Read the full interview
And here’s a short excerpt:
When did you start playing the accordion?
In 1991, the first year of the Cotati Accordion Festival. A friend, Kandi Figone of Petaluma, who to this day takes responsibility for starting me on my squeezebox adventure, had inherited a batch of instruments. She knew I played music and thought I should have them. There were two accordions in the lot, a 1931 Hohner Carmen and a 1950s Hohner student model. I fell in love.
How and when did the Mad Maggies begin?
Our musical adventure began in 2004 when I asked musician friends if they would like to record some of my tunes. The experience was so good that I started to look for performing opportunities for us. And the rest is history. I’m a composer. Having wonderful players who are happy to play my creations is existential joy.
What style of music did you play at the beginning?
From the get-go, the Mad Ms have been “Hard to Describe, Easy to Love”. Our genre-fluid repertoire is mostly my original tunes with a dash of carefully selected covers. I write all kinds of tunes, inspired by all kinds of styles – ska, ballads, Celtic, Cajun, swing, folk-rock, waltz, polka, atmospheric, even jazz adjacent.
What is really fantastic is that the talented musicians I have the pleasure of playing with are so flexible that they can move in and out of the different styles with ease. This is an unusual delight. Our current lineup has held steady for the last 14 years or so. I love and respect these players big time.
Where were you and the Mad Mags originally based?
We have always been based in Sonoma County, CA and now, also in Penticton, BC