As a local music fan, I first heard Twinkle Schascle Ursula Yochim sing sometime around 1989-90 at Turtle’s Bar & Grill in Holmes Beach.
She had great pipes and I looked forward to hearing her again. The next thing I read about her in the newspaper was that she had been signed to a huge record deal with Warner Brothers records and was going to L.A. to record with Madonna’s producer Patrick Leonard and recording engineer Jerry Jordan, who lives in Sarasota. Due to life changes, it was a long time until I heard Twinkle again.
Here’s a bit of Twink background – Twinkle is a Sarasota native, born and raised here. Her father Buddy Yochim worked in the music business with southern rock artists like Dickey Betts, Marshall Tucker Band and the Allman Brothers Band. She was sneaking in local bars as a teen to sing. She usually performs barefooted. She toured with her dad’s old friend Dickey Betts and his band Great Southern. She played the Montreux Jazz Festival, made videos and hosted the Top 20 on VH-1. A taste of stardom came and went because; Twinkle wasn’t willing to sell-out her true talent to become a video pop star. A voice that Aretha Franklin’s famous producer Jerry Wexler said was “the greatest soul singer I have seen in a long, long time”. She has an original voice like no other as well as being a songwriter. Twinkle stayed in Sarasota and toughed it out after her brush with fame but stayed true to her musical soul. She has always been a star to Sarasota!
Occasionally I would see Twinkle playing around town at events like “Giving Hunger the Blues” and the Sarasota Blues Festivals. In 2006, I went to Tampa to see the Aerosmith/Lenny Kravitz tour. We arrived to an announcement that Kravitz was sick and would not be not performing. The crowd was wondering what was going to happen as they rolled a piano on stage. Steven Tyler walked out with Twinkle, telling the audience that this was his friend and to “be nice to her”. Twinkle played 30 minutes to the crowd of 18,000! People were saying, “Who is that?” I said, “That is Twinkle from Sarasota!” What a moment it was at the former St. Pete Times Forum! Twinkle opens for Aerosmith – solo!
In 2011, Twinkle played an event at South Lido Beach with Bad Company’s drummer Simon Kirke. She had a new band and was very excited about it. They were mulling around names and came up with Rock Soul Radio (RSR). One life event that happened to Twinkle over the years was finding out she had a brother named Tony LeClerc, who was Buddy Yochim’s son. It turns out Tony was also a musician and had been in rock bands in the New York area. Tony plays a mean bass guitar and is a vocalist in RSR. Tony’s friend & bandmate guitar genius, Lenny Brooks, packed up his axes and moved to Sarasota and joined them. Rounding out the sound was their friend Troy Parrish on the drum kit. Everyone was bringing their own massive talent to the band, Twinkle and Rock Soul Radio were on their way!
Sarasota was happy to have their rock & soul queen back on a regular basis! They were packing seats at various venues on the SRQ music scene like Sarasota’s original live music venue the “5-O’Clock Club” and the sorely missed “Ace’s Live Music” in Bradenton. In demand for music festivals, including the upcoming Cortez Stone Crab Festival (Nov. 9&10), they play festivals up and down the west coast. Playing live got creative juices flowing and they started writing new music. 2011 was also an important year, as it had been 20 years since Twinkle had recorded her Warner Brothers hit album “Haunted by Real Life”. The band rocked a concert at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and played the album in its entirety, with the band Ambrosia as the opening act. A great show, local Twinkle fans came in droves to hear the hometown songstress. The album “Haunted by Real Life” still stands the test of time and is a great listen!
Since then, the band has changed, grown and gotten better all the time! They recorded a CD of new music that has been added to the set lists. In 2015, a live show with an audience at the famed Sarasota recording studio “Spirit Ranch” was an exceptional performance and produced a live CD of original music. There was the exciting Battle of the Bands at the Hard Rock in Tampa. Troy Parrish, the original drummer left to move to Ocala which was a transition for the band. That brought drummer Benny Puckett to the fold. Puckett is a drum stick acrobat who entertains with his antics as well as keeping the beat. He is a perfect fit in this world class band. In 2017, they toured around Europe but came home to continue to rock the SRQ homeland. Music fans on the Suncoast are lucky that there is so much great music around. If you haven’t seen Twinkle & Rock Soul Radio, you are missing a great band that is something really special!
Photos from Vicky Sullivan / The Sarasota Post