Jennifer Glenn has been a driving force for great local independent music in the neighborhood for a long time. She leads and brings together multiple bands with different sounds, and has played numerous porch concerts and local events. I figured its about time we reach out and ask a few questions. Her current projects include Music For Spiders, and Peanut Butter and the Feral Cat.
Hi Jenn! So how did u get into playing music and how long have u been playing?
Well, I’ve always enjoyed singing and sang in the school choir in junior high. I was very shy though, and stopped until college. That is when I first picked up a physical instrument when I took a classical guitar course at Phoenix College where I had started taking voice and music theory. I wasn’t very disciplined with practice, so guitar fell by the wayside. I did sing in a couple of projects early on, and then when I met my ex he needed a bass player for his band, so, I started playing bass. I fell in love with the instrument and continued my music education at Glendale Community College with Dwight Kilian.
How many bands have you been in and have you written most of the songs?
It depends what you mean by ‘band’. I have been in quite a few duos and different projects through the years. As far as named bands I think I’ve been in eight. I don’t consider myself a band leader as much as a band member. I work best collaboratively. Every project I’ve been in has been collaborative in nature, where every musician writes their parts. In Music for Spiders I am the sole lyricist. Peanut Butter and the Feral Cat is more of a music collective than a band. The core group is Dave Tapley, David Renner, Brett Eklund and myself. We really love having people sit in with us including fellow Coronado residents J Scott Howard, Theron Wall, Kimberly Shelton, and the late Tommy Connell.
Where do you find inspiration for songwriting?
I write in a journal regularly to clear my mind. It’s usually stuff I’m trying to work out, either personally or something I see those I care about struggling with. Many times a song can be about me and several others because I’m speaking about certain feelings and my memory pulls in anything that relates to that feeling. When my cousin, Francisco, passed away from a drug overdose I wrote several songs about his struggles with addiction, and how it felt to cope with the loss of someone who was like my brother. The journal entries are just raw stream of consciousness gobbledygook, so, if I’m using this method, I really have to workshop them. I also find a lot of inspiration on the fly throughout my day. I use an easy voice recorder on my phone to record melodies that I think of and lyrics that come to mind. I really enjoy workshopping an unfinished skeleton of a song with my bandmates. I feel very vulnerable doing this because I may not have even worked out the vocal melody yet. It can be pretty rough, but this is where the magic happens: what others are playing influences the whole direction of the song. I feel safe being imperfect because of the trust between me and my bandmates.
How do you get the names for your bands?
My music collective was looking for a new name because people had trouble remembering our previous name. Our drummer David Renner jokingly put things I talk about in a band name generator, and out came Peanut Butter and the Feral Cat. For the last Porch Concert we needed to give Brad Bridwell a name for the promo. I put Peanut Butter and the Feral Cat in as a placeholder. It stuck for that show. I’m still not sure if we’ll use it again. Music for Spiders is the new manifestation of Wood Rat Metal Pig, which are the Chinese astrology symbols for my husband and me respectively. In March 2020 Wood Rat Metal Pig started recording our first studio album, but this ended as Covid 19 took over. I lost my way creatively after that and I’ve just recently started to feel inspired again. As I looked ahead to recording and booking the name no longer seemed to have the same energy for me. Around that time we had a black widow infestation in the studio and David Renner renamed our Signal group to “Music for Spiders”. I really loved the idea of writing and playing music for spiders, they are always there because they are our biggest fans, so once again he named the band, he’s a funny dude.
I know u have lived in the Neighborhood for a long time… what drew u to Coronado and what do u like most about it?
I am a Phoenix native and I’d always wanted to live downtown. The quirkiness and artsiness of the downtown has always appealed to me ever since Modified first opened its doors. I lucked out in finding a house I could afford in Coronado because it is the most wonderful community to be a part of. I like how involved the neighborhood is. I mean who else has Porch Concerts, Waynefest, Oak St Mural festival,
a cool home tour, a tool shed & garden etc… Additionally there are so many ways Coronado gives back. I am lucky to be a small part of Caring Coalition organized by Sat Kaur Khalsa (another Coronado neighbor), they provide weekly food care packages to students at risk of hunger on the weekends.
You and Dave (Tapley) have helped do community bike rides, and helped out with the Rusty Spoke Bike Collective… what is it that draws u to supporting bike culture?
Dave Tapley got me involved with bike stuff. He was already volunteering at the Rusty Spoke and helped start a new Monday night social bike ride when we met. I joined the fun and found the bike community to be a very welcoming and lively bunch who know how to support each other. Coronado is such a perfect location to bike downtown and skip the difficulty with parking and congestion. Many times it’s even quicker and cheaper to ride a bike than to drive and pay for parking, plus you feel like a kid again!
I know u did Yoga Nidra for a while. Can u explain what that is and why you are drawn to it?
I am a trained facilitator of the Integrative Amrit Method of Yoga Nidra. Kamini Desai is my teacher. Yoga Nidra is an easy to follow guided meditation. Lying or sitting you are led through a series of breath and body awareness techniques designed to help you move into progressive states of relaxation and restoration. Yoga Nidra is great for clearing old holding patterns and stimulating new, creative, clear thinking. This is why I was drawn to it. It all began when I went to a Yoga Nidra class at Desert Song, which was really impactful to me. I looked deeper in to the practice and found a book by Kamini Desai. This ultimately led me to study with her and start facilitating my own group sessions. I stopped those because of COVID-19, and have not been in a place to restart again yet
What kind of stuff are you working on now?
Honestly, right now I am working on my mental/physical health and reconnecting with my community and creativity.