Monday, September 12, 2011

The Away Team is Away - Pause Press Play launched on September 11, 2011

The Away Team is on two coasts, Penny in NYC and Nik in San Francisco for the ten year anniversary of September 11, 2001. In San Francisco, Nik performed his piece "Requiescant in Pace" to a montage of footage by Lenny Charles taken on 9/11 at Ground Zero, and the music video Topsy Turvy World was shown at the Herbst Theater. Check it out:


Penny is in NYC to do follow up interviews for an addendum to her film "9/11 Dust and Deceit", and a showing of her film as part of the PAUSE PRESS PLAY project and Health Help 9/11. The showing at the Walker Stage in NYC included a wonderful presentation by healing consultant Ama Lia Wai-Ching from Singapore.

In Miami, the event at the LMNT Contemporary Art Space included an art installation/exhibit, "The Pause Towers" - a plexiglass sculpture filled with prescription bottles and medical packaging from ten years of prescription based treatments from health survivors of World Trade Center illness. The Miami event at the LMNT Contemporary Art Space included an art installation/exhibit, "The Pause Towers" - a plexi-glass sculpture filled with prescription bottles and medical packaging from ten years of prescription based treatments from health survivors of World Trade Center illness.

PAUSE Project Director Rachel Hughes who has struggled with the health effects the WTC Syndrome for the past ten years, says, “Pause delves deep into the questions I face on a daily basis. Because of my illness I have been forced to ‘pause’ and reflect on the questions surrounding 9/11.” This project launched on the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2011 launched with film showings, art exhibits and presentations focused on solutions.

The 2006 film “9/11 Dust and Deceit” by Penny Little examines the questions of the health problems suffered by thousands of first responders, volunteers, workers who were exposed for months to the toxic dust in lower Manhattan.

For more info:

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Moving Along, Being in Motion

Moving is not fun, especially for cats. Cats do not do so well with change and being in motion. Our Weegie cat, a part Norwegian Forest Cat, especially does not like changes in his world. After all, did he give us permission to do so?


Yesterday, we went to visit Weegie in the "cat slammer" aka Humane Society cat boarding. Great facilities, but it's still a jail. Weegie apparently hissed at one of the volunteers, a very un-Weegie like thing to do. Hissing is a sign that a cat is afraid. So, he's back home now that we've made our move. He's been purring for nearly 4 hours straight. Little does he know that we're going on the road soon, and that life will soon change again drastically. We're hoping for foster cat care instead of jail for Weegie. He has totally adapted to a new environment. He seems purrfectly happy right now. It took him 2 months to come out of the closet when we moved last year. Maybe all it takes is a little practice, getting used to upheaval. And I suppose that's what we humans need to learn as we prepare for our next leg of our journey. Before we left our wonderful abode, we had four weekends of house concert parties which were fantastically fun for us. At each party, there were some of the same folks and some new folks. We invited other musician friends to perform, like Love Lightning and Randy Lamb. We left a memory imprint and sold a few souvenirs aka Topsy Turvy CDs. And as we emptied and cleaned and cleared out, the musical set up was the last to go and finally the Yamaha piano sat alone in the living room, a few boxes here and there in the house, and another era ended.


Moving along. We're in motion..

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Away Team to play at the October Coalition Gathering in DC October 7

October 2011 is the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the 2012 federal austerity budget. It is time to light the spark that sets off a true democratic, nonviolent transition to a world in which people are freed to create just and sustainable solutions.   


We call on people of conscience and courage—all who seek peace, economic justice, human rights and a healthy environment—to join together in Washington, D.C., beginning on Oct. 6, 2011, in nonviolent resistance similar to the Arab Spring and the Midwest awakening.

A concert, rally and protest will kick off a powerful and sustained nonviolent resistance to the corporate criminals that dominate our government.

Forty-seven years ago, Mario Savio, an activist student at Berkeley, said, "There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all."

Those words have an even greater urgency today. We face ongoing wars and massive socio-economic and environmental destruction perpetrated by a corporate empire which is oppressing, occupying and exploiting the world. We are on a fast track to making the planet unlivable while the middle class and poor people of our country are undergoing the most wrenching and profound economic crisis in 80 years.

"Stop the Machine! • Create a New World!" is a clarion call for all who are deeply concerned with injustice, militarism and environmental destruction to join in ending concentrated corporate power and taking direct control of a real participatory democracy. We will encourage a culture of resistance—using music, art, theater and direct nonviolent action—to take control of our country and our lives. It is about courageously resisting and stopping the corporate state from destroying not only our inherent rights and freedoms, but also our children’s chance to live, breathe clean air, drink pure water, grow edible natural food and live in peace.

As Mother Jones said, "Someday the workers will take possession of your city hall, and when we do, no child will be sacrificed on the altar of profit!"

