Key to Success


There’s always one at every party. A girl or guy who has consumed a large amount of liquor and decide that they need to be the entertainment for the evening and refuses to
let the band that was hired do their job.

I was laying around the house one Saturday afternoon when I received a call from an old girl friend asking if I was available to play at a party that she was throwing in a few days, for her brothers birthday. As much as I hated the last minute request, I still said yes. I just can’t turn down a paying gig.

Sharon and I have been friends since first grade. Thanks to Facebook, we started talking again and figuring out we were living within 20 miles of each other. Hubby and I had been invited to their house for a diner prior to this party, so we knew they had room for us to set up some kind of acoustic guitar set. Their house was located where I would call, “the sticks”. It’s an hour trip on the main roads, and 15 minutes more on gravel roads. Now  your deep into the woods. I don’t care for living out there like that. It so silent it’s almost creepy. 

The house was really nice though. A ranch style that looked to be around three thousand square feet, and sat in the middle of four or five acres of beautiful landscaping. I was glad though, that we didn’t bring the whole band in here. From what I had gathered from the diner we attended here earlier, her crowd would be a bit more toned down compared to what we were used to. We traveled light by only bring the acoustic guitars, amps, monitors, the board and the microphones. Sharon had some really cool crushed red velvet chairs with super long legs, which put you at a perfect height for playing guitar. We got everything set up before her guests started arriving, so we had time to chat with her and her husband Ron, and get to know each other better.

People started arriving and I decided to myself that I was correct about the crowd. They did dress nicer than dive pubs and biker parties. No disrespect to the biker party attire, or the dive pub dress code. There was a spread of food for a king lined wall to wall around the kitchen and dining area. The birthday cake looked more like a wedding cake. All white icing with three tiers of layers and a statue of a pair of black dice on top. I was informed it not only was Sharon’s brother Bobby’s birthday, it was also a send off party. It seemed Bobby had landed a great job, and was leaving for Vegas. It made a little more sense why most of the people arriving here already seemed to be intoxicated.     

We decided to start up now that it looked like everyone was eating and drinking. Everyone had broken up into
small groups with people fading in and out of them. Some people had skipped the spread of food displayed and
went straight for the bar stocked with everything from beer to champagne. Although I did notice one group
who was sticking straight to the tequila shots, which never turns out good. In the tequila group was the guest
of honer, Ron, Sharon’s husband Bobby and two other gentlemen I didn’t know. My eyes kept drifting towards them.
I had a feeling these guys were going to get out of hand. I went into our first song ‘Rhiannon” and kept the Fleetwood vibe going by transitioning straight into “Sisters Of The Moon” and ending with “Gold Dust Woman”.
Everyone seemed to quiet down and enjoy the show. That is exactly what I was going for. I call it the “mood” trick. You can set the mood of the room by the songs you choose to play. I am a big believer in this theory.
Or at least I was. We were going to start back up with “Barracuda” by Heart, but as the first few chords were
strummed, we heard someone yell across the room, “Lynyrd Skynyrd!” At the top of their lungs. Guess who it was!
Tequila Group!!

It was Ron the birthday boy. I just shook my head. I had a sinking feeling as to what was coming. Past experience
has taught me that the birthday person will either have a really great time, or a really really bad time. If depressed before the party, then mixed with liquor, can be a bad combo. I tried to ignore him and I thought I
would get to sing the song but he stood up from is chair and made his way to the corner of the room where we were
playing. “Great!”, I thought. “Here he comes.”

“Excuse me little lady,, but do you know Hoootel Callliforniaaa?”, he slurred.  

