Joan As Policewoman

Joan As Police Woman is ready to handcuff your ears with her unique soulful sound. Her history alone makes her worth listening to. Working with such creative artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Scissor Sisters and Antony and the Johnsons in the past has brought her much deserved attention. Her new album The Deep Field dropped earlier in the month with Joan playing at Schubas at the end of April. Get to know Joan in this exclusive interview.

Hello, Joan. So let’s go over your history. You were born in Maine?

Yes I was, but only spent about three weeks there. I grew up about an hour north of New York City, in a town called Norwalk, Connecticut.

You studied music early on?

They offered violin in third grade. You could rent one for ten dollars a year because it was public school, hooray! I liked it and kept doing it even when I was an early teenager and got into punk rock. I had a short platinum Mohawk. I would go see a lot of heavy bands. I went to college to study it classically. It was there that I began joining bands and touring, much to my parent’s dismay I took time off from college. I was with a band for many years called the Dambuilders. We were from Boston. This was the early nineties where the major labels were picking up all the arty rock bands. We released a bunch of records on Electra.

Electra was huge back in the day.

They were fantastic. They were so supportive in a thriving music industry at that point. When that band broke up I began to play the guitar. I realized there was no way to write songs on the violin. Singing was something that made me very uncomfortable. I was insecure and it was way too revealing. I joined to members of Jeff Buckley’s band. He passed away in 1997 and he was my boyfriend. To gain solace from each other we made a band together. It was the first time that I was writing music and singing.

That must have been difficult.

It had its joy and its horror. It was a great learning experience. In the meantime I joined Antony and the Johnsons’ band. That was a real sense of warmth and comfort for me. I began to breathe again. I played solo for a while then I asked Ben Perowsky, who is a drummer from New York City, to play with me as a duo. I made an EP and then Rufus Wainwright asked me to join his band, tour with him and open the shows. I jumped at that opportunity.

Of course!

It was awesome. Then I made my first record Real Life in 2006. Since then I have been exclusively doing my own projects. I have been nonstop touring. I made a second record called to Survive and then a covers record. Here I am, I have released this third album. This one went immediately well for me in the UK so I spent a lot of time there up until now. That is the not so short story…

How did you start calling yourself a Police Woman?

I had been playing shows at the beginning. Because I had only been known as a violin player people thought I was only doing solo violin shows. I wanted a name that represented the music that I composed and sang. One day I was wearing a ridiculous polyester pantsuit and my friend Ruben said, “Joan, you are channeling Angie from Policewoman!”

The cop show from the 70’s?

Yes, with Angie Dickenson. A lot of people don’t remember that show.

Well, I do. She is still alive somewhere.

Oh, she sure is!

I bet she still looks good.

I bet she does. She is a badass.

When did you live with Del from Scissor Sisters?

JI lived in the same apartment from 1995 to 2009. There were a lot of people in and out of that house but somewhere before the Scissor Sisters he moved in to my place. In that time he did a lot of practicing the guitar, joined the Scissor Sisters and then went on from there. He’s a fabulous man.

He did some interesting solo stuff last time I talked to him.

Yeah, I played on that one. It was great.

You are a very New York artist.

I live in New York. It is place to be, no offense to Chicago. It is awesome there too. For me New York is my place. I grew up near here. It is the magnet for me.

I read that Stevie Wonder is your favorite.

He is one of them. He is like a god.

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