Plenty of pioneers aren’t sufficiently recognized in their time. Fanny had its share of high profile champions, from David Bowie to Steely Dan, but nothing amounting to the level of stardom they might have achieved had they come around a decade later. The band’s legend has only grown in subsequent decades, however. More than a quarter-century after the band’s dissolution, however, Rhino resissued the band’s four albums by way of a box set. More recently, the documentary, Fanny: The Right to Rock, introduced the group a whole new generation of fans. Singer and guitarist June Millington joins us to discuss her journey in music, mindfulness and teaching.
June Millington 0:00
My grandmother was an archivist. So I guess I'm following in her, you know, in her steps, but I've got all sorts of stuff since even before Fannie you know so and and what's gone on at ima since the very beginning, which was in the 80s and 90s.
Brian Heater 0:14
What did your grandmother archive? Well,
June Millington 0:17
for example, Pete Seeger got all the songs for his first album, Songs of Appalachia. And he got them from her. She was she was recording, you know, guys, collecting maple from the trees and the songs that they sang whatever she was, she collected songs that songs of Lake Champlain. She was from that northeast area. And that was something she did. And he really, really loved and admired her. I interviewed him before the body year before he died. It's
Brian Heater 0:49
amazing. So she was kind of in that, like Alan Lomax sort of field recording, but
June Millington 0:54
she didn't go out, you know, and drive to different parts of the country. She was very local. So it'd be Burlington, Lake Champlain, upstate New York. Yeah.
Brian Heater 1:04
Has music been in your family the entire time.
June Millington 1:09
Um, I can't say that as an actual full statement is been part of our culture. But I mean, you know, I'm Philippine American. So the American side of my family is so different side from the Philippine side, which is very musical, very musical. So music runs in my veins in a certain way. And I can feel it also in touch with, you know, the spiritual side. And they're the ones that give me a lot of information. They're the ones who asked me to start ima actually, when
Brian Heater 1:40
you say spiritual, are you talking about any kind of practice in particular, or just broadly? Yeah, I'm
June Millington 1:47
a Buddhist. And I, the two streams that I learned one was from the Dalai Lama, so I did the color chakra with him. And when he did the color tracker, that was in Madison, Wisconsin, and at one, he said that, that particular practice, I mean, color shock was pretty intense. But he said it was the other than imagination, that style of Tibetan Buddhism, which really fits in with me, because I, I go into places, you know, my imagination, whatnot, I don't have hearing in my left ear, and therefore I feel like that really opens up a lot of channels to be spoken to, to have, you know, my bidding for me to hear my bidding. And I do I do, I really do. So, you know, that's different from a lot of people. And also Ruth Dennison was my Vipassana teacher, and she really taught me about a lot about the actual nature of reality, which is so different than what we perceive as you know, our reality. This is what I see what I hear, it's actually a bit different from that. I'm
Brian Heater 2:57
going to need an explanation on that. What's what, what form does it take?
June Millington 3:01
Well, you know, I can't really give you I'm not a qualified practitioner, teacher. The short version would be since we have five senses. And we also have a place in our brain one side, and the other side is about this big, you know, like a cherry or something. So once I pitch them on sides, let me see pitch and cadence, essentially, you know, like, well, if you're gonna study Buddhist Buddhism at all, you have to accept that the nature of life or the nature of being here is the first point of suffering. So that's a big one to get over. But what she really honed in on on on teaching me I feel like she really was hard on because she wanted me to get it is that as I was saying, well, left and right brain have pitch and and cadence, or how to say words, you know, a, we don't talk like this, we've got that skip in our voice, right? I think of it as you have all these senses coming in with data, raw data, and you have an app in your brain to put it all together and make up a story every single second, that happens to be the truth. So there is no one truth like everyone sees some. One thing happened, you know, that's the problem with witnesses. They they don't all remember the same color, the car, etc, so far. So that's at a very basic level, what the nature of phenomena is. And you know, she also taught us that you really shouldn't or you can't believe everything that you think are your own thoughts. They're not your thoughts. If you're sitting in meditation, you can hear other thoughts come in. They're just they're just out there in the universe. So I think a lot of people who aren't proper by their thoughts actually don't have their thoughts there. Leaving what's coming through? That's a really fine but huge distinction. Because once you get that you don't have to believe everything. You know, even if I get a little bit depressed, I'll think well, what am I, oh, you know what's going on. But I don't have to believe that. It saves a lot of trouble. And that's, that's the basis of my understanding of the nature of reality through the Buddha's teachings, which I think are helpful hints from,
Brian Heater 5:31
if I heard you correctly, the nature of life is suffering. Well,
June Millington 5:35
that is that's where you start from the Four Noble Truths, the first one is suffering. And everything from there kind of explains the nature of suffering, why we suffer so much how we keep going into suffering in and out of it, and so on. And meditation is a way for you to not be so focused, you know, on that they're just ways to free. It's about freedom, really.