He proceeded to grab the microphone stand while pulling the mic away and placing the stand behind him. I had stopped playing my guitar, and of course Hubby did too. We just looked at each shaking our heads, because we have been here before, so many times. I know it was this guy’s birthday, but damn. I try to just “go with the flow”, I just said to him, “Sure, dear!”. I turned back and nodded my head to Hubby to count off and start the song. This was about to turn into a Karaoke night! Why can’t just one person, who does this to people, be able to actually sing? That would make it a hell of a lot easier to listen to their singing. He softly started singing the words, really low, and somewhat off key. It wasn’t until he hit the note for “Welcome”, to the Hotel California”….. When he hit that note on welcome, it was like a nail on a chalkboard. He then really started to get into the performance. After all it was his birthday. He was letting everyone know to watch him on his special night. As the song was about to come to and end, he was getting louder and louder. He started getting in a jumping pattern that didn’t even go with the beat of our guitars. As I stood back behind him now, I noticed his jacket pocket had something hanging out of it. It was made out of a tweed material, so I decided to pull on the object hanging out of the pocket, and hoped that he couldn’t tell what I was doing. I had a feeling it was his keys. Something made me grab them and slip them around to my back pocket and I shoved them down to the bottom of the pocket and pulled my shirt down in the back to try to cover the small bulge I could feel. He yelled into the microphone. “I’m going to McClearys Bar , who’s with me ?” Screams of agreement came from a group of guys that had gathered in front of us. “Yeah, Yeah,”,, then the dialogue changed and they surrounded him, different people saying, ” No man, let’s stay here.” “Your sister is gonna be pissed man, stay here.” ” No Man, I ain’t driving, I want to go home tonight.” They were quickly changing their minds so we started playing again. I decided to switch it up with some Melissa Etheridge, “Like I do”. We just kept rocking with a lot of female artists, but we did throw our version of Guns and Roses “Sweet Child” in there just for fun. Alas, all the while we are finishing our set for the night, Ron is going around the entire house looking for his car keys so he can go down to the pub. He was very very intoxicated, and with his sister Sharon chasing him around, trying to calm him down and act like everything is all right to the rest of the guests. His keys stayed safe and sound in my jeans. Hubby didn’t even see me swipe them.

So,, two in the morning came and there was birthday boy Ron asleep on the couch. Safe and Sound. The keys to our success are sometimes in someone else’s hands.



Sheet Music


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The romance of sheet music. The shiny brown Wurlitzer piano at my grandmothers house. The piano bench that held the extra sheets of music. The music rack that always held the sheets of music of the last song played. As a young child I would hold the soft paper sheets in my hands and look and the musical notes, so wanting to be able to know it's secret language. Only known to those who unlock the magic of learning an art form that expresses a beautiful sound. I watched my uncle practice for hours and hours on that piano. He was the only in the family that could read music. As I sat next to him, I was in awe of how he know what each symbol meant and where it was on the keyboard. This would be my one of my greatest regrets. I so wished I had learned the dance of reading sheet music. Maybe it's not to late.

