This is a rather unusual post for me. I was checking my YouTube channel – Sonni Quick Improv Piano – when I saw this video. Fascinating. A deaf member of the royal family and mother of the current Prince Andrew, husband of the Queen, who the royal family tried to make disappear and even locked her up. Taken away by men in white coats , speaking her from her 5 children. In one sanatarium she was treated by Sigmund Freud, who heavily xrayed her ovaries , without her consent, thinking she would be sent into early menapause. He thought he could alter her desire for sex because she claimed to have a sexual relationship with Jesus. When she wasn’t locked up she did much to help the needy during the two world wars and also wars between other countries. The video includes quite a number of videos during the time period of 1885 – 1969 and includes footage of WWI and WWII and what this royal did with her life. There were videos of the royal family never seen before this program .
This video is about 45 minutes long so watch it when you have time . I didn’t intend to watch the entire video but it kept unraveling more story . Enjoy and thanks for watching!
This is older piece of music, recorded 3-4 years ago before I bought my white piano. The piano I had at this time was 15 years old. I was crushed when it started to die. I used it from 2000-2015 when I lived in Key West.
A piano tech worked on it. Unfortunately, the company that made the piano, Technics, a Japanese brand, stopped making it. It was impossible to get a main board replacement in the US. I would have to send the piano to the UK to get it fixed. That wasn’t practical. A local business that repaired keyboards opened it up and found corrosion growing on the main board. He did what he could to clean it off the components that was causing the keys to stop playing, one at a time. Because it was impossible to clean off every speck it would come back, just like decay would grow on a tooth. He told me that when it failed again, he wouldn’t be able to patch it up again. The piano might work for a week or maybe a year, but it would eventually fail. So when the first key started failing I went shopping! The piano still had some life left so I gave it to a piano student who needed it. It was still better than the one he had.
I was playing a Yamaha electric grand back then in the distant past of the eighties. The piano was elevated on a platform so I could stand. I had to raise my foot to the platform to work the pedal. The grand piano sound was awesome. This very heavy elephant was carried in two wood cases that took more strength than I had to carry. (that is what roadies are for!) It had a full harp to attach to the back. It could be raised and supported like a wood grand piano. The keys had a heavy action ( keyboard players understand what that is. ) The harder you play the more sound it makes. The spring back is slower. Totally opposite of playing a keyboard with the action of an organ. The harder the action the more control you have over the sound. You end up with strong hands and strong forearm. Playing that piano was a workout. I loved it. Even today the cost of one in good condition hasn’t depreciated much in 40 years. You’ll play around 3 grand.
I eventually gave that piano to my son, Robo Quick, who was playing boogie woogie and he really gave that piano a bigger workout than I did. When I was playing R&R I played so hard I had callouses on my finger tips like a guitar player. I often split the callouses by the end of the night and they would bleed. My music today is so different.
I’ll try to find an old picture of a stage performance playing it in my archive and add it (after I scan it in). The band I was with – The Robin Crow band – was sponsored by Nike so I’m probably wearing their gear.
This is the keyboard I bought and use now. I fell in love with it. (That’s nutty, I know) It has been my baby ever since. I put it on a rack instead of the legs that came with it so I can stand and play – easier to move up and down the keyboard – or lean on a tall stool. I don’t like to sit down and play. It’s too confining.
When I record music that strikes a nerve inside, grabs me in my chest, I know I’ll keep it. But I have also deleted music many times that didn’t say what I wanted it to say. I honestly don’t know how I spontaneously play these pieces. Where does it come from. I knew at age 7 this was what I was striving to play. I could hear it. Almost anyone can “learn” to play the piano with enough practice. But when you take away the written music, can you play? Improvising can cause fear. What if you make too many mistakes? What if you can’t play? What if its terrible?
I don’t plan what I’m going to play ahead of time. Some call it, ‘ playing by ear’. I don’t think about chord structure, or even the time signature. There are other improv players. I search them out to see how their music makes me feel, but many just show off technique, trying to impress you with their skill, how fast they can play, but the music has no beginning, middle and end. There is no story. There is no emotion.
You have no idea how good it feels to let music flow out of your fingers. Dancers feel that when they dance – not choreographed dance steps – instead, letting the music make you move. Some people have no way to do that and turn to other ways to make them feel. Sometimes drugs – alcohol – sex. I remember the day I recorded “Sadness”. The emotions that day were very heavy. Emotion makes me want to play. I have to.
