Twinkle Schascle Yochim is an American Musician, Singer, Songwriter, Recording artist, Teacher.
– What’s new in the life of Twinkle Schascle Yochim?
How kind of you to ask! I recently finished the new Album Rock Soul Radio, and am so proud. It’s a real personal achievement for me on many levels. It’s self produced by the band and our Engineer Producer Jerry Jordan, so it’s all us, no industry types dictating their vision to us. I’ve been working towards this for my whole life. It’s also so important because 2 years before, I had gone off the deep end when my dad died, and to come out of that, quit drinking, let go of my past and regrets, move forward and then completing this album is a real testament for me.
– How was it recording the new album Rock. Soul. Radio. and who are the musicians on the album ?
Well first the Musicians, thank you Lenny Brooks guitar, Tony LeClerc bass, Troy Parrish drums, Me piano, singing….Then slide from Charlie Whitt, and backups by Monique Lacroix, Ursula Huygens, Bain Beakley. And Oh, it was so amazing! Everything you’d want when you record. The album was recorded at The Spirit Ranch, here in Sarasota. It’s Bud Snyder’s studio (Allman Bros.) The studio is in a converted Barn surrounded by florida woods, and wildlife, so on breaks we’d go outside and there’s deer hanging out. As a band it was great, cause we gig all the time and were able to work the songs out live for about a year before going in to the studio and laying the tracks down live, It’s a band record, so they went down pretty quickly. The cool part was being able to add the harmonies and other guitar parts that were always running in our heads, so I bought in my two daughters, Monique Lacroix 20, and Ursula Huygens 26 to sing backup, which was surreal in itself. To look at these two beautiful women singing their asses off next to me in headphones, and realize that these were the little girls I had at all the gigs when they were growing up. Wow. Plus having Jerry Jordan there as my engineer and now producer really made it. We have had a long friendship, I took Jerry to L.A. when I first got signed to Warner, because he was so great and funny and kept me grounded in a way and he ended up staying there and working with Pat Leonard (Madonna) for a decade before coming back home. So I pulled him into this project, and now we have a kickass production model for the next album too.
– How do you build a song up from nothing to become something?
Hmmm, well personally when I write I start, usually, with the music first, then I sing jibberish and whatever melody feels right. After all these years it’s pretty instantaneous. . The idea for me and what I teach my students is, you can always edit later, get it out there, get it flowing and it will write itself, then later hone it and reign it in, but I’m a great big fan of creative flow, it’s served me well. I see that if you trust in the fact that something good is going to come out, you sort of get out of your own way. Something from nothing, almost like plucking it out of the sky, or opening a window, or (insert metaphor here) One example of that working so well; I was recording with Pat Leonard in Nederlad, above Boulder at a place called Caribou Ranch, it’s a series of very old cabins turned into a studio. And Pat and I were writing for the new album, and he’s playing some really cool music on his keys, I’ve got the headphones on, we’re running tape. He says, “Twink, do that thing, sing jibberish and we’ll run tape, three times, then go write down everything that makes sense.” so I went back to my cabin and wrote all the words that I could understand, and I’m not kidding, the 3 takes had turned into one story. It was spooky. Like someone had told me this story. It was a french grandmother telling her grand daughter about how her husband had died, in the infantry, and that she dreams every night that she saves him and his brothers from the bomb. The chorus is someday we’ll follow and join our brother’s in the sky. I love it, I’ve been writing songs since I was very young, it’s always felt so important to me. and I make sure my students write as well. And you only get better at it the more you do it, like exercising, or cooking.
– In your musical history you have played with great musicians. What would be your greatest memories and achievements up till now?
When I was a kid, Gregg Allman would pull me up onstage to sing Stormy Monday with him a lot. He was always very cool like that, I ended up singing that song with the Allman Brothers in their real formation when I was 15, and there’s a board tape of it floating around somewhere, man I’d love to have that!!
But most definitely at the top is when I sang with my hero Paul Rodgers, (https://www.youtube.com/
Then the time I opened up for Aerosmith, I mean, who does that by themselves. In the words of Jim Survis, ‘It’s never happened before, and I don’t think it’ll ever happen again.’ What happened was, I was going to the concert with my friend Noel, on the way we heard that what’s his name had cancelled and then her phone rings and it’s Jim, her brother, telling her where to go for our passes, he’s the guitar tech for Joe Perry. He tells her so and so cancelled and she exclaims, “Yes, Twink will do it!” sure enough I would, and 20 minutes later I was being ushered into the production center under the stadium, asked what I needed, a grand piano and your monitor array will be here, etc. then up to the dressing room, they gave me his, then Steven Tyler comes in, ‘Twink, are you naked? Ha ha, so , you’re gonna do this?” I said yes, but they’re gonna boo me, they’re expecting to rock, and If I had my band we would, but I’m by myself on the piano. He said “fuck them!” They’ve booed us before, here I’ll handle this, and he leads me up on stage with his arms around me and says this is my friend Twinkle from Sarasota ……They were an amazing audience and right before I started, I said, ‘A funny thing happened to me on the way to the forum..”
