Bandgirl's Blog











Although I have been actively performing for over ten years with Silverwing, I haven’t always been the bass player.  The bass playing has just been in the last two years, when our last bass player moved on.  At that point, the band consisted of my husband Mel on Lead Guitar and Vocals, Me on rhythm guitar and Frank on drums.

The most logical thing would be to hire a new bass player, but instead Mel asked me if I would consider playing bass, so we could add a different instrument, like steel or keyboards.  I’d done about 3 or 4 songs on bass, mostly plunking out root notes, but I was game.  And Mel is very kind and supportive, even when I hit some terrible note, he just cringes and smiles that smile, you know the one, the smile that says, “what the heck was that?”

So I take on learning about 75 songs on the bass, ugh.  When I use to strum an E chord for 4 measures now I’m playing a walking bass line for 4 measures, so it’s challenging.  But so worthwhile.  I feel like I contribute to the songs in a different way.  I can tell that my part is integral to the feel of the song.  I help it bounce or I drive the walking bass line or I subtly fill in around the edges on a slow ballad.  I’ve decided I really like bass playing and my poor guitars sit alone in their cases wondering what they did wrong.

As one of the few female musicians in our neck of the woods, I could feel special and be impressed with myself, but that is just not my style.  I know the only reason I play professionally is because I’m married into the band.  It’s easier and makes the band more secure when half the band is so connected, so egomania is just not my way.  I’m humbly grateful for all the opportunities that I get to enjoy.  I know when I’m in the old folks home, no one will believe me, but they can just push my wheelchair over in the corner and ignore me while I go on endlessly about my career as a rockstar. Ha!

But as I studied the bass, I discovered the amazing Carol Kaye, a studio musician who performed on over 10,000 recordings in her career.  From TV theme songs like Mission Impossible and Get Smart to iconic rock songs like La Bamba and Sloop John Be to film scores for Quincy Jones, Carol Kaye was part of a group of studio musicians who performed for the greatest composers on the greatest recordings of that era.

Legend has it that a fellow musician did not show up for a recording session, although Carol was hired to play the guitar, she picked up the Fender bass and played his part on the Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds”

She played for Glen Campbell on Rhinestone Cowboy and is credited with inspiring the introduction to Wichita Lineman.

Since we live in Fallon, NV the current home of Top Gun training school, I have to include Carol’s performance on “The Top Gun Song,”  You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling.  (And yes they are supposed to be in San Diego, but those jets are cruising through the mountains right outside my window.)

Well, it’s definitely time for me to practice. I hope you are inspired by Carol Kaye.

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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



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

 



The Silverwing band from Fallon, Nevada is in the last stages of recording a CD of original material.  Silverwing is mainly a rowdy country band fronted by Mel Warstler.  Mel has been playing guitar since he was about 16 in numerous bands throughout Nevada, California and Oregon.  Raised a country boy on the coastal ranches in Oregon, Mel’s music roots go back to classic country.  He learned his picking style at 16 from a retired LA studio musician.  And from that time on Mel’s lead playing has improved and has elevated him to be one of the best country pickers in Nothern Nevada music scene.  When Mel isn’t playing with Silverwing, he is the lead guitarist for Rick Hays and American Steel and can be seen at casinoes throughout Reno and Carson City.

The music on the CD ranges from the classic country sound, to the Kenny Chesney beach type cha-cha to the swamp backwoods down home sounds of Little Big Town.  Really there is something for everyone on this CD.  Last few touches will be completed in the month of May and then mastering and production to follow.  I will keep you informed on when the CD will be released.

Have a great day, Bandgirl



{January 6, 2010}   Guitarchics – the beginning

Guitarchics.com is going to be a tribute to the brains, beauty, guts & glory of being a female guitarist.  From the classics, the traditionalist, to the radical chics who drive it to the edge.  I can’t wait to bring this great group of women together in one site.   Both a history and a hope.  A hope for our girls who are picking up the guitar & dreaming their dreams.   I will be building this site over the next few weeks, so keep coming back!  Thanks and have a great day, Bandgirl



et cetera