Music Is My Life: Lisa Roth | Episode 11 | Podcast
Take. Note. You are listening, to the music is my life podcast. From Berklee online. I'm. Your host Pat Healy and a, few months ago I spoke, with Leo Flynn, a Berkeley, grad and the brand manager for vitamin string quartet, a group, known for classical, interpretations. Of popular, music and, part, of the CMH Label, Group now. Ordinarily I would, have no, interest in featuring, the same company, twice but. The. Chance, to, interview. The, vice president, and creative director, of, the. CMH Label, Group arose, now. You're. Thinking big, deal who, is the, vice president and, creative director, anyway. Well. You, want to know who it is it's. None other than Lisa. Roth. Who. Is also the, younger sister of Van. Halen singer, David, Lee Roth so. I said to myself well, I'll, bet, she. Has, had, a pretty, interesting, musical. Life with. That guy growing up down the hall from her and. As you'll hear that. Life took a lot of twists, and turns not. Unlike a ballerina and music, ended up being a big part of it in a. Few unexpected, ways, but. What makes Lisa Roth so special, on our podcast is, that she's not a conventional, musician. By any means but, that doesn't mean you. Can't lead a musical, life as we, learned a little bit in the leo Flynn podcast, I'm, alright so, Lisa Roth is also, one of the creators of the rockabyebaby, series. Which. Features lullaby, renditions. Buhler music, she. Serves as a brand manager and, executive producer, of rockabyebaby, food, and on August, 18th, CMH Label, Group releases, the rockabyebaby Justin. Timberlake, Edition and, sometime, in the autumn the, Bruno Mars rockabyebaby. So. Let's hear what it was like growing up in the rob house, and. As you'll learn it. Ain't quite the Brady Bunch, I grew. Up in a house with. Lots. Of music my, parents, played. Music, all the time a. Lot, of musical, theater, my. Brother, was, blaring, music, from behind his closed door as far back as I can remember. So I remember hearing everything, from Petula, Clark to the. Beatles to, Bob. Dylan, to Led Zeppelin, but. The. One song, that. Knocked. Me out was. Smokey. Robinson tears, of a clown which. I think I heard it a friend's, house on the. Album, make it happen, I hope that's right and then. I think a couple of years later the single, came out and I took every. Penny that, I saved, from my allowance and, I, went to Canterbury, Records, in Pasadena. California. And I, bought that single, and I. Dance. The pony to that single, for. The next year, and wore. That baby out and to, this day it's one of my favorite songs. Oh. Gosh, you know I don't remember the years but I think I was probably 10 years old around, there and what what, is the age difference, between you and your brother three, years three years he's three years your senior yes, need you ask. Yes. I'm. Not making any judgments. You. Sound younger I am. That. That was all that was in your family you and your brother or were there any other siblings I have a younger sister, who's eight, years younger than myself. 11, years younger than my rather and what, was the musical. Exchange. And your family, as far as I know you. Said your parents were playing stuff and your brother behind his closed door but. What. Was it a fairly open family. And. You. Know your, brother saying hey Lisa. Check this out or your parents saying the, same thing um I don't remember, my brother ever saying, to me check this out as a child. Being. The younger, sibling, my. Parents. Kept, their music, library, open, to us and so. I, had, a huge, selection, of albums. To put on the marantz, turntable. And. Listened. To again everything. From, musical. Theater to. Up. On the roof it just. So. They were very open and we, shared music, that way I honestly. Don't remember anybody, saying, check, this out, but, it, was in the air and we. Could utilize, the. Stereo, and play the music whenever, we wanted and then we started collecting our own music of course as we got older and. Was was anybody a. Trained, musician at all my, mother was a violinist, she. Came from a number of classically. Trained. Musicians. In her family. I played. Trumpet. My. Brother. Played. Guitar. Saxophone. Trying. To think what else he was really, good at at that time so, we, all, had music, lessons, at some point right. What, was there any sort of family. Friday, night Jamboree. Anything. Not, even. Know. That didn't happen it was a pretty busy, family, my father was.
