Monthly Archives: September 2009

You lie. That’s what I said to Joe.

My dearest friend:

So, THIS is why I don’t like to tell you about tours until we’re actually in the car and on our way, and new releases until they’re manufactured and ready to be shipped from the distributor (or, more appropriately, until they’re uploaded to the internet for less-than-legal downloading). Those east coast dates we were planning in celebration of my 69th birthday? Not happening. You can return the gifts. We shelved the dates yesterday. Joe lives to make a liar of me. You may have seen hints of this cancellation if you’re following the new cult (does four followers constitute a cult?) hit twitter show “Pernice to Me.” It’s too bad really, because one day, when Joe was actually speaking to me, he told me he was planning in this next round of shows, to do all those songs you always ask for that he’ll never play. Bastard.

Anyway, bad news for east coasters (now you know what it feels like to be a Pernice fan in say Dublin or Chile) is good news for everyone else (except, arguably, me and my neighbors) because James, Menck, Bob and Joe will descend on Ashmont World HQ (Charlie’s house, where I also live) in November/December to complete the record they started last year, though it seems like they started it right around the time a certain Greek technocrat from Massachusetts let himself be photographed in a tank. (That gives me a cover idea.) We didn’t have a choice, since it’s difficult to get on James’ dance card these days, and this is the only time he’s available (James – I don’t care how big a star you are, you still have to share the sofa bed with Menck when you get here. This is no Knights Inn). We also feel bad about tearing Menck away from his lovely wife at Thanksgiving, but not that bad, because honestly, we’re kind of doing her a favor. I will of course live tweet the proceedings until such time as I am asked to leave my own house.

We don’t actually know what this record IS yet – whether it’s a follow-up to Live a Little or something else entirely. And when I say “we,” I mean Joe, because I haven’t heard any of it yet, though if I had, I would certainly have an opinion, as you can imagine. I suppose I could walk up to the third floor, turn the machines on and do a little mixing. Joe would like that. But it’s a long, lonely walk up to the third floor, and I generally get distracted by something shiny before I make it up there.  At any rate, I expect it’ll see the light of day in the first half of 2010. 

In the meantime, I want to remind you that Sept. 30 is the deadline for tweeting a review of Joe’s book It Feels So Good When I Stop so that you might win a Kindle. So far, there are some good ones, and there are also some comprised of such vile, contemptible nonsense, they make me wonder on what planet you spend most of your time. And can I come visit?

The prize will be a new Kindle, loaded with 10 of Joe’s favorite books. (I expect this will mean a lot of Jonathan Coe and B.S. Johnson.) There are no rules, save those imposed by Twitter’s format – 140 characters, less the 7 you’ll use to put “Pernice” in there somewhere so I can find it (very important). You can write as many of them as you want. You can just read the reviews, which I posted here –– and steal liberally if you like. Plagiarism is the new creativity.

Also, just FYI, Joe has decided NOT to run for the Senate seat vacated by the late, great Ted Kennedy. He’d have to move back to the States, and that would mean giving up his health coverage from Canada. He’s not willing to do it. I will also decline to seek that seat, since I can’t win. In Massachusetts, we don’t elect women to the Senate. Progressive my ass.

My personal projects? Thanks for asking. I am going to wash the curtains and have my gutters cleaned (not a euphemism).

That’s it for now. You guys are kind to stick it out with us, as we’ve seldom offered anything more than disappointment.

Your faithful servant,

Joyce in Dorchester


Personal to -

Mark in Philadelphia: Sorry, I won’t be coming, You’ll have to avoid me without my help.

Tom in Hamilton: Oh, you’re adorable! Does your wife know how adorable you are?

Mike in Nashville: That’s precisely the kind of defeatism we embrace here at Ashmont, and we’re proud to have you as a member of what we like to think of as our extended family.

Jen in Seattle: I wish we were friends in real life too! You do live far away though, don’t you?

Jim in DC: I also feel privileged to be living in the personal renaissance of your social networking age, even though I have NO idea what you’re trying to say.

(That’ll teach you people to write to me!)

The Day My Mama Socked it to the Harper Valley PTA: Country Music in the Second Wave of Feminism (my masters thesis)

I made a Spotify playlist of most of the songs mentioned in this paper. It’s here:


Circus travel, WIN A KINDLE, friendless orphans

My Dearest Friend:

Oh what fun we had. For those of you who weren’t following my live tweeting of the Pernice family circus drive from Chicago to Minneapolis on Saturday, here’s where we stand. I was fired, then re-hired. I resigned after filing ethnic and sexual discrimination charges, after which I was subpoenaed. Then I re-upped, and was quickly put on employee probation. I asked to be dropped off at the nervous hospital, and was refused, and finally named employee of the month. I think that’s where it stopped, though it’s possible Joe and I dissolved our partnership in the end —in which case this mailing constitutes illegal use of company property.  (At least until we figure out who of you Joe gets custody of, and who are coming with me.

