Icarus Ascending

(For Paul)


10 years after leaving you alone on Staten Island

you are still

Grounding me.


Allowing me the wings that I’ve spouted to

Carry me over your

Old, familiar landscape


Without ever an “I told you so”

“That’s enough altitude.”

“Make a U-turn at the dead end.”


Gracious as you are in your gift of flight, you are equally as

attentive to my detail.  


A reticent yet routine visitant to my stunted world view.


A benefactor without intrusion. You allow me to transcend atmospheres.

In my own time.


If there was a way to thank you for your

Benevolent buoyancy, I’d beg of you to surrender that.


I’d do my best to soar

Not too close

Not too far

Colon Dash Open Parenthesis

There’s a smiley face on my iPhone screen again.  The ambiguous cheer that comes after a compliment and you don’t know whether it’s accompanied by a rosy blush or a distracted sendoff. 


I start to get those familiar, angsty, insecure questions: “Was that too forward of me? Doesn’t he want to say “likewise!”  or something equally as flirty? Where is he going that he can’t continue this all-encompassing and subtle sexual advance that I am trying to coyly convey from 5, 10, 15, 20 miles away.  


I feel like I’m floating in a vacuum and only get the thrill of real human connection when the universe spits another piece of flotsam into my orbit.  If ever so temporarily before it’s yanked off into another gravitational pull.  


Communication is key and we’re all working around it with combination locks.  I don’t have the stomach for numbers.  I don’t have a mind for vices. 


Though, believe me, I know it’s nice to bury myself in the chest of a man who I may not ever truly know just to shudder for a momentary release of not-so-alone.  


So I go out to coffee shops and meet-ups and troll the internets for some sort of ….something that peaks my interest.  Some line that haven’t read before.  “I love to laugh.” “I love food.” “My favorite bands are…” “I’m currently reading…” 


But these aren’t people.  These are profiles. Silhouettes. Outlines.  Waiting to be colored in.  A veritable sudoku  in the who’s who of online dating.  But I

am already colorful.  How can I share that through a one dimensional, backlit piece of transparency?  How can I feel connected to something so stark?  


Where’s the spark?


When I finally do land a date, I’m SO obvious.  

I’ll ask any question, show genuine interest and want to KNOW someone.  Even if I don’t feel a flutter.  For the precious few minutes that I have in the person’s physical space, I become a sponge.  The language of their physical form communicating more to me in those short minutes than an entire laudatory composed under: “What I’m Doing With My Life.” 


What I need is something short of romance.  Short of love, I just crave

connection.  That wired feeling you get when you’re in animated, patter-paced discussion and learning the thought process, following the synapses and neural pathways of a brain outside of your own skull.  The basics. 

It’s the small things. 


What I usually find are people shivering to expose themselves.  They’re screaming to share how deeply driven they are to BE themselves.  To be wholly accepted as themselves.  Just like myself.   We are all screaming over each other so vehemently the sonic boom is too cacophonous to comprehend anything that actually resonates.  Nobody’s listening, because nobody can hear.


And listening happens with the body first.  No,  the choice to listen happens first.  Then the body follows.  Then the ears and then the mind.  


Nobody’s listening.  Everybody is interesting.  But nobody is interested. 


So we disappear back and continue the dance from behind the scrim of our computer screens. 

I now have a phone and a series of symbols that I can send without taking my eyes off of the road.  If I type them in just the right pattern, I can write a code for “I like you” or “I’m thinking of you” or “take a right at the light” or “I just monkey wrenched a liter of coke into a syringe AND lost my keys AGAIN.”    Crap!  I typed an open parentheses instead of a closed one! That’s totally not what I meant!


We have forgotten how to be vulnerable.  We have forgotten that discovering the truth about ourselves through the experience of ourselves by another can be as healing as it is painful and we are inventing new ways to hide from each other.  The more naked we make our bodies, the thicker the weave of our shroud becomes that cloak our deepest desire to be loved and buttressed with forgiveness and trust.  


