Viewing entries tagged
Calm & Crisis

April 11, 2017 - Special Guest: Pablo Anton, Guitarist of Black Dog Prowl

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PABLO ANTON

VIDEO - BIO - LINKS - TRANSCRIPT

Bio

Pablo Anton is a Mexican rock guitarist based in DC, with over 15 years of experience playing live and recording with different musical projects. He was part of the rock music community in Mexico City for 10 years before relocating to DC in 2013, playing recurrently in different venues and rock bars across the city with different bands. After arriving in DC, he founded and released an EP with the short-lived band Hundredth Nomad, and is now currently the lead guitar player for Black Dog Prowl.   

 

Black Dog Prowl is a four-piece band that showcases original material ranging from the slow, down-tuned to a fast-paced kick in the teeth. If one insists on drawing a line to the familiar, BDP has drawn sonic comparisons to the likes of Soundgarden, Torche, and Nirvana. The band has built their reputation on a powerful live show, playing and headlining notable DC area venues like Black Cat, Rock&Roll Hotel, Velvet Lounge, and The Fillmore Silver Spring, sharing the stage with renowned acts such as Steel Panther, The Parlor Mob, The Answer, and A Thousand Horses. Aside from frequently playing shows around the DMV area, they have also toured internationally in Chile and Mexico, as well as different cities across the East Coast such as Hoboken, NYC, Philadelphia, Richmond and Baltimore.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:     Pablo Anton is a Mexican rock guitarist based in DC with over 15 years of experience playing live and recording with different musical projects. He was part of the rock music community in Mexico City for 10 years before relocating to DC in 2013. He is now the lead guitar player for Black Dog Prowl, and Black Dog Prowl is a four-piece band that draws sonic comparisons to the likes of Soundgarden, Torch, Nirvana. It's just a powerful sound that you heard there. The band has built a reputation on powerful live shows. Aside from frequently playing shows around the DMV area, they also have toured internationally in Chile and Mexico, as well as cities throughout the East Coast. I've shared the stage with Pablo a couple of times, and this man is a prodigy on guitar. Listeners, it is [crosstalk 00:00:53] with great pleasure that I introduce Pablo Anton. Here he is.

Pablo:     Thank you.

Brian:     Now you were just going to talk about it. You were just touring in Mexico. Talk about that a little bit.

Pablo:     We were. Yes. We did a two-week tour in Mexico. We flew there on March 21st and then we played a show at Caradura, which is sort of like the Rock & Roll Hotel equivalent of Mexico City. We were there. We were supposed to tour with ... Well, we were there touring with two other bands, one from Costa Rica named Akasha and another one from Mexico City as well named Driven. This all happened the weekend after the Vive Latino Festival, which is like the Lollapalooza down there.

Brian:     Oh.

Pablo:     These two bands had just played there and then were going on a two-week tour of the country, and so we joined them. The show in Caradura in Mexico City was just amazing. We had the opportunity of having my very dear friend and one of the best musicians I've ever played with, Tonio Ruiz, join us on stage for a song. That was definitely [crosstalk 00:01:59].

Brian:     Wow. For those who don't know who Tonio Ruiz is, how would they recognize him?

Pablo:     Tonio Ruiz is the lead singer and guitar player from a nu-metal band in Mexico called Qbo. If you haven't checked it out, you definitely should.

Brian:     [crosstalk 00:02:14]. Powerful stuff. You were down in Mexico for a total of ... How long was the tour?

Pablo:     It was a total of two weeks. We had four shows, and in between ... We had two shows one weekend and then two the other, and in between we rented a hangar at an old airport field where we shot our new video for our latest single, Shame, which I am hoping will be ready soon.

Brian:     So there's a new music video coming.

Pablo:     There's a new music video coming soon.

Brian:     Actually, you can say it was filmed in Mexico too.

Pablo:     Yes, and it features me.

Brian:     And it features Pablo.

Pablo:     Yes.

Brian:     There it is. Yes. I love it. Now we touched on it earlier, but let's talk about being an immigrant, an immigrant musician, and being an immigrant in DC. Talk about that a little bit.

