Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What's in Your Closet?

What’s in your closet?  Well, in my closet I have: an African drum called a Djembe, two Chinese flower drums, hand drums of various sizes, a rain stick from Bali, a stringed instrument from Thailand called a sueng, pan-pipes from Peru, recorders of all sizes, a two headed drum from India called a dhol, a tambourine from Turkey called a daf, glockenspiel, xylophones, metallophones, harmonicas in various keys, a jaw harp, a banjo, a guitar, an electric bass, two Yamaha synthesizers, a portable Hammond organ, an accordion and most recently an acoustic/electric mandolin.

I guess you could say that I’m a collector of instruments, or, as my husband says, an instrument whore.  I can’t seem to own enough instruments.  My weakness are the folk instruments like the accordion and flutes that are so universal.

I am a kindergarten through 8th grade general music teacher.  My students are accustomed to me playing different types of instruments in our music lessons.  They learn how to play small patterns of rhythm, melody and harmony (ostinati) on xylophones and metallophones, and various kinds of percussion and how to play as an ensemble and therefore accompany themselves in school programs.  I enjoy introducing  different kinds of instruments and showing them how they work.  I don’t always know how to play the instrument but that never stops me.

Some years ago I was teaching in an East Bay private school and had a particularly surly and uncooperative group of 8th graders.  There were 42 of them!  One day I brought in a case and just set it down in front of the class making no mention of it.  Naturally hands went up . . . “what’s in the case?”  My response, “Oh this?  Let’s get through the lesson today and IF there is time, I’ll show you.”  That was the most cooperative, attentive and productive lesson we ever had.  The time came for the unveiling of the mystery.  I hoisted up the case onto a desk -- whew! It was so heavy!  I clicked open the clasps -- you could have heard a pin drop.  I slowly opened the case and pulled out . . . . an enormous concert sized accordion!  The gasps, the woe’s, and then the realization “hey, that’s what Erkel plays!”  I showed them how it worked and we took turns wearing it (especially the boys because it was so heavy), pushing buttons, and pulling on the bellows.  I asked them if they thought I could play the accordion and they all said “NO WAY” and I said, “true but is that going to stop me from playing for you?”  they said “NO WAY”.

In Fleetwood Mask, the opportunity to play mandolin on a a couple songs has come up.  I have a mandolin now.  Do I know how to play it?  Not really!  Will that stop me from playing it?  NO WAY!  Now I need to find out how to squeeze in bagpipes.  I don’t have those yet and I MUST have them!

Barbara Martin

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Learning I’m So Afraid…and Keeping it Real

I heard this song for the first time while viewing the live performance on The Dance DVD.  As is often the case with songs written and sung by Lindsey Buckingham, the sincerity of the lyrics and heartfelt authenticity behind the extended solo are unmistakably personal - this is classic Lindsey.  I don’t know the specific nature of his struggle, but it was clear to me that if I’m going to sing and play this song with any emotional legitimacy, I’m going to have to tap in to something that’s all mine to make the words painfully personal.  This is not a song you can sing based on technical precision; rather, it’s a song you must sing with your heart.  As I said, it’s classic Lindsey.

I don’t mean to get too heavy about this, but as a tribute band we’re looking for every opportunity to capture what’s authentic.  In learning “I’m So Afraid”, my journey as a recovering addict allows me to make these lyrics incredibly personal. Phrases like “I’ve been alone all the years, so many ways to count the tears” and “I’m so afraid I’ll live and I’ll fall and I’ll die” are not overly dramatic. They are simply honest and true as I look back on my life before 1995 and getting clean. 

The lyrics are only half the story.  The slow, heavy tempo and use of minor chords give the song a haunting characteristic to match the painful lyrics.  Lindsey drives hard through two verses and passion-filled choruses before punctuating the song with an extended guitar solo in classic-rock fashion.  Unlike Lindsey, I use a pick for most of my solos. Nonetheless, this dramatic melody (partially based on pentatonic scale) allows me build the solo, climbing up the neck toward a crescendo hanging on a high, screaming bend in classic Lindsey style.  This climax exemplifies the painful release of all the memories and associated fears that go with being in recovery.  As I said, to be authentic I had to make it mine.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Stevie gets a wardrobe change!!!!!!

Hi All!

Stevie is having her seamstress Miss "M" step in for a bit of Costume  re designing this week! After all for Ms. Nicks its all about the shawls! So working with my designer, we are incorporating a few more shawls in our sets! "Stand Back " will have  the traditional and amazing gold polka dot and black fringe shaw,l while the Gold Dust shawl will be revamped into a more rocking Gold Glitter! And Stevie will have a new red layed chiffon beaded skirt to send the audience into a trance when she twirls!

