Coming from a variety of musical backgrounds, the members of Janet's Vice came together two years ago and have been creating exciting new music ever since.
Vocalist/ guitar player Naomi Ulsted and drummer Dave Gager met after being cast as 'Brad & Janet' in a local theater production of 'The Rocky Horror Show'.
Dave and Doug Noltemeier, the guitar player in the show's pit-band, began discussing the formation of an original rock band once the musical had finished it's five-week run. Dave had played drums for various rock, jazz, and fusion bands for the past 20 years and Doug's guitar playing caught his attention very quickly.
"We would jam backstage during breaks and it just clicked" says Dave. Naomi had overheard their plans and approached Dave with the offer of singing in their new project. She had been writing music on her own for over 10 years and, up until then, had only played for open-mic's, coffee houses, and mostly, her front porch.
"She came up to me one night before we went on stage and said: "I have a recording of some of my songs", Dave remembers, "and then she hands me a CD. My initial reaction was 'OK, sure, I'll listen to it when I get the chance'."
Dave already knew of Naomi's amazing vocal talents from her nightly performances in the show, but when he listened to the CD, he was floored.
"It was just her and her acoustic guitar", Dave reflects, "but I couldn't take it out of my CD player. I was hooked."
Her songs combined Celtic-style melodies and poetic lyrics evoking images of hope, longing and change.
Dave played the CD for Doug and the three of them immediately began discussing plans for the new band. Doug approached musician friend Brett Marconeri, who was playing drums in several projects around town, about coming on board as well. Along with his mastery of the drums, Brett was also an accomplished keyboard player, and his experience with everything from big band swing to pop and blues brought another level of versatility to the group.
Naomi's songs now took on a new and powerful life. Teaming up with bassist Mark Badger from the Bigfish Blues Band, they began performing on various local stages through the winter and spring. By early summer, Naomi, Dave and Doug went into the studio and recorded the foundation tracks for a Janet's Vice CD, but the project was put on hold when a month later Doug had taken a new job and moved his family to Florida.
Armed with the basic tracks and Doug's permission, Dave invested in some digital studio equipment and worked through the winter with Naomi and Brett to finish the CD.
By early spring, Dave had talked with guitar extraordinaire Brian Frech from the local band 'The Distractions' about coming onboard. Brian was pretty busy with Distractions gigs, as well as promoting the CD from his other band 'Storm Train'.
"Brian heard our stuff and was interested but really had his hands full with his other two projects." Dave recalls, "but he was also looking for a drummer to do jazz/rock fusion stuff in Storm Train, which was right up my alley. So, I joined them and Brian joined us... Talk about musical chairs!".
Brian brought 'Storm Train' bassist Don Burgett on board, whose funky, solid groove inspired by many of the modern jazz greats, was a perfect complement to Dave's drumming and he fell in perfectly to form a new rhythmic foundation. The two bands played and toured extensively throughout the following summer, sharing stages and promoting their individual CD's.
By the fall, the strain of trying to perform in three different bands was taking its toll on Brian, and he had to respectfully bow out, prompting the search for another Janet's Vice guitarist.
During it all, Naomi and Dave have continued writing and collaborating musically, and are preparing to start work on the second Janet's Vice CD.
"Brian has offered to come down to the studio to record guitar tracks if needed", says Dave, "so Naomi, Brett, Don and I will stay pretty busy this winter."
Watch for a new Janet's Vice CD in 2006. What kind of music is this? Janet's Vice is hard to classify. The variety of musical backgrounds and the versatility of the band members make this a unique sound as well as a unique group. Their songs seem to cover the entire musical spectrum, from folk to rock to blues and are probably best categorized as "eclectic rock-n-roll".
- From the band's Web site