Meeting Roger and Mike Fisher of Heart
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headsets on, cord attached to my turntable, I remember....
April 19, 1976
A hot, new band has emerged out of the Seattle rock scene. We were SO excited that they were traveling over to perform at Washington State University. That band was...Heart.
Here is the setlist from that concert.
September 3rd, 2016 Blue Boy Golf Course, Monroe WA
Ray Hayden ( all roads seems to lead to Ray!) did an interview with Roger Fisher for his HOUSTON talk show on Seattle Wave Radio. Roger is the original guitarist for the band Heart. That interview was so cool to listen to. Because of Ray, I ended up being Facebook friends with Roger; along with 5,000 other people. But it's great, because he is really active on it, and I get to see what musical projects he is doing.
In August of 2016, Roger started promoting a special concert at The Blue Boy Golf Course in Monroe, WA. He would be sharing the stage with Austin Jenckes. Austin is a Duvall, WA native who made it to the Top 10 of The Voice on Season 5 . A really excellent musician. I immediately bought tickets!
We showed up at The Blue Boy Golf Course on a beautiful September evening. It's an outdoor venue that is also used for weddings. Absolutely gorgeous. There were about 120 of us there, so very intimate. And casual. Roger's brother, Mike, was running the sound system. I was trying not to stare too much, but GEEZE! These were the original members of Heart, and Roger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013! It's fascinating to see people that you've listened to/watch videos of thousands of times.
At first, Roger played guitar with a local violinist. Then Austin joined him onstage. A wonderful and intimate evening of music began. I felt like I was at a private event. I just relaxed, 'dropped the needle' and listened. The atmosphere was peaceful and the music beautiful. Roger and Austin were a perfect duo together. I kept thinking how lucky I was to experience this musical performance.
Afterwards, I went back to the merchandise table and purchased both Roger's and Austin's CDs. And then I just walked over, introduced myself and talked for awhile. I found out some interesting things. Like for instance, Roger delivered one of his daughters! If you would have told that shy teenage girl from the '70s that she would be hanging out and talking to the lead guitarist of Heart, she would have screamed, LOL. I, of course, got my CDs autographed and also a picture taken. Later on in the evening, I had an opportunity to meet Mike Fisher (that's who Ann Wilson wrote 'Magic Man' about). I really enjoyed my conversation with him, too.
And here's a funny coincidence. Their merchandise girl is Kathi Cooper. We started talking and discovered we both grew up in the small farming community of Colfax, WA! Her brother was in my graduating class ; there were only 74 of us. What are the odds of that? I guess small town girls like to ROCK!
Roger and Mike perform locally, so make sure and check their website to get up to date information . www.rogerfisher.com. They are also in the process of planning the Sky River Rock Festival in Sultan, WA August 25-26. Look up the history of the original Sky River Rock Festival of 1968. The Grateful Dead was one of the bands!
That's why I love the Seattle area. There is such a wonderful history of music. And you never know what new artist is about to emerge!
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
Meeting Ben Smith, Drummer For Heart
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headsets on, cord attached to my turntable, I remember.....
April 19, 1976
A hot, new band has emerged out of the Seattle rock scene. We were SO excited that they were traveling over to perform at Washington State University. That band was....HEART.
Oh, how I wish I could be a 15 year old girl at this Heart concert again! That was the only time I saw Heart perform live until...
July 1st, 2014 Marymoor Park, Redmond WA
Although I loved the music of Heart, I had lost track of them when I lost track of myself. They came prominently back into my life in 2013 after watching The Kennedy Honors Awards, and their induction into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I was SO excited when I found out they would be performing back home at The Marymoor Park Summer Concert Series! The minute Heart came onstage, a huge spark was lit in my soul. This band was once again, shining brightly in front of me. I had to figure out WHY.
And so, the 'music stalking' began. I read everything I could. And looked forward to my quiet times up at the ski condo, where I could 'Drop the needle" and just listen and learn.
I went to 4 more concerts. One was a VIP Meet and Greet ticket with Ann and Nancy, at The Puyallup Fair. Wow...that was...Well, how do you tell people how much their music means to you in a couple of minutes? You definitely don't. You just appreciate the moment.
June 21, 2016. The Royal Albert Music Hall, London England.
Enter Center State, Ben Smith. Heart's drummer for the past 20+years.
Heart announced their 2016 European Tour, and I saw they were going to perform at the The Royal Albert Hall in London. I'm a flight attendant , who flies to London. No brainer! The minute the tickets went on sale (2 am Seattle time), I bought one. I don't mess around with tickets!
When June finally rolled around, I discovered that I wasn't on the London crew for the layover that would allow me to attend the concert. But, I wasn't about to miss this! So, I grabbed my 19 year old son and said "We're going on an adventure!".
