Quest for all-female band starts on good note

quest-for-all-female-band-starts-on-good-note

Adrian Stanley
April 14, 2006 – 12:00AM

In my last Tune Town column, I told you about local rocker Michael Scott Parker’s efforts to put together an all-female band.

Parker will call the band Oh My, and is planning a European tour for summer.

“I’m trying to find women who want to go make history with me,” she tells me.

Well, you can’t ignore history. So I’ve decided to follow Parker in this pursuit, and I’ll report on it in a series of installments. Here’s the first:

AUDITION NO. 1: Friday, March 31

Singer-keyboardist-violinist Karen Flores is about to arrive at Parker’s homey abode.

Parker has been anticipating this moment — her first audition — and aesthetically speaking, her presentation is nothing short of welcoming.

Two dogs — one huge and clumsy, one small, blind, and adorably manipulative — wander the kitchen, where a pot of rose tea is ready to boil.

In her bedroom, the blond artist-musician-Pilates-instructor sits on a cozy blanket-draped ottoman next to an open glass door that lets in fresh Cheyenne Canyon air. She has arranged a small table and a few chairs around the ottoman, and collectively calls the nook her “European cafe.” Today, the cafe will serve as a setting for her interview.

“This is a very serious project,” she tells me. Parker expresses the syllables sternly, as though trying to overcome her normally light-hearted demeanor.

Flores arrives. Slender and pretty with green eyes and long, dark ponytails, she carefully drags her equipment into Parker’s living room and takes a seat in the cafe. Parker works her ruby-red, Betty Boop lips into a smile and switches on her tape recorder.

The interview process for Parker’s soon-to-be band, Oh My, is a bit, well, involved. Parker swears she’s not a control freak; she just wants this to be phenomenal.

Parker crafted a series of tests: a professional interview (How are you at being in costume?), a personal interview (Do you take birth control?), two Polaroid photos and a musical audition.

Parker pulls out her list of carefully considered questions and begins quizzing.

How much time will Flores have to spend on the band?

Well, Flores works 40 hours a week as a waitress, but says, “If I have something to work for, I’m willing to kick my own ass.”

Parker smiles.

“What are your not-so-likable qualities?” she asks.

Definitely the stage fright, Flores says, but she’s working on it.

Does Flores have any computer skills?

Flores can use a computer, but she’s no Web designer.

Parker’s eyes flare mischievously. “How are you at having pyrotechnics strapped to your body in a Las Vegas-style costume,” she asks, raising a quizzical eyebrow.

Flores stutters.

Parker’s facade busts and she laughs at her own joke.

She knows she can be intense, but there are a lot of problems that can come up in a band, and she’s planning strategies to avoid most of them. For instance, members of an all-female band will end up having their periods at the same time, she says, and she doesn’t want a bunch of hormonal discontent spelling the end to her dream project.

Following the interviews, it’s clear from Parker’s glowing face that she’s pleased. She likes this one.

The two ladies head to the living room to play music.

Parker suggests they play one of her songs, “Let’s Make Crazy.”

It’s a bit choppy at first, but Flores is quick to pick up the rhythm and pace.

They’re an interesting pair. The sexually charged song brings out the ham in Parker, who struts around suggestively and howls seductively in the mic. Flores, obviously battling some nerves, lays low and concentrates on her playing.

“I missed your cue. Sorry,” Flores says sheepishly.

“No, I thought that was a very good first go,” Parker says, her voice patient and encouraging.

Flores struggles a bit on the keys, but she performs beautifully on violin for the slower piece, “Tiny Yellow Leaves,” and her playing on the gypsyfeeling “Renegade Cowboy Dreams,” sometimes edges on authoritative.

Parker wants to hear Flores’ original material, but rather than play it, Flores offers to grab a tape out of her car. There’s a very Tori Amos/ Fiona Apple feel to Flores’ work; it’s richly textured and patterned with Flores’ impassioned vocals. It’s very good.

Parker is ecstatic. “I love it!” she says, beaming. “This song we would definitely do.”

Parker is a mess of ideas now. She wants to work with Flores for a month and if everything goes well, Flores will be the first member of Oh My.

But for now, Parker is getting ready for a trip to Scotland on April 9, where she’ll be scouting venues for Oh My’s summer European tour.

With the history of modern music being written in her head, Parker bids Flores goodbye and scoots off.


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