We are the ones who can create a new and just world. Our issues are connected. We are connected. Join us in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 6, 2011, to Stop the Machine.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Launching into Spaces That have No Landing Places


July 16 is the anniversary of my mother’s accident. It was a rainy afternoon in Eugene Missouri, and she was coming back from shopping with a friend. Some drunk hit her.
I was thousands of miles away in Waipahu, Hawaii, had just returned from a dance class, in the mid afternoon. I started having some vision problems with my right eye. It was like looking through the world through a kaleidoscope of broken glass. I took a bath and it went away temporarily. Then it came back even stronger. I was beginning to be really worried; maybe this is what a stroke starts out like, or a brain tumor, or some misfire in my brain, or my retina has become disconnected, thoughts bordering on panic.... Around 5 pm my sister called and said “Mother has been in an accident. She hit the windshield, has some internal injuries and lost her right eye. She’s still in intensive care” At that moment, my eye cleared. Earlier today I was struggling with my feelings of loss, and jumped into that river for a few minutes, and cried like a baby about losing her, about losing my friend Cherie, about possibly losing our home, our cat, the life we’ve known. All those big losses came back through me in waves, past, present, future. My mother lived quite a few years after the accident, and in most photographs it’s hard to tell that she had one glass eye. That accident gave her the money that my father’s pension did not, and she moved to warmer winters in Georgia. I told myself that every big change, every big loss is a new opening, and we have to do whatever we can, and sometimes it’s all for the best.

So here we are at the precipice of not knowing again. We either need to (a) find housemates in the next couple days or (b) start making plans to leave and (c) “What about your cat?” - who is staring with discontent right now So we’ve decided to have a gig-party every weekend until we (a) stay, (b) find a new place or (c) go on the road. Option (c) requires some sleight of hand to procure some worthy gigs for August/September ....The house is now a music venue, with the Nexo system and our pared down live rigs.

All I can say is “I’m putting my faith in God, the Universe, whatever you want to call it.” This is truly one of those times in life when we’re launching into spaces that have no predesignated landing places. This paraphrased version came from Orthobionomy founder Arthur Pauls,who inspired me to write a song about that - a song residing in the archives of the hundreds of tunes I’ve written.

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The first CD Release Party on July 16 party was wonderful, and some of us danced till we dropped.
After we played, I was having a strange vision issue -- that kaleidoscope of broken glass began to cross my left eye, in waves. It didn’t cross my entire vision, but was annoying. I remembered it was my mother’s anniversary of her accident and the streaks began to fade. What is that about? I wish, just like the cat who talks to me in “meow”, that these messages would come in plain English. Why can’t I see? Why can’t I translate the message? What is she trying to tell me? Where are we going to go? What are we going to do? Should we look for a new place? Our landlord is traipsing people through our space every day. Will we find compatible housemates before he finds someone to rent the entire house? Or are we supposed to give it all up, and hit the road and promote our new album? Our friend Dawn who accompanied us on Unconventional Tour 2008 asks, “Why did we make an album if we didn’t intend to promote it?”
I’m scouring connections, reaching out to anyone who might help us book gigs, applying to Festivals in the Midwest (again?).... And, until we stay or go, I’m pretending we’re on vacation in our beautiful house in Santa Barbara. In this beautiful house we’ve called home for the past year, we’ll add songs to our set. We’ll get our media together. We’ll be really ready to launch, into spaces, where there are no landing places.

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Away Team at Summer Solstice some Pics from video


On the Main Stage at the Solstice Festival - screenshot of video shot by Ron Dexter


Shot from Dawn Perrine Video


Screenshot form Ron Dexter's video

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Away Team at Summer Solstice Festival in Santa Barbara


Summer Solstice. It was a beautiful day.  After a week of June gloom, a familiar weather pattern in Santa Barbara, the sun came out for Solstice.  It always does.   Nik and I got down to Alameda Park, loaded in quickly, the stage manager and folks were really great - helpful, friendly and seemed to know what they were doing.  I parked the car about three blocks away while Nik set up.   

This was our first gig in a while, and our first gig using a computer as a sequencer and a software program called “Ableton Live”.  In the days preceeding the show, Nik was doing the all the programming because I was so busy on the logistics side of things for Solstice.  The sequencing program had acquired a new name: “Evilton Live” or “Ableton Evil.”

Twenty-five minutes before we were supposed to start, Nik was hunched over the computer screen, barely visible in sunlight, in headphones, frowning.   There was a glitch*:  there was no audio coming from our sequencer - not through the external interface nor through the native audio out of the computer. 

I went to park the car, helped Dawn set up two cameras, spoke to someone in volunteer check-in, and looked at dancing fairy wings.   About five minutes before we were supposed to perform,  I returned and looked at Nik’s body language - I knew he had fixed it*- Sighs of relief: we were not “The Away Team” unplugged.   The show went on.    

I couldn't really see much from the stage - the sun was blotting out my vision. I took off my purple tinted prescription sunglasses because they were falling down my nose; then I really couldn't see.  I'm fairly nearsighted, anything past about twelve inches becomes wonderful impressionist painting.

