BGG: What inspired you to break out and do
“Make it Beautiful”?
Sara: I think what inspired me was a matter
of time in a way. I had been playing with other people for so long and
I guess it just got to be the time in my career where I felt like, I
should try to do this myself, rather than just being a bass player for
everybody else. I thought I should just try to do a record myself.
BGG: Excellent choice, I might add.
Sara: Thank you!
BGG: How has your past experiences helped
you and what are some of the things that you just didn’t have
to deal with before that you have to deal with now?
Sara: I think the past experiences all just
build, they give you everything, the way you play, and the way you hear
music or what you like, what you don’t like. You sort of develop
your feeling for music over the years having played with a lot of different
artists. I play to the point where it just felt like I knew exactly
the kind of music I wanted to play and I have played a lot of different
kinds of music. I think being in the business for a long time and having
done records with other people and shows with other people when it came
to doing my own record, I knew what was involved. It was sort of an
easy transition to make. I wasn’t a newcomer that didn’t
know how anything worked. I know what happens exactly at gigs and so
and so. All that past experience just helped make everything flow pretty
smoothly in that way. At least I know what the business is about and
what goes on and what you have to do and what you don’t do to
make it run smoothly.
BGG: What is your favorite song on “Make
Sara: Impossible to say, I mean when you write
music or the songs yourself, you have attachments to them and maybe
for different reasons. “Make it Beautiful” itself, I loved
because I came up with it when I was driving my car. I actually just
left a friend of mine in the hospital; she just had a baby. I saw the
baby and her and left and on the half-hour drive home, that song came
into my head. It was compounded by the fact that Ani wrote the lyrics
which would have been one of the top few people I would have chosen
to write lyrics for any of my songs and decided to do it. So when she
wrote the lyrics, and the way that song evolved it was just a made in
heaven kind of thing. It is hard to say, “Come Out” was
written one night really late into the night, I usually don’t
stay up late and I’m not a very good rock ‘n’ roller.
I actually stayed up all night, maybe until 4 or 5 in the morning writing
this song and by the time I had finished it, I thought, “My God,
what on earth have I written”. I had to have a friend of mine
come over and listen to it the next day to tell me if it was ok or not.
I love it, it is a very unusual structure but the fact that Amy Guild
who was with “The Gang of Four” was willing to play on it,
again just enhanced the feeling of song and what it was about for me.
“I’ll Wait For You” really is about my father in a
lot of ways, it is in part about my father and in part about regeneration.
That means a lot to me too. So there is a lot of different reasons why
I am partial to all of it.
BGG: Do you tour with the same people or
is it various artists at times?
Sara: I have pretty much a band that I tour
with, yeah, the first band that I started out with that you saw me with
in Chaser’s the only person that has changed is the keyboard player.
BGG: So is Eric still with you?
Sara: Eric is not with me now, I can’t
afford it basically because he is in Los Angeles and when I am here
in the Northeast just puttering around the northeast doing shows, I
can’t afford to fly him in. If I am ever able to afford to fly
him in, I would love to. I think he is great.
BGG: He was really great when I met him, Anne
Cline is pretty cool too; they all seem like really decent people.
Sara: Yeah they are. Since I have replaced
the keyboard player and I got someone who is a little older with a bit
more experience which basically is what was lacking before. This new
guy I have is really very good as well.
BGG: Where is your favorite place to play?
Sara: That’s a hard question too. You
know when you play a big place, like the Hamistine Ballroom in New York,
when I opened for Ani was one of the best gigs I have ever done. It
was one of the most exciting. To play in a place like that to maybe
5,000 people and they were all standing. The good thing about that place
is that people stand. It is more fun having people standing up than
people sitting in rows. That gig was a very exciting gig. To be opening
for Ani, who I love dearly and to be in front of a very responsive crowd
was definitely a highlight. I also like playing smaller places too where
you are very much closer to the audience. It is a different experience
and that can even be more nerve wracking than doing a big club.
BGG: They are right in your face?
Sara: There are about 30 people looking at
you very close up.
BGG: What is the worst gig you ever played?
Sara: I’ve played very small clubs opening
for someone where the sound system was so bad I couldn’t hear
what I was singing. Those kinds of places are the worst.
BGG: They weren’t in Boston, right?
Sara: No, no but when you hit your worst gig,
that’s the great thing about gigging. You can have a fabulous
gig in a tiny small hole in the wall or you can have a horribly rotten
gig in front of a huge audience. It all depends on the circumstances
of each individual night. I think that’s one of the things that
contributes to being a worst gig is if the equipment does not work very
well and you can’t hear yourself that makes it the worst gig.
BGG: Who has inspired you the most?
