JANE MANGINI & RICK BERLIN — longstanding friends, bandmates and laughing fools — have collaborated!
Introducing The Cha Cha Club!
Here’s the story of The Cha Cha Club according to Rick:
I had to have a tooth pulled in New Jersey, not far from the Poconos where Jane and Travis live. Time to visit. We wine and dine and float on a pontoon around their gorgeous lake. Then Jane and I head down a path to her Moose Lodge Studio to hear her self-created “calliope” tracks for a Nickel & Dime song (CARNIVAL) — at an explosive volume. (Both our ears are shot.)
A lightbulb flash.
“Jane. We should learn a bunch of my tunes and play out at least once as a duo.”
“As long as I can pick the songs.” (Lakeland drawl.)
“You pick, I’ll sing.”
We left it at that til I got home and realized we should make a record. For the Nickel & Dime band, Jane would come up with her parts and fly them to TJ to blend into the band’s tracks. No need to contaminate ourselves in a live studio environment. For THE CHA CHA CLUB Jane did the same, but this time, ALL the tracks and sent ‘em to me to sing over. TA DA! An ancient drag queen smashed a bottle of nasty Brut on The Great Ship Cha Cha (actually a row boat) and we set sail.
I sent her 29 demos to choose from — songs the Nickel & Dime band would never learn. (The Cha Cha Club being the only one I nudged her on and the first she recorded).
Here’s the thing — JANE PLAYS EVERYTHING! I mean it. A one-woman musical decathlon. Drums, percussion, bass, guitar, trumpet, tuba, trombone, sax, organ, stand-up bass, harmonica… You name it, she plays it. Samples that don’t sound sampled. A vocal here ‘n there. Incredible varied tracks built up for the 10 songs she chose. I wrote ‘em, but in the same way Nickel & Dime rehearses my songs, Jane translated them into her own masterful musical planetarium. (I’d use the ‘G’ word here but she’d be embarrassed.) She has faultless musical taste. Each song treated genre specific and vibe appropriate. I sang ‘em here at home via GarageBand. Jane wove what I did into the mix (although I spent some time at Bitch Kitty with TJ re-EQ-ing a bit to make them, well, less GarageBandy).
Finally, I edited 8 of the 10 songs as music videos for our YouTube Channel THE CHA CHA CLUB NOIR