Monday, March 3, 2014

Off and on again!

When you are part of a band, change is just part of the package.  It's not a full time job, so people come and go. Feelings get hurt, toes get stepped on.  It's inevitable.  So change is part of the package.

So back in November we lost a band member who had a promotion opportunity that took away his weekends.  Hey, a guy has to pay the bills and keep the heat on, ya know what I mean.  So all of a sudden we are without our bass player and have gigs already scheduled!!!! Oh my goodness.

So Mel and I are sitting round, just kind of contemplating our current situation, throwing out options, brainstorming, if you wish, and he turns to me, the rhythm guitar player, and says, "How would you feel about playing bass?"  I draw back in horror, terror, fear, shock and say, "Sure, I'll give it a try."

Huh? Who just said that?  What was I thinking?

Yep, that was me, open mouth, jump off the cliff. 

I have been the rhythm guitar player for years and its kind of save, wonderful, warm, fuzzy place to hang out.  Mel is tearing it up on lead, up and down the neck of the guitar, fingers flying, lightening fast, sweat dripping off his brow and I'm like on E, E, E, E, E, E oooops, A, back to E, E, E

Yeah, it's cool being the rhythm guitar player. When everyone applauds I take a bow right next to Mel.  (Oh, how dare I)

But now I have just opened my big mouth and offered to be the anchor, the rock, the driving rhythm of the band.  THE BASS PLAYER!!!!!  What was I thinking????

I'll tell you more about it on Thursday.  See you then

Friday, October 25, 2013

Silverwing's Halloween Party at the Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City, NV

Silverwing rocks the Red Dog

This Saturday, October 26th, Mel Warstler, Mary Warstler, Sean Rold, and Frank Lescher, otherwise known as Silverwing, will be playing a gig at the Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City, Nevada.

Virginia City, a small historic town south of Reno, is the site of the Comstock Lode where during the 1800's millions of dollars of silver was mined.  The silver millionaires from Virginia City basically built San Francisco and VC silver financed the Union during the Civil War, hence our state motto "Battle Born."  The Red Dog Saloon is a great venue with an awesome stage and sound system plus great food, but the Red Dog is not just another bar.  The Red Dog Saloon is significant due to its place in rock and roll history.

The "Red Dog Experience"

I'm sure the building is from the 1800's somewhere, but in 1965 the Red Dog Saloon played a roll in the emerging psychedelic rock scene and the beginnings of the hippie movement.  During that year a group of musicians came together and experienced total musical and artistic freedom with some psychedelic additives, if you get my drift.  Bands like Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Wildflower and The Amazing Charlatans played at the Red Dog creating the psychedelic music, hippie clothing styles and psychedelic artwork known as the "Red Dog Experience." 

These musicians and their style had a direct influence on the hippie movement which erupted during the Summer of Love in 1967 at Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco which led to major changes in social values throughout the US.  The members of The Amazing Charlatans were interviewed about the experiences in the 1996 documentary file, The Life and Times of the Red Dog Saloon. 

So when we take the stage at the Red Dog it is appropriate to have some reverence for the venue and the incredible experience of playing in the same location as Janis Joplin and walking the same floors as the first hippies at the birthplace of psychedelic rock and roll.

References:  Wikipedia and the Red Dog website

About the Author:  Mary Warstler is the rhythm guitar player, back-up singer and co-songwriter for Silverwing, a rockin' country band from Northern Nevada.  Our CD "Moonshine" is available at CD Baby, Amazon and our website  For more music news from Mary check out  If you need content for your website, articles for your blog or extra posts on FB or Twitter contact Mary at

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mel Warstler the newest DJ at KHWG 750AM, Fallon, NV

The Wild West Show on KHWG

Mel Warstler is the newest DJ at KHWG and if you have heard his show you already know he loves his job, if you can call that a JOB!  Lucky dog, playing music all day long and getting paid. Wow!

Not just a DJ, but a great musician as well

Mel grew up in rural Oregon on a million acre ranch where his father was the irrigation foreman. He was taught to play the guitar by his father and brother Jack. He started his first band at 14 years old, which played at school events. At 16 he was asked to join a band of semi-retired professional musicians as lead guitar player. They taught him a style of country picking which he still uses today.

