GO AHEAD…..CALL US NASTY
A CONVERSATION WITH THE NASTY HOUSEWIVES
The Nasty Housewives, an interesting name for an interesting and unique band. The Nasty Housewives consist of Marcella Detroit (also known as Marcy Levy, Shakespears Sister), Hope Juber (The Housewives) and Roberta Freeman (who has worked with Pink Floyd, Elton John and Lou Reed to name just three). Helping them on RESisters, their debut album is Laurence Juber (husband of Hope and once a member of Wings). Marcy Levy’s husband, Lance Aston, also helps out with photography, and some co-writing. It is kind of a supergroup, L.A. style from where the band is based. It also feels very much like a family affair.
Over the last year or so videos and songs started popping up on Marcella Detroit’s Facebook page as well as other pages. The videos were brilliant and the songs are discussion points. It was clear that they were not happy with Trump. It made for interesting listening and viewing. The question was would there be an album. RESisters is that album, and it is welcome in today’s musical and political climate.
An interesting collaboration of minds and talents. Keen to try to get behind the project, I was fortunate to be able to set up an interview with the three separate and unique components which when fused create the Nasty Housewives. Opening by trying to establish what lay in the origins of the album. Hope began the conversation by outlining that initial meeting in the gym where she picked up on Marcys disgust and anger with their new presidential leader. They shared views and Hope had revealed that her husband was also a Grammy award winning musician.They then decided to write songs together with a common goal and view. Hope then was responsible for introducing the third element with an invitation to Roberta. The time period for this happening was in the immediate aftermath of the American General Election. They had written a song together and Hope outlined why she had decided to bring Roberta on board with the project. ”It seemed just totally natural to bring Roberta in because she just seemed to be a part of what we were all dealing with and how we all felt about it.”
The conclusion of that was that they had decided that they couldn’t just idly stand by and that they had as artists to make use of their talents and do a song. However as they began to open the creative process, they soon had enough songs to do a full album.
Hope had actually been surprised by the lack of protest songs around that were current. It felt that this needed to be out there as a protest album of songs that people who felt the same way could relate to just like in the past, in the 60s and 70s when there were terrible, things going on, a song would be released to represent that. It was designed for people so they can just feel comfort and feel a part of something when they were listening to music that encompassed that.
I was keen to identify the actual origins of the band name itself. Hope tried to set me straight pointing out to me that US President Trump during the electoral campaign had referred to his political opponent as a “nasty woman”- when insulting her. It was part then of a protest if you called yourself nasty, it became a badge of honour at that time. During the 80s and 90s, Hope herself was involved with a comedy rock and roll group called the The Housewives, so they put the two things together.It was an unlikely combination.
“Initially it was just the one song that was inspired by what had happened in the election but then they couldn’t stop. Something would happen every day to make them go, can you believe he said this or can you believe people are accepting that he’s mocking disabled people, his Generals and women and saying all these horrible things. So it was just, what he was giving them in terms of inspiration was relentless and inspired them to do more and it became “now we have ten songs and an album.” Hope added that the situation had also presented them with so many good titles – little catch phrases such as “Alternative Facts” or “Not My President,” it just seemed like these were natural song titles that would encompass a particular aspect of what we were dealing with with the current administration.“
As a UK citizen I was actually very surprised that so many US people had actually voted for Trump to be their choice as President. The Nasty Housewives actually had quite an insightful view on that. Roberta shared that they believed some form of corrupt vote-rigging or falsification had actually taken place during the election, whereby corruption had occurred. .Pointing to Trumps personal and long-standing links with Russia and that he did not actually win the popular vote. There is a problem with the electoral system,and they disputed that he won the electoral college votes honestly. The Housewives also discussed several ongoing investigations into the whole election which I had been totally unaware of – as I say while living in the UK. Hope concluded with “maybe 14% of all available American voters really voting for him and for all he stood for.”
Living in a Trump governed America, I was curious if the Nasty Housewives had encountered any form of government censorship given that they had an anti-government and protest agenda. They explained to me that there had been no major clamp down yet on them delivering their particular anti Trump message. They did explain however that any negativity had been solely isolated comments on their Youtube channel and through Facebook. Marcie contributed that “We want to get it out there. I wouldn’t mind going to the jail for it for what I sing, what I feel.”
