Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Showmanship (and Family)

Back in the mid-nineties I was in a cover band called RoTel and the Hot Tomatoes. (I was the red-headed Tomato.) We were (and they still are) a very popular and fun band. We played all over - private gigs and public gigs. It was a complete blast!!! I got a tiny taste of what it was like to be a rock star. Tiny, but oh so sweet. And surreal - at one show three ladies came up to us and told us that they had gone as the Hot Tomatoes for Halloween the year before. Have you ever had someone tell you that they were YOU for Halloween? I mean, a stranger? Freaky.

I was thinking about that feeling as I watched Madonna's halftime show. A few minutes into the show, someone in the room said, "She looks like she's really having fun." And she did. The nerves melted away and she KNEW she had the audience right where she wanted them. She was doing what she was born to do. And who really cares if she was lip-syncing? If she hadn't been, then people would have criticized her for not sounding exactly like her recordings. I commend her for lip-syncing in a situation like that. It's a SHOW, people. A full-on performance with engineered sound and unbelievable visuals. A SHOW!!!! Are you going to criticize her for not having a live band? Sorry . . . I digress.

I know (almost) exactly how she was feeling. No, I've never performed for a Super Bowl audience, but I have performed for a packed house. It's indescribable. But for me it's not something I did (or do, or will do) for the accolades or the praise after the fact. I loved it because I knew I was good at it and I knew I did a good job. It was the satisfaction of knowing that I was in the right place at the right time doing what I was born to do. I would imagine that an architect has the same feeling when seeing his/her building go up, or a doctor has when he/she sees a patient improve. It's job satisfaction. And yes, I miss it. (Can you tell?)

However, it was not all about me. Not by a long shot. I was only as good as I was because of the people I performed with. Jimbo, Phil, Big Al, Craig, Jamie, Danny, Larry, Rod(.com), Thad, Pilar, Laura, Lisa, Kira - they were (and are) stellar performers and wonderful people. It was not a one person show ever. We were a band. We were a team. It was . . . yeah. I miss it.

I share that experience with my brother. He was in a band in the 90s, too. His band, though, was all originals (well, almost all). They were a ska band called Gals Panic. My brother was the front man, Lance Fever. He was a showman - as were all the members (Lance was just up front most of the time). He was a natural on stage. He had (has) charisma and charm and energy. He could work the crowd up like nobody's bidnez! I loved going to their shows and bragging that he was my brother. I even have a clipping (somewhere) where both bands (Rotel and Gals Panic) were listed as "Best Bets" for the same night.

Our worlds collided one night, though, and proved to me that sibling rivalry extends into the "real" world sometimes.

Rotel played a huge outdoor festival one night in the summer. We were on a big stage at Auditorium Shores on Town Lake here in Austin. As we walked off the stage, there were two young teen girls and their moms at the chain link fence calling to us. We put on our stage personae and pranced over to them. When we got about 10 feet away the two excited girls screamed, "Which one of you is Lance Fever's sister?!?!?!?"

(Just for fun, here are a links to a couple of videos of Rotel, Gals Panic and The Bloody Tears - the band I was in a couple of years ago:

Proud Mary (Rotel) - I'm in the orange (on the right)

Gals Panic
- the sound is HORRIBLE as I was right next to the speaker, but you can see what a showman my brother is.

The Bloody Tears
- It's Gonna Work Out Fine just because I'm featured! We also had a lot of original tunes, but I'm only back up on those. ;-) )


Red Leigh Cooper said...

Once again... you are in my head...I miss the "job satisfaction" too!

...and I also miss Gal's Panic...but I would never dream of refering to you as "Lance Fever's Sister." ; ) You are SO much to the entertainment industry in your own right!

Flawless Mom said...

OMG, Milaka. SO AWESOME that you were in a band! Can you do it again?? Also... I totally get that sibling rivalry thing. My whole life I've been "Bob's Sister", and it still continues. I'm actually thinking of blogging about it but I'm afraid to give him that much attention!!!