Presenting…DANGER*CAKES!!

Posted by bunny On February - 9 - 20113,595 views

We first met Jamie Bahr back in my very first interview for this site. Well she’s back and she’s brought friends! See what happens with the punk scenes busty answer to Jayne Mansfield found the right mix of female fury! Presenting…DANGER*CAKES!!!

Welcome back to Rockabilly Online. It’s been a few months and you have a new project. Tell us about that?

Jamie: I’ve been a busy girl. It took a lot of searching for the right ladies, but I finally found them. Danger*Cakes, the all-girl Rock ‘N’ Roll orchestra, is now in business. We’re quite the eclectic gaggle of gal-pals, which doesn’t really surprise me, since I found most of them by posting flyers and ads around Austin that said, “In Search of Sexy Band Geeks.” The band is comprised of myself as lead singer and upright bassist, Armenta on guitar and backing vocals, Virgina Lopez on Drums, Kathryn Fries on Tuba (who is definitely the most punk rock tubist ever), Karen Kirk on Trumpet and Tina Marie Bartolucci on Alto Sax.

Through being a pin-up model, you’ve set yourself up as an internet sex symbol. How does that work with Danger*Cakes?

Jamie: Oddly enough, I never thought of myself as a sex symbol, but I guess there are worse things to be a symbol for. Having said that, I am well aware that drumming up attention to myself is good publicity for the band. Now, I love pin-up. I love the aesthetics, the styles, but there’s more to it than that. Yes, the ladies of Danger*Cakes look lovely when we’re all dolled up on stage, but it’s not all about looking good. It’s about feeling good, about yourself and your self-image. The best thing about pin-up is that you’re playing dress up with your positive assets, no pun intended. You become less conscious of the insecurities you carry around with you in your everyday life. Those self-described flaws of yours don’t seem to be as vivid in your mind when you’ve enhanced your natural attributes and disguised the imperfections. You feel sexy yet classy and confident. And confidence is the sexiest thing going these days. It means the difference between being just another musician on a stage and being a rock star.

Virginia, How did you come to be in Danger*Cakes?

Virginia: Well, I’ve always wanted to play drums, but hadn’t found the right project yet. I started looking around on Craigslist, like most people do and I ran into Jamie’s ad looking for a female drummer. When she replied to my email, it just so happened that her fiancé Drew Edwards had just done a piece on Something Called Nothing for Rockabilly Online, and so we started talking about our interests and goals. The gals and I just hit it off. So I joined the project.

You’re also in Something Called Nothing. How do the two projects differ?

Virginia: Something Called Nothing has been my project for years. We are more of a power rockabilly project. I get to sing and play guitar and have more of a lead role in it. I write and compose the songs and set the idea on how I want things to swing, and the cats Juan (Bass) and Jim (Drums) help make the song come alive.

With Danger*Cakes, I get to be the backbone of the tunes. I listen and try to set a beat that fits the tune. With our 50’s style swing, it has been super fun for me, not to mention that it’s one of the things I like most about the project. I mean, I grew up listening to Elvis and The Beatles so I really like that 50’s Rock ‘N’ Roll sound.

Have the two bands played together a lot?

Virginia: Not really. So far just once before at the Halloween Man’s rock’n roll show; but we are having a gig together again on February 22nd at The Moose Lounge. Should be lots of fun for at least for me because I get to do two of the things that I love to do the most! How lucky am I?

How long have you been playing drums?

Virginia: I’ve dabbled with drums here and there mostly with my brother, Pablo and my friend, Jason for fun, but I had never really played live for anyone before this project.

Jamie, you learned the upright bass simply to start this band. What has that been like?

Jamie: It’s been quite the humbling experience. I’ve been playing less than a year, but in that short time, I feel that I’ve become a pretty solid bassist. I don’t pretend to be anything more than that. At our first show on Halloween, a fellow upright bassist from a band who was also sharing the stage later that night, made the comment that my playing was “just alright”. Now I’m sure that comment was meant to be insulting. But things are what you make of them, so I immediately, thought excitedly, “Yes! I’m just alright, and that ain’t bad.”