In 90, Lenny Waronker, the Pres of Warner, sent me to The Montreaux Jazz Festival, and the band I was to work with was Eric Clapton’s band, under the direction of Quincy Jones. Oprah Winfrey was there with us too. That was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had, being in Switzerland, singing my new album plus Stormy Monday, I had to have a blues song in the set. I did many interviews with French Radio stations and the next day we were at a restaurant that was in a 300 year old building, and the owner comes up to me and asks, ‘Are you a singer of blues named Twinkle?” I said, yes, and he proceeded to read me the review of yesterdays festival from the French paper , it spoke only of me and said, in french, The hippie girl from Florida in bare feet with hair like uncooked spaghetti who won the hearts of the 3000 spectators with her Stormy Monday Blues. I was dumbfounded. I’ve been trying to get back there ever since. I still have that paper. I ended up staying at the restaurant and singing and playing piano all night at his request.
– Since you have appeared on plenty of albums did you keep track of your complete discography?
No, and I regret that so much. It’s funny you ask that, ’cause I just recently ran over an old Richy Kicklighter record, and He would always have me on his albums in the background like another instrument, and I loved it, I was so young, sounds like a 10 year old. I wish I had them all. I don’t even have all of my own recordings, there’s been 16 albums of mine, and countless recordings. Sometimes the loss keeps me up at night. Somewhere there’s a DAT of me and half my band at House Of Blues in Orlando when we opened up for Pat Benatar. My guitar player and Bassist never made it, so I went on with only Mike Kach (B3) and Gary Guzzardo (Drums). We KILLED IT! Mike played bass with his left had and did all the leads and Rhythm with his right, Gary is a badass and I was so proud, when we were done, the people lost their shit, it was amazing! I gave the DAT to my then manager Adrienne and she lost it, heartbreaking really. Recently I saw the movie Hugo and it had a melancholy to it for me, because there is much of my history that has been lost, so it’s on my bucket list to get everything that’s left, documented.. Especially since many of those are on tape and it degrades, it’s pretty fragile.
– What would be some of the craziest stuff you’ve seen on tour?
You know the usual, sex , drugs, rock and roll. amazing conversations that you’ll never remember or be able to duplicate, songs written in the middle of the night that could change everything but are not taped and so go into the ether, or something completely different, like when I was a young mother i’d nurse baby on the breaks. It’s funny you ask that too, I just saw Pedro Arevelo and Mike Kach (Dickey Betts and Great Southern) at a MTB show, and Pedro says, “hey Twinkie,(only Pedro and my mom call me that), remember when we were crossing over the border from Canada and the feds boarded the bus and found you in your bunk and thought we were smuggling a young girl? They demanded to see your id, and didn’t believe you were of age.” Mike says, Yeah, they were hardcore, trying to bust us for kidnapping, man!” Hilarious.
– How do you maintain your voice?
Good question, I’ve studied nutritional healing since I was 22 and I came to realize that our cells duplicate themselves in their own image, so if you keep them strong, they will repeat that health in the next cell. There’s nothing older than 7 years in your body. I want to be doing this till the end, so I eat tons of greens and I juice, I’m mostly vegan, raw, superfoods etc. Plus I sing right, I taught myself how to sing loud and strong without hurting myself. My first gig, the band was so loud, and I was screaming, lost my voice after two songs, that was a long time ago, 33 years, and many thousands of gigs ago. Now I teach others how to do it too. Of course I was blessed to grow up listening to Paul Rodgers and that taught me everything I needed to know, no one does it better.
– What would be some of your main influences?
This is such a great list of questions, hard, but great. My mom had a great love for music, she inherited a reverence from her father, Charles “Pete” Peterson (Swing Era, NY) and so her album collection was pretty cool, but what I remember early on was this traveling salesman comes to the door and sells her a stereo and a bunch of 8 tracks. Elton John mostly. This must have been about 1972. It was great to sing along to the early Elton, and Beatles, Queen,Heart, The Rumours album,very appealing for a kid, and then when she briefly remarried Billy , he had impecable rock taste and his collection is what changed my life. BADCO was my religion, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Seger, Rolling Stones, tons of Rolling Stones, Foreigner. my first album that I bought with my own money was Fragile (Yes), Rush,and my mom was intensely into Santana when I was a teenager, she raised my Hindu, and he was hindu at that time, and his music transported me, just amazing, Europa, wow. Then by 18 I discovered Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye. I always wanted to save the world and I felt like Bob was my songwriting mentor for that. He could unify us in groove and still be making a point, and Marvin, what can you say, just one of the greatest and most individual, most innovative singers ever, I miss him for sure. ELO too, I don’t think they get talked about enough and Jeff Lynne’s got to be one of the most soulful singers on the planet, Telephone line still makes me cry.
– What could we find interesting in your music collection at home?
