HIPPIE CHICKS?: “Our message to the world: ‘Fucking love already, or we’re going to kick your ass!’ ”
It’s often been said that inside every punk-rocker is a hippie scratching to get out. Fresh evidence has just arrived in the form of Angeline’s debut album, Powdered Pearls (Hi-N-Dry) — a contender for the prettiest folk-rock album ever made by people with Rat-era punk-rock roots. The two women who front this outfit (which comes to the Paradise Lounge on June 14), Linda Viens and Emily Grogan, are both well-regarded scene vets, and they make no bones about wanting to change the world.
“We may sound like hippies,” Grogan explains, “but we both grew up on punk rock; and we still have that kind of toughness in our music. We want to stand up and yell, ‘Fucking harmonize, world! Stop the disease and stop the dissonance.’ We have the same vision of what we want to spread: peace, love, and harmony, but in a warrior kind of way. We think that freedom is a great idea, and that living your own truth is a great idea, and we’ve written songs about the kind of changes we’d like to effect. So, yeah, that’s our message to the world: ‘Fucking love already, or we’re going to kick your ass.’ ”
Grogan built her profile with solo albums (the third, At Sea on One Way, was released at the same time as Angeline’s disc), and she also played sax in Andrea Gillis’s former band Red Chord. Viens has a Madonna-like musical pedigree with frequent changes of sound and image: she did spiky punk in the ’80s with the Children of Paradise, then sexy cabaret with Les Chanteuses Sorcieres, then went disco in the ’90s with the campy Crown Electric Company, and finally turned back to rock with the recently disbanded Bad Saints. Yet it was motherhood rather than music that brought the two women together. They met eight years ago, when each had a new-born daughter and was in need of another hip mom to hang out with.
“There weren’t a lot of rocking mothers out there,” Viens recalls. “Then I met Emily, and I said, ‘Aha! A beautiful, interesting, cool-looking mom — it’s time to be friends! We went real deep real fast. I’d say that Emily is cooler and more cerebral in a way — sharper-edged than me. She is real science-brained and I’m working more from the heart, so we complement each other pretty well.” Since the two were busy with their own music, they did some duo gigs strictly for fun. Enter Asa Brebner, who knew the makings of a band when he saw one.
“I got to be the Svengali,” laughs Brebner, who’s well known as a solo artist and sometime Robin Lane & the Chartbusters member. He saw one of the Viens/Grogan duo gigs and started persuading them to form a full band around it. “You know how a really talented performer can still become monochromatic? They got their thing down and it may be great, but it can still be two-dimensional. Well, I think Linda and Emily keep each other from being that. They’re good friends, and they change what they’d normally do in the presence of each other. I was never a huge Simon & Garfunkel fan, but I think something similar happens with them — the harmonies lock in and it’s like one voice.”