Forgiveness.  That’s the hardest part.  The thing that comes after compassion.  Compassion, scaffolded with empathy and sympathy and patience.  Compassion that is no longer pedestaled or displayed by any figure in the public eye today.  In our rush to become more connected via the fevered sharing of information, we are forgetting to prioritize each other. 


With our first models of intimacy from infancy divorcing at a staggering rate, I’m inclined to eschew monogamy.  But no matter how inviting and logical this “open love” format sounds,  I can’t shake the intrinsic tug of “stay with me.”  “Trust that I will forgive you.”  “Trust that I know that you are human.”  “Trust me when I say “Abandonment is NOT an option.”


When did we stop TALKING to each other?  When did pixelated symbols of sentiment on LCD screens take the place of phrases like “Wow, I really like you.” Or “I miss you.”  Or “I…am hurt”


I’d like to erase the emoticon from the English lexicon and continue the communication evolution on to a higher plane of interconnection.  Take all of our hearts and place them side by side until they start beating in unison.


But with each generation I feel the gap widen. The distance between the vibrations of people in pain and people in love has grown so vast that we think we are the only ones who have ever really felt loss.  Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who has ever really felt love.  


If we spend any more time outside of each other’s orbits,  It’s only a matter of time before we stop feeling what one another is feeling.  Before empathy and sympathy evolve away from us and all we have are our own experiences.  And we forget how to trust. How to listen.  


And I mourn for its passing like a dog on his master’s grave just waiting for the rest of my life to pave me back in with her. 

Despite how wrong I may be about that. Despite its lack of echo in the vacuum in which I currently float.  I am not afraid to say it. 


With my mouth.


“I am hurt”


“I am lost”


“I miss you”


~Special thanks to Sara Levine for her expert editorial assistance.

July Gigs!

July 6th

Americano Social Club CD Release Partay!

Club Deluxe

1511 Haight St  San Francisco, CA 94117



July 12

Americano Social Club

Revolution Cafe

3248 22nd St  San Francisco, CA 94110



July 13

Chance’s End/Emily Zisman

Harbin Hot Springs

You will have to pay the entrance fee for the day but no extra for the show.  Come for the music, stay for the hot springs!



July 18th

Rich and the Rhythm Roustabouts

The Saddle Rack

42011 Boscell Rd

Fremont, CA 94538



July 20

Chance’s End

Recess Massive

Blues fusion dance party in the woods (What’s not to love?)




I smoke cigarettes so that I can breathe fire.  


I am a fevered dragon broiling to be quenched with something into which even the purest of gold can’t be alchemized.  


Something that a bed of the finest filament can’t transcend. Can’t aspire to. It is deeper than value. More tangible than numbers. Than grammar. Than heat.  As intrinsic as consciousness. The only thing that beats pulse for pulse on a frequency that matches your own breath. 


Even when you are not breathing with it. 


It’s just known.  Your own. A claim that you don’t have to stake. A statement you don’t need to make.  It’s just a deal you make, with a heart outside of your body.    A lofty will-o-the-wisp that materializes haughtily.  As if to say “Dear, I’ve been here…..all along. So stop breathing your fire at me.  I’m always under your sleeping self.  The sediment beneath the bedrock that you never knew was there.”


Show yourself, then.  

June Gig and Upcoming Acoustic Album!

Hey folks!

It’s a slender month for gigs in June.  But fear not!  Ryan and I have been working tirelessly in the studio to bring you a band new, full length album of freshly-squeezed songs as well as some select covers of classic tunes that incessently taunt us and make us wish we’d written them.   

We will NEVER be as good or as talented as our older brother so JUST STOP TRYING!!     *sob*

There will be some amazing production and engineering work (courtesy of Ryan Avery) on this album as well as some top notch musical talent(courtesy of some very dear musical friends).

I’m so excited I could pee!

In any case, hope to see you at this gig!   If not……….dangit!




*Friday, June 14th

Americano Social Club Family Ruckus!

The Revolution Cafe

3248 22nd St
(between Mission St & Bartlett St)
San Francisco, CA 94110

Ruckus starts at 9:30pm Sharp!