Sara: To be honest with you, vocally, Annie
Lennox is the probably the most inspiring singer that I have listened
to. Whenever I listen to her I am just transported, she is just such
an incredible singer. I just admire someone who has that much control
over her voice and it sounds so good. That is a real inspiration but
I often can be inspired seeing people. I saw Tina Turner last year and
she was fabulous to see her just tearing the place down after all these
years of doing it, that is inspiring too. On a musical level, I guess
my biggest inspiration musically has always been James Brown. I love
his music. That is where I feel my core is. It is definitely my favorite
kind of music and it is very funky. I love goin to see Mayfield Parker
now actually who used to play with James Brown. He played with Ani too.
His band is great, just very funky and you just dance all night; the
most fun gig to go to.
BGG: What are the top 3 CD’s you’ve
been listening to lately?
Sara: I’ve been listening to this Canadian
artist, Mary Jane Lamans, have you ever heard of her?
BGG: I don’t believe I have.
Sara: You will have to when she comes down
your way. She is based in Nova Scotia, in the Cape Bressen area. She
actually sings in Celtic. I first heard her at the Lilith Fair; I think
the second year. She has got the most beautiful voice and she sings
in Celtic, which of course you can’t understand but it is the
most beautiful melting sounding language. She sings in addition to doing
all solo voice pieces or maybe with just a guitar or something. The
record that I have of her is a lot of sort of dance music behind her
voice, very danceable, very pop. It is a beautiful record, Mary Jane
Lamans, she is just fabulous. Also, I have been listening to a live
concert at Carnagie Hall of Bill Whithers. I think it is from the 70’s,
it is so great. I had forgotten, you sometimes you don’t hear
an artist for a while? You don’t listen for a while and I just
discovered this record and I have been listening to it loads. It is
a great record. I have also been listening to this guy called, I’m
don’t even know how to pronounce his name actually, Venucia Contarario.
He is Brazilian and I think he spends quite a lot of time in New York.
Do you know Arthur Lindsay’s work? He has a record on Righteous
Babe too actually. He is a guy from New York who works with Venucia
off and on. I can’t remember what the name of Arthur’s last
record that was on Righteous Babe, well anyway. Venucia Contarario just
sings beautifully, it is beautiful Brazilian music.
BGG: Great, now I have 3 great tips for me.
I will definitely look them up though.
Sara: Mary Jane Lamens is just wonderful,
definitely check her out.
BGG: If you could sit down and have lunch
with any person in the world, who would it be and why?
Sara: Oh my goodness… Golly, I have
never thought about that.
BGG: Wow, you have been busy.
Sara: Oh, I have been
BGG: I feel your pain, believe me, I work
a full time job and writing a magazine at the same time, it is crazy.
Sara: I’m sure, let me think…
BGG: Do you want to go back to that one?
Sara: Yeah, I just can’t seem to think…
BGG: What is your idea of a perfect date?
Sara: A perfect date?
BGG: Yeah, I am getting personal now.
Sara: I have not had much time to think about
that either. I would think the perfect date would be going for a hike
up a mountain. I love the outdoors and I love nature. I think the perfect
date would be going out with somebody and climbing a mountain and enjoying
the view from the top and having a packed lunch when we get there.
BGG: As long as there is an elevator to get
back down <laughs>. No, that sounds pretty cool.
BGG: How about a word association game?You
up for that? I am just going to say something and you just give me a
High School: Absolute Fear
London: Great Fun City
B-52’s: Great Fun Band
Joan Osbourne: Fabulous Singer
Fionna Apple: Tremendous Talent
Anne Klein: Dear Friend, Great Guitarist
Gang of Four: I want to experience that again
Boston, Mass: Good walking city
BGG: When you were touring with the Indigo
Girls, do you have any funny stories to tell?
Sara: I always remember stories at the wrong
time… I can’t remember now. I have more great moments to
share. There were times when we did certain shows and people would show
up to sing with us; Joan Osbourne, or Jackson Brown or David Crosby.
It is something a lot of people ask me and I should know by now that
I have to remember funny stories. If you were to ask me that about Ani,
I could tell you really funny stories.
BGG: Ok, what about Ani? I can go with that.
Sara: One very fond memory I have of Ani is
when we were in Europe. It has to be put into context because for several
years, I have worked with bands who have very big budgets, plenty of
money and plenty of help. I got the job with Ani and we went to Europe
and it was the 3 of us in her band, her and me and Andy Stenchanski
and one tour manager and one sound guy. So there were just 2 tour guys.
