Julia Deans. Julia Fucking Deans.
I was too young to cotton on to Fur Patrol properly. To become a fan in all senses of the word.
Infact, I was 11 when their huge hit, Lydia, came out (which I loved, but didn’t have the age-appropriate tools or curiosity to obsess any further) and probably pushing 12 when their second track that I remember loving, Andrew, was released.
Fur Patrol accepting their Best Single award for ‘Lydia’ at the 2001 New Zealand Music Awards
So when I read that Fur Patrol were getting back together for what is essentially their last hoo-rah for the forseeable future, I knew I absolutely could not miss this opportunity at this time in my life, when I’d missed the WHOLE buzz in the early 2000s while I was too busy listening to fucking Simple Plan or some other horrific shit like that.
I personally know Julia a little bit through mutual friends and have met her a few times in the past year or so. I have had a passive respect for her from just knowing she was in Fur Patrol, and being aware of their general success and liking a couple of their songs in my awkward youth. So, there was an added layer of wanting to go see them play to support her as a (clueless) friend.
The show was on Friday 17th June, 2016 (as I write this; 4 nights ago).
What I anticipated was that I would enjoy watching a band play and recognise a couple hits and just generally have a nice time, hopefully get to say hi to Julia and have a few drinks then head home being like “that was an enjoyable experience, I think Fur Patrol are great.”
And that did happen. Quick review: the band are tight, the songwriting is incredible, the style development throughout their years of songs is inspiring. Julia is an incredible performer; her vocals are pitch perfect and so well controlled, and she moves SO WELL. She plays guitar like a boss and her on stage banter is funny and whip-snap fast.
Julia Deans in the “Andrew” music video – 2001. She is so fucking cool that she actually makes me consider cutting my fringe like that, even thought I KNOW I will look like a troll.
What I did not anticipate was how much of a profound effect actually seeing her perform on Friday night would have on me, and here is why.
As I watched Julia perform, I realised; I HAVE NEVER SEEN A WOMAN PLAYING GUITAR FRONTING A ROCK BAND WITH MY OWN EYES RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
The revelation almost brought me to tears. I found the inspiring and encouraging role model that I never knew that I clearly needed growing up and playing guitar/fronting a band.
Everywhere dudes look they can find role models; and all my life I guess I just subconsciously accepted that my role models were going to be the men and boys I was surrounded by both within my circle of musician-friends, and going to see other bands perform.
I now completely understand that girls need girl role models.
It sounds like a no-brainer, and it’s a feminist ideology I’ve always passively “pushed,” but didn’t even realise that I hadn’t had one myself all this time. And I now understand that that actually effected me growing up and trying to be a rock musician in a very heavy way.
Watching Julia perform had me going through all the thoughts and feels. Watching her made me feel empowered and validated.
That’s what I do!! She looks awesome doing it! That means I look (at least half) as awesome doing it! If I am amazed by her, maybe people can be amazed by me?
These are thoughts and affirmations I should’ve had access to since I started playing in bands from age 15! I can’t even imagine how much more confident I would be if I had had this revelation and encouragement from that age.
The quality and skill of this video I took is not only not good for a girl –
it’s fucking diabolical for anyone. It’s all I got – I am great.
My favourite part of the whole evening – which sounds fucked because the actual music and performance was incredible – was when Julia got her hair caught in a ring she was wearing on her index finger. That is such a thing that would happen to a woman in rock! Fuck! I am like her!
Seeing Julia play had an immediate effect of my confidence as a female musician.
After she played (sorry rest of Fur Patrol – you were great but you don’t have a vagina so you didn’t really effect me in profound ways BUT I had some real kicks out of a few of the bass riffs and beats) I had to boost off immediately as I was travelling out to a creative retreat with a bunch of local Christchurch musicians who form a collective called, Fledge.
These Fledge retreats are a bunch of musicians that get together and jam, non-stop, for days on end. I’ve only been to a couple since I met the crew in the last year or so, and I am usually paralyzed with fear to get up and jam. I have never done it. I usually listen and offer up ideas verbally (I like being bossy).
This weekend, I got up and I played guitar, I played drums, I played piano, I played bass, I sung. I was vulnerable and I was confident.
All because of seeing Julia Deans the night before.
I want to build more pathways for women in rock music.
More exposure. I don’t know when the next time will be that I get to see another prominent fucking woman wielding a guitar and fronting a rock band with my own damn eyes – and that is not right! I should be able to go see one as often as I go see a rock band with a dude in the front.
I’m going to go immerse myself in Fur Patrol’s back catalogue and attempt to make up for the years I missed out on.