Brian Heater 6:00
When did you start your meditation practice?
June Millington 6:03
Well, I was reading about Buddhism when I was in Fanie, I was trying to read it as much as I could. But I didn't start with any teachers. I mean, I've had a lot of teachers, and not just in Buddhism, but Buddhism is my, you know, basically my way. Um, I guess I started with actual teachers somewhere in the late 80s. And I did the collar chakra with his holiness in 1981, in Madison, Wisconsin. And then later that year, I found out about Ruth Dennison, when I was in Hawaii, actually. So I went immediately to her and I was I was there with her at her desert retreat outside, even higher than Joshua Tree by New Year's Eve. 1981. So that's when 81 was really big for me in terms of really beginning to receive the teachings from qualified teachers, the teachers, you know, they know all the pitfalls, they'll help you in it. Because when you when you're getting into you get so confused.
Brian Heater 7:03
Yeah, I finally got to a point where I used to count down the minutes while I was doing it. And I finally got to a point where when, you know, when my buzzer goes off, and I'm a little bit disappointed now minutes.
June Millington 7:14
I mean, you know, that's not that's not the thing? Well,
Brian Heater 7:18
I just think, yeah, well, that's my point. Exactly. I just mean that I, when I first started attempting it, I would get really restless.
June Millington 7:28
Were you by yourself? Yeah. Yeah. So I mean, I really can sort of, you know, impressive how important is to be with a teacher, because they really break down a lot of stuff for you, you go to places much more easily, yes, it's really hard to meditate, because you're listening to your thoughts, but how to not listen to your thoughts and get freed up, and then all of a sudden, you realize, oh, my God, I was free for like, two seconds, however long it is, and it becomes longer. And then you realize, oh, I don't have to be tethered to all this and be all like, anxious and all that kind of stuff. You know, it's it's subtle, but it's really, yeah, like,
Brian Heater 8:12
your life is suffering. Yeah. somebody's life is hard. Yeah. What kind if any impact as your spiritual practice head on your music?
June Millington 8:23
Oh, I think I said quite a bit. While I was sort of intuiting, the search when I was in Fanny, I was writing songs, like, think about the children, you know, you've got a home, stuff like that. That is really the seeker voice. You know, tomorrow is another example, which I've forgotten, I've even written. So I think I've always been a seeker and I've gotten into other you know, teachers and religious, but clearly the, the Buddhist path, especially the Himalayan path, and there's about five of those. And then the apostle, which comes more from Burma, clearly that is my way. Seeking,
Brian Heater 9:10
did that coincide, you've discussed this period of your life, you know, when you were, I think 23 And you were really, really struggling on the road? Is that the time when you started really looking?
June Millington 9:24
Oh, well, I mean, I was looking but I didn't hadn't found any teachers yet. So I was looking on my own, which is its own thing, right? So I was seeking but also, you know, you're doing shows, particularly every night and that takes you to a different realm. You know, that's not particularly a meditation unless you disappear which I think I did quite a bit disappear into the all through music, which is a great thing to do. It's wonderful.
Brian Heater 9:53
So there's a sense in which the music itself is meditative.
June Millington 9:56
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Music is is One of the most exalted ways to get to nothingness, you know, to get to the truth to get to freedom. It's incredible.
Brian Heater 10:11
This period that I mentioned, you know, to me, just reading about it, and obviously not knowing you, it sounds like burnout is probably the word that I would use that there was a period where the way you described it, you were just having you were having trouble, you know, connecting with people and making lasting friends. Well, yeah,
June Millington 10:33
there was burnout. But I would say that the places where we didn't fit together as a band, like all the fights I had with Nikki, she just didn't get me I didn't get her, etc. That was really tough. And then, when we weren't selling enough records, like 60,000 units per album was not enough, you know? Yeah, we could tell that the record company had lost faith in us and they tried to get us to wear these skimpy outfits. And I, I really hated that, along with my mental distress. And my love heard left me, etc. So everything kind of fell apart for me.
