The DEVOTCHKAS are from New York and play great UK82/Oi! Punk. They've got some records out -
see Discography on bottom of this page. The band was formed in 1996.
'Devotchka' is russian for 'woman'.
They're Stephanie - Vocals, Mande - Guitar, Alaine - Bass and Gabrielle - Drums.
Pictures taken from their first 7'' and the two websites (links below). Interview done in March 2001.
You're in your early 20's, right? How long have you been into Punk and
have you been in any other bands before the Devotchkas? Didn't I see some
of you on the cover of a Krays album or something?
Gabrielle: Yeah, we are all in our early twenties. Mande, Alaine and Gabrielle all played in bands previous to the Devotchkas (the Auxiliary, the Manix, and the Epitomies respectively). Mande and Stephanie are on the cover of the first Krays album, but it was just part of a collage. It wasn't because they were in the band.
Alaine: I think we all got into punk at around the ages 13-15. We play punk because thats the music that we love. Stephanie and I are on The Krays album, the picture was taken at a Krays show we were at, and just thrown onto the collage.
You've changed your line up since the first ep, haven't you? Why?
Gabrielle: Line up for the first EP had Jon as the drummer. However, Jon was never really a permanent member of the band (he also had the Krays going on). The Devotchkas were still looking for a serious drummer. That's where Gabrielle came into the picture.
Alaine: Jon just offered to fill in untill we found a permanent drummer. He had alot of projects going on for himself - the krays, and then he joined the casualties (who tour alot) - so then we went through 2 additional drummers, to Jon, until we found Gabrielle.
Being an all-girl band, do you think that's been working for or against you, or does it really matter to people at all?
Gabrielle: I think there are ways that it works against you in the scene. You get a lot of attention for just being girls and not enough for what you actually do.
Alaine: Being an all girl band, you're viewed as some sort of novelty. thats not what we set out to do, but maybe we can inspire more girls to get involved so that if there are more girls involved, it wont be as weird and it wont be looked at as some sort of frill.
What do you really think of the new Crust scene, and their version of
'feminism', 'anarchy', etc (I noticed the 'big fuck off to Crusty Hippies'
on the first ep)?
Gabrielle: I think we're cool with what other people's beliefs and ideals are as long as those are not pushed on us and we are not criticized for not having the same ones. That was directed towards people who talk shit just cuz we don't think the same way they do.
Alaine: That was basicially directed to some crusties who summer camp in new york and automaticially assume they have the right to critisize, just because their parents wire them money to live a lifestyle that they choose. We have no problems with views different than our own...just as long as those views are not shoved down our throats. Everyone has a right to think the way they want.
There's not much politics in your lyrics, is that deliberate, like
'leave it out of the music' or?
Gabrielle: I think we try to sing about every day life and real life stuff instead of being really politically charged.
Alaine: We do have our own opinions on political issues and subjects, but we do write more about social issues because that is what we are directly affected or inspired by.
When I played your ep some girls I know objected to the 'Damaged Goods' lyrics. Can't say I have a problem with the words, but on the other hand, I can't really see a problem in some girl wanting to fuck a lot of guys, either. I don't think it makes her a whore. Wanna make some comments about the song?
Gabrielle: I think the song was really trying to reflect on girls in the scene who sexully exploit themselves and end up looking like fools and risking their health. We just think it's dumb to try to climb the social ladder that way and we see a lot of girls making that attempt. Girls think that by latching onto a scenester boyfriend, they'll end up looking cool. But there are better ways to participate in the scene. There aren't enough girls trying to get involved in bands and participate in that way.
Alaine: We do not give respect to girls who are in the scene for the sole purpose of spreading her legs for guys in bands... and that is the view that the song reflects. The song was written in specific about a certain girl in the scene in New York city, but many people can relate to it, because there is at least one damaged good to each scene. As Gabrielle said, there are better ways to be involved, than to exploit yourself by being a hole for a guy to put his dick in.
I know you did some live vocals for Vice Squad when Beki had lost her
voice, did you know her before that and what do you think about their new
stuff? I guess she's been a bit of an inspiration for you?
Gabrielle: We played a few gigs with Vice Squad on their US tour and in Europe. The band was really cool to us and we had a lot of respect for Beki. I think it was fun for us to hang out with someone who's been around for so long and been a part of a band like that.
Alaine: We were really excited to get to play shows with them. They have been an inspiration to us. We are looking foward to playing with them again.
What's the best and the worst thing that happened to you as a band?
Gabrielle: I would say the highlight has definitely been our European tour. Having that opportunity was amazing and it was really cool to see other parts of the world.
Alaine: I can't say we have had anything terrible happen to us worth mentioning, but the best thing so far has been our tour. We had a great time and met a lot of great people.
How's the New York scene now, any good bands or places? Or is it still full of rap-metal crap?
Alaine: The only venue in Manhattan that does punk shows right now is CBGB's. There is still alot of rap-metal. There's a good new band called Treason, from the Bronx. I would like to see them get some tours and releases, because they're amazing. I know New York is a hard place to get started in as a band, theres a bit of a monoply when it comes to shows.
Any news, like an LP or a european tour?
Gabrielle: We are touring Europe this summer (June and July 2001) and we hope to have a new LP out before we leave for tour.
Alaine: Yea, we are scrambling to get out an LP before we leave for tour in june of this year. For our european dates, go to: One-Sided Society.
V/A - PUNX UNITE (Jan 1998):|
Mr. School Psychology
V/A - ONLY SO MUCH CAN GO WRONG (Sept 1998):
DEVOTCHKAS 7" EP (Oct 1998):
Shit For Dreams
Coppers In Force
ANNIHILATION CD (Sept 2000):
Hip Hop Kids
Shit for Dreams
Coppers in Force
Mr. School Psychology
Oi! Toy (demo)
ANNIHILATION 7" EP (Jan 2001):
Hip Hop Kids
Check out Devotchkas Official site for free MP3,
And the fan site One-Sided Society for more pics and interviews.
**UPDATE:** Devotchkas have changed line-up and are now called The 99's!
Back to The Index Of Interviews