Jumpin’ Kate Turns 50 | Q&A | X-Rated

Kate Logan, known by her stage name "Jumpin' Kate," has been a Lincoln staple for the last 20 years, earning the nickname "Matriarch of Rock." She's released 11 albums over the last 20 years, and is one of the only female sound techs to work regularly in Nebraska.

A Lincoln native, Logan graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University and taught drama for 13 years. After a three-year stint teaching in Las Vegas, she's back in Lincoln, playing her mix of original music and covers around the area.

This Sunday, she celebrates her 50th birthday with a bash at Duggan's Pub, 11th and K streets in Lincoln. The party features Jumpin' Kate bands like Cool Riddum and JK and the Naked Reserves and runs from 5 to 11 p.m. Proceeds will go to Friendship Home, which serves domestic violence victims.

Check out the interview below for Logan's favorite Nebraska band, her experiences as a sound tech and her views on being an older musican.

Listen to Logan's music on her MySpace page.

Hear Nebraska: First, give me a little background about yourself. When/why did you start playing music?

Kate Logan: My whole family is musical. I remember long boat rides at Fremont Lakes, singing old songs with the family. My mom and dad have sung in church choirs and madrigals for decades, my brother was a concert pianist with a Ph.D in music therapy, my sister is the bass player and singer in her country band.  Yeah, lots of early influence right there …

HN: Describe your sound in 10 words — adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, etc. Doesn't have to be a sentence, just any 10 words.

KL: Mindful, restorative, gets you thinking, melodic, catchy tunes, powerful voice.

HN: You've been playing for a while now — how has your sound evolved over the years? What are some major influences?

KL: Gosh, I don’t know how to talk to that, evolution of sound, except that I think each album I’ve recorded gets better and better. 

Some major influences would be all the old folk groups of the '60s that I listened to and sang to with my mom and dad’s record collection. Then came The Beatles, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Minnie Ripperton, Phoebe Snow, The Moody Blues, Blood Sweat & Tears, Santana, ZZ Top, Bonnie Raitt, countless Motown and Michael Jackson hits — these were the artists I would listen to over and over again.

I’m also a huge fan of Barbara Streisand, Judy Garland and Steve & Eydie Gormé and Bob Marley. … (Also) Mozart, Bach and Beethoven — I played piano and violin for years. … Kind of runs the gamut.

HN: How did you get into doing sound?

KL: It’s been an interesting process, gathering over 25 years of experience running sound for my bands, for other bands and performers, on all sorts of equipment, in all sorts of venues, big and small.

I’ve been producing my own albums since 1986: hours in the recording studio, working side by side with six different sound engineers, tweaking the EQ, trying to get the sound you want. These experiences brought me to running a soundboard with confidence, and in such a way that I feel as though I’m keenly aware of how to make a band sound good.

HN: There aren't many female sound techs in Nebraska; going along with that, have you ever felt you were treated differently, either as a sound person or as a musician, because of your gender? 

KL: Oh yes, I’m treated differently — but it just goes with the territory of being out there in so many different scenarios of playing music. … I think I’m gonna have to write a book, there’s so much to say.  I can say that I feel like I belong in the world of music, I have a confident sense of belongingness, no matter what attitudes I run across.

HN: There aren't a ton of Nebraska musicians who continue to play music past a certain age — Domestica comes to mind, as well as some blues artists in town — but they seem to be the exception.

Yet here you are, celebrating your 50th birthday and still going strong. Why do you think regularly performing musicians in Lincoln tend to be younger? Or is it simply that they receive the most attention?

KL: No, everybody comes along in their own time … and gets the attention they get, all in good measure.

I don’t think anybody is tending to be younger — they are just young, and ready to rock 'n' roll. I myself didn’t really get out playing until my mid-20s, (and) I expect to keep rockin’ till the day I die. Love to sing! Love to play!

HN: Any advice for younger musicians?

KL: Practice.

HN: Who are some of your favorite Nebraska bands?

KL: Favorite band is hard to say. I'll say the Jerry Pranksters.

HN: What are your plans for the future?

KL: Currently, I’m performing at solo at local wineries, playing little towns with my duo all over Nebraska and playing bigger festivals with my band, Jumpin Kate and the Naked Reserves — and I am having the time of my life! I want to keep doing that. 

I’ve also written about 20 cute, fifteen-second songs at my preschool! I continue to write songs in my spare time. Time to make a new album!

Hilary Stohs-Krause is in the midst of spring clearning — Tilly and the Wall and When in Rome are the current soundtrack. She gets her local music fix through HN and as a cocktail waitress at Duffy's Tavern. For more on Nebraska ladies making music, tune into the "X-Rated: Women in Music" radio show every Thursday from 1:05 to 3 p.m. CST at 89.3 FM KZUM in Lincoln or streaming live at kzum.org. Find it on Facebook at facebook.com/xmusicnebraska.