Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Loo Abby

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Loo AbbyCover bands are so much fun to see live. And these ladies are no exception. They play all over the Circle City, and have some incredible talent. They don’t sing your typical cover songs though. They are not doing (at this time) any originals, but unless you listen to a lot of music, that might not be so obvious. They cover tunes like Seven Nation Army and Like a Boy. I mean, they cover Ke$ha for goodness sake. But that’s all a part of their master plan. They don’t want to cover the typical tunes that most cover bands play. They have a great story, from how they met to the members in their band. They are playing their hearts out on stage every night, and have only been around for a year. They just had their one-year anniversary show the weekend I did this interview! They are incredibly nice ladies, and it is my pleasure to introduce you to Loo Abby. (Funny, as neither one of them are named Loo or Abby!)

Tell me where the name Loo Abby came from.

(Lynda) (Laughs) That was my name when I started my personal Facebook account. I didn’t want my real name out there. I thought it was catchy.

(Courtney) It’s a culmination of a nickname and a last name. I was called Lynda Loo growing up. Abby I just used a shortened form of my last name and it stuck. It seems like everyone always asks who’s Loo and who’s Abby.

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t you just celebrate your first year together?

Yes, we did. We celebrated at a show. It was a weekend-long anniversary.

Were you in any other projects before this?

(Lynda) I was. The first band I was in was called Diverse. That was like… eight years ago. Anyway, I don’t want to give recognition to the other band I was in. I want to focus on the here and now!

(Courtney) I don’t think I even knew that she was in another band.

I was just in church/show choir. It was all pre-Glee. They totally stole our moves. I don’t even watch it but you know everything about it.

You guys play a LOT of covers. Actually, I am not sure I have ever heard you guys sing an original tune. Do you have any original material? Are you working on any original material?

(Courtney) We don’t have anything original yet. We have plans, for the year, to write. We would love to have originals. It’s a matter of finding the right people and finding the time. We don’t want to just throw random stuff together. We want it to be awesome.  If we’re going to do it, we want to do it right.

Tell me about everyone else in the group.

(Lynda) There are six of us. Where would we start? The drummer and the bass player came from the first band I was in. That is how I met those guys. Courtney is friends with the guitar player; actually he is her ex-fiancé.

(Courtney) We were engaged when I was 20, and it took us a year to get back to being friends. We have been really close since. When we put this band together, it was a no brainer. I told Lynda, “Hey, I know a guy.” It’s not weird at all. It’s worked really well.

Then we met our keyboard player through the rock contest. It was an affiliation of other people that we knew through that business.

Where are you originally from?

(Courtney)  Vernon, New Jersey. It’s not too shabby here though. I am from a place known as The Rolling Hills of New Jersey. My elementary school was actually called that.

(Lynda) Houston.

You both finished first place in a “Can You Rock” competition. Tell me a little bit more about that competition and what it was like to win such a prestigious title.

(Courtney) I found out about it through singing at a karaoke bar. I went one night and made it into the finals. I had never done anything like that.

I was sick to my stomach; terrified. I ended up winning the whole thing. The next year I was a judge, and Lynda was a contestant. She ended up kicking everyone else’s butt. It’s a really fun contest; it’s a totally different vibe. It’s different to sing with a live band like that.

(Lynda) It’s an adrenaline rush.

You play all over the city of Indianapolis. Do you guys ever get sick of singing the same songs over and over again?

(Lynda) Yep. I am sure that when a band tours they get sick of singing their own songs every night.

(Courtney) Pretty much. There are a few songs, like Seven Nation Army, that I never get sick of. I really like singing Black Horse & A Cherry Tree. I probably have sung that song like 9,000 times. I always try to switch it up. It’s fun.

Since you are singing cover songs, how do you pick what songs you cover?

(Courtney) Everyone in the band makes suggestion of what we want to play. Lynda keeps a log of everything that we want to do. We try to mix in a lot of stuff that no one else is doing. A lot of cover bands do the same stuff. We don’t want it to sound stale. We try to keep things interesting.

(Lynda) I like to pick things that I can actually feel while singing, or songs that make me want to get up and move.

What’s the biggest crowd you have ever played for?

(Courtney) 500 probably at that Halloween thing we did. It was so amazing. We played on top of this big barn; in a loft… it was sick. It was totally out of control. It was the most amazing gig we played all year long.

(Lynda) It was in the boondocks of Sheridan, Indiana.

The smallest?

(Courtney) Oh God. (Laughs)

(Lynda) We played at a place in Avon. There were like ten people there. It just depends on the room of people.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?

(Courtney) Oh my lord. (Laughs) We played a gig once; I was having really bad back problems. I took some medication and then proceeded to have a couple of drinks. By the end of the show the whole band was like, “Are we done yet?” It was embarrassing. It was just one of those moments. You live and you learn.

(Lynda) (Laughs) She had an out of body experience. It’s comical now, but at the time we are like, “Oh my God… make it stop.”

I once slipped off the stage at Britton Tavern. I missed the first step and slid all the way down. Courtney laughed, and I was just worried someone actually saw it happen. We mess up words all the time, but every show I mess up the words. It’s usually the same song, too. The words are right there!

How can you cover Duffy and then switch over and cover Ke$ha? That seems like a pretty wide spectrum.

