Purple Pipeweed Parlor Band
The Purple Pipeweed Parlor Band is one of Crickhollow's veteran bands with a well-deserved following. We've seen them play at multiple Shirefests and Winterfests and multiple other events, as well as their monthly concerts. But how much do we really know about PPPB? Crickhollow Music had the chance to trap the Purple Pipeweeders with a few drinks and a few pipes after one of their shows, to ask them a few questions.
CM: Hi everyone! You good for a few questions, or should I bribe you with another round?
PPPB: Bribes are always welcome, and the more drinks and pipes the more amusing it is likely to be.
CM: Great, I'll order us up another round! I have a few questions here, but let's cover a few of the most basic ones, get them out of the way, so to speak, because you've probably been asked them a million times already. Purple Pipeweed Parlor Band. Who came up with the name, and what's the story behind it?
PPPB: We can blame Rosemarinie for the name.
Rosemarinie: It actually started as a joke. Because the 'best' pipeweed (in game) is always written with a purple colored font. At one point long ago, we sort of had a blog called the Purple Pipeweed Parlor-which crashed shortly after take off. Our first choice for a band name wasn't very original so in a moment of sudden memory onset the name Purple Pipeweed Parlor surfaced. So the Purple Pipeweed came from the game, the Parlor worked in great, cause we are a small band of 4 and can just as easily fit into a parlor or corner of the Pub as we can on a big stage. It kinda has a ring to it don't ya think? And it's funny to hear folks try to say it.
CM: I think it's a great name! (and is fun to say, hehe) Was it always the four of you, or did any of you have solo careers before creating a full band?
PPPB: The idea was always having at least the 2 of us. But the gals were the first ones to learn the plug-ins and Maestro. First we had one playing as we were learning to mix, then it was two, then three...etc. Other plans to join real members and not have alts didn't work for various reasons. Once we got 4, we were pretty happy with that. Then the gals taught the guys all that stuff, and we got into not only custom mixing for four, but also custom mixed drum tracks.
CM: So far, I've never heard of any players that have started Lotro with the express intent upon playing music in-game. What were you all doing before discovering music, and how has that changed the way you play?
Rosemarinie: I was a big fan of JRR Tolkien. Read the books long ago. When I heard a MMORP was coming I kept up with it and applied to play closed beta and was accepted. So been 'in game' almost since it was first possible. We tried music once, but it was a pain because everything had to be typed in (like the old DOS before Windows). Around 2015ish we discovered plug ins and got into music. But our love for adventure has not changed. We are still in an 'adventuring' kinship and do it several hours a week. So one day a week is NO MUSIC DAY. Not as much as we used to adventure for sure - but still there nonetheless. I like to keep that under me hat out of respect for the other kinship as they might not like being associated with wild musicians.
CM: So, who decides what music you create and play, and which one of you transcribes your songs?
PPPB: We all make those decisions. The guys pick what they want and so do the gals. We mainly pick what we like and what we feel might transpose the best. While I have heard critics of that I personally have to say that I am sure most musicians play what they like, otherwise you would lose the passion for performing if you had to play something you disliked. All of us transcribe.
Rosemarinie: Mostly it's us gals doing the melodic stuff, and the guys doing percussion. However, depending on who has the most time sometimes the guys do melodic and percussion. Us gals usually leave percussion to the guys who can do it best, so why have it otherwise.
CM: Speaking of playing what you like, what does PPPB play the most? Who are your biggest influences ?
PPPB: 70's rock- what we both grew up hearing and liking the most. Way back then it was considered 'underground' rock- you only heard it on select FM radio stations. Mostly influenced by bands like Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Rush, Captain Beyond, Montrose, Humble Pie, Robin Trower, King Crimson, Uriah Heep. That kinda stuff.
CM: Ooh, Captain Beyond, haven't heard that one in an Age. Would you say that your writing and playing skills have evolved over the years? Have things changed over time?
PPPB: We have evolved and improved in the time since we first learned everything. No matter what previous skills we may have had, this was a different experience. Taking a piece of music that's been basically restructured into a midi, and mixing it down with bagpipes, lutes and pibgorns is not mainstream music knowledge. The gals do all the lyrics and have always had good writing skills, but were totally green when it came to using Poetical. We have gotten better, and hopefully will continue to do so.
CM: Do you try to get the finished product to sound as much like the original, or do you tend to bend the song to fit your style of playing? Would you say that you have a particular sound, or a particular style?
Rosemarinie: The fellas like to make the drum tracks sound like kit drumming-most like the original with a touch of their own style of percussion. Us gals just go for quality and clarity. We modify what does not transpose properly. And we have to work with blending techniques cause once you do bass and drums, that only leaves two musicians to reproduce the rest of the song. It's a push and shove kinda thing. LOL. I would say we have a clear, hopefully mostly precise sound and are well known for being loud.
CM: If it's too loud...you're too old! As a four-piece, you're pretty much limited to four instruments, do you tend to use the same instruments, or do you play around a bit?
PPPB: We use everything. The only specific set up is if we are playing rock which always has bass and drums. But on classical or other genres it's a free for all. Bass could be on theorbo or basic harp or even bassoon. Lute of Ages has a deeper tone so sometimes it works good for bass and can cover other aspects in a particular tune. We mix, preview and play test everything-usually with headphones so every little 'oops' can be heard.
CM: So, let's get a little dirt. Tell us a bit about the strangest/weirdest/silliest thing to happen during one of your performances!
PPPB: Once, during a Halloween show close to Fornost, one band member accidentally hit her milestone and popped out into the nearest town. The band had to wait for her to ride back before continuing the performance! Once during our monthly show in Crickhollow we played a Steve Vai song called Voodoo Rain. His stuff is awesome but theoretically different...
Rosemarinie: Someone who was listening wanted to know if we were having technical difficulties. I got so tickled, I just about dropped me bagpipe.
CM: Haha! You've been playing for quite a while now, in all that time, what would you say was your biggest achievement as a band so far?
PPPB: Having good folk out there that like our music. When we started we were not sure it would work for us at all. We never thought we would make it to any major events. So we are in awe of all that has happened and feel fortunate to have had such an opportunity.
CM: This has been fun! Now...if anyone were interested in finding out even more about PPPB, giving you the soapbox, let us all know where we can find that info!
PPPB: Work hard and do your best. Don't think of yourself but think of those who are going to listen to you. Do it because you want to and because you love music, because sometimes there may be no one listening. Keep your perspective. It's a 'virtual' band in a Middle Earth setting. Have fun and enjoy it. We are fortunate to have this opportunity and it may not last forever.