|There are artists on SkidMark that we think of as "favourites" and there are listed artists we just love - this month's FAOTM Gate 18 fall into both catagories! So it was a great feeling here at SkidMark when the "Queen of Queens (NY)" Lynn Ann Witting agreed to hang out with SkidMcSkidder for a couple of hours to give us an insight into the NYC indie circuit (and to have a good old chinwag!). And what a great time we had! Not only is Lynn (aka Nutty Broad) a talented singer / song writer, she's a right headcase too!! Enjoy!|
SkidMcSkidder: Hi Lynn thanks for taking the time to hang out with us and give SkidMark the "low down" on the Gate 18 scene.
Nutty Broad: Oh, no problemo, Skidder. Extremely thrilled to do it.
SkidMcSkidder: So, can I kick of this interview by asking how did the band get such an unusual name?
Nutty Broad: Well, many moons ago I was attending a Grateful Dead show at the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey and my seats happened to be in "Gate 18". And a bunch of us bought these bags of "magic mushrooms", which was the thing to do, you know, "trip at a Dead Show". So I took a handful of these 'shrooms, but after about an hour I still wasn't feeling anything. So I went and bought MORE....and took ANOTHER handful...
Nutty Broad: And at that moment, whilst chewing my second handful, the FIRST handful kicked in. I was completely out of my mind, tripping, I mean - didn't know my NAME tripping, you know. Before this happened, I had never had a bad-head experience like this. But this was awful, man. My friends were all trying to calm me down because I had somehow become convinced that Jerry Garcia was planning to sacrifice me onstage for the encore.
Nutty Broad: I thought that Jerry and the Boys were going to dismember me and toss my parts out to the crowd!
Nutty Broad: So, I kept plotting all of these big "escapes" from my seats, from Gate 18...
Nutty Broad: I would suddenly bolt up and make a run for it. I even asked the security guards in the hallways to please help me get out of there, but then in dawned on me that THEY were also in on the plan. And my friends kept coming after me, dragging me back to Gate 18.
Nutty Broad: So anyhow, it was a loooong night.
Nutty Broad: Yea! Or as you would say: WICKED!
SkidMcSkidder: heh heh magic mushies - Mother Earth's way of saying: Tune in & drop out! LoL
Nutty Broad: Right. Or "Tune in and FLIP out"!! Anyhow, to shorten this up a bit,
Nutty Broad: When I woke up the next day and realized that I had not been murdered by the Dead (???), I vowed that if I ever started my own original project (band), that I would call it GATE 18. It sort of represents survival to me, in some demented way.
SkidMcSkidder: How long has the current Gate 18 line-up been together now?
Nutty Broad: Me and Chris have been together since 1996. Joe's been with us about 3 years I think and Tim just signed up in October. But I started the band in 1992-1993.
SkidMcSkidder: Tell us a little more about the other guys in the band
Nutty Broad: WELLLL...Chris plays bass and he totally rocks. He was introduced to me by my old drummer, Mike. At the point that I met Chris, I had been going through bass-players like underwear. Well, you know what I mean.
SkidMcSkidder: Prey tell more! LoL
Nutty Broad: HAHA! Jesus. Anyway, Chris is also my husband now.
Nutty Broad: HAHA! HE's MY FAVORITE PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!
Nutty Broad: hahahaaaaa
SkidMcSkidder: Y-fronts or thong???
Nutty Broad: Both!
Nutty Broad: He covers it all.
SkidMcSkidder: NICE! LoL
Nutty Broad: Yea, we got married in 1999.
SkidMcSkidder: Same year as me!
Nutty Broad: Mark! We do have a lot in common.
Nutty Broad: But we worked together for a few months before we started in with the romance thing.
SkidMcSkidder: Okay - what about Tim & Joe?
Nutty Broad: Joe is an old friend of Chris' from the neighborhood here in Richmond Hill, Queens. He and Chris use to jam together in a jazz band.
Nutty Broad: He's a good egg.
SkidMcSkidder: And Tim?
Nutty Broad: Tim is ALSO an old friend of Chris'! They were in a band for several years together here in NYC called HARD CANDY, I think. And then Tim moved to California for awhile. But now he's back with a vengeance. He moved back to New York in September right around those fucking terrorist attacks.
SkidMcSkidder: yeah, how'd that affect the music scene in NYC?
Nutty Broad: Well, it hasn't seemed to all that much.
Nutty Broad: Perhaps in the clubs closest to the World Trade Center site, but otherwise, what can I say - you can't keep New Yorkers down.
SkidMcSkidder: That's the spirit!
