What's the story so far?
Lisa Mathews’ music career started in front of a big mirror in the basement of her house in Queens, New York. She learned all the songs in The Sound of Music, danced and lip-synced to Prince’s “Little Red Corvette,” played Fleetwood Mac on her Fender Rhodes. A native New Yorker, Lisa sold her rehearsal studio, Safe Sound, in 1987, and headed down to Baltimore to sing in an alt-rock band called Beyond Words. It was an ultimate synth-rock band of the 80's, complete with black eyeliner for the guys and affected Cyndi-Lauper meets Siouxsie and the Banshees vocals from Lisa, who often went barefoot onstage.
That band morphed into Love Riot in 1994, when Mikel Gehl and Lisa decided a new, more scaled down acoustic sound was what they were looking for. The line-up was simple: violin (Willem Elsevier), bass (Mark Evanko), acoustic guitar (Mikel) and electric guitar (Lisa). Thanks to the absence of drums, they were every band's favorite opening act.
Love Riot was successful in its relatively short run. After winning a worldwide music competition sponsored by Yamaha, the quartet used the money they made and recorded a cassette-only release called Muscle. Produced by Eric Ambel, the recording process turned quartet into quintet after drums filled out the songs in ways the band liked. Ron Campbell filled the position, and a new, more energetic Love Riot was born. In 1996, after signing with indie label Squirrel Boy Records, Love Riot went back into the studio with Ambel to record the critically acclaimed full-length album Maybe She Will. In 1997, the band appeared as themselves, busking in the Baltimore Metro in the Emmy-nominated episode "The Subway," which aired on NBC-TV's Homicide - Life On the Streets. The band released Killing Time, a four-song EP featuring a song from the episode. In 1999, the band recorded the self-produced Heaven Can Wait.
In 2000, Lisa became a mom and set Love Riot on a continuing hiatus. But inspired by her baby girl, she ad Mikel, who had also had a child with his wife, set about writing songs for children. Needing a new name to work under that reflected a young and different perspective, Lisa's husband Miles created an anagram out of Lisa and Mikel. Borrowing an 'h', Milkshake became the duo's new musical venture. After recording the debut album Happy Songs in 2002, Lisa and Mikel appeared in two music videos created by Noggin for Jack's Big Music Show. They were asked to be part of Jamarama, and the duet soon became a quartet, touring with other kindie acts Dan Zanes and Laurie Berkner. Since then, Milkshake has been featured on PBS KIDS, Nick Jr., and Discovery Kids and recorded five award-winning albums for kids, including 2010's Grammy-nominated Great Day CD.
Nowadays, Lisa keeps busy doing voiceovers, playing with Milkshake and working as a teaching artist in Maryland, Virginia and DC schools.