Brian Heater 11:11
I read a interview that Nicki did, I think around the time of the movie. I mean, obviously, she wasn't really involved in the reissues with the rest of you, but
June Millington 11:22
not to interview for the movie. Trust me, she's incommunicado.
Brian Heater 11:27
So somebody, somebody posted an online email. Yeah. It sounded like, overall, the entire experience was, she just didn't enjoy it. Yeah,
June Millington 11:39
that's her spin. You know, that's what she says. However, I will tell you that we did have fun times, you know, so she would allow herself to be enjoying the moment. But it wasn't, it didn't really last for that long. And I don't know if it was really that genuine, it's so hard for me to know, because I never really knew Nikki, Jean, Allison and myself, you know, we had been in the smells. So we had been in those that teenage tumbling around years, we never had that with Nikki. So we didn't have that ease. With her. She came in with all these sort of assumptions about girl musicians, and she didn't want to be in a girl band, but she didn't have anything else, you know. So it was tough for her. But, you know, that wasn't my problem.
Brian Heater 12:31
Is it possible to connect with somebody musically who you just started getting along with on a personal level?
June Millington 12:38
Well, I suppose you can for a bit, you know, because music is so incredible, and it will free you from the bonds of intolerance or dislike or whatever, for bits of time. But, um, I don't think as a full program, I don't think it can do that. You're still going to have your differences, you know, sounds
Brian Heater 13:00
like overall, you you really look on that back on that period. fondly. But obviously, a lot of things didn't go the way you had hoped or planned, was it?
June Millington 13:14
This is for so against us, you know, with you know, the the insults that Nikki would like, you know, sort of say to me, either overtly or covertly, I was all as a package really hard. But, you know, I was in the band with Jean, my sister and with Alice, and we did great work someone we were doing great work. We were having fun.
Brian Heater 13:37
Did it take time, though, to get that perspective, after you left the bands to realize, you know, it's hard to, it's hard to know how good something is when you're actually going through it because, you know, people tend to focus on the bad things.
June Millington 13:52
I wasn't really trying to think of how easy or hard it was, I just know I was traumatized by the experience, and I left Fannie without asking for anything. No royalties, no, you know, no money to speak of I think I got $50 Again, for like six months, I just asked for something, you know, so, um, and I didn't want to think of Fannie at all. I did not I was used to I wouldn't even speak to my mom about it, or Toshi Reagon is a great artist. She said, Yeah, you want to talk about Fannie and like that is over with, you know, and Alice would ask me to listen to Fannie Jean. I wouldn't do it until we had to listen to all the tapes that were sent to us with regards to the four CD compilation, and then I had to listen and I realized, okay, yeah, all right. We were good. We were good. We were really good. So what am I gonna say, Well, you know, I had to start surrendering to that. And I started to have different dreams, which is really great. I saw different out rooms at Fanny Hill and they were Nice people. And it was a really cleaned up vibe rather than, you know, kind of this, like, don't open the door, the door to the basement because all those sounds, I mean, literally I would perceive that and dream. So I was really afraid of going there. And also, I was so young when it all happened, so I had no way to really process it. So I haven't yet processed it. But after that, for the CD compilation came out in 2002, I sort of had to surrender to it. And little by little through everything that's happened, you know, Fannie recording, Fannie walk the earth and the documentary, I've had to really take a look at it and appreciate it for out, you know what it was from my point of view?
Brian Heater 15:43
Yeah, so that's several decades you went and without ever listening to the music? Exactly what
June Millington 15:50
no things that happened, like, around 1975, maybe a woman who walked worked with the Fillmore and he was he did an interview with Francisco Chronicle or someone or something like that. And she said, You made this comment that totally closed the door. For me here is a woman who works with the Fillmore, you know, we Bill Graham, she said, Fanny was a one trick pony. And I completely closed down completely that was it, the doors closed and locked. I was so upset when I read that. Why did she say that? What On what basis? You know, so that's, we got comments like that from both men and women, you know, sort of, I don't know, they were trying to be the, I guess, the critic. But you know, you don't always get to be a critic and just not actually consider all the factors involved, you know, that we had had a lot of guys insult us. Since the time we first started the smelts. And, you know, 6566, and we've been sneered at all that time. And we gotten better, despite all that nobody gave us credit for that. No one gave us credit for well, not known, but not enough people gave us credit for persevering, getting better and better. And actually, we got a lot better than the bands who were criticizing us. That's a fact. And they were not happy about it.