A, Very. Busy, surgeon, at the time so he was often. Gone doing. Emergency. Surgery. The. Three kids were into different things, it. Was pretty, busy that way right. Yeah I remember when. I saw, Van Halen, live, and, your, brother was talking about living, in Boston, for a spell mm-hm, and. So. So when when did that move come. Well. My. Brother and I were born in Indiana my. Father was a medical, school and then we, moved to the East Coast while, he did his residency and. Fellowship, so. We lived several, places in Massachusetts. Brookline, Swampscott. We, moved from, Massachusetts to. California. I believe. In. 63. 64. And. Have. Been, here. Basically. Have been here ever since I'm, a California, girl by now it's. Interesting to talk to you through the lens of what I know from, listening. To Van Halen for, all my, years and you. Know associating, them, with the, California. So much and and. And picturing. The Ross household, as. You describe it and. It. All does, seem to fit together I would, love to be able to see how you picture, the Ross household, I. Don't. Think you can even conceive, of the, Roth household, I picture. Like a freewheel, and Brady, Bunch kind of thing. Freewheeling. Interesting. I don't know shag, carpets, everywhere, and, no. Hardwood. Floors. That's. Why I was asking about the Jamboree cuz I just I guess I just imagined. Well. You know your your, knowledge, of music is so. Expansive. From, well, you, know judging from all the, CMH, releases. You've supervised, and, your brothers output. Is so expansive judging. From you know the hard rock to the whole like, ragtime, things, every, now and then as. A musical. Theater influence, yeah, yeah. So. Tell. Me a little bit about when, when. Your brother was. Starting. The band. And you know it being three years his, junior was. It something, that you, thought hey maybe I'll try. To get involved or that's just Dave's thing or, I, did. Not have a dream of being in the, music industry the, closest, fact I came to that was I wanted to be a professional. Ballet dancer which. Involves, music, however. I grew up in a house of music I love, music but. No, I never said, oh I want, to do that and, you. Know my brother's, music. Career. Evolved. Slowly. Over. A very long period of time he. Was playing in groups when, I was, too young to care really. Yeah. Van Halen wasn't.
The First, group. He played with and. Yeah. So it just sort of evolves, slowly. So. It wasn't, like oh my. Brother you. Know. Decided. He wanted to play music and bang he's, famous, not, at all yeah those guys pounded. The pavement for. Years. And they, played, every. Wet. T-shirt, contest. Every. Bar in every. County, in. Southern. California, right. Come, rain or come shine. So. They. Truly beat, the pavement and, earn. Their way and, people. Have to remember this, was long before social. Media and YouTube. Where. The, way you got, discovered, was showing, up and playing and playing again and playing, and driving, and playing, and playing and, driving. And. Accruing. Fans. That, way right. So I wondered though what were you you say you were too young to care, was, it the sort of thing you know my brother's nine years older than me and and, I, I had, to sit, in the car while he went to my, parents took him to sporting events what, was that the same setup with you being logged, everywhere, or or, did he at least like have. People driving him. No. You know what I don't remember, him. Involving. My. Family, at all it was an interest of his him his friends, formed a group I think, my father, provided. Rehearsal. Space. For. Them in his office. His. Very first band. But. Aside, from that he pretty much got. Places, on his own made things happen on his, own. From. The beginning, mm-hmm. It was his thing and I was doing my thing you know I was, a young girl who was. Not, that interested. And watching, my brother rehearse, with, his, friends, right. At, this time were you pursuing, ballet, yes, I studied ballet for many many years okay. And what. What, was your first introduction, to that I don't know if any listeners, will know what the Ed Sullivan Show, was, oh come, on of course they would I I. Was, very young the Ed Sullivan Show, was, on and, there was a ballerina doing. A piece from Swan Lake and I, looked, at that I think I was six years old and I said to my mother I want, to do that and. Started. Taking ballet, class, and. Continued. To study, straight. For the next 12 15. Years and, then often, on different, kinds of dance thereafter, oh wow so were, you part of a company, well. A, non-professional. Company. At first here in Pasadena and. In. The summers, I would, travel, to Chicago and, live with family there during the summer. Fairly. Regularly, and I studied, with, a, small. Company there called the Ellis do ballet company. Okay it was a school, and they had a small company in the loop in Chicago and. It. Became apparent, fairly. Quickly that, I was, never, going to be a prima, ballerina my. Point wasn't good enough my turnout, wasn't good enough but. I loved, doing, it, I was a very, shy person. Very. Sensitive. And it. Was a form of expression, and release probably. And to this day I think it's the most beautiful thing I've ever, seen, it's super, human I don't think there's one thing in, ballet. That. The human body should be doing I think, the. Training, it takes, to make it look the way it does is. Huge. And just beautiful. Mm-hmm. That's, great, and so. During. This period so. You said for 12 years. So. That's taking you into your 20s and, what are what are you doing for work around that time, well.
