Friday, March 26, 2010

where were you.............

......moments after we won the GOLD?

Were you screaming your face off  along with  the rest of Canada when the men's Canadian hockey team won the Olympic gold medal?  It was a little surreal wasn't it?

I was backstage watching the game at the Surrey 2010 Official Olympic Celebration site when the final puck whizzed past the goal line and into the  net. It was beautiful, our Canadian hero's had just pulled off a magnificent, nail biting win that prompted the country to erupt with excitement. I barely recall running up onstage with a couple dozen others to film the festivities and cheer along with the crowd of thousands. I stood there holding my camera above my head to capture as much of it as I could and I actually imagined  that everyone across the country was cheering in unison with as much passion and joy as this crowd right here!

One quick search on You Tube will show this was very true, there are countless videos taken at exactly the same moment this one was shot........ I almost had a mind to load up 10 different videos from 10 provinces to this blogpost and then was  going  to invite you all to scroll down the page and click 'play' on them all at once so that you could have the full on cross Canada experience,...... but I figured it would take too long to load them so maybe instead, just watch this one and enjoy the memory of  the moment!

I originally went to the Celebration site to watch Randy Bachman and his band close the Olypmics at the Surrey 2010 Official Celebration site, and because the concert happened just moments after our  huge Gold medal win the event turned into a mega concert that grabbed everyone who was close by and drew them right in. The crowd was so happy, all we wanted to do was celebrate, dance, sing along, play air guitar, and rock to amazing music and who better to lead the party than the architect of Canadian rock and roll himself,  Randy Bachman.  Randy welcomed the crowd and we greeted him with open arms, then he and his band put on a Gold medal worthy performance.

I once had a large collection of mixed songs to play in my jeep back in my...ahem....younger days, and strongly represented in my playlist were BTO and the Guess Who, so watching this concert was like taking a musical step back towards a magical time in my life when I listened to music simply because I loved to listen to it, not just because I have to learn it for a gig. The crowd was filled with adoring fans like myself and I felt just so privileged to be there hanging out backstage and in the media pit taking pictures and absorbing all the good energy and excellent music played by the finest of musicians.

Randy Bachman

The crowd loved the  guitar solos of course and Randy did a few tricks to impress.


Backing up Randy is his outstanding band who not only record and tour worldwide with him  but they also  play on their own as Cease and Desist. These boys are amongst my favorite musicians in this city and all of them are multi talented players who are really nice guys to boot. So nice in fact  that all of them help out as coaches with one of my personally  favourite projects, the League of Rock which is something you only really ever get involved in if you are the sort of person who is willing to lend a hand up to people by sharing your own  experiences.  Marc La France (drums/vox), Mick Dalla Vee (bass/vox), and Brent Howard (guitar/vox) are all stellar musicians heavily involved in the music industry doing everything from performing
to songwriting to recording/publishing/production/ and promotion 
of other artists (like yours truly! Mick recorded/produced  my pre-release CD)

When the finale rolled around Randy sang TCB, you know the one, and the crowd loved it and roared the chorus  along with them every time it came around. We were so loud I think Langley heard us.
You can find more of  Randy every week  on Randy’s Vinyl Tap CBC Radio One. The show is fantastic, and I know personally there are countless numbers of musicians who  listen to it on the way into their gigs on a Saturday night, I hear about it from bandmates frequently when we are backstage (I was listening to Randy's show on the way in and.........).  Also featured in these photos my friend Gene Greenwood who took video of the bands thoughout the Olympics. Gene has some of the hottest  footage of some of the best musicians in the city and you can check out his videos here!

So there you have it, a big moment in Canada's history caught on film and a classic concert photo series for you to enjoy. If you wish to see more photos from the concert you can go here! And please do stayed tuned for the release of the new Bachman Turner recordings, I've heard a rumor that Randy and Fred  have hit the studio recently  and  there is a seriously kicking album and  single due to be released.  
Woot!! New tunes to rock to, can't wait!  

Rock on everyone! Rach xo

Thursday, March 11, 2010

why are you not successful?

I've been asked the question "Why haven't you been discovered yet?" quite a number of times by well meaning people who seem to be disappointed for me that I have not 'made it'.....

I completely understand where this comes from, it seems a lot of people think all musicans are looking to become chart topping pop tarts and while I have nothing against chart topping pop tarts, I think am just too old and attached to my sweatpants to even fancy myself in the running.  At the end of the day I am a Mom first and I like to be at home, the most.  I was a stay at home Mom for 6 years and it suited me beautifully, were it not for a change in my life circumstances  I'm sure my guitar would still be standing in my living room collecting dust.

