Bandgirl's Blog











{April 4, 2015}   Silverwing at Boomer’s Bar

Silverwing has a standing gig on the first Saturday of every month at our local bar, Boomers.  So today is a busy day, lots of gear to move and set up, guitars to tune, rush home, eat, clean up, show up and play.  We had a bass player who used to say, I’ll play for free, but you gotta pay me to move the gear.  And that is so true.  Playing music is a joy.  My mood is always better when I have a gig on the weekend.  Hey, I can make it through anything, if I just have an opportunity to play somewhere on a weekend.  But moving the gear? Yeah, not so much.

Jake with Silverwing LBC5 Mary n Mel Silverwing at Boomer's

So tonight, it’s me (Mary) on bass, (though I’m playing guitar in all those pictures) Mel on lead guitar, Georgina on keys and our new drummer Brandon.  Hope we pack that dance floor and keep them partying till midnight.  That’s my job, to make people have a good time.  And it is a great job.

Listen to our original song “Moonshine” at our website http://www.silverwingband.com.  We are very proud of it.  Kinda swamp rock, maybe southern rock.  Mel came up with this riff on guitar, with a drop D tuning.  That’s what gives it that moody, dark feeling.  Then he got stuck on the line “Drinking Moonshine from a mason jar” for days.  Over and over, then we put a story together and worked up the rhyming scheme.  Viola!  It’s the title song to the CD and it goes over real well in performance.  Folks will come up later and shake Mel’s hand and compliment him on it.  So give it a listen.

You can buy songs or the whole CD at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/silverwing.  Don’t forget to leave a comment.  Like us on FB at http://www.facebook.com/silverwingband.

Thanks, Mary (GuitarChic)



It’s been a busy week promoting Silverwing.

We picked up a new venue at a place called the Flight Bar, guessing it’s next to the airport.  A friend is teaching line dancing and the owners want some live music, so our friend suggested Silverwing.  Always great to get a recommendation, now the pressure is on. We’ve exchanged info on the dances and songs that will make this gig a success for us and for the new dancers.

Then another friend contacted us this week about an opportunity at a casino in Reno, which is looking for some country music.  It’s hard to break into the casino circuit.  Sometimes you need an agent, who will take a cut, for making a few phone calls.  Also you need to have experience and it’s the age old dilemma, you need experience to get the gig, but you can’t get any experience unless you get a gig.  So if we can get in the door, then we’ll work hard to keep it.  Of course the venue needs to support it with some good advertising.

Then we had a killer practice yesterday.  Lots of breaking down the details.  My husband has played for so long, then he does everything by ear.  I, of course, can’t remember s#@t, so I have lots of notes, but no sheet music.  He just listens, picks out the chords, noodles till he has the lead figured out and off we go.  It can be an amazing thing to watch.  Anyway, there was lots of breaking things down.  What is that note, what is the drum beat, where is the stop.  It went from noon to 6pm with lots of smoke breaks, but that’s where we connect and become friends, not just musicians at a job.

Our next gig is this Saturday at our local hangout Boomer’s.  So lots of friends in the crowd.  I’ll let you know if anything crazy happens.

Mary, http://www.silverwingband.com, our cd is available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/silverwing



Yup, that’s right.  Silverwing has a weekend off from gigging.  We could be practicing, but there is family stuff to tend to this weekend.

So instead we are going to make decisions on some new  songs to add to the set list. Sometimes this is so difficult.

First, we are musical mutts.  We love everything from Deep Purple to Brantley Gilbert, from George Jones to Motley Crue.  But we are a rockin country band, so the Crue is probably out.  It’s tough to make the call, pick the song, put in the practice time and then wait to see if anyone enjoys it.

Next, sometimes we pick a song that just falls flat.  We’ve worked up songs that just didn’t do anything.  The crowd just chatters, gets up to get a drink, heads to the bathroom.  Yikes!  That one is going to the back of the book.

Talking about heading to the bathroom reminds me of Casino Fandango in Carson City.  They pipe the music all over the casino including the parking lot and the bathrooms.  When my husband played with a band there, I headed to the bathroom and while I was in there taking care of business I realize that my husband is singing to me.  Huh!  That’s a weird experience.

Anyway, sometimes they just don’t fly.  Sure the crowd needs a break once in a while.  Maybe we just had them up doing a swing dance and they are catching their breathe, but sometimes we pick a song just doesn’t go over very well.

And finally, we kinda have to like the song, cause we are gonna live with it for quite a while.  Sure, we play songs that aren’t our personal favorites because they are popular at the time, but we also have to enjoy ourselves.  Perhaps the chord pattern is a challenge or it’s has a killer guitar lead or a dramatic drum roll.  Whatever!  We will find a way to enjoy ourselves.

