Band of the Week

Big Bad Gina

ffw-jori-3-18-10Instruments: Two acoustic guitars, electric guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, banjo, fiddle, djembe, conga, shakers, various assorted percussion

Day jobs: Renee Janski, UU music director; Melodie Griffis, Winrock International; Jori Costello, Community Access Television

First performance: In March of 2009 at Goddess Festival, we had recently met and sat in on each other’s sets; in May of that year, we performed for a group of friends at a monthly potluck on the eve of our first public debut as a big bad trio at Terra Studios. We received a standing ovation after a 30-minute set.

Favorite performance: Fall Diversity in Eureka Springs. It was our first “out-of-town” gig and many of our Fayetteville friends and fans drove there to dance and celebrate with us. It was a huge success and we signed our names on the wall in the green room! Another favorite performance was having special guest Tiffany Christopher at one of our Big Bad Thursday events at Teatro Scarpino and jamming with her on stage and after.

Type of music: Vocalizing~Harmonizing, Folkin’ Rockin’, Jazzy~Jivey, bluesy, pinky, funky

Originals or covers: Originals — yours, mine, hers, ours. All three of us are songwriters plus originals by Oxygen Edge at select performances. There’s also select scintillating covers: Tracy Chapman, Ingrid Michaelson, Norah Jones, Jason Mraz and more.

Sounds like: Heart meets Indigo Girls meets Harmonia

Songwriter’s muse: Each other, GB Mojo, Indigo Girls, the Feminine Divine


Renée: Kathleen Battle, Marcia Ball, KoKo Taylor, Diane Schurr;

Jori: Barbra Streisand, Joni Mitchell, Amy Ray, Ani DiFranco;

Melodie: Joan Osborne, Paula Cole (Jori agrees with Mel here), Linda Ronstadt, those great old Jazz torch songs, and the harmonies of the ’70s.

We all agree on Annie Lennox, Melissa Etheridge, Brandi Carlile, Sarah McLachlan and all the women musicians out there rockin’ their hearts out!

Accomplishments: 2009 Goddess Festival Winning Theme Song, “Amazon Warrior Princess” as well as featured tune, “Hey Goddess” on the 2010 Goddess CD. Radio Show interviews and performances on KXUA’s “Honest Tunes” with Daniel Gold and Jonathon Cox’s “Stonewall Tribute.” Several YouTube performances from local venues and local videographers. Collaborations with local and regional artists Tiffany Christopher, GB Mojo, Kristar Miller, Jules Taylor and our regular featured guest, Oxygen Edge.

What kind of crowd do you draw: Happy, sexy, dancing, diverse people

Any albums: Currently we’re halfway through recording our first CD, “Amazon Warrior Princess” on PrimA DivA Productions label.

Back stage ritual: Nothing yet definitive, but always words of encouragement and love and reminding each other that music is magic. Spreading good energy!

Funniest or strangest thing that ever happened during a performance: During a Big Bad Thursday performance at Teatro Scarpino, while Renée was singing a Tuck and Patti tune, “High Heel Blues,” an audience member ran to the stage, crawled across on her belly with money in her mouth and proceeded to place the tip in Renée’s high heel, never once using her hands. Very impressive. The crowd went wild!

Plans: Finishing first CD project, more original collaborations with Oxygen Edge, more special guests and guesting (Watching Lucy in April and Candy Lee in May), Big Bad Gina merchandise, Texas tour with GB Mojo, attending festivals including Heartland Pagan Festival and Mulberry Mountain Festival.

Goals: Empowering women and young girls, especially in music; promoting community; spreading good vibes; taking our music and mission on the road.

New Projects: BBG Studios. All of us give music lessons in our areas of expertise. Also BBG Baby and Me for parents and babies.

If you could open for anyone, who would it be? Amy Ray, Melissa Ferrick, GB Mojo, Brandi Carlile, Sarah McLachlan

Last CD purchased: Ginger Doss “This Cocoon,” Bekah Kelso “Mud Blossom,” Marcia Ball “Sing It”

Most played song/s on your iPod? Our set lists include Eric Clapton “From the Cradle,” Indigo Girls “Nomads, Indians, and Saints,” Micheal Frenti “Say Hey I Love You,” Melissa Etheridge “Brave and Crazy.”

Web site:,

Upcoming shows and tours: Big Bad Thursdays at Teatro Scarpino, Goddess Festival events in March, Pride events in June, Midwest Wimmin’s Festival, CD Release Party coming this spring, “your” private party.

Categories: Galleries