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House Band Blues Part II


House Band Blues -Continued Part II

…. Thursday was finally here. I woke up to a thunderstorm pouring down a cold hard rain. Even though it was dark
and gloomy outside, I was excited about the gig. I was nervous as hell, but still excited. My stage fright was
still getting the best of me. I spent the day doing the usual tasks like, meditating, warming up the vocal chords, and packing up the gear. We pulled out of the drive around at six pm sharp and headed downtown in our big red pick up truck feeling excited. The rain storm had finally stopped but the cold wet air remained as we unloaded the gear
through the back entrance of the Sunshine bar. As we entered into the dark hallway it was hard to see until my
eyesight adjusted. The walls of the hallway were lined with what looked like black construction paper, but felt
like wallpaper. As we came out of the narrow dark hallway we then entered the center of the bar. The stage sat
straight ahead and to the right of the front door entrance. It wasn’t a large stage, but it wasn’t the smallest we had ever played on. The backdrop had been decorated with our band logo and small banners of beer advertisements of all different brands.
As we finished up our sound check I noticed the owner of the bar walking up towards the stage.
“Well I see you guys made it.” He stated in a loud voice.
“Now, is everybody straight on the rules? No getting wasted on stage and nothing but cokes for you.” He said
as he pointed to our drummer.
Merv shook his head yes in agreement and went back to adjusting his symbols.
I was nervous about Merv being under the legal drinking age and playing in a bar but everyone assured me as long
as Merv either stayed on stage or outside for his breaks, it would be fine. The problem was, I knew how much this
kid liked the taste of beer.
We were scheduled to start the first set at nine pm sharp and play for an hour and a half. After the sound
check we had twenty minutes to kill. Merv stay on the stage , hiding behind his drums, while the rest of us
stepped down onto the dance floor area, and walked towards the large bartender area which sat beside the back
entrance. In between was filled with a row of tables, and a second row of booths. There were also two pool tables
over in a far corner, but I’ve never seen anyone play on them before. Our bass play Ty had brought his wife
along tonight to get her out of the house, so we sat next to her at the bar and ordered a drink. As I was catching up with Ty’s wife Maria, listening to her tell me about how their two children were doing, something made me look up at the stage. Ty had gotten up from the bar after Maria and I had started our conversation, and he was now talking to Merv, and standing behind the drums with him. They both had strange looks on their faces. Like they were worried about something they were discussing. We reached the nine hour so we started the set with a, Alannah Myles song, “Black Velvet”, and then went right into Guns and Roses-”Sweet Child”. We kept playing the rock genre until the break at ten-thirty, and my throat was already feeling dry and scratchy. Things seemed to be going good, so
I tried to make myself relax. We joined Maria in a booth she had reserved before the set had started. Everyone but Merv. He had to stay on the stage. I kinda felt sorry for the little guy. That sad face was funny, but you didn’t
want him to see you laughing.
“What the hell you guys”? Maria said as we slid in the seat.
“You guys don’t look very excited”! She then whispered.
I looked her in the eye because I knew she was talking about me.
“Damn Maria, give me a break girl, my throat is tight from being nervous and I’m sweating like a pig. Lay off!”
I wasn’t in the mood to continue the conversation with her so I looked around at the empty venue. Hubby kept
assuring me that this was totally normal for a Thursday night. I just hoped the crowd picked up, or our gig continuing, didn’t look very promising. The second set was about to start so I headed back up to the stage. I saw
one of the waitress’s stepping down from the platform steps. She smiled and moved on with her tray and empty coke
cans in tow. Merv is patiently waiting, comfortably seated on his drum stool with a fresh coke in his hand. He
winked and raised his cup with a silent toast. Every time Merv played drums for us, a girl was not far behind. It would be a safe bet that he will be leaving with the waitress that brought him the cokes tonight. They
were probably free too.
Second sets starts up and we go into some harder stuff like ACDC, Whitesnake, Queensryche, Ted Nugent, Rush and
on and on. We usually did two sets at an hour and a half long and the last set, just an hour. This set was harder on my voice I could feel it straining to hit the high notes. I started feeling frustrated. I had done the work and
tried to take of my throat so I would be well prepared, but it felt like I hadn’t prepared at all. A few people
were starting to trickle in the bar now, a few a time, and that seem to distract me from my sore throat for a little while. We were almost through the set when I turned to my Hubby and whispered in his ear.
“Can we switch the last two songs? My throat feels funny and I need to bring the range down”.
He assured me it wasn’t a big deal and went to inform the other two of the changes. I picked Tom Petty- “Running
Down a Dream”, so Ty would have to sing. It was time for me to switch to some back up singing and give the vocal chords a small rest. Everything was going good until we reached the solo part of the song. As soon as Hubby went into the lead guitar part I heard something change with the music. To my horror, I realized it was the absence of
the bass guitar, that I was hearing. I looked over to where Ty usually stood and saw nothing but a guitar laying on
the stage, and no bass player holding it. I turned to the audience and saw the crowd had grown to over fifty or
so people in the last hour we had been playing. I saw Ty running towards the booth that his wife was sitting in.
She and another female were locked into what I would call a full fledged cat fight. Hair was being pulled, fists
were landing, glass was breaking, and there was a rush of people moving towards the booth to break it up.