You know, it’s the first time I’ve ever sung and played an instrument at the same time. My voice is my first instrument and I know that’s what makes people go “Ooh”. But what’s more punk rock than picking up an instrument for the soul purpose of making music? It’s natural to become better at something each time you do it. We practice together for a three hour session twice a week with sectionals once or twice a month. I sing as well as play my bass at every single rehearsal. Everyone is encouraged to practice during some of their own downtime, and I practice what I preach. I’m always running all over town, upright bass in tow, which I’m sure is quite the site, especially when Kathryn (Tuba) and I are unloading after a show. Heels and large instruments are not always the best combo.

And you Armenta, how did you come to be in Danger*Cakes?

Armenta: I was sitting outside the apartment of my band mate, Pat (From: The Inside Out) playing guitar when his neighbor, Kathryn excitedly came down from her upstairs apartment. She was happier than I had ever seen before. I was with her during the purchase of her nearly one hundred year old tuba from some dude she found on craigslist. I took a picture of her and commented how it would be cool to get a rockin’ marching band together (I’d play flute) to invade 6th Street on the weekends. She told me she had purchased her tuba just to join Jamie’s band, Danger*Cakes, and they were still looking for a guitarist. I jumped at the chance to be in an all-girl band. I’d been wanting to just play guitar in a band for a while. So Kathryn let me tag along to the next practice at Jamie’s. We showed up, hung out, jammed and hit it off. And now, these girls are my Austin sisters.

How did you come to be in Danger*Cakes, Kathryn?

Kathryn: Well, when I moved to Austin I never anticipated I would be joining a band at all. Jamie and I live in the same complex and really from the first time we met, we knew we were a great fit. I met James on a Wednesday, bought a tuba on Friday, and we had our first practice that Monday. So I think the answer to your question would be quite serendipitously; it was fate.

Jamie, from our previous interview we know you have a diverse background in music. How does that come into play with Danger*Cakes?

Jamie: Well, I went from classical opera to jazz, then metal and on to funk before making a little nest for myself in punk with Punk Blues Review. But I’m too much of a busybody to stay with one genre for too long. I wanted something more than just another rock band or jazz trio to belong to. I’m a dame of decadence and I wanted my music to encompass that. So I took a little somethin’ from column A, a little from column B, threw in a dash of punk rock attitude, baked it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and voilà. That is how you make a Danger*Cake. Although it was more like a few months at 100 degrees; we are in Texas, you know.

What about you, Karen? How did you become part of the Danger*Cakes?

Karen: Since I moved to Austin from Alabama, I’ve become friends with a lot of great musicians. I’ve really enjoyed getting to take part in Austin’s
awesome music scene by attending my buddies’ shows at venues all over
town. One day, I thought to myself, “I could be doing this! How fun
would it be to get up there on stage and perform?” So I started
searching for a band. I wasn’t sure that I’d have much luck as a
trumpet player, since everyone seemed to be on the hunt for
guitarists, bass players and drummers, but then I ran across a posting
from Jamie looking for female brass players. I thought “an All-Girl Rock ‘N’ Roll orchestra? How fun?!” So I whisked over an email and crossed my
fingers, and from there I found myself welcomed right in as one of the
ladies of Danger*Cakes!

Armenta, what’s your previous musical background?

Armenta: I have memories from as early as four years old singing church hymns on stage with my sisters. I started playing flute in fourth grade and jumped to euphonium in eighth grade for marching band. I sang at talent shows in high school and with the jazz band, which I also learned trombone for. I found my current band mate, Pat In The Hat, in Detroit through my good friend, Chris Feidler, who produces this great lounge-y electronic project I co-sing on, From: The Inside Out.

So what would you say you bring to the table?

