The Juliettes : Fierce, Foxy, and Fabulous, if Mae West were around today, she’d definitely be a fan of The Juliettes – a formidable foursome of grown-up Seattle female rockers. These ladies have individually shared stages with the likes of Pat Benatar, members of Yes, Journey, Queen, Heart, Bad Company, The LaBelles, Earth, Wind and Fire, The Cars, Foo Fighters, Brad, WAR, and The Hooters.
I got the chance to chat with founder, front woman and force of nature Julie Mains about the new group and their debut album Clutch The Pearls, due out on May first.
Rick J Bowen : Hello Julie.
You come from a background in comedy and theater, and have your own singer songwriter solo album. Were you always a rocker at heart?
Julie Mains: Oh hell, no. I wanted to be Ella Fitzgerald or the first lady of the Broadway stage. I wanted to be Shirley Jones, Julie Andrews, Mary Martin, Barbara Cook, and Bernadette Peters. Well that’s not true either. I never wanted to be anybody but myself. But they were my role models.
RJB: Tell us about The Juliettes. How did the band come together?
JM: A few years ago I did some fundraising rock shows with some pretty famous cats like Alan White (Yes, Plastic Ono Band), Elliot Easton (Cars), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Mark Hudson, Jamie Moses (Queen, Tom Jones), Spike Edney (Queen), and Eric Bazilian (The Hooters), Roger Fisher (Heart). I noticed how these men are considered sexy and relevant in their 40s, 50s, and 60s and that women, on the other hand, are usually considered all dried up by then with very few exceptions.
With the “Cougar” craze, the Real Housewives, Desperate Housewives, etc, I thought maybe it was time to put together a band of grown-up, adult women – all career professionals – to break in and break out in this industry. So, I called Liz Aday (a friend and prolific writer), I called a drummer I know who knows everybody to help me find a kickass bass player and he recommended Lissa Ramaglia – and Lissa found us Eva Dizon, our drummer. Our first rehearsal was magic.
RJB: Launching a new band with members in their 30’s and 40’s must be tough with having to juggle careers, kids and families how are you managing it?
Lucille Ball said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.” The fact is, not all the plates stay spinning. We’re only human. Life is sometimes unbearably hard. This past year, Liz’s fiancé died suddenly of an aneurysm. It almost destroyed her and devastated the band and our community. Still, we pulled ourselves up by our big girl panties and played a bunch of great shows, like Seattle Pride – and recorded our first album. The music is our respite, our hospice care, our discipline and practice, our religion. This band is a family. We all support each other.
RJB: The album Clutch The Pearls, sounds great. Who was your producer? Where did you record?
JM: Well, first, thank you so much for the kind compliment. We worked very hard on it. We co-produced this album with the lovely and talented Don Gunn who works with the likes of Death Cab for Cutie and Peter Frampton. When we were talking about what we wanted, I just said, “face melting” and he said, “got it”. We recorded at three different places, with our friend Rick Lovrovich from the Beatniks and Apple Jam, at Pete Johnston and Lizzy Daymont’s studio, and at Don’s studio.
RJB: So you and Liz are the main songwriters, where did this stuff come from? It’s quite acerbic but totally fun.
JM: Again, thank you. Liz writes, I write, we write together and have had some very special guests – comedian Cathy Sorbo co-wrote “RCRG” with Liz, Kara Donahue co-wrote “Sorry Bout Your Boyfriend” with Liz and we are thrilled that the very brilliant Eric Bazilian offered us three songs from his vault for our album. We write about things that are relevant to our experiences in life as mature women. We write about things other people aren’t writing about. You won’t hear love songs from us. Not the way anyone else does them, anyway. You will hear a lot about sex, about interpersonal dynamics, about the things that make us tick. We pull no punches. We just punch.
RJB: Which tracks did you co write with Eric Bazilian? And how did get him to help?
JM: Eric wrote, “Stupid”, “Juices”, and “How Can I Miss You (If you just won’t go away)”. He also wrote the Joan Osborne hit, “One of Us” and a long list of other incredible songs. We met at the aforementioned benefit. I’m not really a fan-girl type, but we’re both from Philly and The Hooters were my hometown band. We just kind of bonded. He’s a wonderful man. I would love to co-write songs with him for the next album.
RJB: Jagerbombed is super fun. Is it a blatant tactic to maybe get some sponsorship?
JM: No, but we wouldn’t turn it down if it were offered. Liz wrote it for a TV show and instead, hopefully, it will be a girl’s night out anthem for our sisters who just want to go out and have a great time with their friends.
RJB: Have you done any shows at the Roller Derby?
JM: Not yet.
RJB: The “Hooray You’re Gay,” single campaign got you some international attention. Can you give us an update?
JM: Hooray is on the debut CD. We’ve almost broken even, so the moment we go into the black, we will begin donating everything above our costs to at-risk gay youth organizations. The update really is that we hope people felt uplifted and that there is a small group of women who are in your corner. Equality is the only way.
RJB: What’s next for The Juliettes?
JM: Rocking your face off. Then after that, we have a Christmas album to get in the can and our sophomore effort already written. After that, melting your face off. Then shoe shopping.
For more info, music, videos and chance to help The Juliettes by donating to their fund raising campaign on Pledge Music got to: http://thejuliettes.bandzoogle.com
or follow them on Face Book : https://www.facebook.com/TheJuliettes
*Originally appreared in Innocent Words June 2012. *
Rick J Bowen