|Pictured above: Francie Moon shreds in a log cabin.|
Melissa Lucciola has the not-so-secret identity of Francie Moon, her barn-burning, hell-raising folksy, rock alter ego. As Francie Moon, Lucciola makes music that borrows from classic rockabilly, blues, folk, and even a little punk for something a little different than the sum of it’s parts. There is a lot of personality to these song, and I can say that a few songs on Glass House, her most recent release, have gotten stuck in my head. You can check her out this Sunday performing at Open Gallery as Francie Moon & The Great Outdoors, alongside Lady Pyramid, Solenodon, and Tall Squares. I caught up with Lucciola to ask her about the Jersey scene, playing music, and who deserves a good punch. Read on.
Never Nervous: What’s Francie Moon about? Is that your name, a stage identity, or the group’s name? How did the band start? Tell us your origin story and feel free to embellish as you will. Who doesn’t love a good big fish story?
Francie Moon: Francie Moon is a name I chose to play as, because I really like it and
wanted to play under a name that had no automatic expectations attached
to it too. I’m not sure if I accomplished that but I feel better about
it than touring under my full name, “Melissa Lucciola.” From what I
gathered on my first solo tour, my name is really hard to remember and
understand, especially at a loud show. On that tour I had to repeat my
name literally 5-6 times to every person who asked haha. Add that to my
mumble and it just doesn’t work. But sometimes I think of Arnold Schwarzenegger and all the issues he probably had and think I might just
have fooled myself haha! But I am committed to it and like I said I
really like the name. So, Francie Moon is what I go by when I play solo.
And when I play with the band coming on Sunday,
we’re called “Francie Moon & The Great Outdoors.” CC, the drummer
made that one up and I think its great. Especially cause the only times I
feel extremely normal is when I’m either playing guitar or out in the
woods. The Great Outdoors started on accident, I suppose. I went over to
Mike (bass) and CC’s (drummer) house to help CC finish a Christmas
song. That ended up in a really fun jam, which ended up in me asking
them to back me up for an upcoming show. Ever since then they have
played with me here and there when I am home from tour and this time
around we decided to take it on the road!
NN: How did you record the Glass House 7″? There is definitely an aesthetic at play there, that’s kind of an old school rock and roll vibe. Was that intentional? What is that effect on your voice that makes everything sound so tinny?
FM: Glass House was recorded in my basement, “The Cricket Cave,” at my home
in NJ. I decided to call it, “The Cricket Cave” cause in the
winter/spring there is an insane amount of crickets jumping around down
there freaking me out haha. I recorded the whole thing myself on an 8
track digital recorder. None of the sound was intentional, its just what
came out at the time and is just what I like to play. I had a blast
recording it, jumping around in my bathrobe until 5 am and sleeping in until 3pm.
I’m really fond of that time period haha. The “tinny” effect on my
voice is a crappy old mic plugged into a reverb pedal and broken
distortion pedal. I also did some experimenting with a wah wah pedal
with the treble all the way up. It was really fun to do!!
NN: Do you prefer recording, writing, or performing the best? Feel free to explain.
FM: I freaking love them all, depending on what my heart and mind are
focused on at the time. But to answer this properly, writing is my
absolute favorite. I think music is really healing for me and is almost
like therapy. A window to the soul for me, a way to see how I really
feel about things and understand what’s really going on inside. So I
learn a lot about things I’ve avoided and really grow and figure things
out from it all once I start to write. Recording is the most fun for
me…like I said I was jumping around like a madwoman in my basement in
my bathrobe through all hours of the night. I get huge jolts of energy
from it and feel ridiculously alive. And performing for me is where the
two combine but in front of people. I just feel like a naked soul with
too much energy that has to go somewhere haha.
NN: What’s the New Jersey music scene like? How important is location to the music?
FM: I love the NJ music scene. Unfortunately it’s not like I remember it
being a few years back (a lot of venues have shut down, not as many
people at shows) but it could just be me playing different shows than I
used to. Everyone has always been really supportive though and my NJ
friends have really gotten me on my feet and welcomed me with open arms
when I first started playing out with my last band. I couldn’t be more
thankful for them and to call it my musical home, seriously. There are a
lot of great people doing a lot of great things there. I believe
location definitely has an impact on people’s music. Especially when you
write with imagery. I write about trees a lot…someone from the desert
probably won’t. But in general I think style and genre varies from
person to person and what they’re into. One thing I do notice about NJ
though is that because a lot of people have an east coast rush attitude
it makes the music and shows more urgent. Like there’s not much time
wasted between songs because you know if you let a second go by people
will leave the room to find something else more interesting haha. I
don’t notice a lot of bands doing that in other parts of the country.
NN: What should we expect from you this Sunday? What are your shows like?
FM: This Sunday,
you should expect some groovy rock and roll. A trio of bass, drums and
guitar with a smokey lounge kind of feel but with some faster songs
hitting on some old 60s garage punk thrown in there too. Just a good ol’
time. My shows vary depending on how I’m playing and who I’m playing
with. Sometimes I’ll play solo with just an acoustic guitar and its
really intimate…other times I’ll play with my electric and pedals.
Sometimes I’ll play electric punk songs with a bass drum and hi hat with
my feet and scream my head off. On Sunday,
I’ll be playing with The Great Outdoors. And next month I’m doing a
tour as a duo with my friend who plays some wild drums. I’m just all
over the place but it keeps things so fun and interesting haha.
NN: If you had the resources, what would be your ideal show? What has been your best show so far, and why?
FM: My ideal show would be something along the lines of playing music with
my best friends with a lot of people there having a great time dancing
around and being silly. I’d also love to make some of my loop station
loops and recordings come to life with a full band. I’d love to hear
that stuff live one day haha. I’ve had a lot of crazy fun shows in my
life. I’m not sure which one was the best…usually it’s when I fall in
love with everyone at the place. I actually had an amazing time in
Louisville last time I came through…not to be a butt kiss or anything,
but its true haha. I once played music in a cave in South Dakota…and
that really sticks out to me too.
NN: How did you feel about Jersey Shore? If you had control over that show, how would you have ran things?
FM: All I can say is that there are drunk irresponsible dramatic humans
everywhere, not just NJ. I think we can do better as people and focus on
things that better us and not just make us feel better about ourselves.
NN: If you could punch anyone just once and with no repercussions, who would it be and why?
FM: Oh man! This dude the other day who wanted to manage “me” and change
everything about me. What you see is what you get. I slammed my water
bottle on his table in a rage…I was close to punching him haha.
NN: Gross to all that. Why did this jerk think you needed to be “managed?”
FM: I honestly have no idea. He didn’t even see me play, just went by what a few people said about the show. He just would not stop bugging me about the way I looked and the things I supposedly needed to do and how he was going to “help” me by changing everything about me. It was really frustrating.
NN: What non-musical things have got you going lately?
FM: Aliens and ice cream. Ghosts and art. Reading weird articles and
floating down a river. Seeing my friends and chilling with my cat.
Wanting to spend more time exploring in the woods.
NN: Name your top five desert island music picks and tell us why.
FM: Allah-Las – self titled: it calms me down so much
Neil Young – Harvest: my favorite album to fall asleep to
Koko Taylor – anything by her…rekindles the fire inside…will
probably give me the will to try to get saved or make a life with a
beautiful island man
Jimi Hendrix – anything by him…to inspire me to build a guitar if I don’t have one…and play the crap out of it.
Emily Wells – Mama: to cry to myself to about being stuck on an island