Queen Of The Roadkings
Lauri Hofer celebrates CD release following Iron Angels bike rally.
Thursday, September 6, 2001
Lauri Hofer and her band Lorelei and the RoadKings, featuring Terry Hiatt and other local heroes, will play at Ocean Thunder Saturday night.
It''s the Sunday morning of this year''s AT&T Pro-Am weekend, and the thermometer is climbing to an unseason- able 78 degrees in Monterey. It''s the kind of February weather that promoters of the annual golf tournament could only dream about, the kind of weather that beckons motorcyclists to rumble their bikes out of the garage and catch a face full of wind. It''s the precious kind of day you don''t want to waste inside a darkened tavern. But that''s exactly where Lauri Hofer and her band, Lorelei and the RoadKings, find themselves.
The band has come together with a small group of early-risers at Ocean Thunder in Monterey to record Hofer''s first CD as the front person for her own band. In the past, she''s appeared as a backup singer on several albums, including both Kaye Bohler''s and Terry Hiatt''s most recent offerings. This time, she''s in the driver''s seat. The problem is, the vehicle seems to be spluttering. At least that''s the way it seems to Hofer.
To begin with, the band doesn''t play together very often, they get together every couple of months at Ocean Thunder and knock out a few sets of jazzy, bluesy material that''s powered by Hofer''s soulful, spontaneous vocals. With veteran musicians Hiatt and Ronnie Parker on guitars, Endre Tarczy on keyboards and Mark Lopez on drums, the group has enough confidence to experiment onstage and still sound tight. Especially at night, when everyone at the bar''s had a couple drinks. But here it is, broad daylight, it''s a recording for chrissake, and the audience and the band are drinking coffee.
"That''s the best thing about the album," says Hofer. "Everything is fast. We were all drinking coffee and all the performances sound immediate--you can''t tell what I''m going to sing until I sing it."
It''s almost seven months later, the sun is shining and Hofer is drinking a coffee at Morgan''s. She''s talking about how good the album turned out, despite the fact that she and the band were disheartened following the show.
"As they left, everyone in the band apologized to me," says Hofer. She gives credit to engineer Richard Bryant for the album''s success. "He really made a silk purse out of this sow''s ear."
Make no mistake, it is a silk purse. Not so much a smooth shiny silk, but more of a raw silk, with lots of texture. It''s an album that does a great job of capturing the band''s live sound, and accomplishes one of Hofer''s goals--to provide a CD for potential booking agents. Up until now, the band has played almost exclusively at Ocean Thunder, but Hofer would like to see the band get more gigs both around town and outside the area.
While this album is filled with cover tunes, Hofer turns the songs on their ears so that they''re all-but unrecognizable. "Day Tripper" is a slowly sensuous number, while "Baby I Love You" has just a touch of second-line funk giving it a propulsive drive.
The album''s closing number, "Can You Hear the Thunder," is the only original song, a dedication of sorts to Ocean Thunder and its owner Ray Askew, who gave Hofer and her band a place to play as well as suggesting the band''s name.
Hofer''s CD release party comes at the end of the Iron Angels Run, a special event put together by Askew to commemorate motorcyclists who have lost their lives while riding.
"It started about three years ago," says Askew. "The Harley Davidson and sportsbike motorcycle community had lost five men in accidents, and one of the young ladies in town wanted to have a memorial for one of her friends. Then someone asked if we were going to do it again. So, we did it last year. I''m thinking about making it an annual event."
The pack of motorcyclists will leave Bill Enders'' Monterey Custom motorcycle shop in Seaside about 2pm, head up to Jacks Peak, where there''ll be a memorial service, and end at Ocean Thunder. "Then we''ll have a party, because that''s how our brothers and sisters would have liked it," Askew says.
"It''s kind of an opportunity for everyone to get together, remember those who have lost their lives in the wind, and remind ourselves of what we have to be careful about in this sport."