2018 Archive

Bio - Yvonne Ervin - Past Director of The Tucson Jazz Festival - (RIP)

Yvonne Ervin was an active board member of the International Association of Jazz Educators and also worked as a jazz journalist for print and radio, interviewing more than 150 jazz legends. Ervin was the founding executive director of the Tucson Jazz Society and marketing director for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. She organized the Primavera Jazz Fest, the world’s longest-running women’s jazz festival and produced the first Jazz on the Border: The Mingus Project, a weeklong festival in Nogales Arizona and Sonora. Ervin also stage managed the Apollo Theater in NYC and produced the memorials for jazz greats Abbey Lincoln and Hank Jones at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, NYC.

Note: Sadly, Yvonne passed away in late 2018, leaving behind an incredible legacy. Her devotion to jazz and especially the Tucson Jazz Festival will be a hard act to follow.

  • How Yvonne became involved with the festival
  • Yvonne & “Bitches Brew”
  • Yvonne is works hard as do her volunteers
  • Downtown Jazz Fiesta Lineup (Monday, January 15)
  • Headlining Festival Artists (January 11 – January 21)
  • The Mingus Dynasty
  • Jazz On The Border – The Mingus Project (April 2018)
  • The Jazz scene in Tucson and it’s future
  • Half of the attendees are from out of town!
  • Yvonne’s “Bucket List” for future festivals & concerts
  • Jimmy Heath’s work with students
  • Festival Demographics
  • Rapid Fire
  • Favorite Jazz Artist?
  • Charles Mingus
  • Best Concert Yvonne has attended?
  • Favorite show Yvonne’s produced?
  • Future
  • Festival ticket and newsletter information
Bio - Veteran Drummer - John Lewis

When two drummers get together, drums and drumming usually crawls into the conversation. Veteran drummer John Lewis and Ricardo met in a coffee shop in Scottsdale, AZ and talked percussion, the importance of reading music, respecting your fellow musicians and music in general. John shares his experiences and knowledge of music in this episode. Note: On location sessions usually have background sounds. This episode has customers ordering and drinking coffee, conversations and emergency vehicles driving by. Just how we like it. Real.

John Lewis is a much in demand musician who has been drumming since age nine. He has recorded and toured with Melissa Manchester, Willie Nelson, The 5th Dimension, The Judds, Natalie Cole, Gary Puckett, Rick Braun, Michael McDonald, M.C. Ren, Gloria Trevi and tons more artists. Among his other projects include jingles, film and television recordings for Toyota, Pioneer stereos, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, and Disney shows. John’s extensive experience in all genres, touring and studio work gives him the knowledge to offer advise to all musicians no matter their level of talent or experience. John is endorsed by DW Drums, Zidjian cymbals, Pro-Mark sticks, Rhythm Tech and Aquarian drumheads

  • John’s roots and musical education
  • Electric drums & triggers
  • The importance of Networking & “Social” media for musicians
  • The importance of studying and reading music (MAIN TAKEAWAY #1)
  • Playing “musically”
  • How to keep working as a musician (Always keep learning)
  • What you need to know as a musician starting out (Hint: Be responsible!)
  • The chemistry of being a touring musician
  • Why music is like being a doctor (Make ’em feel good!)
  • Click tracks and sampling
  • Working with other percussionists (Stay in your lane!)
  • Most memorable musical moment
  • Most disappointing gig
  • John’s “A-Ha” drum moment
  • The ultimate Jeff Porcaro tip if your snare drum head breaks
  • A song that John relentlessly practiced until he got it down
  • Favorite drummer per genre ( And a quick Google search…)
  • Future
  • The Pay, The Music , The Hang (Enjoy playing!)

“Some of the best stuff is hidden deep in the record” – John

Bio - Guitarist - Desiree Apolonio Bassett

Imagine being asked to perform on a three year world tour with Cirque du Soleil as the featured guitarist for the Michael Jackson:Immortal tour. At the age of 17. Imagine sharing the stage with Sammy Hagar, Ted Nugent, the Marshall Tucker Band, Living Color, Foghat and many others.Also imagine releasing your first of three albums at age 16. Imagine having Joe Satriani (among others) as your guitar hero. Desiree Apolonio Bassett has done this and much more all before the age of 26! She is a talented musician, songwriter and producer and continues to gain respect and admiration from her fans and her musician peers.