It was nice to meet so many of you in Chicago and Minneapolis. I know this is crazy talk, but you were SO nice that I was driven just to the brink of having my faith in people restored. Don’t worry though, these uncharacteristic impulses were completely arrested when, on my flight from Minneapolis to Boston, I was quickly reacquainted with the arm rest hog, line cutter, oblivious parent, lung-cougher-upper and drinking businessman loud talker, a particularly odious animal. My disdain for humanity intact, I resume my rightful place as Cynic-in-Chief of a quasi-government agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In Minneapolis, someone told Joe they “really like the emails his wife sends out to the fans.” I wish with all my icy heart that hadn’t been on the last night of tour, because I would have offered a free Charlie bag to anyone who would walk up and say that to him. The degree to which it would drive him bananas would make me a happy, happy girl. And his wife thinks it’s funny.


I really don’t have any news to tell you. Sure, I could make up a bunch of stuff to confuse and throw you off the top-secret destructive trail of the patented and proven Pernice/Ashmont career trajectory, but we all know how that would end. I’d hate you for making me lie to you, and you’d let me hate you for being lied to. But, I did want to write and remind you about the little twitter contest we’re having. Whoever tweets the best review of Joe’s recently published book, It Feels So Good When I Stop (Riverhead) could win a new Kindle, loaded with 10 of Joe’s favorite books. There are no rules, save those imposed by Twitter’s format – 140 characters, including the 7 you MUST use to put “Pernice” in there somewhere so I can find it (very important). The deadline is September 30, 2009, and you can write as many of them as you want. You can just read the reviews, which I posted here –– and steal liberally if you like. The judges will be Megan, Joe’s high-powered editor at Riverhead, and Chris, his fancy-pants New York City agent, as well as the old curmudgeon himself. We’ve had some nice entries so far, including a few that aren’t from members of the Pernice family.


This week, I should have some news about some more east coast dates. If the dates hold, and I actually go out this time (if I feel like I haven’t heard quite enough Irish jokes, or too many new words for particular parts of the male anatomy) we will be celebrating my 65th birthday during the next run of dates. If you’re near those cities, we should plan on hooking up and doing something fun, to take advantage of my new senior discount.  I have no news at all about recording, and am starting to think that what I told you last time I wrote, about the “supergroup,” was just vicious gossip designed to test my broadcast reach. All I can tell you is that every half hour or so, Joe says, “Linehan, what are you doing in January? Wouldn’t you like to go to Club Med to relax and work on that melanoma? Or maybe go on one of those travel adventures where you dig an irrigation ditch in a poor section of Antarctica? Maybe meet a nice and extraordinarily patient man who could put up with you?  You deserve a break. How does the whole month of January sound? It’ll be your treat. You’ve been social networking really hard. I totally think you should go. If you leave a key under the mat, I’ll bring in your mail every day.” I think he’s trying to get rid of me to stage an HQ takeover, which means recording in the man cave that used to be my arts and crafts room. As I’ve said before, I won’t know anything for sure until someone hands me a master tape and says, “Here you go, girlie. Get to work.”

And with that, I will. Get to work that is.

I can sell you stuff at, though you’ve probably already bought all that I’m selling. Also, we’re on facebook –

Your humble servant,



Dorchester, MA

Personal to Jack, who says he’s sure my friends and family find me funny, but wishes I wouldn’t write so much or often: I am a friendless orphan. You guys ARE my friends and family.


Tweet and win, with commentary

My dearest friend,

Greetings from Boston, where there’s a distinct hint of autumn in the air, heralding beloved fall traditions. There’s leaf-peeping, covered extensively in earlier posts. There’s my overwhelming urge to buy new shoes. And there’s the traditional sticking of a giant UHaul truck under an overpass on Storrow Drive by a Boston University freshman who thought the “low clearance” and “no commercial vehicles” signs were meant for someone else. Pretty colors, new shoes and the opportunity to laugh at self-absorbed people other than myself – it’s definitely my favorite season.