It has been a long time since I really listened to this piece from beginning to end and felt it, like I did the day I recorded it. Indeed, the music is very sad and haunting. It brought back memories. I hope you enjoy it.
Here are a couple more photos of many history
Because of the book I’m writing and the music I’m recording, this will determine success or failure when it is all published together. I believe this is the project that will define me as a musician to the public. All of the years of playing and teaching, and other crisis and events happening in between, has brought me to this place. I’ve been working on this book/soundtrack for 3 years, writing, re-writing, learning. I can see the end now, but still have lots to do.
Jamie, in prison, needs this to be successful as much as I do – to give him a start when he is released from prison, and to help me live – period – as I go through these last ( hopefully) decades of my life. Leave something behind for my future generations (of musicians) to understand where their music comes from.
Just like everything else on the web, stats play a huge part in how much traffic you get. Some people use stats to determine if they’ll even click on a song, or share it.
But getting a new “fan” or “follower” doesn’t mean anything if they don’t come back or share your site with others. It’s hard to grow a new audience from scratch. There is a lot of competition for a few minutes of your time – there are so many other places to go on the web. The attention span of many people these days is roughly only seconds before they click on something else. It’s also hard to stay connected with those who also have websites that need support as well, when you are busy working on your own. Then there is the daily communication with friends. That takes time. That is a lot of plates to spin.
It would mean a tremendous amount to me if you went to my website – http://sonniquick.net and looked around. It’s an important website for me. I use it a lot when I am promoting my music to various places and people, when I want to be taken seriously as a musician – an older musician – a dinosaur with a lot more music inside. Many in the business still focus on the youth.
Someday maybe they’ll get it. Experience brings quality. At least we now have indie music and indie book publishing so we can promote ourselves. Not long ago your age kicked you to the curb if the music industry didn’t want you, or book publishers wouldn’t give you the time of day.
Good skin does not make good music, and just because a major book publisher doesn’t want you doesn’t mean you don’t have a good book. But you have to be willing to do the work to get it out there, you have a solid chance at success. 15 hour days are not unusual for me with multiple projects going.
You can help by subscribing to many mailing list at the website below (I promise not to abuse your email) and open it to see how production is coming along and listen to new music. Maybe then you’ll be interested in having the entire project and a soundtrack to listen to when it is completed. Thanks to all followers for everything. ( you know who you are.)
This is one of my mother’s many stories: No one had a private telephone number when I was a little girl. Telephone calls were made on party lines. Other people on the line were able to hear your conversations if they wanted to. The telephone was not used to sit and gab about anything you didn’t want to be repeated. There were three other people on our line. 219 ring 1, 11, 111 or 1111. You would know the call was for you by how many times it rang at the end. You could only hope the other three homes on the 219 exchange would not listen in, but you couldn’t stop them But some people had reputations for being a“nosy parker” and your private conversation might be gossiped all over the neighborhood. As gossip flies the story usually takes on a life of it’s own.
In the 1930’s our house was the first house in S.Walpole, Mass to have a phone. It was called a candlestick phone. It had a rod on a base and the part to go to your ear held the receiver down. When the ear piece is lifted it opened the line to dial. The first phones, though, had no dial with numbers. You flicked up and down the metal the ear piece hung which signaled the phone operator you needed to be connected to someone. Every time the phone rang we jumped because it rang so seldom. We would wonder who could it possibly be?
There was a woman who lived near us – she was actually the only heavyset person I knew because being overweight was not the norm. This woman would come over and ask to use our phone. I would sit and listen to hear because she would gossip and spent a long time talking. We never used the phone unless it was a necessary. It was not used for calling and gossiping about other people.
Being a switchboard operator was one type of job a woman was able to do that was acceptable as she wasn’t welcome in a man’s world, or thought intelligent enough to have the business sense of a man. Unfortunately, women are still having to fight to be treated equally. Could that possibly be the older male ego that doesn’t like to relinquish the top dog position? I think the generations that came after have gotten past the “honey” and “sweetie” names a boss used to keep women in their place.
This conversation came up today as we drank our morning cup of coffee. My mother and I can talk for hours. At age 83, she is recuperating from a stroke. I moved in with her a month ago as she is becoming stronger with in home therapists. We decided to make memory recordings. She has such wonderful stories, many of them from generations I never had a chance to spend time with. When her life is over the stories will be gone. Many of her stories I have heard over and over and have enjoyed every telling. I realized, years from now I wouldn’t be able to hear them again. I knew the stories, but I wouldn’t hear her voice and neither would anyone else.