It was a wild one on Saturday, you won’t want to miss this one.



*Sunday, June 23rd

Shades Of Blues PROM NIGHT!


1275 Connecticut St
(between 26th St & Cesar Chavez St)
San Francisco, CA 94107
Neighborhood: Potrero Hill
$14-$20 Sliding Scale
Wear your high school finest!

April Gigs!

4/06/13 American Social Club

Club Deluxe

1511 Haight St, San Francisco



4/12/13 Americano Social Club

Revolution Café

3248 22nd Street, San Francisco 94110



4/21/13 Beggar’s Jamboree

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th Street (17th @ Missouri)
San Francisco, CA 94104




Chance’s End

Soul Food in Berkeley

Mudd 100, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California 94709

8:30pm – 9:30pm



Rack em’ up!


EZ and RA team up with Bigelow’s Treehouse on AM 1710 in Half Moon Bay

  • The fine folks at AM1710 in Half Moon Bay have aired a new single called The Herd by Bigelow’s Treehouse. This tune features myself on vocals and Ryan Avery on Violin. It’s a great tune! They also give a spin to one of my classic tracks, Fall Apart. Have a listen and spread the word.

    www.khmbradio.com …………………..click on Coastside CAROUSEL

  • KHMB Radio


    Welcome to KHMB Radio – your hometown community radio station! Over the airwaves at AM 1710 and over the internet, KHMB Radio serves all the neighborhoods of Half Moon Bay with news, entertainment and information.

March Gigs 2013!

Heya Folks!

Mark your calendars for these fine March performances:


Americano Social Club

Club Deluxe on Haight Street

1511 Haight St, San Francisco · (415) 552-6949




Chance’s End

Bay Street Emeryville

5616 Bay Street
Emeryville, CA 94608




Rich and the Rhythm Roustabouts

The Saddlerack in Freemont

42011 Boscell Rd, Fremont · (510) 979-0477





Emily Zisman& Ryan Avery

Natural Products Expo West

CLIF Bar Booth

(private event)



Private event




Rich and the Rhythm Roustabouts

Savannah Jazz (Cat’s Corner)

2937 Mission St, San Francisco · (415) 285-3369




Hope to see you out and about!

Personal Bests

Hey Folks!

Many apologies for dropping off the face of the planet.  SO many exciting things have been happening.  I promise to catch you all up right here, right now.  Strap in.

Two weeks ago, Fortune Magazine, NAMM and Gibson hosted the annual Corporate Battle of the Bands in Cleveland Ohio.  A few months earlier  Clif Bar & Company (my day job) won the regional competition at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco.  We were SUPER stoked to have the opportunity to go to Cleveland; The home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

There were some AMAZEBALLS musicians there.  Some of our competition were folks from DeVry, The Mil Corporation, Mesirow Financial, Mattel (The Toys!) and Progressive Insurance.

Some of the Judges included Rob Arthur (Multi-instrumentalist with Peter Frampton), Ricky Byrd (Guitarist with Joan Jett & The Blackhearts), Jeff Carlisi (Founding member and guitarist for .38 Special), Liberty Devitto (Drummer for over 30 years with Billy Joel ) and Antoinette Follet (Editor of Making Music magazine).

Yeah.  It was going to be an amazing weekend weather or not we took anything shiny home with us.

It started off with a super cushy ride on the company jet.  Yep. I’m ruined for air travel for the rest of my life.  What ensued was a 3.5 hour in-flight jam session with the company’s co-CEOs on shakers.


This was only the beginning.

The next 72 hours were nothing more than a rock star dream come true. Music jams, late night benders, and a rock and roll music nerd’s cream come true.

I’ll put it this way; I was there for the competition, but I used it as an education. I was at the Rock and Roll Hall of FAME! Michael Jackson and James Brown were there in the thread. The lyrics of Jimi Hendrix were framed and hung by the restrooms.

After our band played our infinitely rehearsed competition set, I stole away to the museum. We had it to ourselves. I had it to myself.

The museum is built like a cathedral. The Rock Hall was designed by the same dude who designed the extension of the Louvre in Paris.

