Abby Travis Seeks Producer For Album IV

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The sublime singer/songwriter/bass guitarist Abby Travis has an interesting project in the works, made all the more exciting by the fact that she is inviting fans to help mix and produce her fourth solo album, which is tentatively titled "Abby Travis IV" for now.

Travis recently wrote a message to fans:

"Are you interested in becoming an executive producer on my long awaited forthcoming album tentatively titled "Abby Travis IV"? I want to get this record mixed and I'm looking for funding! Become a patron of the arts. I'm totally serious about this request. Please reply to this email if you'd like to know more about the project and how you can help."

Without being signed to any specific record label, independent artists like Travis often have to seek other sources of revenue for funding their projects, and this seems to be a fun way to get fans involved. Anyone with an interest in the production side of the music industry would find an opportunity like this very appealing and beneficial to their career. Plus they would have the satisfaction of helping a truly gifted artist reach old and new fans alike.

Travis had a recent stint as a guest bassist in popular all girl band The Bangles, filling in for the now retired Michael Steele in live performances. This included a successful tour of Australia in 2005, which I was fortunate enough to attend. Travis has also appeared in many other bands, including: The Lovedolls, The Rails. KMFDM, The Meat Puppets, and El Vez, and has played bass for artists such as Kathy Valentine, Vanessa Paradis, Beck, Elastica, Michael Penn, Exene Cervenka's Original Sinners and Gibby Haynes & His Problem.

However, Travis' greatest contributions to the world of music are her three solo albums to date: The Abby Travis Foundation, Cut Throat Standards And Black Pop, and Glitter Mouth.

Now, she is ready to release her fourth album, but needs additional help with mixing and production. Along with her earlier message, she has also stated: "I'm so happy to be finally moving forward with this! If any of you are interested in helping the project by becoming an executive producer, please contact me! I'm able to mix this stuff with the help from my fans!!!"

Travis is also working with a fabulous group called Waterways and may be planning a solo Australian tour. Her fellow band members include: Gary Arce, Mario Lalli, Olive Lalli, Tony Tornay, Tommy Grenas, and Mathias Schneeburger.

In other news, Travis has recently guest starred as a character named Ondria in a fascinating new mystery/romance web series, produced by Justin Tanner, called Ave 43 on YouTube with a talented cast including: Todd Lowe (True Blood), character actress Jayne Taini (Mad Men, Cold Case, Six Feet Under), and Jonathan Palmer (House, CSI, Boston Legal.)

Travis encourages fans to check out the series:

"A new episode is posted every week or two. If you like what you see, please subscribe and rate."


A Journey To Fame With Giovanna Gattuso And Cynthia Gibb

Friday, October 23, 2009

In July 2010, actress/singer Cynthia Gibb and renowned vocal coach/singer Giovanna Gattuso will be touring Italy for a reprise of their successful and popular Journey To Fame series of masterclasses, an intensive program of vocal workshops designed by Gattuso's and Gibb's Venice Voice Academy which has a campus in both Venice, California, and Torino, Italy.

Also, Gattuso has written a book about her innovative vocal techniques which she calls The Crossover Singing Method which is also the title of the book. The aim of the book and the masterclasses is to teach this complete method for all singers, choir directors, teachers, and students at every level, dedicated to vocal training from basic to advanced. The resources within are designed to develop and maintain a healthy, balanced, expressive voice with the coordination you need to sing all the various styles.

Gattuso herself states that she can "personally testify that a 'good and healthy' vocal technique allows one to sing anything. There is no difference between a classical technique, or a modern technique of this style or that one. To utilise the voice correctly, in my opinion, there is only one technique, and the limitations are not in the voice itself, but in the limitations that we as human beings place in front of ourselves."

There are several accolades offered by readers who have already benefitted from Gattuso's teaching, and one review by Garrison Fewell states:

"I found her to be among the finest vocalists in today's jazz world. Giovanna's technique is impeccable, her creativity shines in her recorded works and even more brilliantly so on stage, her compositional talents are truly outstanding and she is an excellent producer. Giovanna will surely continue to be a role model for female musicians everywhere."

Gattuso's last album, Jungle E Maree won her the Latin Female Singer/Songwriter and Best World Music Album at the 16th Annual International Los Angeles Music Awards in 2006.

She describes her album as being "inspired by my Mediterranean Sea world...the warm air of Southern Italy, the ancient smell of the Mediterranean Sea, Jungle E Maree is an exotic blend of brazilian and mediterranean influences."

