The Blues Never Sounded so Good……Meet, Jane Lee Hooker

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This is serious business. Jane Lee Hooker are playing the blues with some rock n roll attitude. Close your eyes for two seconds while your listening and you’ll see the history of blues and rock flying by. Imagine if Janis Joplin had been around to see Robert Plant in action and she picked up on a few moves that’s what I am seeing and it’s total kick ass sweet. Just give a glance below at the lineage of Jane Lee Hooker and your looking at some legends. I haven’t listened to blues this good in a long time, this is one tight band, all of the parts are mixed perfectly for our enjoyment, so kick it into gear, and give a listen to Jane Lee Hooker…. and that “Mannish Boy” cover is killer….

Hi this is HIGHTOP from Jane Lee Hooker. Thanks for asking us. I’m a fan!!

Hi our name is… Jane Lee Hooker

People say we sound like…Humble Pie—and we like that A LOT!!

We are…Dana Danger (vocals); Melissa Cool Whip Houston (drums); Hail Mary Z

(bass); Tina Tbone Gorin (guitar); and me, Hightop (guitar).

We are from…NYC.

For those not familiar with your backgrounds can you give us a little back history?

Sure, Hail Mary and I were in the Wives together in the ’90s. I played drums. We toured

a lot; Hilly Kristal of CBGBs managed us; and Genya Ravan produced our second album.

Tbone and I met in a band called Spermicide. I played drums in that band too. We formed

Helldorado with our pal Nelsha, and I switched to guitar. After Helldorado, I went on to

play bass with Nashville Pussy, and Tina went on to play guitar in Bad Wizard. Then I

stopped playing music altogether for about eight years. I didn’t really miss it, but I did

have this recurring dream of starting a blues band to play lead guitar with Tbone. I asked

Tbone if she would be into it, and everything kind of took off from there. I told my great

pal and all around cool person Jeanne Fury about our plan and asked if she knew anyone

who could drum like John Bonham and Clem Burke rolled into one. She introduced us to

Cool Whip, and Cool Whip is to this day the only drummer other than myself that keeps

me happy (no offense to all 25 former Helldorado drummers!). Initially, my amazing

friend and sister Gyda Gash played bass for us, but she got too busy with Judas Priestess

and the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, so I asked Mary if she would join. I really

didn’t think I had any chance of her joining. Mary is the most amazing punk rock bass

player on the planet, but she hates “jam” music and really only listens to punk—not

blues—so I wasn’t very hopeful. But, thankfully, she said yes, and she is the reason we

rock so hard. Early on we had a different singer, but that was not working out. Our friend

and photographer Greg Lofaro told us about Dana and said we should seek her out and

ask her to play. We did, and from the first moment we were all in the same room

together, it was a five-way love-at-first-sight story. And it still is.

Who are some musicians that have an influence on you? There are a lot of influences

working hard in this band. Tbone and I are GIANT Johnny Winter fans and HUGE

Lynyrd Skynyrd fans. We’ve bonded over those mutual loves for years. Mary and I love

X. We all love Humble Pie, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Big Mama Thornton.

How old were all of you when you started to play, and who plays what in the band? I

was 5 when I started drumming and about 13 when I started playing guitar. Tina was in

her early 20s when she started guitar. Dana has been singing since she was born. Mary

picked up the bass in college, and Cool Whip was about 5 when she started

drumming—I’ve seen the pictures. They’re over-the-top adorable.

Can you tell us about the process you use, from writing the songs all the way

through getting the songs out? Initially we were just covering pretty obscure blues

songs and doing our own versions of them. That is what our debut No B! is—our take on

some cool blues tunes. We have one original (“In the Valley”) on our first release, and we

are now in the process of writing original material for our second album. For this band,

it’s a pretty easy process. We can go into rehearsal and start riffing, and Dana will

immediately sing a melody and lyrics over what we are jamming on. We are very lucky

to have this chemistry, and we honor it daily.

What are some of the challenges you face as musicians, and how have you overcome

those challenges? Well I think all of us struggle with the fact that we have not been able

(yet) to make a living out of playing together. All of us work other jobs, and it’s a major

drag. We struggle with that—we haven’t overcome it. We just keep plugging away.

If you could pick any time to travel back to for music, where would you go and what

year would it be? The early to mid ’70s. I would love to have seen the Rolling Stones or

Skynyrd in their prime.

Who are all of you currently listening to? I am a runner, so I listen to a lot of music for

all different reasons. Last week I listened to nothing but the Rolling Stones; this week, I

listed to the new Taylor Swift song for 45 minutes straight every day I went out for a run.

I listen to a lot of Stones, the Faces, Humble Pie, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Taj Mahal. I also

listen to A LOT of Jane Lee Hooker. I listen some new stuff too. I love the Hold Steady; I

really like Paramore. I’ve been listening to our tourmates the Bluebonnets’ new CD Play

Loud a lot also.

My youngest son is 13 and in a band. What advice would you offer him? Stay away

from drugs. Seriously. I’ve never done any drugs in my life, but my life and career have

been derailed several times because of other people’s use of drugs and alcohol. It’s not

necessarily a situation where someone has to OD and die to fuck up a band, but more like

the lack of motivation and good decision making that come with drug and alcohol abuse

that I’ve seen replayed time and time again. If you really have talent, avoid drugs and

alcohol and the people who abuse them. Life is hard enough without a drug problem, and

so is being a musician. If you are talented, you cannot afford that handicap.

The one thing we want you to remember while your listening to us…We’re having

much more fun!!! (to quote X) and we are.

What are your plans for 2015? We’re doing a bunch of amazing shows! We’re playing

Irving Plaza on February 5, and then we’re flying to California to do a short run with our

pals the Bluebonnets. We’re playing L.A., Costa Mesa, and Long Beach. Our friends the

Death Valley Girls are also on the bill in L.A. at El Cid, so that’s going to be a fun show

for all of us. Kathy Valentine from the Bluebonnets has been simply just so good to

us—she’s gotten us on bills with the Bluebonnets for SXSW and the Continental Club in

Houston, so we are headed to Texas in March! For our tour dates, go to

janeleehooker.com.

Upcoming tour dates….

janeleehooker

and you can follow/Like. Keep up with Jane Lee Hooker…

Jane Lee Hooker.com

Jane Lee Hooker , Facebook

Jane Lee Hooker , Twitter

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Scott

From Pittsburgh, now in Florida, Cool Canadian artist wife , 4 great kids and two granddaughters!! I'm a lucky guy!

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