Brian Heater 17:19
At what point did you become aware that people were starting to have that conversation that Fanny had really opened the door for a lot of other bands?
June Millington 17:30
You know, I mean, there were, there were a few good comments in the press, but I'd say mostly was the audience's I think was mostly the audiences. And, you know, when I thought back about it is most of the boys who would come up to us and say, Oh, my God, you know, whatever they would say, and there would be girls with them, but they didn't say anything. So that's how the picture was at the time. Girls looked up at us. And you could see in their eyes. Boy, you guys, I wish I was one of you, you know, and we did get some mail. But I think it was the audience's that, you know, we wouldn't have kept going on the road for three years and gotten all those gays if we sucked.
Brian Heater 18:13
I mean, in terms of you know, this, there's an appreciation for the band now that perhaps didn't exist before of you being pioneers. And if you opening the door for a lot of musicians that have walked through it since, but it seems like that's the sort of that's the kind of thing that that develops slowly over time.
June Millington 18:35
Yeah, but we know it. I mean, just listen to the intro, and a lot of good love. Just listen to the intro of that. That's not, you know, that's pretty sophisticated. But nobody said, Hey, that is a really sophisticated intro. Wow, how did they manage to do that? You know, it's not the same intros on the original song, that's a cover, but still, you know, we would make everything our own, or we got a lot of good comments about badge. And I was paired to Eric Clapton. And, you know, some critics said that they thought my solo was better now, I never thought that because my solo was based on Eric's but I did emote something from a girl that was simply that I mean, you wouldn't get that from a guy. It was the sort of the yearning of, of just wanting to break through of getting as much as I could out of life, etc. And you can hear that even just like on the last note of my solo, you know, that's, it's just that cry. Okay, so that was me, and backed by Fannie, who was playing their hearts out. So we weren't fooling around man. And a lot of times when we were recording like, LOL George would be there. I was a really good friend of ours. Scott wasn't there so much, even though he was a good friend but sly we'd done a gate with and fan, not Fanny him. The smelts he would come plop down in the studio. He liked us, you know. So there were a few people who really were comfortable with us. And they were the guys who are the out there the most sly along, you can't get more out there than that really? Example adored us. You know
Brian Heater 20:21
what? Yeah, really, if you were to ask me to name the outlandish musicians of that period, those, those two would be off the top of my list, but also, you know, certainly David Bowie was pushing a lot of boundaries. And he's, you know, he had subsequently said some really great things about the band was he that he seemed like he was on board at the time.
June Millington 20:43
Well, yeah, apparently, he sent us a kind of Love Letter slash fan letter. When he did his first album, he sent it to us and said, I really love you girls. And I don't remember nobody has. So but he really did was a fan of ours. And we met him on the road we were in, I think it was Liverpool, and he was staying in the same hotel, we did a gig at the same time. And we got back to the hotel, and there was a note at the desk saying David Bowie would like you to come up to his party in the penthouse. And that is described in the book and was really incredible week, but the elevator door open, and it was the penthouse, and it was full of people. But it was a really nice, quiet, sophisticated party. And I actually ended up spending all night with him and just talking that was fabulous. He completely accepted us as equals, you know, so that was really great. That was really great.
Brian Heater 21:41
I mean, on the notes of both being in Liverpool, and, you know, like, like the Clapton cover being being compared to other musicians. You know, one of the other big covers that you did was hateful dog by the Beatles. And it sounds to me like, you felt like you were getting a lot of pressure from the record label to, like, be the Beatles.
