Mindi Abair and Sweet Pea Atkinson (Vocals)

Performed at the Grammy Museum Clive Davis theatre

By: Judy Shields

Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 9/26/2017

What a treat it was to hear Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers live and in person in such an intimate environment like the Clive Davis theatre at the Grammy Museum on September 15th. The sound coming from the stage that night was incredible. She is really that good for a girl! The Boneshakers are a multi-talented band, mixing music with words and delivering a grand performance to boot.

Their new album, The EastWest Sessions was released on September 15th, so get yourself a copy today, and don’t forget to get a copy for a friend who appreciates great music. Click on the link: http://www.mindiabair.com/shop/eastwest-sessions

Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers, Hollywood, California. 22 April 2017.

Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers talked about how it was to record their new album at the EastWest sound studios environment.

Third Richardson said “you need to know your opportunities when they present themselves. There is a little hang just outside of Studio 2, there is a back ramp, it’s pretty much like the back entrance.  So anyone that comes and parks into the property has to walk right pass studio 2, where we were recording. I was just chilling out back there and a black Tesla pulled up and holy David Grohl, just the entire week, it was great and the drums you are going to hear it, I wanted him to hear it. Justin Timberlake was there too. Just to get to hang with these people, to feel the energy and level of creativity they are operating under that environment.”

Mindi said “she was looking for Third and asking where he was and she goes outside and Third is sitting in Dave Grohl’s Tesla listening to The Sky is A Neighborhood by the Foo Fighters, which their new album was being released the same day as ours, which I think is totally cool. He is out in the car and his head is just rocking out. It was pretty fun to see that.”

“It was pretty crazy to feel the ghost of those rooms and those that came before you and I think it makes you up your game. Time to make a good record”

Justin Timberlake walked by the room they were in and said ‘”you guys are killing it.”  Timberlake was fascinated with their song “She Don’t Cry No More” he was talking about it and even singing it.

Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers at BB King Blues Club

Mindi said they recorded the record live and gets the energy from the audience. She remembers doing “Vinyl,” the opening single, which she is singing and playing her sax and she said she has good lungs, but that there is a point, where she needs to catch her breath, so she will look over at Randy and says Guitar solo! The band said they really love playing their songs live.

Mindi also talked about the time she spent with Gregg Allman down at his home in Georgia to and record a song together.  She said she is so lucky to have spent that time with him and that he was such a great guy. A beautiful man.

The Hollywood Times caught up with Mindi and The Boneshakers for a round of questions:

Mindi Abair

Mindi Abair (Saxophone/Vocals)

THT: Who or what inspired your love of music?

MINDI ABAIR: I grew up on the road with my father’s band The Entertainers. They were a blue-eyed soul band with tons of energy. My Dad would knock his knees together and shimmy and shake playing sax. He was fun to watch. My grandmother was an opera singer and when we got off the road and moved to St. Petersburg, FL, my father would put together 8 rock bands a year to tour across the US. I just sat in their practice rooms and soaked it all in. How cool to really immerse and have music around 24-7 from such a young age.

THT: What was the first instrument you learned to play? Why did you choose it? How old were you?

MA: I first started lessons on piano at age 5.  I loved my teacher and I got a lot from it.  I started saxophone at age 8.  4th Grade Band started and my teacher Ann Reynolds laid every instrument out so we could see them.  She told us to find one we vibed with and sit down with it and we’d learn to play them.   I chose saxophone because I’d seen my Dad playing it on stage and he looked like he was having a blast.  I wanted to have that much fun!

THT: Did you taken lessons or are you self-taught?

MA: Even though my father and grandmother were very musical, they never wanted to push me or be “stage” parents.  They wanted me to find my own passions and follow them.  My father gave me one “tip” right before I walked onstage when I was in the Florida All-State Jazz Band as a high school senior.  He told me about a cool saxophone “lick” to play in my solo.    So I tried it onstage.  It didn’t work.  My father apologized later that he told me the wrong notes to play.  So, maybe it was better they let me do my own thing!  I had less than a handful of lessons before college.  But once I started college, it was ON!

