Once upon a bass...
In late 1978 we moved from northern Idaho to the Black Hills in South Dakota. It was quite a happy place for me. The possibilities were endless, in running I made the pre-Olympic trials, I had just discovered Rock & Roll and radio, and I got to paint and draw to my heart's content. In Idaho, I had played violin in the school's orchestra but my father hated when I practiced so I didn't. However, now with my new found love of Rock & Roll, I wanted to be in the school band. There was no orchestra, but the teacher, Jan Conn said, "Oh the violin is just like the bass only backwards." They had a dusty old upright bass in the back, and I must have looked pretty funny with my little hands racing to reach the notes. I was hooked, but I needed to get a bass I could take home and practice. I asked my parents and my father said, "I forbid you to play bass, girls don't play bass". I was devastated but I wouldn't give up, I saved all my babysitting money and bought a used bass that didn't have the volume or tone knobs. I made square knobs out of wood and made them look like dice. I could practice all the time because I didn't have an amp and with the door closed my parents were none the wiser. I played along to all my favorite songs on the radio. I was asked to join a band so now I needed an amp, and my parents were like no way can you join a band and we will never drive you to the gigs. I saved up and bought the amp anyway. My first concert with the new band, my dad would still not drive me. Well alright then I will just walk with my gear. We moved a lot, I went to 4 different high schools in three different states. I had nothing stable in my life except my bass and my records. While in high school I somehow got to play the UNM Jazz Festival in Albuquerque and won an outstanding soloist award normally reserved for anything but bass, I might have been their youngest winner.
I kept getting thrown out of bands because I played too many notes. Finally one band would have me, Tandem Felix in Albuquerque. We played the El Rey Theatre and recorded one album.
1986 with Tandem Felix
College became difficult for me due to all the personal challenges I faced, and I had to drop out of college and music. I hid in the radio industry which was not much better for the next 30 years. I never forgot my love of bass. I finally achieved my goal of being a Program Director in radio, but it wasn't what I thought it would be, as corporate radio was becoming more and more stale and there was less and less I could do to fix it. I didn't even really go to concerts anymore as I was so busy. I was the Program Director for 4 stations in Sacramento and later 2 in San Francisco. I had this pager they gave me and every time a station popped off the air the transmitters would automatically dial me up. I'd have to run in to fix it usually at 3am. I was getting no sleep. I had staff who would call me at all hours of the night, for important stuff or to tell me they couldn't find a pen in the control room. Maybe try the production room? Oh yeah... I was also making less than half what the previous Program Director made in San Francisco and they gave him more staff. It was all too much so I resigned, as I did fix their computer systems and accomplished increasing their ratings. I went back to Phoenix and planned to get out of radio for good, but I already had job offers upon my return. I decided to see another concert, I hadn't gone to shows for years. I went to see my favorite artist, and after the show I wrote a letter to his label. Not expecting to hear back, the next day there was his kind reply and he was willing to play on a tune! One problem, there were no tunes, and I hadn't picked up a bass in 30 years. The sheer panic monster that engulfed me led me to get my act together, write songs, practice, learn to sing and play more instruments in short order. I found the best studio around and recorded "Architect of Dreams" days after I got the email. I now have 4 albums out and have played my bass onstage at several clubs, including dozens of times at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood.
Onstage at the Whisky
Onstage at the Whisky with Johnny Echols
At NAMM sometime before Covid
A friend of mine, Kerry Gogan invited me to go see a talk by Leland Sklar, and even suggested that he could play on an upcoming song of mine. I was working on two new albums, so I had the material this time! Thanks to Jim Roberts at 5450' Studios as he had the proper setup - Leland has sent along tracks for three songs, and Johnny Echols has also played on three tunes. Their parts are so good I am beside myself! Stay tuned, my new album Petals from July will be out by July, and hopefully the next one later in the year.
With Leland 10/12/2022 photo by Kerry Gogan