Corrections or additions?
This article by Richard J. Skelly was prepared for the February 6,
2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Girls Take It on the Road
Given the success she had with her first show of
bands at the Pontiac Grille in Philadelphia two years ago, Lisa
of October Baby has decided to take her show, "Girls To the 4th
Power," to Trenton’s new Conduit music club. Four bands led by
by women will be featured at the club on Friday, February 8, beginning
at 8 p.m.
"My first show had a punk band, my band October Baby, which is
pop-rock with a touch of blues, and we had a folk act as well,"
says Bouchelle, at a lunchtime interview in Lambertville. "It
went over so well, and we had such a turnout of people, that we
to do a mini-tour. We went up to New England and did some clubs in
Boston and Rhode Island."
"I thought Conduit would be a really nice place to do this
says Bouchelle, "so I presented the idea to the owner, Roland
Pott, and it turns out they had been looking to do something like
this. We came up with bands that are making an impact on the scene
right now." Bouchelle, 25, who lives in Fairless Hills,
left her job as an administrative assistant at the Sarnoff Corporation
on Route 1 six months ago.
At lunch in Lambertville, Bouchelle was joined by Reading-based
Patty Scoboria. Scoboria has carved a niche for herself in recent
years around the area, performing in coffee houses, clubs, and at
Borders bookstores. Scoboria has sold out of the first pressing of
her self-released CD, "The Girl."
While none of the bands performing in "Girls To The Fourth
presently live in New Jersey, all the musicians have frequented many
New Jersey clubs, including Triumph Brewery in Princeton and Borders
stores throughout the state. The show has appeal to men who like women
vocalists and for women in the process of starting their own groups
who may find inspiration in these women’s career paths.
As punk-rock pioneer and poet Patti Smith told a nearly-packed house
at her show at the Stone Pony in December, "If I can do this,
any asshole can do this!" Smith, who also told jokes in between
tunes with her band, understands that part of the purpose of art is
to inspire others. Similarly, Bouchelle and Scoboria are hopeful that
their show of women-fronted bands will be inspiring to men and women
Bouchelle designed the G4 logo herself and personally invited all
the bands. She’s excited for everyone, but particularly happy that
the New York City-based Antigone Rising has joined the lineup.
"We had a lot of press coverage for the first few shows, so that
helped sell the idea to Roland," Bouchelle explains, noting
Havrilla of Three Stories High will do a separate acoustic set before
joining up with her band onstage later in the evening.
Scoboria graduated from Penn State in political science, and got her
first taste of the business of being a professional singer-songwriter
while still an undergraduate. Bouchelle skipped college in favor of
starting work at Sarnoff.
Prior to forming October Baby, Bouchelle sang in a country band that
morphed into a country-rock ensemble. She began writing her own songs
five years ago. October Baby’s most recent album, "At The Edge
of Reality," is a wide-ranging collection of songs that doesn’t
overlook roots-rock and the blues. Scoboria’s current album, "The
Girl" is an introspective collection of songs that presents her
gift for heartfelt lyrics in a good light.
"At 20, I realized I cannot not be in front of people
Scoboria says, "so I started playing bars in State College, doing
mostly covers at first, because that’s what they wanted. I used to
sing everything from Janis to Alanis."
Asked about her attraction to rock music, Bouchelle says she was
in a country band called Wildhorse as a teenager when she heard Mick
Jagger singing "Angie" on the radio one day.
"I was cleaning my room and when my mom came back in, I was
she explains, "and I just started getting more excited about the
classic rock stuff I was hearing."
Interestingly, Bouchelle, 25, and Scoboria, 26, both count artists
associated with the 1960s and ’70s as primary influences: Joan Baez,
Joni Mitchell, Harry Chapin, James Taylor, and the late Janis Joplin.
"I began doing more acoustic stuff," Bouchelle explains,
the folk pop stuff was coming more naturally to me. I think from being
through so many different types of music, I try not to think in terms
of categories. A lot of my songs on the current album are very
from one another, so whatever mood I’m in, I try to pull on the
resources to express that mood."
While Bouchelle says October Baby’s sound is best thought of as
with a touch of blues, she adds, "it can also go a little country
or a little folk."
Growing up in Reading, Pennsylvania, Scoboria recalls going to the
piano as a three-year-old "and my parents were amazed that I could
play parts of any song by ear. I would sing around the house, but
nothing really in public until I was in my teens," she says. At
that time, Scoboria began taking guitar lessons in earnest and
songs by the likes of Mitchell and Baez. "I was really into that
time period, and those were the first songs I started to learn because
there were a lot of story songs."
Scoboria and Bouchelle also share their dislike of many of the angry,
grunge, nihilistic post-punk rock bands around today. They credit
Jewel for bringing the woman with an acoustic guitar back into
at least among 20-somethings.
"There’s something to be said for hearing the words and hearing
the beauty of the voice," Scoboria says, recalling she had the
chance to meet Jewel in her years out at Penn State. "That very
same week I also got to meet John Hiatt, who is one of the great
of all time."
Both women agree that folk-rock musician Ani DiFranco is a shining
example of what an artist, male or female, can do by way of creating
and building an audience for their music, if they’re determined
DiFranco began playing bars around Buffalo in the mid-1980s. Today,
through a lot of hard touring, she’s an independent, international
artist with her own record company, Righteous Babe Records. DiFranco
continues to sell thousands of albums at live shows, through mail
order, and via her website.
"I think people are noticing that the major labels don’t seem
to care about the quality of music they’re putting out," Bouchelle
argues, "and young people are noticing that artists are not as
true to their art anymore."
"There’s so much you can do now to put yourself out there and
really link yourself and create your audience," Scoboria adds,
"without these million dollar promotional campaigns behind
While Scoboria says she’s most comfortable in an acoustic setting,
she will have a drummer with her on Friday night. She’ll have to trust
the audience will be attentive. She hopes for an atmosphere more like
a coffeehouse than a bar.
Havrilla, a Philadelphia area singer-songwriter who couldn’t make
the interview in Lambertville, says she’s excited to be included on
the bill with her band Three Stories High. "I think what Lisa
has done is awesome, this will be our first time at Conduit and the
chance to share the bill with Antigone Rising is exciting,"
says in a phone interview.
In terms of what the audience can expect, Bouchelle simply says
Baby tends to be more theatrical than conventional pop-rock bands.
She adds: "G-4 is cool because we have all these different types
of music being presented on the same show, and that’s what makes the
world go around."
— Richard J. Skelly
Broad Street, Trenton, 609-656-1188. An evening-long celebration of
women in pop: Patty Scoboria, Christine Havrilla, Lisa Bouchelle and
October Baby, Three Stories High, and Antigone Rising. Over 21. $8.
www.conduitmusic.com Friday, February 8, 8 p.m.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.