Right Angle Woman
Thank you Mom. The easiest three words…
She made sure all four kids had a chance at various instruments, starting with the piano – of course. My musical journey started at maybe 7 years old with a Baldwin Acrosonic spinet purchased for the family – I’m sure a BIG purchase at the time. I had some talent and interest to keep practicing. A memorable moment was playing Beethoven’s Fur Elise during 6th grade graduation (for a video of that). I was very shy and better able to express thru music. Short stints with the violin and clarinet followed. Piano lessons continued thru The Boston Conservatory till maybe 15, dad driving into Boston every weekend. A common ‘input’: “You play too fast and too loud!” - and it’s never changed.
By my mid-late teens the combination of rock’n’roll, alcohol, girls, and general delinquency were far too appealing. Fortunately, for me, my older brother had the bug for music, um… rock’n’roll. He convinced (wore down) my mother to finance the purchase of a used ’71 Telecaster found in WantAd, the ebay of mags at the time; price circa ’76 was ~ $75. Not too long after, the purchase of a beautiful ’71 FireGlo Rickenbacker 4001 bass for ~ $160. With a little coaching on bar chords I was off to learn guitar; whenever I could I’d steal time with equipment as it came thru the house. Another interest was audio equipment, electrical, and electronics, which became my ‘career’. Interestingly I never got into much of that with the guitar, just crank the sucker up and let ‘er rip! My ‘gear’ consisted of the tele and mongrel amps/cabs. [ I splurged on a small 10W Crate ‘combo’ in 1984. That pair was all I had for the next 22 years. Its amazing how a little 10W/8” combo at full bore can keep up with – and sound darn good – against a stack in a basement or garage. ]
Much to the disappointment of mom, Beethoven, Bach, Liszt, had become Black Sabbath, Bad Co, Led Zeppelin; her dreams of a concert pianist were dashed. ‘Jams’ with locals and the high school crowd was about it, a ‘band’ here or there, then college. Over the next 20 years or so, an on-again, off-again interest in practice – mostly playing along with the likes of Deep Purple, Nugent, Santana, Sabbath, Skynyrd, Aerosmith. Zep’s live ‘The Song Remains The Same’ was probably the most imitated. At some point around 2004 a connection was made with a co-worker, Sean ‘Swanny’ Griffin, a long time bassist and musical avant-garde who was involved in a group renting space in an old run down warehouse, the ‘Red Room’ it was called. The ‘band’ was somewhat fluid, and we actually played a few ‘gigs’. The best part for me was the “open format” – I could bust off on a several minute lead of whatever I felt to some blues/rock bass line till someone got tired – the adrenalin while playin has not been duplicated, my ‘communicating’ thru music was never ‘more me’. I ‘subscribed’ for a few years and it eventually disbanded as it was but it did lite the spark again, hard, and I wanted to gig!
Life is short, its now or never! I finally sprung for a guitar, the 1st I ever purchased – a Les Paul Standard, and a gig ready amp – a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. A set of drums was also purchased to make logistics a whole lot easier, along with ads on Craigslist. Chris and I emailed a few times and probably 6 months later the first meeting actually occurred with a friend of Sean’s on drums (shout out to ya’ Paul!). Dave, Right Angle Woman’s original drummer, joined shortly later after (again) a short search, then the big find – Don, our original frontman, on lead vocals. We practiced about a year, adding gear as we needed/could, before we felt a gig was worth a go. The name ‘Right Angle Woman’ was chosen after extensive consideration, market studies and feedback groups; and it is certainly unique – there is no other such band that we’ve ever heard of or found, not as easy as it may appear!; rightanglewoman.com was quickly scooped up for <$10. After some convincing, Fat Boys (at the time) in Milford center was the venue. It was one of our best attended and best received shows ever, the place was PACKED; being the first ‘real’ gig for most of us ‘everyone’ turned out. The music was good, and maybe more importantly, we didn’t crack after 3+ hours of playin and ~ 36 songs! Nor did we make a penny. Brian was added shortly after that and given his hefty experience was more than ready before our 2nd gig.
After a great run, Don left and I was concerned we may not recover, but fate/shit luck intervened and brought us Gus. That was followed by Dave stepping out, but that brought us Steve. At some point I added some rudimentary keys to the mix, and in 2014, after some TLC the tele is once again the guitar I play regularly. I wonder exactly how all this has happened so, well… easily, with virtually no ‘issues’, problems, conflict, controversies, even more so the way the pieces continue to fit, beyond the music - everyone adds something that’s needed: music selection & ‘direction’, lining up gigs, set lists, website & social media, ‘marketing’, equipment & sound, on and on. And in a way that just works for each of us and ‘the band’ as a whole. Certainly each person’s love of the music, passion for playing, the ambition to make it happen, and the true friendship among all of us are big pieces – but maybe there’s something even more than that?! And the life experiences gathered including those at local establishments up to – and past - closing time cannot be duplicated! Let it run until it can’t run no more!
To our fans and supporters – THANK YOU!!! We love bringing you the music that is a part of our lives. Your energy, passion, support, ideas, suggestions, and friendship! are much noticed and appreciated – we love ya’ all!
P.S. This wouldn’t be nearly complete without recognition of Right Angle Woman’s longest and
biggest supporter and fan – my wife Carmen. I couldn’t possibly list/remember/appreciate all that she has done for Right Angle Woman, nor for me over the past 30+ years!
P.S.S. I’m sure mom would find much joy in all music has, and continues to bring to me - even if she’d struggle to appreciate the ‘format’. I still listen to ‘classical’ music, and sit down at the piano now and again pretending to know what I’m doing. My parents and older brother have left us but their musical dreams, epitomized by the ole Baldwin, Tele and Rick, all still in service, live on. RIP, and when we’re all together once again – we’ll rock the house!
RIght Angle Woman 2020 Peace, Love, Local Music