Catching up with Siobhan Duvall
Who: Siobhan Duvall
What: The Punk Night
Where: Boot Pub
When: Sunday, March 14
I’ve managed to cultivate a healthy case of band envy in this job.
My fantasy persona is all punk sass and pink bubble-gum. She plays the guitar like Nancy Wilson and sings like Blondie. She’s sugar and spice and rock ’n’ roll. One of the Valley Girl-era Go-Go’s for a new Millennium.
Basically I want to be Siobhan Duvall.
The Vancouver punk pop goddess was a fixture on the Whistler scene a couple years ago.
She didn’t come around much in 2003, but now she’s back baby, celebrating her return with a Punk Night show this Sunday.
Over the years Duvall has had several musical incarnations, beginning in the late 1980s playing guitar for punk band the Bombshells, moving on to the esteemed role as guitarist for fellow chick rocker and friend Bif Naked. There was also The Widows, a project with Black Halos lead singer Billy Hopeless, and of course, her current status as frontwoman and namesake of the three-piece band that will take the stage this Sunday.
An uncanny resemblance to a young Deborah Harry and a healthy admiration for the artist has also earned her the frontwoman role in Blondie tribute act Parallel Lines. She doesn’t just get to sing Blondie she gets to be Blondie.
"Debbie Harry’s totally my hero," she says, explaining that she was inspired to take up singing when the breakup of the Bombshells soured her on the thought of having to deal with another lead singer. Once she found her voice was compatible with the vocal stylings made famous by the platinum-tressed icon of the early ’80s, Duvall’s transformation from guitarist to singer/guitarist was complete.
There are big plans for the coming summer. A follow-up EP to her 2000 debut album Star is in the works, which she hopes will take her edgy pop punk to the next level with the addition of keyboards and more emphasis on studio production. It’s a deliberate step away from the early ’90s grrl rock of The Breeders and Courtney Love’s Miss World album that she feels has been corrupted by a crop of perky studio creations.
There’s also new bass player Leanne Chapman. "A girl!" Duvall enthuses for reasons that go beyond musical compatibility.
"I haven’t played with a girl for 10 years or something and I’m actually really excited about it. On the road girls have to pee more than guys do and I won’t get in trouble for having to pull over so much."
There are plans to tour the U.S. of A. – the painful process of applying for the appropriate visas is currently in progress. And there’s the new touring van, a conservative blue soccer-mom style ride, a deliberate choice to avoid being a heat score for thieves and State Troopers.
Because in a perfect world, Duvall’s van would be hot pink, a shade she has associated herself with from the start and which she assures is still her favourite colour. She was pink when everyone was beige. Now that the colour is one of the hottest, trendiest looks for spring and summer it’s a lot easier for her to shop. Her latest purchase? A pair of Converse Chuck Taylor-style stiletto heel boots. Pink of course.
Maybe she’ll lend them to me some day.
Siobhan Duvall’s in town for Punk Night this Sunday at the Boot Pub. For more information call 604-932-3338.
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