Heidi Hellbender: Old Broad Still Singin'.
I have been singing in bands now for thirty years. I never made more than a hand full of change and I certainly never got famous, but I've had a lot of fun doing the work, managed to see part of the world, collaborated with some incredibly talented people, challenged myself and learned a great deal. And at times I've even felt a little like a rock star.
My first band to cut a real record (yes it was a record, as well as a cd) and tour properly was M99, a four piece rock band featuring myself, Rob Landoll (guitar), James Mahone (drums), Regina LaRocca, Brandt Peterson and Steve Lew, (bass players - no all at once! Gee). We cut two full length cds and several singles and eps and toured Europe twice before I had a change of heart and dropped out of the rock circuit for a while.
My side band at that time was The Oblivion Seekers, a Mark Sten production which has featured more members than I have space to list and has put out 6 cds. I've been with this band on and off for twenty years but somehow only managed to be around for a very small portion of the recordings (and only backups at that.) Currently the lineup includes Mark Sten (guitar, bass, keys, vox), myself (vox), Denise Coffey Stanley (vox), Jason Ballard (guitar), Ivan French (bass), and Louie Samora (drums).
Between 2004 and 2008, roughly, I was involved in an acoustic project called Gothic Outhouse with Regina LaRocca (guitar this time) Kevin Bailess (clarinet) and Sam Henry (drums). Gothic Ourhouse reinvented songs from every genre, familiar and unfamiliar and performed in smoky clubs and bars all over the Portland area.
At this time I also decided to write some of my own songs and record a modest cd of 8 of these little ditties with the help of Jim Holmes and his basement Analog studio. I invited some good friends from various projects to help fill out the sound of my shaky guitar playing and it turned out pretty good. This cd is available on CD Baby and I've been told that it's A: a good road trip cd, B: kids love it! (but be aware of questionable lyrics before playing it for the kiddies) and C: it's great background noise for having a good cry in the bathtub.
Currently I am lucky to be a part of these projects:
The Oblivion Seekers. Rock and Roll/Hard Soul. (see lineup above) - soon to be playing live again! Keep an eye out.
The Can't Hardly Playboys. Country. Featuring Steve Cambron (steel and other guitars), Seth Garon (vocals and bass), Michael Howard, (vocals and acoustic guitar), Elyse Rosenberg (vocals and fiddle), John Slater (keyboards), Bobby Ferrante (drums) and myself (vocals).
The Fondells Rhythm and blues Burlesque show. Burlesque. Featuring Mark Sten (bass), Jon Wallace (guitar), Louie Samora (drums) Stan Ruffo (sax) backing up a variety of singers (myself, Victoria Porter, Viva Las Vegas, Jerry A and Johnny Ward to name a few) and dancers (Miss Kennedy, Tana the Tattooed Lady, Stilleto Maraschino and more).
I don't play a lot any more. I'm not trying to make a career out of music or even trying to sell any cds (although I have hundreds of them! So buy one if you must). To end this bio: I live in NE Portland with my boyfriend and his two wonderful kids (part time). I work as a divebartender in a great little neighborhood bar in NE called Spirits Pub. Come see me some time! I work the day shift, Tuesday through Friday. I am currently trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. And I'm still singing in bands.