Five Firsts: “Lonesome Val” Haynes
NAME: Val Haynes
INSTRUMENT: voice, grade Z guitar player
1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … The Supremes’ “Back in My Arms Again.” I played it till the grooves wore out, but I listened to every record my mom owned: Teresa Brewer, Adam Faith, Mahalia Jackson (big fan) along with whatever was playing on Top 40. At my granddad’s house I learned about country and stood in front of the record player singing Skeeter Davis’ “The End of the World” over and over and over and over….
2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … The original Supremes at the Colonie Summer Theatre. I was 12. My mom drove me there and picked me up. I even waited outside the tour bus and got Diana Ross to sign my ticket stub, now long gone.
3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … Fender Music Master inherited from Richie Coppola, the love of my teen and early adult years (unrequited!); he was probably the biggest influence on me musically. He turned me onto Bob Wills, Jim Kweskin, Skip James, Muddy Waters, Asleep at the Wheel … the list is forever.
4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Probably something by Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris or Charlie Daniels; whatever it was it was country rock, though I’m sure both Emmylou and Merle would cringe at the moniker, country rock.
5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … Chili Dog. I needed a job, and a friend of mine, Reed English, suggested I audition for the band because they gigged for money and I owed him rent! I was TERRIFIED and almost didn’t make it ’cause I had the wrong address and pressed the wrong doorbell. When I heard drums and electric guitars coming from another house on the street, I screwed my courage to the sticking place. It stuck, giving me the courage to walk up to the door (I remember it being a long walk – like I said I was exponentially scared). After my audition, my head down, poised for a QUICK EXIT, I asked if I passed. I think Bob Bloomfield said, “Are you kidding? Yes!”
Lead vocalist for the popular ’80s Nippertown band the Units (later Fear of Strangers), Val Haynes has also recorded several stellar solo albums as “Lonesome Val.” After an extended hiatus from the music business, Lonesome Val returns to play at The Linda in Albany at 8pm on Saturday, opening for the Crash Test Dummies. She will be accompanied by her former Units bandmate, guitarist Todd Nelson. Tix are $20.