My fabulous friend, Ray Hayden, said he knew Ben. Maybe he could arrange a quick 'Hi!' before the show. Wow, that would be cool! We land in London. My phone dings with a text from Ray. "Here's Ben's personal phone number. Send him a text and he'll try and meet you before the concert."
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I just flew from Seattle to London to see Heart's concert. And I'm supposed to text THE drummer? OMG. WHAT??
So, it's the day of the concert. I'm in the lobby of the RAH, and I send Ben, THE drummer of Heart, a text. "Hi Ben, I'm Ray's friend , Susan from Seattle. I'm looking forward to your concert tonight." Pause, Pause, Text Ding! "Hi Susan, I'm grabbing a bite to eat. I'll come down and meet you in the lobby in a few minutes."
WOW!..Sure enough, a few minutes later, here comes Ben Smith casually walking into the lobby. I walked over and tapped his shoulder and said "Hi Ben, I'm Susan." He turns around and gives me a warm hug "Hi Susan!" Okay, really? I'm hugging the drummer of Heart, in the lobby, before HIS concert, and the people around us were completely oblivious. Too Funny! We left the lobby to a more quiet entrance. Other fans showed up who knew Ben. Lots of hugs, talking, pictures. Fans from Canada, Netherlands, UK and myself. Finally it was time for him to depart; you know to go perform onstage! I couldn't believe how warm and friendly he was to all of us.
When I got to my seat, I realized I was front row of the side floor section! I sent Ben a text thanking him, and how excited I was that I was sitting in the front row for the show. The opening band comes on. Great performance. Now it's time for Heart! Ben walks onstage with fellow band members Craig Bartock, Dan Rothchild and Chris Joyner. He sits down at his drum kit, looks up and scans the crowd. Sees me, smiles and waves.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? The drummer of Heart just waved at me from the stage..in London...at The Royal Albert Hall. WHOA...I looked around at the other 5200 people and just smiled. Then Ann and Nancy come out onstage and immediately start the first song, "Magic Man'. And, away they go. The whole concert was fantastic. Especially since the London Philharmonic Orchestra accompanied them on some of the songs. Absolutely magical. I was thrilled when I found out they videoed it. That DVD is one of my best souvenirs, ever!
Lo and behold, I run into Ben again, after the concert. Talking to more fans. Giving drumsticks to a Heart cover band from the U.K. I managed to grab one more hug before I left.
WOW. And that's totally the kind of rockstar Ben is. Everyone that I've talked to says the same thing about him. Just a very genuine and humble man. I really respect that. And what's really great, is that he lives in Seattle. When he is not touring with Heart or Roadcase Royale ( his new side band with Nancy Wilson), he plays in small shows around the area. I just saw him again, this past December at Highway 99 Blues Club. Make sure and check out Ben's website www.bensmithmusicco.com so you can catch him at a local show. Absolutely one of the most genuine musicians around.
And that's what I love about the Music World. It's like one big family. And once you get to meet the artists, you listen to their music on a whole new level.
Thanks for letting me share another story with you. I hope I'm motivating you to go out and enjoy all of the great adventures available in life!
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
As sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headsets on, cord attached to my turntable, I remember......
July 16, 1969.
Even though I was only 9 years old, I vividly remember this day. My family was taking a short vacation to Ocean Shores, WA. My 18 year old brother, Wayne, didn't want to go. He was afraid he would miss Apollo 11 landing on the moon. My parents, 2 other siblings and myself left him at home. We couldn't check into our hotel room, because the previous people refused to check out. So after begging the check in clerk, we were allowed back into the manager' living area. And on a gigantic Magnavox Tv console we watched the first man walk on the moon, in a room full of strangers. The image was grainy, black and white. But we still watched and heard Neil Armstrong's famous words, " That's one small step for man, one giant step for mankind."
47+ years later, it's easy to take for granted all of the accomplishments that we've achieved since then. I've been a flight attendant now, for 30 years. 2001 Space Odyssey no longer seems futuristic. Every seat back has their own TV screen. We have Wi-Fi available on all of our flights; even internationally. You can carry a live text conversation at 40,000 above the ocean. You can place an order on Amazon during the flight, and have it sitting on your doorstep when you arrive home. Everything is easily and instantaneously available to us. What is left for us to dream and desire for?
Enter the Seattle-Tacoma area band, Grieve The Astronaut.
I first listened to their concept album up our ski condo at the Alpental Ski Resort, on Snoqualmie, Pass. If you read my introduction on this Guest Blog, you will remember that I grew up on a small farm. After Mom passed away in 2011 ( Dad had passed away from cancer in 1980), my siblings and I sold the family farm. I reinvested my portion into the ski condo. Through writing this blog, I've come to realize that this ski condo, fondly called Norwegian Woods ( my Mom was Norwegian, and I love The Beatles Rubber Soul Album), is a grownup version of my childhood bedroom. Except, instead of being on top of a wheat field, it's on top of the Cascade Mountain Range. Instead of a red, vinyl bean bag chair, I have a brown, fabric bean bag chair. Instead of a turntable, I have a CD player. But, the intention is the same. It's a place where I can slow down, 'drop the needle', and get transported into a different, musical dimension.