Regardless of what “job” Mel held from ranch hand to cabinetmaker to stucco contractor, his life has always revolved around playing music. From playing for a few miners at the International Bar in Austin NV, which his brother Jack owned years ago to playing at the Nevada State Fair, Mel has always prided himself on learning his guitar parts note for note. When you hear him play you will not be disappointed.

Mel's in demand as a lead guitar player, but starts his own band Silverwing

While playing all over Northern Nevada and Oregon he has been the lead guitar player and singer in many bands such as Brandywine, Off the Wall, Stillwater Express, Taylor Made, Clear Blue 22 and American Steel. But his greatest accomplishment is his own band Silverwing consisting of Mel on lead guitar and vocals, his wife Mary on rhythm guitar and vocals, Sean Rold on bass and vocals and Frank Lescher on drums.

Silverwing performs in front of thousands

You may have heard Mel play somewhere and not even known it, since Silverwing has played at the Eureka Country Fair, Armed Forces Day, Night in the Country, Hearts of Gold Cantaloupe Festival plus numerous farmer's markets, street fairs, bars and parties. But the real highlight for Silverwing was playing for thousands of people at the Pony Express Pavilion and the Reno Livestock Event Center for Sarah Palin in 2008 during both of her campaign stops in Northern Nevada.

Buy the Silverwing CD "Moonshine"
You can hear Silverwing's new CD “Moonshine” on KHWG or you can visit the website at to find their schedule. Mel also hosts Karaoke and has DJ'd a few weddings.

Working at KHWG is a dream job for Mel Warstler

Mel would like to thank Ronzo, Latigo, Rebecca and Alex for training him at KHWG. And he would like to thank his listeners for calling in requests and for all the compliments he has received at his new “job.”  You can hear Mel's Wild West Show Tuesday thru Friday from noon to 5pm, streaming live on your computer at

For more info on Mel and the band visit

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Silverwing Lite (The Mel & Mary Duo)

Yes, it's a non-band weekend and Mel & I have picked up a duo gig.  Just Mel and I together with our little drum machine.  That's how it all started for me, as a duo.  Well, re-started is more like it.

When we met Mel had been playing for years with different bands all over Northern Nevada, but I hadn't picked up a guitar in years.  I had learned how to play the guitar when I was a teenager.  My brother Kenny had brought home a few guitars and books and we sat in the living room working our way through the chords and notes.  I took guitar lessons for several years also, but then I put the guitar down and didn't pick it up for years.

I discouraged myself.  When I think back now, I realize I was good.  I could read music like nobody's business.  I made it through several Mel Bay levels and could play jazz chords to my teacher's lead playing.  Then I just stopped.  I was a blue, moody teenager and I probably couldn't see what might happen down the road.  So I stopped.

Many years later I meet Mel through some friends.  He's such a nice man and we start to date.  Months went by and one day the light bulb goes on over my head and I remembered "Hey, years ago I knew how to play the guitar!"  It was long forgotten.  When I told Mel, he was less than interested.  After years of people trying to get into his bands, he just nodded politely and changed the subject.  I thought "hum" and let it go.  No big deal. 

Months go by and one day he is hanging out at my house.  I'm cooking a big pot of spaghetti, the kids are playing video games and Mel is playing his guitar at the kitchen table.  It's a good day.  Then the phone rings and it's for Mel.  People knew we were dating and starting calling my place for him.  So I hand him the phone and he hands me his guitar. 

I think to myself "what were the chords to that song?" I start to strum the few things I could remember from years ago, but it was there, hidden back in the depths of my old brain. When Mel put the phone down, he jumps up and says, "Hey, you can play the guitar!!!!"  I said "Yep, I told you that a few months ago."  He says "Yes, but I you can REALLY play."  Then out come the story about how many people kind of exaggerate their skills, so he just smiled at me when I told him that I could play.  He'd heard lots of women say they could sing and ugh, yeah, maybe not so much.  So he's jaded.