I Studied. Dance in college. And I. Then. I. Studied. The. Life sciences, physiology. In college. And. Decided. My. Let, me backtrack. Okay. I my, father like, I said was a doctor, he also happened. To be, an, actor, and a writer and, he owned. An, equity, waiver Theatre in Pasadena. Where. He produced directed, and acted in, plays. So, again the, family it was a very. It. Was a balance between the. Science, the practical, and the, creative, my mother was an artist and. Was. Representative. Of she. Was an aesthete it. Was how everything, looked, what a color looked, like and my father was the scientist, slash artist, so, it. Was very, balanced, household, that way however. My, father would, have loved, for, one of his kids to be a doctor, and I. Came, closest, by studying, the life sciences. Which I loved. But I did, not want to go to medical school I, at. The time didn't, have what it took to commit, myself and. And my. Grandmother, my father's, mother, came. To this, country in the early, 1900s. Through Ellis Island as an immigrant, from Eastern, Europe, she. Earned her high. School, degree, here. In the US and was, extremely. Proud of it, and. Didn't. Go beyond that with her education, but she was a very, very bright woman and I. Feel like if she had been born. Several. Generations, later she too would have been a doctor of some sort and her interest, was nutrition. And, she. Would have ongoing. Communications. With many different, food companies, back, in the day she would, write to Land O'Lakes and, go why is your butter more yellow this year, she, would write to the cottage cheese company, and ask why they switched from glass. To plastic. She. Would write to dr. pepper because. She was very suspect, of the ingredients and they, in turn would respond, and there, is a stack, of letters that exist, between, my. Grandmother, and food companies and she. Was very interested, in how, nutrition. Affected. The body and, she. Was, way ahead of the game when it came to. Preventive. Medicine, in a way and my. Father in, turn was that kind of doctor, he. Was a doctor who, believed in preventive, medicine so. I. Thought. What she, talked, about and how she felt, was of great interest to me so that's what I pursued, and.