I received my Grieve The Astronaut CD in the mail, because I had given money during their pledge campaign. It's very expensive to record an album, and giving money during a pledge campaign is a way to support an artists vision. I brought the CD up to the ski condo during winter of 2016. After a day of skiing by myself, I soaked in a hot tub, lit a log in the fireplace, poured a glass of wine, sat in my bean bag chair....and dropped the needle on my new Grieve The Astronaut CD.
As I heard the music flow out of my speakers, a sense of calm immediately came over me. I was transported to another time and place. I heard a child's voice on the CD say, 'Daddy I want to be an astronaut.' I remembered the awe of watching Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. The innocence of childhood. Realizing I still had my whole life ahead of me. A life filled with hope and dreams. Big dreams. I could do ANYTHING, and ANYTHING was possible!
And then the CD ended, and I came back to my current reality. I had achieved my dream of graduating college. I had been working my dream job for almost 30 years. I had my dream life of being married and having children. Those children had already graduated high school and were moving on with their lives. I had buried both of my parents. Basically, I was reaching the last portion of my life. If I wanted to achieve a dream, NOW was the time to do it! The question was, though, what's my dream? And, at 56, am I too old to do it?
When Raymond Hayden first started advertising the date of the Grieve The Astronaut concert, I was so excited! I immediately bought tickets. Actually, Ray said I was the very first person to buy them! It seemed like forever for the actual concert date to arrive, but finally it did. I was really looking forward to this production. I realized how much love and effort had been put into making this project come to life. And, I knew it was going to be very special. And...it was.
I had never been to the Auburn Avenue Theater before. What a cute, retro venue. I loved walking in, and recognizing so many familiar faces. That's the great part about attending local shows. You see the same people, and a whole community feel comes along with it. My husband and I chose seats up close and on the left side. I knew I would be taking a lot of photos and videos, so I wanted an unobstructed view. The lights came down, and the magic started to happen.
Ray came onstage to his keyboard, and was joined by guest soloist, Regan Lane. Lead singer of Strangely Alright. Regan's words were so impacting and profound. These times are so confusing and turbulent. However, his well chosen and well spoken words immediately brought a feeling of hope and peace into the venue. His words led into a powerful cover of David Bowie's "Major Tom'. I dropped the needle, and was transported into another musical dimension.
Something unique to Grieve The Astronaut, is that the band has two keyboardists. Backing Raymond Hayden on keys, is the talented Calissa Knox. I've been playing the piano since I was 7 years old. So I understand and appreciate the relationship between the musician and the instrument. I loved watching Calissa perform. There was a beautiful flow between her body and her hands. It was like watching her soul dance with the music. Her hands were delicate, yet powerful. And her hair. Her hair has nothing to do with actual musical performance, but I loved looking at it! I've come to the conclusion, that creative and talented women have amazing hair. Maybe I should dream of having amazing hair.....
Anyway, back to GTA. For a band to be successful, they need to have a solid support to keep them moving forward and filled with energy. That solid support for GTA would be drummer, Mike Burt. Two words to describe him..BAD ASS. I love watching him. He gives everything he has into each song. He has no fear. He has a message to share, and you're going to hear it! Tight, controlled and massive energy. He makes sure Grieve The Astronaut has enough rocket power, for sure.
And to keep things interesting, a band needs guitarists to shred it out onstage. GTA has the power house duo of bassist Ben Beman and guitarist Taylor Enloe. WHOA! What a combination! The audience went wild when they were tearing up the stage! My husband and I kept looking at each other and saying "Are you kidding me? This is crazy!". I felt like we had VIP tickets, to a private rock concert. They sent GTA WAY out into orbit.
Special guest appearances by vocalist Krystle Pyette on the beautiful song 'Twilight' and guitarist Ricky Dunn tearing it up on the final song, just added icing to an already Blue Ribbon cake. I wasn't ready for the show to end! And Raymond Hayden. This was your creation. Your baby. You orchestrated an entire concept album, and breathed it into life. You breathed life into your band members. You breathed life into your audience members.
You breathed life AND hope into me. I walked out feeling like I could do ANYTHING!
So, in conclusion, before this show, Ray had suggested I start writing a music blog. I share alot on my FB page, so why not make it official? I was a bit hesitant. I mean, what do I know about music and writing? I'm just a middle aged Mom. 'What if people laugh at me...".
