Lisa Rae Black remembers her first experience with the desert as a visit to Grandpa's house - he lived in Morongo Valley. As a five-year old, she recalls jumping out of the back of her dad's 280Z, feeling like she'd landed on Mars. Fast forward about 50 years, Lisa inherited the property from her now deceased brother, Jim, who’d lived there for many years with his three thoroughbred horses.
Her grandfather purchased the property in1931 and built the 300 foot homestead in 1951. In this episode, Lisa talks about the little bits of history that have come her way from her grandfather during the permitting and renovations process of the homestead.
Lisa's interest in the guitar began early. At five, she commandeered her brother's Christmas gift, a Snoopy guitar. She began taking lessons at age 12 and credits her instructor, himself an accomplished classic flamenco guitarist, with instilling the importance proper posture, timing/beats and scales. After discovering she could play some Chuck Berry guitar licks, she was ‘off to the races’.
Her neighbor, a drummer for their high school marching band and a local surf band, was her ride to school each day. Eventually, he joined forces with the lead singer of the stoner band in the same school – if you’re familiar with hair metal bands from the 80’s you’ll want to hear this story, which leads to another story of how Lisa got into her first band, The Pandoras, who got their first record deal after their first gig. Lisa says it all happened ‘too fast, too soon’ and admits she was too young to appreciate the opportunities. She says that while she’s worked with some successful names you’ll recognize, that level of notoriety never really manifested for her.
After having recorded a five-song EP with The Pandoras, Lisa stayed on at the studio for awhile, recording with Berlin, Social Distortion and was in many other LA bands including Helle's Belles, Hardly Dangerous, Feline and Bellylove, whose music was featured on the third season of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'.
Thinking her move to the desert had put her band days behind her, one Sunday, she and Paul were looking for something to do and headed up to this place they'd heard some local folks talk about called Pappy & Harriet’s. There was a band playing some mellow tunes and when the band called the Security guy up on stage to sing, Lisa and Paul didn't know what to think. The band launched into Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song'. Afterward, Lisa immediately approached him about singing Sabbath covers and ‘Hammer of the Ozz’ was born with Security guy 'Big Dave Johnson' on vocals and local Landers resident and another accomplished musician, Greg Gordon, on drums. The band is looking forward to recording at Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree in August 2019. Lisa and Paul have also formed a soul, funk band called ‘The LP’s’.
Photo: Sandra Goodin
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