Gattuso's partner in the Venice Voice Academy is the eternally fresh and sparkling Cynthia Gibb who has been working in the entertainment industry for at least 30 years, although to look at her, you certainly would not dream she has a child in college.

As gifted as she is an actress, one aspect I have always admired about Gibb is her musical talent, and after seeing her Golden Globe nominated performance in Gypsy (1993), opposite the legendary Bette Midler, I have always wished to hear more of Gibb's musical prowess. True, she has appeared in such productions as the 80s hit series Fame (for which she was nominated for a Young Artist Award in 1982), and has given stellar performances in The Karen Carpenter Story, but I am positive many fans would love to see the lady release a solo CD someday.

In the meantime, Gibb and Gattuso are soon to publish A Journey To Fame, a book which explores their journey together as two inspirational women who give their time, their talent, and their love for music to nurture and inspire greatness in future generations of musicians.


Jane Wiedlin - Bowling For Boobies To Fight Breast Cancer

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jane Wiedlin is not only a superlative musician and actress, but she is also at the forefront of an inspirational movement to help fight one of the biggest threats to women today, breast cancer. This disease also affects men according to new studies, so everyone should get involved in some way to help fight for those who are suffering.

Wiedlin participates in an annual event called Bowling For Boobies which raises money for the women who are battling breast cancer who otherwise cannot afford medical expenses. The event also hopes to bring people from all over the world together in the spirit of togetherness and solidarity. This year's event is being held on October 27, 2009 at Jillian's Hi-Life on Universal City Walk in Los Angeles, California.

Each year, people can bid via E-Bay for a place on the team of whichever celebrity they would like to sponsor, and those who don't make the team or who cannot attend the event, for example those not living in the United States, can do their part by donating to the cause. Every celebrity, including Wiedlin, who participates has a Team Page on the Bowling For Boobies Site where fans can donate. The site is also affiliated with the Busted Foundation which exists to aid those in medically related hardships through financial or educational assistance.

The following is a personal message from Jane regarding a friend of hers, Edith Speed, who inspired Bowling For Boobies and who sadly has since passed away because she had been battling breast cancer which is why she started the yearly event, to help other people who were also battling cancer.

Hello close personal friends of mine,

This October 27, I'll be once again participating in the charity bowling tournament called "Bowling for Boobies". B4B was started in 2004 by my best friend Edith Speed, who was battling breast cancer, to raise funds for other cancer chicks, since stupid insurance companies of course never cover everything and people go into deep debt when they get ill. B4B gives money DIRECTLY to local women in need of aid while they are fighting breast cancer.

Sadly, my dear friend Edith passed away 2 months ago. In honor of her, this year my bowling team name is The Speed Demons.

I know it's a lot, but in the interest of preserving breasts, one of our greatest natural resources, I'm humbly asking you to donate to this worthy and necessary cause. If you can't, I understand!

There is a prize and lots of glory for the bowler who raises the most money. I'd like to be that player!

If you want to learn more about this event, go to
By the way, the non-profit organization that throws this party is the Busted Foundation. Gifts of swag and/or cash are tax deductible!

Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts. Many thanks for your support -- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too!

A little background on Jane Wiedlin. She was a founding member of the pioneering all girl band The Go-Go's, writing much of the song content (along with Charlotte Caffey and Kathy Valentine), performing backing vocals and playing rhythm guitar. She still tours with the band semi-regularly and has had much success with her own solo music from 1985-2000. She also led a band of men for a shortlived project in 1996 called FroSTed which despite only producing one album, has a huge fan following. Wiedlin is still a vital part of the music world, having many fans who are eager to hear more of her music. Wiedlin is also an accomplished actress (live action and animated) and she "is a self-confessed sci-fi nerd" (hey, SHE said it...and the capitalised "ST" in FroSTed stands for "Star Trek".) Wiedlin also has her own comic book series, Lady Robotika. An avid animal lover and all round humanitarian, Wiedlin supports many charities and is as hardworking and devoted to these as she is beautiful and talented.

