FROM THE MOMENT I HEARD THE DAMN TRUTH, I felt as if I was being transported back to the summer of 69 in Woodstock; Lee La and the band could be up on stage jamming with Jimi. They have an electric sound that is a perfect fit if you have a classic rock soul, with Lee La’s purr and growl and Tom’s wailing guitar you will not be disappointed. I was blessed to see them in Quebec this summer and caught up to ask a few questions after the show.
JC: I recently saw your beautiful rendition of Love is Blindness song that was picked up by Yves Saint Laurent, they produced a wicked video with the band, tell us about the experience, and what it was like working with them?
The Damn Truth: We were playing a gig at a small bar in town when I was approached by a producer who said he thought my voice would be perfect for a contract he was working on. The next day I was in the studio recording U2 ’s song “love is blindness”, which was picked up by YSL Beauty for their Mon Paris perfume campaign. What happened next was incredible! The moment the commercial aired we began getting requests from across the globe to release the whole song, not just the 60-second version of the commercial. So We did and It’s been quite the trip ever since…The exposure and love we’ve been getting has been amazing.
When I watch you with the band I often feel the fierce passion of Janis Joplin channeling through you, this kind of energy I have often missed from the women of modern rock ‘n’ roll. What inspired you to music, what keeps you going?
Ever since I can remember myself I’ve owned a record player and at least one guitar. By the time I was 9, I knew the Beatles discography by heart and was writing and performing. Nothing moves me like music. It is my life force. When I first heard the music of Woodstock and watched the footage I was like a girl transformed. I became obsessed with the hippie culture and the incredible musical revolution that came with it. Over the years, the musicians I’ve played with and being a part of The Damn Truth has opened my mind to many different things, the essence of the writing is rooted in the rock n roll songs of the 60s but our sound is more modern, more in your face.
Congratulations on your new album, Devilish Folk. It is a masterful jaunt through revolutionary rock, blues and into your own unique pirate, gypsy sound. Tell us what inspired this rebel-rousing album?
The songs on this record are very personal, even when they talk about global issues that affect everyone. We wanted to tell a story, share hope for change. I think we were all very confused at the time, so much is going on in the world and it feels like pop culture is just totally ignoring it. We wanted to say something, to scream it out, deal and talk about issues that are hard to face like- gender equality in 2017, or what kind of pile of garbage we are leaving to our kids on this planet, or how do you act when a dear friend had done something unspeakable. “Devilish folk” is aggressive at times and very vulnerable at others. It’s just a snapshot of where we were, and very much so, where we still are as human beings. Nothing is black and white. Inside we are all capable of love and we are all capable of darkness. I think that accepting that is the first step to accepting ourselves and then understanding each other, Devilish Folk, in a lot of ways is just who we are.
I saw that you went through quite a tumultuous experience with your van while on tour, and the community stepped up and embraced you with their support, what happened on that fateful day and how did you guys make it through?
Ya, that was a really scary moment in time…We were all in such good spirits only about 8 days into a cross Canada tour when we stopped for gas in Sault-Ste. Marie. When Tom started the van again we heard a very loud noise coming from the engine. We were concerned, but luckily there was a garage just across the street. We pulled up and the mechanic took a look at our van. He said we should stay in town for the night and fix the busted part in the morning. We booked a hotel room and the mechanic assured us that we could drive the 5k to our motel.
About 60 seconds into the ride, flames started coming out of the engine. Tom pulled over and we all got out safely. A kind hockey coach pulled over next to us and helped us save our trailer with most of our gear in it; we will be forever grateful for him. We stood there and watched our van burn to the ground.
Stranded in a tiny motel room trying to figure out what to do next, thinking of ways to get back home… I mean at this point the tour was pretty much over, so we started a go fund me campaign in the hope of raising enough money to get back home safely. What happened next was just absolutely remarkable; our fans from across the country donated so much money to our fund that we were able to continue and finish the tour! The shows were great and the amount of support and love we got from the whole rock and roll community across this country really brought tears to my eyes.
What’s on your 5-year wish list for The Damn Truth? I feel it in my bones that a global tour is in your future.
I would really love to go and play in places we have not yet been to.
Also, there is an amazing festival circuit that we would just love to jump on and be a part of. We are always writing and always thinking about our next release. Touching on some new musical islands that we have not yet been on is an exciting thought for me as well, all while staying true to our rock and roll roots of course.
Lastly, what are your thoughts on cannabis legalization in Canada?
Overall I’m happy about it and I think it’s way past its due date… haha.
On the other hand, I feel like this culture has always belonged to “us,” the freaks, the underground, the ‘people’… and I don’t really want to see it owned by a huge corporation— that just feels wrong to me.