Quarantine Diaries: Punk Pioneer Alice Bag Is Making Homemade Masks And Getting "Fit For The Apocalypse"

Alice Bag

Photo: Denée Segall


Quarantine Diaries: Punk Pioneer Alice Bag Is Making Homemade Masks And Getting "Fit For The Apocalypse"

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors

GRAMMYs/Apr 4, 2020 - 08:41 pm

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors. Today, punk rock trailblazer Alice Bag, who's prepping to release her upcoming album, Sister Dynamite, shares her Quarantine Diary.

[9 a.m.] I slept in. I'm usually up by 6 a.m., so I think I must've slept for a solid 10 hours. I usually sip some tea and watch the news, but today I can't do it. [My husband] Greg is awake. He's made coffee, biscuits, hash browns and is working on MorningStar sausage and eggs. I turn on "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" who will serve up some laughs with our breakfast.

After breakfast, I call the dentist to cancel tomorrow's appointment. The receptionist sounds relieved. She tells me they are closing for the week except for emergencies. I have a temporary crown to replace, a porcelain one that broke two weeks ago. The receptionist tells me to call back if the temporary [crown] breaks or falls off. I'm happy to wait. 

I hope to stay away from any type of medical office for the rest of the month. Last I heard, there is a "surge" coming, a wave of sickness about to hit. It sounds ominous. I feel like I'm in the Passover scene in The Ten Commandments, where a creepy mist rolls in for the kill.

I decide to rein in my morbid daydreams. I'll wash dishes and do some housework instead.

[11 a.m.] I tried working on some music, but I can't seem to focus. The fact that the sewing machine is in the same room as my keyboard and guitar is distracting. I decide to try my hand at making some masks for my husband and daughter, who occasionally go out for groceries. I look up tutorials on YouTube, but I soon discover that I don't have the right type of elastic. 

I try making a couple of pleated masks with quarter-inch elastic, but when my husband and daughter try them on, I can see their ears folding forward at an uncomfortable angle. They smile and tell me how much they like the masks, then hurry to take them off as soon as I walk out of the room.

I take a break to clean two cups of pinto beans and leave them out to soak. I should have done this last night, but I forgot.

[Noon] I nearly forgot that I'd scheduled an interview. Calendar days mean nothing to me anymore. I need to start looking at the calendar again!

[1 p.m.] Finished my podcast interview, but now I'm too hungry to make lunch. We opt for leftover pesto pasta with vegan sausage. I used spinach instead of the usual arugula since no arugula could be found. It was still tasty.

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[3 p.m.] Now that I'm stuck at home, I've started working out to my favorite punk songs. I used to be an exercise instructor, but that was over 40 years ago. Now, I'm trying to do the sexagenarian version of The Fitness Marshall. My daughter and I watch and work out with Fitness Marshall on YouTube; it's fun, but I prefer punk music. 

I ask Greg to film me. I know my hair color has faded; my roots are showing and my bright orange hair has faded to the color of boiled shrimp. I don't look my best, but somehow I don't care. I need to get my body moving. I need some upbeat music and I'm sure there are others out there who feel the same way. Maybe I can be of some service to my community with these easy, silly workouts.

[4 p.m.] It's time to walk my dog. I used to really look forward to walking twice a day. I know I am still allowed to do it, but I recently had a bad experience where seemingly oblivious people get too close. We have narrow streets where I live. 

A couple of days ago, a few neighbors and their kid decided to stop and chat in the middle of the road with two other people. They were all clustered together, so I spoke up and asked if they could please clear a path so my dog and I could walk by. They did scoot over a couple feet for me to pass, but it was not 6 feet, and their lack of concern made me angry. If I'd been alone, I would have backtracked, but my old dog has arthritis and she refused to backtrack.

Alice Bag suits up to walk her dog

[5 p.m.] The pinto beans have been soaking for six hours, so I chop some brown onion, add a little cumin and seasoning salt and set them to simmer on low heat.

[6:30 p.m.] Start the brown rice, wash the avocado and slice it up.

[7 p.m.] For dinner, we eat bean burritos, salsa, brown rice and avocado slices and watch "Family Feud." When I was living in Nicaragua in the 1980s, I learned that a person could survive on a diet of rice and beans and that together, they make a perfect protein. The avocado and salsa is just icing on the cake. 

[7:30 p.m.] After dinner, I try to talk my family into learning to swing dance. They play along for about five minutes before remembering they have something else to do.

[8:30 p.m.] We wash dishes and clean the kitchen. I take a shower before putting on pajamas.

[10 p.m.] News and a cup of ginger tea. It's not lavender chamomile, but it'll do. I'm all out of my favorite tea. My husband says I shouldn't watch the news before bedtime. He knows doing so will only make me worry or have nightmares.

[11 p.m.] I lay in bed and look through a See's Candies catalog. I read every description and circle all my favorites. I will dream of truffles and Dark California Brittle. Sweet dreams everyone.

If you wish to support our efforts to assist music professionals in need, learn more about the Recording Academy's and MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.

If you are a member of the music industry in need of assistance, visit the MusiCares website.

Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More



Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More

The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'

GRAMMYs/Jul 8, 2019 - 10:04 pm

In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.

"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.

Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.

"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."

Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American. 

"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."