But even at that point, I wasn't interested in learning 50 to 100 songs with the band.  I still enjoyed my time at the band table.  I applauded and laughed and hauled gear and typed lots of lyrics.  I had a place and I liked it.

Now years go by and Mel is playing lead for a different band.  He is getting frustrated being a hired gun as they are called.  He's not in charge and it's beginning to get to him for several reasons.  He feeling less than appreciated and I never get to hear him sing cause they never make it to his songs.  Right, sure.  So out of frustration I say, "What are the chords to Boot Scootin Boogie?  I can play that! I'll be your band."

So that's how it started.  I have a steno notebook with chords, a Yamaha keyboard with drum patterns in it and Mel playing lead in the back corner of the Big Horn Saloon.  I forget how long ago that was, maybe 8 to 10 years ago.  The first night we played my 5 co-workers showed up and pulled up chairs right in front of us.  Up close and personal.  I am staring at my steno notebook so I don't screw up the chords, when I look up and they have their lighters up and they are swaying like a crowd at a rock concert.  It was sooooo funny!

From the back of the Big Horn, it's been a wild ride.  Once we played for thousands at a political rally during the 2008 election campaign, but we've also played to two sad lonely drunks who need a ride home.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.

So this weekend, it's back to basics.  It's back to the beginning and really I love it.  I like being with Mel. I like the challenge of trying to make two guitars sound good.  My strumming has to be full and confident behind Mel's lead playing.  I have to sing backup and attempt some harmony.  It's a challenge and it's gonna be fun.  It's Silverwing Lite!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ah, the lazy weekend

That's right, no Silverwing gig this weekend.  What will we do?  Of course, we still host Karaoke on Friday night at our local bar with our buddies.  So, it's not a total lazy weekend, but still no Silverwing gig?  Ugh, I'm having the shakes.

Anyway, Karaoke used to be a forbidden word around our dining room table.  The evil Karaoke singers were going to destroy live music and bands weren't going to be needed and on and on.  We just resented it and were offended by it and now? Guess what?  We run Karaoke!

Are we sell outs?  Perhaps.  Is there a dime to be made with our gear that is sitting idly in the garage? Oh, yes.  But more so, we get it.  Karaoke allows everyone to participate.  It accessible to everyone who has the guts to get up there and open their mouth and squeak out a tune.  For the moment you can be Carrie Underwood or Jon Bon Jovi.  You can get the whole bar to sing Na-na-na-na-na along with Journey to thunderous applause.  Who doesn't love that?

We get it.  It's about everyone and we can all join in.

I personally have become a much better singer since we started running Karaoke.  I am a fair singer, good pitch, fair tone, buy I was shaky and worse yet, I didn't practice.  I didn't open my mouth until we got up there on stage with a crowd in front of us.  Oh my goodness, what was I thinking?  Sometimes it was just really weak and timid, but now I am the queen of Karaoke.

Okay, not really the queen, but I'm part of the crowd.  I have done well on some songs and then I've picked songs that were a total stretch and bombed!  I bombed and did it in front of people and lived to tell the tale.  That's actually helped my singing skills also.  You wouldn't think so, but really butchering a song and laughing at yourself is good for your mental health.  It takes the perfectionism down a notch or two.'s not the end of the world.

Plus, now when I step up to the microphone to sing I have some practice time under my belt.  Just like learning chess, you remember the moves.  My throat remembers the shape that makes that sound.  I've stretched for that note before and I know I can hit it.  I've swooped that country sound before and I can do it again.

So the evil Karaoke has become one of my favorite things.  I have a room full of friends who I encourage with my whooping and applause and they do the same for me, even when I totally, totally ruin some beautiful song, my friends still applaud, gotta love it. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Silverwing tears it up in Carson City

Hey, well, we really didn't tear up Carson City, but Mel and Sean tore it up on lead guitars and we rocked 'em till they dropped at the Whiskey Tavern.

What a great time!  We really connected with crowd and they bought 5 CD's from us. 

