The first question on everyone’s mind is why are you called “Wild Jane”?
“Ha! My mother gave me that name when I was a young girl. I was quite a handful. I had my own ideas about things from a very early age, and I spoke my mind without hesitation, hence “Wild Jane.”
You seem to have had long periods of time when you weren’t involved in performing?
“Yes, life gets in the way of the wicked stage, you know….Like marriage, motherhood, the need to make actual money, scheduling, etc. I had a man I loved and two adorable kids. First things first. But many truly great entertainers take long breaks from performing. I believe those breaks are needed to rejuvenate the Muses.”
You worked for many years as a teacher? What did you teach? What grades?
“I went to work to help support my family. I already had a BA in Liberal Studies. You might say that I followed my children into the classroom. It was a job that worked well for raising the kids. I taught middle school mostly, all subjects except science, and I loved it! It was probably the greatest role I ever played!”
What do you mean by “the greatest role you ever played”?
“Just like in a play, I had to prepare myself everyday for dealing with a classroom full of adolescents. I dressed up, studied my lessons and presented them to the class like an actor in a play. I developed a very strong and impressive curriculum that included drama, speech, and historical simulations. I took it very seriously.”
You owned a restaurant for awhile? What was that like?
“Well, the food business is show business. My dad owned restaurants when I was growing up, so it was something I was familiar with. I fell in love with the beautiful old redwood building known as’”Bucks” on the Russian River. It was a huge endeavor, but also very fun!”
You were known for booking lots of different types of acts at your place “Wild Jane’s”. How did that come about?
“I had this idea about the kinds of entertainers and musical acts that I wanted to promote, and I just started calling people up. I found out that you can book anybody if you have enough money. I wanted to be eclectic, so I booked rock bands, country bands, a cappella groups, jazz groups, women’s music… I even hired a belly dancer with a snake and had a couple of Ladies’ Nights featuring something akin to Magic Mike! Damn! That was a blast! I loved that part of the business the best. I love show business in all its forms.”
Do you enjoy performing?
“Oh yes, I love it! It stresses me out, but I do love it! When you’re on, you have to be ON. That means practice, rehearsals, exercise, dieting, make-up, hair, costumes, meditation, and dedication. I like to live a balanced life, so doing house work, laundry, and gardening are also part of living a human life in this era. It’s like one night you have a fabulous gig and the next morning you still have to do the dishes!”
You usually do shows with a theme. How do you go about planning your act?
“Each set is like an act by itself. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end. I have my favorites. Certain numbers will always be called. This year I have a core of tunes that you will most likely hear at any gig, but I try to build a story with a theme depending on where I’m playing and who I’m playing for. I enjoy weaving medleys out of songs that seem to go together.”
You have said that your dad was a big influence on you. Do you think you would have been so enthusiastic about show business if your father hadn’t been into it?
“Oh yes!. I was born to it. I was performing for the family at a very young age and spent hours in the music room with my aunt learning all the Broadway musicals. She was learning to play the piano and enjoyed accompanying me. I sang all the songs in every key, even the baritone parts!”
You do have quite a range. What is your range anyway?
“It depends on the day and how much warm up I’ve had. I can go down to low C and up to high A, so almost three octaves. I am considered a dramatic soprano, but I’ve lost a few notes on the upper end. If I keep working, maybe they’ll come back?”
You just came out with your new album, “Born to Be Blue”. What are your plans for the near future?
“I will continue performing in Sonoma County and beyond. I have no illusions about this business. It is hard and musicians fight for every dollar. I was told many years ago. ‘If you don’t play for dancers, you’re not going to make any money. If you’re a singer, you’re probably not going to make any money, and if you sing jazz, you’re never going to make any money…’ Oh well, then love is it for me, because I’m going to sing jazz for people who want to listen.…