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Rarely does a voice stir emotion in an audience like the voice of Gadget White. Whether belting out a Janis Joplin classic, unfolding intricate Pat Benatar hits, or performing much requested tracks from her copious originals Gadget’s vocal performance leaves spectators thirsting to hear more of her signature rich tones perfectly complimented with gritty passion. White’s vocal instrument is a thing of wonder and intrigue; those who witness her art are effortlessly transported from the banality of their current situation into the deep emotional experience of whichever song she presents to her audience.
White’s humble beginnings started in California. It was not uncommon to find White signing The Carpenters, Patsy Cline, Tanya Tucker, or Donny & Marie into the end of a jump rope and entertain her younger siblings while her mother worked nights to provide for her three children. Music was in her blood and her talent was mature beyond her years; this became evident when she caught the attention of Bob Demarco from the rock band Blackstone while performing at a High School variety show and landed her first gig at the green age of 16. White recounts, “I joined the band and we played the bar scene. Bob was 2 years my junior so we had to keep the fact that we were under age a secret.”
After spending four years in the Navy on the flight line Patuxent River, MD White moved to DC and followed the distant but ever present calling of music. Determined to ensconce herself in the music scene White picked up as many singing gigs as she could find with various local top 40 bands; her repertoire included songs ranging from Ozzy Osborne to Gloria Estafan! In 1995 White began crafting her art by learning three chords on a guitar. These three chords laid the groundwork that would eventually give birth her first album “Blame” recorded at The Lodge Studios in Indianapolis. Notable artists recorded at this studio including PINK. Blame was produced by Grammy nominated Paul Mahern who was and still is John Mellencamp’s exclusive producer. Mahern is also known for recording The Fray, Iggy Pop, T Bone Burnett among a ton of others. While compiling Blame in the studio White realized that the Patsy Cline cover she chose to record wasn’t working, she comments, “I had to write another song in order to have a full length CD. The paid musicians were standing by and time is money so I picked up the guitar and wrote “Eggshells” a song influenced by my mother.”
Shortly after Blame was released White steadied her musical career by hiring a band and kicking off a local circuit tour. Eventually the Gadget White Band (GWB) would consist of Bassist Donna Katrinic, Guitarist Aiko Butler, Drummer Mike Watkins and Violinist Helen Hausmann. This move paid off in 2001 when a pivotal turning point transpired. The Gadget White Band entered a battle of the bands contest hosted by a local classic rock radio station that consisted of a highly publicized 2-week battle where the winner would open for Bad Company and David Lee Roth at The MCI Center. White recalls, “Our fans were awesome. They came out in droves and brought more and more people with them to each show. They screamed so loud at the end of our sets that it was literally ear piercing. That’s definitely a favorite moment of my career. We went on to win and played as opening act for Bad Company”.
The high from playing as Bad Company’s opening act did not even have time to dissipate before Bad Company’s Road Manager approached the White and asked if her band would consider being the sole opening act for Bad Company 2 nights later because Billy Squire, the originally scheduled artist, had to cancel due to a family emergency. Many of Squire's fans were not informed of the change until they read notices posted at the entrances. This made the band incredibly nervous. Gadget remembers that night, "We walked onto the stage, the lights were dim and I hear whispers from the audience". Who in the hell are they? Is it the Dixie Chicks?" An announcer apologizes for the inconvenience and introduces the replacement band. The lights come up and they dive into their 40-minute set. Upon completion of the second song, jubilant shouts and applause fill the 16,000 seat arena. The exposure from this show led to many national act openings and second stage appearances including Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon and Foreigner.
Within a year Serious Butterflies was recorded at Essex Sound in Baltimore, MD by John Grant. The Washington Times and The Washington Post both took notice. The Gadget White Band’s reputation grew along with their fan base and White signed a National Distribution deal for Serious Butterflies which made it available in most retail stores including Best Buy and Border’s Books.
After a year of touring to promote the album the band parted ways; nonetheless, White was approached by a local entrepreneur who had the financial backing to start a record company and she signed a contract with a 4 million dollar signing bonus. Soon after, 9-11 devastated America, the entrepreneur lost investors, and White was shattered when the contract crumbled.
Not long after White followed her instincts and moved to Austin, Texas.
While in Austin White hired mercenary musicians but this alternative did little to offer her the grounding of a permanent band that she sought. However, like all good things that are meant to be the Gadget White band would reform again when a friend passed Serious Butterflies onto the drummer drummer from a once popular all female Houston band Cowboy’s Nightmare. White recruited drummer Joni Lovvorn, lead guitarist Dana Starr, and Bassist John stuart
Following what seemed like an eternity of waiting, the desired longings of White’s die-hard fans will be answered. A Melissa Etheridge tribute. The stellar musicians recruited for this endeavor are guitarist, Dana Starr, bassist John Stuart and drummer Chip Greenman.