(Courtney) We don’t want it to sound like the radio. I know we are a cover band, but if you want to hear that, go home and listen to the radio.

(Lynda) We try to appeal to any type of music. If there are ten people in the audience, we want everyone to like the songs. When we pull Seven Nation Army out, a lot of people might not know that tune. Sometimes we play a song that no one has ever heard.

What are you drinking on stage?

(Courtney) Water; no ice. Maybe a shot here and there if someone brings it to us.

(Lynda) Water; no ice. And sucking on coughs drops.

*Editor’s note: They said that at the exact same time.

Do you have jobs outside of music?

(Courtney) I’m a nanny. Not the Jude Law kind of nanny, though.

(Lynda) Yes, we do.

He has made quite the impression on me. How do you know Russ?

(Courtney) (Laughs) He seeps into every crack of our life! He saw us play at Casler’s Kitchen & Bar. It was our second or third time playing. He just kept coming back, and eventually we just befriended him and his wife. They are just so much fun, and super supportive of our music. They have become really good friends of ours. We pretty much do everything together.

(Lynda) They want to see us achieve our goals, and they are willing to do whatever they can to make sure they see that happen.

You do full band shows and acoustic trio shows. How do you decide what shows you book?

(Courtney) Some gigs, like corporate parties, just want some sort of entertainment. They don’t want over the top. We just play for a couple of hours. It’s a more mellow sound.

(Lynda) We try to use the acoustic trip as an “opportunity” to get our name out there. We don’t do those on the weekends, unless they are for a special event.

Do you ever take requests from the audience?

(Courtney) Some people request songs, and I say, “Why don’t we do it?” Then we play it. It’s that simple!

(Lynda) Well, if they request a song that we know, yes. But we don’t like to just… “Hey, play this.” If it’s something decent, we will learn it. Sometimes we like learning new stuff. But I will never play Creed.

Looks like you have embraced the social media thing. You are on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. How do you think those have benefited your efforts? Who controls all over those accounts?

(Courtney) Twitter sort of confuses me. It’s a good way to network… for anything really. There are a lot of people that say, “Oh, I saw this on Facebook.” We try to be proactive and keep up with it. There is no better way to network than on Facebook and Twitter.

(Lynda) We take care of the Facebook account for the most part. And the website. Russ pretty much does the Twitter. People just go to our gigs, hear our names, and add us.

Do you ever play shows outside of Indianapolis?

(Courtney) Specifically on the beach. Indy just gets smaller and smaller.

(Lynda) We want to. We have a couple of private shows we are trying to get. That’s a goal of ours, to get out. We want to do that when we start booking for next year. Our calendar is already full for this year. We are trying to get the word out to those places. We want to travel a little bit. We are so diverse, we don’t burnt out with the same crowd all the time.

In your opinion, how has the Internet changed the way people absorb music?

(Courtney) There is nothing like having the world of music at your beck and call. I learn a lot of the songs we do from YouTube. I have this obsession with studying song lyrics. I always just have random lyric sites up.

(Lynda) It has given more insight; it’s just extremely convenient.

Since you guys play so many different venues, is it possible to pick a favorite space?

(Courtney) Moon Dog Tavern is my favorite. I like Britton Tavern a lot too.

(Lynda) I like Britton Tavern a lot too. I hate that it’s so smoky, but we always have a great time there.

What’s the best concert you have ever been to?

(Courtney) The Black Keys are my favorite band ever. I have only seen them open though. I saw Manchester Orchestra. They put on a fantastic show. They are so emotional to watch.

(Lynda) She is going to shoot me for saying this… but Kenny Chesney. It was in Champaign, Illinois. To be followed up by Toby Keith. We had backstage passes that day. Oh no, take Toby Keith out. Joss Stone at The Vogue. It was before she broke out. She was amazing.

Can I get any merchandise with Loo Abby all over it?

(Courtney) That is in the works.

Where do you see yourselves in five years?

(Lynda) Where do we see ourselves or where do we hope to see ourselves? I hope, in five years, we are doing music full time with Loo Abby music, not covers. Not necessarily rich and famous, just making a living with the music. It would be nice, but I just want to be doing what I love.

What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

(Courtney) Do you mean personally, or as a band? I have always wanted to be remembered for just doing things our own way really. Never been too apt to following the rules. I like that; we can do different things. It pushes people to check themselves, and double check what they are doing. It makes people think.

(Lynda) Musically, I want people to remember us for making someone feel something while singing. For them to feel. It’s an emotional experience for everyone. I always want to have that effect on the, every time they hear that song it will remind them of that. Especially if it’s original music. Everyone asks us why we don’t do this or don’t do that. It’s okay to be different.

I always let the artist get the last word. Go

(Courtney) I have to pee. (Laughs) I want people to know that even though we are a cover band, it won’t be the same experience that you are used to. We really try to bring something new to the table every time we do a show. The more we play together, the more comfy we become as a singular entity and as a pair leading a band. The energy that we have on stage, people compliment us on that a lot. I just think it brings something different. Plus, we’re kind of cute.

(Lynda) For us, the best way to get our name out there is word of mouth. We want people to enjoy what we are doing.

Plus, there is a guaranteed Russ sighting at every show.