Music News Recap: Live To Tell

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!



Wanna rock out for a good cause?  Of course you do!  Come out to raise some funds (for Bitch magazine) and raise some hell while you’re at it.  The GRRRL Rock Party is at Woof’s tonight.

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B*tch, please: Out and about in the music industry

Bitch arrives in Madison Saturday to perform with her band, the Exciting Conclusion, in a show co-sponsored by the UW LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Campus Center. They will be accompanied by fantastic openers, the Prince Myshkins, a Madison queer duo of political satirist songwriters.

And at that time, the Orpheum Stage Door will be filled to the brim with lesbians, genderqueers, music fans and other supporters of the Madison music scene and queer community — entities that sometimes overlap, but at other times can clash. This tension can be sensed in any interview written with a queer-identified musician as soon as the question of sexual orientation comes to head. Despite the trailblazing efforts of names like Melissa Etheridge and the Indigo Girls, new faces on the queer music scene are often reluctant to take ownership of the label, displaying various levels of discomfort with the idea of being “pigeonholed” — reduced to the stereotype of the lesbian with the guitar.

“It was quite a conscious decision from the get-go of me playing music. I didn’t want to be judged as a person based on my sexuality. I wanted to be a musician, not a lesbian musician,” explains Lise Oakley, lead singer of Vancouver, BC, group The Wintermitts, in a recent cover story from Vancouver’s queer news source Xtra! West. “We want everyone to listen to our music, but I have always felt that you get pigeonholed if you are considered a lesbian band, queer band or queer-heavy band.”

An entire sub-genre of quirky queer males has also exhibited varying levels of comfortability with acknowledging their sexual identity in interviews, showing that it is far from a lesbian phenomenon and extends to other pockets within the queer community.

When asked if his management wanted him to push the “gay card,” Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Chris Garneau responded: “No, not at all. We discussed it just for my own benefit. They just asked out of appreciation and respect for me, if that was something I was planning on being open about. My response to that was, if they ask, I have no problem telling anybody anything. I would never lie to anybody about it, but it’s not the marketing ploy for my record. Anyone who is suddenly portrayed in a way that’s based upon their sexuality alone suddenly becomes non-musical. Unless you’re getting into the politics of it which, of course, then it’s really important. Queer bands and artists have something to say. I have things to say on the matter, but just not as blatant as other artists. It’s no secret, I guess. It’s just not the basis of why I’m making music.”

For Bitch, dealing with stereotypes has never seemed to be much of an issue and she has never been particularly shy when it comes to disclosure, not too different from the above scene from her role in John Cameron Mitchell’s 2006 film Shortbus. Currently dating fellow musician and “L Word” star Daniela Sea, Bitch has always been upfront with her sexuality in a way that sets herself apart from the crowd and makes for a great live show, owing to her somewhat unusual musical background.

“For me, what makes me different is that my main instruments are electric violin and bass, so I don’t play regular acoustic guitar,” said Bitch in a recent interview with Washington, DC’s The New Gay. “I think I’ve always had a very rhythmic approach to my lyrics and stuff, the spoken word element of my song writing sets me apart, and my fashion sense. I’ve always been very bold and colorful, though now as I get a little older I am preferring the most comfortable clothes.I just need to be different because of my instrumentation and influences. I was raised with a tap dancer mother who was always singing showtunes and my dad was always listening to jazz. I didn’t have much perspective on folk music till sixteen or seventeen.”

If you’re in the Madison vicinity and would like to check out Bitch’s unapologetically provocative style for yourself on Saturday night at the Orpheum, be the first person to comment on this entry with the phrase, “Bitch, please” and your name to earn yourself two spots on the show’s guest list.

–Joe Erbentraut, True Endeavors Communications and Public Relations Intern