Lisa Germano

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Lisa Germano
Lisa Germano performing, December 2007
Lisa Germano performing, December 2007
Background information
Birth nameLisa Ruth Germano
Born (1958-06-27) June 27, 1958 (age 65)
Mishawaka, Indiana, U.S.
GenresAlternative rock, dream pop, folk rock
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, songwriter, graphic artist
Instrument(s)Violin, guitar, accordion, piano, vocals
LabelsMajor Bill, Capitol, 4AD, Warner Bros., Ineffable, Young God

Lisa Ruth Germano (born June 27, 1958) is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Indiana. Her album Geek the Girl (1994) was chosen as a top album of the 1990s by Spin magazine.[1] She began her career as a violinist for John Mellencamp. As of 2018, she has released thirteen albums.[2]

Early life[edit]

Germano was born in Mishawaka, Indiana, one of six children of violinist Rocco and Betty Germano.[2] She studied music, including piano and violin, as a child. When she was seven, she composed a fifteen-minute opera for the piano.[3]


On the road with Mellencamp[edit]

Germano was working as a violinist when rock singer John Mellencamp invited her to play on his album. For seven years she toured and recorded as a member of Mellencamp's band,[4][5] appearing on The Lonesome Jubilee (1987),[6] Big Daddy (1989), Falling from Grace (1991), Human Wheels (1993), and Dance Naked (1994). During the 1980s she also appeared on albums by Simple Minds and the Indigo Girls.[6] Mellencamp's 2023 Live and In Person tour marked the return of Lisa Germano to Mellencamp's band. Germano played with Mellencamp from 1985-1993 before leaving in 1994 to pursue a solo career. Germano also played violin on Orpheus Descending, marking the first Mellencamp studio album she has played on since 1993's Human Wheels.

Solo career[edit]

After recording with Henry Lee Summer, Bob Seger, and Carrie Newcomer, Germano began a solo career with the album On the Way Down from the Moon Palace (1991), recorded in Indianapolis and released by her label, Major Bill Records.[7] Although sales were low, the album got the attention of Capitol Records, which signed her to a contract and released her next album Happiness (1993). Personnel changes at Capitol resulted in the departure of most of her benefactors, but she retained the rights to her album.[citation needed]

Working for a British label[edit]

She signed a contract with the British label 4AD, which had a manufacturing and distribution deal with Warner Bros. in the U.S. Ivo Watts-Russell, founder and president of 4AD, was a fan of Germano's work. He remixed some of the tracks from Happiness with producer and engineer John Fryer, who had been involved in Watts-Russell's This Mortal Coil project. In early 1994, 4AD issued Inconsiderate Bitch, a limited-edition EP which contained five of the remixed tracks. In April of that year Happiness was reissued with different artwork, mixing, sequencing. Two tracks, including a cover version of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", were replaced.

Germano's album Geek the Girl (1994) was reviewed positively by the press[8]

Excerpts From a Love Circus (1996) was praised by Spin and Rolling Stone.[citation needed] Earlier that year, Watts-Russell approached 4AD's musicians with the idea that each act would find another person or band to collaborate with on three songs. The recordings would then be released by the label as a monthly series of EPs. Germano worked with rock band Giant Sand, but after their tracks had been recorded, the label decided that the series would be unfeasible and rejected the idea. Germano and the members of Giant Sand liked the results and enjoyed collaborating, and despite the labels' lack of interest in the recordings, recorded an album in less than a week. Managers for Germano and Giant Sand made a deal with Thirsty Ear Recordings to release the album as a one-off project under the name OP8, and the album Slush was released in February 1997. In April 1997, 4AD began promoting "I Love a Snot" (remixed by Tchad Blake) to radio and retail stores in America, but sales of the album remained static at best. "Lovesick" from Excerpts from a Love Circus was remixed by Trevor Jackson (a.k.a. The Underdog), and released by his label, Output Recordings.

Sales began to sag noticeably with the release of Slide, produced by Tchad Blake, in July 1998. The distribution deal with Warner Bros. ended, returning 4AD to independent status, and without Warner Bros. Slide received less promotion. Before the album was released she was invited to sing backup vocals on tour for The Smashing Pumpkins. Although she rejected the offer at first, singer Billy Corgan persuaded her that she would have a more collaborative role, and she agreed to join the tour. She rehearsed with the band for four weeks in Chicago. The night before the tour was supposed to begin, Corgan dismissed her (via the tour manager) with no explanation.[citation needed]

Intent on resuming the promotion of Slide, she went on tour, opening for the Eels and then headlining smaller clubs. While on tour she was notified by 4AD that they were dropping her from the label. By the end of 1998, she announced that she was done with the music business. She fired her management. Nonetheless, in 1999 she performed in Toronto at Lee's Palace,[9] and continued to release new albums with various labels.


As guest[edit]

With David Bowie

With Michael Brook

With Eels

With Neil Finn

With Howe Gelb

  • 1998 Hisser
  • 2013 Little Sand Box

With Indigo Girls

With Billy Joel

With John Mellencamp

With Simple Minds

With Yann Tiersen

  • 2001 L' Absente
  • 2003 C'était Ici
  • 2008 C'était Ici: Live

With others


  1. ^ "The 90 Best Albums of the 1990s".
  2. ^ a b " Alumni return for South Bend Youth Symphony's gala 50th anniversary concert at Notre Dame". By Andrew S. Hughes South Bend Tribune May 20, 2018
  3. ^ "4AD Lisa Germano". 4AD. Retrieved 2023-09-13.
  4. ^ Dave Thompson (16 November 2010). Hallo Spaceboy: The Rebirth of David Bowie. ECW Press. p. 240. ISBN 978-1-55490-271-2.
  5. ^ Lisa Germano. String Letter Corporation. 1994. p. 138. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  6. ^ a b Wilson, MacKenzie. "Lisa Germano". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  7. ^ Phares, Heather. "On the Way Down From the Moon Palace". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  8. ^ Alyssa Katz (December 1996). Pop Therapy. SPIN Media LLC. pp. 93–. ISSN 0886-3032. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  9. ^ "Live Reviews: Latin Playboys/Lisa Germano April 21, 1999 Lee's Palace, Toronto"[usurped]. Chart Attack, April 21, 1999
  10. ^ "Lisa Germano | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Lisa Germano | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 July 2017.

External links[edit]