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House Blend | Episode 26b: Whitesmoke

Uploaded 09/10/2011

Episode 26b: Whitesmoke
BJ Saidi’s Bio
“As far back as I can remember, there was always a piano in our home” said BJ. “My mother was always practicing classical pieces; Bach, Beethoven, Mozart etc… so all that ‘mental programming’ began early for me.” BJ’s love of music grew quickly, and by the age of 12 with tutelage from his mother had written his first song.
At 19 he got his first synthesizer (Roland-Jupiter 8) and joined a top-40 band. Experience and equipment accumulated over the years as well as his song writing skills. In 1990 a body of work labeled the “Jacaranda” project was written with a long-time friend and guitarist. “Our publisher got one of our songs used for the soap opera “Santa Barbara”.
A short break from music was taken to pursue some work in the film’s post-production world. “That was an extremely valuable experience. I wouldn’t trade those 9 years of my life for anything” By 2008 he resurrected his love of music and joined a band. “The band had a lot of talent, but most of them had other priorities. Venita and I had become great friends and both wanted to do more. So we splintered off and started our own band”.
Other people have come and gone over the last 2 years, however, it seems that “3” is the magic number of members for Meridian. “We have the sound of a full 7-piece band.” BJ has intergraded his computer programming skills with the band’s music that brings a powerful sonic punch to their show.
Venita Louise’s Bio
Besides being a teacher of meditation and a professional artist, Venita Louise is also a published author. She has dabbled in the arts since she was a child. If she wasn’t drawing, she was writing or plucking out tunes on her guitar.
She fondly remembers backyard gatherings in the warm summer evenings. Her father and his brothers would sit on the patio and sing old songs and harmonizing like a barbershop quartet. One uncle even played guitar for a well-known swing band, so music has always been a big part of her life. She and her sister would join in and they would often hear the neighbors cheer and applaud their approval.
She has been the Production Control Manager at Remo, Inc. for the past fourteen years. Venita marches to the beat of many drummers. Remo is the famous maker of drumheads and percussion instruments, supplying musical instruments world-wide. Being surrounded by musicians every day keeps her inspired.
Venita has been writing original songs for twenty years and has recorded for small plays and web sites. She has been the lead vocalist for several bands for the last five years and loves singing classic rock the way people remember it.
Ever since she has teamed up with the genius of BJ on the keyboards, they have written several songs together and plan to release their own CD in the summer of 2010. Watch for it under the band name of, White Smoke. One of their songs, The Eyes of a Traveler, will be featured at Vintage Romance Publishing.

Russ Stacey Bio
Russ Stacey plays bass guitar & provides backing vocals.  Russ has played a little of everything since he was 11 years old (trombone, guitar, keyboards and ukulele) with various bands in Oregon & California.
Now mostly a bassist, Russ has had the opportunity to play at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Museum two years in a row with his NBC company’s band — “High Definition” for the “Battle of the Corporate Bands” Finals competition held in Cleveland. Last year, he played at the Rockhall with the Rockahallics — a collection of different band members from various corporations who have competed over the last 10 years. Rockahallics are best described as “drinkers with a music problem”. Russ enjoys playing in Meridian with their diverse selection of songs & great vocal harmonies between the band members.
When Russ is not playing music, he is very busy with “Bridges To Ability” (a boys and girls club for the differently-abled) and the Special Olympics organization. Russ has a son who participates in both programs and has also served as past-President of the Board for the Bridges to Ability organization. You may even encounter Russ at Pete’s Coffee on Sunday mornings & the Elephant Bar on Thursday nights puffing on a cigar with the “Valencia Cigar Lounge” members.
Favorite saying – “Life is Good” & favorite Beatle is Paul.

Stephen K. Peeples    “House Blend” host, writer and co-producer Stephen K. Peeples is a Grammy-nominated record producer (“Monterey International Pop Festival,” 1992), award-winning radio writer-producer (“The Lost Lennon Tapes,” 1988-1990) and veteran record company executive (Capitol, Elektra/Asylum, Rhino). A Canyon Country resident since early 1988, Peeples wrote about the SCV music scene for The Signal newspaper in 2004-2006 and was Managing Editor of the My Santa Clarita community website in 2006-2007. He was The Signal’s Online Editor and social media manager from October 2007 to May 2011. In 2009 he was honored when was named “Best Website” by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. A jazz and rock drummer since he was 12, Peeples was a member of the underground West L.A. garage band Peaking Duck from 1977-2008. In 2010, he co-founded the SCV-based jazz quartet RainTree.
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