It’s been suggested that I don’t spend enough time on Twitter*, tweeting, retweeting, chirping or whatever it is you kids are doing there. So, the Board of Overseers at Ashmont has decided to have a contest, to see who can write the best Twitter review of Joe’s recently published book, It Feels So Good When I Stop (Riverhead). The prize will be a new Kindle, loaded with 10 of Joe’s favorite books. (I expect this will mean a lot of Jonathan Coe and B.S. Johnson, and probably won’t include Judy Blume, as I’ve suggested, because as you know if you’ve seen recent episodes of the new hit Twitter series “Pernice to Me,” he doesn’t listen to me often. I wanted the prize to be a weekend on Cape Cod with Joe’s whole family and me, but Joe said that sounded less pleasant than a weekend in Guantanamo Bay during a hurricane.) There are no rules, save those imposed by Twitter’s format – 140 characters, less the 7 you’ll use to put “Pernice” in there somewhere so I can find it (very important). The deadline is September 30, 2009, 12 midnight NDT (Newfoundland is my favorite province*) and you can write as many of them as you want. You can just read the reviews, which I posted here –– and steal liberally. It’s what I would do. Your review doesn’t even have to be good. I mean, it has to be “good” to win, but it doesn’t have to be favorable. Of course, I only posted favorable reviews, because I feel strongly that the First Amendment has no business on our website, and further, that it should only apply to people I like. I feel the same way about the Second Amendment.  Only people I like should be armed (and more importantly, only people that like me). And the Nineteenth, come to think of it. Only girls I like should be able to vote. And which amendment gave guys the right to vote? Because whichever one that is should probably just be repealed. But I digress. The judges will be Megan, Joe’s high-powered editor at Riverhead, and Chris, his fancy-pants New York City agent, and the old curmudgeon himself. I can’t judge because it took me more than 20 years to graduate college, and also because I am likely to pick a tweet pertaining to Tom Pernice the golfer. As everyone knows, I’ll travel a really, really long way, crawling over glass and through fire to get to a punch line, even if it’s not very funny. It’s actually the one personality trait Joe and I share, though naturally, I’m funnier. I’ve taken the liberty of writing a few sample tweet reviews, just so you get an idea.

My name is Joe Pernice. Please buy my book, and also my entire back catalogue. Thank you.

Pernice. The Sub Pop lady in the book is not based on Joyce unless you find her vexing and intriguing, in which case it’s totally her.

Lou Barlow is way more of a jerk than Pernice makes him in the book. And no one lives happily ever after.

See. It MUST have “Pernice” in it. Don’t come crying to me if you screw up. Also, anyone tweeting what they had for lunch is automatically disqualified.


So we just got back from the west coast, which was fun. The shows were great, with many special guest stars. We taped a lot of it, and my high school friend Anne is working on downloading, so I can upload for you. I imagine this will be about as interesting as watching hours of 7-11 surveillance tapes, since there are about eight shows worth. I got her to perform this daunting task by promising I would never reveal how old we are. Personally, I’m not ashamed of my age. I EARNED these two barely perceptible lines around my sparkling eyes, worrying about the fact that I was going to be late for my chemical peel while sitting in traffic on the Southeast Expressway, and I’m proud of them. I also consider that Anne and I are even now, though in high school she asked the boy I was going to ask to the prom. It all worked out though, because I convinced the committee to book a band I managed as the entertainment, and thus, was on the guest list for my own prom. Also, Anne’s date is STILL incarcerated at MCI Concord, so it’s not like we had a future anyway, at least until his parole hearing in 2015.

Anyway, the west coast. Joe did some nice live broadcasts in various places, and I have posted them here ( Bob Pernice, James Walbourne and Peyton Pinkerton showed up and played, which was fun. Last I saw the three of them, it was about 3 a.m. and they were headed down Market Street in the general vicinity of the Tenderloin in San Francisco. I hope they’re alright. If you see them out there, tell them to Skype home. Getting to see John Cunningham play was a particular treat, and made the summer air travel with amateurs and petri dishes worth it. I like this guy so much that I even spent a day very uncharacteristically behaving like a tourist with him, which is to say, if you ever come to Boston, I’ll meet you for a drink*, but it won’t be at Cheers. I don’t care how much money you’ve spent in our web store.