At age 12 Desiree won the Talent America’s Musician of Year in New York City. She continued to perform in her teen years drawing rave reviews and respect from her peers. At 15, she recorded her first album, “Power & Force”. She also was invited to play with Sammy Hagar, Jimmie Vaughn and others. By 17, she was asked to be lead guitarist for the Michael Jackson:Immortal World Tour following in the footsteps of Jennifer Batten and Orianthi. The tour would last three years. Since then Desiree has recorded two more albums of original music, toured the world, sat in with some of music’s best musicians and performs with her own band, Time Machine. During the Immortal tour, she also learned about doing her own face make up and you’ll see her at trade shows and performances wearing her unique style of designs.

Desiree’s Website

  • Starting to play guitar at age three!
  • The “A-ha” moment at age 12
  • Forming her band “Time Machine” at 15
  • Family and support system
  • The awesome Cirque du Soleil; Michael Jackson: Immortal Tour story
  • Getting the gig
  • Creating her make up / persona for the tour
  • Most memorable performance during the tour
  • The Legacy Tour with William Hall
  • Performing with Time Machine
  • Moving to Las Vegas?
  • Advice for young musicians
  • Dealing with anxiety and depression
  • Advice for male musicians working with female musicians
  • Michael Jackson
  • Desiree’s Favorite Guitarist (hint: Joe Satriani)
  • Favorite music to listen to (hint: Killswitch Engage)
  • What has changed most in the industry?
  • Desiree’s band – Time Machine
  • Pedals & effects

“Stay true to yourself and have fun with what you’re doing!” – Desiree

Bio - El Rey Del Mambo - Tito Puente Jr.

In Spanish, “puente” means bridge. Tito Jr, the son of the legendary Tito Puente has managed to “bridge” his fathers legacy of incredible music to a new generation of fans and musicians. From growing up playing drums in death metal bands to leading his own orchestra, Tito Jr. has traveled the world sharing the music and style of his father.This session was insightful, at times serious, at times hilarious. We think you’ll enjoy this episode and learn more about Latin music and the legacy of Tito, Tito Jr and their music. We recorded this episode as Tito Jr. relaxed at his South Florida home.

You can’t discuss Latin music or music in general without mentioning the great Tito Puente. After his passing, his son Tito Jr. decided to keep his fathers legacy of incredible music alive by forming his own orchestra and exposing his fathers music to a new generation. His remix of ‘”Oye Como Va” shot up the charts and won a Latin Grammy award. Tito Jr. has toured the world in front of sell out crowds as he continues to inspire and share his fathers music. Tito Jr. is working on a new album and his latest release “Mi Socio” became an instant hit. If you want to hear timeless music and dance a little, or a lot, go see Tito Puente Jr. when he comes to your town. 

Follow Tito on Instagram

  • Growing up with dad
  • Playing drums and listening to death metal
  • Latin drummers are Familia
  • Ricardo meeting Tito in concert
  • Being a bandleader
  • The Puente Sound
  • Advice for students and young musicians
  • You Gotta Learn to Read!!
  • Network with other musicians and you’ll always work
  • Latin Music today
  • Working with A.B. Quintanella
  • Re-recording “Oye Como Va”
  • The void Tito left and carrying on the legacy
  • Mexican Artists & Female Artists
  • Tito touring the world
  • The Power of Music: Jenn Kaye
  • Parkland Florida School Shooting
  • Rapid Fire
  • Willie Colon
  • Carlos Enriquez (one of many…)
  • Victor Manuelle
  • Celia Cruz
  • Santos Colon
  • Charlie & Eddie Palmieri
  • Machito
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Future (one of the best answers of any episode)
Everything Insurance Founder - Kimi Donahue - Insurance and Musicians

Kimi Donahue makes talking about insurance painless and interesting. She also loves to talk about music, her love for metal bands (Metallica, Pantera, Moterhead, etc.) and is competitive in all aspects of her life. We spent just a few minutes talking about insurance and then rolled into music and lifestyle. It was a conversation that all musicians and creatives could learn from. Dedication and commitment.