Because rockin’ it up in our country band is all about the fun.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love being a musician.

SW Moonshine Cover

Our CD of original music “Moonshine” is available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/silverwing.  The music was written by Mel Warstler (holding the dobro, which he plays on the CD) and I helped with all the lyrics.  Check out the title track at http://www.silverwingband.com

Thanks, Mary Warstler



{March 12, 2015}   Practice makes perfect, Not!

In the last post I said I liked the excitement of having a new band member.  I don’t call it nerves.  I call it excitement.

I mentioned that I like the chance that things might go wrong and that we, as a band, will hang on through the mistakes and drag it back on track in time to end the song correctly.  Well…….. guess who the culprit was in the band trainwreck.  Oh, that would be ME.

Ha! I shoulda never brought up the subject of a trainwreck, cause that’s all I could think about when we got on stage.  Then I had the first missed note, then a bad note, then an ugly ending, then the wrong tempo, it just goes on and on. It serves me right for bringing the curse down upon myself.

But I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes on stage and it has changed my life in wonderful ways.  When I was a kid, I was so hard on myself.  I cringed at the stupid things that came out of my mouth, especially around good looking boys. I embarrassed myself in front of the classroom so many times. As I got older, I became very quiet and started to withdraw socially. I never went to dances in high school. I never went to football games.  I just hung out in my room with my headphones on listening to music.  I know my parents worried about me.  Heck, I worried about me. Give me a group of laughing teenagers and I was miserable.  All I wanted was to be left alone.

Now here I am standing on stage in front of people, making mistakes, forgiving myself and moving on.  I never thought I would be so well adjusted.

My husband was in a band where the singer would apologize to the crowd over the microphone, drawing attention to the flub.  Not necessary.  For one thing, many of the people in a bar aren’t there as music critics. They are partying and enjoying themselves. Next, the mistake has already drifted away and it’s not going on your permanent record.  It’s long gone by the time the song ends.

Sure, I’d love to be perfect but at the end of the first set, I just had to laugh and let it go. I’ve learned to forgive myself and THAT is the most important thing for me personally.  I owned up to my mistakes with my bandmates who just shrugged and let it go, as well.

The next set was a new beginning and I jumped right in with a new attitude.  Hey, maybe I hung in there and brought myself back from the edge of the trainwreck?

Check us out at http://www.silverwingband.com  our first CD is available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/silverwing.  All the music was written by my hubby Mel Warstler and I helped with the lyrics.

Thanks, Mary (the bandgirl) Warstlerpondo 022114 #6 good



{March 6, 2015}   The adventures of Silverwing

SW Moonshine CoverIt’s the end of a long week.  We worked, we cooked, we cleaned, we paid bills, time to kick back and relax. Uh, nooooo!

Not us. This is just the beginning of the excitement.

Tonight Mel and I host karaoke at a smokey little bar in downtown. We’ve been doing this for about 5 years and it never gets old.  Sure, when Karaoke started to become popular around here (about the time the rest of the world got bored with it) we were offended.  Hey, we are a band, working hard to bring you live music, that we practiced for hours and you’d rather sing along to a record!  Wow, that stinks.

But….then we realized we had better equipment sitting in our garage, so we put it to work. Hey, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. And here we are the king and queen of karaoke, playing songs so many of our friends can belt there little lungs out.

The pleasant warm fuzzy thing about Karaoke is that it’s about other people.  For us, who are so used to being on stage and having folks applaud for us, it’s our chance to support others.  From the chicken who is afraid, to the person who dreamed of singing professionally, it’s our turn to be supportive of others.  I enjoy hearing someone nail a hard song that they’ve been practicing week after week.

Then after hanging out till 2AM with the Karaoke junkies on Friday night, on Saturday we have our regular first Saturday gig at the other hometown bar, Boomer’s and for a little added excitement, it’s the first home gig for our new drummer, Brandon.

Brandon grew up here, so there will be lots of family and friends in the crowd.  We are expecting lots of support.  But the best part of a new band member is the unexpected disaster that may occur. In a sick sort of way, I kind of look forward to that moment when it’s heading for a huge disaster of epic proportions and we drag it back from the edge and finish like pros.  It’s very satisfying to hang on and pull it off.  Plus, once you’ve survived the disaster, then the rest of it is easy.

Well I hope everyone has awesome weekend.  If you are in No. Cali or Nevada, come find us.  You can expect some killer guitar work from my hubby, Mel and http://www.silverwingband.com

The cover of the new CD "Moonshine" by Silverwing. That's me in the pretty dress.

The cover of the new CD “Moonshine” by Silverwing. That’s me in the pretty dress.



