• Arlene Kole (Photo - arlenekole.com).

      Arlene Kole (Photo – arlenekole.com).

      Last year, the local Americana band The Koles played the side stage at Pasadena’s Levitt Pavilion. Colorado Boulevard heard them and suggested that such a fabulous group should be playing the main stage instead. We got our wish! On Friday, September 11, come out and see The Koles make their main stage debut at the Levitt.

      By Debra Penberthy

      The Koles are truly a family affair. The core members are the married couple Arlene and Bill Kole with their good friend Jim Rolfe, all of whom are vocalists and multi-instrumentalists. One of many accolades the group holds is, in both 2009 & 2012, Music Connection magazine voted Arlene as one of the top 100 live acts in the country. The Koles’ well-crafted songs deal with the real stuff of family and relationships. Bill is the engineer and producer behind both Arlene’s solo CD, One Day, and the The Koles’, Odds & Ends. Recently I had the chance to sit down with Arlene and Bill at Bill’s music studio, Mission Control Music & Post.

      The Koles

      The Koles

      Tell us about your upcoming performance at the Levitt’s main stage.

      Arlene: We’re very excited. We really appreciate the Levitt Pavilion and what they do for music in general and for original artists. These days it’s so difficult for musicians to earn a living. And for them to share with that many people−it can be up to 3500− a musical experience that they’ve never heard before and to trust that it works is highly commendable.

      Bill: A lot of venues choose to hire tribute bands. We applaud venues like The Levitt, who are bold enough to say, “No, We’re going to give you something new.” Because for us, for culture, for everything, it’s really important that people see something new.

      Yeah, because everything started from somewhere. Every cover band comes from a band that was new at one time.

      Arlene: And the original Journey and the Beatles already had their time!

      Bill: And I understand the charm of [cover bands]. We just played the Ventura County Fair for five days, with the exception of the Grandstand stage, we were the only original band. And we wondered how it was going to go over. It was very successful! The audience really supported us by buying t-shirts and CD’s, and the folks that hired us liked us so much that they’re bringing us up to the Fresno County Fair for a six-day run.

      Bill Kole (Photo - arlenekole.com).

      Bill Kole (Photo – arlenekole.com).

      Wonderful to hear! Tell me about how you got your start.

      Arlene: We were living in Canada, where we’re from, and we were… just nickel and diming it [in music]… So we put our three kids, five sleeping bags, and five suitcases in a station wagon and left our family and everything we knew in Canada. And we came here.

      Bill: And she worked three jobs to get us started, while I was producing.

      Arlene: And he built his first studio in the garage of the first house we rented.

      Bill: Then we started making real money in music, and it was like “Wow. Ok! We can do this!”

      Arlene Kole (Photo - arlenekole.com).

      Arlene Kole (Photo – arlenekole.com).

      Arlene, your story makes me think of your beautiful song “Wife and a Mother” off of your solo album One Day. I love your lyric… “And did you know I was somewhere here inside? And by the way, I was funny. I was still quite alive.” Tell me about the writing of this song.

      Arlene: Well, that’s what my life felt like. He’d be off sometimes in the studio 12 to 14 hours a day, and I’d be home with three kids. And I could get a little resentful sometimes (laughs)… So it was my reflection on how it felt for me as the kids were growing. And then in the last verse, I leave the husband… It was my little fantasy (laughs). In the live show it’s a joke that always goes over well, especially with the married folks. Throughout those years, it had been my dream to have my own CD and be writing my own songs. Bill had always been too busy to produce me, because he had to worry about feeding the family through his work as a producer. And so with One Day, it finally happened!

      Bill: And with Arlene’s album it was way more a labor of love [than other projects]… The whole theme of the record kind of fell into place, because it was our life experience, so it gelled because it was all one thing.

      It’s inspiring that you kept that dream alive and that you could produce the CD within the family. More people need to hear your songs, Arlene and Bill. I can’t wait to hear you at the Levitt!

      > Come out to see The Koles at The Levitt Pavillion on Sept 11:

      The Koles (Americana Band)
      Sept 11 @ 8pm
      The Levitt Pavillion in Pasadena
      Free! (Arrive early to get a good seat).

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      1. Peter says:

        Don’t miss The Koles, they are great!

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