|LOS ANGELES, L.A. Times. September 2, 2001.|
Bake, Rattle and Roll: Local band Breech raises money by hosting old-fashioned bake sales of their singer's wares at concert venues throughout Los Angeles while seeking fortune in its music By Keli Dailey
Fictional food expert and cultural icon Betty Crocker was used to help build a flour-based empire for General Mills by associating a friendly face with family favorites for 80 years. It's a recipe that singer Missy Gibson, a warmhearted baker known in some circles as "Betty Rocker," hopes will yield similar results for her band Breech.
"We have bake sales because there's not that many viable options, you don't make that much money playing shows in Los Angeles," the 33-year-old Silver Lake resident said. "Besides, I like to bake, I'm a good baker. And we meet a lot of nice people."
Originally from Detroit, Gibson came to Los Angeles five years ago with the band name Breech--an homage to Gibson's birth--but no bandmates, and a vision of reforming her band and making it big in alternative rock. In similar fashion, Breech's bake sales were born of Gibson's gustatory vision a year ago after band members nearly wore the magnetic strips off their credit cards spending more than $5,000 to finance a self-titled CD, the band's first. In the vein of the classic youthful enterprise, the lemonade stand, Breech sets up folding tables outside of a high traffic area--in this case local music venues like the Wiltern Theatre on Wilshire Boulevard--and display a hand made cardboard sign that reads "Breech Rock 'N' Roll Bake Sale." But don't let the setup fool you, the sweets Breech sells, like chocolate raspberry cheesecake and chocolate zucchini bread that goes for $4, are gourmet moneymakers. Two weeks ago at the Radiohead concert at the Hollywood Bowl the band grossed $250, their most successful sale to date.
With a record deal inked last year with Conspiracy Music, Gibson hopes to eventually rely on rocking and rolling, not mixing and kneading, to make ends meet.
"Ideally I want to be making money doing my music, but I get really focused and into [the bake sales]," said Gibson, who does most of the baking. "My mother always used to say 'Anything worth doing is worth doing well.' She died seven years ago and I guess baking is a way to connect to her."
On Aug. 24, Gibson was preparing for Reverend Horton Heat's performance at the Troubadour on Santa Monica Boulevard later that evening. It was Breech's fourth bake sale in more than a month and after Gibson hand rolled graham crusts, chopped nuts and melted chocolate for three hours, the air in her kitchen, windows swollen shut from the inland heat, was heavy and sweet with the smell of baking banana bread.
"She really should get out of the music business and get into the baking business," neighbor Susan Valentine said as she passed Gibson's apartment.
Responses like these inspired Gibson, accordion player Joe McAlevey, bassist Hal Cope, guitarist Mike Flanagan and drummer Dan Hughs to reveal the recipes behind their homemade goods in the upcoming "Breech Rock 'N' Roll Cookbook."
"I get e-mails and calls all the time for our signature pistachio bread, it's a secret family recipe," Gibson said. "That's the only card I can really play in the Rock 'N' Roll cookbook."
Later that evening, outside the Troubadour, McAlevey brings the attention of lingering concert-goers to a row of chocolate peanut butter bars sitting on pink Styrofoam plates under a sheet of plastic.
"Very dense, very rich, you can feed a family of four and house them in it," he says.
Meanwhile Gibson continuously calls out to passersby, who at this hour of night seem more intent on music and libations than Hello Dolly cookies.
"Breech Rock 'N' Roll Bake Sale! Help finance our next CD!" she says, finally catching the eye of West Hollywood resident Chris Lattanzi, 40. He decides to buy a Breech pear custard torte.
"Sounds like it's for a good cause," he said.
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