THT: Who is your biggest musical inspiration?

MA: When I was a kid I would watch MTV all the time. I wanted to be Tina Turner strutting it out there on stage or Nancy Wilson from Heart kicking up her leg rocking a guitar solo. I never realized you could do that with a saxophone until I saw David Sanborn. His music was pop/rock and he was out there screaming and wailing on a sax just like these rock singers I was so enamored with. He was the missing link for me to a whole new world of letting my saxophone speak for me in a larger way.

THT: What do you enjoy most about performing?

MA: Playing live is my absolute favorite thing to do. I love writing songs and making records, but getting in front of an audience and getting that back and forth conversation with music is priceless. There’s a huge connection for me being on stage and playing with the band and feeling the energy of the audience.

THT: Other than music, what are you passionate about?

MA: I’m passionate about music education for kids. I’m a National Trustee for the Recording Academy, the organization that put on the GRAMMYs. They give so many resources to education for kids and help to put music back into the schools- it’s so necessary. I also love to be inspired by amazing women. I built a website based on our new song http://www.prettygoodforagirl.net that empowers women and features women breaking the glass ceiling… it inspires me!!

THT: Share a memorable moment from your career. MA: Some sax players dream of playing a show with Miles Davis.  I dreamt of playing with Bruce Springsteen.  And one night Max Weinberg called me and said “We’re playing The Beacon Theater in NYC tomorrow night with Bruce Springsteen.  I know you know the solo and all the parts for “Spirit in the Night.”  Would you come play?”  I was a blur to the airport.  Clarence Clemons had recently passed away and they hadn’t found his replacement yet.  I was honored to just be in the room…. playing one of my favorite songs… with one of my favorite artists… in NYC.  Amazing.






Randy Jacobs (Guitar, Vocals)

THT: Who or what inspired your love of music?

RANDY JACOBS: My Grandmother, Detroit City and Mrs. Joan Blischke.

Randy Jacobs (Guitar, Vocals)

THT: What was the first instrument you learned to play?  Why did you choose it?  How old were you?

RJ:  I always wanted to play guitar. Mrs. Blischke, the mother of my best friend, let me play hers and showed me how to play chords. Greg Riley, the older brother of another friend, taught me how to tune it and gave me a practice amp after I got my first guitar for Xmas in1970. It was a Sears Tel Ray Teisco (Hound Dog Taylor style) electric guitar I was 13.

THT: Did you taken lessons or are you self-taught?

RJ: Self-taught, I still mostly learn by ear. How I got to here is amazing to me! LOL

THT: Who is your biggest musical inspiration?

RJ: No one person inspired me but several people from Detroit you may have never heard of including, guitarists Bruce Nazarian and Donald Anthony, bassists Eddie Watkins, Lamont Johnson, Tony Green, Michael Henderson, and Tony Newton, as well as producers Barrett Strong, and Don Davis, and I can’t forget Mrs. Joan Blischke.

THT: How did you become a part of Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers? What do you enjoy most about this band?

RJ: Mindi and I met in the early 90’s via a weekly gig at the Mint in Hollywood. I was blown away by her and we always remained connected somehow by overlapping projects, gigs and such. The Boneshakers was my band and she was a fan of the energy and our blues power. She sat in with us at a festival in 2014 and it just became evident that we (Mindi and I) had an incredible chemistry. It was suggested by her former manager Bud Harner that we join forces and we haven’t looked back.  I really enjoy the cast of personalities and great musicianship, it’s rare to have a package that works so well together. Everyone in the band is top notch in all aspects. They raise me up on stage and inspire me.

THT: What does playing music mean to you, spiritually or in an entertaining sense….or what do you enjoy most about performing?

RJ: Music is one of the biggest joys of my life. It’s the interaction with the audience and my connection with the band that really gets me excited. There is such power that comes from us. I get chills thinking about it.

THT: Other than music, what are you passionate about?

RJ: My son Daniel Jacobs, who’s in college on a volleyball scholarship. He was All-American last year, so I’m very proud. And, Basketball…I play almost every day when I’m home. I can’t get enough.

THT: Share a memorable moment from your career.

