“You Don’t Look How I Want You To”

It takes a special kind of person who decides to start up and operate a live music venue.

I happened to meet one of these very special individuals after a show on the Dead Sight Tour with Villainy a couple weeks back.

Let’s call him Colin.

Colin gives off the vibe that he’s one of those venue owners who’s just kind of over it. Perhaps he still loves live music but he acts like he fucking hates it and fair enough I guess, after 2745 weeks of owning a venue.

After the show had finished and members of all bands and crew were in the green room celebrating with a rainbow of drinks and banter, he decided to drudgingly approach me for a chat while I was mid-pack-up-my-shit-mode (a mode I take very seriously and do not like to be interrupted).

I could see him out the corner of my eye; a waft of old ciggies and booze was preceding his arrival.

In no way was this approach bright-eyed or enthusiastic. More so it was clear he had something he felt he really, seriously, needed to tell me to help me advance my career.

Cue Colin.

“Yeah, I thought you guys were alright. Some parts I liked, some I didn’t. The thing that I really didn’t like though was the image. To me it doesn’t match up with the music”

“The image of the whole band?”

“No. Just you.”


“It’s a bit too much like that Devilskin bird for me”

He says as if that’s a bad thing.. Anyone who’s ever seen Jennie up on that stage knows she somehow manages to fucking kill it while donning heels, stockings and corsets. She looks hot as fuck.


The resemblance is uncanny.

He’s also seemed to have forgotten that little stage prop I have called a guitar.

I realise that he’s just meaning my ripped stockings. That’s the only common factor between Jennie and I that I can think of. Here I am in a baggy man’s t-shirt as a dress (thanks boyfriend), ripped stockings, and Doc Martens.

I look him up and down and wonder if it’s been two weeks or three since he last washed his 20+ year old, faded and stained, stretched and contorted, button-up polo shirt.

“So are you going to go give your fashion advice to the dudes in this room as well?”

“No, they don’t need it”

Ah… ha.

“Well cheers dude, I really appreciate the honesty.”

Sometimes I really regret being nice and not just saying what I actually think. Which would have been along the lines of “and who made you the next Karl Lagerfeld of New Zealand?”


The offending outfit.

You run in to a lot of men like this being a vagina-owner in this industry. You don’t match what their ideal woman should look like, which grinds their gears, and they think that saying it out loud to you counts as “constructive criticism” for your music.

I might start asking them if they would be interested as coming on board as my personal stylist.

I thought I could handle it myself but it seems Colin has other ideas.


P.S. Not two days later did I see Jennie absolutely fucking kill it on the rock stage of Homegrown, 21 weeks pregnant – no less.
Ironically because of this, she was actually wearing an outfit similar to my own instead of her regular corset and heels get up.
She’s in it for comfort for an actual baby bump, I’m in it for hiding my food-baby & poo-baby bump.

AGFAG: Jennie Skulander

I can’t remember how I heard about Devilskin.

It was like they exploded into the stratosphere out of (seemingly) nowhere for me. All of a sudden, they were EVERYWHERE with songs and music videos all over the airwaves, and selling out shows left, right and centre.

In case you’re unfamiliar, Devilskin are a four-piece alternative metal band from Hamilton, New Zealand, formed in June 2010. The band consists of Nail (lead guitar), Paul Martin (bass, backing vocals), Nic Martin (drums), and most importantly; Jennie Skulander (lead vocals).

jennie skulander devilskin steve dykes

L-R: Paul Martin, Jennie Skulander, Nick Martin, Nail. Photo by Steve Dykes

Jennie’s vocals impressed me from the start but it was safe to say Devilskin weren’t my cup of tea.

They obviously were the perfect cuppa for a huge amount of rock-starved New Zealanders, but I continued to be baffled and amazed at the response to the band.

That was up until recently, when it truly clicked with me at Homegrown.

Jennie’s a fucking badass.