All the original songs went over really well.  One of our original songs, "Who You Are," is a song about a man trying to learn what this girl is all about, so he can get to know her.  It's like a first conversation where the man takes the time to ask the questions.  He wants to know "Who You Are and What You Do," to see if they might be a perfect match.  It's really about Mel and I and how I walked by him and all the other men at a gig and went home alone.  That intrigued him and he wanted to know more about me.  See playing hard to get does really pay off.

But enough about Mel and I, back to the Whiskey Tavern, one of the guys at the bar came up at the end of the night and said that "Who You Are" was a perfect description of him and his girlfriend.  I saw them dancing closely and whispering during the song.  It is very satisfying to know that something I helped write has touched someone.  I hope it inspires them to talk deeply and get to know each other's hearts.

The rest of the crowd was wild and rowdy.  Lots of applause, lots of dancing and at the end of the night several people said we were the best band that had played there.  I am pleased and very grateful.  It always feels so incredible when people appreciate your hard work. 

I know we all felt good about our performance.  Song selection was great, breaks were tight, leads were smoking, singing was spot on!  It was a great time.  We stopped at 1am-ish and tore down and drove an hour to home.  We got home right before the sun started coming up.  Yeah, I love being a musician. 

The next day, when we finally woke up, I was worthless.  Making breakfast at noon just wiped me out.   Would I trade it for a good nights sleep?  Nah, rock star wins!

Visit our website at  Our original CD "Moonshine" is available at our gigs, the website, CD baby and Amazon.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Next gig for the GuitarChic

My fascination with female musicians is not just some weird quirk.  I am a musician and knowing how challenging it can be to play on stage makes me respect these talented women all the more.

I am part of Silverwing, a rockin' country band based in the Reno, Nevada area.  We play classic and current country music with a few good rock songs thrown in to keep it surprising.  I have played for a few lonely drunks in a tiny bar to thousands of people at a political rally.  It's always fun, even at closing time and the place is emptying out, I still love and appreciate that I get to play music for a living.  It is a blessing in my life.

So where is my next gig?  The Whiskey Tavern in Carson City, NV.  It should be a great time.  Looks like they have a good crowd with lots of Facebook followers.  They approached us in Virginia City on the Fourth of July and immediately wanted to hire us.  Very cool, that's a nice compliment.

So Saturday is gig day.  We start playing at 9pm, but we live an hour away, so we actually have to start our "job" earlier in the afternoon, when we load the gear into the pick-up truck.  Gotta bring it all, don't want to be an hour away from home and forget one chord, ugh.  So it's personal gear, like guitars, stands, microphones, amplifiers and tuners plus PA gear like mixer board, power conditioners, more chords and lots of speakers. 

I don't sit by watching my husband loading gear, frightened to break a nail, I jump into the back of the pickup and organize all the stuff.  It's like the old video game Tetrus, putting all these amps, boxes, speakers and guitars into a nice little package in the bed of the pickup. 

We gotta get there early enough to set up and sound check, so when we turn it on, it sounds good right off the bat.  Each room is different.  What worked great at the last gig, could be a real disaster at the next gig.  We go from outdoor gigs, to small rooms, to large rooms and everything needs to be adjusted for the unique situation.  Plus, you don't want to be rushed and chaotic.  So after the sound check we need time to relax and kick back just a bit.

You'd think I would be nervous, but it rarely crosses my mind.  I was so shy growing up, that even I am amazed by how cool, calm and collected I am when I'm getting up on stage in front of people and singing.  Recently we played a wedding.  The first song was the couple's first dance and the first note of that song, was me singing with no music behind me, HUH? What!  I admit I was shaking, but, I did great. Yeah!

So, that's why I am a great fan of female musicians.  I am just a part of a band.  I can't imagine how it would feel to step up and be the focal point, to keep a crowd entertained for an evening.  Wow, these women are my idols.

Please stop by my website and learn a few interesting facts about my favorite female musicians.  The site will be growing each week, so come back often.  Also, check out our band at, that's me right in the middle.  Our CD "Moonshine" is available at our gigs, our website, CDbaby and