Kimi Donahue is a dedicated and respected insurance agent and recruiter who also loves music, especially metal, is a competitive shooter, a great mom and into fitness and nutrition. She also shreds on guitar! Kimi does everything at full throttle and still finds time to relax and recharge. In this session we discuss not only insurance, but the dedication it takes to be your best. Something all musicians and creatives can learn from. Kimi’s Daily Positive Affirmation: I’m the best at many things.” As a musician and creative, you should consider this as your daily motivation to get things done and live life to the fullest.

When you’re shopping for insurance for your personal or business needs, be sure the agent and agency you choose is one you connect with and trust. Sort of like you, your fans and your music….

Kimi’s Insurance Agency

  • Which insurance for musicians to choose? Personal or business?
  • Planning for your future
  • Guitarist Kimi!
  • Let’s talk Metal!
  • A workout playlist
  • How does Kimi relax?
  • Competitive shooting
  • Fitness, Nutrition and mindset
  • Choosing an agent or agency
  • Rapid Fire
  • Advise for musicians and creatives: “Be You!”
Bio - Beat Cancer Boot Camp Founder - Anita 'Sarge' Kellman


In 2001, Anita attended a Navy Seal exercise class and in 2004 she adapted these techniques to start an intensive support group built around physical fitness, instead of “woe is me”, where she shares her knowledge, experience and infectious enthusiasm. Anita created KBCBC to empower cancer survivors and patients to be able to take charge of their lives while teaching them to condition their bodies and minds for the fight of their lives. Now with thousands of Troop members throughout the United States involved and reporting improved quality of life, her mission is expanding this powerful program throughout the country to help cancer patients and survivors conquer their fears and take charge of their health.

In our conversation, Anita talks about the inspiration for Beat Cancer Boot Camp, how her program help not only cancer survivors, but their families as well. Sarge also has advice for musicians who are on tour. Simply, there’s no excuse for not getting in some exercise. You don’t need a fancy gym. Just some simple routines that anyone can do. Anita is always available to inspire and motivate an audience as a speaker, getting the crowd fired up with some jumping jacks and supporting causes like cancer research. The importance of community and family support is key to giving cancer survivors the confidence and strength they need to continue in life.

Note; The events she talks about in the interview have passed. But you can see her commitment to the events she discusses and other programs that seek her out.

  • The inspiration behind Beat Cancer Boot Camp
  • The importance of exercising outdoors
  • Community Support
  • Appearing on “The Biggest Loser”
  • Best success story
  • Exercise advice for musicians:
  • Exercise anywhere
  • Some nutrition tips


“It takes strength, courage and confidence to look fear in the face and do the things you think you can’t do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Bio - Traumatic Stress Consultant - Paige Valdiserri

Paige Valdiserri is an internationally recognized Traumatic Stress & Integrative Healing Consultant. She is a highly regarded speaker, author, consultant, healer, coach and trainer. As a Board-Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress, Paige is also a Licensed Professional Counselor, Energy Medicine Healer, Biodynamic Craniosacral Trauma Therapist, Body Therapist, Master Reiki Teacher, Biofeedback practitioner, Shamanic healer, Spiritual intuitive, Kundalini Yoga instructor, Subconscious Restructure Coach, clairvoyant, empath and body intuitive. The healing approach she developed, Biodynamic Energetic Body Therapy (BEBT), integrates various forms of Biodynamic and Bioenergetic healing, unique dialoguing techniques, clairvoyant and intuitive abilities, and draws from each of the modalities mentioned above in a way that is tailored to meet the needs of each individual client

Everyone has had to deal with stress, anxiety, depression in their lives. Sometimes it can get into a dangerous situation. The answer is to ask for help. If not from your circle of friends and family, at least from an expert who knows the best ways to guide you through the issues. Knowing where the problem originated is the first step to healing. Musicians and creatives are three times as likely to deal with these issues than are non-musicians. We put so much into our passion and have the pressure of the industry and society that adds to the level of stress in our careers.

