Introduction

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Elizabeth Miller and Kai Viland sat down to talk rock music. Elizabeth toured with the band Tribe Nunzio in the late 1980s and early 90s. And Kai is a 5th grader who has gone to Chattanooga Girls Rock summer camp. Their conversation was recorded for the Chattanooga Memory Project at the Chattanooga Public Library's recording studio.

Kai: Hi, I'm Kai, and I'm eleven years old. I go to Normal Park. I play the keyboard, and I do vocals.

Elizabeth: Hi, I'm Elizabeth, I'm 58, and play drums and vocals and baritone ukulele.

Kai: So, did you always want to be a musician?

Elizabeth: I think I did always. My parents met in musical theater. My father was in radio and television, back in the 50s. And all his friends were really creative and talented. They used to just have weekend parties at our farm. They listened to jazz. My dad was a DJ.

Kai: Cool.

Elizabeth: So, this summer when I saw you at — what's it called, Girls Camp?

Kai: Girls Rock Camp.

Elizabeth: That was the coolest show I've seen in Chattanooga in a long time. How did you feel it came off?

Kai: It was really uplifting because I have played in front of that many people before, but I haven't done vocals before. People were cheering for me, and it felt really good.

Elizabeth: Yes! That's a good feeling. It's also kind of magical, isn't it?

Kai: Yeah.

Elizabeth: What other instruments do you long to get into?

Kai: I really want to play guitar or bass, but my fingers get, like, they hurt whenever I play, and —

Elizabeth: You gotta toughen them up! Do you know the term “woodshedding?”

Kai: No...

Elizabeth: That's when you just go back in the shed and sit there and just play over and over, repeated motifs, and toughen up your fingers and get really tight.

Kai: Cool.

Elizabeth: And then, when you're on stage, and you've done all that work, you can just fly. You're totally confident. You've got your chops. You know what chops are?

Kai: Drumsticks?

Elizabeth: Good guess! But, another meaning is, like, is totally technically proficient with your instrument. You know, they'll say that. They'll critique you like that. They'll say, wow, she's got great chops.

Kai: Yeah.

Elizabeth: It means she's really tight and knows her stuff.

Kai: I mean, before I get on stage, I've got all these butterflies in my stomach. Then, once I start playing or singing, it's just they're gone. And I feel really confident, and really good. So, I think that's really a good thing to bring up, with confidence and butterflies.

Elizabeth: Yes! Confidence and butterflies. Hmm. Good band name!

Kai: I know, right? That's what I was thinking.

Elizabeth: Alright, here's what I'm thinking. Let's play! Let's jam!

Kai: Yeah, that would be awesome! Well, thank you so much.

Elizabeth: Thank you so much. I'm serious about all that.

Kai: Yeah.

Elizabeth: It's not just for the show!

 Images of Elizabeth in her band Tribe Nunzio — Vernon Rome, Damon Shea, and Jeff Treffinger.

Images of Elizabeth in her band Tribe Nunzio — Vernon Rome, Damon Shea, and Jeff Treffinger.