Lisa Fay Beatty

art by Veronica but based on a photo my Michelle B

I’m watching the documentary “Hype” about the Seattle grunge music scene, a very 1990s experience, but when the screen flashed to 7 Year Bitch, I thought of my friend Lisa Fay Beatty.

Lisa was the guitarist for the Mudwimin, who played my first show at Palo Alto’s Cubberley Theatre, in October of 1994. In the Mudwimin the lead vocals and instruments change during the course of the set so she may have also played some drums and bass and of course she sang.

Lisa put as much of her heart into being a sound engineer, at Bottom of The Hill and other places, and on the road. She toured with 7 Year Bitch, I think as a second guitarist.

The other Mudwimin were Mia Levin (also known as Mia D’Bruzzi or sometimes I think Mia Simmins), Sheri “Shug” Robinson and Marie Riddle pka Bambi Nonymous.

The last I saw Lisa I was coming out of depression and looking for management clients and we had lunch. We went to Caesar’s up on Piedmont in Oakland. She told me a long, engrossing story about helping Mikey Thrasher up in Portland produce a Nina Simone concert, and I said “Lisa, that’s your next project, producing a one-woman show about you and Nina, your music, her music and that weekend together”. Nina Simone and Lisa Fay Beatty had gone sailing together and bonded.

Veronica De Jesus of Los Angeles painted a portrait of Lisa Fay Beatty, that I have published above. She also did a portrait of the late Mia Zapata of The Gits. I did not know Mia Zapata but I worked with Lisa Fay Beatty to help publicize a big benefit concert or memorial concert, at Cyclone Warehouse to raise money to find the murderer, and to promote female artists especially. The way the music community in SF bonded over their concern and grief about Mia Zapata had an influence on my decision to become a concert promoter. I did shows with Mudwimin, Oxbow, World For Ransom, True Margrit, Ragady Ann, Third Eye Blind, Acoustic Paradise, Fat Chance Belly Dance, Cat Cody Band, Number Nine (featuring Rob Lederer who lives on Howe near Piedmont, I was just there last week when my mother-in-law was seeing a specialist at Kaiser on MacArthur), Durham featuring Hershel Yatovitz who later joined Chris Isaak band, dot dot dot Akira Tana Otonowa, Tim and Greg of the Motherhips, AJ Lee and Sullivan Tuttle, Johnny A, Jerry Hannan, Clarinet Thing featuring Beth Custer, Patricia Barber Trio — I’m forgetting a few no doubt.

Veronica sent me some demos on video of her using percussion instruments of their own design. That’s not quite right: of their own design. That sounds like some weird AI self-similar life of its own sci-fi shit: self-designing percussion instruments. Especially creepy are the pods and rattles. Maybe they are alien life forms. I noticed Veronica’s name in the Pink Section, about a group sew at the former Gilbert Gallery — RIP Ed Gilbert — which is the former Paula Anglim Gallery – RIP Paula Anglim.

When I was thinking about doing that first Cubberley show with the Mudwimin, Lisa and Shug came down and checked out the room and I remember Lisa clapping loudly to see if she could hear an echo in the room, which would be undesirable for a live show — too live. Pretty much any time I tour a room to potentially put on a concert I do the same thing — clap loudly. Maybe Lisa can hear me when I do that. Yeah, that’s a corny line. Let’s be clear, Lisa Fay Beatty was a real pro.

edit to add: here is Veronica DeJesus jamming on a music instrument of its own design — percussion.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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