Bandgirl's Blog











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

Advertisements


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



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



This story is exactly why I created the
GuitarChics website, to inspire young girls and young women to play
music despite the odds and despite any self defeating behaviors.
There are successful female guitar players who have experienced some
tough times and they can inspire us to stay with our efforts.

Joan Jett is the epitome of the
GuitarChic Spirit, devoted, dedicated, full of belief in herself,
strong in the face of rejection. Joan Jett is an amazing person and
she shared her philosophy on life just recently with at-risk
students.

On Monday, May 23, 2011 Joan Jett made
a surprise appearance at a school assembly at Scriber Lake
Alternative High School in Edmonds, Washington and spoke to the
students on the subject of completing school and following your
dreams.  Joan had dropped out of high school to  pursue her dream of
being a rockstar, but after success with “The Runaways”, and smash hits
like “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” and “Crimson & Clover” she
returned to high school and got her GED.  Gotta love Joan Jett.

Scriber Lake is an alternative high
school for students with learning disabilities or at risk of dropping
out.  English teacher Gary Lange, saw the movie “The Runaways”
and felt that Joan Jett was exactly like his students and could
relate to them, so he sent an email to her manager requesting that
she consider speaking to the students.  She accepted and a quiet
plan was hatched.

Joining Joan at the assembly was her
longtime producer Kenny Laguna.  In 1979 when Joan was trying to get
her first album signed at a record label she was turned down by over
20 record execs, so she and Kenny formed Blackheart Records and
issued the album themselves, selling copies out the trunk of Kenny’s
car after shows.  And although now anyone can buy some inexpensive
equipment and issue a CD of original music, in 1979 this was a
complicated undertaking. After over 20 rejections they both still
believed and they took the project into their own hands.  This makes
Joan Jett the first woman to own her own record company.

So you know when Joan Jett talks about
doing what you love, despite the odds against you, she speaks from
experience.  When she talks about completing things, we all know she
didn’t need a GED, but it was important for her to go back and
complete school, she speaks from experience.  When Joan Jett
encourages you to pursue your dreams, you know she faced rejection
and kept on with her dreams, that is the essence of the GuitarChics
Spirit.

Surround yourself with people who
believe in you and your dream.  Why would we put people into our
lives who don’t believe in us, I don’t know why, but many of us do.

And when someone rejects you, remember Joan faced 23
rejections before she went on to a career that has spanned 30 years
and produced 8 platinum and gold albums.  Remember, the people who
reject you can be wrong.

I am so impressed  that Joan Jett took
the opportunity to share her story with at risk students. That is
epitome of the GuitarChic, faith in yourself, determination, and that
is what she spoke to them about. She encouraged these kids to find
what they love and do it.  Immerse yourself in your interest and it
will become a part of your life, it will help define you.  I am the
rhythm guitar player for Silverwing and Brandywine and I am steppin’
up to the microphone with faith in myself, belief in my goals and
lovin’ it.  Join Me.

If you want to see the story of her
rejection by 23 record labels watch the video for “Bad Reputation”

Don’t forget to visit www.Guitarchics.com
to learn about other inspiring female guitar players.

sources:  www.heraldnet.com,
www.ksdk.com,
www.joanjett.net,
www.joanjettbadrep.com,
http://www.myspace.com/joanjettntheblackhearts

 



{May 26, 2010}   Brandywine draws a crowd

I played guitar last weekend at the Oasis Bowl in Fallon, Nevada in my duo, Brandywine.  We had a great turnout with lots of dancing.  Brandywine plays mostly country music, so there is a line dancing crowd and a couples dance crowd that follows us where ever we play.  We added some new songs to the set list.  And playing them live for the first time is always exciting.  Will I remember the breaks, will I remember how many measures of each chord.  I love the challenge of adding new material to the set list.  But the classics are a treasurer.  The first song that I ever sang in public is “I can’t help it, if I’m still in love with you”  by Hank Williams Sr which I first heard on a Linda Ronstadt album many years ago.  I can’t sing it exactly like the Linda version and of course she had Emily Lou Harris doing back up vocals, how awesome, but I stand and deliver and try to do it justice.  It keeps me excited by life and playing keeps me young and happy with something to look forward to.  I’m looking forward to the next gig.



et cetera