Mid City Meddler

Mid City Meddler
By Muffy Junes

Man, I wish I could play the gee-tar! I've tried for years, off and on. It always comes down to small hands, short fingers . . . or maybe a lack of perseverance. As a songwriter, I can pretend to be a musician in the acoustically sound secrecy of my writing room, banging on bar chords, making noises that really sound like something – something struggling in the alley. I have successfully pulled the wool over many an audience member's eyes, playing keyboards onstage for years. Of course, I have to be playing MY songs, progressions that no one else can critique. I can mess up and act like I did it on purpose. Better yet, if I forget what I'm doing, I can always act frustrated, wiggle a cord, throw my hands up and scowl at the sound guy. I wouldn't hire myself. The Autoharp is a cool writing tool. The chords are right there, all you have to do is push a button and strum.

If I had only practiced guitar as a child, instead of that two keyboard, bass pedaled living room Hammond organ. Those suckers are heavy to tote around.

The truth is, it's difficult to find female musicians. We know there's lots of them in the world, but they're never around when you're looking for them. Especially guitar players. No, drummers. No, wait - chick bass players are rare, too. The world loves girls on stage, expertly axing their way through hours of sweaty powerplay, ripping a hole in the boy-rock myth world.  As to why there are more male players than female, I have several theories. Basically, chicks are just not as insecure about getting laid. That's also an Easter reference.

"Ladies First" is a newly themed night at Maier's Tavern. Every Thursday, from  7- 10 p.m., women are bringing all varieties of talent to the stage. It's an open mike night of sorts, but comedians, poets and (I hope, soon) wild ass rasslers are welcome, also. (Okay, I made up the last part, about the rasslers. I think rasslin's a talent, but it's got that nasty mud/jello stigma attached to it). 

Kathleen Hoye is the guitar-slinging hostess. Kathleen kicks off the night with her beautiful voice and high falutin' guitar playing. I am there, too, holding a clipboard and occasionally wiggling my tambourine. It's an organized weekly event, thanks to the clipboard. Women sign up for a time slot, they do their thing, and the next person has a turn. Note I said "person". It's called "Ladies First" to prioritize the showcasing of female talent, but non-females are also welcome. In other words, it's not a dyke fest or anti-male night, but, by golly, lets get some chicks on stage!! Lots of musicians find band members at these types of open stages. As you may imagine, acoustic guitarists are the most likely to show up, but I'd love to see all the rest, of the electric and percussive variety.  By the way, this particular  night is also "all ages," as long as a responsible adult is in tow.

Every week, somebody tells me they're looking for someone – guitarist/singer needs drummer/bassist, singer needs band /original songs, guitarist loses band – you get the picture. If you have anything to offer, let me know. Maybe we can match something up.

One more thing: bluegrass jams are befuddling to me. This genre of music seems to be the most intimate of all. The pickers let the viewers get real close to their hands. The viewers always act like they're memorizing licks, although I don't think the viewers play, or they wouldn't always be watching. Bluegrass players are mobile – they can move around from room to room, table to table, with no PA necessary. They're almost like Mariachis, except I never see anyone tip them or take photos with them. Ignorant me, most every bluegrass song brings to mind..."do your ears hang low, do they wobble to and fro..."

But Bluegrass lovers are almost cult-like in their dedication to this vulnerably presented art form, and I'm determined, one day, to get to the bottom of it. 

So, off I go to the next bowling banquet. It's a glamorous life I wouldn't trade for anything.



Call or email me with your band/mid-city info:

458 - MUFF / mufalata@iglou.com