It was nice to meet those of you I met. You were all lovely*, except for the one guy in San Francisco who said, “Oh wow, are you the email lady?” But the look of sheer terror on his face when he realized this designation displeased me provided laughs for Jose and me for days to come, so all is forgiven. Some of you brought gifts, which was an unexpected delight, and we promise not to sell any of them on ebay*. In Los Angeles, we were thrilled to finally get to meet the lovely Mrs. Menck.  Bob Pernice was especially smitten, and said to her, “How does a guy like Ric get a girl like you?” See? THAT’S why we don’t take Bob on the road often. I mean, we’re ALL thinking it, sure, but no one SAYS it. I also got to meet Amy Sherman-Palladino, Dan Palladino and Helen Pai, the geniuses behind Gilmore Girls, which was one of my favorite shows ever. I know it’s a girly show, but I liked it so much that I think I might have some extra X chromosomes. Aside from making this great television, they licensed many songs from us, singlehandedly making our revenue line every single year we’ve been in business, and even put Joe on the show once. I can’t believe he didn’t get an Emmy nod for that guest spot. He was robbed.


Next weekend, we head out to the Midwest – Friday in Chicago and Saturday in Minneapolis. I haven’t been to Chicago since the ’68 Convention*, and we all know THAT didn’t end well for me. I’m hoping things are a little less contentious this time*, and there will be no arrests. But no promises. I haven’t ever been to Minneapolis* though I feel like I was there when Chuckles the Clown was laid to rest ("A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants."). If you do come to the shows, there’s no need to bring us gifts (see above). Your being there (plus the ticket price and whatever you spend on merch) is our gift. But if you insist – even though I’m telling you that it’s not necessary – but if you were raised by well-mannered people who taught you how to treat guests properly – keep in mind that Joe is partial to all things Major League Baseball and BMX. Jose is into Andy Roddick and the US Open, and if presented with anything related, he’ll jump up and down and clap like a seal, which isn’t as undignified as it sounds. I like weapons-grade moisturizers that cost more than $20 an ounce (even on sale); suede Converse One Stars, men’s size 7 (Like Cowboy Curtis said: “You know what they say – Big shoes, big feet.”); and religious icons (particularly the Marys; Saints Rita – baseball, unofficial; Christopher – travel, and I don’t care that they kicked him out; Therese of Lisieux – too damaged to get into here; Jude – lost causes; Clare of Assisi – television; and Gerard Majella – lady stuff). Also, my favorite color is platinum. And if you bring baked goods, that’s great, but please be prepared to sample them in front of me. I’m not concerned for myself, and can certainly see why you’d want to poison me. But I have to be careful with Joe. He’s my meal ticket.  I won’t be at the Toronto show on 9/ 24 though, so no baked goods at all there please.


I don’t know what to tell you, except that I suspect things are changing. When on the west coast, I walked in on several conversations between Joe and his musical compatriots that stopped suddenly when I was spotted. This happens frequently, but normally means the conversation might not be suitable for lady ears, such as mine. However, Cunningham was in on these, and since he’s a gentleman of the hold-the-door, buy-the-lady’s-latte variety, I don’t believe this was that. All I heard was “pssspssspss mumble mumble Christmas goose” or “pssspssspss mumble mumble supergroup” – not sure which. I have deduced this means either they all plan to spend Christmas at Ashmont HQ (also known as my house) and expect me to cook Christmas dinner (which, if true, will be more of a Hannaford’s rotisserie chicken or Chinese food than a Christmas goose) OR it means they all plan to record together soon. I will let you know when I figure it out, which will probably be around the time I’m handed a master tape and told, “Get it done. There’s a good girl.”

The book that Joe and I plan to co-write – Mistakes We Made and Didn’t Learn From: The Story of Ashmont Records, is indefinitely shelved.

We’re working on booking a few November shows on the east coast, but because we’re old and creatures of habit, we’ll be doing EXACTLY the same cities we did in August – Boston, New York, Philly and DC. I know, I know. And I’m sorry*.


We are now carrying copies of the new book in the store at, even though we said we wouldn’t. You all know by now I am not to be trusted. We also have the Charlie Ashmont tees back in stock in new colors and sizes, and at Charlie’s insistence, $1 from every one of his shirts sold goes to or Oh, and I think there might be one of you who hasn’t already bought 2 copies of the new record, It Feels So Good When I Stop (Novel Soundtrack) and I have to ask – what are you waiting for? Our friends at One Little Indian in London are releasing it in the UK and Europe later this month, and they’re also making vinyl. I will import some for the one guy that keeps writing to me under different names asking for it.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for spending WAY too much time with me today. You’re a trooper. We welcome your correspondence, but remember – those teachers who told you that spelling and grammar aren’t important were wrong. They sold you a bill of goods. As have I.

Your humble servant,

Joyce in Dorchester

Personal to Matt in Dearborn: Am too*.

Personal to Russell in Los Angeles: Am not*.

*not actually true