Here are just some of Wiedlin's charities:

Charities Jane works with:

Steel Bridge Songfest
Bowling for Boobies
Greyhound Adoption Center
Dane County Humane Society
Humane Society of the United States" target="_blank">Chinese Crested Rescue
Almost Home Animal Rescue


The Bangles - Back In The Studio

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Bangles, one of the great girl bands of the 80's are back in the studio, and fans are eagerly awaiting the collection of new songs and covers (Bangles always like to "mix it up" in their music selections.) Susanna Hoffs (left), and the Peterson sisters, Debbi (centre) and Vicki (right) will be working predominantly as a trio, since they are currently without a regular bass player following Michael Steele's departure in 2004, and a string of on-and-off fill-ins.

An update from Gracie, the moderator of Return Post (The Bangles message board) and webmistress of The Bangles Official Website , reveals tidbits from both Vicki and Debbi Peterson about their new project.

"According to Debbi, it's sounding great - and a little different in style than what you might be expecting. Vicki's also hinted that the album will contain a couple of covers - some new to the Bangles, and some that long-time fans may remember from 80's era concerts."

Also on the horizon is the exciting tidbit that Debbi Peterson has a side project in the works, since she has not had one of these since 1995 when she created Kindred Spirit, a double act she formed with Liverpool import, Siobhan Maher (formerly of the River City People, now known as soloist Siobhan Maher-Kennedy.)

According to Gracie: "A little birdie also told me that a certain beautiful blonde drummer will be doing some work on a side project in the very near future... can't wait to get the scoop on that!"

Regarding the new album by the band, The Bangles will be working with guest musicians, as has been the case with past projects, including the omnipresent yet always mysterious keyboard player known affectionately as "Harpo" and guest bassist Matthew Sweet. Any hardcore Bangles fan knows that the band has always shared the vocals between the members, there has never been any "official lead singer", and although they are known to accept songs from songwriters outside the band and to work with guests, they have always written the bulk of their own material and play their own instruments, namely Susanna Hoffs on rhythm guitar, Vicki Peterson on lead guitar, and Debbi Peterson on drums.

Sweet will be filling in for Michael Steele, who left the band in 2004, who was briefly replaced with the talented Abby Travis, who joined Hoffs and the Petersons on a tour of Australia in 2005 which I was fortunate enough to attend. Travis has since returned to her solo work and will be releasing her fourth solo album within the next year.

Hoffs and Sweet recently had success with the July 2009 release of "Under The Covers 2," a collection of tributes to songs from the 70s, which in turn is a sequel album to their 60's tribute from 2006, entitled "Under The Covers 1." Some of the popular favourites from these albums include covers of Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys' "Different Drum," Neil Young & Crazy Horse's "Cinnamon Girl," and The Zombies "Care Of Cell #44" from the first volume; and The Grateful Dead's "Sugar Magnolia," Mott The Hoople's "All The Young Dudes", and Carly Simon's "You're So Vain," for the second. This last song was also performed superbly by Anna Waronker & Ze Malibu Kids for their 2002 album "Sound It Out."

Stay tuned for further news on The Bangles new album and Debbi Peterson's mysterious side project in future updates.

~ Michael Holloway


Bette Midler's Birthday Fundraiser - She'll Never Forget It You Know!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"I will never forget it, you know! I was having tea with my girlfriend Clementine, and suddenly the doorbell rang. I answered the door, there was a delivery boy with two dozen roses.

The card read 'Love, from your boyfriend Ernie."

I said to Clementine, "Do you know what this means? For the next two weeks, I am going to be flat on my back with my legs wide open!"

Clementine says to me "What's the matter with you, ain't you got a vase?"

So what do you give the Divine Miss M for her birthday? A vase?

Umm no, not unless you are planning on wearing said vase.

"Just a little "yoke"... **** 'em if they can't take a joke," as Midler herself would say.

Fortunately, there is a much better - and safer - idea.

The honorable Don Bradshaw, webmaster of premiere Bette Midler themed blog Bootleg Betty and his fellow Betteheads worldwide have planned a special project for Midler's 64th birthday which is being celebrated on December 1, 2009.

Between now and November 28, 2009, Don and Bootleg Betty are hosting a special fundraiser for our Divine One, in honour of her amazing work with the New York Restoration Project. Fans are being invited to send donations to Midler care of Kristen Dougherty from the NYRP, along with a card to wish her a Happy Birthday and any other loving sentiments we feel. It is important to reiterate that this is not a "Send fan mail to Bette" project, this is a fundraiser which is designed to benefit the NYRP in Bette's honour. Fans can send cards of course, but are expected to donate a minimum of $35.00 minimum to the charity if they wish to participate.