RJ: A while back, my old band Was (Not Was) played the Mayan theater in LA for our record release party for Are You OK?. The day before they said Elton John was going to sit in and we would do “Philadelphia Freedom”. I worked on it up until show time sweating bullets. After the song Elton leans over and says “now that was the funkiest guitar I ever heard.”  What a rush!!!

Rodney Lee (Keys)

THT: Who or what inspired your love of music?

RODNEY LEE: My father inspired my love of music.  He wasn’t a musician, but a true fan of music.  He had reel to reels and used to belong to tape clubs where he could check out recordings and dub them from reel to reel.  Music was always playing in the house, and he was really into jazz – especially jazz organists such as Jimmy Smith and Richard Groove Holmes.

Rodney Lee (Keys)

THT: What was the first instrument you learned to play?  Why did you choose it?  How old were you?

RL: My first instrument was the piano, and I began taking lessons at 10 years old. Not sure why I was drawn to the piano…we had one in the house and I always wanted to play from when I was much younger.

THT: Did you taken lessons or are you self-taught?

RL: I started taking classical piano lessons and got into jazz organ a few years later.  All through high school I took classical piano lessons and separate jazz organ lessons.

THT: Who is your biggest musical inspiration?

RL: Starting out, I was really into Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Jimmy Smith.

THT: How did you become a part of Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers?  What do you enjoy most about this band?

RL: I’ve played in the Mindi’s band since 2002!  The addition of The Boneshakers was a long time coming, and I could see Mindi was moving into a more blues rock sound.  The right combination of players finally presented itself with The Boneshakers.  There is a musical maturity about this band in that everyone is truly listening to what’s being played  — that’s what makes it so special for me.  We are all focused on the end result.

THT: Do you have a favorite charity or organization?  What is it?  Why is it important?

RL: My favorite charity is CARE.org  It’s all about fighting poverty all over the world and thereby improving the lives of children born into impossible situations.  I developed a series of educational music CDs for kids after my son was born 9 years ago.  It’s called Groove Kid Nation (GrooveKidNation.com) — It’s all about introducing toddlers to the sound of real musical instruments and not the cheap imitation from plastic toys.  Mindi even guests on a song.  It’s a labor of love for me and I donate a portion of the proceeds to CARE.

Derek Frank (Bass, Vocals)

THT: Who or what inspired your love of music?

DEREK FRANK: I think I was originally intrigued/inspired when I first heard Queen. My dad had the 8-track News of the World, and it’s the first album I ever remember hearing. My love of music grew from there… then once MTV came out and I could actually see people playing that was it, I was hooked.

Derek Frank (Bass, Vocals)

THT: What was the first instrument you learned to play?  Why did you choose it?  How old were you?

DF: I took early stabs at playing piano and guitar… then one day, I was messing around in my local music store waiting for my guitar lesson. I decided to try out a bass, not really knowing what it was. Once it was in my hands, I knew that I had found my instrument. Did I choose it? No, it chose me.
THT: Did you taken lessons or are you self-taught?

DF: I took lessons early on, and then got formal training at Interlochen Arts Academy and the University of Miami. But probably my most valuable lessons have been learned through experience. There’s nothing like “on-the-job training”!

THT: Who is your biggest musical inspiration?

DF: That’s a tough one, because I have so many.  Some of my favorite bass players are James Jameson, Pino Palladino, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Greg Phillinganes, Larry Graham, John Paul Jones, Marcus Miller, and Rocco Prestia.

THT: How did you become a part of Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers?  What do you enjoy most about this band?

DF: I got called to audition for Mindi’s band in 2010. I was referred by her then guitarist, Jay Gore, and then drummer, Jamey Tate. I guess the audition went well, ‘cause I’ve been with her ever since. I love the new musical direction she’s taken since teaming up with The Boneshakers. I feel like the blues/rock/soul direction lets Mindi shine, and she’s becoming more of the artist that she’s meant to be. And everyone in the band is just So. Damn. Good. Everybody plays with such passion and taste… and it’s different every night. You never know exactly what’s going to happen! I love the unpredictable nature of our shows. We know basically what we’re going to play, but there are always surprises. We all keep each other on our toes. lt’s a true joy to get up on stage and make noise with all these bad asses night after night!

