Friday, September 30, 2005

"In The Mood" Fall Tour, Part One

Our Tour started on September 12 in beautiful Sand Point, Idaho

That's my "road" hair.

We rehearsed for a few days, played the show and then headed off for additional shows in

Kent, WA

Kirkland, WA

Nampa, ID

and Twin Falls, ID
The Snake River, in Idaho

That's Carol, our bus driver The scenery in Montana was stunning. We played three shows there on consecutive nights in Butte, Helena, and Billings.

An amazing view of Montana from the bus

Montana Highway!!!

Montana does indeed have a big sky!

We played a show in Gillette, WY and the next day we had a 500 mile travel day (no show), during which we also visited Devil's Tower, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and Mt. Rushmore - all in one day.

Look! Prairie Dogs!

Crazy Horse Memorial, under construction
Mt. Rushmore


Goat #75

Thursday, September 8, 2005

How I originally became inspired to play the bass

My roommate from my senior year in college played the bass. I played piano and accompanied her on her junior recital. She is one of my permanent lifetime best friends. During college I was so wrapped up in the piano that I never dreamed that I would end up playing bass. I was always fascinated to watch Jennifer playing in all of the school ensembles. It just looked like so much fun! I was so happy that I got to play piano for her recital, and she even gave me a bass lesson. I had no idea at the time that this would eventually lead to me starting lessons for real several years later. It was a strange feeling to be a beginner on a new instrument at that age, and since I was just doing it for fun I did not expect much to come of it. Little did I know that it would eventually take over my life. Thanks Jennifer!

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Carol Kaye inspires me too

For some reason I often think about Carol Kaye when I’m playing this show. She was the first-call electric bassist in LA during the 1960s and early 70s. She played on hundreds of hit songs. Name a song from that era, and it was probably her on the electric bass. I got to know her via her website and then I was lucky enough to take a couple of lessons with her when I first started playing electric bass. She is amazing. Before she took up the bass she was a working guitarist in the jazz clubs around LA. She also toured as the guitarist with a big band in the 1950’s and her husband was on the gig too, playing upright bass. I know that things were not the same at all back then with the touring bands and that we are in no way in the same category, but it is fun while I am on stage to imagine her out there on the road doing the same thing. Her circumstances were so completely different from mine but it is also fairly likely that there are some similarities as well. It is fun to think that I am continuing something or other by being a woman touring with a mostly male big band show all of these years later. I hope she enjoyed the performances when she was on the road as much as I do now. When I am performing this show, it really is the music that makes everything else worthwhile. I wonder if it worked that way for her too. I enjoy imagining that it did. Anyway, check her out at

Monday, September 5, 2005

One of the reasons the "In the Mood" show is so special to me

I have always loved playing this “In the Mood” show that I am currently touring with. It is excellent, very well written, and a real crowd-pleaser. It is very rewarding to perform because it touches so many people on so many different levels.

As a woman on the bandstand playing 1940s music in this day and age, it is particularly moving to me whenever an elderly woman comes up after the show and tells me how she and a number of her friends played in bands during WWII because of the vacancies created by all of the boys going to war.  And then inevitably comes the comment about having had to give it up after the men came home and how much she missed playing, and how meaningful it was to see me up there on the bandstand playing “her” music.

That always brings tears to my eyes. And that same conversation has taken place at least five times during the past three years of this tour. I know that most of these women probably weren’t playing with the “big boys” in the major bands during WWII, and neither am I now, but it is still thrilling to realize that my presence on the bandstand is so appreciated by certain members of the audience in such a special way.

This past summer I met a woman during the Victory Day celebration at the “White Cliffs of Dover” My ship just happened to be in docked in Dover on that particular holiday and I went up to the castle to check out the festivities. This woman had worked in the secret tunnels under the castle during WWII and she also played drums in a military band, but she said she was only allowed to do that during the war.

It is a such a shame that so many women were basically forced to stop playing after World War II ended. I told her about my gig playing bass for “In the Mood” and how I always enjoyed meeting fellow musicians, especially those who had been musicians during the era of this show. They are the real deal.  And here is my new drummer friend from Dover:

Friday, September 2, 2005

Looking forward to hitting the road....

The fall tour is starting soom and I am thrilled to be able to have a piece of my former life back and to get away from all of the depressing fire-related issues that we have had to deal with. The inventory is finished and all of the receipts are accounted for and all we have to do is have fun touring and planning our new house. And it will be nice to have a steady income for a while because our credit cards are almost completely maxed out. The insurance company has not reimbursed us for much yet, and we really need the money.

This will be our 4th year doing this show. It's a musical revue with singers, dancers, and an on-stage big band. We travel all over the country in a big tour bus, playing mostly one-nighters. It has been great to have a gig like this that we can both do together. The show is excellent and we both love to travel so it is a really nice situation over all.

Last year Doug became the tour manager which is very much a mixed blessing. It pays a little bit extra, but it requires him to spend months ahead of time arranging the hotel and travel details. I've helped him quite a bit with that but he does most of it It's a huge job and it has been a good opportunity for him to learn how to become more organized. It's been nice to be able to plan some sightseeing along the way too.

Unfortunately we don't get to hang out as much as we used to while on tour because of all of his assorted duties. The overall experience of Doug being tour manager is really less than ideal, but I guess we need the money and supposedly that is why he's doing it again. He had been considering not doing it but I think he talked himself back into it while I was out on my cruise gig. I guess it didn't occur to him that if he'd spent the time that he spent working on all of the tour details making mouthpieces instead, we would be significantly better off in the money department. And we had so much more fun during the first two years of the tour than we did last year when he became the tour manager. Maybe this year will be better now that he's gotten accustomed to his various extra duties.

This fall the tour starts in Idaho and we'll be doing shows in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, South Carolin, North Carolina, Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Massachusetts. All between September 12th and November 19th. Should be fun!!!