June Millington 22:05
No, no, no, you've got that completely wrong. Why did you think that I mean, the record company said it never said anything about that. We chose that song. We had a great running through to Fanny hill without anybody telling us to, we didn't we're not thinking of busting the envelope of a Beatles, we were just having a great time playing. That's what we did. That's what we were best at. And so hey, I don't even think we knew we were going to record with Geoff Emerick, when we started doing that song. I don't have that in my head. Oh, we got to play this really well, for Jeff, what happened was that we love that song so much. We made up that first, you know, and then when we got to Apple, and Jeff was engineering, I mean, he was he couldn't have been more surprised and happy that we know how to play a new auto record. So those to me are the triumphant moments. You know, we met George, and Ringo, because their offices were right up self upstairs. And we met Paul and Linda at a different session at air because Richard was producing Carly Simon, at the same time. You know, he's so vain, you're so vain. And then I met John when my brother Earl slick, whom Jean eventually married when he was playing a double fantasy. So I did work with all our see all the Beatles, and they were thrilled with us. So I want to disabuse you of that notion that they wanted us to be like the Beatles. What I will say is they want to sell more records, and they want us to show motifs and as well, and that I would not do that I would not do I mean, there's just, you know, I have my, I guess you could say my ethics and my morals. I didn't feel like I've never kind of posture like a man or a boy, when I play guitar. I don't need to do that. I worked so hard on playing that I don't need to have my guitar, you know, coming out on my crotch and pretending doing what guys do that way. They've got a dick, you know, so they were represented with their guitar. I don't have one and I'm not representing it. I meant to be crass. You know, I never felt the need to do that. Never. So, yeah, let me disabuse you of that note and everything we did. We either chose or maybe Richard and management might have mentioned a song, but I don't remember any saw that they mentioned. I feel like we chose all our material.
Brian Heater 24:38
To clarify. I didn't mean the choice of the song. I meant that, you know, for example, keeping four of you.
June Millington 24:48
Well, that's, that's not playing. That's the sort of, you know, yeah, sorry. That's what that's what Yeah, presentation. That's true. That's true. They wanted us to be like the Beatles and have four of us so they thought that we had a really The chance to do that, but we didn't stay long enough to really develop our own original material. I mean, the Beatles were doing their own original material from the jump. We did not stay together long enough to really do that. I mean, the Beatles didn't need to stay together. They're doing it from the jump, but you hear what I'm saying? There was just, there was so much stuff confronting is that was really unpalatable. Quite frankly, it was almost impossible to get through the thicket of preconceptions about how girls weren't supposed to do it. It was really horrible. That side of it was truly horrible. It's hard for me to explain, but it was unpalatable.
Brian Heater 25:37
I get the sense that something that you had to fight against, certainly in the early days was the idea that by the nature of having an all female band that it was effectively a novelty band.
June Millington 25:50
Yeah. Yep. They say there has to be topless a lot. You know, when the first tour, they still expected us to be topless. A lot of even college audiences. The
Brian Heater 26:01
tides changed, opinions changed, you feel like it by the end that you were getting at least a little more respect. By
June Millington 26:07
71. We got a lot more respect. I mean, 71 was the year in which we played both of Fillmore East Fillmore West. We backed up Barbra Streisand live in the studio, and two songs we played on the Sonny and Cher show. We went to England at the end of the year, and we're conquering audiences there. We played Beat Club and we recorded our album at Apple with Geoff Emerick. I mean, it really couldn't get any better than that.
Brian Heater 26:31
User were traumatized to describe that period. And what you had to work on afterwards. Was it? Was it anything in particular was it just all all of this piled up on top of each other?
June Millington 26:45
Anything in particular, I mean, we could point to certain criticisms of our performances are the records that were just horrible. So every single one of them hurt, you know, like a woman said, Well, I hate to say it, but I just, I just don't think women should be on stage playing electric instruments playing a band, I just can't help it, you know, or the guitar player for Patti Smith wrote a horrible article on us, I think in Rolling Stone, which he said we were sort of like, you know, pretenders or we were derivative or whatever derivative it was, was a, a word that was used on us a lot. When I look back at the reviews, I stopped reading the reviews after a while because I mean, I was just trying to be as good as I could. And I was improving, you know, every week because I practice so hard. And I had such great teachers. I mean, you don't get teachers like Lowell George Eliot Randall. Skunk Baxter. I mean, those are I feel like my top three teachers and they were really invested in me. You know, they gave me the goods. So in that sense, the true players who understood what you had to go through, they weren't on my side and they gave me everything they could. So I knew I was getting better because I could keep up you know, and but it never was enough for for society for that terrible like it was almost an invisible barrier. Girls don't enter in every way that was said to us.
Brian Heater 28:31
When you said skunk before, I was wondering if you're talking about skunk Baxter, he is I'm talking about interesting characters. He's basically a rocket scientist are involved in like Missile Command at this point.
