Rob and I come from very different musical backgrounds to say the very least.
In high school, he played guitar in a thrash-metal band named Militia. Their music sounded as lovely and inspiring as their name led you to expect. Which means that you were more likely to want to jump off a building than jump for joy after listening to them. They even had a punk song called “Beat Your Mother Like A Drum”. Rob’s hair was long and scruffy and he wore leather jackets and Metallica t-shirts. (Look over there to see what I mean. That’s Militia and Rob is the one with the cigarette.)
Around that same time, I was listening to The Beatles and any kind of Broadway soundtrack I could get my hands on. I had memorized every word to The Sound Of Music, Annie and Les Miserables. I also enjoyed my mother’s old records of Petula Clark, Skeeter Davis and The Box Tops, a band my uncle produced. I took piano lessons every week and loved playing classical music. I was in marching band for 6 years and concert band for 8 years.
I wore bows in my hair and could not sing in front of someone without almost throwing up, which means that I avoided it at all costs. I did love to sing in church, though, where the voices all blended together in delicious four-part harmony and I thought no one could hear me.
We joke that it’s a very good thing we didn’t meet each other for at least another decade or we would have never spoken to each other in a million years. However, during that decade, we both changed a little.
Rob studied classical guitar from one of Manuel Barrueco’s students and moved to Nashville to go to college, where he joined a 70s art-rock band and eventually cut his long, long hair. He also began experimenting with alternate guitar tunings and writing Celtic-inspired songs.
I went to college, sang in a couple of large choirs, an improvisational children’s theatre troupe and a musical. Then I moved to Nashville, learned to play guitar and worked on being brave enough to sing in front of others by myself.
Our paths finally converged when we met through a mutual friend at The Crucible, a class designed for creative people. The first time I saw Rob, he was playing one of his Celtic songs with a band that included a penny whistle played by Rob himself. Being of Celtic descent, I fell in love….with the music. (The rest would come four years later.)
We became friends and a couple of years later, we were asked to do the wedding music for our dear friends Nina and Moses. It was our first official collaboration, and while the result ended up sounding ok, the experience was AWFUL! I thought he was overbearing and arrogant, and he thought I was hysterical and insane. Granted, I was extremely nervous and very inexperienced, but I was not insane. I promise. (Shut up, Eric.)
Fast forward a couple of years: we magically fell in love one summer and got married on the first day of fall. The same year! Musically, he had been writing even more Celtic songs and some gorgeous instrumental guitar pieces. I had somehow written a handful of pop songs, quite by accident, I think, since I had no intention of singing them for anyone.
After we got married, Rob began writing acoustic rock songs and playing shows with those. He even won a couple of Acoustic Hero performance contests in Nashville and Atlanta, advancing to the national finals in Chicago. And thanks to Rob’s encouragement, I was finally brave enough to sing in front of others so thought I would put a pop band together. However, with the exception of a couple of recordings and one or two tiny shows, my band remained just a fantastic idea in my head.
For a couple of years there, we were also playing together every Saturday at a homeless outreach in an old warehouse near the projects. Our church sponsored the outreach, and our job was to play some background music that would create a peaceful atmosphere while other volunteers served lunch to whomever came. We were joined most of the time by our friends Michael, a mandolin player, and Jon, a string bass player. Occasionally, Javier would bring his djembe and play along if he was in town, and others would join in from time to time. We would sing familiar hymns sometimes, but most of the time we would make up our own hymns and songs spontaneously and just play whatever we wanted for two hours.
We really enjoyed playing together and after some other similar experiences, we realized we wanted to form a band together. It would certainly be easier than having two separate bands. And honestly, I would have never been able to do music if left to my own devices, so there would have really only been one band in the end: Rob’s.
So there you have it: the musical history of The Lovespies.
Who would have thought that a “Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow”-singing musical theatre enthusiast combined with an ex-thrash-metal/70s art- rock/classical guitarist would sound like this?
Maybe our band should be named Newton’s Third Law.