  • What are stress, anxiety and depression?
  • Depression and the effects on musicians / creatives
  • Affecting musicians three times more than non musicians
  • Music Tank
  • Social Media and “The Mask”
  • Talent vs. Image for Female Musicians
  • How your environment affects you
  • Paige’s healing techniques
  • Neuro-Bio Feedback
  • “The L.I.F.E. System”
  • Frequency & Vibration
  • The “Mental Health” stigma
  • A Retreat for Musicians
  • The “Red Bag” Book
  • Building a support system
  • “Paige-isms”

“Everyone has been made for some particular work and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” – RUMI


Bio - Gina Gillis of AFSP.org

Suicide among musicians and creatives is a growing issue. The stress of the industry, the lack of a support system and other factors add to the problem.Gina Gillis is the Southern Arizona Ambassador for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This interview talks about how to get involved and where to seek solutions to mental health issues. We also talk about the events Gina is organizing and her love for punk music!

“if you can fight your way in and out of a mosh pit, you can do anything!” – Gina Gillis

Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death. Since its founding in 1987, AFSP has:

  • Mobilized and connected tens of thousands of people who have lost a family member, loved one, or friend to suicide
  • Reached thousands of individuals who are at risk for suicide, as well as those who love and care for them
  • Attracted the participation of members of the scientific and clinical communities, who conduct groundbreaking research on suicide and its prevention with support from AFSP
  • Established local chapters in all 50 states
  • Educated hundreds of local communities about suicide and how to prevent it
  • Created a public policy and lobbying arm by merging successfully with an existing national policy organization, thus enabling AFSP to press for legislation and policies at the federal, state and local levels that advance the goal of preventing suicide
  • Substantially increased our funding from individual donors, including the thousands of highly motivated individuals who participate in our Out of the Darkness Walks
  • Educated reporters and the media about how to best cover suicide
  • Communicated with hundreds of thousands of individuals through our website, social media, brochures, speakers and efforts to generate press coverage
  • What is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention?
  • The ‘mental health’ stigma
  • Community Involvement & Connectivity
  • Suicide in the music community
  • Gina’s personal experience
  • Suicide is the not the answer – other oprions
  • Gina’s top 5 punk bands
  • Support from local leaders
  • Rapid Fire:
  • What’s been your best experience promoting AFSP?
  • Legacy or Money
  • Advise for young people
  • “Every feeling you have is temporary.”
  • Reaching out is a sign of strength, not weakness

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255.

TEXT HOME to 741741

(So.AZ Counties) call 844-733-9912

(Pima County) call 520-770-9909

Bio - Journalist Neto Portillo Jr.
Ernesto ‘Neto’ Portillo Jr. is a proud Tucsonian who prides himself as ‘An advocate for the unheard voices’. He is a respected journalist and columnist for the Arizona Daily Star and the editor of the Spanish language version of the paper, ‘La Estrella de Tucson.’ He also has a love for the diverse music and cultural scene in Tucson and Southern Arizona. Unafraid to share his opinions on any subject makes this episode one that you’ll enjoy from start to finish.

Neto has written extensively on the culture and music of the Chicano culture in Tucson as well as stories that no one else would cover. He has his opinions on a variety of topics and not afraid to share them. His storytelling technique is heartfelt. His love for music started with his father’s influence thru his work on radio. Neto continues the tradition by programming a Bi-Lingual radio program on KXCI-FM in Tucson.​
In addition to being a columnist, he loves his chickens and turtles. Neto also enjoys doing CrossFit with his wife. He hopes to inspire people and give them ganas or “moxy” when they read his columns.

Update: As of June 2019, Neto has retired from his duties at the Arizona Daily Star. We wish him much happiness in his retirement.


Neto’s start in journalism and education
Chicano Cultural Cocoon to a diverse community
Neto’s fathers influence as a ‘locutor’
Programming Bi-Lingual local radio (KXCI)
Tucson’s different cultural diversity
The writing / storytelling process
Advice to aspiring journalists
Tejano Music / New York Salsa Music
Rapid Fire
Favorite Music Genre
Definition of the word ‘Spanglish’
Lalo Guerrero
Favorite Column He’s written
The Habitat For Humanity Story
The ‘La Frontera’ Story
Money or Legacy
Chicano, Hispanic or Latino