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Vicki Randle, bass player for Skip The Needle, explains the philosophy: “One of the things I love most about this band is that what we’re doing is totally honest, totally about the music. We’re not selling a look, or a sexy chick, or dude, or attitude. We are four strong women, who accept that as a matter of fact, and play hard, and believe, and respect the power and depth of that experience. We’re not trying to convince anybody. We’re just offering what we have musically, and rocking it as hard as we can, because it just feels so good. It seems to be resonating with our audiences and I think it’s possible that its time has come”. Skip the Needle is made up of four incredibly talented musicians (and front women) that I have been lucky enough to discover through the Women’s Music scene. Vicki Randle on bass guitar, Shelley Doty and Katie Colpitts on guitar, and Kofy Brown on the drums make up this incredible foursome. These identifications don’t lend themselves to the whole process of the project, though, as it has been common for one person to write on a different instrument and then perform another one live. Each of these women are multi-instrumentalists, they breathe music, and it is a beautiful thing to experience. Vicki Randle recently moved to Oakland from Los Angeles after 20 years of being the first (and only) female member of the Tonight Show Band, predominantly playing percussion. She was interested in playing music again, and ‘moving back to Oakland was the first step in trying to reclaim (her) musical sense of exploration, innovation and fun.’ She knew Shelley Doty, and Kofy Brown from their other projects, and decided to start jamming with them. In the meantime, Katy and Shelley had a similar conversation, and soon enough the four found their way into Kofy’s practice room, and the rest is history. They started by playing under the name KVSK, and finally settled on Skip The Needle. The project’s effortless slide between funk, soul, and rock flows just as easily as the lead vocals movement from member to member as the set moves along. The music is hard, and loud and intentional, but it is certainly not angry. The democracy is captivating, and somehow contagious. Each member of the 42

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band has the utmost respect and love for their bandmates, and this is clear from the moment they walk on stage. Shelley explains her feelings about the rest of the women, “I already knew that I respected and liked all three folks as dear friends, so I suppose that was a good jumping in point. You spend a lot of time with band members, and rely on them for the important emotional stuff like creative custodianship, as well as the mundane things like being able to schedule rehearsals and showing up for gigs on time. So,

knowing that these were my dear friends certainly helps in both of those arenas. Plus, I am a huge fan of all three of them and I feel super honored to get to share this musical journey with them. I happen to love their individual music and musical sensibilities. I had a strong suspicion we would have fun playing together, and that was correct.” After spending most of her life as an ‘improvisational singer and percussionist’ in her own project as well as touring with other artists such as Laura Nyro, Mavis


Tom Tom Magazine Issue 18: Rebel Issue