Ok. So maybe not a cathedral like in the Romanesque or Gothic sense, but a spiritual portal none the less.

This particular portal, after Yoko Ono ushered it into significance with a collection of John Lennon memorabilia in 1994, opened a year later with a full schedule of events.

I had the run of the place.

So I took my leave of the competition which was in full swing and escalated myself up three flights of stairs to the exhibit of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. This display featured the original balloon of the Teacher which was an exaggerated 50 million feet long suspended over a replica of the Wall itself. Eyes aglow and body suspended, it was a breathtaking sight for a girl who had only seen the video and heard the stories. What I would have given to have seen this show live.

I sat alone behind the wall and read the abbreviated conception of Roger Waters’ brain child. I wanted to be there.

Then I continued upward. There was a Grateful Dead exhibit that I couldn’t leave without at least paying homage to. They were our Bay Area brethren, were they not?

So I climbed my way to the chapel of the rock gods. And I sat among Jerry Garcia’s custom 1000lb guitars and I spoke directly to God against a backdrop of live competition music throbbing against the walls.

I can’t tell you what God and I spoke about because I can’t remember. All I can tell you is that it was life altering and and perhaps fortuitous.

Because then this happened.

The Grove Valve Orchestra, comprised of 10 Clif Bar & Company employees (including the CEO) and a couple of very good, close friends are now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I still can’t book a gig in a cafe to save my life. But my name is in my church of choice. Life is a weird monster. But I love it.

So we came home. And I’m still riding on this high. Can you blame me?

Since my return I’ve been trying to utilize this sense of accomplishment to inform my venue solicitations. I want people to hire me because I’m a professional.

I guess that’s why people have resumes; To bolster a sense of confidence through accomplishment. Because, it seems, no matter what I accomplish in the physical world, I am still my own worst critic.  And she’s kiiiiiiiind of a bitch.

Even though I have convened with my God, even though she handed us a mind blowing accolade, and even though I have never felt more at home in a space, I still haven’t found the place in myself that believes I can honestly do this.

Maybe it will just take time and maybe I should just stop worrying about it.  When I really stop to consider everything, the only reason for much of what I’ve experienced so far is that I’ve been present in a certain space when conditions were ideal to provide a specific outcome.  It’s all chemistry really.  So, I’m just going to let go and ride this thing.  I just have to make sure I’m present wherever I wind up.

I wouldn’t want to miss anything.

Down the Doors is Released into the World



Down The Doors CD release


We are thrilled to finally announce that “Down The Doors” is available for purchase at CD Baby! It was a long road to get here, but I hope you all agree that the wait was well worth it.


Purchase the CD at CD Baby


You can find the album on iTunesAmazon.com,BandcampCDBaby, and other retailers.


With this album “Down The Doors”, songwriter Emily Zisman has joined Chance’s End with her soulful blues-infused vocals, adding to the violin-electronica sound that made up the last album “The Outsider”. This new album brings a heavy focus on lyrical songwriting and lush orchestral string backings on top a bed of trip-hop and downtempo breakbeats.


Head over to Bandcamp to stream the album in full, or go to CD Baby to buy it now! Please note that we DO expect the first shipment to sell out quickly, but if it’s listed as Sold Out then please order anyways – it will be shipped to you as soon as the next batch arrives at the distributors. The more people that order this week, the higher our ranking on the sales charts!


Calling our street team


Do you want to help promote our new CD? If so, then thank you! Here’s what you can do:


1. Share our Bandcamp page on Facebook: http://chancesend.bandcamp.com/album/down-the-doors

2. Review the album at CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/chancesend3

3. Tweet a link to a free download of the first single “Sleeping On The Interstate”: bit.ly/IixcY9


Of course, we know you all have some awesome ideas of your own about how to help get word out about Chance’s End. If so, put them into action and let us know if you need any help. In the coming months we have a few things in the works such as a CD release party, a remix competition, and a small local tour around California.


“…a pioneer of the combo of violin and electronica”  Marc Urselli-Schaerer, Chain D.L.K.