She alone sold Devilskin to me with her pure badassery.

jennie skulander devilskin bradley garner homegrown

What the fuck is this? How is she so cool? Photo by Bradley Garner Creative

I was privileged to have been handed an artist pass to Homegrown (despite not actually performing.. I spent most of my time drinking all the other bands’ beer..) , which meant I could go ANYWHERE I WANTED. THE POWER.

Naturally I spent the majority of my time between the free drinks and the free food areas.

But I did saunter up side-stage on several occasions to get an insight in to New Zealand’s most successful rock acts’ stage dynamics.

There are a lot of things you miss when you’re in the audience just consuming a show.

There was one major thing I would’ve missed with Devilskin’s show had I not been side of stage, and this was: Jennie is 21+ weeks pregnant.

jennie skulander devilskin

Here is Jennie setting the FUCKING BAR for women in music. I salute her.

Holy shit. This woman is incredible.

Here she is running off stage periodically while the guys do their instrumental thing, to cradle her tummy and smash back a banana (this was initially fucking hilarious to unsuspecting me; but now I understand it’s good for vocals. She’s a professional; I’m a person who laughs at people eating phallic objects).

Then she just goes the-fuck-back-out-there, infront of thousands of people, pregnant as shit, screaming the hell outta her lungs, stomping and twirling around, just generally absolutely killing it as if there isn’t a tiny human in there wondering ‘what the fuck is happening out there?!’ at all.

I’m a Jennie fan. Devilskin win.



The Musician’s Girlfriend™

I love that my boyfriend is a musician.

He’s one of the most talented and exciting guitarists and songwriters I know. When I first ever saw him perform in his band I just knew that I was going to bonk him one day.

One of the things I appreciate about him is that he is the FIRST to champion me and Decades. He will tell everyone about my achievements and our music before his own.

One hot summer’s night a few weeks back, he and I were mincing and rinsing at a waterfront bar in Akaroa called Harbar (you gotta smash those fish tacos… innuendo not intended but encouraged) while our friends played an acoustic gig as we overlooked the ocean and got eaten alive by mosquitoes (cunts).


The scene of the crime – awful isn’t it? PS fuck seagulls.

Over the course of the night, our table seemed to accumulate a vast array of locals; two women in particular stick out in my mind due to how they reacted when another local jovially told them, “you’re sitting with a group of world-class musicians here!”

The two women looked across at us: me, my boyfriend and our male (relevent) mate.This was one of those nights where I was assumed; The Musician’s Girlfriend™.

The two women looked absolutely ecstatic, “Oh my gosh, how exciting, what kind of music do you guys play?” etc. The gushing went on for a while as they eyeballed the boys and occasionally would shoot me glance that seemed to say: “These guys are so cool!”

I relish these occurrences like a delicious pasta, slurping as I mull over the fun I can have before they find out I am also a musician and not just The Musician’s Girlfriend™.

I leaned in to the women and said “I know, and obviously I am just a secretary for some dude or something, feeling pretty privileged sitting at this table with these world class musicians!” insert fucking oscar-winning twinkly eye look of idolisation at the boys

“Oh, darling – talk yourself up! You’re an executive to the manager!”

“Oh yes, absolutely.”

I eat the assumptions up. Cue another 10 minutes of them back-and-forthing with the boys about how amazing they are, without the boys having much luck getting a word in edgewise. I could see my boyfriend just frothing at the bit to scream his praises about me.

It didn’t actually happen until a couple hours later when all had been forgotten and several more bottles of whatever-the-fuck had been consumed later at the table when I saw our song pop up on the streaming app of a major radio station here. (Yes I psychotically check because being on the radio is insanely exciting for 10 year old me who lives deep down inside my blackened-cynical-adult-heart).

I discreetly and excitedly leaned over to show my boyfriend this micro-development in my evening – internally filled with narcissistic supply, and he grabbed that as his moment.

“EMMA’S SONG IS ON THE RADIO RIGHT NOW” he yells at the entire table while holding up my phone for all to see.

The looks on those women’s faces… absolutely delectable.