In the mid-90s, my mom—singer/songwriter Amy B.— was constantly trying to get her music heard and find her fan base. She played at big clubs in SF like Bimbo’s and Slim’s and at smaller clubs like The Hotel Utah. She often played open mic nights to try out new songs.
On Tuesday nights at 8 pm, Amy B. ran the Paradise Lounge open mic in San Francisco. She was one of the only women running an open mic at the time. The club had a very diverse crowd—from upcoming singer/songwriters to homeless people, math teachers, and some working moms, too. Although she had her own band, Amy B and The Nasty, she still would perform at the open mic to try out her new songs on an audience.
One fan, in particular, stood out to her. His name was Keith Savage and he was a homeless poet. Over time, Amy and Keith became good friends. He recited spoken word and Amy B played alongside him on her electric guitar and Wah Wah pedal.
One day Keith surprised Amy with a $300 gift to enroll in a popular music service called ‘Taxi’. ‘Taxi’, pre-Napster, was a service for singer/songwriters to get their work heard by established professionals. She was stunned by Keith’s generosity. He didn’t even have a home and raised $300 in hopes of helping her make it big. Amy was stunned and humbled by Keith’s support. With help from friends like Keith and the fan base she collected from her open mic performances, she eventually released CDs that received critical praise.
They can still be heard today on streaming services like iTunes, and Spotify.
Story by: Ula, Amy B's daughter, and withitgirl art contributor.
Amy B played in lots of bands but her most successful band was the Gold Box Kingdom.
Stream it on Spotify at the Gold Box Kingdom