I’m bringing this blog back to life.  For a short while I was dedicated, then life happened and by the time I even thought about making a post, it seemed so pointless.

But today I am breathing life back into this blog.

I have the greatest hobby, ever!  I am the bass player for my husband’s band Silverwing. I have played music to a few lonely drunks and I’ve played music in front of thousands of people.  For a formerly shy girl, this is just an amazing life.

I want to share some of the fun times we have had, maybe encourage a few girls to pick up a guitar and celebrate female musicians.

But I also want to share Silverwing. We are country band with a crazy edgy drive.  My husband was a lead player in a heavy metal band and give the guy a few beers and he’s tearing up a blistering guitar lead to just about anything from Merle Haggard to Jason Aldean. Being on stage with that kind of energy is a rush.  I love it and I just want to share it.

Of course, I wish Silverwing was opening for big acts, but I’m grateful for where we are in our lives.  If we stay busy, then I will be happy and content.  We have issued a CD of original music which is very popular with our followers.  If I can tell the world about our CD and gain a few fans that would make me very happy.  Someday we might even jump in the car, drive to Nashville and knock on a few doors, just to say…….. “I did it”

So welcome to my blog.  I hope you enjoy the stories that I share, I hope you learn a little about some awesome female musicians and maybe someday you might hear a Silverwing tune on the radio.

Check out our website at http://www.silverwingband.com and come like us on Facebook.com/silverwingband

Have a wonderful day, Mary “bandgirl” Warstler



{March 1, 2015}   Silverwing band practice

The band Silverwing is my husband’s creation.  He was playing a Silverwing gig 20 years ago when I first got to know him and here we are 20 years later, still booking gigs.  Keeping a band together is a challenge.  Mel says a band is like a marriage.  There is give and take, there is tolerance, there is disagreement and resolution, people come and people go.

So recently our long time drummer moved on to another band which plays most of it’s gigs a few miles from his home.  It’s a very popular band with a steady following.  I’m sure he will do a great job for them and enjoy himself, but we immediately replaced him with a young man who really hasn’t been in a band before.

Oh sure, he’s set in with the open mike night crowd and filled in for other drummers, but Silverwing is his first permanent band and he is a grateful fellow.

But it’s time to get up to speed.  Today we spent about 5 hours going over and over the songs in the 4th and 5th sets.  We keep a revolving 5 sets, so we are not predictable.  There is nothing worse than playing the exact same opening song every gig.  We mix it up.  We have 5 sets, but usually only play 3 of them on a night.  So practice, practice, practice.

He is familiar with most of these songs, old country, new country and some classic rock thrown in.  I mean who doesn’t know Sweet Home Alabama.  Anyway, he is catching on fast.  From listening to the song on YouTube, then attempting them ourselves,  he’s working it hard.  Very quick, accurate, good breaks, nice endings, crisp and clean.

One of the best things about our drummer Brandon is that he feels the emotion in our song “Wide Open Spaces.”  There is a lot of drama in the song. It needs a gentle touch, plus a huge crescendo.  He’s making us proud and bringing lots of feeling to the song. When that song is played well, it is magic.

Find “Wide Open Spaces” at cdbaby.com/cd/silverwing.  It is a tribute to Mel’s father and his life out on the ranch.  If you love the wide open spaces give it a listen.

Mary Warstler, the bandgirl, is the bass player, vocalist, and songwriter for http://www.silverwingband.com.  Listen to our song “Moonshine” and check out our next gig.  Join us for a rockin’ country goodtime. Follow us on FB http://www.facebook/silverwingband and twitter.com/SilverwingTunes.



{February 26, 2015}   From Rhythm Guitar to Bass Guitar

I learned to play the guitar from my brother who was wounded in Viet Nam.  He went out and bought two Yamaha classical style with nylon strings and the wide neck.  I’m showing my age, but it was a large guitar for a 10 year old girl.  He got a couple Mel Bay books and figured out the chords and we started learning a few song together.  It was the time of Cat Stevens, CSNY and Gordon Lightfoot.  Woodstock was happening up the road from our town in NY.  It was magical.  I remember the beauty of strumming each chord over and over till it was perfect, no buzz, no dull, just magic.

I joined the church folk mass group and they were devoted John Denver fans. We perfected arpeggios and daydreamed.  My brother moved up in the world and bought a Gibson Hummingbird in around 1973. Imagine what that would be worth if I still had it somewhere hidden away in a closet, but it disappeared, probably pawned as times got tough.

I took lessons from John Quara, who took me through many books.  He worked professionally in some big band in NYC and I played rhythm to lots of big band music during lessons, not really the direction I was hoping to go. I dreamed of being Judy Collins, so I lost interest.