Ty grabs his wife from behind, pulling her away, but the girl she is fighting comes back at her, so Maria lifts
up her feet as she lays back on Ty’s chest and pushes her feet into the girl chest, sending her hurling backwards into the row of tables in front of the booths. Now all the while we keep playing the song without a bass guitar. I was about to die right there. I had to keep singing, and while I was watching the cat fight go on right in front of me. I also saw the manager getting very upset as he stood in the back, watching the complete episode. I just know in my heart we are not going to last out the weekend. Needless to say we ended the set a song short. Two bouncers had appeared out of nowhere, grabbing both ladies and escorted them to the door. There was some choice words being flown around by both parties as they left the venue. Ty walked out with his wife assuring us he would be right back. I glanced back to see if I could spot the owner but he had disappeared. We finished our break, and returned for the last set. The bar was packed and we couldn’t have asked for a better crowd. Closing time came. We grabbed our gear and left. I never saw the owner or manager the rest of the night. I was worried that maybe it was not a good sign. Friday night was here and the bar was already starting to fill up a few hours before showtime. I was really nervous tonight for some reason. I told myself it was because of the size of the crowd. I liked it better when the people came in a few at a time. I started to feel like I was going to vomit. Damn the stage fright!!
I tried to relax as we started the set with some songs that my voice could warm up with. The guys didn’t like it
much when I changed the song list at the last minute, but I didn’t have any choice, and they couldn’t sing for me.
I sometimes felt guilty when I had to do this. I couldn’t show my full potential because my voice wasn’t one
hundred percent. I just kept going while trying to work past the pain I was feeling when I had to hit high notes.
The second set came and went as did the first and I was holding on. I had brought a container of honey from home
and was now putting it in my tea, which I was now ordering hot.
It came time for the third set and I noticed there were quite a few people that were, Very drunk, as compared to the night before. They never thinned out till almost the last song was being played. The people that were still there sat in booths or tables having deep conversations via their consumption. But, one older gentleman remained on the dance floor during our last cover song, “Hotel California”, by the Eagles.
I still have blurred memories of this. I remember the crowed getting smaller. I looked up and thought to myself
how the only people left were the people who really should have left an hour ago and gone to bed. So, we are
halfway into the song and this older gentleman walks onto the dance floor, which is now empty. He has a beer in
his hand and he is swaying to the left and to the right and all the while looking like he is about to fall.
His eyes are dark and it seemed as if one eyeball was going one way and the other eye was rolling back and forth , in and out of his head. I kept thinking he had some kind of crazy eye, I tell you. Not that he could have looked me in the eye though. Let’s just say he was two sheets in the wind, thank you very much. So, he stops about a foot back from where I am at, up on stage, and he is looking up at me, all while his eyeballs are looking in different
directions, and it is creeping me out!
I look down as he sways back and forth and I start to notice a dripping onto the dance floor. My eyes drift downward and I am freaking out when I realize he is urinating in his pants, and it is dripping to the floor, and his pants are totally soaked from urine. The puddle under him starts to grow in size, but he is oblivious to any
damp clothing or wet flooring beneath him. But by some grace of God, he still held his drink in his hand.
Hard to believe he even knew he was holding a drink. The bad part was when people started noticing what was going
on and alerted the bouncer. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted someone to help him out also, but not like they did.
He was grabbed and dragged by the collar to the exit. We were just finishing the last notes of the song, so I
couldn’t see what happened after they pushed him out the door. It wasn’t until the last night that I found out what happened to him. Saturday is here and it’s the last night. I know I can make it through this. I have refrained from any extra talking because the sound of my voice is seriously hoarse at this point. Moments before the first set is about to start I see the venue is still pretty empty, but people are starting to file in slowly. I recognize the older guy from the night before, that had urinated on himself. The entire side of his face is one big red scab. It looked as though someone had slid him across the parking lot on his face. I later found out that the bouncer had done exactly that. Did I mention this gentleman was quite older. I felt sick to my stomach when I got a better look
at his face. Why was this guy not in a hospital? I just wish people would handle situations according to
the situation and it’s details, and not just streamline enforcement that is across the board. I started to feel
like maybe this weekend was going to be it for us and this venue.
As we finished our last 2 sets, I started to realize something. The waitress that was bringing our drummer drinks
of cokes – was returning back and forth , quicker and quicker, just to serve our little Merv.
He was looking a little happier than usual, and his eyes were certainly brighter than usual. Come to find out
there was whiskey in the cokes. Did I mention he wasn’t twenty one yet?
This is what I believe to have caused him to lose his mind at the end of the evening on the very last night.
We finished the last song, took a bow and closed the music down. As we were packing up the gear, Merv, steps off
the stage, into the middle of the bar and proceeds to sit himself down at a table and started drinking a beer that
was sitting there. I caught my breath as I realized I was being summoned to the owners office in the back.
I was handed an envelope with our payment and a handshake with the feeling of goodbye and good luck.
The End of the House Band.