Armenta: I love harmonizing with Jamie and working with her on developing the feel of a song. Our horn section writes their own parts, but sometimes a sweet melody will pop into my head. All I have to do is sing it and Karen, (Trumpet) will nail it spot on. If it works and feels good, she keeps it.

Kathryn, how does it feel to be one of the few tuba players in rock music?

Kathryn: Ha Ha! It’s sort of surreal honestly. I just never expected to be doing it. I’ve been playing the tuba since I was eleven years old and not once did I think I’d be playing it in a band like this. I’ve played in symphony and marching bands, but a rock band is definitely new territory for me. I love it.

What kind of music would you call Danger*Cakes? Swing, rockabilly, punk, soul, or all of the above?

Jamie: We’ve been calling ourselves “Swing-Punk” and “Neo-Soul” as that seems the most fitting. But the songs do encompass all of the above. Our first single, “My Boyfriend is a Zombie!” is basically a fun little doo wop ditty, but the hipsters seem to holler that it’s Psychobilly. Others have said that our songs seem reminiscent to those of Sam Cooke or Little Richard. I like the fact that we’re not easy to just stick a label on and categorize. Our songs are still modern in content, but with a throwback sound and a whole lotta soul, the kind of music that makes you want to get up and shake a tail-feather.

Jamie, do you ever worry because you’re attractive/sexy that people will lump you in the same catagory as Lady Gaga or Katy Perry?

Jamie: Who? Just kidding. I don’t really worry about it too much. Humanity seems to have this compulsive need to categorize each and every thing to assume some sense of order. It’s a coping mechanism to deal with all the chaos of life. But life isn’t neat and orderly. It’s messy, unpredictable, heartbreaking yet breathtaking. Will people think I’m just another female pop singer? I doubt it. I may have created Danger*Cakes, but now I’m just one slice of the whole. Our music may be popular, but it’s not pop. We simply rock too hard to be grouped together with the likes of Lady Gaga or Katy Perry. Although, I have had many people tell me I look like Katy Perry. But I immediately think, “Yeah maybe, with a few more cupcakes.”

So do you think because you’re a plus-sized women that you’re a good role model for other full figured women?

Jamie: It wasn’t my intention to be a role model. But I am conscious of the fact that people, especially women have been looking at me in that light. My moral fiber runs deep and I do my best to adhere to it, and in the cases where I don’t live up to my own expectations, my guilt plagues me until the situation is rectified. But art isn’t about morals. It’s about creation and expression. I’ve had some internal conflict over censorship, but I feel that if it’s important to the integrity of the song, then it deserves to be heard. To me, dropping F-bombs constantly in song is a lyrical cop-out. If a word is overused, it loses its power.

I teach for a non-profit organization called Kids In a New Groove (K.I.N.G). We give children in foster care the opportunity to take music lessons in the instrument of their choice. I currently teach piano, voice and flute to some fabulous young ladies. I want them to come away with more than just learning how to play a musical instrument from our lessons. They know how much I love music and that I made a conscious decision to fill my life with the things I love. Living is more than just existing. It’s the quality of your years not the quantity that counts. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the fact that I’ve got a little more meat on my bones stop me from doing what I love. If some find that inspiring, then that’s wonderful. And if not, I’m still havin’ a grand ol’ time.

What it’s like working with Jamie?

Kathryn: Working with James is great. She’s an absolute doll! Jamie is one of the most gifted and creative women I have ever met. She has a vision of what she wants and she knows exactly how to get it. She’s a great leader, songwriter and friend.

How do you feel the band is coming along, Armenta?

Armenta: We have a great group of chicks who are very talented. We all love working with each other and growing together as musicians. It’s been a challenge for me transitioning from rhythm guitar to lead, but I’m having a blast doing it.

Virginia, how would you describe the experience of being in a large band like this?

