Soundcheck: Venus in Furs smash guitars and glass ceilings with rock 'n roll
Post by Carell Casey on 9/24/2012 3:00pm
"I am sexy in your presence, now die!" says Natalie Hinckley, bassist for Venus in Furs, as she explains how she and drummer, Marlo Dobrient, came up with their band's name. It comes from an old B movie where a woman "poses" people to death.
"We thought that was pretty cool. And there were ladies making out in there, too!" enthuses Hinckley, also one of the hosts of the LGBT show "Queery" on WORT Wednesdays from 7 to 7:30 p.m.
The four-piece, all woman surf punk band is playing two shows in town to celebrate the kick-off of their first tour to New York and back. Well, it is a first tour for everyone in the band except Cynthia Burnson (guitar, keys, and vocals), formerly of Screamin' Cyn Cyn and the Pons, who toured with that band for several years.
"I just wanted to do it to have fun, to be able to say we've toured, and to bring the band together," says Hinckley.
The band has already had a couple band bonding moments so far. Once, when they played for the Bartell Theater's "Blitz the Musical" earlier this year: "We had to be on stage for 12 hours, it was intense, but it was fun," she explains.
And there was another time when they took the band van, "Champ," full of gear, for a few runs around the RumbleFest dirt track, to the delight of a cheering crowd. "I think it will be fun to take a week out of life and all the focus is on making music in a different place every night. And it's kind of a test to see what people think of us outside Madison," Hinckley adds.
"I've noticed there's a very specific expectation of female bands, but not dude bands," says Victoria Echeverria, guitar player and vocalist. "A lot of people come up to us and say we sound just like Sleater Kinney - no we don't!" she laughs. "I was always pissed off in junior high because there were so many guy bands and no girl bands."
"When I was little I never met any 20-something female rockers," adds Dobrient. "I had to look up to Joan Jett to get that closeness. Guys could just go to the local community center to get that."
"On one hand it's easier, though," Hinckley offers, "because we get a little more attention because it's uncommon, and because it's uncommon it's interesting."
"And because audiences are sometimes skeptical, like 'can they really play?' we've got more of an opportunity to impress," adds Echeverria. "If I look out and there's this big dude with a burly beard in the audience nodding his head along to the music, really appreciating it, it means a lot to me. It doesn't matter that we are women on the stage."
According to Dobrient's mother, when Marlo was a baby she would put clay balls on the ends of skewers and use them as drum sticks. Her playing has been influenced by Buddy Rich, John Bonham, and Steve Shah - former drummer for Screamin' Cyn Cyn and the Pons. She admits she stole some of Shah's drum beats for their song "The Death of Disco," for which the band just made a video. Hinckley, a professional videographer, did most of the production.
It begins with Echeverria somberly presiding over Disco's funeral. Then there is a bunny (it's Nat's bunny). And a big, big bonfire. And blood. And Jell-o. Really, you should just watch it here.
And then get to the shows:
Venus In Furs Tour Kickoff Shows
Sept. 26, Frequency with Antique Scream and Wife 9 p.m, 18+, $5
Sept. 28, Inferno 9 p.m., 21+, $5
Carell Casey is a contributing writer for dane101.
She is also a musician (both solo and as a singer/songwriter, and guitarist in local band Fire and Love), is a Holistic Life Coach and Intuitive Counselor, and advocates for Animal Rights, Peace, Equality, Justice, and Racial Healing.
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