Radiohead, OK Computer was on replay for a year straight, Gypsy Kings,Stone Temple Pilots, Chris Cornell,what a voice, Wallflowers, LOVE them, John Coltrane, Miles Davis (There was a long time where I would only write on stage, and played with guys who could do it with me, and then I saw this interview with some of Miles’ musicians, and they were like, ‘Man, Miles would doc our pay if he heard us working out stuff beforehand.” That validated what we were doing and I love him for that, thanks Miles. Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Megadeth, love Dave, a genius, Irish drinking songs, I have a fantasy of owning a pub in Ireland or Scotland and we all sing together like in the movies, I mean, there’s so many, and I am sure I’m forgetting a bunch. In the end, I’m so grateful for all of them.
– Could you describe what goes on in a day in your life as a musician on tour?
Well, in the beginning it’s great, exciting. And God I love touring, I love people, and singing,so it’s a dream job for me, on the bus, you have your bunk with a curtain, and if you’re lucky a little tv, your laptop, whatever, so you can seal yourself off if you want to. But if you’re really lucky, you love the people you’re traveling with and like to actually hang out and talk and laugh. There’s a little kitchen and an even littler bathroom. The deal is you only pee in the bathroom, we’ll pull over for other things. I like to bring avacados and spinach and stuff for the fridge, cause road food will kill you. You rest as much as you can till the next stop, when you check into your hotel, The crew goes to work first, setting up at the venue, then we go for soundcheck and much of the time to eat the lovely hot meal that’s backstage. There are some gracious cooks out there who bring stuff too. It really makes you feel welcome. Then back to get ready, do the show, talk to the people, sign the records and whatever they want you to sign. Being with the people is so important, they have something to express and I like to hear them and hug them. I ALWAYS HUG AND KISS PEOPLE Then back to the hotel or bus, depending on how far we have to go. But you’re still wired from all the energy and action, you have to remember, we’re the party for these hard working people, we’re their weekend, their release , but it’s hard to come off of that and just be normal, this is where the drugs and alcohol can grab you. And then after a few weeks, you start to really, really miss your family, your home, and after a few months, you can go a little crazy. So balance and touring have got to go together, or you could get lost in a bottle and an 8 ball. Some people do it right, bringing the whole family, that’s the way, expensive, but what a joy that would be.
– What bands have you made part of and how many you presently playing with? I seen a lot of Marshall Tucker Band photos with you.
My first album on Warner Bros, was Toto, (http://www.geocities.jp/jeffsstamp/diskfile/sfile/schacle1a.html) that was incredible, due mostly to Pat’s (Leonard) relationship with them, Then I joined up with The Toler Brothers Danny and Frankie Toler RIP,were from here and became my band briefly with Bruce Weibel., I was honored to be in Dickey Betts and The Great Southern, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wg0HRFNDi8) having grown up hearing Dickey’s songs, Blue Sky, Ramblin’ Man etc., When I played the Montreux Jazz Festival, the backup band was Eric Clapton’s band, that was pretty amazing. Nathan East, Greg Fillengaines, Ray Cooper etc. I love singing with Marshall Tucker Band, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTpF2tuoNSQ) they’re just wonderful. I played with One Block South(John Nelson, Bill Aletzhauser, Tyler Ramsey, Taylor collins, Rosco Hall, Andrew LaCroix) for a long time, a hippie jam band that I took to L.A. and made an album with called L.A. Sessions, For a few years Richy Kicklighter, Burt Engels
– Where do you see music going in 100 years from now?
You know I’m a Sci Fi freak, and one thing they used to always do in movies about the future was have this really stupid techno music, with no organic anything, but I really think that the organic stuff will always be there, always keep coming back in focus. There’s no way to duplicate people getting together, making music together, creating together. And as long as we keep learning from eachother and staying objective and connected emotionally, I think there’s some great things to come. But one thing I always remember, never drink your own koolaid, and Scientists and Musicians only get better.
Extra questions with Twinkle Schascle Yochim
Life without music would be – Impossible, You’ve heard of the Music of the Spheres? Frequency is the Universe, We are frequency, there is no One without the other.
Favorite movie – JAWS
Favorite sport – SURFING, I’m not good at it but it’s the coolest sport in the world
Favorite food – spinach/avacados, tea
Favorite drink – Oregon Chai Energia
Favorite saying – “wait, I gotta film that” or “I love you”… oh, and RIGHT ON!!
Favorite car – JEEP with no doors or top
Favorite book – wow, um, Jitterbug Perfume, A wrinkle in Time , The Talisman, or Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe, that’s hard, I love too many books to make that decision
Favorite band – Rock Soul Radio
CD or Vinyl – I love vinyl for so many reasons, sounds great, graphically so much better,bigger, just REAL, but in Florida, there was a lot of warping
Star Wars or Star Trek – OMG, that’s great, well I love them both, but Star Trek formed me, I’m not even kidding_____FORMED ME!!
PC or Mac – Honestly? PC, I have macs now, but I think MAC is a pain in the ass. Give me a PC any day, cheaper, not so arrogant, I can upgrade, easier to handle, whatever, I’m sure I’ll get letters about this
Hey thank you for this great interview, it’s hard to let go of, I’m sure I left some things out. But good questions, Right On!!