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Iggy Pop Announces New Album, 'Free', Shares Title Track

Iggy Pop

Photo: Harmony Korine


Iggy Pop Announces New Album, 'Free', Shares Title Track

"By the end of the tours following Post Pop Depression, I felt sure that I had rid myself of the problem of chronic insecurity that had dogged my life and career for too long. But I also felt drained… I wanted to be free," the Godfather of Punk explained

GRAMMYs/Jul 18, 2019 - 11:47 pm

Today, GRAMMY-nominated punk forbearer Iggy Pop revealed the details for his forthcoming 18th solo studio album, along with its short—at under two minutes—yet spacious title track, "Free." The 10-track LP is due out Sept. 6 and follow's 2016's GRAMMY-nominated Post Pop Depression.

"This is an album in which other artists speak for me, but I lend my voice," Pop explains in a press release.

The statement notes jazz trumpeter Leron Thomas and L.A.-based electric guitarist Noveller as the "principal players" collaborating with Pop on this exploratory new project. On "Free," Thomas' horn and Noveller's guitar add layers of depth, somberness and exploration, as Pop's echoing voice cuts through twice to proclaim, "I want to be free."

Pop adds that his last tour left him feeling exhausted but ready for change, and the shifts eventually led him to these new sounds:

"By the end of the tours following Post Pop Depression, I felt sure that I had rid myself of the problem of chronic insecurity that had dogged my life and career for too long. But I also felt drained. And I felt like I wanted to put on shades, turn my back, and walk away. I wanted to be free. I know that's an illusion, and that freedom is only something you feel, but I have lived my life thus far in the belief that that feeling is all that is worth pursuing; all that you need—not happiness or love necessarily, but the feeling of being free. So this album just kind of happened to me, and I let it happen."

Post Pop Depression earned the former Stooges frontman his second GRAMMY nod, at the 59th GRAMMY Awards for Best Alternative Music Album. It was produced by GRAMMY winner Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and as a tribute of sorts to David Bowie, Pop's longtime friend the producer of his first two solo albums, and was released shortly after Bowie's surprising passing.

As the press release states, "While it follows the highest charting album of Iggy's career, Free has virtually nothing in common sonically with its predecessor—or with any other Iggy Pop album."

You can pre-order and pre-save the new album now for the Sept. 6 release here. You can also check out Pop's new book, 'Til Wrong Feels Right, on Sept. 26.

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Poll: From "Dreams" To "The Chain," Which Fleetwood Mac Song Is Your Favorite?

Fleetwood Mac in 1975

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images


Poll: From "Dreams" To "The Chain," Which Fleetwood Mac Song Is Your Favorite?

"Dreams" experienced a charming viral moment on TikTok after a man posted a video skateboarding to the classic track, and now it's back on the charts, 43 years later

GRAMMYs/Oct 16, 2020 - 04:00 am

In honor of Fleetwood Mac's ethereal '70s rock classic "Dreams," which recently returned to the Billboard Hot 100 thanks to a viral TikTok skateboard video from Nathan Apodaca, we want to know which of the legendary group's songs is your favorite!

Beyond their ubiquitous 1977 No. 1 hit "Dreams," there are so many other gems from the iconic GRAMMY-winning album Rumours, as well as across their entire catalog. There's the oft-covered sentimental ballad "Landslide" from their 1975 self-titled album, the jubilant, sparkling Tango in the Night cut "Everywhere" and Stevie Nicks' triumphant anthem for the people "Gypsy," from 1982's Mirage, among many others.

Vote below in our latest poll to let us know which you love most.

Related: Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" Back On Charts Thanks To Viral Skateboard Video On TikTok


Poll: What's Your Favorite Van Halen Song?

Jay-Z And Meek Mill's REFORM Donates Surgical Masks To Vulnerable Prison Population

Meek Mill

Photo: Brian Stukes/Getty Images


Jay-Z And Meek Mill's REFORM Donates Surgical Masks To Vulnerable Prison Population

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says correctional facilities are particularly vulnerable places for COVID-19 to spread

GRAMMYs/Apr 7, 2020 - 05:01 am

Jay-Z and Meek Mill's criminal justice reform organization REFORM has donated roughly 100,000 surgical masks to correctional facilities including in the states of New York, Tennessee and Mississippi.

The organization said it donated 50,000 masks to New York City's Rikers Island Correctional Facility, 40,000 masks to the Tennessee Department of Correction and 5,000 to Mississippi State Penitentiary. Spin reports that an additional 2,500 masks were sent to a Rikers medical facility. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says correctional facilities are particularly vulnerable places for COVID-19 to spread.  

"Incarcerated/detained persons live, work, eat, study, and recreate within congregate environments, heightening the potential for COVID-19 to spread once introduced," according to the CDC. Other vulnerabilities include the fact that incarcerated people, for the most part, can't leave and, depending on the size of the facility, space for someone to medically isolate could be limited.

"We need to protect vulnerable people behind bars & GET THEM OUT!" REFORM said in a tweet. The organization sees this as a threat to public health and said on its website that it is working with experts and advocates "to develop a set of common-sense recommendations that would make us all SAFER."

They also announced on Twitter that they helped the South Carolina Department of Corrections locate 36,000 masks for their population. 

Across the nation, COVID-19 cases have been popping up in correctional facilities, including North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee

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