Sound Check

"I have something he hasn't had since Sheila": Esther Godinez

"I have something he hasn't had since Sheila": Esther Godinez

Take Me With U (Or Don't Bother)

SHE MIGHT BE the only woman on earth who can get away with calling the Artist "Jefe." And though she's his new, as yet unofficial percussionist and grew up with Sheila E (that's Escovedo) in the Bay Area, she's quick to tell you, "I'm not the next Sheila, I'm Esther, pronounced es-TAIRE."

It was probably Esther Godinez's smooth, dreamlike singing voice (reminiscent of Astrud Gilberto), or her gentle Chet Baker-like phrasing that got her noticed by the Artist while performing with the TC Jammers at Bunker's a few months ago. Since that chance encounter, she has been touring with him without a job title. "I haven't received an envelope saying, 'See you,'" she says. "He seems to be happy with what I'm doing, and what I'm doing is taking it performance by performance."

Godinez maintains that her top priority is her year-old Brazilian jazz group, the Esther Godinez Band, and while she says she's grateful for the opportunity to play with the Artist, it wouldn't be a tough choice between him and her band. "I think working for him is an opportunity to establish myself more internationally as a percussionist," she says. "But parallel to that, I've been working on my group and one can only help the other--mostly that helps this. He's cool as far as giving me the space and he's not obligated to me, either. At the same time, I have something he hasn't had since Sheila."

A Mexican-American who speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese fluently, Godinez began her professional career at age 17 fronting a salsa band in, of all places, Holland. Since then she has played around the world, from Spain and Hawaii to Minnesota, where she has lived for the past year, after meeting pianist and current bandmate Peter Schimke in Maui. Though she has yet to cut an album, she's appeared on some three dozen releases and recorded with Corey "Sunglasses at Night" Hart.

But Godinez's success hasn't blinded her to the treatment of women in the music business. "You're taken as an object," she says. "If I have to lead my life based on how I look, then that is a serious problem. But in this field, you get put down by women and men. I think if a woman wants to be a musician or anything else that has to do with a man's profession, then just do it." (Miki Mosman)


Local Magazine Objectifies Men

YOU CAN ALWAYS judge a periodical by its leads (ack!), and Sweet Ass No. 10 features such gems as "I started doing the dominatrix thing as a joke," and, "When is it that we realize our erotic life is mostly in the past tense?" The answer is not yet, at least judging by this personal, humorous, and freewheeling magazine, which is celebrating its first anniversary of commentary and poetry about sex, rock 'n' roll, and everything else that matters. The rag emerged from the local music scene last year but veers far afield in subject matter, though familiar names and faces do pop up.

"I knew so many people, particularly women, who were so creative and this gives people a place to just let loose," says editor Laura Brandenburg, who publishes Sweet Ass with cohort Julie Hill. ("She's the one putting it together on the computer; I'm the one petting people's dogs and holding their babies," Brandenburg explains.) The editor likens the ad-free zine to a punk band in spirit, but says she wanted to steer clear of both rock and journalism after editing the beloved and now defunct Squealer.

Even so, you'll find a punk memoir by Frances Gumm guitarist Paul Dickinson and a piece by Grant Hart (whose new album is due out this week) in the new "True Crimes" issue, No. 11. Copies will be available at the "Sweet Ass All-Girl Revue," an evening of music and poetry held on Thursday, October 21, at the 400 Bar; (612) 332-2903, (612) 822-1734. Performers include the editors, Mary Jane Mansfield, Jessy Greene, Trace Element, and headliners Tulip Sweet and Her Trail of Tears. (Peter S. Scholtes)