Abby Travis Biography
Abby Travis has joined the non-conformist ranks of those who have always insisted on quality, integrity and invention. A multi-talented singer, songwriter, bass player, engineer and producer, her presence is stunning, charismatic, and visually sophisticated - while also at times refreshingly shocking and tongue-in-cheek. While maintaining a deeply rooted appreciation of the sound and structure of classic standards, Travis effortlessly shifts between seductive torch chanteuse and innovative modernist, making each identity and era her own.
Travis is certainly no newcomer to the music scene. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she first appeared at age 16, playing bass in the legendary all-girl band The Lovedolls. The Lovedolls, spawn of David Markey's classic cult films, Teenage Lovedolls and Lovedolls Superstar, released a record in 1988 titled Love One Another and toured nationally. At age 19 she moved on to the power-pop trio, The Rails. This led to an incredibly diverse career as a much in-demand session and touring bassist, singer and/or songwriter. Many remember Abby at the 1995 Lollapalooza Festival, playing bass with Beck and Elastica in back to back sets. Abby states "Playing the Redding Festival with Beck in '95 is still one of the most memorable shows I've done." Travis also appeared on the first installment of MTV's "Fashionably Loud" performing with Elastica. She collaborated as a songwriter, vocalist and bassist with KMFDM (who can forget that sexy nurse outfit?!) on their 1998 release Symbols and also appeared on CD's by Botanica (Malediction, 1999) and The Meat Puppets (Golden Lies, 2000). Her live credentials include Michael Penn, Vanessa Paradis, Peter Tork, El Vez, (as an El Vette performing for a week in Memphis on the 20th anniversary of The King's death), Exene Cervenka and numerous others. She even performed with Spinal Tap! Travis was the fairy dancing with elves during the "Stonehenge" number at The Universal Amphitheater in 1992 and played lead bass on "Big Bottom" at The Mesa Amphitheater in Phoenix AZ.
Somewhere in between the KMFDM and Botanica records Abby began to find her own voice as a songwriter, singer, producer and bassist. In 1998, she released her acclaimed (RollingStone.com user rating 4 out of 5 stars) debut CD The Abby Travis Foundation on her own You Seem Like A Nice Well Adjusted Person Records and toured nationally in support of this CD. This record received airplay on KROQ and was also released in Japan on the Quattro Label. Travis says: "It was really important to me to get this group of songs on tape and out of my system. In a way this record is really experimental in that there are a whole lot of styles on it. I needed to start with all that variety in order to reign myself in and make a cohesive work on the next one".
Her latest release, Cutthroat Standards and Black Pop (October 2000, Educational Recordings) has been called her best effort to date. Co-produced by Travis and Kristian Hoffman (Mumps, Congo Novell), she has created an edgy, sophisticated and original musical journey. "We spent a year making this record! Kristian and I work really well together. I'm so thankful to have found someone who gets and really appreciates my vision and who is willing to be so constructive and supportive!! He is one of the few people on earth that I really trust. "
Critics and fans alike are raving about Cutthroat Standards and Black Pop. Her website, www.abbytravis.com has received well over 47,0000 hits. In Los Angeles, Travis performs with a seven-piece band, headlining such premier venues as The Viper Room, Spaceland, and The Knitting Factory. On tour, Travis and Hoffman perform a very stylized duo cabaret set.
Travis pre-released the song "Sunday is the Day for Love", a sweet and uplifting Bacharach sounding number, on MP-3 format on www.abbytravis.com. The MP3 release is a for The United Way Music Heals Fund in Denver, which provides early childhood education and teen counseling; Rolling Stone and Spin featured the song on their respective homepages.
The song "Everything's Wonderful", inspired by Duke Ellington and Cole Porter, led to the creation of her first video, a beautifully shot, sepia-toned work directed by Dave Markey (1991:The Year Punk Broke; Desperate Teenage Lovedolls). The video has Travis vamping like a 20's movie starlet around old Hollywood locales - a visual treat and magnificent tribute to a time long forgotten by most filmmakers and songwriters. On working with Dave Markey, Travis adds, "People are often surprised when they see this video as they're expecting the pop-culture references, camp and kitsch that is normally associated with Dave's work. I think it's grand that he left all the humor and irony out of this piece. It was hard, however, to give up that clip of me moonwalking across the mausoleum."
Cutthroat Standards and Black Pop is receiving airplay on over 40 adult alternative radio stations nation wide. Cutthroat was CD of the week at WYEP in Pittsburgh PA this April. Travis has toured nationally several times in support of this CD and could be called a critics darling for her constantly growing stack of press accolades which includes reviews from The Washington Post, Billboard, Alternative Press, The Los Angeles Times, and Entertainment Today.
On Cutthroat Standards and Black Pop, Travis has mastered the ability to combine lyrics that are often dark with a wry sense of humor that manages to be free of kitsch and irony. Her melodious style and soulful croon captures the listener. From the classically haunting "Bottom of the Sea"; to the hysterical, controversial "The Hate Song", (described by Simon Glickman in MashMagazine.com as being "one of the most memorable kiss-off tunes in some time."); to the Beatles-esque pop of "So Far Away- Cutthroat is a collection of modern standards. As one critic said "You can feel the generation gap shrinking on this album." Or in the words of Travis herself, "I just wanted to make the prettiest record that I could."
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