But life happens and this is where I am, and if you really want to know the truth I feel like I have 'made it'.  Yes I often live hand to mouth, um, welcome to the club.  I still feel fortunate, not in the pocket book but in the soul. How lucky I feel to be able to say that I love my job.  My day at work begins when most everyone else's is ending so usually I am around people who are celebrating and in a great mood. This is pretty key......I mean just imagine you are the head of the complaints dept at Wal Mart or something.....who would you have to deal with all day???  On the other hand, my customers? They are all  singing along, dancing, laughing, connecting with each other and for a brief moment in time, together as a crowd we know what magic feels like.  It's is the ultimate campfire.

I also hang with the members in the L.O.R.  who are adult non-pro musicians, many of whom are still learning their way around a stage......I know what it feels like when everything is a first, I remember it well, and I like to share those moments with people and experience the excitment with them. I am realizing that in some way, some how, I am even helping  people find their confidence while playing music which is weird and relevant only because it has taken me so long to find my own.  In a way, seeing myself reflected in them or anywhere for that matter, propells me forward as I recognize how to get past own roadblocks. You can't buy this kind of experience.

I am also able to use music to connect with children. This is especially interesting to me because we sometimes manage to grab the kids who are not as engaged by traditional teaching methods as the rest.  Kids who are easily distracted, bored and for whatever reason are just not connecting with the curriculum. Kids who are like I was.

I received an incredible letter recently  from a Mother of one of the students who was in one of the concerts I recently worked on. She wrote to tell me that  her family had just suffered a serious tragedy and her boy had been morose and unreachable. She thinks her son's participation in the Voices of Nature concert changed his life, or at least brought the spring back to his step. She shared with  me that it seemed to her that her son got a real spark from the music and that he had spent a lot of time at home singing and practicing the choreography for the concert.........she reported that  it was the first time since the tragedy that she saw a light in his eyes. Her thanks were so eyes are tearing up as I type this....... to read that Mother's words...........especially being a Mother myself..........  That was just one of countless stories or mini moments that brought me to tears, the good kind. It makes it worthwhile, slugging all the gear around and doing all the work part of my job, which we won't talk about. Why spoil a nice blog post. ;)

I feel so much happiness when I work with these kids that I can't imagine disconnecting from what I perceive as 'real life' to enter a world of plasti-glam where I really don't belong or long to be, and I know a lot of musicians who feel the same way, we are just happy to be working and making music that is meaningful to people.  And glad to go home at the end of the day able to live a normal unfettered life.

So when someone asks me why I am not successful in music..... I think about how genuine my smile is in the above video and I look at the unbelievable musicians I get to go onstage and into the studio with.......and I tell them that I am truly lucky and extremely grateful to be able to do the things I get to do. And to do all this and still  be available and at home for my much more successful can a woman possibly ask to be? :)

Ok, well actually I could definitely do with a raise in pay, but then again couldn't we all? 

Video of the performance of Blue Sky.
Written by Holly Arntzen and Kevin Wright in conjunction with "Project Blue Sky", where you can learn about reducing your "Carbon Footprint"  Filmed at the Norman Rothstien Theatre in Vancouver BC. The song Blue Sky is on Holly's latest CD release.....the fabulous musicians who are on the album and who participate in the Voices of Nature concerts as part of the Dream Band are:

Holly Arntzen - Vocals/Dulcimer/Keyboards
Kevin Wright - Vocals/Percussion
David Sinclair - Guitars
Bill Sample - Keyboards
Karel Roessingh - Keyboards
Michael Creber - Keyboards
Brian Newcombe - Bass
Steve Moyer - Bass
Shawn Soucy - Drums/Percussion
Rachael Chatoor - BG vocals
Bill Henderson - BG vocals

If you would like to see your children's school participating in the Voices of Nature concerts please contact Holly Arntzen to find out how to have your school included in next years series!

See you onstage somewhere....
with hearts...
Rach   xo

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

newly minted League of Rock bands and Liquid Metal winner!

League of Rock
band launch at the Yale!

Well I have been talking about it and talking about it and finally................  last Wednesday we held the kickoff for the third session of the League of Rock and I will report that I left the Yale with a big smile on my face and with the feeling that this was going to be one hell of a fun session. We were delighted that LOR founder Terry Moshenberg flew in from TO to meet all the bands and kick off the third round with us, really there is always an extra level of excitement buzzing around when Terry is in town. I adore it! This was also everyone's first chance to plug in and play one of the Liquid Metal Guitars and I can happily report that the rumours are true, everyone who picked it up thought it was ~sweet~!  I already know it looks hot, and I loved the feel of it myself just as I just strummed it unplugged that day I met it ( by the way this guitar can be heard surprisingly well unplugged) but it's also nice to hear from real guitar players. 

