About the Band
We asked what you'd like to know about the band members, and Laurie decided to tackle them all herself. Here are some of her answers!
Thanks to: Julie Atkinson-Blumenstock, Caly Kim, Citlalic Tepetla Rojas, Becky Rossman Schneider, Sharon Cerasoli, Mindy Livesay William, Natalie Simovski, and Christie Powers Burnetfor your questions!
1) How many kids does everyone have? And do they come to your concerts also?
I am actually the only band member who has a child (Lucy, she's 6, and you can get a peek of her in some of the webcasts). I started bringing Lucy to shows when she was 5 months old and she still attends many of our local performances. One of the things I always try to do when she comes now is to sing about the animal Lucy brings to wear on her head (during "Pig on Her Head") so I can at least give her a little "hello" during the show.
Susie has many kids in her life, including nieces, nephews, friends's kids and neighbors, and is a very extra special person for Lucy.
Adam teaches music to kids, and right now has classes for kids ranging in age from 3 and 4 years old to teenagers.
Bobby has nieces and nephews.
2) How did you guys all meet/get together?
Susie and I met in the gym at Rockefeller University where Susie worked as a nurse, and I was the music specialist for the Child and Family Center, in the early 90's. After discovering that we were both musicians and that we really liked each other, I asked Susie if she would like to join an all-female cover band called Lois Lane that had just hired me as their lead guitarist. Then when I started to perform my songs for kids in 1997, I asked Susie if she would join me yet again on a new adventure, and the beginning of the LBB was born.
Adam and I met after college while we were both still living in New Jersey. At first we became friends through a circle of musicians from the New Brunswick area, and ultimately we started playing music together. (Adam played in my original rock band, Red Onion, and I played in one of his, Land of Minerals.) In 2005 when my husband Brian (who had joined Susie and me by playing bass with us in 2001) left the LBB, Adam seemed a natural choice for a replacement as he had performed as a studio musician on my first three albums.
I met Bob when we were first asked to create five video interstitials for Noggin (now Nick Jr.) in 2004. He was a producer and recording engineer who was hired to record us for this particular project. He also turned out to be a wonderfully enjoyable and extremely talented guy. On top of all of that, he played the drums! After continuing to work with him on all of the videos for Jack's Big Music Show and hiring him to co-produce the "We are. . .the Laurie Berkner Band" DVD and Rocketship Run CD with me, he ended up adding percussion and drums to many of the tracks. When Adam and Susie and I started playing songs off of Rocketship Run in concert, I could no longer imagine the songs without his drum parts and we asked him to start performing with us live.
Finally, the Laurie Berkner Band was complete!
3) What products does Laurie use to make her curly hair look so fabulous?
I go to a salon in Manhattan for people with curly hair called Devachan, and I use only their products (plus Ayurvedic oils and a little Keristasse now and then when I need more moisture in my hair, which is very dry). The owner, Lorraine Massey also has a great book out called Curly Girl, The Handbook (I've seen it for sale on Amazon) that explains the process they use. Or you can check out their philosophy and tips here. There are also many YouTube informational videos out there made by people who use the Devachan hair care system.
4) How did you decide to create the band?
I started playing music for kids when I was a children's music specialist at pre-schools and day care centers around New York City. I tried to learn as many songs as I could to sing with the kids, but eventually my laziness won out and I realized it would be easier just to write them myself. I started asking the kids what they wanted to sing about ("Dinosaurs!") and then I would just make up songs that worked for me in the classroom that they also seemed to like. Eventually, encouraged by the parents of my students and with a loan from one of the places I worked at, I recorded my first album, "Whaddaya Think of That?" (joined on various tracks by Susie, Brian and Adam). As audiences at my performances grew, so did my desire to play with other musicians and I asked Susie to play with me. The rest is explained in the answer to the second question above :).
5) Where does everyone live, in terms of either state or region...not specifics!! My daughter has been asking these 2 questions lately..
We all live in New York City. Susie, Bobby and I live in Manhattan, and Adam lives in Brooklyn.
6) How many guitars does Laurie have? And what colors?
I have four acoustic guitars that I use regularly. They are all Taylors: purple, blue, dark brown with a sunburst, and medium brown. The medium brown one was the first new guitar I ever bought and was light brown when I got it. The wood has gotten darker over the years and because I have my other guitars, now I really only use it for recording and for playing around the house. I also have an Ibanez electric guitar that is a shape that is called a "semi-hollow body." It's also a brown color. You can read more about my instruments here: http://thelaurieberknerbandblog.typepad.com/the-laurie-berkner-band/2010/03/lauries-guitars.html
7) Does your family travel with you?
Sometimes! The band's family members come along when we have shows in cities where family and friends live, and Lucy came to California with us when we shot the new DVD that is coming out later this year.
8) What songs do your kids like you to sing to them? Moon Moon Moon & Goodnight are our favorite goodnight songs. And Clean It Up always gets my girls going.
For a long time I sang three songs to Lucy every night. "White Coral Bells", "Nona", and "St. Judy's Comet" (by Paul Simon). Recently she has been asking me to sing her songs that I used to sing when she was a tiny baby (like "Hush Little Baby" and "All the Pretty Little Horses") as well as songs that my mother used to sing to me (like "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" and "Sing a Song of Sixpence"). I also love to make up songs for her while she's going to sleep.
Thanks for all of the great questions. If you want to know more, we have a more detailed history here!
Thanks for reading! -Laurie