She was raised during the depression by her grandmother who had a job for the war effort operating a drill press. My mother’s grandfather died young of a heart attack leaving his wife with no means to care for herself or their granddaughter they had custody of since she was only a little older than a toddler. My great-grandmother knew, you do what you have to do. Born in 1890 she had only been a homemaker who had never had a job outside the home. She had to find a way to care for my mother. She herself had heart problems and her doctor told her she probably wouldn’t live past another five years. The determination and will to live affects many things. She knew she had to raise my mother. When my mother married she moved into their new home and lived with us until she passed away when I was 14. She was very old-school when it came to discipline. Children today could use some of that discipline!
One of the effects of the stroke my mother had was how it has affected her memory. It wasn’t as obvious at first, but chunks of memory were missing; not in any order, just holes of missing time, like Swiss cheese. Fortunately many of the holes were of things she would rather not remember. I realized that it was important for every one; my children and grandchildren to be able to hear her voice telling her stories. How many times have we looked at photographs of people in our past and have to look at the back of the picture to find out who the people were. We might realize then who the people were but we know nothing about their lives. My mother and her stories are worth hearing.
I have been asked by current family members, “Why do you have to put your life “out there” for the world to read? For no other reason than it is my life and my choice. In a way it is documenting that I existed. So, in my way I am preserving the life and the memories of my mother.
This was surprising! I didn’t know he competed for the Mr Universe title in 1955. He must have competed for other titles before this. Look at those legs! Beautiful. So I thought I’d share a little eye candy with you today.
How does it feel to go back to the home where you spent your entire childhood, to find that the people living there now had let it slide into a trash pit? Pretty darn bad. The only memories of my childhood were of living in that house. Looking at pictures in my old photo albums, from the time I was an infant, when I was named Deborah Fritz until I graduated from high school, leaves me with a longing to go back and spend a little time in a piece of my life from years ago. They were happy years. My life before I transformed into Sonni Quick
Memories often have a way of filtering out the bad times, leaving only the highlights of the times you want to remember. I think I was fortunate because I remember a childhood that was filled with good times and had parents who spent time creating a family that did family things together. We celebrated all major holidays and birthdays and went camping, took drives for ice cream, had picnics and went to the shore and rode bikes on the boardwalk and jumped in the waves. I have so many pictures that chronicle our life. I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone’s. I didn’t learn to appreciate it until I was all grown up and far, far away. Then there was no going back. It was over, almost in a blink of an eye.
Many years later, after my own children were grown, with children of their own, I stood in front of our house again. Even after all these years the house still wore the same paint and the street numbers I painted on the front door was still there, although one of the numbers tilted to the side. The paint was dingy, there was trash on the porch and beat up curtains hung at the windows.
The house looks like an Archie Bunker style house, on a numbered street in a neighborhood of street after street of half-a-doubles; two homes connected by a center wall, each set of homes separated by two walkways that led to a back yard. When I stood in the yard I could look left and right through the yards of every home on the block. My Great Nana Ferden grew flowers, but growing up I wasn’t aware of the love she put into them.
The sound of children playing could be heard everywhere. We didn’t want to be inside. That was punishment. We played kickball in the alley or walked a half block to Manatawny Park to play in the splash pool or play box hockey with the big kids. We bounced balls against the wall of the original Dolly Madison Ice Cream Factory across the street. We knew to be home when the street lights came on. Dinner was always the same time and we always at dinner together as a family, something so few children know today.
Today the flowers are gone. The sidewalks down the side of the house are so overgrown you can’t see them. I walked down the alley and looked into the backyard so overgrown and filled with trash. I didn’t want to imagine what the inside of the house looked like. My father had kept everything looking nice. The difference is, when we lived there it was a home with love. Now it was just a house. Probably rented by people who felt no need or desire to keep it looking nice.
If I squinted and looked through my eyelashes I could pretend it was the same place and I had come home. I knocked on the door of the house it connected to. The woman who lived there was the same woman who lived there from the time I was baby until I left for college, 40-some years ago. She peeked through the door, looked me up and down and said, “Who the fuck are you?”
When I walked down the porch steps and went to my car, I turned around for one last look and waved goodbye. Only the ghosts of the past waved back.