Danger*Cakes is an impressive,all-female band from Austin,Texas. Their sound combines elements of pop-punk, rockabilly, 60's R&B, and retro-swing. To see all these ladies rockin' out is amazing! So I grabbed three of them for a quick interview!
What do you play and how long have you been in the band?
Jamie: I am lead singer and upright bassist. I started this band in August of 2010.
Jeremie: I play guitar and have been with D*Cakes for since September of 2011.
Tina: I’m a sax of all trades, but you can usually find me rocking the alto. I’ve been in the band since December of 2010.
Do you think it's tougher being a band composed of women?
Jamie: I don’t think it’s tougher working with women. The tough part was finding the right women to work with. When I was recruiting for the band, I’d find that female instrumentalists were very few and far between and most women with musical experience were either extremely career-oriented or primarily focused on their family. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to devote to being in a band.
Jeremie: As long as everyone’s rocking out and having a good time, it’s really no different than playing with dudes and we smell better!
Tina: If by tougher you mean better, then YES!
How would you describe a Danger*Cakes show to someone who has never seen one?
Jamie: We are a sight to behold. It’s not everyday that you see this many woman rocking out whole-heartedly. Our songs are chock full of energy and fun. Most of our songs have a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, but tend to be rather “edgy”. People always seem pleasantly surprised that we’re not some sort of all-girl novelty act in poodle skirts.
Jeremie: It’s not as tame as you’d expect, but be prepared to do the Twist!
Tina: Hot Rock and Roll with a whole lot of heart and Soul!
Favorite Danger*Cakes moment?
Jamie: Some of my favorite moments were playing the 2011 Freak Show Festival and meeting all the fellas from Mad Sin, Koffin Kats and Calabrese. They’re all such gentlemen! I loved getting the chance to play with Grammy-nominated, Ruby Dee and The Snakehandlers. She’s one of my local heroes and her bassist, Dylan Cavalier is one of my mentors and a close friend. I also loved playing for the Girls Rock Camp of Austin. Maybe it seems a little Pollyanna of me, but every time I think of that show, I can see the eyes of all those girls gazing up at us with respect and admiration and it makes me want to work and rock all the harder.
Jeremie: Waking my lazy buns up early and playing for the Austin 10/20 Relay for tons of people at 8AM. Oh yeah, and being mistaken for Blues Traveler.
Tina: I love going on tour with the girls. When we all pile into the van and take off, I know each time is going to be even better than the last. There’s never a dull moment with us!
Tell us about what you have coming down the pipeline?
Jamie: We’ve just signed a distribution deal with indie label, Deep Eddy Records and I know we’re all excited about that. We’re playing the Texas Roller Derby Halftime show at Palmer Events Center in Austin on Saturday, May 26th and are doing a live EP recording at Roadhouse Rags on Sunday, May 27th. We’ll be getting our ducks in a row in the month of June so that we can finally hit the road and start touring nationally and hopefully internationally by late Fall, early Winter.
Jamie and Jeremie, you ladies both used to be in punk rock bands. Do you notice any differences or similarities between the punk scene and the rockabilly scene?
Jeremie: Yes, the hairdo’s; fewer Mohawks and more Pompadours.
Jamie: Overall, general hygiene.
So what is the story with "*" in the band name? It's a little weird.
Jamie: I like the asterisk. Derived from the Greek word Asteriskos, it means “little star”, which the symbol itself looks like. It has many uses and connotations. It can be used to censor vulgarities or in Liturgical Music, which is a well known part of Catholic Mass, the asterisk is often used to denote a deliberate pause. There’s something symbolic about that to me.
Being raised with a Catholic faith and worrying about what my parents, peers and other people think of me, has led to my sometimes self-imposed censorship. I know that’s not very Rock and Roll to admit, but it is something I struggle with on a daily basis, especially when it comes to my writing. Maybe the “*” symbolizes my deliberate hesitation in that regard.
Or maybe it’s my way of interjecting a little drama into a band name? Alfred Hitchcock one said, “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”
Jamie, your vocals kind of have a Wanda Jackson vibe. But I also sense a lot of Etta James and Aretha Franklin. Is it safe to say you are a big fan of old soul and R&B singers? And if so, who would be your top ten?
You bet your Friday night panties, I love old R&B and Soul! My Top Ten in no particular order are:
Most of the interviews I read focused on your vocal skills. But I would also like to know your major influences as a bassist?
Charles Mingus, Willie Dixon, Dylan Cavalier, and Jon Menegon would probably be at the top of my influences, but John Deacon of Queen, Sting and Bootsy Collins are definitely up there as well. I’m also a big fan of Carol Kay.
You have major musical chops for sure, but you're also a pin-up model. Is it a juggling act?
Not really. Generally, modeling and performing are one in the same for me. You have an idea or emotion and it’s your job to communicate or convey that to an audience or viewer. I guess with modeling you don’t get as much to work with, compared to singing or playing a song.
Instead you get a look and a hope that the photographer you’re working with will be able to capture the essence of that moment. But most of the photos of me are taken before or during shows in clothes from designers, like Dangerous FX. Those photographers have to get while the gettin’ is good because by the end of a show, I’m usually a sweaty hot mess.
So, your real name is Jeremie but Jamie called you Jerms on stage. That's a pretty tough nickname, how did you come by it?
Jeremie: A friend shouted it out to me one day and it stuck. I proudly sport the nickname but some days encourage variations such as “Jerm Warfare” and “J Dawg”.
When did you take up guitar?
Jeremie: After harassing my parents to buy me one for some time, I finally got my first guitar at 17. I started off playing classical guitar and eventually branched off into teaching myself how to play Punk and Ska.
Who are your guitar gods?
Jeremie: Hmmm. . . I don’t know about gods. Wyld Stallyns and Dewey Cox? That's kind of a tough question. I am inspired by many different styles of music, be it Mariachi, Bluegrass, Psychobilly or whatever sounds awesome. A guitar god to me is really any musician I can learn a technique or riff from. My current surf-rockin’ style has been influenced a ton by Dick Dale, Link Wray, and guitarists from Nekromantix, Red Elvises, Hi Standard, Knock Galley West, The Sandworms and Man or Astroman. This is a very short list of guitarists who rock!
What has your experience been like with the band so far?
Jeremie: I have really enjoyed this awesome group of ladies and getting to share the stage with them.
Tina, you're the youngest member of the band, what is that like?
Tina: I joined the band just after my 20th birthday. So being introduced to the Austin Downtown Scene, in all it’s dive bar glory before I was of age was . . . enlightening to say the least. I love being the baby of the band.
How long have you been playing the saxophone?
Tina: I’ve been playing for eleven years. I picked it up when I was ten.
Sax is an incredibly iconic instrument, yet its use in popular music has dropped off a lot since the 80's. Why do you think that is?
Tina: I have no clue. Sax is 100% Badass no matter what decade you’re in.
Who influenced you to take up the sax?
My mom. As soon as I moved to Austin, she started taking me to any jazz show she could find that was suitable for my eight-year old self. The first time I ever saw a big band, I was hooked.
Thank you ladies!
To learn more about Danger*Cakes, check out their facebook group below!