In 1987, Lori met RJ at an audition for RJ’s R&B band called Mellaa: one of the hottest R&B bands in the Bay Area’s late 70’s-80’s music scene. At the time the band decided to expand and add a Motown Revue with female vocalists.
Lori was chosen as one of the singers. At the time, Lori was a popular vocalist in bands around the bay. Rock’n’Roll was a big part of her life as well as Folk and Jazz Vocals. Lampert, Hendricks and Ross were a turning point at a very young age. So was Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro.
The band was called Rainbow 65. For a few years the band flourished doing elaborate corporate parties.Then, for what ever reason, things went in a different direction and the next thing you know they started another band called “Peabody, Kidder & Boogie”where they exclusively played upscale corporate parties back in the day where hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent with no thought, just fun! We played those gigs.
The big band disbanded and Lori, RJ and the guitar player, Jerry Garcia (not from Grateful Dead) formed a trio called “The Sunrise Trio” performing at many of the bay area hotels with great success.
Then one day, a friend was leaving on a business trip and tapped into Lori & RJ’s creativity for writing. He wanted a story for his young daughter that said her name so when she went to sleep she would listen to the story and think of her daddy. Lori and RJ took it step further and not only wrote a story, they also composed their first children’s song to go along with the story. They spliced-in manually, on quarter inch tape, the child’s name! They mixed it down to cassette and called it “A Lori Story Just for You.”
Of course after that customized story and song the child wanted Lori & RJ for her birthday party. They agreed to play the party even though they never performed for a children’s party before. This was virgin territory. Of course they did their homework by learning every Public Domain kid’s song but added a twist of Rock’n’Roll and R&B to it and they called it Kid’s Music With A Groove. The party was a great success beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. The kids and parents loved it! We’re still not sure who enjoyed it more, the kids or Lori and RJ. Cotton Candy Express Music was born and continued their musical adventures by researching, writing and performing for children. Schools, libraries, birthday parties, corporate picnics, all welcomed Lori & RJ with open arms as their was nothing like them at the time…and still isn’t.
First Bay Area Mall Kid’s Club
In the late 1980’s it started out as a Christmas promotion using Lori and RJ. It ended up becoming a staple for the Stonestown Galleria is San Francisco. The idea was simple. Choose a suitable time in the mall when the center court area had the least amount of traffic, and create a club. Hence, the first kid’s club created in the San Francisco Bay Area!
Cotton Candy Express Music created a very hip atmosphere where cool Elves (and we are talking sequins, go-go boots and boa feather ears) did magic tricks for the kids, Santa danced in a gold lamé jumpsuit while rocking out to Lori and RJ’s electric version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Santa’s of all ethnic origins were invited to share their way of celebrating the holiday tradition. The Santa Club Pledge was heartily endorsed by kids and very well received by parents:
“As a member of the Club Santa, I promise to be good, to obey my parents, to be helpful and to share my smile with others at all times!”
This ethnic “Barbie and Ken” musical duo crosses all cultural lines as it brings joy to people from all backgrounds. Their shows at Stoneridge Mall included three deaf interpreters, bringing the joy of their musical entertainment to many who are often overlooked.
It was Lori & RJ that took these generic Kid’s Club ideas and transformed them into highly entertaining and profitable events for the malls who participated. They not only drew unbelievable crowds, but enriched the people who participated in the entertainment. And, participation was really a key word when it came to this group’s effect on people of all ages.
The club concept has carried over to every other holiday season. Easter, Halloween, Back to School Days, you name it. Many of the Bay Area Malls duplicated the concept with Lori & RJ. Some of the venues: Stonestown Galleria, Blackhawk, Tanforan, Serramonte, Eastridge, The Great Mall, Newpark Mall, Bayfair, Southland, Westfield Malls, Oakridge, Santana Row, Broadway Plaza, Sun Valley, Sherwood, Vallco, Corte Madera, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Alameda South Shore, Fremont Hub, Town & Country Palo Alto, Hillsdale, and more.
Intro to TV
Lori & RJ’s journey into TV Land started in 1993 with their own television show called “The Cotton Candy Express Show” at TCI Cablevision in Hayward, California. Shooting once a month and sometimes two times a month for two years, they wrote the half hour shows, produced it, directed it, wrote the music, choreographed it, designed the sets, coordinated crew members, shot on location, got all kinds of kids and their parents to be a part of the show and audience – they put up the sets, they tore down the sets, all within a strict two hour time frame, or else! AND THEN – starred in it, and performed an all original musical variety show which aired every Tuesday evening.
Simultaneously while preparing for another Holiday Kid’s Club at Stonestown Galleria, the marketing director knew of Lori’s extensive work in writing and producing television commercials and asked her to write and produce a spot for the mall at KTVU Channel 2. As a result of making a festive holiday commercial and connecting with the original Kidstown producer, who just adored Lori & RJ’s enthusiasm and talent, they were invited to be the new addition to the Kidstown Crew.