Eventually. Started, my own practice, in. Pasadena. And then later part time in New York, a. Nutrition. Practice. For. Almost 20, years. So. Again not, in the music business right. Well. Well to backtrack quickly, a the. Theater that your father ran where were you and your brother and sister in the, plays. My, sister, was my sister, was a wonderful, actress, and, I. Helped. Build the theater, helped. Him produce, and, that kind of thing my sister was, the actress, and my, brother was always doing, his own thing oh okay. Tell, me do you have plans, to, publish that, amazing, stack of letters between dr., pepper, and your grandmother, you, know what that is a freaking. Amazing, idea. Such. A cool book I. Have, an idea, actually, for a memoir, that, would. Have some very practical information. In it as well as the, memoir aspect. And it would that would fit perfectly, in there yeah thank you sir, is that mine to do or do I owe you something. Thank. You. All. Right but tell, me a little bit about then, so was CMH your first musical. Venture yeah I went from, nutrition. To. Working. In television, as a segment, producer for, Discovery and. National, geographic. Programming. And. I did that for about five, years which, worn me down yeah, and. Then. Fell, into a, job here, at sea mhm my first. Music. Job, indeed. Right, so. How. What. Was your role when you started, and how long between that. Time. And you saying hey I've got an idea for lullaby. Renditions, of popular, artists, well. I was. My, first, role. Here, I was hired to do, the, owner of the company David, Harrell II hired. Me to do, nutrition. Lectures, for, his employees huh, which, I thought was really cool that, the owner of a company would offer that mm-hmm, so that, was my introduction, to this company, and I. Did that several. A. Series. Of I think three. Three. Talks, and, then. The. Owners, business, part. At the time asked. Me if I wanted to work for the company and, I. Had, no job title. I had. No. Idea, what. I was doing I, asked. Later why, I was, hired and, David. The, owner said. We. Just liked. You and we, thought if we hired, you good things would come from it so, lucky. Me and that way and the. Idea. For rockabyebaby, came, in the first few weeks I was here I was, shopping for a baby shower gift for a dear friend and I. Really didn't see anything that was adult, friendly, that. I, would. Be proud to give as a gift and, I, went, back to the owner and I said I think we have to get into the baby business. And we. Started, conversations. Here. Development. Conversations. About, a potential, series, and. My. Coworker. At the time Valerie. ILO. Presented. An album, concept, lullaby. Renditions, of Metallica. The, series, was green lighted, and. Valerie. Along with our creative, team became, the primary, artistic. Creator the first year and a half and I. Took over about, ten years ago and, me and my team have continued, to develop, it into, a full fledged, brand. Internationally. Known brand, and. It's. Still, going strong yeah, so, when when you did come, up with that idea was, CMH already, doing the pickin on series, or oh, yes. The picking on series, came long before I was, there this company, was started, 45. Years, ago as, a. Bluegrass. Classic. Country label. And it was started, by David Hare Lee's father and. When. Martin, hare Lee passed away David, took over and. One. Of the things they started, doing were, bluegrass, covers, of, rock. Picking, on Ceres, was born right and it. Became very popular and, is still going on today and, then. The. Next, big. Series. Was vsq. The, vitamin string quartet, yes which you spoke. To my, coworker. Leo Flynn about and, we, have. Rockabyebaby. Those. Are our three main, brands, so are you walking. Around and checking. In on Studios, every, single day or describe, you know your day to day at CAMH Oh day. To day well there's, all, kinds, of things going on here I, have my hands, in. Various. Decisions. Related. To all the brands, so. I participate. In many, aspects, of each brand I work very closely with, the owner of come of the company whether. It's a business decision, or, a policy, decision, I. Am. Involved. In hiring people I'm involved, in, the, creative, aspects.
Of The company. I'm. Involved, in big picture talks, about, where we're going where we're going with each brand where we're going as a company. And. Then for rockabyebaby, I do I, sit, with James Curtis, my my. Coworker, here, and we listen, to the. Rockabyebaby. Albums. That are in. The pipeline and, we make notes and send, the notes back to each producer. Who's working, on each album. We. Go back and forth like that. Hopefully. Within three, months three, four or five months, we produce, a new rockabyebaby. Album. That's a whole process. So. Each day is varied, and busy. And. It's. A, pretty cool job that way yeah what, what kind of feedback have you gotten from the artists, themselves I, have. Only ever heard anything positive. I. Know. Steven, Tyler, wrote the liner notes. For Aerosmith. Joe. Elliott, wrote, for, Def Leppard. Out. John. Read. Several. Interviews. With him where, he mentioned, our series when he his. Children. Were babies. I heard, kirk hammett mention. Our, Metallica. CD when it first came out many, years ago. There's. A few there's been many more but. Mostly. Positive yeah it's interesting because, you've been doing it long enough that, in the next few. Years probably, maybe five or six years you'll start hearing, from like. Actual musicians who used to listen to it as as babies, themselves right, oh, that. Would be fun, wouldn't it oh god you're right. I. Always dreamed of doing the thing where I'd have I'd, play it for my, child my son and. Never. Play the original versions for him until he was like a teenager. What. Happens, so hey. I, know this. I. Jumped. The gun and got too excited about showing and the real versions, Oh as you should this, is a temporary. Bridge, between, parent, and child I, always, think of it as a bridge between the, adult, that existed. Pre-baby, to. The, adult, that. We become, post baby and. Having. Something that a, new parent feels comfortable, sharing, with, those. Innocent. Gentle, little ears of an infant so. Yeah. But. I also know adults who use it in yoga classes so. Okay. I guess it has many uses right. What what are some of your favorites, over the years that you've been most. Proud, of wow. I. Am. Proud of the ones that were the hardest to translate. Like. Something. Like Black Sabbath, which is a lot of minor chords, it's not easy, to, translate, into a lullaby.
