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Perpetual Change –Too Much Information

| Aug 30, 2010
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Too Much Information, or just TMI, is a band from the Tucson, Arizona area that has been featured here before, in November 2006 and again in April, 2008. Primarily a cover band, they are always expanding their song list, and beginning to include original material in the live sets. TMI is also a mix of individual musicians who represent different persuasions of the GLBT spectrum, as well as including some straight allies.

It’s sometimes a “given” that bands made up of largely trans or GLBT oriented folks will have a difficult time getting in the door at non-community specific gigs. Although TMI has performed at both Southern Comfort (2007) and IFGE (2008) events, they also play more than their share of straight club gigs. In 2006, they were voted runner-up in the category of “Best Cover Band” at the Tucson Music Awards.

The last couple of years has seen TMI have something of a revolving door when it comes to filling the drum throne. There have been a couple of other changes as well, and founding members C. Michael Woodward (lead vocals) and Jennifer Lopez (guitar, vocals) took the time a while back to talk about the new members of TMI, and what the future holds for this very talented and dedicated group of musicians from out West.

TGForum: It’s been a while since we’ve talked. Let me see if I have the current band roster update. Besides Michael and Jennifer as original members, TMI also includes Sandra Starling, bass; Traci Payer, vocals; and Bruce Blackstone, lead guitar, correct? I know that drummer Susie Banes left and was replaced by Steve Harris, but he was only filling in until you found someone permanently.

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Michael: Jerry Diaz is our new(ish) drummer. We’re really lucky to have him. He’s in two or three other bands in town as well. I’ve known him for years but had never heard him play until he came to audition. He blew us all away.
We’ve also had a number of special guests joins us for shows over the last couple of years. Dave Perez on lead guitar and vocals, Rachel Gold on keyboards and vocals, Dave Resto on drums, and Julie Nicolay on brass and vocals. Perez sits in fairly regularly. (Author’s note: The current line-up, since this interview was conducted, has changed to include Bill Placenza, drums and Perez as an almost full-time member. At least these two are in the most recent band photo.)

TGF: TMI is still primarily a cover band?

Jennifer: Yes, but our list of originals continues to grow.

TGF: In one of the previous interviews with you, two original songs, Full Disclosure, and Down In New Orleans, were mentioned. At that time, you talked about starting work on incorporating more originals into the live set. I take it you’re writing more these days?

Michael: In addition to those two, we’ve added Jennifer’s new originals, One More Exit To Go, and The Heart Of You. There’s a silly parody called Be Nice To A Lesbian added to our play list. Jennifer is also working on finishing another four songs not yet titled. It would be great to get these all on a CD.

TGF: You’ve played both SCC and IFGE conventions over the last couple of years. Any similar events coming up?

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Jennifer: TMI has not been back to SCC, but hopes to be asked again when the economy improves. We did play for the National Stonewall Democrats convention last fall. We have a few other irons in the fire.

TGF: Is most of your gigging still in Arizona?

Jennifer: Yeah, for the most part, mainly in Tucson, although we have also played in Phoenix, Sahaurita, Bisbee, and Nogales.

TGF: I also remember that you were involved with a local community based organization. Are you still involved?

Michael: You are probably thinking of Wingspan, southern Arizona’s GLBT community center. That’s basically what brought us all together. We all met through the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance (SAGA), Wingspan’s trans advocacy and support program-at least the core group-Jennifer, Michael and Sandra. Wingspan has been struggling financially like so many other organizations, and there’s been a lot of changes there. We’re still supportive of the center, of course, but we weren’t able to participate in a recent fundraiser concert they had. That was too bad, but a couple of us had scheduling conflicts.

TGF: This is probably a very political question, but here goes. Given the possibility of getting some form of ENDA passed, do you feel there’s any kind of “shift” in acceptance of the GLBT community, and the trans community in particular? I’m interested especially since where you live is considered a very conservative area.

Michael: Well, with all the hoopla around Amanda Simpson’s appointment, I would have to say definitely yes, there is a shift. Most of us in the band know Amanda and we’re thrilled with her appointment. I expected it would get some attention. I did not anticipate the level of attention it’s been getting, mostly thanks to David Letterman’s tasteless skit. But over all, it’s been a very good thing for the transgender community specifically. Probably more so than the larger GLBT community, which seems to be bouncing between big steeps forward and backwards. Trans rights, meanwhile, quietly progress forward.

TGF: There has been more exposure lately for videos with crossdressing and trans and/or gender bending musicians in general. Think in terms of Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl video and American Idol’s Adam Lambert. What’s your impression of this trend and do you think it helps trans musicians and bands such as TMI?

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Michael: I think it’s a sign that society is beginning to lighten up on those strict binaries we’ve clung to so desperately for so long. People are starting to get that gender expression is just another way to communicate, and everyone does it a little differently.

TGF: What’s in the musical future for TMI? Anything you can share at this time?

Jennifer: I think the future of TMI looks great. We have a great following, and we are often asked when we will have a CD available. That is my dream-to put TMI originals onto a CD.

Michael: We’re also looking at shooting a video of The Heart Of You. But it all takes time and money, neither of which we have in abundance.

TGF: Anything you’d like to say in closing?

Michael: Thanks for keeping in touch!

For more information on TMI, please check out their web site at www.tmi-band.com Also, they’re on Reverbnation, Facebook, and MySpace.

ALSO THIS MONTH

Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes sent an update about his House Of Joy CD, which was reviewed here in January. The CD has now moved to #7 on the OutVoice music charts, with the song I Wanna Know at #3. Listeners can vote for the CD at www.outvoice.net/votechart, and for the single song at
www.outvoice.net/votesongchart . Visit Roger at www.rogeranthonymapes.com , and on Facebook.


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Category: Music

Pam Degroff

About the Author ()

Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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