You are so accomplished at the piano and accordion! Which did you start playing first? What was your first instrument? Also have you always been a singer? Do you come from a musical family?
[Wendy Fitz ]
I started playing the piano when I was really little. We had an old spinet in the living room and I’d stay up late fiddling around. I started lessons at 5. The accordion had been foisted on my sister but she was not interested! Only in her horses. I used to take it out of the case, it was in the attic, but it reminded me of corny shows my parents liked so in the attic it stayed, until….
I always loved to sing but my parents wanted me to focus on playing an instrument, I think they were afraid I’d become a lounge singer, which is, of course, what I wanted to be! My father’s mother was a concert pianist but I never had the pleasure of meeting her. As a family we sang a lot. My Dad was in the church choir, he also played a little guitar and ukulele. I started playing in bands when I was about 14 or 15 years old.
How did you meet your current band mates and tell us a little about the bands you are currently in?
[Wendy Fitz ]
Currently I play with Todos Santos …the band, me, Gary Bauman & Jack Pribble.
I first met Gary Bauman while he was playing in
the Jeb Brady Band which I joined shortly thereafter. Gary had been playing with Jack for years so I met him during that time and we had a band together, WTJ2.
On a significant birthday in the year 2011, I rounded up a slew of musicians to join me in Todos Santos. We were the first band to play the stage at Teatro Luna Azul. Most of us were staying at Hotelito. We would sit around the fire pit and sing, two guitars 3 part harmony. Up until then I always played keyboard. Jack, Gary and I decided it would
be fun to just be a vocal band, easy load in hahaha! That’s how the band started, at Hotelito.
Later I was visiting friends in LA and the next morning there was an accordion in the back seat of my car, true story. The guys suffered through my learning how to
drive it on stage, such patience!
I also play piano trio with my partner in crime, Steve Webber on upright bass and our pal John Molloy on traps. I do a fair amount of solo gigs as well.
The talented and lovely singer, pianist, and acclaimed accordion slinger Wendy Fitz recently answered some interview questions for the Music Daily Show. Read on!
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So far what has been your favorite gig of all time? Who did you
perform with or where was it located, what made it the best?
This is a tough question! I’ll be brief. My favorite gig is the best
one I’ve just had, the one I finish that leaves me feeling inspired,
and light headed. It could be for a crowd of two or many, when
the muse honors you it could be in large venue or a sidewalk, you
just feel lucky and blessed when it happens.
You have such a broad range of great music material that you
perform, can you tell us what style/genre of music first inspired
you to become an onstage professional performer?
When I was a young girl a friend of mine’s parents owned a
wonderful place called the Holiday House. It was a beach
getaway for lots of Hollywood romances. During the day the bar
was closed. My friend Erin and I would go in and play the grand
piano and sing. I never wanted to play Carnegie Hall, not that I
could have haha, I just want to play in “smokey bars” and that’s
a quote from an elementary school paper I had to write about
what I wanted to be when I grew up. I usually refer to the music I
choose as an unconscious collection of song because the songs
have always chosen me. I’ve always love the American
Songbook so that’s a huge influence. I listened to a lot of early
blues, country and jazz. I ran around crazy in the sixties so there
was all that! I can’t start naming influences it would take the
rest of the day!
Do you have other artistic outlets in your life besides music?
I love the ocean, being on it, in it, next to it. I grew up, or maybe
not, beside it so it is a huge love and interest. I studied
photography seriously for quite sometime. I see photographs
every second of my life, it’s a constant pleasure. My many “real”
cameras live in my Chinese chest, my phone has taken their
lives. I read constantly, literature, non fiction, I love the smell of
books and the set of type.
I got such a kick out of your Accordion babes calendar
publication, how did that come about?
Ah, the famous Accordion Babes! That was the brainchild of my
friend Renee de la Prade. She is a real kick ass squeeze player
and singer, runs in her family. I was honored to be chosen to
participate and be a calendar girl after all these years on the
planet! I think I’ll be in the lineup for next year’s calendar as well!
The photo was taken by Judy West who lives part time in Todos
Santos. Renee puts on Accordion Fridays online everyone should check it out!
[Music Daily] Thank you for sharing with us Wendy Fitz, we look forward to seeing and hearing more of you soon!