One of the funniest things is remembering how we got around because
we would travel by train in Europe. We had several cases of equipment
even if it were just drums and bass and guitar. We had a few pieces
of large equipment, which we had to smuggle onto the train. We also
had to push down the platform and push down underneath those underpasses
in Europe that go underneath the rails. We were struggling uphill up
this underpass at one point, trying to push these darn cases up the
hill and then trying to smuggle them onto the train without the guards
seeing. That was one of the funniest things I remember and it was so
much fun doing it too. I had not done anything like this in years. It
was a lot of fun going on the road with Ani in Europe and trying to
cart our own equipment around with us without anybody finding out.
BGG: What was one of your most memorable
moments as a musician? You were mentioning a particular tour you did
Sara: I think really, playing with Ani is
the most memorable time in a way because I love playing with her so
much. I felt very compatible with her musically. The touring in Europe
that we did was a very special tour, there were several points on that
tour that I remember very fondly and certain gigs and certain moments,
smuggling ourselves. Oh, this is a funny story, trying to get away with
sitting in first class when really we had only economy tickets. But
as far as memorable shows, we played a wonderful festival in Switzerland
where it was just such a beautiful place and to be playing outdoors
at this gorgeous event that also featured an orchestra and a circus
from, I think, Russia and they had really fabulous artists, very diverse
group of artists playing. It was a 3-day festival I think and it was
just a wonderful event.
BGG: Ok, I saw the B-52’s with the
Talking Heads at the Berklee Performance center for 7 dollars in 1977.
What were you doing that year?
Sara: In 1977, I think that was the year I
first got a bass guitar and was playing it. I was probably playing with
the first band I ever played with which was called “Sphynx”
and it was an all girl band except for the drummer who was a guy but
he was also a transvestite.
BGG: Well there you go…
Sara: Yes, there you go. Yeah that was exactly
what I was doing in 1977, playing with my first band.
BGG: And how old were you?
BGG: What do you hope to accomplish this
Sara: I would like to keep my band together,
which will depend on economics and I just hope I can do a lot of shows
and do regular gigs. Also, start writing songs for another album. Primarily,
my goal is to be able to keep my band together and to be able to keep
doing shows and try to enjoy…. Well, I mean not TRY to enjoy it,
I do enjoy it and that is why I am trying to keep it together. It is
a very costly thing to do so it depends on finances, really, but that
is what I hope.
BGG: Well, I think you will accomplish this,
you guys are sounding really great.
BGG: Ok, Sara,back to who you are going to
have dinner with?
Sara: Right, I have been thinking. My interest
outside of music is learning about distainable energy and all sorts
of agriculture. I don’t even know the name of anybody in those
fields, but I think I would seek out somebody who would be able to educate
me in those areas. Actually, there is an amazing guy in England…
BGG: So you would want to sit down with somebody
at lunch to learn.
Sara: Yeah definitely. I am so interested
in being self-sustaining. I want to have a small farm and just growing
enough food for myself. Not fields of cows and sheep or anything but
I want to have enough to make my own food, my own clothes, my own wind
power, my own solar power. I want to be self-sustaining. So I would
definitely seek out somebody who was very knowledgeable in the area
of self-sustainability and have dinner with that person. Who ever that
BGG: I can understand that though, I would
just want to have lunch with Angelina Jolie.
Sara: So then, I will have lunch with Juliet
Binouche and have dinner with an environmental expert.(laughing)
BGG: There you go.
Sara: I mean a self-sustainable agriculture
BGG: It was a toss up, either Angelina Jolie
or Madonna, I wasn’t sure which one.
Sara: Oh, really?
BGG: Yeah, I admire Madonna, I think she is
an incredible business person.
Sara: Oh she is amazing.
BGG: There is nobody like her that’s
for sure. Have you met her?
Sara: No, never met her, actually I did a
gig with her once. I wouldn’t have remembered this unless you
said that but I remember doing a benefit for the rainforest in Brooklyn
Academy of Music or something in 1999 with the B-52’s and Madonna
was there and so was Sandra Bernhart.
BGG: Oh that is when she was doing her thing
Sara: That is pretty wild.
BGG: So you never met her there, she just
played there, you didn’t get to talk to her.
Sara: No, we didn’t meet her, I saw
her onstage. I remember I was in the wings and I saw her onstage and
everybody was milling around backstage. When you do those benefit things,
you are usually onstage for a really short time. They are usually doing
one song or something. That’s where I remember seeing her.
BGG: What would you like to say to all the
women who read the Boston Girl Guide?
Sara: I would just like to say to them, that
I thank them for being supportive of my record, and I thank them for
coming out to see me as well, when I was playing in Boston. I got some
really nice feedback from the Boston shows that I have done. I hope
that I will be coming back and playing there again soon.