Interview By Geneva of GirlMedia
Visit The Official Groovy Judy Website
In this musical time period of artists trying to invent something new and different, Groovy Judy puts a new face on the 60s sound that made the Bay Area what it is. Groovy Judy focuses on making people smile and raising vibrations by delivering her own blend of funk, rock and inspirational pop.
Where did you come up with the name Groovy Judy?
Groovy Judy: I’m a big fan of the sixties which was a very colorful period in history. Fashion, music, and culture were really exploding and the word “groovy” was a common term back then. I’m a huge fan of Jimi Hendrix who use to dress with wild colorful outfits – he was very groovy. I put the two thoughts together and came up with “Groovy Judy.” I think the name flows nicely, it fits my free-spirited attitude, it’s positive and people seem to remember it easily.
How would you describe your music?
Groovy Judy: My music is a blend of funk, rock, pop, inspirational, and comedy with a touch of groove. I’ve been described as “Hendrix meets Grace Jones.”
Do you find it difficult to write new songs in a style that is often termed an “oldie”?
Groovy Judy: No, because I’m writing about things that were going on back then and are still happening now – relationships, love, peace, homelessness, greed, religion, beliefs, forgiveness. I see myself more as retro than oldie because I may have the vibe of the late 60’s and 70’s, but my sound is more contemporary.
You’ve been playing guitar for 20 odd some years. Why weren’t you in a band prior to 1989?
Groovy Judy: I’d been trying since my early 20’s to find people to play with where I grew up, in the town of Livermore. Everyone I found was either much younger than me or wacked out on drugs. I was going to Chabot College in Hayward, and I transferred to San Francisco State in 1988. When I moved to Daly City in the fall of 1988, I was determined to get into a band and I felt I would have a better chance of finding people in SF. My first band was an all female band called “The Tourists in Distress” because we formed the day after the quake of 89′. We only lasted a year, but it was fun.
How does someone who writes songs that inspire acceptance, love and healing survive in a music climate of pessimistic/angry rock?
Groovy Judy: Just fine. I’m a breath of fresh air in many cases with both young and older people. I have nothing against angry rock, it’s just not what I do. My gift is to spread joy through my music and entertaining, I love doing that, and I feel that’s really what I’m supposed to do. I do listen to all kinds of music and I think that everything has it’s place. One of the best things about art and music is that you have so much variety to choose from. There’s the angry rock music for those who want it, and there’s the peace and love hippy-vibe music for those who want that.
You participate in many charities and organizations, such as Food Not Bombs, The American Red Cross and The Leukemia Society. Do think more musicians should get involved with helping there own community?
Groovy Judy: Only if they want to. I do charity events for organizations that I believe in and I feel are making a difference in the community. By performing at these types of events I’m giving back to the community through my gift of music.
Where do you find your trademark hats and glasses? Any chance there will be a Groovy Judy line of clothing?
Groovy Judy: I find them at all different shops and stores. I seem to gravitate to one particular manufacturer, and that’s a company called Elope out of Colorado. They have the most colorful and most outrageous hats and eyewear. Yes, I would love to have my own line of “Groove Wear.” It’s a long term goal of mine. I just need to write some great songs to finance it, so I’m working on that right now. Do you know anyone with $250K who would want to invest in my company??? 😉
Please tell us more about your bandmates.
Groovy Judy: My drummer is not only a seasoned player (20+ years), but he’s also my husband Pete Gascoyne. Originally from New Jersey, he loves progressive rock (YES, Emerson Lake & Palmer) so he’s got a bit of pizazz to his rock playing. He also plays hand percussion (congas, bongos, and various shakers) and sings some lead and backup harmonies. He’s been in several different bands over the years and we were both in husband and wife bands before. We were a little leary of doing one ourselves, but so far it’s been going o.k.. Our bassist is Mike Mandy from Antioch. Originally a guitarist, Mike grew up in Woodside and graduated from GIT (Guitar Institute) in LA. His claim to fame is being the voice of Charlie Brown for 2-3 years when he was a kid. He’s a huge hard rock and KISS fan and he also sings some nice backup vocals and ocassionally a lead vocal. A fairly new addition is our second guitarist, Scott Weiss from San Francisco via New York. Scott and I met 4 years ago at the Haight Street Fair and played together in a previous improvisational band I had called “Psychotic Melodic.” Scott is very groove oriented (P-funk, James Brown) and an excellent lead and rhythm player. On saxophone we have a gal named Jennifer Mir from San Jose. Jennifer is classically trained on the clarinet and recently started playing sax. She also sings great backup harmonies and plays a little shaker or tamborine to spice things up.
What are some of the groovy places to go in San Francisco (someplace where we might find you)?
Groovy Judy: The Paradise Lounge, The Hotel Utah, Simple Pleasures Cafe, The Bay to Breakers Race – you never know where I might pop up. 🙂
You said you put “reminders” in your songs. Can you give us an example of one?
Groovy Judy: The song “Forgive” is a reminder to forgive each other and ourselves when we hurt someone or make a mistake. “I forgive you, let go of the blame and you forgive me and love yourself again” is a reminder to let go of the blame, hurt or guilt we sometimes feel towards each other. “Forgive each other, love one and another” is a reminder to love our brother and sisters and let go of hurt we’re feeling. There seems to be a lot of anger and revenge in our society – road rage, war, school and office shootings. I think if we could all practice more forgiveness, our lives would be happier and more peaceful. My wish is for the world to learn to come together and for us to be one – pretty big wish, but I figure if I keep spreading peace, love, joy, and forgiveness it will sink in and make a difference.
What is Hey Judy Productions?
Groovy Judy: It’s the company I created back in 1997 when I started doing my own music projects. I use it to produce shows and benefit concerts.
What does the future hold for you?
Groovy Judy: The future holds success and growth as a person and as an artist. I know this because I’m working hard right now to build and create something magical and I’m striving to make that creation and myself the best it can be. I’m also trying to enjoy what happens to me a long the way, good or bad, positive or negative. Art is a process, and it’s easy to forget that when you get rejected or you don’t play well. To me success can be a variety of situations or events – playing a great gig, writing an awesome song, seeing an old friend at a gig or even doing this interview.