It’s not often that you get to talk with people that have shared the stage with Mick Jagger, Pink Floyd, Billy Idol, Rod Stewart, Nile Rodgers, Steve Hackett, and Lou Reed. And it’s even rarer that you could do that by just talking to two people. The McBroom Sisters, Lorelei and Durga, have enjoyed an incredible career of singing and acting over the last few decades, collaborating with some of the biggest groups in rock history. Over the last few years, Durga and Lorelei have found themselves on center stage in the progressive rock world, singing with the prolific Dave Kerzner Band on albums and at events all over the world.
Durga and Lorelei recently launched a crowdfunding campaign for a new record, which will feature covers of some of their favorite Pink Floyd songs, as well as some original music. They stopped by Proglodytes to discuss their past, their history with progressive rock, the record they’re currently working, on, and what’s in store for this dynamic duo.
From what I’ve read, you all grew up in a home where you were exposed to a wide variety of artists and music. Tell us about what it was like in your household growing up, and how that has shaped your career.
Durga: We were greatly encouraged to be artistic. Our parents took us to the ballet, opera, theatre. We listened to Broadway musicals, jazz greats, and of course the great popular music of the 60s and 70s. Prog and classic rock, folk, funk and r&b. We were extremely well nourished artistically speaking. So of course we started emulating our influences at an early age.
Lorelei: Our mother was a concert pianist before she pursued medicine. My father was also a real connoisseur of the arts. Charlie Parker was a good friend among many other up and coming entertainers in New York. He had a wide taste in music. So I started out playing piano at 4. That led to guitar and singing. We also have 2 older sisters who were professional dancers. The idea of performing was very natural. When Durga was little, we learned our favorite musicals and performed them for the family. Daddy’s love of jazz, opera and classical music, along with contemporary pop led to my wide taste in music. Chuck Berry and The Beatles introduced me to rock ‘n roll at 5 years old.
While you both have had stellar careers in a variety of musical genres, tell us about your history with progressive rock.
Lorelei: The high school I went to was predominantly Jewish Hollywood kids and the like. (Los Angeles’s elite kids for the most part.) They turned me on to Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who and Yes. I’m not sure you’d call that prog, but it’s the foundation I associate with it- especially Yes.
Durga: Yes was a major influence in our house. Yessongs and Tales Of Topographical Oceans lived on the turntable. Later, I got heavily into Jethro Tull. Genesis followed. And of course, Dark Side Of The Moon was a game changer.
With a roster of collaborators like yours, I would imagine that selecting a band for an album like this would be difficult. How did you choose who would play on and produce this record?
Lorelei: Well this project was self-funded so we had great friends who played for the love of the sisters at a professional courtesy rate! [Laughs] If we had a record company budget, there are many great players who’ve offered to play if we can coordinate scheduling, like Stevie Wonder’s bass player Nate Watts, Steve Hackett, Ray Parker Jr., Nile Rodgers, Nick Mason… But Dave Kerzner’s band and guys from the Aussie Floyd and Restless Heart pitched in. We had some guests too. I’m thrilled with the creativity on the project.
Durga: Since Dave Kerzner was co-producing, we used a lot of the same great musicians he works with. Fernando Perdomo is one of my greatest colleagues as well. We’re a prog family at this point.
Tell us about the album itself. What was the guiding force in choosing the songs you did?
Durga: Touring with Floyd, I always had my favorites- songs I enjoyed singing on. It was fun to take it from a woman’s perspective. As for the originals, these are songs we’ve been incubating for awhile.
Lorelei: Well, most people know us from our time with Pink Floyd. Others have seen us on tour in Latin America, Italy and various other countries, singing lead vocals on many of our favorites ,and they have been very well received. So it was a natural choice to start. The album is a mixture of Floyd songs and originals. That way we can ease the public into knowing our songs too. The duo version of “Great Gig in the Sky” with the Australian Pink Floyd has over 1 million views on YouTube, so I know many people are open to hearing how we do other Floyd favorites.
This album will include originals, which is very exciting! If you don’t mind, tell us about some of your original compositions that might be featured on the album.
Durga: A song I wrote with Guy Pratt, one with Jon Carin, one with Dave Kerzner. Lorelei wrote a couple of great songs too.
Lorelei: I met Lemmy of Motörhead when I first toured Europe with Pink Floyd. He helped me finish the lyrics on my song “Forgotten How to Smile.” It’s a powerful rock ballad. My other one is perfectly suited for our present political climate. “Money Don’t Make the Man” speaks of a man who uses his wealth and celebrity to wield his power. The track is a funky homage to Pink Floyd. Its got some trippy stuff going on towards the end. I love the way it came out!
Crowdfunding has some inherent positives and negatives. Tell us why you chose to go this route,
Lorelei: In today’s Internet driven world, the traditional record industry is dying. The labels who are looking want teenagers they can easily sign to crappy deals, like the kids on American Idol and the other “talent” shows on TV. So it seemed like the easiest way to have creative control. Plus Dave Kerzner did it, and since we started the project with him, he encouraged it.
Durga: It’s the best way to control your own release.
What are some of the perks that you will be providing to those who donate?
Durga: We have t-shirts, calendars, custom painted tennis shoes and handmade jewelry, as well as some pricier items.
Where we be able to catch the McBroom Sisters live in the foreseeable future?
Durga: On Cruise To The Edge, March 27-April 1!
Lorelei: We will be debuting our album on the 2020 cruise to the edge at the end of march. We will post additional gigs on our website- http://mcbroomsisters.com