June Millington 28:43
Well, yeah, yeah. He's, he's always been that way. He's incredible. Yeah, he's, he's one of my best friends. I mean, you know, he can play classical music. guitar, you can, you know, really can play anything. And you know, to have a teacher like that is very special, because they're gonna give you the rarefied stuff. They're gonna give you the real stuff. You know, he taught me just little things that I could put in my arsenal that I still use today. And he worked on my guitars. He was my top repairman. That's how I met him. It sounds
Brian Heater 29:18
like Todd Rundgren didn't have anything to offer in the teaching department. You
June Millington 29:23
know, Todd was kind of a mixed bag for me. I mean, clearly he knew what he was doing and we did have some fun but there was just a certain place that he wouldn't let us girls go past you know, where he was clearly superior in his in his so that was it. There was no place to go there was no real center we could go to and like snuggle and be there and know that we have mutual respect that was not
Brian Heater 29:51
that it was felt like a one way street.
June Millington 29:54
Yeah, when during the mixing when he wouldn't let us in the doodle. I didn't want to make any by means I just want to be there that was, you know, the ultimate insult.
Brian Heater 30:04
How did you get into teaching yourself?
June Millington 30:08
I co founded the Institute for the musical arts and when within the context of that I didn't plan to be a teacher, but because we couldn't afford to hire teachers, and I just, I ended up teaching stuff. And one of them is recording and how I got the information for that, even though I've been recording for years. I got it from my brother, who's in the film, is even His name is David Scott. He lives in Hawaii. And he's a great sound man slash engineers. So he taught me stuff and I was able to pass it on. But in terms of teaching guitar, Nino I just had to do because we couldn't afford to hire anyone for the longest time.
Brian Heater 30:47
It was the initial spark behind the school.
June Millington 30:50
I heard voices, quite frankly. And they told me, I have to say, That's what I mean. I have an open channel to my ancestors, basically, my ancestors. And my angels. And I have first heard the voices and 76 in LA when in a women's music meeting. And then in 86, I was living with a partner who co runs sensitive music arts. She was running the Women's Center at Hampshire College, and I was living with her and I heard the voices again. But louder. There were more of them. They were coming in my dream. So I was doing a lot of gigs at the time. And I was in San Francisco hanging out with Angela Davis. And I told her about these voices said, We'll get going. And I said, Why don't you know, not me, I'm not an organizer. And she said the only thing that could have worked, and that was well, they're talking to you. So between Ann and Angelos Dave is a really kick my ass and got me going. And we wrote a sort of a manifesto together. And Angela joined the board, along with Roma Baron who produced Laurie Anderson, she did oh, Superman, for example, she in fact, she's still on our board and teaches at our recording camps. So in a way, I tried to hook up with all the best people whom I knew involved in the music biz, you know, and we just took it from there. But it was originally literally hearing voices. And when I say that, it's like an intuition I didn't hear didn't really hear them either. I did hear some words like who's gonna take care of all the younger woman's woman who's going to be coming down the pike, you know, who's going to take care of them. So that highly concerned because I knew how hard it had been for us, you know, even as you know, 15 year old starting our first band you need you need help.
Brian Heater 32:40
Yeah, I feel like Angela Davis, you can't say, oh, I can't be a teacher and I can't be an organizer to her because I mean, you know, she's, she's great at photo, they
June Millington 32:49
get cassoulet. She's smart. You know, she's gonna wear you at every turn. So she, like I said she did it one line while they're talking to you. I was defeated in my position. Oh, I can't do this.
Brian Heater 33:04
It's like get getting beat in one move on chess. Right?
June Millington 33:08
Right. Yeah. She's incredible. The
Brian Heater 33:10
piano musician as well.
June Millington 33:13
She plays cello. You know, it's a completely different scene. But she has she has a my mom taught violin and she grew up in Illinois. You know, those Midwestern curses a lot of great players out there. Because the music and the schools and music programs are incredible. So some of the best musicians that I played with come from the Midwest seriously. And some of the Midwest for example.
Brian Heater 33:40
Did the two of you meet through music? Let
June Millington 33:42
me see. We had started this well, she had come out west secret fame and fortune. And she saw a little ad that we'd written up that was in a music store that we were looking for a drummer. So she called and that was this welts. That wasn't even a wild honey yet, or God forbid Fanny. So that was a, you know, a bit back. So when I say Nikki didn't experience that to the, you know, sort of the teen years of just kind of tromping around and trying stuff out. We had a lot of good times, you know, we didn't have that when we didn't have that girlfriend thing with her. And that's a whole you know, the estrogen thing when you're kind of connected that way. It's really it's really different. Yeah.