Nutty Broad: I had a gig a couple of days after 9/11 and I was totally freaked about doing it. It was sad and odd because you could just SMELL that odor of charred people in the air.,
SkidMcSkidder: That's terrible
Nutty Broad: Yes, it is terrible. It's very unreal.
SkidMcSkidder: You play a huge variety of clubs / bars & coffee houses in the NYC area
- do you have to tailor your "vibe" to suit the specific venue?
Nutty Broad: I think I've attempted to do that here and there, but then I always end up rocking like holy hell anyhow, no matter where we play, and it goes over fine.
SkidMcSkidder: Any good stories about some of the venues you've played?
Nutty Broad: Hmmm. Well, I have one pretty good story.
Nutty Broad: HAHA! It was at this place actually in Queens, called THE BLARNEY CASTLE.
Nutty Broad: But now I call it: THE BUCKET OF BLOOD
SkidMcSkidder: Irish bar?
Nutty Broad: Yea, wadda YOU think?
Nutty Broad: Me and Chris were playing with this sit-in drummer, Paulie at the time. It was a pretty good gig that actually paid.
Nutty Broad: One of the few places where we would throw in a "cover tune" here and there...and somebody requested something by The Rolling Stones.
Nutty Broad: So I ripped into: GIMME SHELTER, you know, offa LET IT BLEED, right?
Nutty Broad: And suddenly there's some commotion at the front of the bar, and these 2 Mafia-looking dude come in, and one of them JUMPS over the bar and grabs a bottle of whiskey and SLAMS it over the bartender's HEAD...
Nutty Broad: And the bartender is laying on the floor now, totally covered in blood - I remember he had this fancy white shirt on, well, not white anymore...
SkidMcSkidder: heh heh
Nutty Broad: And the Mafia dude whips out a gun and points it at the bartender's head and is like screaming: "YOU THINK YOU'RE GONNA FUCK WITH MY BROTHER AND NOT HEAR ABOUT IT?!?!?!?!"
Nutty Broad: And meanwhile, I'm like in shock and still on the microphone and not realizing it I say: "WHAT THE FUCK....?". And everyone in the place turns around to look at me, including the Mafia dudes. I was shitting.
SkidMcSkidder: HA HA HA
Nutty Broad: I KNOW!
SkidMcSkidder: Beats a pie and pint down the local LoL
Nutty Broad: And then the Mafia dudes just left and didn't kill the guy after all.
Nutty Broad: But the show was over after that. Hey, at least we still got paid and we drank for free for a few hours after that.
SkidMcSkidder: that's what counts! LoL
Nutty Broad: You know it! So that was memorable.
SkidMcSkidder: let's talk about you....
Nutty Broad: I would love to.
SkidMcSkidder: You've been compared to Janis Joplin due to your powerful & entrancing vocals - how does this make you feel?
Nutty Broad: It's nice to hear, because she's very beloved, you know. And I do admire her, but she's honestly not an influence of mine.
SkidMcSkidder: and you're still alive! LoL
Nutty Broad: Yes, that does set us apart!
SkidMcSkidder: You play lot's of different musical instruments - which is your favourite and why?
Nutty Broad: The guitar means a lot to me because that was my "break-out" instrument, so to speak. But more and more I am really digging playing the piano. I taught myself guitar at age 14 or so and only started playing piano when I was 26 or something. I love the sound and the resonance of the piano, and I can really get into playing a lot of "lead" melodies on piano, whereas on guitar I primarily play rhythm. I mean, I play a little bit of lead on guitar but it's that "Neil Young" kinda thing, as opposed to "Stevie Ray Vaughn", you know?
SkidMcSkidder: Something else we've in common!
Nutty Broad: Mark, Mark, Mark - the similarities are scary.
SkidMcSkidder: As long as you don't tell me you've also got a weiner! LoL
Nutty Broad: No weiner on me, baby. But I've been told I've got SOME BALLS.
Nutty Broad: HAHAHAHA
SkidMcSkidder: Ha Ha Ha
SkidMcSkidder: You're a real animal lover and your dog Ellie Jane features predominantly in the Gate 18 persona, from CD covers to band photo's - is there an animal you really dislike?
Nutty Broad: No, I can't really think why I would dislike an animal. I mean - "No, no sheep, please...they are much too wooly."
SkidMcSkidder: ah, but they are Ma-a-a-a-a-a-.arvelous!!
Nutty Broad: Yes, but don't get too excited, Mark.
SkidMcSkidder: Sorry I was thinking of an ex-girlfriend - Ba-a-a-a-a-a-arbara!! LoL
Nutty Broad: You're digressing, here.