But you know what? I love music. I love sharing and inspiring others. I want to encourage others to pursue their dreams and live life at their full potential.
So, here I am. In full orbit with Grieve The Astronaut. Make sure and see their next show, so you TOO can have life breathed into your dreams.
Susan In Seattle
"And, in the end...The love you take is equal to the love you make."
Hi! My name is Susan. Welcome to my ROCKIN World of Music!
I grew up in the magical musical world of the 1960's and 1970's. The youngest of 4 children on a small farm in Eastern Washington. My older siblings music , became my music. At 5 years old , I developed the most fantastic crush on Paul McCartney. A crush that still exists today. Being the youngest child on a farm could be pretty lonely. Music became my closest companion and friend. I would sit in my red bean bag chair, place my headphones on, and drop the needle of my turntable onto a well loved album. Pause, crackle and then the music came flooding into my ears and filling my soul.
Hours would go by, as I was transported into another time and dimension. Have you ever played the same song over and over and over? Just trying to pull out and absorb every layer of what you were listening to? What was the message? I just had to know.
As I grew up and became an adult , I found that I spent less and less time 'dropping the needle.' I was always too busy to sit still and listen. Trying to be everything to everybody. I also became too busy to make the effort to experience live music. The last concert I attended was Hall and Oates. 1985 at Key Arena, Seattle WA.
*Fast forward to 2010; the year I turned 50.*
Like many working Moms, I had pushed aside my personal interests and relationships while raising children. But suddenly the hands on My Life Clock had started to move quickly. I needed to remember WHO Susan was. I needed to feed my dull and tired soul. I was not ready to Be Old.
Because of the onset of a new social media website, Facebook, I reconnected with some of my sorority sisters from college. We started to look for things to do. I saw the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery had a whole series of outdoor concerts. We chose to see Blondie and The B52's. OMG! It was so much fun! A flame that had been allowed to die, had suddenly been sparked back to life. I Needed More Music!
Spring 2011 arrived with the announcement of the winery's Summer Concert Series. I was SO excited to experience more live music. And then my world changed forever. I sat at my Mom's side and watched her take her final , painful breaths Memorial Weekend ,
2011. For my 51st birthday, I was given the honor of writing my Mother's eulogy. I wrote the words that her pastor spoke at her Memorial Service. Words that she never heard. Words that Celebrated her life. After that experience, I realized I didn't want to wait until I died to Celebrate my Life! I wanted to Celebrate Now. I wanted to share experiences with family and friends. To create memories. And I wanted to do it with the passion that sparked my soul back to life; MUSIC.
What started out as my 'ROCKIN Through My 50's Summer Concert Series ', grew into 'ROCKIN' Through 5O's Concert Series.' And now , 'ROCKIN Through My 50's And Beyond.' Since 2010, I have seen well over 100 concerts. All over the world. The song that started it all? 'Calling All Angels' by Train. The symbolism of Angel Feathers has been sent to me by my Mom, and used as my guide down this amazing musical journey. I've had the privilege of not only seeing Train perform 5 times, but actually meeting Pat Monahan in person.
My life has been completely transformed because of music. I'm not just a spectator. I'm a participant. I've become friends with musicians in the local Seattle/Tacoma area. I've been given opportunities to meet incredible artists. To be a part of the support and creation of their passions. I've even be able to be a roadie! And most importantly, I've been able to look into the eyes of the human beings that have poured everything into a song, and say 'Thank You. I heard what you were trying to say.' Musicians need us, as much as we need them.
I want to give a special thank you to my dear friends , and local Seattle-Tacoma area musicians, Raymond Hayden and Jessica Lynne. Little did I know, that going to an acoustic show at The Seattle Hard Rock Cafe, was actually a date with destiny...Little did I know that a door was waiting to be opened...Little did I know that Ray and Jessica had the special key to open that door.
It was the Key of Music.
I look forward to sharing more stories, more music and more experiences with you.
Susan In Seattle
Susan is an amazing spirit with a deep passion for music. Whether its local or international or national, like the above picture with the lead singer of Train at a recent meet and greet at the Hard Rock Cafe in Seattle, Susan loves to watch, listen and meet the artists involved. Susan is also a fan of Grieve the Astronaut and has been a huge support in our short career thus far.
We embrace and connect with her passion and are proud to announce that she will be our guest blogger. You will have the opportunity to experience a plethora of shows through the eyes of someone's who's passion mirrors the artists passion to get on stage and connect with the audience. Every member of GTA supports local music and beyond and is grateful for Susan's ability and desire to shine the light on other artists besides ourselves...shining a light onto the dream-makers. Susan will also provide insight into the "behind the scenes" of the music business...providing you with a better understanding of what is involved both on and off stage to make the machine grind!
Stay tuned for Susan's words and photos from concerts all over the world and beyond.
The BLOG is now yours!