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Music Tiles & Tips


Keep the music going and the content flowing.

I decided to expand my musical topics I’ve been blogging about. Sure, the old band stories are great for some,
but I don’t want to focus the entire website on one subject. Writing about music theory gets somewhat mundane
to my wandering mind and the subject of songwriting itself seems undefined if you research the internet websites that contain this subject matter. I really don’t believe you can teach songwriting. Every song I have ever
“really” liked was because of the “sound” of the song. It’s not what the song is saying, or how it is being played.
For me, it’s when a vocalist comes together with the right musical “sound”, which results in leaving the listener with a happy emotion, or a sad feeling, or simply a desire to hear more of this sound.
This is why I believe no one can “really” forecast a hit record. We constantly hear stories in the media, about
how most hit songs, at one time or another, were turned down by people in the music industry.
When someone asks me how did I learn to write songs, I say, “I didn’t learn. It just kinda happens”.
Oh, and if your lucky enough to have been told that people love the sound of your voice, even better.

Part II is still in progress on the House band article. Stay tuned.

Love and Pride

A cloud and A tweet

I am loving Twitter and SoundCloud ! It’s so nice to see someone tweeting about how they are listening to a song we wrote. What would we do without Twitter and SoundCloud? Such powerful tools with no investment needed! Except your talent and your time.

This is the kind of thing that inspires you to keep writing. Even on the days we don't feel like it. Or
we don't know exactly how to write the song or what to write about. I love the voice inside us that urges us to be inspired and smile from hearing nice things in a tweet . Life is so full of tweets and clouds Ha Ha Ha.

I love this Shirt. Click on it if you want one too!

House Band Blues Part 1


Being in a house band can parallel your music career as a main artist in your own right. Or maybe not!

The term house band generally refers to a local establishment booking a regular group of people for their musicalIMG_0002
needs on a regular basis. House band can also mean a regular group of backing musicians that are hired for recording sessions to save cost of the production. The only thing it meant to the ‘Prior Vision’ band was a regular paycheck for the next few weeks. It was the early nineties, and music on the radio had become a new playground of unfamiliar versatility. The window was wide open with a range of choices that could not be reigned in. I remember listening to Bryan Adams –’Everything I do, I do it for you’. Also realizing that in the same breath I could be listening to REM–’Losing My Religion’ . You could hear Micheal Jackson singing ‘Black and White’, and the next they were playing Paula Abdul singing ‘Rush Rush’. It was a time of one extreme to the other, and then back again, musically speaking. So the other day I recalled one of the gigs booked for our band at that time, ‘Prior Vision’. The gig was at a bar called ‘The Sunshine Inn’. It sat in a part of the city that used to be up and coming, but now was, down and get the hell out of there! Now the small blue building is surrounded by high rise offices. It’s just a matter of time before the city has this placed leveled and rebuilt. As in many cities, there are always buildings you see, that you just know when you look at them, they are on their way out. But they held on till the very end of the neighborhood was gone. One of the very last one’s to go. But when we were there, it was really what you would say is in the middle of it’s existence. The building wasn’t blue when we were there. They had just did a face lift to the place and it now had a new color of chocolate brown with white trim. Oh, and a nice red door. The red door’s really get on my nerves. Anyway, P-V had finally reached it’s goal of booking a weekend gig that was reoccurring for an extend period of time. Prior Vision, which I am now calling PV, had previously only played one night stands, as I liked to call them, or private events that were also one time only, oh and a lot of playing in the garage for practice. There were only four of us in the band. Let’s just call the drummer Merv, and we will call the bass player Ty, and then or course the lead guitar, and backing and lead vocals was Hubby and then there was me, singing lead and backing vocals, and trying like hell to play the rhythm guitar. Maybe I should say I was struggling with the damn guitar. So here we were, pulling into the back parking lot to get ready to unload the equipment from the back of the truck we called Big Red. The building sat elevated so that you had to pull up the hill into the parking area which was a bit steep. As long as you hit the gas you were fine. It was late on a Wednesday afternoon when we finally turned big red’s engine off. Everyone had a shift to finish at their day jobs, and then it was a quick visit home to see the kids before they took off on their weekend plans. Nobody had time to eat so we planned earlier that we would grab a bite here after we set up. Thursday was the start night so we felt well prepared, and confident after the set up and sound check tonight, everything should go smooth for the next few days. This was how it was supposed to go for the next few weeks. That was the plan, anyway. So the same old routine started with our unloading ritual. Hubby did most of the work. Ty helped, but would always disappear before the finish up time. Merv would help for about the first ten minutes, and then after that, forget it. I learned this way early on so I tried to pick up the slack the guys decided to throw back on Hubby. Now, Merv was a lady’s man and so was Ty. The only difference between the two was that, Ty was married. A small road block, according to him. Now after a few hours had passed and most of grunt work done, we all ordered a drink for a quick break, and then a fast sound check. The problem we were having was a couple of random girls who showed up and decided to make these two loose their ever loving minds. It took forever to get the drums set up and miked.  The bass , the head and the cabinet were still on the ground, untouched since it’s unloading from the truck.  By nine that night we were well fed and saying our goodbyes until our tomorrow afternoon meet up time.  Showtime wasn’t until eight that next evening so time seemed to be working with us.