SkidMcSkidder: Em, yes sorry, er.... okay...
Nutty Broad: I should mention that my dear, departed dog Girlie is actually featured on one Gate 18 cover...everyone thinks that she and Ellie Jane are the same dog. I guess it's that "mutt" look.
SkidMcSkidder: I thought the same actually
SkidMcSkidder: How's the new album "Shouldn't happen to a dog" coming along?
Nutty Broad: Well, it is FINISHED!
Nutty Broad: But the nightmare continues.
SkidMcSkidder: why's that?
Nutty Broad: Due to the financial woes of the independent artist (that would be me), it won't be going into replication for awhile. I am, however, distributing "bootleg" copies to whoever contacts me at my website.
SkidMcSkidder: talking about websites.....
Nutty Broad: I should contact Louise Harrison again and ask her for a hand.
Nutty Broad: You know, George's sister.
SkidMcSkidder: you know her?
Nutty Broad: Yes, in a matter of speaking.
SkidMcSkidder: Go on..
Nutty Broad: (Ahem), just me and Lou, shootin' the shit...
Nutty Broad: Well, do you know of BEATLEFEST?
Nutty Broad: It takes place every year at an enormous hotel - actually, I think it's right next to the Meadowlands Arena where the whole GATE 18 thing started.
Nutty Broad: It's like a convention where Beatles fans converge and perform and so on and so forth.
Nutty Broad: I was just walking around with my acoustic guitar and people were jamming and stuff, and I whipped my guitar out and sang "Keepin' On", my song of the 2nd CD.
SkidMcSkidder: The one I'm listening to right now!
Nutty Broad: Everyone was like looking at me because I wasn't playing a Beatles song. It was hilarious, but I had their attention, right.
Nutty Broad: So when I was done, this woman walks up to me and it was Lou Harrison! But I didn't know it then. And she said: "I was listening to you sing, and you are miraculous, darling. Here is my card. Call me if there is anything I can do for you."
Nutty Broad: I almost shit my pants when I realized who it was.
Nutty Broad: So I called her the following week! And we spoke a little, and she recommended me to PLANET X, this kinda MTV program in California. I dunno if they're still around. But anyhow, they used a lot of my material on their show, which featured EXTREME SPORTS, y'know, people surf-boarding into volcanoes or some shit.
Nutty Broad: So yea, me and Lou, old pals. Haha!
Nutty Broad: But she is a doll, honestly. I keep meaning to send her a condolence card for George.
SkidMcSkidder: Talk about having connections! Yeah, it was sad when the man passed on
Nutty Broad: Very sad, but death bites you in the ass regardless. It was his time.
Nutty Broad: Him and John are arguing about The Anthology right now. HAHA.
SkidMcSkidder: I'm liked to jump back to the web Question…
SkidMcSkidder: You don't currently have a Gate 18 website although you do have a "unofficial fan" site residing on www.bumpskey.com - any plans to put a band site together?
Nutty Broad: Yes, actually. Tim's like a computer genius and he also knows people and we're talking about it right now.
SkidMcSkidder: Staying with Bumpskey, you seem to be a firm favourite of Jerry's in as much that not only do you receive regular airplay on Jerry's show and have performed "Live from the living room", he's has even broadcast the show livefrom one of your gigs! How does this kind of support help the gate 18 cause?
Nutty Broad: It helps to put us firmly on the indie-music map. Jerry has been great to me. Thanks, Jerry~!
SkidMcSkidder: How big a portion of your fan base do you reckon is gained from your internet webcast exposure?
Nutty Broad: The internet has been fantastic, as people can find you easily. When people see you performing in a club, they may love what you're doing but then they're drunk or whatever and if they don't actually buy a CD, it's so easy to just forget about you.
Nutty Broad: They'll give me their email address and I'll put 'em on my email mailing list.
Nutty Broad: EVERYone's doing the web thing nowadays. The 'net has also been a terrific aid as far as booking gigs and selling CD's goes. It's a godsend.
SkidMcSkidder: I know you worked hard to get Gate 18 exposure through sites such as mp3.com, garageband.com, etc - do you get much feedback from the sites?
Nutty Broad: Yes, I do.
Nutty Broad: I've also met some great folks like yourself, Mark.
SkidMcSkidder: How does it compare to the feedback you get from the live scene?
Nutty Broad: How does it compare? Hmmm. There's no comparison, really. It's two different forms of gratification, each wonderful in its own way.
SkidMcSkidder: Have you ever done any major tours?