THT: What do you enjoy most about performing?

DF: I love everything about it. I love the idea of being able to fulfill the lifelong dream I’ve had about being a professional musician. I love putting smiles on people’s faces night after night, traveling to places I would never visit on my own, seeing the world in a much different light than I would if I were merely a tourist, the camaraderie, the fun of hanging out with such talented and driven friends, the musical conversation we have on stage together, the uncertainty of it all, the fact that no two shows are ever the same. I just love every aspect of it: the good, the bad, the ugly…. but it’s all good in my mind.

THT: Other than music, what are you passionate about?

DF: I love the outdoors. I love snowboarding, running, hiking, and mountain biking. If I couldn’t make a living playing music, I’d probably be in the mountains somewhere.

THT: Share a memorable moment from your career.

DF: That’s a tough one. They’re all memorable! Maybe one of my recent favorites is from last year. We we’re in China with the Mindi Abair Band (The Boneshakers weren’t available, so we billed it as the Mindi Abair Band). We had one free day in Beijing, as the show wasn’t until 9pm or so. None of us had ever seen the Great Wall of China, so we got up early, and hired a car service to take us there (about a two hour drive from the hotel). We only had about an hour to spend at the wall, but we HAD to see it…when else would we ever get the opportunity? It’s moments like that that I live for. Seeing the world, and taking advantage of every opportunity and experience.

Third Richardson (Drums, Vocals)

THT: Who or what inspired your love of music?

THIRD RICHARDSON: My family was and still is one of the biggest musical inspirations.   My Grandfather was a Drummer and my Father played everything practically. My brother and I grew up playing and singing in church and at home with our mother and sisters! Holidays are the best with the Richardsons!

Third Richardson (Drums, Vocals)

THT: What was the first instrument you learned to play? Why did you choose it? How old were you?

TR: I was drawn to the drums from the beginning. I’m sure I was banging around in my mother’s womb. I started playing and literally keeping a beat at the age of 3, from what I’ve been told. Before that it was pots and pans, and lampshades for cymbals.

THT: Did you take lessons or are you self-taught?

TR: Although I’ve never taken a lesson, I can’t say that I’m self-taught. I feel that I’ve been a sponge from the beginning. I’ve surrounded myself with great musicians I admire that taught me everything I know, on and off the drum set.

THT: How did you become a part of Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers?

TR: Mindi and I are from the same town, so I became a fan of her music early on. As I started to establish myself as a drummer in the business, we would see each other on the road at concerts and festivals. The opportunity presented itself for me to work with her and it was the perfect match.  I knew Randy’s work as a Super Guitarist/ Music Director. We have a really good chemistry and a similar work ethic. He would always bring me on tours and other projects he was involved in. Then the stars in the sky aligned for us to be able to do this together and it’s been magical from the beginning.

THT: What does playing music mean to you, spiritually or in an entertainment sense…or what do you enjoy most about performing.

TR: Well, from a young age I’ve felt that the basics of drumming came quite naturally. Considering the talent of my family, I knew this was a god given gift. With that being said, I have to have that spiritual connection or passion with the music when I’m performing. That’s how it was at home as a kid and it’s still the same today.

Mindi Abair and Sweet Pea Atkinson (Vocals)

Sweet Pea Atkinson (Vocals)

THT: Who or what inspired your love of music?

SWEET PEA ATKINSON: My Mother and going to church.

THT: What was the first instrument you learned to play?

SP: While I never learned to play an instrument, I’ve been singing since I can remember.

THT: Did you taken vocal lessons or are you self-taught?

Sweet Pea Atkinson (Vocals)

SP: I never had any lessons, I just always enjoyed singing.

THT: Who is your biggest musical inspiration?

SP: The late Marvin Junior from the group the Dells…there will never be another. His voice really hit me.



About Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers

Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers features band leader Mindi Abair (Saxophone, Vocals), Randy Jacobs (Guitar, Vocals), Sweet Pea Atkinson (Vocals), Rodney Lee (Keys), Derek Frank (Bass, Vocals), and Third Richardson (Drums, Vocals).   Their first record together Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers LIVE in Seattle was released September 2015 to significant critical acclaim, and a 2 ½ year non-stop tour schedule across the US.

In April 2017, the band took a short break to record their first studio record.  The EastWest Sessions was recorded over five days at legendary Hollywood recording studio EastWest Studios with renowned Blues Rock producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zepplin, Joe Bonamassa, The Black Crowes, Aerosmith).  The album, which will be released September 15, 2017, is a powerful, bluesy, momentous, and deeply emotional journey.  The album features a track with iconic blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa, and 2017 GRAMMY® winner in the Best Contemporary Blues Album category, Fantastic Negrito.

She authored the book “How To Play Madison Square Garden – A Guide to Stage Performance” and serves as a National Trustee for The Recording Academy.

The artists she’s toured with and/or recorded with are a testament to her talent: Aerosmith, Gregg Allman, Keb’ Mo’, Joe Perry, Bobby Rush, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Lalah Hathaway, Duran Duran, Adam Sandler, Lee Ritenour, The Backstreet Boys, Booker T. Jones, Jimmy Webb, Mandy Moore, Max Weinberg, Bill Champlin, David Pack, Mocean Worker, The Ides of March, Rick Braun, Teena Marie, Bobby Lyle, Jonathan Butler, and Peter White.

About EastWest Studios

EastWest Studios is the world’s premier recording facility. Located in the heart of Hollywood, the studios have given rise to some of the most celebrated music of the last fifty years, from Frank Sinatra to The Rolling Stones, and has produced more Grammy-winning albums than any other studio in the world. Now, this iconic complex has been brought into the 21st century by an astonishing collaboration between EastWest Sounds producer Doug Rogers and internationally renowned designer Philippe Starck.

The idea was simple – take to the most historic recording studios in the United States and transform it to meet the needs of contemporary artists and producers recording in the new millennium. The key ingredient, however, was in preserving the integrity of the live recording rooms, as built by legendary engineer Bill Putnam in 1961.

The result is a truly unique experience that stimulates both the aural and visual senses, that combines the epic sound recordings of the past with a bold, playful vision of the future. A place where artists can meet, mingle, and be inspired, while at the same time shaping the way music is heard for generations to come.

We invite you to discover EastWest Studios for yourself by exploring our diverse recording spaces, our incredible history, and how we provide today’s discriminating artists the utmost in service, all in an unparalleled creative environment.

The 1920’s – 1950’s

No other studio in the world has a story like ours…

Originally constructed as Cash Is King grocery market in 1933, the recording studios have a history that spans over 80 years.

Cash is King was at its time the largest market on the West Coast (you can still see some of the meat locker doors from this time). The market survived the Depression years until 1942 when it was converted into Madame Zucca’s Hollywood Casino. Madame Zucca’s entertained World War II soldiers with its wild burlesque shows and not-so-legal gambling. Over the next couple of years, the name was changed to the Cotton Club and then again to the French Casino in attempts to get around new liquor and gaming laws.

By 1950 the casino had closed and the building was converted into a radio broadcast center. First called West Coast Productions, the main stage was where Studio 1 stands today and produced hit radio shows like the Tennessee Ernie Ford Show. In 1954 the name was changed to Radio Center Theatre.

In 1957, Don Blake acquired the building and it was renamed Western Recorders. Soon, Blake would go on to sell Western Recorders to an engineer named Bill Putnam – Frank Sinatra’s personal engineer – who kept the name, but started the process of transforming the space into the recording studio we know today.

The 1960’s

Ushering in a New Age in Media

By 1960, Bill Putnam was already known as one of the giants of the recording industry.

The inventor of the modern day recording console, he had already founded an incredibly successful recording studio in Chicago called Universal Recording. With the backing of his clients Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, Putnam moved to California to realize his dream of creating the largest recording studio complex on the West Coast. He first purchased United Studios at 6050 Sunset Boulevard, then purchased Western Recorders in 1961.

