If you’re like me while quarantined at home, you might be surviving on a diet of good art and an hourly caffeine fix. Whether it’s the chemical addiction or aesthetic addiction, I’m not sure what’s keeping me alive. I know I’d be lost in darkness if it weren’t for 1) all the coffee 2) all the incredible makers out there– musicians, writers, filmmakers, and visual artists.
There are so many brilliant amusements to discover, and each day brings a new sweetness.
Today’s splash of sunshine comes from Jean Caffeine, as she officially drops her cover of The Who’s “The Kids Are Alright.”
Watch the video below:
Last November, Jean Caffeine put out a saccharine-sweet 4-song EP that includes the power-pop cover and three original songs. The EP and its title track are called Love. What Is It? In true DIY spirit, the CD comes with a handmade and individually-folded sleeve of Caffeine’s original collage art. It is such a delight that even the sad song on the album is encouraging.
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Jean Caffeine, as her name implies, works with more energy than just about anyone of us. She comes equipped with experience and perfect pop sensibilities.
You may know her percussive work with the NYC new-wave cult-band Pulsallama (who is dropping an archival collection in May, including the songs Rhythm Method and Ungawa Pt. II).
Caffeine also drummed for the mid-80s outfit Clambake and one of the first all-girl bands in the first wave of punk in San Francisco, The Urge before leading her own band in the ‘90s, Jean Caffeine’s All-Nite Truck Stop.
As a percussionist, Caffeine entered the music scene at a young age.
“I loved Keith Moon, the image and the antics as much as the drumming. I thought Paul Cook was cool and cute,” she said about drummers who influenced her. “Rat Scabies was a wild character. It seemed like drummers were characters and I related to the primal nature of pounding drums.”
She recounts her beginnings,”I’d taken one drum lesson with DJ Bonebrake when he was in the Eyes, before he was in X and one from Karla Madog from the Controllers. When I moved to NYC I took a couple conga lessons up in Spanish Harlem.”
Caffeine bounced between coasts and even DJed in New York City for a spell.
Jean truly found a knack in songwriting, composing tunes with pristine pop know-how. In the ’90s, she released a handful of albums under Jean Caffeine’s All-Nite Truckstop and two solo albums– Knocked Down 7 Times (Got Up 8) and Idee Fixe. Since 2011, she’s released Geckos in the Elevator and Hard Work and a Lot of Hairspray.
Caffeine’s last album, Sadie Saturday Night, came out in August of 2017. It’s an album about coming of age in the San Francisco punk scene, and one song memorializes her experiences in all-girl bands showcasing her unique brand of honesty and humor. There is an animated video for the song “All Girl Band,” as well.
She now resides in Austin and focuses her energy on writing, teaching, collage-making, and song-writing.
Love. What Is It: Buy the digital format or CD here.
Check out more on women of first wave punk, post-punk, new wave, now wave, proto-metal and more:
On Disappearing Media: Punk/Ette Respect