About one minute into the first song, the stage monitor mixer-guy turned up the volume in my monitors so loud with only  the backing track, the sound was only a loud rumble - almost impossible to tell what was going on- I was straining to distinguish between distorted rhythms and tonality.   I couldn't hear my vocals at all.  Neither could Nik; he was lip reading.  The mixer guy kept messing with the monitor mix; it got worse.  Finally I turned around and asked him to turn it down.  Things got better after that.


Then after the show, even though our "official band packet" said that we could load and unload on Micheltorena Street right behind the stage between 11 a.m. and 6 pm, the cops were officious and would not let us get near the loading area.  Finally, after an hour or so, and three requests to cops and traffic wardens, two trips to pick up car and driving around, one of the traffic patrol people said she could open the barricade for me, but then threatened to call an officer over to arrest me if I even looked like I was heading closer to Santa Barbara street (still a block away).   It took us 3 hours to get our stuff out of there.  Because they wouldn't let us load out when it was "safe", now we had to wait for the parade to be completely over.  Some guy who had heard us at some other gig --got a few of his friends to help us carry all the equipment.  Otherwise Nik would have had to have done it all by himself, since I needed to be guarding the equipment. Even backstage with a stage manager and bouncer,  it's not really safe to leave things unattended.   In the past, I've had $300 mics and miscellaneous other things disappear during the load and unload between bands.

I thought I would get to film the parade, but I didn't even get to see it cause I was dealing with trying to get our gear out.  I spoke with the Festival Director, who says she has trouble with them every year. When the organizers all sat down together in their meeting with the police regarding the event, this was discussed and they agreed to let bands in, but that information obviously did not filter down to the lowly little fascists on the street.   Nik told one of the traffic wardens that they "were exercising power just because they could". She aksed: “Why didn’t the organizers take care of this?” Nik said, “They did, but why has everything changed.?” The cop said it “was the fault of the organizers.”    Why this failure to communicate down the ranks?  Intentional or not, other bands certainly would be having a similar problem.

Other than that, it was a beautiful day.  ;-)

We're thinking of having a house party concert in the next couple weeks where we have control of the sound, the elements.

*For geeks and musicos who deal with technology, all of the audio preferences in Ableton had changed.  Nik is not quite sure exactly why this happened.   It must have been the heat of the moment.   

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Away Team at Summer Solstice Festival

We’re “live” again! We are performing songs from our new album “Topsy Turvy World” for the first time at this year’s Summer Solstice Festival on June 25, at 12:15 in Alameda Park in Santa Barbara. 

"We’re  honored to play at the Solstice Festival --  it’s a celebration of life, art, music, culture which is truly unique and special. Solstice embodies the spirit of cooperation, creativity, is people powered, green, and a whole lot of fun - and for me, work ;-) 

The Summer Solstice Celebration, in it’s 37th year, is Santa Barbara County's largest arts event, bringing 100,000 people to the street to see the parade, and 40,000 plus to the Festival in the park which for the first time has expanded to a 3 day event, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The theme this year is "jungle" and it's looking like it's going to be huge parade and fantastic festival. For more info on the Festival:

We’re also just releasing our album digitally through JMD Records/NGrovve (a partner of Universal Music Group)Below is a June 19, 2011 press release from them.

The Away Team is singer-songwriter Penny Little and musician Nik Green, both keyboard savants that turned tickling the ivories into danceable, quirky pop rock ditties. They come from different worlds but together they create a new one, a topsy-turvy realm that cannot be ignored.

How did The Away Team's Penny Little and Nik Green come from playing classical piano end up doing heavy rock? It seems a long way but it was a journey worth the destination.

Penny Little aka Little Savage used to be a solo pianist mixing in improvisations with classical pieces. After touring in Japan, she met guitarist Ben Hurley in Hawaii and they recorded the album 'In a Light Garden'. She became the vocalist for band White Feather and toured around Europe. When she returned to the US, she also dabbled into film making, including working with Academy Award winner Barbara Trent on the documentary short, 'Waging Peace'.

Then there's Nik Green, a native of the UK who has been producing electronic dance/ambient music since the 1980's. He recorded and toured with the band Blue Murder for seven years and engineered several hit albums. Nik considers John Adams, Charles Ives, Steve Reich, and Percy Grainger as his music influences. 

In 1994, Nik and Penny formed The Away Team and as a duo they've performed in the Unconventional Tour 2008, joined by other musicians during their eight-city 7,200-mile tour of the US. For their latest album 'Topsy Turvy World', Nik and Penny collaborated with Ben Hurley yet again, producing a collection of modern pop songs with splashes of dance, country, jam, rock, world, and lyrics that are at times personal and political. The Away Team performs anywhere: rallies, festivals, anti-war demonstrations, clubs, house parties - you name it, they've probably played it.

If The Away Team were to describe their sound, it's definitely 'out there' and that's not exactly a bad thing. The Away Team is not boring and they've got the music and talents to back it up.

Download The Away Team's album 'Topsy Turvy World' at iTunes distributed by JMD Records/INgrooves (a partner of Universal Music Group).

Enter The Away Team's world at the following:
CONTACT them at:
Email: home ( @ ) theawayteam dot com
Phone number: 805 320 7981

VISIT their Official Website: