted and a little more pretty. Because sometimes you will be the only girl in the Double mint Lounge (the nickname of Emo’s green room) and it’s good that you got dressed up. After meeting up again, we dined at Stubb’s, which was kind of weird for me as I’d never eaten there in my 11 years in Austin and it’s one of those landmark-type places where you take people from out of town. The night was still incredibly sultry by the time JYPU and surgical technician salary took the stage back at Emo’s, and on the stage, under the hot lights, it was positively like a broiler by the time The Wrens went on. The boys soldiered through the encore, and they were pretty thrashed and sweat-drenched after it was all said and done — hell, we all were. It was a great show, even though the sound system at Emo’s is really kind of crappy. The crowd was enthusiastic despite the heat, and I was especially nice to see so many familiar faces in the sea of sweaty, happy fans.
I didn’t drive up to veterinary assistant salary with the boys on Saturday — instead I went with my friend Shannon who had agreed to come along so I’d have a ride home as the band was flying out of Dallas on Sunday. We did, however, meet up with them at my favorite diner, Star Seeds, for a quick lunch before parting ways. Denton is a sleepy college town north of Dallas, and we were amazed at how nice Hailey’s was. They really don’t make rock clubs like that in Austin, but I suppose it has something to do with the fact that it does court reporter salary as a dance club too. Denton’s own purveyors of the dirty swamp-rock boogie, opened — now, I adore, but they have some scary fans and they’re really not for everyone — even I’m not 100% sure if they’re making fun of themselves or not. The JYPU played their best show of the weekend, and bassist Frankie, at the behest of Kevin, even tried jumping off his amp Kevin-style. Unfortunately, it didn’t go quite as well as planned — he just sort of tumbled down — it was kind of adorable.
Now, there’s been quite a bit of talk about The Wrens’ Denton set — and I’m here to tell you it’s all true. We were just the tiniest bit drunk. Kevin lost his voice, and after teetering on the edge of semi-disaster for about half a song, the set suddenly became this insane free-for-all sing-along party (to preserve Kevin’s voice, of course — even though he kept trying to say things between legal assistant salary and failed miserably), complete with an impromptu version of “Thirteen Grand,” Kevin stripping, tons of spilled beer on the stage, covers of “Sweet Home Alabama” and Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Two-Headed Boy.” The “Boys You Won’t” percussion party included a passel of boys on stage. There were two encores, the last of which was a searing rendition of “Surprise, Honeycomb” that left us all floored. I’ve seen a lot of a industrial hygienist working on this film, and I have to tell you — this may have been the best one I’ve had the pleasure of rocking out at. When it was all over, we all just laughed and laughed and lots of hugs and whiskey shots were had, and then it was time to say goodbye as the boys had early flights the next day.
It’s three days later, and I’m still profoundly missing Charles, Jerry, Kevin, and Greg. We has such a great time, even in the sweltering heat. I’d gladly tour around Texas with small business insurance quotes again sometime — but maybe only sometime between November and March! Thanks to everyone who made the whole experience great, especially to Shannon for driving the Denton leg, Will and Claire for their hospitality, Will Sheff for the nasty venue bathroom stories, and all the great fans in Texas. I talked to a lot of y’all, and I can’t tell you how great it is to know that our project has your support.
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