Wendy Joffe, Moving to the Beat of a Different Drummer…
I spoke to Wendy last night. She was at home, and so was I, but she agrees you can tell a lot about a person just listening to their voice. I’ve seen Wendy at most of the Ladies Sing the Blues events, drumming and helping in any way she could. She has a heart for charity and for people. It was evident in her conversation. Wendy has a generous spirit and I was really enjoying talking to her.
Besides music, Wendy is a book junkie, like me. She has some interesting philosophies about life, and the journey we’re all on. To quote her: “We choose our journey. You have to be who you are. Try and deal with every day as it comes. Music gives you something back, that’s why I love it. It’s a universal language.” It’s not that it’s so deep you have to mull it over; it’s simple, real, and stands the test of time…humble, excited.
When she was growing up, her Mom would dance with her brother, teaching him dance steps and telling Wendy “no sense teaching you because you have no rhythm.” She believed her Mom and never tried, until she started dancing at the Dr. Dave shows, where she danced for many years. Wendy’s first pro gig was with The Hofner Brothers, who played every Wednesday nights at Zios. She then played with Mark Skey & Friends at Cork’s Cigar Bar in downtown Bradenton for around 4 years, as well as sat in with many of our local musicians! Wendy now plays with BC and The GANG!, consisting of Buster Coles, guitar extraordinaire, who played with Ray Charles for 8 yrs, then Bo Didley, then Lou Rawls. He and Doc Mambo (the bass player) have played together for 20 yrs. Larry Yunker is their other guitar player, Rodney Johnson is their drummer, and Wendy plays percussion for the band. They have done the JAM at Cortez Clam Factory for 3 yrs come this June. It’s The place to be on a Tuesday evening.
Wendy works two jobs when she’s not playing. She runs an engineering company and keeps the books for a carpentry firm. Wendy plays an Ashika drum, hand-made in North Carolina, and it’s her prized possession. I asked Wendy what keeps her going through tough times and good, and she says she has always been the Eternal Optimist. This little wisp of a person who plays the drum is a very wise person. She’s happy for every day she wakes up. And her outlook is contagious.