Terry began with an introduction and brief outline to the new members of what to expect and tips on how to make the most of their time in the League.

Next up was coach musician/producer Mick Dalla Vee (Randy Bachman, Bachman Turner, Cease and Desist, Atlantic Crossing, Revolver),  who stepped up to the stage to tell the members that the coaches are there to  help them get them most out of the League and they should feel free to take full advantage of  the advice and information that will  be offered.  I just watched Mick playing last week for the Olympic closing ceremony at the famed Surrey 2010 Celebration site in Holland Park. He and the rest of his band regularly  play with/back up Randy Bachman who was headliner for the big closing ceremony. They owned the stage out there just  like Canada owned the podium. You can see my pics HERE.   They also  include Marc La France on drums and Brent Howard on guitar, just two more of the esteemed coaches that LOR members can look forward to working with this session.

Then we had a little 'riff off' where guitar players in the crowd were
given a chance to try out the Liquid Metal guitar.
It was in this batch of players that I found my Liquid Metal membership winner, Randall! 
I had a feeling about Randall from the moment I walked in, he even beat Terry, Rob and myself to the Yale. He's keen, I liked that. But it was when he got onstage and started playing that I really knew, I could see how much he loves music, that it is in his DNA and that was enough for me. Terry and I had a quick powwow and the announcement was made. :)

Later, I sat down to talk to Randall and found out he is father to a young 4 year old daughter who is the sunshine of his life. It is very clear that his family is his priority. He told me that while he is a busy family man  he doesn't necessarily want to forget about the musician that is a part of him. And he shouldn't, he is good, he should be making music.  I know the League will give him a chance to honour that inner rock star once a week and yet still allow him to be everything he needs to be for his family.........
Randall is an ideal example of who this League is for.
And why I love it so much.  :) 
How cool, I totally made the right choice~


With our Liquid Metal Membership winner decided, we went about the task of introducing the band members to each other.............ROLL CALL!!!!!
The three newly minted bands all sat down to meet each other and start the process of deciding on names and song lists. I can't even tell you how many people were just delighted with the way the bands were put together, the night was just fun and everything seemed to fit. I still don't know how Terry does it but I have watched it happen three times now and it just always somehow works. Maybe it's magic.

Speaking of magic, my dear friend Stephen got up to do a song solo. If you have been following my blog you will remember that Stephen went through the first two sessions of League of Rock and you may even recall that Stephen's  first time on a stage was less than a year ago. Now, to see him take the stage SOLO, after 2 sessions in the League, well, it just impresses the  heck out of me. High five pal. :)     

I actually did manage to get up onstage to play the guitar and found the guitar was beautiful to play,  then the floor opened up and the boys all jammed some blues for a while. Here is a shot of LM membership winner Randall, Terry and Rob Boshaw ( Vancouver LOR chapter head ) closing the night!

So there we have it, the bands are minted, our first rehearsal is Wednesday at NAL sound and
I can't WAIT to hear these bands as they evolve,
We have a lot to do over the next 10 weeks, I'll be sure to keep you looped!  


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Olympic gigs and backstage videos!

Talk about a celebration! The Olympics 2010, hosted right here in my hometown!  I was not particularly looking forward to the Olympics as I'm not interested in standing in lines or waiting in traffic pretty much ever, for anything, but it all turned out to be pretty easy to deal with in the end and I must admit I got swept up in the excitement. Overall for Canada,  I think that we put on a bright and positive event that probably inspired children everywhere to try harder and push farther as they move forward and try to emulate their hero's. On a human level that's a good thing. Rather than worry about the politics of the Olympics, I'm more interested in how and when they affected people in a good way.

Musically the games were a blessing as musicians from every arena, genre and culture seemed to be represented and given a stage to sing from.  I think that every band or artist who took their opportunity to put on their best show deserves our  admiration.

I sang at the casinos a number of times throughout the Olympics with the fabulous Hitmen. You can catch some of the video promo I made from the footage  that my dear Mother took, in the clip below. Just so you know, the band actually is full of singers and we all equally sing songs throughout the night so it is a very diverse set list... usually............but of course my Mom had control of my camera and she only shot me......... so, I turned it into a promo for my blog. For more info on all of the Hitmen click HERE.