Pablo:     Yeah, for sure. As I was saying, I've been in this city for four years. I moved here for a job, for an office job, four years ago. I'm also an economist, and so I got an offer to work here for sort of like a multilateral and working in financial inclusion issues. When I moved here, I was actually kind of disappointed. I used to live in New York before moving here. I have to say, my perception of DC was very narrow and colorblind.

      I thought that everybody was just like ... With all due respect, just like a bunch of bureaucrats that worked either for the federal government or for public institutions or multilaterals, and there was no culture. There was no artist community or something that made the city interesting. At first, I was kind of hesitant of moving here, but then when I finally moved here, I discovered, out of chance really, out of a friend of a friend who told me about Flashband, my life changed completely and so did my perception of DC.

Brian:     Well, first, I got to say that, yes, I don't think you're way off in that people's perceptions about DC, that I don't think you're the only one who has that perception, because there is this, it's only a government town and all the people here are either working for the government in some way, shape, or form, and that maybe culture isn't a thing. That's one of the things that we talk about on this show is that actually that's so wrong, because the music community here is incredible.

Pablo:     I know.

Brian:     All these great minds do it, and so Flashband, you said? You heard about it through Flashband. For those who don't know what Flashband is, talk about that.

Pablo:     The founder of Flashband, Neal, hates when I call it this, but it's basically like speed dating for musicians. It's like [crosstalk 00:04:49].

Brian:     So it's speed dating for musicians. What's that like? Talk to me.

Pablo:     Well, they basically jam you in a rehearse space with five other musicians for 15 minutes, and then you have to switch to a different rehearse space. Then you just have to jam and meet as many musicians as you can. Then at the end of the event, they make you select your bandmates, like your temporary bandmates, out of all of those small jam sessions that you have. Then after that, you have to come up with a three-song set list with two covers and one original song. Then you have to go on stage and present it at a Flashband showcase. I did it only once, but it was-

Brian:     The whole process takes like ... It's a month, right? Or it's something like that? [crosstalk 00:05:32].

Pablo:     Yeah, I think it's like three weeks only, and then-

Brian:     Awesome. Speed dating for musicians. Okay. Being an immigrant then, you came from Mexico, from Mexico City?

Pablo:     Yes.

Brian:     You came up.

Pablo:     Well, I came to the US to study my master's degree at Columbia University in New York. Then from Columbia, that's when I got the job offer to move to DC and came down here. I didn't know what to expect, but I was really ... After I was introduced to the DC music community through Flashband and I found it, and I started my own band, and I started having shows, and I started meeting more musicians in the community, I was just blown away by just the massive support that this organic movement in the city has. It's sort of like a grassroots movement where all of the different bands that are involved are open to sharing and to promoting and to supporting one another to ... Yeah, for the benefit of everybody. That's just something that I found that's so amazing and so impressive compared to what the music community's like in Mexico City, which is where I come from.

Brian:     That's because Mexico City's community is different?

Pablo:     Yeah, well, the situation down there is pretty different, because basically the media in general is basically controlled by two large, massive media corporations that are down there. The type of music that they promote and the type of events that they promote is basically more attuned to like pop music in general, so there's not a lot of promotion of local artists that want to venture into different subgenres like rock or metal. That's definitely an issue when you're trying to be like up-and-coming artist in Mexico City.

      There are [crosstalk 00:07:20] some outlets that are sort of like similar to this radio station, for example. We also have like a state-owned radio station that has other shows, like alternative music shows where you can find an outlet for the type of music that you do and you want to promote, but those, because there's only a few of them, those also become basically controlled by just a small group of people. If you're not a part of that small group of people, if you're not in connection with somebody that's part of that small group of people, there's really no way for you to promote yourself and promote your art. A lot of the venues down there also don't ... They don't give preference to original acts. Most of the bars down there basically prefer to have cover bands at their shows, [crosstalk 00:08:11] because it gets more people in and it's more money for them.

Brian:     That's probably true. That's true of many cities, and DC is evolving in that way, because there's more and more great original music played around town, but there's still a cover scene here. Cover bands are still ... They're coming into town. Now you're playing guitar for Black Dog Prowl. You said there were other bands, and now you're playing for Black Dog Prowl? How did that transition happen?

