Welcome to Double Cross, a new feature that focuses on the hard rocking women of the UK heavy music scene. The aim of this feature is to promote equality in UK heavy music and also to celebrate the women who have decided that they can rock just as hard as the guys. In our inaugural edition we speak to Jude Jagger, bassist for riff rockers To The Bones.
Hola! I’m Jude Jagger, I play bass in Bolton based rock ‘n’ roll hellraisers To The Bones.
So first of all, congratulations on the release of Emperor’s Ride which is obviously the first To The Bones release with your performance on it! How’s the reception been to the single?
Thank you! It’s been really positive – loads of airplay from Kerrang! Radio, Amazing Radio and the XFM Rock Show, plus random rock stations in Europe – we definitely want to play in Europe at some point so that’s very encouraging. Think we’d go down well in Europe, they love their rrrock! The tour to promote the single has been rad – there’s nothing better than travelling the country to play gigs and cause some trouble! We’ve done everything on a budget – a transit van with one in the back, 4 of us crammed in a Travelodge room, taking the rider to eat for breakfast the next day, going to a casino with £2 cos that’s all we had between us and living off beer and crisps but it’s been a blast.
You guys have a particularly high-energy stage presence. I remember seeing you guys at The Macbeth in Hoxton and loved watching you get your rocks off more than the guys in To The Bones! What inspires your lively performance style?
Haha! I’ve always thought that if people pay money to come and watch a show, then that’s what they deserve to see – a proper show. I can’t stand watching a band who look like they are too cool to get sweaty, or even worse – bored with their own music. It’s the bands job to entertain and that’s what we’re there to do. Plus it’s really fun throwing yourself around a stage playing music with your friends! I like the unpredictability of it.
What introduced you to heavy music and what continues to attract you to it?
My best mate made me a tape when we were kids with Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins on and I just instantly thought “yes this is it, this is the music that SPEAKS to me!” (I was a very melodramatic child!) He was also in a band that covered those songs, and I went to see them play a lot, and just thought ‘I could do that’. I got into bass players like Kim Gordon, D’Arcy, Kim Deal and Melissa Auf de Maur and was completely inspired by those girls. I have a pretty wide taste in music but there’s something very pure about rock music – it’s solid and uplifting and driven and makes you want to dance. Love it.
Have you felt comfortable being a woman in a heavy band in a music scene that is predominantly populated by men?
Yes, but it would be better if there were more girls. I’ve never had any negative experiences – more often its boys trying to be nice and carry my amp for me, but I’m like… “erm… I’m perfectly capable of carrying my own gear thank you!” I do find it odd that there aren’t more female musicians in general, not just in rock music. It’s always better when things are equal – outside of the band I work a lot stage managing and crewing, and there’s hardly any girls in that world too, but everyone says when there’s women on the team it makes the boys behave better! Unfortunately women in music are judged on their appearance – we were at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods the other day, it was full of grufty, wrinkly old blokes, whereas the majority of the women were dressed in tiny clothing, very heavily made up and young. Seems very unfair that women aren’t allowed to grow old or have a day without makeup! I just can’t be bothered making all that effort, especially on stage as it all gets sweated off and messed up within about 2 seconds anyway!
What’s your proudest musical achievement in To The Bones?
At our last recording session at Brock ‘n’ Broll Studios in Chorley, the police were called because some old lady walking past had heard Rhys recording his vocals and thought someone was being murdered!!
What’s next in the pipeline for To The Bones? More shows? New record?
It’s all go! We’ve got a new single out this Autumn with the album due next year. We’ve got loads of festivals booked for next summer already and some more gigs at the end of this year, and I can’t wait for you all to hear the album, it’s going to be immense. Check out www.tothebones.co.uk for dates and news or follow us on Twitter/Facebook/etc.
Any suggestions for other female rock/metal fans who are looking to get involved with heavy music?
Just do it! Please! Even things up a bit! Girls, just find some mates and book a room to rehearse and make some noise, you don’t have to be able to play really. Unless you are a drummer, in which case get some lessons and a kit and a van and get practicing! There’s nothing worse than a shit drummer… There’s not only a lack of female musicians, there’s a lack of female sound engineers, lighting engineers, managers, promoters, publishers, journalists etc and NO ONE is going to ask you if you want to have a go. You need to make those opportunities yourself so just get on with it.
Are there any other rock/metal bands with female members you can suggest our readers?
New bands that I’m into at the moment are Victor from Birmingham, full on in-yer-face crazy show. Their singer reminds me of Iggy Pop a bit. But she can sing properly! Also loving Sky Valley Mistress, proper bluesy rock tunes, they just played at Download. And Bad Grammar; they’re a 2 piece from Manchester, got a Kyuss/QOTSA/Black Keys kind of vibe.