According to Don's blog regarding the event, these are the official rules:

Starts: October 1, 2009 through November 28, 2009

Minimum Donation: $35.00 then to the moon(if you can’t make the minimum, then just give what you can. It’s okay. The economy sucks….)

1. Purchase a birthday card or make your own

2. Enclose your check or money order (credit card info below)

3. Important-Make the check out to NYRP. Write on the check where there’s room….”Happy Birthday Bette – BLB” to let her know it came from the BLB group so they can tally how much money we raised. Write this on the check and the back of the envelope…make sure you follow this part carefully or your donation won’t get counted nor will it make it into the box being presented to Ms. Midler.

4. Beginning on Oct 1 through Nov. 30 Mail the check to (make sure to write Happy Birthday Bette – The BetteHeads on the back of the envelope….very important)

5. You may also use their Credit Card page. Beginning in September they will be rolling out a new design. You may choose one of the already allotted donations or ‘Other’ and make up your own. When you get to the end of the process a Comment Box should appear – just write “Happy Birthday Bette – BLB” to let them know to count your donation with the Bootleg Betty group. You can still send a card. However, don’t send anything or use credit card until Oct 1, 2009.

6. For Cards with Enclosed Checks start sending beginning Oct 1 through Nov. 28th. Keep everything positive. Please send to:
Attn: Kristen Dougherty
New York Restoration Project254 West 31st Street,10th FloorNew York, NY 10001

7. Bette will be presented the birthday cards and donations in a Handmade Memory Box on her birthday or close to it.

8. Then NYRP will tally the totals.We need a lot of participants, so start saving up or raising money. The birthday card will give you a chance to express some of your feelings. So let’s make this successful and maybe make this a yearly thing. At least we tried. Pass this along to your other Bette friends and get them involved, too.

9. All donations are tax deductible!

Here is a look at the lovely Memory Box, designed by Mary Russell, with which Midler will be presented on her birthday containing all the donations and cards. See more images here:

So, let's make Bette Midler's birthday such a special one that she "will never forget it, you know" and help clean up the environment in the process and have fun working together for the greater good.

~ Michael Holloway


Rhae Ann Theriault's Heart Of Gold

Recently gathered at the BraveHeart Awards were the following luminaries and celebrities such as presenters Courteney Cox, Mariel Hemingway, Marla Maples, Loni Anderson, Frances Fisher, Rolonda Watts, Siedah Garrett, and Stefanie Powers. Recipients included Maya Angelou, Carol Channing, Delta Burke, Kate Edelman Johnson, Dr Michael and Rickie Byars Beckwith, and Mary Fanaro. All of these inspirational people won awards for exemplary humanitarian work they have done, and deservedly so, yet there was someone in the audience who surely should have won an award too.

The young lady is Rhae Ann Theriault, an unsung heroine in animal rescue, whose amazing work with her 2TheResQ organisation is dedicated to rescuing neglected and or abused animals and finding good and loving homes for them. Theriault has been working in animal rescue for over twenty-five years. Born in Chicago and raised in the suburb of Glenview, Illinois, and now living in California, she has had a 'soft spot' for animals since she was able to walk and talk.

"It first began when I started bringing home abondoned field mice and injured birds. This soon grew in to a life-long love affair with creatures big and small, domestic and wild, furry and winged (or anything in between.")
She is currently writing a mission statement and working towards becoming a 501 non-profit in Los Angeles County.

One of Theriault's most inspirational stories regards a dog named Charlotte she has since adopted and given a loving home to. This is Charlotte's harrowing story in Theriault's own words:
"Charlotte, a sweet, young, American Staffordshire Terrier, had been sitting in a cold, damp, concrete cell at Downey Animal Shelter for seven long months while a court case for her abuser dragged on. She had been beaten and used as a bait dog by her previous owner. Then, after all these months of waiting, as fate would have it; she was scheduled to be euthanized. I simply couldn't allow this to happen. My friend, Hali, joined me on the long journey to the Downey Shelter. We pulled her out of there before it was too late. The staff members had gotten to know her so well after all, she'd been there longer than any animal, only kept alive due to the on-going investigation. Officer Sherman and Gacey's eyes welled up with tears when they realized the day they thought would never arrive was here! The sad dog that they allowed to run off leash in building 2, walked daily, and played with, was getting out, about to embark on a new journey, a new life, where she would be loved and allowed to be the happy dog she was meant to be! Charlotte is an unbelievably sweet, affectionate, loving dog who kisses everyone she meets well, all humans, that is. Unfortunately, she has "issues" with other dogs - due to her horrific past. Two weeks ago, Charlotte was brought to "Green Dog," a wonderful boarding facility in Los Angeles. There she is being socialized with other dogs and learning to be in a pack! UPDATE May 17th, 2009: I just hung up the phone with Marcus ("Green Dog" founder) who said he is going to be sending video footage (which I'll be posting) of Charlotte PLAYING with other dogs! He was on his couch, watching the Laker's game, with Charlotte's head on his lap and three other dogs... just hangin' out!! I'm doin' a Happy Dance!"
The following was just now received by me as an update from Theriault regarding Charlotte's life and future:
"Regarding Charlotte, she was transported up to Sacramento, several months ago, to join her new adoptive home. It didn't work out because she still had some agression towards other dogs (due to her severe abuse). She is now at Camelot Animal Sanctuary (outside Seattle) where she is further being socialised for permanent adoption. Her guardian angel's name is Sandi. I miss her so but am confident she is living a happy life, fully expressed!"