As soon as the doors opened, Western Recorders was producing some of the biggest hits of the pop music era. Frank Sinatra, whose new label Reprise was also housed in the building, recorded some of his greatest work in Studio 1, including “My Way”, “The Summer Wind”, “That’s Life”, and his duet with his daughter Nancy Sinatra “Somethin’ Stupid”. Also in Studio 1, the original Mission Impossible theme song was recorded, Elvis Presley revived his career with his 1968 Comeback Special, Roger Williams sang “Born Free”, and Peggy Lee recorded her hit “Is That All There Is?”.

The early years of Studio 2 were dominated by some of the most memorable recordings of American television, including the themes from The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and Hawaii Five-O. Other hits from the time in Studio 2 include Ricky Nelson’s “Fools Rush In”, Wayne Newton’s “Danke Schoen”, the Righteous Brothers’ “Soul & Inspiration”, and Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas”.

It was in Studio 3, however, that sound of the 60s generation came into being. Here, The Beach Boys recorded their masterpiece album Pet Sounds and some of their greatest hits, including “California Girls”, “Good Vibrations”, and “God Only Knows”. It was also here that The Mamas & The Papas recorded their smashes “California Dreaming”, “Monday, Monday” and “Dancing in the Street”. Other notable recordings from this period include Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco”, “Make Your Own Kind of Music” by Mama Cass, Barry McGuire’s anti-war anthem “Eve of Destruction” and The Cowsills’ hit “Hair” from the musical “Hair”.

The 2000’s

During the Cello years, the studios took on a more hard rock sound. Rage Against the Machine, System of a Down, Audioslave, Jimmy Eat World, Ryan Adams, Natalie Merchant, and Sum 41 made some of their best work during these years in Studio 2, along with the return of Weezer, Tom Petty, Blink 182, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The room became a favorite of legendary producer Rick Rubin.

The early work of The Mars Volta and Muse came through Studio 3 and were mixed in Studio 5. Also in Studio 5, mixes were done for My Chemical Romance, Franz Ferdinand, and New Order, along with the soundtracks for the films Spider-Man, The Scorpion King, and Daredevil. The ambience of Studio 1 lent a large sound to albums by AFI, Tool, and Macy Gray, as well as HBO’s Six Feet Under.

In 2005, Cello Studios shut down and the studios were in danger of closing for good. Just before it was slated for demolition, EastWest Sounds owner Doug Rogers purchased the facility, who changed the studios to our contemporary name – EastWest Studios. First though, Rogers brought in famed designer Phillippe Starck to completely remodel the lobby, kitchen, and artist lounges in order to bring the facility into the 21st century, while preserving the historic look and sound of the recording rooms.

In 2009, EastWest Studios opened its door for business. The soundtracks for the films Burlesque and Get Him To The Greek were recorded in Studio 1 and 2, respectively, and pop phenomenon Rihanna recorded work for her album Rated R in Studio 3.

The 2010’s

Since opening, EastWest Studios has carried on this proud tradition of recording the best of the industry. In Studio 1, music has been recorded for the TV shows Mad Men, Glee, Scandal, CSI, American Idol, The Voice and for the films Iron Man II, This is 40, and Eat, Pray, Love, as well as award-winning albums To Be Loved by Michael Bublé, Foster The People’s debut album Toches, Justin Bieber’s Believe, Ariana Grande’s breakout Yours Truly, and Justin Timberlake’s twin albums The 20/20 Experience.

Studio 2 is still rocking with the return of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Garbage, Muse, AFI, Sum 41, Slayer, and Metallica. Rihanna, Frank Ocean, Demi Lovato, Lea Michele, Kelly Rowland and Janelle Monáe have recorded some of their biggest chart toppers in Studio 3, which was also the site of scoring sessions for HBO’s Behind the Candelabra and FX’s American Horror Story. In 2013, Studio 5 went through extensive renovations and reopened in 2014.

For over 50 years, we have been making music history, turning out more Grammy winning recordings than any other studio in the world. Our goal remains to provide artists with the utmost in service, the best in new and vintage technologies, and an unparalleled creative environment.