Version, Using, mellotron, woodblock. And Chinese. But. It has, become a little bit of an art form that our producers. And. Myself. And, James. Curtis have figured, out, and. It's. Where the challenge, comes in so that's, fun, and. Then some, of my favorite, artists, I love Kanye, I, loved. I. Loved. Of all artists, doing Eminem, because. He was. Kind. Of divisive. And I. Love the irony, of creating, lullaby. Instrumental. Lullaby, versions, of his songs. Doing. My van, Halen, I waited. Six years to, do that album, because, I, tend, to not like to mix business with, family, right, but. I we. Got a lot of requests, so I did it and that was a challenge, because it was important, to me that we do. The best we could and retain, the, original intention. Of those songs right, somehow, yeah. Was there how did, you actually present, that to your brother you. Know is it a did, he know, it was in the works for a while or, was it actually said, to me you, should do one okay, and. That that, was. Like okay, I'll. Do it. I didn't. I didn't, want to ask and, I just wanted to steer clear until. It was the right time and to me that was the right time and. I. Think he gets a kick out of the series, and I think he. Respects, how, seriously, I take it, we are first. And foremost a. Record label that's been around for 45 years and, that. Takes very seriously the. Production. Of all our brands, and we. Treat, the, rockabyebaby, series. Like we would any artist, and the. Production. Is of the utmost importance. And that's. What makes us stand out and we. Treat it like a full-fledged, brand, from, the graphics, to, the verbage. - the way we market it all, of it and again. Relating. Back to. Musicians. And my brother and wanting, this to be respected. As much as a lullaby, series, can I take, great pains to, make sure we do the best we can and, all these those areas, it, is to me and homage to artists. Having witnessed what, my brother went through to get to where he is his, hard. Work and the. Dedication and. The seriousness, behind. It I would never want, this. To make fun of any of that I do the best I can to, create. An image with, regard, and respect, that's. Interesting, that you say that the, making fun thing because I never. Would have occurred to me even have, there been any reactions. Of people thinking it's that I don't. Think so I think I think, parents, are thrilled, when they hear about it maybe. Someone, who's, you. Know who's, not a parent, or is older, now or, whatever. Might go well who cares which, I guess who, does care but. If. You do care I, want. To produce a, series for you that, is, well, produced and. That. Has. Something, for. The adult. That. Serves, up, a well produced, sense of irony, not. A haha, making fun but that ironic. Factor, which is what I think makes it click load. By renditions. Of tool right, that, me, is just. Yeah. Are, there a, bunch of nieces, and nephews in the family or anybody. Directly, who's. Benefited. From from. This for you guys I am, my immediate, family. None. Yeah. Zero. Okay. The Roth family, we don't do marriage or children. Another. Ding tear Brady Bunch house home. But. But. I have, extended. Family and. Friends. That have benefited, and I have. Given. It as a, shower, gift, many, many many times over, so it has served its original, purpose mm-hmm. Tell me do, you have any anecdotes, from any of, the artists, you paid tribute, to and, their, kids listening, to it. No. You, know what I don't I wish I did I feel like there's no way Northwest. Has, not listened. To the Kanye versions, well, I remember, when. She I. Think. It was for a baby, shower. A. Number, of the Kanye. CDs, were ordered, mm-hmm. I don't. Know if they were used, as gifts, I don't, know if the music, was played, but, I am certain, they heard it and I, really, only hope, that it. Was enjoyed, and. Entertaining. So going forward, what, do you guys look to I guess. How do you. Brainstorm. What. Artists, to cover next I mean at, some point are you worried you'll run out of the the formative, artists. Or you, know what, will you turn to, well. There'll be a lesser, artists, to turn to or yes, tell me about entering, the creative meetings, yeah.