To our fellow Maskers, what was YOUR favorite shawl/outfit that Stevie wore and why????

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24th, 2012

Lafayette Art and Wine Festival - Sept 16, 2012

Lafayette Art & Wine Festival - Sept 16, 2012

Hello Friends!!  The show at the Lafayette Art & Wine festival was awesome!  We had an amazing time and really enjoyed the experience.  The day was beautiful and we couldn't ask for a better turnout!  

The day began with the band meeting at the Festival at 8am.  Don and Steve set-up their instruments, set-up the banner and started to "get in the mood" for the performance at 10:30.  Paul, Barb and Deb  came along and we continued to load in.  It was awfully nice not having to lug all of the sound equipment in.  The sound was professionally handled, so we could focus on getting comfortable.  Claudette came and we all went to get some coffee at a local coffee house.  Sitting together, before the show, we focused on why we were there, why we were doing this and how to give the audience a great show.   As the time drew near for us to go on, the nerves ramped up, but its funny, once you are up on stage, the nerves seem to fade away and you settle into your zone.  I know that sounds weird, but, it happens.  Probably like what a runner feels when they get the endorphin rush (although I have never felt that before!! :)  You just kind of get a zen feeling and you fall back on the hours and hours of practice you have been putting in and it all falls into place.

We went on at 10:30, opened with "The Chain" and moved into "Dreams".  Then RedHouse came up and presented a check to the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce for funds raised at the Covers Cup Competition.  What a great cause!
We also received our trophies for winning the Covers Cup and then proceeded to rock the house with classic Fleetwood Mac tunes!  You know, it is kind of funny the way things happen.  Paul and Don were researching places for the band to shoot our promo video.  We met out at RedHouse in Walnut Creek to see the facilities and get the details on cost, stage, etc.  While there, we met the management team and were discussing details, when they mentioned if we had heard of their Classic Covers Cup competition.  Both of us looked at each other and said, :no...what is it?"  They proceeded to tell us about the competition and it sounded good.  Paul sent a link to our video of Gold Dust woman from the Englander gig (our first show) and said we would be interested if they liked us.  They did....we entered....we played.....we won!  Then the Lafayette Art and Wine festival gig came from that!  Not to get to philosophical here but....things somehow seem to fall into place when they are meant to be......OK enough of that!  

Our good friend Karen Alvarez from Pretending and Tribute Video shot some video of the LA&W performance.  CHECK THIS OUT!

It was a great time and the band had so much fun performing!!    Thanks to ALL who came out and supported us!!  We are having a great time with this little adventure!!

We invite our fans to also sign up for our new newsletter....Follow the Mask!  We will be sending this out about every three-four weeks to keep our fans updated on the happenings with the Mask.  There will be links to our blog posts so sign up and don't miss a thing!!

And Remember..."Don't Stop thinking about tomorrow!"

Peace - Fleetwood Mask

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fleetwood Mask has been BUSY these past few weeks!  After winning the 2012 Classic Covers Cup at RedHouse a couple of weeks ago, we secured a spot at the Lafayette Art and Wine Festival on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 10:30am!  The band is very excited about this opportunity!

NEWSFLASH!....We have a new website!!  www.fleetwoodmask.com is now up and running! Come check us out....lots of fun information, photos, music, videos, etc.  Also, plan your next trip to see Fleetwood Mask Live!  by visiting our Calendar page.

Our next show is this Friday, Sept 14th at the Dublin Sports Bar and Grill.  Opening the evening will be local favorites Rundown Radio!  Doors open at 8pm, $5 cover charge.

We wish to thank all of our fans who have been supporting us on this adventure!  We are living a dream and glad you are coming along with us!!

Claudette, Paul, Steve, Barb, Don and Deb

Friday, August 10, 2012

Memories from Maui

In May, Paul and Claudette had a lovely lunch with Mick Fleetwood, his mother Biddy, and his assistant, Ryan Silva. Great food at Honu in Lahaina!

Come see us August 23 at Red House in Walnut Creek!

The band has a cool shows coming up! August 23 we perform in a Cover Band Cup where we compete against 12 other local bands. We call ourselves a Tribute Band, but they still let us in!

Here is out event poster... Thanks to Don for the great artwork!

Welcome to the Fleetwood Mask Blog spot!

Paul here... Getting things started with Fleetwood Mask has been quite an adventure!

We have been working hard on new songs, new vocals and tightening up our sets.

We auditioned a few new people to fill out the show and it is really coming together!