Pablo:     Well, after I did Flashband with my Flashband buddies, Jen and Zach, we started an original band called Hundredth Nomad that we had for around a year and a half. With that band, we started growing, and we started having more local shows. We started getting to be a little bit known and spread the word around. Then unfortunately, that band broke up about a week ago. No, sorry, about a year ago.

Brian:     A week ago.

Pablo:     No, no, not a week ago, not a week ago. It broke up in June.

Brian:     Okay.

Pablo:     Last June. Then when we broke up, a couple of months later, Josh from Black Dog Prowl approached me and told me that they had a show lined up in Hoboken, New Jersey, and that they needed a guitar player to fill for them. I said, "Yes, I'm not doing anything, so that'd be a great idea. I'll do it. I'll learn the songs." I was already a Black Dog Prowl fan. I met them two years before then at a show at DC9. I went to see a show by one of my favorite bands that's called The Answer, which is a rock band from Northern Ireland. They were playing with DC9 on a Tuesday night.

Brian:     Wow.

Pablo:     The place, it didn't have a lot of people there. I think we were like maybe 15 or 20 people in the audience, but then ... So Black Dog Prowl opened for The Answer at that show, and they really ...

Brian:     Wow.

Pablo:     They blew my socks off, like after that ... I really didn't even enjoy The Answer after that. After seeing them, I was like, "Okay, I'm done. I'm going to go have a beer. This is too much." I became a fan ever since. I approached the guys at the end, and I became friends with them. Things just naturally evolved from there.

Brian:     Wow. That's really cool. It's always fun to hear the stories about how this music community is so ... It's so vibrant, and there's a lot of movement that happens, like you have been in multiple bands. The more you get connected with the scene, the more you start to see the different musicians and how they jump, and they have different generations of bands and stuff come through. It's pretty incredible. Now, one of the things I always like to ask on these interviews is, if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Pablo:     To who?

Brian:     The question is open-ended, and it's up to you, sir.

Pablo:     Say no to drugs.

Brian:     Say no to drugs.

Pablo:     I don't know, like [crosstalk 00:10:56].

Brian:     Okay, [crosstalk 00:10:56] have experience with that?

Pablo:     No, no, no, that's not what I meant. Nevermind. I was trying to tell a joke.

Brian:     Okay. Say no to drugs. That's a positive public service announcement from Pablo. Excellent.

Pablo:     Oh, if you mean advice as a musician in DC, I've actually given this advice to people. All of the time, I'm just meeting people that are here for bureaucratic jobs. Then when I tell them that I'm in a band, they're like, "Oh, dude, I used to have a band when I was back in high school or back in college. Those were the days. I haven't played in a while though. I really miss it." My advice is just get out there and do it. If you were ever a musician, or if you are a musician, then you have the same illness that I have, which is that if I'm not playing music, I'm not complete. I don't feel completely happy and fulfilled.

      If you have that same craving that musicians like me have, then you should definitely do something about it. The great thing about a city like DC is that there's multiple options for you to explore. If you want something that is low commitment or high commitment, and be in a band and tour, there's a wide spectrum of things that you can do. The lowest one, which would be Flashband, you should reach out and open a profile on Flashband. That's the way to get started.

Brian:     Awesome. If folks want to find out more about you and Black Dog Prowl, where is the best place to ... Where do they find you? Where do they go?

Pablo:     We have all of the typical social media accounts, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. They're all @blackdogprowl. We also have a website where you can go to see all of our videos and stuff, which is www.blackdogprowl.com.

October 11, 2016 - Special Guest: Ménage À Garage

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FROM TODAY'S SHOW

NEWS

  1. DC Artists can submit their projects released 10-01-15 to 9-30-16 for consideration for the Wammies (Washington Area Music Awards).  I'm leaving this link here in case it comes back online, the WAMA email said it should still work, but as of 10-11-16 I tried this link and it's no longer working
    http://www.wamadc.com/wama/wammies/w-productregistry.html
  2. Aaron Tinjum and the Tangents Day is today, Oct 11th.  A DC band now, the band used to be in Austin.  They had their holiday proclaimed by the Mayor in 2012
    See the Video Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2F6fKT9Gb8