First, Of all I'm never, worried, about running out of artists because new generations. Are always coming, up what's old is new again what's, new becomes, old there, there will always be. Artists. And. The. The. Series. Started. As a, rock series. And. Since, then. It. Has. Started. Dipping into other genres because. I always, say every genre has its rock stars and there are artists, who I think, of rock as rock stars that I, wanted, to be in our lineup. So. You. Know the the, field. Is broad, so, the choices are. Mm-hmm, and the. Way we choose is, we keep our audience in, mind the. Parent music, fan, someone. Who has a sense of humor. And, of, course the greater the irony, an artist's, name brings, the, better it's, more fun to say things, like well alright lullaby, renditions, of Metallica. Rather than lullaby, renditions, of James Taylor, although. I absolutely, love. James Taylor, and someday, hope to do a James. Taylor rockabyebaby. Right. But. We have poles in, our social media we. Meet as a group and talk as music, fans here. We. Read. What's going on out in the world we, stay on top of things because it's our job as, a record. Label and we, combine all that, data and come up with, a, release. Cycle a year in advance and, sometimes. That changes, if something. Big. Comes up. But. That's how we choose, and sometimes, we. Hit on something, quite by accident like. We. Announced. Our Beyonce. Release, I think. Two, days before, she announced, her pregnancy this, year so that. Was like. Wow. That, was. Great marketing, unintended. Totally. But. That's how we come, up with our release schedule and, I. Love. That we're broadening, our scope. How. Many different. Producers, are you working with generally, we, have three producers, that, we have been working with for years, Stephen Boone Andrew. Bissell, and again. Leo Flynn who you spoke to right right yeah and they over. The years as a team. We've, sort, of come, up with him worked out our, rockabyebaby. Palette. And sound, but. That evolves. What the way it started. 11. Years ago. Has. Evolved. And continues, to evolve into. The sound that it is today. But. We've worked, again. As a team on that, and. They. Are, rockabyebaby. Family. These producers. And. Here, you are you know and, you, are questioning, whether. Or not you, were. A appropriate. Subject, for a podcast, called music, is my life what what do you think is is music, your life let. Me say this music. Is in my life, big, time I. Love. Music. And I. Have it on, pretty. Consistently. And. Yes. Big. Part of my life and I, feel like I'm, lucky, to have the. Job I have it's varied. And, challenging. And interesting screen. And so now let me let, me ask you a question do you still think my family, is the Brady Bunch no not, at all. What. TV. Show is it more like. The. Munsters no. I'm. So, kidding so I don't think there is a TV, show I know. III. Think there is yet to be a TV, show okay, it was a family unto, itself. It. Sounds. Like music was everywhere. It. Was I mean, it seems like your, brother was kind, of the typical teenager, with the door shut and maybe. Giving, his little sister noogies every now and then yeah. Major yeah. Yes. Well, thank. You again for your time and well. Thank you for your interest I love what you're doing. And. We love what Lisa Roth is doing, as well, the. Justin, Timberlake rockabyebaby, is, out on August 18th, and the Bruno, Mars rockabyebaby, is out this autumn and, I will talk to you next month, look. For us at online, berkeley.edu. Slash. Take note and be, sure to visit the site on the 11th, of September, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern as, I. Interviewed, Josh Ritter, in our Berklee online live. Songwriting. Series, have. A songwriting, question, you always want to ask Josh Ritter now. You can just. Use the hashtag Berkeley. Online, live on, any of the major social media, channels, and we'll try to find an answer for you talk, to you soon.