Brian Heater 34:31
Was it ever hard being in a several bands with your sister and obviously, like, it's such you have such a close Connection to that person, but oftentimes siblings are, are the people that you fight with the most?
June Millington 34:44
I can't say I really remember fighting with her. And the opposite of that is we didn't really talk about it that much. We just knew. We just knew this is something we had to do and we went for it. You know, every time we lost a girl in the band, it was a complete trauma we lost A two drummers before we found Alison, they were both great. In fact, one of them was Bree. And we lost our original guitar player, singer was so great in the mix. And we got Addy, who was in wild Annie, who was the band that played at The Troubadour in LA, and how we got the deal. The record deal. You know, she's not very much mentioned, but she was a kickass guitar player, she still plays, but you know, so all the all the girls or young women that we had in our band, that we've managed to find what was really great, I don't know how we managed to do it, but that's what happened. So Jean, and I were all always united, I think we didn't fight because there was so much pressure against it, that we were just consolidated and united in our desire for doing it. And so when I left Fannie in 73, it was tremendously difficult because what I was, I was eaten up I was, I was just too tired. You know, I didn't know how to handle handle anything. And like I said, my lover left me so I was as pretty broken and like a shell of a person inside. But that was great for learning.
Brian Heater 36:15
Did you ever consider leaving music altogether?
June Millington 36:19
Well, I've kind of toyed with the idea a couple of times, but I don't really know anything else. And, and music is really seriously the thing that a I know, and B that fills me the way that nothing else does. So it's it really is fulfilling music is incredible. So it's healing also. So not only did it express itself through me and teach me things, but it really healed me and is still healing me in so many ways.
Brian Heater 36:49
So it was clear to you after leaving the band that you were going to find your way back into the music world some way or another.
June Millington 36:55
Well, I mean, nothing was clear to me. I just was blind going towards something. I knew that I you know, I wasn't really crazy about playing rock and we went a little bit into rock country because Nicki like that. Well, I you know, I felt more like I was kind of a Motown soul soul was when I was really interested. Okay, so but then I got to the New York area, I lived in Long Island for six months to a year, I'd go into New York to jam and Jaco Marcelino the drummer of so he had a coterie of friends. I would go jam with them I met Lea with Damien and I slowly but surely, my, my view of music shifted and I started to learn about salsa, I started to learn reggae, I started to sort of open my my mind and my technique to other techniques, because New York is different from LA. So it would feed me in that way. And I learned as much as I could, I mean, as fast as I could. And also, I continue to work our jam with Elliot Randall. You know, he played the solo on wheeling in the years, but we were friends from having done a gig at the Whisky. That's how I met him. And of course, I also knew skunk. So you know, and skunk invited him to play that solo in real in in the year so there was a big Connection there
Brian Heater 38:19
is talking about Steely Dan, and there, the two of them are notorious for being, you know, like perfectionist when it comes to music. You were somewhat in that world. Were they aware of the bands? And did they like the band? Yeah,
June Millington 38:33
absolutely. Yes. Because Scott and I will talk when we were on the road. And I remember once I was in New York, and he called me and just wanted to chat. And he thought he was leaving Steely Dan. I said, what, you know, because I mean, Steely Dan was so you know, there were so successful. And he had already done Ricky don't lose that number, which I think as one of the best solos ever, of all time, and I said why? And he just kind of felt like, you know, they're just too intent on getting to stone or too uptight. And, you know, whatever. So when he said he was joining Steely Dan and I was a guest, you know, I didn't think that I mean, excuse me, the Doobie Brothers brothers. Yeah, yeah. And I mean, yeah, they had that one hit, and, you know, taking them to the strip. I didn't hear like the stuff, but I realized he had Michael McDonald waiting in the wings, you know, et cetera. So and, I mean, how great was that? You know, but he told me that he took them into the studio for about a month and they practiced on click, so they would all know how to record the way that he knew they should be recorded. Interesting.
