What kid hasn’t wished they’d be a rock star when they grew up? One Fallser went from singing into a hair brush to a real microphone, picking up a star sidekick on the way.
“This has been my dream my whole life…if my younger self only knew!” Diane Reimer still can’t believe she gets paid to play music. Looking out at the crowds at local bars and restaurants, she can’t shake the feeling that it isn’t quite real. That she’s beyond lucky. Doesn’t matter she isn’t playing Wembley Stadium or the Super Bowl – give her a harmonica, a keyboard, and a mic and it’s magic whether it’s a local pub or the Stone Pony in Asbury Park.
Well maybe the Stone Pony’s a bit different. It’s kinda legendary and it’s where she met the other half of her duo, P.K. Lavengood, who has done the rock star thing — playing stadiums and/or jamming with famous artists such as John Eddie, Marshall Crenshaw, The Kinks, and Bruce Springsteen, among others. In fact, Springsteen called P.K. “the best goddam guitar player” he ever saw after one show at the Stone Pony.
“P.K. told him you’re no slouch yourself,” said Diane, laughing at the story. It’s the kind of easy, jokey rapport the two have now after almost two years playing together. “We’ve always gotten along very well from the start. Neither one of us has a big ego, and the more we play, the easier it is to relax, try new things, and really vibe with the audience.”
So how did music become a passion, when did she start performing, and what’s it like playing now? We caught up with Diane for some answers.
Have you always played music? What instruments did you start with?
I was classically trained in piano beginning in 2nd grade. I also played the flute and taught myself how to play the french horn because I loved the sound. I sang in my choir, choruses, and played in the school band.
What are some of your favorite musical memories?
We always had music on in the house, or in the car, or on a transistor radio at the beach. My Dad listened to what I call “dentist” music, like Burt Bacharach, and my Mom listened to AM pop radio. There were lots of variety shows on TV and Saturday morning shows like “Soul Train.” My babysitters would play their Beatles albums and my friend’s older siblings listened to artists like David Bowie. I feel like my life has a sound track and any given song can take me right back to a random moment in my life.
When did you realize you wanted to be a performer?
When I first started to learn the piano. My Mom would request songs and I loved the feeling of serenading her. My first performance buzz came in 5th grade — I accompanied the chorus and had a couple of solo songs to perform in front of the whole school. I remember feeling nervous, but it was a thrilling feeling. Everything then was a microphone to me…perfume bottles, jump ropes, hair brushes. When I was in 6th grade I told my parents that I wanted to be a singer and a guitar player in a coffee shop. Ironically, I do have a solo gig at The Cedars House (a coffee shop) in the Wissahickon!
The harmonica. Funny thing is that people are amazed when they see a woman playing one — which amazes me. I never thought it was unusual, until people started pointing it out to me after shows. Still not sure why. All I know is I always get the biggest applause when I play it, which is such a thrill. I love to WOW a crowd.
Favorite song or songs?
Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” and “Heart of Gold.” I also love it when P.K. plays “Little Wing” by Hendrix. He’s one of the top 10 guitar players on the East Coast and it’s such a treat to hear him go to town on his solos! He really is amazing!
If you had a time machine, are there any musicians you’d like to travel back to meet? Famous concerts you’d like to attend?
The hippie wanna-be child in me would’ve loved to have been at “Woodstock,” but I think Simon and Garfunkel is the group I’d most like to see – particularly their 1981 “Concert in Central Park.”
Any parting words?
I love the people that come out to our shows. Some of them stop by after our set and are almost apologetic they don’t play music, but I always say “never underestimate your role as a music appreciator and audience member…you’re an equal part of the whole equation for the night”. We entertainers could not do what we do without people coming out to hear us! When I practice my songs at home, it’s always with the vision of entertaining and connecting with an audience. I hope we get to do that for my East Falls neighbors soon!
And I hope I’ve been an inspiration to The Local readers…Whatever your bliss, never stop trying to find a way to make that come true!
Follow Diane and PK
Visit the “Diane and PK” Facebook page for videos and upcoming concert dates. Diane also plays occasional solo gigs at the Cedars House Cafe on Forbidden Drive in Chestnut Hill. Her next one is Sunday April 15 from 12 – 2PM.