...being the observations and navigational extracts
from the ongoing expeditions of San Francisco Piano Pop trio
True Margrit

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Dead is the New 40

Many of y'all may not realize that True Margrit has been a band for twenty years! ( Which makes me 83!)

But seriously-not only is it dreadfully exciting that work on our fifth album ( THE JUGGLER's PROGRESS) is winding up, but we have this milestone to celebrate!

I remember the original bassist (Robert Geller) and guitarist (Shannon Mehaffey) arriving at my house for band practice on the evening of October 17th, 1989. Yes! that's the night of the Loma Prieta quake--or the "World Series Quake". The power was out, so we couldn't practice, but I cooked some pasta for me & the guys on a Coleman stove.

Shannon had just come from a band practice with his heavy metal project. They were in the middle of a tune when the earthqauke started & at first they were all ever so pleased with themselves: "DUDE! We are rocking SO HARD"

But soon they feared that the rehearsal studio was possibly collapsing ( it didn't) and they ran out into the hall along with many other highly rattled musicians from other rooms. And then he headed to True Margrit practice...

Over the years--in addition to Shannon-- we've had many superb players on guitar: Chris Martin, Sally Magness, Niall Fordyce, and Dave Parnall to name a few. These days, we don't gig with guitarists ( MORE ROOM FOR MORE PIANO) , but the fabulous Jeri Jones has played some sweet as hell guitar on our upcoming album. Robert (after a Fleetwood Mac-esque exit: LONG story, nevermind) left the bass post to be replaced by the one & only uber-genius Gary Hobish. The supersonic Mark Skowronek did a bass stint , there was briefer one with Neal Trembath and then Gary & True Margrit reunited. Yay!

As for the drummers before our very own extra-special-perfect-super-duper Andrew Bacon...oh my, here's many but not all: Dan Seelig, Bobby Lurie, Todd Tash, Tim Hillborne, Eban Schletter, Chris McGrew, Bennie Murray, Rosie Panzarello, Joe Young. Plus, lest we forget, here's a list of our current ( and past) stable of glorious fill-in drummers includes: Kurt Weitzman, Keith Karloff, Naked Nate, Robin Roth, Hudson Bunce, and Chris McGrew - yes the delightful McGrew of Griddle, again! So sorry if I left anyone out, but I'm happy to report none of these drummers spotaneously combusted. Oh YES! We have had two percussionists--Kara Blanc & Juliana Linares.

Anyhoo, as you can imagine there might have been times during those 20 years when I was downcast, low, or discouraged. Where hope's flame flickered feebly. Bad gigs. Bad food after bad gigs. Bad PA systems (so many of these). Sending a press kit with a blank tape --(oops, that looked bad no wonder they didn't book us. Remember tapes?). Singing the wrong lyrics. Singing/playing bad notes. Throwing wig heads at the bassplayer onstage (Robert). Breaking keyboard stands ( that was kind of cool, actually). Breaking midi pedals ON PURPOSE. Gear failing onstage. Tours with insane itineraries--the worst: Portland followed by Santa Clara--that's too far...or Sante Fe after Knoxville--sorry guys!!!! Clubs with gross bathrooms ( lots of these).

Well, that all comes with the territory. And yes, somehow the years ticked by like an eyeblink, really. 20 years seems short with all those new songs new, venues, new faces. Every time I sit down at the piano--it's new.

True Margrit has never had dearth of repertoire, just never enough resources to record all the tunes--hence only five albums in twenty years ( there ARE 10 "lost albums" recorded on 4-track cassette). We are trying to catch up now that we have studios!! And now! I'm so DAMNED excited about THE JUGGLER's PROGRESS--well, I feel stronger and zestier than ever. To my fellow veteran songwriters/ musicians: if I can stick with it so can you! Pick up your dusty axe! Write some beautiful tunes! Rhyme me some rhymes! Godspeed! 40 is the new 23. Dead is the new 40!

Rock on. Seriously.


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