To be continued Look for Part II

Mac is Back – the music


A long time Fleetwood Mac fan, I was really excited to see the band together and announcing a reunion that included Christine McVie. It just wasn’t the same without her soft sweet haunting background vocals and her lead vocals being back in the song list will spice things up once again.I have so many memories of nothing but
Fleetwood Mac tunes. When I think of how far back I go when I start thinking of the very first FM song I ever heard. Yes, FM stands for Fleetwood Mac, not FM radio, at least for the purpose of the article.
I remembered the first time I ever heard the band on the radio. I mean an old time floor model stereo, set inside
a large long wooden cabinet with a lid in the middle that opened straight up, and stayed up while you were playing
your large vinyl album, spinning under a large metal arm with the needle fitting into each grove for ground breaking music. ‘Monday Morning’ was number one. I could have swore the voice I was hearing was a female. In fact, I thought that for a long time. I bought the album and saw the band pictures on the back and inside. Lindsey Buckingham sure was not a girl. Then I heard ‘Dreams’ on the radio. Over and over it played, everyday for a few weeks straight. I had never heard a voice like Stevie Nicks before. She sang different than any other female out
there. Nothing like Grace Slick, or Donna Summer, or Tina Turner, ABBA, not anyone! The more I read the record sleeve, made me buy more magazines that featured them in a story, and of course with pictures. I learned more about
that band than any other band I was into. I was fascinated with the love triangles and mystery of their stories being told in between the lines, since the song was a about another band member!
So I went backwards on my research of their early days as one band in England as FM, and the other band, being Lindsay and Stevie, ‘Buckingham-Nicks, starting out here in the US. It really was a fairy tale the way everyone met for a dinner and the next thing you know they are all in a band together. They didn’t even realize they were about to make history in the music business. I’m sure you all know the rest about the drugs, the cheating, the rock and roll lifestyle that provided what ever their heart desired. As everything, it came to and end. After Lindsey left the band, well for this fan, it just wasn’t the same. There were some replacements here and there. A tour here and there. Just enough to keep the Fleetwood Mac name alive. Stevie has had so much success and collaboration going on in the last few years, that it’s hard to believe she is the age she is. She still moves with grace and class when she is up on stage. So here’s to the old band Fleetwood Mac. All original members only please!!

Music , Help me sleep ….

I find sleep a precious commodity the older I grow. The clock ticks faster, the memories come quicker, and the days of deep sleep seem to be a thing of the past. It’s either my sinus’s acting up and keeping me awake due to not being able to breathe through my nose, or my body just won’t relax enough to find a comfortable position in the bed. So I toss and turn, multiple times, over and over until I finally find a sweet spot to slip into and rest for a small amount of time. In this process I usually keep my poor husband up, or wake him up, from my tossing and turning. The only thing I could think of, was trying some meditation music before bedtime. I’m just now starting to take some time each day to meditate in my daily routine. This made perfect sense to at least give it a try. I meditate in total silence for now. Just to not hear anything, is a great gift. The phone, the email, the television monitors playing in the background. It’s enough to make your wires cross in your head, resulting in nothing but a big fat headache.

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