Lisa O'Brien is the principal Groovestress of GrooveQuest laying down the rhythmic law in the tradition of Donald "Duck" Dunn.
As a child, Lisa played the piano and sang in the church choir. In school she learned to play the clarinet. But, it wasn't until switching to bass clarinet and then to contrabass clarinet, that Lisa found her musical niche. "Bass
instruments are really fun to play," says Lisa. "The bass moves the groove. And, working with the other instruments--especially the drums--the bass punctuates and colors the sound."
Music equals groove, which equals dance. As the result of desegregation, Lisa became the first white majorette at E.E. Smith Senior High School in Fayetteville, NC. She learned alot from the girls who accepted her with this challenge: "At this school, we don't just twirl our batons . . . we dance!" Thus, Lisa came to an early understanding and love of the Groove.
The guitar was Lisa's travelling companion from '76 to '81. She shared and swapped songs in England, France, Germany, and Greece. On Crete, she played in public for the first time at a tiny restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean. "After the dishes were washed, there wasn't much to do in Hors Sfakia except soak up the sun, swim in the sea, and play the guitar."
Music has always been a big part of Lisa's life. In the 80s she sang with a church choir and took up the piano, again. During this time, she opened a used bookstore in Shepherdstown, WV. When the store was quiet she pulled out her old guitar. She also hosted live music events and poetry readings.
In the 90s, Lisa discovered swing dancing and spent many Saturday nights at the Glen Echo Ballroom. At a weekend dance event in '94, she met Steve O'Brien. It was a magical meeting of musical energy--energy that has allowed them to make music the core of their lives together. With Steve's help, Lisa made the transition from acoustic guitar to electric bass and together they began performing as The Other O'Briens. Through associations with musician friends, the band evolved and is now called GrooveQuest.
Making music is Lisa's greatest love, and she is dedicated to working with her bandmates to explore that special place where time and spirit join and what is found is pure joy.
"So, that's me," says Lisa.