On listening to the album ahead of doing the interview one track in particular caused me to go away and do some additional political research..”Bowling Green” was that song. I wanted to gain greater insight and a better understanding of what was the factual basis to that track’s composition. The incident in question hadn’t even been featured on the UK national news.
“Hope here, well here was. It was kind of early on in the taking over of the Government but there was Kellyanne Conway who had gone on many news shows and was talking about this bowling green massacre which when you actually looked into the facts, it never happened. There was no such thing and she was just, well she would always refer to it as if it was some horrible historical massacre that had happened and it was just fabricated. So the idea of doing a song dedicated to those victims and taking it on a journey of sincerity, sarcasm and then ironic pathos at the end, seems really, it’s one of my favourite lyrics.”
Roberta went on to elaborate that particular incident was just a single example. One of many that illustrated that their President was actually lying to his own people. The Nasty Housewives collectively stated that they found it amazing that Trump and his team would say one thing and then a short time later would say the exact opposite with nobody apparently challenging them on it. His fan base seem to be following him blindly where they don’t question anything that he actually says or does. That Roberta believes has gone on for far too long and there is now a time for people to take action such as the manner in which they are doing as the Nasty Housewives.
The band have also taken an unusual step in actually recording a video for every track featured on the album. Fun was the explanation given to me regarding that Hope stated that “It illustrates and captures the imagination of the people who are looking”
The band mixed up several ideas, lyric videos, a performance video and also conceptual videos – with the later format bringing more people in as it gave them more to grasp onto than just one image per song. Marcie then added “It’s a great way for us to come together and express ourselves, even more,it just kind of punctuates it in a way.”
After artists record and release an album, the next logical step in the process is to go out and perform those songs live – let them take wings in front of a live audience. Had the band thought ahead in their campaign and would it include some live performances-after all protest songs can find their feet more effectively performed in front of a live audience of like -minded individuals. Marcie explained that the Nasty Housewives had already performed their debut show and had hopes of doing some more in the near future.
Nasty Housewives itself was this, just a one off unique political/apolitical collaboration or as I asked did they actually have plans to work together again. Clearly there was a chemistry established not just musically but also personally as well. While recognizing that it was the current unsatisfactory political situation in America which had caused them to form, Hope also admitted that it was actually fun to work with Marcie and Roberta. ” I think we all feel that way that if we have a different reason to work together that would be spectacular. But, if, as long as there’s a continued reason to object to things, I think I’m prepared to keep objecting.
Summing up I was keen to discover what each Nasty Housewife had personally gained from the whole experience. Marcie, “ Well the obvious thing is working with two people that I respect very much and actually Laurence as well I mean. Amazing musicianship and writing and everything, it’s been a blast working with you guys, I love you guys.”
“But it’s also been amazing to, I mean I’ve always been a very passionate person anyway. I’m very outspoken and I feel that the fact that I’m able to get my political views across to a very wide audience has been great. Because I started out just kind of saying things on Facebook and posting things and sometimes that’s not received very well. But people seem to respond really well to music. It’s a very, it’s just a great way of getting your opinion across and your passion. So it’s been a wonderful experience.
Roberta: For me it’s also, well I’ve made two new great friends, I feel like I’ve gained a sense of camaraderie. Being able to express myself and be made to feel like I’m not alone, there are a lot more like minded people out there and even though, like if I post videos on Facebook and I get some people saying just kind of insulting me because that seems like the other side is trying to do all the time. But they don’t really have any other leg to stand on except for hurling insults. It’s just given me a sense of community. And reaching out there, there are a lot of people out there who feel the same, so it’s given me that and a chance to express myself and what I feel and I’m not alone, obviously.
Hope: And this is Hope, for me I agree with both of those sentiments and I feel like it’s given me an outlet to express the rage and the frustration and the absolute bewilderment as to some of the decisions and the occurrences that have been going on here. And I think that the fact that music can reach people when other things can’t and the ability to send it out there and object and be political in our own way using our own talents has been really satisfying and working with two of the most amazing singers I’ve ever met and being able to share our talents and strengths and it’s just been a wonderful experience to do it and again I wish we didn’t have to do it.
Summing up I wondered if this experience had actually given any of the Nasty Housewives a motivation to pursue a career in politics, perhaps at a local level. Hope was the only one of the three to express an interest of following that direction. She explained that she had always been kind of political, ,however she had never considered putting herself directly out as the spokesperson, or actual candidate for anything but she had been actually actively involved in politics since High School. This whole political scene was not new to her personally.