The Space Lady was a street musician and DIY performer. Susan Dietrich Schneider was born and raised in Las Animas, Colorado by two classical musicians and played the acoustic guitar, piano and flute from an early age.
Susan learnt the keyboard accordion when she began performing on the street to raise money for her and her husband of the time, Joel Dunsan (who performed as The Cosmic Man). who was dodging the Vietnam war draft. They had both gone underground as the penalties were severe, and this thrust them into a very disadvantaged situation of near-poverty. Before performing Susan would beg on the street 7 days a week to survive.
“How can I make a living? How can I make money and be true to my muse, be true to our counterculture and objection to the establishment and the war machine? How can that be done?”
Joel and Susan slowly worked on Susan’s act until it was a fully functional one-woman-band setup. Eventually Susan raised 200$ from busking and bought a Casiotone MT-40 keyboard that revolutionized her act and replaced the battered accordion which she had found in a thrift shop. She would perform covers of rock n roll classics in a winged helmet with a flashing red light on it, eventually earning the name ‘The Space Lady’.
In 2000, after 20 years of performing on the street she left California, her husband and retired The Space Lady act. After getting married again a decade later, her husband persuaded her to relaunch the act and get in touch with the hundreds of fans that over the years had got in touch with her. This led to a revitalization of her music career including touring the world and releasing a greatest hits record from which the Minute is taken.
About this Contributor
- Given name
- Family name
- Contributor type
- Minutes created
- GRC4 #51
Black Musical Histories
“It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live.” – Nina Simone, singer, musician and civil rights activist. Black…
Back to School: Music for Change
“If anybody wants to keep creating, they have to be about change.” – Miles Davis, jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer After many…
Discover a treasure trove of music education resources created by the experts at Minute of Listening.