Theriault's talents are not limited to the care and nurture of animals however, she is also an accomplished singer, dancer, and actress who worked with The Divine Miss M, Bette Midler, and fellow Staggering Harlettes, Carol Hatchett and Melanie Taylor during much of the 90's. It was because of the quartet's fantastic performance in the 1997 concert DVD "Diva Las Vegas" that I first came to know Theriault online and I was immediately entranced with this beautiful and talented lady's immense wit, outrageous humour, and compassionate heart, for both animals and good people who are also committed to making the world a better place. Theriault's good deeds and amazing talent cannot remain hidden in the shadows, the world needs to meet this amazing person and get involved with helping her achieve her aim of helping the world's animals.

It is little wonder that Rhae Ann Theriault has been nominated as one of the Boomer Hot Women Of 2009 at "Living Life...Boomer Style" magazine.

~ Michael Holloway


Belinda Carlisle Has A Go-Go At Writing Her Memoirs

On May 11 2010, Belinda Carlisle will be publishing her memoirs after much deliberation over the years as to whether or not she ever would. Both the autobiography and the accompanying audio CD will be entitled "Lips Unsealed: A Memoir". Note, this is not a new music album by Carlisle, rather it is the audiobook version of the memoirs. Although she is working on a new album, no further details have been released by Carlisle or her record label about this, except other than to say that the new album will be in English.

Carlisle won the hearts of audiences all over the world when she struck gold with iconic 80's band The Go-Go's in 1981 with their debut album "Beauty And The Beat" which among other gems, yielded the pop hit "Our Lips Are Sealed", penned by fellow band member Jane Wiedlin. After a successful run of subsequent albums, The Go-Go's went on hiatus while the various members worked on various solo projects, to varying degrees of success.

Carlisle was the most successful, and released six solo CDs between 1986 - 1996, during which time she briefly reunited with her band in 1994 before fully reuniting with them from 2000 onward. The Go-Go's are still a tour deforce as a touring band, and the members still do their own thing. Carlisle released an album of french chansons entitled "Voila" in 2007, and is about to embark on a fascinating new project.

After years of tossing around the idea of writing her memoirs from her days with The Go-Go's (including Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey, Kathy Valentine, and Gina Schock) , and presumably reminiscing through her days as a flame haired rock goddess, and her recent sojourn as a french chanteuse, Carlisle has at last penned her memoirs, aptly titled "Lips Unsealed: A Memoir".

As to what stories will be included in the memoirs, these have not been revealed, although anyone familiar with The Go-Go's spicy reputation and sometimes even sordid punk lifestyle from the late 70's and early 80s should be aware that the material might not be suited to those who are easily shocked.

To give you an idea as to what might be in the book, in one story, elaborated further in my own feature article for The Go-Go's, Carlisle stated:

"At least fifty punks were living at the Canterbury. There were a few homeless street people hanging out there too, but there was music coming from every room. You'd walk into the courtyard and there'd be a dozen different punk songs all playing at the same time. It was an incredible environment. When heroin came into the scene, that was the great divide. Either you did it or you didn't. In the beginning, they were my friends, but the heroin thing kind of scared me. At the Canterbury, there were pills and lots of booze, there were these girls bringing in Demerol. That got really icky, everybody nodding out."

So, if you want to know more about this amazing band, you'll have to wait until May 2010 for the rest of the juicy details.

~ Michael Holloway


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