It was years before I picked up a guitar, many years of college, work, marriage, kids, divorce, loneliness.  I didn’t even have a guitar hidden away in a closet. I just left it behind, but one day I picked it up and amazing things have happened.

I can’t wait to tell the stories that took me from strumming that guitar to playing bass professionally.  It’s become the anchor of my life today. More stories to follow.

Visit our website at http://www.silverwingband.com.  I co-wrote the lyrics for the song “Moonshine” that plays on the home page, pick up our cd at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/silverwing.  I play rhythm and co-wrote most of the lyrics.  Yeah, life is good.

Thanks, Mary Warstler



We have a gig tonight.  Silverwing is booked to play at the Whiskey Tavern.  This is our first time playing there, so we just don’t know what to expect.  Is it a country crowd? A rock crowd?  Will it be packed or not?  Will they dance or just stare at us?

Years ago I came to my first Silverwing gig with my friend who was married to the drummer.  I had never met Mel, the band leader, who is now my husband.  After the very first song my girlfriend elbowed me in the side and said, “Applaud, it’s your job.”  So I applauded loudly and yelled “Yeah” and we helped the party get started.  It’s contagious. 

So we applauded and next thing you know someone else across the room applauds and their friend applauds and someone yells, “Yeah” and it spreads.  But without that first person it takes a while longer to win them over.  Sometimes no one wants to be the first person to give the band their endorsement by applauding and you get this uncomfortable empty silence at the end of a song that you just put all your effort into for the crowd.  Oh well.  It’s a challenge.

So maybe you take a break and talk to someone at the bar or nod at someone who will ask for a song and you make a connection.  Then after a few more beers and a slow buckle polishing song, you’ve got them.  They finally start to hoot and holler and it’s a party.  But it sure is easier when the band family table does it’s job of applauding!  Ha!

Wish us luck at the Whiskey Tavern.  Come say hi to us at our Facebook page or check out our website at www.silverwingband.com.  Our CD “Moonshine” is for sale there. 



{December 31, 2012}   New Year’s Eve Entertainment

Well here it is.  New Year’s Eve!

Playing NYE can be one of the most important gigs of the year.  It is the Super Bowl of gigs.  It is the pinnacle of the year and you should have the largest crowd of any night that you play all year.  Hopefully!

So, despite the fact that we don’t play until 9pm, there is plenty of action all day long.  First, we are playing 90 miles away, so we are staying over night and we need to pack our clothes, shoes, makeup, bling, etc, everything necessary for the show and the next day.  I picked out my outfit last night; little black dress, a glittery top over it, heels, jewelry.  I’d like to have some goofy thing to wear on my head, like a blingy little tiara.  It’s important to lead the way sometimes and encourage a little fun, wildness, whatever the moment requires.  So that’s keeping me busy this morning.

We need to eat good and feel good.  After stuffing ourselves during the Christmas week festivities, I have been keeping it healthy for the last few days, so today is no exception.  Maybe some whole grain cereal, green tea and if we are still at the house for lunch, I will have a nice salad.  I don’t feel well on a diet of junk food.

Right before we head out, we pack the gear.  I don’t think many people realize the amount of equipment it takes to put on a gig.  In addition to guitars and amplifiers we bring the PA equipment as well.  So it’s microphones, stands, chords, the mixer board, power amplifiers, power conditioners, monitor speakers, PA speakers, and sometimes we even bring lights.  Then there is you personal gear, guitar, stand, amplifier, chords, wireless gear, pedals, and tons of other miscellaneous gadgets.

To rent this kind of equipment and hire someone to run it for you costs more than we usually get for a gig of four hours.  Sometimes I realize we are in the wrong line of work, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

So loading that into vehicles (we really need an enclosed trailer) and unloading it, is part of my weekly exercise routine.  I figure it must burn some calories, so that’s how I justify it.  And off we go.

We’ve played this venue twice before, but they were both tough nights to draw a crowd.  The first time was the Friday of the Thanksgiving holiday, ugh, people are home with family or out of town, so we can write that off as a typically poor night.  Then the next time we played was mid-December, but it was the night of the Santa Crawl in downtown Reno, where thousands of crazy drunk people dress up as Santa, or Eleves or maybe Naughty Santa Helpers.  You know what I mean.  It is one of the biggest parties in Reno.   They actually close Virginia Street and take an overhead photo of them and the crowd is huge.  So again, for us….not such a good night in the casino.  But tonight we are expecting a good crowd of fun, crazy, rowdy party animals.  Don’t I have a great job, or what?

So, I don’t have anymore time for writing.  It’s time to put my glittery shirt in the car and head off to have fun for a living.

Everyone have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!  Visit us at our website and leave a message on our visitor page at www.silverwingband.com.

Love, Silverwing and the GuitarChic



et cetera