I Sing – Penelope Houston “Quality of Mercy”

It’s 12:43 pm

We have gotten hit with snow three days in a row now and with the weather being so cold,it’s starting to add up a little bit. It sure is pretty to look at however!
Most people who love punk rock music know who Penelope Houston is,she was the lead singer of the pioneering punk band The Avengers. They played a show with the Sex Pistols (easily the most OVERRATED punk band ever) and according to what you read,always blew them off the stage.
But I never saw the punk side of Penelope,I discovered her music after reading about her shows in the various San Francisco music magazines and then hearing her on KFJC.
I then met her quite by accident when I got a invite to visit Heyday Records in San Francisco. I was given a tour and Penelope was there getting some of her music to sell at her shows. The fine folks at Heyday had let me pick out a few CDs and it only by pure chance that I had picked out “The Whole World” as one of my choices and had it in my hand when she came in.
I was then introduced to Penelope who was very gracious and kind. I told her how much I enjoyed the two cuts I had heard on the new CD and I asked her to sign my copy which she politely did.
While I had just taken over the talent buying job at Marsugi’s and booked a lot of great bands,I never booked Penelope there. It wasn’t until I came back for my acoustic showcase at the Agenda Lounge that one of my first shows was asking Penelope to play.
But I wasn’t the first one to book her in San Jose,a good friend named Tyler Kogura,who was attending San Jose State,was in charge of a mid-week lunchtime concert series. He knew how much I loved Penelope’s music and would love to have gotten a show with her.
One day I get a call and it’s Tyler,he says I need to come down to catch his latest show,he thinks it’s a band I would like to book at Marsugi’s and I needed to check them. So I said I would be there and I walked the mile to the school and where his musical acts played.
It was then I saw Penelope and looked at Tyler with this big grin on his face and I said “Fuck you”!! He started to laugh as I did as well…I said “You are the MAN!! I am so jealous of you right now!!” What can I say,the booking game was and is VERY competitive. But in my career,that was the only time I was ever completely envious of another buyer.
I mean,I saw shows I would have liked to have gotten but never was I ever straight up jealous.  I waited til after her set and then I came by and said “hello”. She recognized me right away and we talked for a few minutes and I asked her for her booking number which turned out to her personal number. It sat in my files for over 3 years until I got the gig at the Agenda Lounge.
I booked three shows with Penelope during my time at the Agenda and every time was just magic. When I booked her,she was playing folk with a slight edge to it and I loved it then and love it still today. What I didn’t love was she played a show that fell close to my birthday,I had booked it as a birthday show . As I helped load out the band’s equipment,I thanked Penelope for playing and she said “This was our last show as this band”. Needless to say I was pretty bummed out on a personal level because I really liked Penelope as a person and an a extremely talented artist. She is still crafting music today,playing both with the Avengers and also her folk-rock side as well.
“Quality of Mercy” was the first song I heard from Penelope and it’s one of countless songs I love and listen too while I write my blog.  If you like what you hear,you can visit Penelope’s website by clicking here. You can check out her catalog of music and purchase albums from her store.




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