MUSIC

  1. Tongues - Aaron Tinjum and the Tangents (Folk/Rock)
  2. Die in a Fire - Ménage À Garage (Punk/Pop Punk)
  3. Sweet Dreams - Sara Curtin (Indie/Pop Rock)
  4. Falling in a Dream - The Split Seconds (Punk/Pop Punk)
  5. Alone in the Seas - Calm and Crisis (Indie/Punk Rock)
  6. State Tengo Champions - The Hartford Pussies (Punk/90s Rock)
  7. Better Luck Next Time - Curse Words (Punk/Punk Rock)
  8. Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)

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MÉNAGE À GARAGE

VIDEO - BIO - PHOTOS - TRANSCRIPT

BIO

Ménage À Garage DC Music Rocks

Ménage À Garage (MÀG) is an energetic poppy punk trio from Washington, DC. Since forming in 2015, MÀG has been immersed in the growing music scene in DC, performing at many local venues including DC 9 and the Rock & Roll Hotel. MÀG performs all-original music from the trifecta of rock storytelling (teen angst, corrupt politics, and outer space), and have become known for their energetic and heartfelt performance style, affecting melodies, and meticulous attention to song-craft and lyrics. MÀG is Jenny Thomas on bass, Alyson Cina on drums, and John Nolt on lead vocals and guitar.

LINKS:  

 

MENAGE A GARAGE DC MUSIC ROCKS
Ménage À Garage DC Music Rocks

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:  Ménage á Garage and their track, "Die in a Fire." So guys, tell us about that track.

Jenny:  John. What it was with that track, it has a long story, but we'll make it short.

John:  We have another song called "Ugly Duckling," which is kind of about someone who's been bullied. 

John:  During one of our practice sessions, the gang was like ... Well, we had some new chords and we were kind of running through these new chords, and I asked, "what should this song be about," and it kind of turned out that everybody said, "Well, what if we did a response to another song?" It turned out to be "Ugly Duckling," and so this song's lyrics are kind of a response as if we are responding to someone who wrote us a letter about the song "Ugly Duckling."

John:  "Ugly Duckling" being about bullying, this song, these lyrics, to me ... There's always been a little bit of tension in my mind about peoples' tendency to tell folks when they're troubled that it gets better.

Jenny:  It gets better.

John:  Because there are certain people who their outlook on life, they don't believe you, right? You can say, "No, it'll get better, don't worry, kid, it's going to be fine," and that kid's going to say, "You know what, don't tell me that." Adults always say things like that, and there's a certain mindset that responds better if you say, "Well, I don't know if it's going to get better; this is just the way life is. Life doesn't owe you anything. What are you going to do?"

Brian:  I see.

John:  "Are you going to give up? Are you going to turn tail and run? What if it never stops raining? What if it never rains again?" All of this stuff is an unknown, so that's kind of what the song is about. It sounds on its surface like it's very pessimistic and down, but it's really kind of a call to action about, what are you going to do if things don't go your way?

Brian:  I dig that message, and let's get to know you guys. So what I want you to do is, if you would introduce yourselves. I want to find out about who's John and who's Jenny, and then also tell us about Ménage á Garage and where the ... The brief history. You don't have to give me the long ones here, but the brief story about the band.

Jenny:  Oh sure, sure. Well, we met at Flash Band, which is an amazing little organization in D.C. It's a great resource for musicians, and it the theme was trios, so hence Ménage. It has actually no other overtones. It's just about three people.

Brian:  Got it, okay.

Jenny:  But music, we're a trio, a power trio, and both John and I have our long musical histories. I've been in a couple bands, and he's been doing all sorts of really educated musical things.

Brian:  So does this go all the way back? Are we talking like, elementary school, and ...

Jenny:  I think probably so, yeah, for both of us.

Brian:  Back there. 

Jenny:  Lifelong learning.

John:  Oh yeah, yeah. Absolutely.

Brian:  Got it, and at what point did you guys decide that, even as adults, we're going to keep doing this music thing, or has that always been the case? Did you stop and then come back to it?

John:  I never considered ... It never occurred to me that I could stop.

Brian:  Yeah, yeah. I don't believe in, like, "once a musician, always a musician." Sometimes you may have like a dry period, where you're just, whatever, not plugged into whatever you're ...

John:  I could see people stopping and doing other things, and I used to do that, and I've met plenty of people that have done that. It just never occurred to me to do that.

Jenny:  No. Doesn't occur to us.

John:  Nothing wrong with it.

Jenny:  That's why we're middle-aged people who play rock music and just embarrass ourselves publicly, and that's just what we do.

Brian:  It's a calculated embarrassment.

Jenny:  It's a skill. No no no.

Brian:  It's a skill. That's even better.

John:  It's owning our skill.

Jenny:  It's a true talent.

John:  Owning my embarrassment.

Jenny:  You know, yeah. It takes extra-special skill.

Brian:  There it is. So, briefly, then tell ... How did you get into music, way back in the beginning?

Jenny:  Okay. Well, my older brother ... I was always surrounded by music. My older brother listened to a lot of really great albums, and he was kind of into the punk scene in southern California, and so I got to listen to things like Hüsker Dü and all those things like, way back in the day. I've always just been attracted to music, and went to my first concert, Roxy Music, when I was 14, and that was a pretty good start. So both just being a musician, and I always ... Music has been a survival mechanism. I mean, it's like I can't live without it. So there was just no question.

Brian:  Wow. Okay. Committed to it. What about you, John?

John:  Well, my mother started me on piano lessons in second grade, and then she started me on cello lessons in third grade, and then I started myself on drum lessons in fourth grade.

John:  To get back at her for making me play the piano and the cello. I played all three of those things the whole way through high school, and into college where I went to Millersville in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for music education. So that was until I was 21, 22, something like that, and after that, played a lot of weddings, played a lot of string quartets, church cantatas, that sort of things. But I love pop music and taught myself guitar when I was working at a movie theater, running movies, and when you run the movies, you usually have a lot of down time, like 45 minutes while everything's playing.

Brian:  That does make sense.

John:  So I would bring my guitar in and be up in the booth, just playing and writing songs and teaching myself how to do that, which is what I really always wanted to do while I was learning how to play Mozart on the cello.

Brian:  That's amazing. All right. So what do you love and appreciate, I like to ask folks, what do you love and appreciate about the D.C. music scene?

Jenny:  Sure. Well I mean, I don't even know if this is unique to D.C., but it's just been my experience of D.C. which is, there's so many good people in the scene. Maybe we've just been fortunate to plug into various musical communities. I just find people are very welcoming and supportive of each other as musicians, so one of the best things, which is why I love that we're here today; one of the best things is just getting to listen to all of this D.C. music and learning about it, because otherwise, I mean, we're not very ... Or a a show, and the live shows that happen around town, you know we wouldn't know about all this great music.

Brian:  That's true. John, what about you? What do you love about the scene?

John:  Well, there are, like Jenny said, there are a lot of talented, generous people in the scene, such as yourself and your band mates, and some of the folks, well I guess all of the folks that we're going to play today.

Jenny:  No, no just some. We're going to call them out.

John:  Well, there's one ...

Jenny:  Who will remain unnamed.

John:  But that's really what it is. The quality and the level of proficiency of the music in D.C. is very high. Historically, D.C. has a great tradition of a professional level of music, and the even the DIY and amateur scene keeps that level up, which is what I appreciate because I don't consider myself a hobbyist. I mean, I aspire to a professional level of quality, even though it's not how I make my living. I think that's what you have to do if you're a passionate musician, unless you're just going to be at home playing the guitar and playing Jimmy Buffett, which is perfectly fine, and there's nothing wrong with that, but it's not me.

Brian:  Right, and what you say is really true also. I've got to say, in doing this show, I've gotten to hear so many of these really talented people who, they do this on the side, and they're professional caliber. But they do it on the side as their hobby, and they make their living another way, and it's truly incredible to see.

John:  It's an avocation versus a vocation.

Brian:  Exactly. Exactly. Well, very eloquently put. I dig it. Tell me about your best show that you've done here in town. Well, not even in town, just in general. What's the best who you've done? 

Jenny:  Well, I mean, we're having a little debate about this, but ... So John ... There was one particular show at Wonderland Ballroom where we were, just because stuff happens, we were forced to really ...

John:  We had a hard stop.

Jenny:  We had a hard stop. We were the last band, and suddenly there was just no more time left at all, and we had to pretty much figure out how to play our nice, cozy 35-minute set in about 20 minutes.

Brian:  Oh my goodness.

Jenny:  We were just like, you know, jumping on stage, and we just said "Let's do it," and we just throw down ...

John:  [crosstalk 00:08:48] tucks. No pedals, no nothing.

Jenny:  The crowd that was there, they were great. They went crazy. They were bouncing off the walls dancing. They thought it was just amazing. I mean ...

John:  They knocked the monitors over.

Jenny:  Our music is well-suited to having to go really fast anyway, so it worked out okay.

Brian:  This is true. The punk genre, it definitely ... Good upbeat tempos, upbeat energy; I can imagine that was one heck of a show.

Jenny:  Right, right, and I would say we're definitely more in the pop-punk realm, just not to mislead anybody. But punk in spirit, all the way, so you nailed that.

Brian:  Got it. Now what about ... What's the future look like for you guys? Let me just ask it. What's the future look like for you guys?

Jenny:  Long. There are a lot of years.

Brian:  A lot of years, so you're not going anywhere, okay. So is there a goal you're working toward, or just want to keep making music?

Jenny:  Always, yes. That is the point. Oh, and now we've got our trailer guy, right behind us, so we're ... Yeah. He's trying out.

John:  We aspire to play at every venue in D.C.

Jenny:  That's right.

John:  It would be a great achievement. That would be a milestone for us.

Jenny:  Yeah.

John:  We've still got some to tick off that we're working on, but that's what I think the future would hold for us, and more recording. We're kind of thinking about different approaches to recording and how to put out music in 2016, like how does it work today? What's the best way? We've recorded and EP, and we've watched a lot of our friends, including Fellowcraft, release their EPs, and we're trying to learn from that and figure out, what is the modern ...

Jenny:  Exactly.

John:  What is the way for the 90s to do it, you know?

Jenny:  So we do have an EP coming out, and we want to continue to record because we already have a bunch of songs that we are chomping at the bit to like get to the studio, and even if we're just doing one at a time, just getting them out so folks can enjoy them. As for all those venues that we're going to play, venues out there, we're looking at you.

Brian:  Very excited.

Jenny:  Yeah, here we come.

John:  We write a lot, and it will be great to have our songs out there for people who come to the shows to be able to hear in advance and maybe look forward to them, rather than a more traditional approach of recording it and then working on it, and then six months later, you release it, and then you play those songs. We're just thinking about different approaches to that. So I think that's in our future; some experimentation.

Brian:  One of my favorite questions to ask is one piece of advice you would offer to musicians?

John:  Join Flashband.

Jenny:  And be yourself.

Brian:  Best, most succinct answers yet. Join Flashband, and be yourself. What about a special message for your fans?

Jenny:  All of our fans, so wait, how many is that? 

John:  Jenny's fans?

Brian:  All of those fans out there. 

Jenny:  We love you. I think I'm going to try to get this guy, who's drilling the door, to be our fan. We were super excited when actually ... Just so you know, the inner workings of a musician's brain, right, that we were really excited when we met our first fan who we did not know.

Brian:  Ah, yes

Jenny:  They were not someone's friend, or ...

Brian:  It's the transition.

Jenny:  I mean it, ended up it was somebody's friend, but she legitimately said, like, "No no no, I came because of you guys, not just because I know your friend over here. That's just a coincidence." So...

John:  I don't think she's been to a show since that one.

Jenny:  That's true. Oh well, we're working on it.

Brian:  There's been so many others since then.

Jenny:  So we're asking, won't you be our fan? Please?

John:  She just did that to get us to buy her a beer, I think. I'm in a band.

Brian:  There you go.

John:  It worked.

Brian:  Clever. Clever. I dig it guys. For those folks who want to find out more about Ménage á Garage, where do they go? What are the best places to find you?

John:  All the places. 

Jenny:  All the places. You know, Facebook. I know. We know that it's a struggle for people who don't know French that we have all these accents, okay, but it's ...

John:  You don't have to type the accents. You'll get to us.

Jenny:  You don't. It's spelled ... it's not Nicki Minaj spelling; it's men-age a garage. That's like the easiest phonetic spelling I can kind of give over the radio.

John:  If you type that in to any convenient search box, you will probably find us

Jenny:  Just Google.