Virginia: It’s different but great. At the moment, there are a total of six girls in the band. They are all great gals. They have a lot of dedication and enthusiasm which makes the project interesting and fun. I like that everyone in the band gets the opportunity to input their thoughts into the tunes.

Is it crazy being in an all-female band?

Kathryn: It’s the best! I love all of these ladies so much! It can get crazy hectic with six heads of hair to be done, six instruments to load, amps, stands, purses, etc. But it’s all wonderful in its own way. Every woman brings something different and beautiful to our little group and I consider myself so lucky to have each one of them in my life.

What has the reaction to this all-girl band been like in Austin?

Jamie: Well, we’ve definitely been getting a lot of attention. Danger*Cakes hit the ground running. Austin is the “Live Music Capital” of the world. So needless to say, there are a lot of musicians. But it’s not every day you see, or hear for that matter, something of our sorts. I’m always tickled pink when I see a stranger in the crowd singing along with my lyrics. . . and they know all the words! It’s been said that are songs stick to your ribs like that extra slice of cheesecake you had for dessert last night, but it was just so good, you don’t regret it. I like that.

What’s your favorite show you’ve played so far?

Kathryn: It’s hard for me to really pick a favorite show. They are all fun and different; but I will say I enjoy the stage at Flamingo Cantina. With a band our size, getting everyone situated can be challenging, but that stage is huge and the staff there are just wonderful. I always have a great time there.

What is my most crazy moment at a gig?


Karen: Well, I’ve never been one to make much of a scene. I prefer to lay
low and work behind the scenes, complimenting the magical charm of the
front ladies of Danger*Cakes. So it started out as nothing unusual, we were opening for a show at Flamingo Cantina one night. It was one of our first few shows, but we were spot-on and feeling the groove! Coming off the stage, I felt great, because of how well we were playing together and feeling the music as one. After our set, the lead singer of The Nematoads, Ted
came up to me and said, “It’s a shame that our brass isn’t able to make it out tonight! You should get up there and play with us!” Convinced he was just making chit-chat, and not really serious, I laughed, “Sure, that sounds like fun!” And I went off to chat with some of my friends.
Next thing I knew, people were running up to me saying, “Are you
really gonna do it?! You totally should! He wants you to play on the
next song! You go girl!”

Well, guess it turns out he wasn’t just chatting.

The whole time I was thinking to myself, “Am I crazy?” I mean, who
gets up on stage in front of a packed crowd with a band they’ve never
seen nor played with? Well, turns out I have a little crazy streak.
My instructions were, “Ok, I’m going to play this riff, and then you
follow after me. From there you take it up high and play out.” That
was as far as we got before the drummer started into the tune. During
the intro I fiddled through some notes to figure out what key we were
in, and from there it was a blur of energetic, fun music! The
crowd was going crazy (and was probably getting a laugh or two in as
well!), but I had a blast. Although I’m not sure I did complete
justice to the brass part of “Miserlou”, I will always remember my
first moment of feeling like a rock star. I’m pretty sure everyone at the show
at least got a good kick out of it. I have such an appreciation to all you
musicians out there who aren’t afraid to get up on stage and play your
heart out!

Where do you think 2011 will take Danger*Cakes?

Jamie: We’ve got a long list of shows coming up all over Austin. We’re headlining at the Rebel Hearts Dance on Valentine’s Day at Red Eyed Fly. I’m quite the romantic, so you know they’ll be plenty of surprises in store. We’ll be closing February out in the studio to have a little somethin’ special for you by the time SXSW rolls around in mid-March. Then it looks like we’ll be on the road, spreading the word of Danger*Cakes from coast to coast. Stay tuned to see what’s cookin’!

For more all-female rockabilly madness, find these gals on facebook!

One Response to “Presenting…DANGER*CAKES!!”

  1. […] of Danger*Cakes! Posted by bunny On March – 4 – 2011 A while back I interviewed the gals of Danger*Cakes. Most of the girls were accounted for except for that sexy sax player Tina Bartolucci! So I tracked […]

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