Success Spirit intact, they are . . . souls divine
While out in search of diversion last weekend, Petra and I happened to slide into the Paradise Lounge. We shot a coupla’ games upstairs waiting for the band to start and when they did, walked over to the balcony to check it out. Not very poetically, I said “Damn, these chicks rock!” and suggested she snap a few shots of them. Funky rock beats, happenin’ lyrics and raw talent in all corners kept the crowd moving as they played “Let It Rock,” “Screaming Love,” and “Break This Heart.” We wanted to go up close for more pics, but had to fight off a complaining guy, whom I thought was the band’s manager since he had paperwork strewn all over the speakers in front of the stage during the entire show. We thought he was acting way wack for a manager and I made a note in my brain to ask “Whassup with him?” if I and when I had the chance to interview them. We managed to get him out of the way , Petra got the shots and we enjoyed the rest of the show. Afterwards, I passed my card to the lead singer and briefly told her before they disappeared back stage that I’d like to interview them sometime. I didn’t know if they were local or just visiting, but figured it was worth a shot.
|Judea Eden called a few days later to schedule and by then I had checked out some reviews and their website. I wasn’t surprised to find numerous quotes regarding the powerful vocals of lead singer Judea, the slick guitar licks from Carrie Baum, the kick ass drumming of Robin Bordow or the jazzy/funky bass of Joan Martin. I was surprised however, to find that I felt as though I knew more about this band from having seen them perform once than I did from reading all the reviews, articles, and bios. I decided that this interview must come up with more than “Damn, these chicks are hot!” and we made a plan to meet at Planet X Studios the following Sunday afternoon.
Clad in cowboy hat and sunglasses, slim, sultry guitarist Carrie Baum met us at the door of Planet X – she had the reserved, yet confident style of someone who shows their genius to few people and is thus not accustomed to adoration. Running late from our previous photo shoot/interview, we apologized and followed Carrie to the studio where they had been practicing for the past 3 hours. Judea came up with her beautiful smile and her cute chubbiness and introduced herself to us. We then met Joan Martin – bass player with a wide eyed, child-like, twinkling smile that makes you wonder what she’s up to.
Eventually, the drummer Robin Bordow (resembling Long Tall Sally) came over after finishing up what she was doing with the equipment .
I was already curious about Robin, as there was nextunuthin’ written about her, that I could find, and she seemed the mysterious, quiet type. As it turned out, she had plenty to say and it was plenty interesting. Robin has been playing drums with many bands for over 20 years and at age 42, has been with the same lover/partner since age 17. In addition, to keeping up with rehearsals, local and out of town gigs; she works for Hewlett Packard as an engineer of hardware for scientific instrumentation; lives in Petaluma during the work week and has a crib in the City where she spends most weekends. Robin is especially into jazz fusion and found inspiration from such artists as Chic Correa, Tom McLaughlin and Herbie Hancock. She’s played with many bands, but says she’s never been in a band with such great communication and effectiveness to make decisions and actually get things done. Robin came across as the mom in the superstar family – staying back and looking after things while the girls have fun under the spots.
Robin and Judea have been in the Bay Area for a long time, while Carrie and Joan are fairly recent New York transplants. Joan and Carrie were in a band together in New York and both ended up moving to Frisco. Carrie hadn’t been here long when she decided she would go back east as things weren’t really coming together for her here. But then Joan took Carrie to a party, just a week before she was scheduled to leave town and introduced her to Judea. Carrie and Judea fell for each other, so the move back to New York is still on hold.
Carrie Baum played with Venus Humm in New York before coming west 5 years ago, studied with S.F.’s Jim Campilongo, and thinks he’s an excellent guitar player and a great teacher. From what I’ve seen and after having already been labeled “A guitarist with enough skill and creativity to be ranked among the best in San Francisco’s club scene”, she oughtta’ know what good is. Carrie said she’s been inspired by the music of Ann & Nancy Wilson and Led Zeppelin. A quote from their website @ www.slip.net/~sodivine/, “Carrie’s dream is for a group of women to achieve respect with their talent and with what they put forth from their hearts.” – She feels she has finally achieved this with Soul Divine.
Carrie told me a bit about two of the tracks on their latest CD – “Screaming Love” is based on a past relationship and “Alive” was about a very difficult time in her life. She thinks its important to talk about and express pain, but rising above it and working through things enables her to turn it all into a positive. Joan and Judea both say they write songs according to the here and now, much more than about the past and since the present seems to be a very good time for all of them, that’s probably why their tunes come across with an optimistic edge.
Soul Divine dig playing at Bottom of the Hill, Paradise and Judea says Blue Lamp has good energy & New George’s in San Rafael is a happenin’ spot.
Together for 2 years now, things are definitely comin’ together for this group. A little more time should put them in the big time in a big way. As it turned out, that guy in front of the stage wasn’t their manager – they manage themselves – for now; he was just a fan who follows them everywhere and sometimes brings his paperwork to the club with him and tells photographers where they should be. SoulDivine has an album of songs ready to record and are in the process of locating the best record deal/financing to proceed. With the smart, steady, star quality and their solo and combined funk/jazz/rock experience rolling out the way it does, we picture them hotter than the soup at the Tenderzone’s Thai Noodle and playing in any hood they like within a year. – SFO Sunshine
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