Perspectives By Contrasts
Rob Ratzan and Meg Lofgren met in the Tucson over 30 chat room in 2000. Rob was looking for a lady singer to accompany him for one more try to get his music out. They worked on Rob's originals for a year in a band called Cloverland. That band included O. J. Moyer on drums, Don Ulliman on bass guitar and John McNulty on lead guitar, with studio appearances by Teddy Reyes,Andy Bingham, Dave Mershon and David Coll. Their CD,' Memories ',copyright 2002, was not released and has been redone along with seven new tracks on ' Perspectives by Contrasts '.The CD was produced and recorded at Jim Brady 's recording Studio in Tucson.Both Meg and Rob are indebted to Jim for his patience. Musical ideas to craft the CD with the experienced choice of effects and those kinds of professionalism you don't get recording yourself in a homemade studio. You get what you pay for and everyone in the band realizes how good Jim is.They are currently planning a second album with Jim at the helm ! Musicians included on Perspectives by Contrasts are Kenny ' Wheels ' Wheelock on lead guitar, Ted Reyes on lead guitar, Dustin O.J. Moyer on drums, Kevin Heiderman of ' Sin Cuervo Band ' on bass guitar, Tommy Dominic on keyboards,and the legendary Tucson Deacon on Drums. The release of this CD is a milestone of a seemingly insurmountable, slippery slope. Both Meg and Rob have had very serious surgeries during the course of this five year production, but both are recovered and ready and able to do it again ! Rob has a Masters of Seconday Ed. Degree, and has had a career in business, education and coaching University of Arizona, high school and club soccer.Rob is also a member of KXCI Radio station in Tucson, which is very supportive of local artists and one of the orchestrators of The growing Tucson Folk Festival each summer. During the seventies and eighties Rob and Dave Mershon also on the CD played around Tucson at the Double tree, and Officer's club on D M Airforce base, as well as local clubs like Cushing Street and Samaniego House downtown. Finding time and money to produce a professional quality recording has also caused delays. This CD, five years in the making, is hope-fully the first of many. Rob has a telephone book of songs that Meg says should be volume one and two and starting number three ! Over the last 40 years Rob has written over three hundred songs, all as social commentary, love and fun songs. His songs are poetically written in a conservative weave, didactic in values and social respects. The style is difficult to categorize in any single genre. It is folksy yet harder. It' s rock n roll yet softer. There are songs of perspectives, there are songs of people and then, there are the jocular, tongue in cheek ones, that seek to just entertain and cleverly amuse. The eclectic contribution of players on the CD is conducive to Rob's different vocals on the varied songs. Meg aka Maggie O'Neill Lofgren is a lifelong singer, having had a career in Chicago singing, acting and doing standup comedy. She started out as a sololist in church at the tender age of 2. She had some early theatrical training with the Glen Ellyn Chidren's Theater Company, which eventually became the Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus. She became a rabid performer in many shows all through Junior High and High School. Roles included Tituba in The Crucible, Mama in Bye Bye Birdie,and Rosita the Whore in Camino Real at the College of DuPage, which starred an unknown actor named Jim Belushi. She attended the University of Wisconsin - Platteville, majoring in vocal music and then transferred to the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago where she trained with renowned German opera singer Geisella Goettling. She ultimately ended up with the diminutive vocal coach, Lisa Paul. There was even a musical mounted in her honor that she helped create called Ladies at Large.Working in various Chicago clubs, dinner theaters and the much missed Tamborine restaurant as a frequent MC, singer, dancer (yes dancer,) wench and comic, she honed her stage skills and brought them to Tucson in 1988.Illness has slowed her down a bit,including the loss of her left foot and ankle in 2000, but she has turned her craft into a charitable mission and has helped raise thousands of dollars for The Show of Shows, The Arlene Morris Memorial Fund,the Emerald Isle Society, the Saint Patrick's Day Parade of Tucson, and is currently a board member of Tucson Roscommon Sister Cities,to name a few.She is fiercely proud of her Celtic heritage.Meg is happily married,to second husband Lon, who has blessed her with 2 step sons, Ben and Wes.They also seem to have the performing bug and though she can't claim any credit for their talent, she hopes to help them reach their dreams, whatever they turn out to be. Lon has elevated Meg's self esteem so much with his unconditional love, that she is now a Diva/SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed.)Meg is currently working on losing another 100 pounds,a book titled,Does This Leg Make Me Look Fat?, and a children's book about her dog Rover.It has been a journey of love working with Rob on his music and it is wonderful to see one of his dreams come true. And, so, now, here we are at October 2007. In the last year, Ratz' Pack has been working weekly on layering the new album, ' Mysteryality ', hoping to release it by December. They are 4 songs away from completion and hoping to finish these four songs and send it out to be manufactured by Disc Makers in New Jersey late November. The new album has been produced with a ' wall of sound ' in mind; the aim is to fill all empty spaces with instrumentation as well as vocals. Also Maggie sings more leads. Rob uses multiple voices again. The new album has another band member for this album. His Name is Paul Kalmen, originally from Yonkers, New York. He appears on the album as a main component. He plays piano, organ and synthesizer on ' Mysteryality '. He's an excellent creative and very talented key board player. Ted Reyes plays virtuoso guitar again. His leads have tonality, speed and emotional conveyance. His diversity of styles are evident in ' Wishing Well ', ' Magic Sign ' and ' Turnaround '. Kevin Heiderman is still on board and lends his creativiy to the album songs adding nice runs in the songs and adding ideas in arrangement and production. The Tucson Deacon is on drums as is Rob' s middle son David. Deacon is ' The Man ' on Sunday and Monday at Berky's Road House on Speedway and McKinley in Tucson. Deacon is a great drummer as well as harmonica player and has the longest running Jam in Tucson at Berky's. Also on percussion and tamborine is Mike Gross.