Brian Heater 39:46
Yeah. The band was shot on Ah,
June Millington 39:50
thank you. And that was really good. We were all really good friends with them. They were a great band and they had so much fun. We would do gigs together we would just laugh and hanging How'd you know? You know that band that did them? What was that? So they were a Native American band. Oh Redbone Redbone what was their hair? Mustache? Okay. Sorry. From Moana get Jolanda Yeah. So anyway, I didn't know the song, but he came rushing backstage. He said, June, June, we're just cutting it. He was so happy. And I totally believed him, you know, and they did cut it. So there were great guys, you know, the brown and the black guys were the nicest to us. But everyone I mentioned. You know, so far, they they were all white guy. So, you know, the basic line is, the better they are than nicely. They were,
Brian Heater 40:46
quite frankly, your competition?
June Millington 40:49
I guess. So. Because they loved us. We loved them. I mean, even when we met the Beatles, you know, a couple at a time or whatever, you could tell they're just so relieved. And the women were relieved, because they knew we weren't after their men, you know, there was just a certain understanding of what it took to do the work. You know, and that was just a real knowing really shared information.
Brian Heater 41:13
I think a lot of men definitely at the time, and it still stands now. Just they were dismissive, dismissive of you, because they didn't want to think that women were better musicians than they were. And in a lot of cases, you very clearly were.
June Millington 41:28
You're absolutely right. And I've had guys admit that to me now, like what an idiot I was, you know, I just put you down because I was jealous.
Brian Heater 41:38
That period, after you left the bands, and they your sister, and the rest of them put out an album. I know there was there was talking about you rejoining for that tour.
June Millington 41:50
I did rejoin for the Web3 jump, the butter boy tour. We rehearse there, we tried to get a record deal with that band, but I didn't want to call it Fanny. And at the last second, the record of the guys from the record company, so Well, you know, we want you to call yourself saying I said, No, I mean, I you know, those voices they have just to create I cannot be in a bad call Fanny fan. That's why Fanny walked the earth that came from a conversation fine, fatty and walk the earth. That's good. You know?
Brian Heater 42:19
Did the voices tell you to reunite? Later when the Oh,
June Millington 42:22
it wasn't like that. It's just that Jean was at my house when she got the call. If she was with me and Woodstock during this really big snowstorm, she got this phone call. And it was management, they said eight. She had just told me that Fannie had finally split forever. But she got this call and management said you got to hit you got to come back so we can make some money. And then she called me about a week later. And she asked me if I play guitar on that tour. And that's how it all came back together. But interesting. Ly enough. That's what led me to women's music. And Chris Williamson because I was in LA rehearsing for that. What I call Fanny point one tour, and Chris was recording, changing the change. I don't know if you're familiar with that album, but that's great. And she asked me to play on a couple of cuts. And then after Fannie did that tour, and we didn't get the record deal. In the meantime, I had played on a couple of tests and that she asked me to go on the road with her and because the record deal didn't come through, I went out with her that was incredible. It was so paradigm shifting. I mean, women's music, mixed in with the music of the day, which was changing was molting into, you know, disco, especially with so much coke or oh my god, really. And we ended up Jean and I ended up in New York actually, after I did the women's music bid for about a year we ended up doing ladies on the stage in New York with Tom Sellars, like, and I CO produced it together and that's a great album, and what we try to be as kind of on the mark with disco and that kind of thing. But then EMI bought the record company bought UA and we were cast out into the wilderness. So that was terrible.
Brian Heater 44:10
What was the experience like playing together with them? You know, decades later, when there was I think it was in I think it was at a in San Francisco. He did a show
June Millington 44:24
tour we did for the you know, the release of the the documentary, Fannie, the right to rock on PBS. So Fannie did it, like for for city gig tour in California in May. So that was two drummers, two bass players pulling from a wheelchair, you know, Patti and I played so that was big. Um, so there's been there's been different. What would be the word you know, different composites
Brian Heater 44:54
June Millington 44:56
iterations. So I feel like you know, you do the best each one I thought it was important to do this tour. I mean, I had to think about it. I mean, am I gonna go on this this is Gene is on a wheelchair and blah blah blah but I think it was successful because we got out there and I'm 75 Dude, I mean there I was playing fatty material at 75. Fatty is not easy to play. I'll tell you that right now. It is not easy to play. You. Even me I was huffing and puffing to keep up with those parts. Yeah, and we ended up doing it that peculiar which I had not played since many, but I had the same guitar.