Nutty Broad: No. But I'd like to. I'm looking into setting something up but it's hard because me, Chris and Tim all have day-jobs. Luckily, we're living in the biggest gigging city in the world, so...
SkidMcSkidder: Ah, the bane of every indie musician! LoL
Nutty Broad: Yea, you need that stupid fuckin' day-job unless you're a trust-fund kid.
SkidMcSkidder: Lucky Bastards!
Nutty Broad: Tell me about it!
SkidMcSkidder: Where's the furthest away from home you've ever gigged?
Nutty Broad: London! Near you!
SkidMcSkidder: Not that near!
Nutty Broad: Haha, but it was not a "planned gig". I just sort of took this bar by storm one night. It was hilarious. People were asking me if I was "famous in the States". I said: "But, of course!"
SkidMcSkidder: Heh heh - so when're you coming back?
Nutty Broad: Oh, I tell you I would love to. I had such a blast over there. 2 weeks was not long enough. But please, first let me try to get this freakin' CD out, then we'll talk world travel.
SkidMcSkidder: In your FAOTM "favourites" section you say you're a big fan of "Black Velvet" (Guinness & cider) I always thought it was a British drink as I found cider rare on my last trip to the US – how did you discover it's "hidden pleasures"?!!
Nutty Broad: Gee, that's a good question.
Nutty Broad: I think it was actually in that BLARNEY CASTLE place! The bartender suggested it! Right before he got clobbered!
Nutty Broad: I'm serious. That IS where I first heard of it.
SkidMcSkidder: what was it you called it again?
Nutty Broad: THE BUCKET OF BLOOD
Nutty Broad: Hahahah
SkidMcSkidder: No the fuckin' drink! LoL
Nutty Broad: HAHA! THAT IS THE DRINK, SILLY!
Nutty Broad: No, was it a "Smoothie"?
SkidMcSkidder: that was it - I'll tell you Lynn -
SkidMcSkidder: You ain't tasted a proper one until you've tried it with proper English scrumpy cider - Blow your head off!
Nutty Broad: Gimme some-a-dat scrumpy cider, dude! Send it over!
SkidMcSkidder: Don't travel very well unfortunately
Nutty Broad: I'm sure it loses something in the translation.
SkidMcSkidder: Oh well, I'll drink a few on your behalf!
Nutty Broad: Please do, I know it won't be much of a hardship for you.
SkidMcSkidder: Sigh, the things I have to do to support independent music...
Nutty Broad: Yes, slog on.
SkidMcSkidder: Heh heh!
Nutty Broad: Or grog on, should I say.
SkidMcSkidder: Anything you want to talk about Nutty?
Nutty Broad: Hmmmm....I'll probably think of a million things after we're done.
Nutty Broad: Anything else you wanna ask me?
SkidMcSkidder: I'm thinkin'....
Nutty Broad: Take yer time
SkidMcSkidder: The one brain cell is dying slowly...
SkidMcSkidder: If Gate 18 were to hit the big time and made a million - what would you blow the greenbacks on (struggling now! LoL)
Nutty Broad: Well, we ARE recording another album this spring.
SkidMcSkidder: post - SHTAD?
Nutty Broad: Yeah, post-SHTAD, very good.
Nutty Broad: Ok, in answer to your question, I would just want a nice big house with a recording studio built-in and possibly I would start an animal shelter.
Nutty Broad: Oh, and I'd have a big wooden bar with Guinness and Scrumpy Cider on tap.
SkidMcSkidder: Ahh......talkin' my language now!
Nutty Broad: You'd have to come stay with us for awhile! It would be the Days of Wine and Roses! Bring Sarah Jane! Bring the kids!
SkidMcSkidder: The kids could stay in the animal shelter!
Nutty Broad: My, my - we DO think alike!
Nutty Broad: HAHAAHHA
SkidMcSkidder: So - shall we knock it on the head there then Lynn?
Nutty Broad: I think we can safely knock it about the head.
Nutty Broad: This was fun~!
SkidMcSkidder: cool !
Nutty Broad: This was one of my favorite interviews cuz I feel like we're old friends.
SkidMcSkidder: Many, many thanks again Lynn for taking the trouble to hang out with me on the IM – especially as I know you’ve not long got in from the grind of the day job! Can’t wait to hear my copy of "Shouldn’t Happen to a Dog" when it arrives in the mail – if it’s anything like the last album it’ll definitely become a regular visitor to the SkidMark CD player!! Take care and say a big "HI" to Chris and the rest of the boys in the band. Keep on Rockin’ Nutty! – Gate 18 kick ass!!
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Interview conducted using MSN instant messenger ™ 01-04-2002
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