I was also delighted to be able to sing for at least one official Olympic Event  out at the Richmond O-Zone with dear friend Kelly Brock who was one of the artists in the   Musical Expressions concert. Musical Expressions is an ongoing series for local musicians which  features both published recording artists as well as up and coming and locally relevant independant artists. The series is produced and hosted by Cherelle Jardine. Cherelle and I share the same kind of passion and desire to see other people succeed and as a result she is not only a wonderful artist but also a successful promoter. I see good things surrounding her and if you are a musican or music lover, you should visit her website. Definitely take the time to go out and see one of her  Musical Expressions shows if you are interested in hearing your local musicians and celebs in a venue that is up close and personal.

In the meantime why not enjoy our most recent All Access Pass which was just a lot of fun to shoot. It is a true backstage pass video, I shared the day as I saw it through my own camera lens. I even took footage throughout Kelly's whole set while I was singing so that you can see what you in the audience look like to us up on stage.  What a day for music it was, here is your behind the scenes peek!

The musicians in the band Andre Kunkle(keys/bass), Todd Taylor(guitar), and Guido Thylmann(drums). Special guest John Higgins of the smashingly successful trio known as, the Higgins, joined Kelly for a duet which was excellent fun and very well received!  There were a number of acts throughout the day, I was there to film a couple of them as well so this video also features music and behind the scenes clips from my visit with Steven Sainas from  Mud Dog, and Dustin from the Dustin Bentall Outfit .

I leave you with this photo of me and the girls.   I am just so glad to know so many amazing, talented, creative, supportive sisters  in this city. Honestly, all of my girlfriends out there rock with  talent, beauty, creativity, kindness and most of all, heart. 
~Cherelle, Rach, Kelly~

See you soon!

Rach :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Toys, toys, wonderful toys!

Toys Toys Toys!!!

OK, so I had this idea to go hang out at my favorite store Long & McQuade to just noodle around with the guitars and chat to people about the League of Rock and it turned into a super fun and inspiring afternoon. Not only was I was surrounded by creative and musical souls everywhere I looked, I also had a microphone in front of me that allowed me to just burst into song whenever I wanted to. It was like, living in the Sound of Music but with more classic rock.  And I'm not bragging here, but to be able  to just walk in and take my pick from the gosh darn fanciest guitars in the store and then plug them into the prettiest sounding Bose system ever then given the stool of honour to sit on, well, that was like going to school on  the best field trip day ever!

With Rob Boshaw Vancouver Chapter Head  for the League of Rock.

I was delighted to see my friend Stephen from my first LOR band Know Mercy who came down to support us, Stephen and I held each other up through a lot of  our own personal firsts during the inaugural Vancouver session of the League and I think it was brilliant that he came to support me in this 'first' of mine. 
I've said it before I will say it again, you rock Pallivicini~

A number of interesting people came and sat down to jam with me which was fun and totally in the spirit of the League. I also just had to stop this dude before he left the store ( thanks for coming back fella) that red strat you see?  It's made out of Lego. Awesome.  

See this teeny tiny set up? It's from Bose ( you don't even need the mixing board as the speakers are powered with a plethora of inputs, but I would recommend using one seeing as a mixing board will make use while playing more functional )

This is the stack of speakers, is this SLICK or what? I'm totally in love with them, in fact, I think I would have kissed them if everyone wasn't looking. ;)

Now I know you are thinking.... how can these little bitty baby things sound like anything? Well, I'll tell you this, I've played on a lot of PA's large and small and  the sound of these things  blew me away. For a singer songwriter, duo, trio type ensemble, I think it is a GORGEOUS system. As a matter of fact, as GM Scot  Buchanan was thanking me for playing at the end of the day, I found myself  thanking him, for letting me play with all of his toys. Of course, like anything that is top of the line, this system is not cheap.
 But if you've got the cash, I would wholeheartedly say, two thumbs up!

My last jamming guest was General Manager of Long & McQuade Vancouver, Scot Buchanan. I think this  was the perfect way to end the day.  I just love when the staff of any company get to see their boss be put on the spot and I love it even more if I am in some way responsible for it!  Of course Scot is a player so it's not like it was rough for him to get up there, and the truth be told he actually rocked,
but still, it was a nice break in the program for all I think!

To those of you that made the trip, thanks for coming out. I know I had a blast and I am seriously thinking that doing this kind of thing will really help improve my guitar playing a great deal, so collect your  groove and do stay tuned to this blog or to my Facebook page for  future
announcements telling you when we will do this again~!


And we will see you on Wednesday night at the Yale!

For more info on the LOR kickoff and how you can 'riff' you way into the League, click this LINK!

Rach xo